Gazing at a Glorious Great Lakes sunset
Absolutely agree!Not speaking for others, but my personal positive reaction to L/M was that they actually held it together and skated a very good, pretty clean competition. They had their chance and didn't toss it away. I find them appealing, but I'm not fooled into thinking they are currently a major podium threat.
Honestly, isn't a clean competition something to celebrate? An international win?
We haven't had a whole lot of those in recent years from our pairs. My recollection is a lot of "if only they hadn't fallen... they COULD have medaled if... except for that wonky element... excuses, excuses, excuses, etc. etc. etc.."
That seems to be a common misperception, which is actually just a little off. Ashley & Tim won U.S. Classic twice (2018 and 2019), won Nepela in 2018, and won Golden Spin in 2019. Tarah and Danny won 4CC in 2018 and US Classic in 2015. Haven and Brandon won Lombardia in 2015 and World Junior Champions in 2013. Okay, that last is reaching rather far back. But you even have to reach back to find international wins from Alexa and Chris: Ice Challenge in 2016, US Classic in 2015, and Cup of Nice in 2012. Alexa & Chris's results are surprising, because the perception for years was that they were obviously the best pair USA had to offer. In terms of beautiful pairs elements, that may be the case. And they received the backing of USFS. The other couple, of course, is Alexa & Brandon. Their international wins so far, SA 2020 with only one non-USA pair, and John Nicks Challenge with only 4 non-USA pairs (and those not at the top of their own country's pairs), have been mostly over their US teammates.
If what USFS is looking for are good, steady competitors, then one can see why Ashley & Tim get the chances they have. That, and their PC marks generally show that international judges value their excellent qualities, even when they hit a difficult stretch. They keep improving their pairs elements, and they've worked steadily on their weaknesses and improved their strengths. Their goal this year has been to improve their consistency. With their 3 bronze medals internationally this season, including a GP; and their great showing at NHK, they've shown more of that.
ETA: Alexa & Brandon also won the bronze medal at IdF 2021. In order not to ignore international medals of any color: Haven & Brandon won bronze medals at SA 2020 and IdF 2020. and a bronze at 2018 AC. Ashley & Tim won bronze medals at 2018 SA and 2021 SC. If I've omitted anyone's recent wins or other medals, it's an oversight that I'll correct if it's pointed out.
My hope is that they take this deserved win and gain the confidence to improve their performance and put a little swagger into the elements.
Yes! I like that! A little swagger.
Good point!@BlissfulSynergy said:
Swagger and confidence comes when you see the judges consistently rewarding you.