2020-21 U.S. Pairs Figure Skating

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Thanks for reminding me, I guess my thought their debut would be Sectionals, but regardless your right their was money and qualify for nationals.

And ... the opportunity to meet the minimum TES requirement for Nats for seniors is another benefit of the ISP Points Challenge. :)

On Sep 24, the minimum TES requirement for 2021 Nats was the subject of a new technical notification on the USFS members-only site.
(I have not seen the new TN on the public website yet?)

For now, suffice it to say that except for ice dance, the minimums have been markedly lowered for 2021 Nats. ;)

A special rule for this season is that skaters with byes to 2021 Nats (from placement at 2020 Nats or 2020 ISP Points Challenge) do not need to earn the minimum TES in the same season.



... Meno/Sand were recognized with the PSA coach of the year award recently for their work with C/J and the Knierims.

Side note that Christine Fowler-Binder also was a recipient of the PSA award as part of the coaching team.
 

BlissfulSynergy

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I've watched Ashley and Tim's FS from 9/22 several times now, and I see much more to admire and value in it than I did at first.

Yes, repeat viewings do reveal different things and spark different feelings. As I mentioned earlier, I am not impressed by A&T's costumes the more I see their FS. I like their sp costumes, but the dark blue costumes in the FS don't enhance their complexions. Neither does the dark blue necessarily fit the music. I also don't like the design of Ashley's dress. Maybe it's too late for them to tweak, but the costumes aren't working very well for them, which only ends up making other weaknesses stand out. My first viewing was more positive because I really like this team.

Another quibble I have that I noticed the first time, but set aside, is that the ending pose for the FS is rather awkward and very unflattering for Ashley. Meanwhile, the ending pose for the sp is very good and suits the overall theme.

On the positive side, their energy, commitment and hard work is evident. I like how hard they have worked on creating new and difficult lifts. While lifts are not their strong suit, they make their lifts work, despite a bit of unsteadiness. Unfortunately, the more I see their new FS program, the more I don't like it for them. I wonder what Benoit Richaud could do for them. I think they need to explore working with a different choreographer. They also need to build toward finessing their sbs jumps and eliminating URs. Somehow, Ashley needs to figure out those landings on the throw jumps too. Something is off technically that maybe can be reworked to help her be more consistent and execute better form on the landings.

Camerlengo and the W.E. soundtrack worked beautifully for A&T in 2018-2019, but they haven't had a program as strong and memorable since. Their programs last season were okay, and I like their sp this season, but I'm not sold on the FS. I don't think the music is necessarily helping them further develop their skating personality as a team. The sp choreo and music does appear to be going in the right direction for them. I'm trying to think of what type of FS music might suit them better for what they appear to be trying to project. That's always the difficulty (figuring out who you are as a team and finding the right music). It's an ongoing process.
 

TontoK

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Thank you @BlissfulSynergy. You've offerred a string of detailed and insightful posts, and I've enjoyed them very much.

For a long time, I paid very little attention to the pairs discipline, because I've thought the programs were unimaginative and repetitive. I've slowly come around the past few years with pairs, but obviously I want to know more. I like the direction the discipline is taking now.

I look forward to reading more of your contributions.
 

skylark

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we have witnessed how often Dalilah switches pairs partners. Dalilah is known for bringing Chris & Alexa together, which was great for them both personally and professionally. Most recently, I guess Sarah Feng was left in the dust when she was dropped by Nyman & Dalilah in favor of young Russian skater, Nadezhda Labazina. As recently reported, Dalilah has now paired T.J. Nyman with Haven Denney! I wonder if Haven reached out to Dalilah, or if Dalilah called Haven first, knowing that Haven was still interested in continuing after the split with Brandon?

As well, Danny Neudecker split with long-time partner Nica Digerness. Surely, that was because Dalilah felt Sasha F. (whose father is a coach and a former ice dancer) with her atheticism and jumping talent, would be a good match for Danny. Nica has been recovering from an injury, but in the meantime, Dalilah paired Nica with Ian Meyh, who was formerly a promising partner for Chelsea Liu (who became Jiaxi Liu when she departed the U.S. for China. But it appears that Chelsea's adventure with Xie Zhong is now over, since reportedly he has retired).

Apparently, Labazina is still with Dalilah. So what if Dalilah had suggested pairing young Labazina with Danny? Who knows. :popcorn:

Danny definitely seems very loyal to Tarah (they used to be in an off-ice relationship). Maybe Dalilah anticipated finding a different partner for Tarah. Or maybe she initially wanted Tarah to skate with T.J. (who was formerly dating Tarah). But then, the idea for Haven & T.J. must have taken shape. I wonder why T.J. and Labazina were not working out as a pair.
I enjoyed all your tidbits and speculations. I Iike gossip, as long as it's not malicious. I still listen to TSL if I think they might have actual news before it hits the airwaves. Dave gets info from people because he promises not to identify them. Some say he's got spies; others point to the long tradition of protecting journalistic sources. (Of course, TSL gossip is often malicious and tries to support their already stated opinions, but however annoyed I am in the moment I can usually let it go.)

But your speculations are all kindly and well meant. Thank you! You mentioned a few that I hadn't considered. According to ^^, Haven is back in Florida and the try-out with TJ didn't work out. I'd hoped it would. I'd really like Haven to find a partner, since she's apparently interested in competing more. She loves pairs skating ... and she has some of the most heavenly (Haven-ly?) expressions I've seen.

Dave speculated that Marina Zueva could be a possible coach choice for Tarah and Danny. Which I hadn't thought of, but they might possibly (slim chance?) have an "in" with Charlie White, who choreographed their Claire de Lune SP. The thought intrigues me, because if anyone could actually bring something about with T&D completely unexpected, it might be Marina. Whether Marina would take them on is another matter. In a recent interview of Vladimir Morozov, he was asked how Marina began work with them. He said they arrived in Florida one evening, and they were on the ice at 8 a.m. the next day. Also, he said the whole first day, she only observed them. Next day they began. This goes along with my feeling that Charlie actually looks at skaters with the idea of seeing something new he can bring out, rather than having preconceived ideas. He learned from Marina.

Oh, something surprising. Dave said he doesn't think whatever happened with Tarah and Danny was "Dahlilah's fault." I don't know exactly what that means, but he would normally have said if he'd heard she tried to pair either one with someone else. But who knows. There's certainly a suggestion that someone tried to split them, in the way they worded their IG announcements.

ETA: TSL's lengthy discussion of US Pairs begins at about 28:00 (or in earnest at 32:00) in yesterday's posting. In case anyone's interested and doesn't want to sit through the first ramblings.
 
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mrrice

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Do you guys think that Brandon and Alexa will Podium in their debut year as partners?
 

BlissfulSynergy

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According to ^^, Haven is back in Florida and the try-out with TJ didn't work out. I'd hoped it would. I'd really like Haven to find a partner, since she's apparently interested in competing more.
Yes, I did hear that as well. I guess the original reports on skating forums are a good example of rink gossip and speculation not panning out. There's a reason why no formal announcements of partnerships are made right away. For sure, there was obviously a try-out, but apparently T.J. and Haven did not match up well. And reportedly, Haven is back in Florida, deciding her next steps. I believe her family resides in Florida. I was hopeful for Haven too, so I wish her good luck in being able to renew her passion for competing on the ice. And if it doesn't work out, there will be other rewarding life goals for her to pursue that can may still involve contact with the skating world.

You are on target regarding TSL. It is such a mixed bag of innuendo and sometimes opinionated views aggressively stated that tend to sway the impressions of some skating fans. I am glad to have seen a variety of new skating interview shows that appeared during the lockdown. There really does need to be more variety of shows and news about figure skating to choose between. I wish there was a dedicated, up-to-date database for each season that keeps track in one place a number of details about skaters and their programs and competition results.
 

mrrice

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Yes, I did hear that as well. I guess the original reports on skating forums are a good example of rink gossip and speculation not panning out. There's a reason why no formal announcements of partnerships are made right away. For sure, there was obviously a try-out, but apparently T.J. and Haven did not match up well. And reportedly, Haven is back in Florida, deciding her next steps. I believe her family resides in Florida. I was hopeful for Haven too, so I wish her good luck in being able to renew her passion for competing on the ice. And if it doesn't work out, there will be other rewarding life goals for her to pursue that can may still involve contact with the skating world.

You are on target regarding TSL. It is such a mixed bag of innuendo and sometimes opinionated views aggressively stated that tend to sway the impressions of some skating fans. I am glad to have seen a variety of new skating interview shows that appeared during the lockdown. There really does need to be more variety of shows and news about figure skating to choose between. I wish there was a dedicated, up-to-date database for each season that keeps track in one place a number of details about skaters and their programs and competition results.
For some reason, I thought that Haven and Brandon broke up was because she was going to retire. I guess there was more to it. Has she commented on it?
 
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BlissfulSynergy

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Dave said he doesn't think whatever happened with Tarah and Danny was "Dahlilah's fault." I don't know exactly what that means, but he would normally have said if he'd heard she tried to pair either one with someone else. But who knows. There's certainly a suggestion that someone tried to split them, in the way they worded their IG announcements.

ETA: TSL's lengthy discussion of US Pairs begins at about 28:00 (or in earnest at 32:00) in yesterday's posting. In case anyone's interested and doesn't want to sit through the first ramblings.

Thanks. I caught that part of TSL's recent broadcast. Dave isn't always accurate in his speculations and observations, despite having insider sources. He does have a good track record on gossip scoops, due to some of the insider sources he has. I agree with his views here and there, but mostly I take his OTT shtick with a large grain of salt. He is passionate about what he believes in regarding figure skating and gymnastics, but he doesn't seem to leave much room for kindness or more thoughtful analyses that takes different factors and circumstances into consideration. The TSL broadcasts are difficult to sit through, but I occasionally make the effort in order to discover some actual news and/or interesting observations. Unfortunately, there is way too much rambling and an overblown tendency for both Dave & co-host, Jonathan, to make their commentary so much about their own egos and preferences, rather than taking a step back sometimes to be less harsh and snarky. Dave has tried to tone down a bit of the snark, but TSL is what it is, until and unless more and better figure skating news coverage comes along.

There are more interview chat shows that have cropped up on YouTube and other platforms. I suppose IceTalk with Jackie Wong & Nick McCarvel took a hiatus. Those guys are more straightforward and kind, but also they have too much of a tendency toward status quo speak and glib analysis.

Yeah, I guess we won't really know for sure what happened to push T&D to leave Dalilah's camp. It's probably more than one reason, with the main reason being them wanting to make significant progress. It will be interesting to see what they can do to change their current trajectory. I think it is difficult to relearn and enhance blade technique, which is probably the biggest factor in T&D's lack of speed (on Tarah's end). They have compensated by Tarah leaning on Danny's blade strengths and partnering skills. But that's not enough when your closest competitors are at a higher level in a number of categories. Tarah is a fierce pairs girl with great determination and desire, and they are a competitive team when they manage to be consistent. But once again, the pairs division is very deep now globally, and it's important to develop more speed and explosive elements, along with having a connection and a style that sets you apart from the pack.

The up-and-coming young Russian teams have made significant improvements as witnessed during the recent test skates. Apparently, Moskvina is now working with another team, Mishina/Galliamov, in addition to Boikova/Koslovskii.
 

BlissfulSynergy

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For some reason, I thought the reason that Haven and Brandon broke up was because she was going to retire. I guess there was more to it. Has she commented on it?

No, there was never any indication that Haven was planning to retire. Brandon & Haven did not perform or place well at 2020 U.S. Nationals, after winning two bronze medals on the 2019-20 GP series. When Nationals ended, they reassessed their career chances and prospects as a team. It seemed as if they'd gone as far as they could together. In their statements and in interviews, post-split, it seemed that they had been quietly considering what to do and were leaning toward splitting or rethinking their direction. Sadly, the problems at the Zimmerman rink that began with sketchy news reports last December, apparently distracted uninvolved skaters training at the rink, including H&B, and Kevin Aymoz (who had serious problems at Europeans in January). I know that none of the skaters are likely to attribute their competitive struggles in January to the dismaying news reports about certain happenings at the rink, but the reports and subsequent unsettling chatter were surely a huge distraction to their training and preparation. The fact that H&B were reassessing their future at the same time that Chris announced he was retiring due to injury frustrations, and Alexa was searching for another partner, led to what has turned out to be a promising new pairing.

Haven's knee injury and rehab had slowed H&B's career momentum. Still, the fact that she courageously came back to achieve relative success with Brandon, and that Brandon stuck by her through thick and thin, is commendable. It seems to me (though I could be wrong) that Haven made great strides physically, but that mentally or psychologically, it was difficult for her to feel confident landing sbs jumps. If it's mostly a mental block, perhaps with targeted help from the right person, and maybe a fresh environment and a good new partner, she can try again. The problem is that new training opportunities are limited and good partners do not grow on trees.

Charlie White is very perceptive. I remember he said during analysis at 2020 Nationals that after having worked with H&B on choreography (the previous season), he felt they were a team on the cusp of overcoming what seemed to be a lack of owning just how good they are. He said he felt they were often 'surprised' about their strengths. I think it was difficult for them having to rebuild career momentum after Haven's injury. She simply never seemed to regain her confidence on jumps, and I'm sure it was not for lack of working on trying to steady her mental focus and self-belief. They also had a very difficult experience at 2017 Worlds in their first-year comeback after being off the previous season for Haven's rehab. U.S. fed and some fans continued to be supportive, and H&B made some memorable strides prior to the deflating showing at 2020 Nationals.
 

skylark

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The TSL broadcasts are difficult to sit through, but I occasionally make the effort in order to discover some actual news and/or interesting observations. Unfortunately, there is way too much rambling and an overblown tendency for both Dave & co-host, Jonathan, to make their commentary so much about their own egos and preferences, rather than taking a step back sometimes to be less harsh and snarky. Dave has tried to tone down a bit of the snark, but TSL is what it is, until and unless more and better figure skating news coverage comes along.

There are more interview chat shows that have cropped up on YouTube and other platforms. I suppose IceTalk with Jackie Wong & Nick McCarvel took a hiatus. Those guys are more straightforward and kind, but also they have too much of a tendency toward status quo speak and glib analysis.

Yeah, I guess we won't really know for sure what happened to push T&D to leave Dalilah's camp. It's probably more than one reason, with the main reason being them wanting to make significant progress. It will be interesting to see what they can do to change their current trajectory. I think it is difficult to relearn and enhance blade technique, which is probably the biggest factor in T&D's lack of speed (on Tarah's end). They have compensated by Tarah leaning on Danny's blade strengths and partnering skills. But that's not enough when your closest competitors are at a higher level in a number of categories. Tarah is a fierce pairs girl with great determination and desire, and they are a competitive team when they manage to be consistent. But once again, the pairs division is very deep now globally, and it's important to develop more speed and explosive elements, along with having a connection and a style that sets you apart from the pack.

The up-and-coming young Russian teams have made significant improvements as witnessed during the recent test skates. Apparently, Moskvina is now working with another team, Mishina/Galliamov, in addition to Boikova/Koslovskii.
When it was Dave and Jenny, she toned him down significantly. She was a significantly more qualified host from the POV of competitive skating, and she also has a pleasing, encouraging tone. However, I will say that I enjoy Dave's interviews; he's a good interviewer. He knows how to follow=up on the subject's answers, rather than glancing down and going with the next question in his notes. If you have some links to more interview chat shows, I'd love to try them.

Really, the entrance of 2016 new US pairs Cain/Leduc and Stellato/Bartholomay cranked US Pairs up several notches in quality. I'm so grateful for that, and I'm just as grateful for the variety they introduced. Cain/Leduc in particular make US Pairs more interesting because their strengths show us something entirely different. They're competitive because they value and highlight what they have, and are attentive to also improving things that aren't necessarily their strengths. As much as I love their beautiful lines, connection to their music, and dynamism, I also love that they have a look and style quite different from other pairs. It's more interesting to me.

I love M/G now. What a difference a Moskvina makes! I mean, I thought they were charming and down-to-earth before, but I love their programs this year. B/K are amazing and showing a new style and depth of maturity with their new SP.

I am so glad you're here. Someone who loves to talk about pairs figure skating at length, as I do! Your posts are thoughtful and insightful and show great kindness and equity as well. :rock: And remember, when the mods welcome new members to the forum, they do say "Post LONG and post often" :dance3:
 

BlissfulSynergy

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Do you guys think that Brandon and Alexa will Podium in their debut year as partners?

Anything is possible, and they've made a very good start.

To answer my own earlier questions about costumes and choreographers for C/J and K/F, apparently both teams pay big bucks for costumes designed by Lisa McKinnon (per TSL). McKinnon does a really beautiful, exquisite job. C/J kept their Benoit Richaud sp from last season, and Cindy Stuart created their new fp (and she had choreographed C/J's fp last season). The new fp has definitely incorporated more transitions and difficulty, as their former fp had been described as more simple choreography. Still, in my opinion, C/J have had great building programs from the beginning of their partnership.

Recent TSL commentary I think was a bit dismissive (as usual) of U.S. pairs teams' strengths. I think Dave is being a bit too nitpicky regarding C/J and K/F in terms of their music and overall impact. Yes, C/J have to improve their jumps, and K/F are a new team who have made huge progress. K/F are still working out who they are together as a team, so I think their programs are fine, and manage to show off their strengths. To my eyes, K/F's fp works better for them than the Knierims' fp did last season. Dave seemed to suggest that Benoit Richaud choreographed both of K/F's programs in their debut season.

I'm not sure who designs Ashley/TImothy's costumes. I imagine McKinnon's price range is difficult for some skaters. But she does a really beautiful job. I think the importance of costumes to overall packaging and program impact can not be denied.
 

skylark

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Charlie White is very perceptive. I remember he said during analysis at 2020 Nationals that after having worked with H&B on choreography (the previous season), he felt they were a team on the cusp of overcoming what seemed to be a lack of owning just how good they are. He said he felt they were often 'surprised' about their strengths. I think it was difficult for them having to rebuild career momentum after Haven's injury. She simply never seemed to regain her confidence on jumps, and I'm sure it was not for lack of working on trying to steady her mental focus and self-belief. They also had a very difficult experience at 2017 Worlds in their first-year comeback after being off the previous season for Haven's rehab. U.S. fed and some fans continued to be supportive, and H&B made some memorable strides prior to the deflating showing at 2020 Nationals.
Charlie is brilliant. I heard those remarks and felt he'd put his finger on the really important thing. Everyone knows that self-belief is critical, for everyone, and perhaps especially for athletes. But confidence and belief can be really hard to re-build, when one (or two!) has had a string of disappointments. That had to be piling more questioning and undermining of their confidence onto what they already had to deal with while she made the long journey of physical recovery.

Charlie and Tanith are an exquisite commentary team. They listen to each other; they'll take time, half a minute or more, to consider and answer each other's questions. And they always are supportive to the athletes.
 

skylark

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Do you guys think that Brandon and Alexa will Podium in their debut year as partners?
They could.

And remember, Ashley and Tim won the bronze medal at US nationals in their debut year. They'd only been partnered since the previous May. Deanna and Nate came in fourth, with the identical time as partners.
 

mrrice

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They could.

And remember, Ashley and Tim won the bronze medal at US nationals in their debut year. They'd only been partnered since the previous May. Deanna and Nate came in fourth, with the identical time as partners.
Awesome, Thank You Skylark. :thank:
 

BlissfulSynergy

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If you have some links to more interview chat shows, I'd love to try them.

OnIcePerspectives' Jordan Cowan has some interview chats up on YouTube (with Jeremy Abbott; Ash& Tim; Pap/Ciz; Hawayek/Baker; Jason Brown, et al), as does Scott Hamilton (with Nathan Chen; Brian Boitano; Gracie Gold; Evan Lysacek; Brian Orser & Tracy Wilson; Chris Dean; Ashley Wagner; et al). And there were a number of local skating club chats with skaters both in Canada and in the U.S. I can't recall particularly at the moment, but I think there was a chat with Chock & Bates and Carreira/Ponomarenko in the U.S., and in Canada, a club chat with Roman Sadovsky and Nam Nguyen; P.J. Kwong has recently interviewed ice dancers, Soucisse/Firus, among other skaters. There is a diversity chat show originating on Instagram that I've seen. On a couple of episodes, Karina Manta, guest-hosted -- in one episode she had a memorable and poignant conversation with former ice dancer, Rachel Parsons.

You also recently posted an overseas fan-hosted interview with Ashley & Timothy. So there's a lot of chat shows out there that are difficult to keep up with.

Here's Jordan Cowan's chat with Ash & Tim:

Here's Scott Hamilton's interview with Meryl Davis, Charlie White, & Tanith White:

You can do a search to find a number of offerings. There are so many interview shows available, there's hardly any time for viewing. There's actually a lot of conversation shows up in a number of fields. The model, Naomi Campbell has a show! I loved Campbell's interview with Serena & Venus Williams. NYC Ballet's Megan Fairchild has a great interview show on YouTube in which she chats with a number of dancers. It's really great fun listening in if you are into dance.

Here's an interesting interview with Megan and former NYC ballet star, Kathryn Morgan:

Kathryn Morgan also has a very insightful YouTube vlog/ chat series...
 

el henry

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For some reason, I thought that Haven and Brandon broke up was because she was going to retire. I guess there was more to it. Has she commented on it?

Mr Rice you actually had a reason to think that, because this article from March 2020 said that Haven was stepping away from competitive figure skating.

"With both Chris and Haven Denney, Frazier's longtime partner, stepping away from competitive figure skating, Knierim and Frazier have announced their partnership ahead of the 2020-21 season."


But there were no quotes from Haven in the article, and if in fact she was retiring, it appears she may have changed her mind :)
 

skylark

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To answer my own earlier questions about costumes and choreographers for C/J and K/F, apparently both teams pay big bucks for costumes designed by Lisa McKinnon (per TSL). McKinnon does a really beautiful, exquisite job. C/J kept their Benoit Richaud sp from last season, and Cindy Stuart created their new fp (and she had choreographed C/J's fp last season). The new fp has definitely incorporated more transitions and difficulty, as their former fp had been described as more simple choreography. Still, in my opinion, C/J have had great building programs from the beginning of their partnership.

Recent TSL commentary I think was a bit dismissive (as usual) of U.S. pairs teams' strengths. I think Dave is being a bit too nitpicky regarding C/J and K/F in terms of their music and overall impact. Yes, C/J have to improve their jumps, and K/F are a new team who have made huge progress. K/F are still working out who they are together as a team, so I think their programs are fine, and manage to show off their strengths. To my eyes, K/F's fp works better for them than the Knierims' fp did last season. Dave seemed to suggest that Benoit Richaud choreographed both of K/F's programs in their debut season.

I'm not sure who designs Ashley/TImothy's costumes. I imagine McKinnon's price range is difficult for some skaters. But she does a really beautiful job. I think the importance of costumes to overall packaging and program impact can not be denied.
I was going to answer your designer question from a few days ago, and then I forgot. I knew Lisa McKinnon designed Alexa's dresses. It makes good sense that C/J would use her as well; she's expensive but she lives in L.A. or thereabouts I believe. And she's brilliant.

I actually thought Dave's comments about US pairs were fairer than usual. He leads with his criticisms and is snarkey, and that tends to skew how I perceive his overall view. But when Jonathan gave Dave a chance to predict which US pair would win a chance at the 2022 Olympics (assuming only one) and state his preference boldly, as he usually does ... Dave said that he felt, as things stand now, that it could easily be Jessica&Brian, Alexa&Brandon, or Ashley&Tim. Just depending on who really steps up. I personally think that we'll earn two teams to go, as Ashley & Tim earned 2 for 2020. I don't see why we wouldn't keep two spots, because we have quality pairs, and it's much easier for two pairs to keep two than for one pair to earn two. But I think he assessed all three teams' strengths and challenges fairly. Which hasn't been the case in the last week with many figure skating fans. People are rightfully impressed with how good Alexa and Brandon look technically, and are still enamored with Jessica and Brian after their fabulous 2019-20 year, where they did such a wonderful job of steady progress, building. And in the USA, we have that thing of being super excited for new skaters who explode onto the scene like a firecracker display.

I think your first answer to another poster a few days ago about Ashley and Tim was correct. A&T were a little underscored, to finish 10 points down from K/F, in my opinion. But I'm calm about it. I think their FS will develop, and I can't control what the judges decide anyway. Also, I agree with you that I wish they had consulted a different choreographer this year. But they're very attached and loyal to Camerlengo. I can't argue with that. I think their SP is very good. My biggest problem with the FS is that those dramatic points in the music aren't being utilized in the way that I imagined, even watching the program for the first time, they would be. I was expecting fierce, emphatic movements -- somewhat like Mishkutenok/Dmitriev did so well in 1994 to the Rachmaninoff. But I'm in the mood to watch how they bring it forward.

Dave said yesterday that Tim had a concussion during the summer and that A&T lost a lot of training time. That could have affected their lifts and other technical issues. It would also be in line with my thought that they've been working on new steps and movements more, to get those down. I also concur with your idea that they greatly missed their usual work with Nina Mozer. Partly because Mozer really builds their confidence. Also because I think Ashley in particular likes to work in Nina's international camps with other pairs; she likes the camaraderie, and she and Tim don't have that (I think) at home. When you think about it, both K/F and C/J may be benefiting from watching each other train each day.
 
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BlissfulSynergy

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[Lisa McKinnon is] expensive but she lives in L.A. or thereabouts I believe. And she's brilliant.

Yes, I completely agree. It's too bad that McKinnon's price range is too high for most skaters. But her work is certainly worth all that she puts into it and delivers to her clients. There's an elegance and a sophistication to her work. We've seen costume-related features in the past with skating designers, and I hope we see more that examines that whole process between choreography, music and costume selection (and the importance of the collaboration with a costume designer, as much as with a choreographer and in some cases, a composer or music editor). Of course, some skaters edit their music selections themselves. Jeremy Abbott is one example.

I actually thought Dave's comments about US pairs were fairer than usual. He leads with his criticisms and is snarkey, and that tends to skew how I perceive his overall view. But when Jonathan gave Dave a chance to predict which US pair would win a chance at the 2022 Olympics (assuming only one) and state his preference boldly, as he usually does ... Dave said that he felt, as things stand now, that it could easily be Jessica&Brian, Alexa&Brandon, or Ashley&Tim. Just depending on who really steps up. I personally think that we'll earn two teams to go, as Ashley & Tim earned 2 for 2020.

I don't disagree with most of Dave's critiques about the pairs event. In general, he was fair. I just feel that his phrasing and approach (as well as his eye-rolling expressions) are often too OTT and unrelenting. IOW, he makes statements that don't take extenuating factors into consideration. He sometimes makes blanket, dismissive observations rather than offering constructive critiques. At the same time, I do think he has a good eye and substantial knowledge about figure skating, and he's clearly passionate about the sport. He approached his critique of K/F's fp music and performance with some fair qualifications, but I personally don't agree that their fp music is unsuitable. It works (as he conceded) for a debut program for a new pair. Plus, K/F are showing a connection. I'm not sure that Chris was necessarily more demonstrative and expressive than Brandon either. To me, they have a similar vibe in terms of expressiveness. And Alexa & Brandon smile a lot at each other, so they already seem to have a good connection. It will be a journey for them in coming together more fully, and that's the nature of a new partnership. They've already made a lot of progress in a short time.

IMO, Dave has attempted to tone down some of the snark. I get that he is catering toward being entertaining with his shtick. Still, his views are stated like the last word, which can be unfair and off-putting. For eg., while his critique of Tarah/Danny is generally accurate, the eye-rolling and blanket statements are a bit harsh. Too often, he seems to position his aesthetic views as the 'gold standard.'

I think your first answer to another poster a few days ago about Ashley and Tim was correct. A&T were a little underscored, to finish 10 points down from K/F, in my opinion. But I'm calm about it. I think their FS will develop, and I can't control what the judges decide anyway. Also, I agree with you that I wish they had consulted a different choreographer this year. But they're very attached and loyal to Camerlengo. I can't argue with that. I think their SP is very good. My biggest problem with the FS is that those dramatic points in the music aren't being utilized in the way that I imagined, even watching the program for the first time, they would be. I was expecting fierce, emphatic movements...

I personally didn't have expectations for what the choreo for Rach would look like. For me, though, the opening moves to the fp are rather dramatic and OTT, but in a way that seems to mimic their similar edgy, dramatic attitude in the sp. But I don't think that approach works for Rach. Plus, A&T's fp costumes aren't great, so the packaging is off. And, there is something missing with the choreo, added to A&T needing to become sharper technically. Maybe that will come with more time (especially due to them losing a bit of training time when rinks re-opened, due TImothy's concussion).

Dave said yesterday that Tim had a concussion during the summer and that A&T lost a lot of training time. That could have affected their lifts and other technical issues. It would also be in line with my thought that they've been working on new steps and movements more, to get those down. I also concur with your idea that they greatly missed their usual work with Nina Mozer. Partly because Mozer really builds their confidence. Also because I think Ashley in particular likes to work in Nina's international camps with other pairs; she likes the camaraderie, and she and Tim don't have that (I think) at home. When you think about it, both K/F and C/J may be benefiting from watching each other train each day.

Yes, Timothy's health issues would be one of the reasons why perhaps the fp isn't as fleshed out as it should be, added to having to get new choreo from Camerlengo via technology. And also (as you agreed) missing out on their usual summer training camp with Nina and her teams in Europe.

Definitely, C/J and the Knierims benefited from training together, and now C/J and K/F do as well.
 

BlissfulSynergy

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But there were no quotes from Haven in the article, and if in fact she was retiring

It was made clear around the time of the split announcement that Haven was still interested in pursuing possible opportunities to continue competing, despite the 'stepping away' phrasing you cited from a media report. There was never any mention that Haven had decided to retire. There were comments about her possibly skating in shows, but more-so to keep up her skating skills, and for financial support.
 
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