2021-22 U.S. Pairs Figure Skating | Page 33 | Golden Skate

2021-22 U.S. Pairs Figure Skating

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avatar credit: @miyan5605
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Feb 27, 2012
Liu/O'Shea now are marked as a withdrawal on USFS Nats entry list, as of Dec 27. :(

Per USFS rules, there are no alternates for Seniors at Nats.
Senior field now has eleven pairs.

In Junior Pairs, Ashley Fletcher/Aidan Brown now are marked as a withdrawal.
Lilianna Murray/Jordan Gillette have been added to the entry list.
 
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ManyCairns

Medalist
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Mar 12, 2007
Country
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Liu/O'Shea now are marked as a withdrawal on USFS Nats entry list, as of Dec 27. :(

Per USFS rules, there are no alternates for Seniors at Nats.
Senior field now has eleven pairs.

In Junior Pairs, Ashley Fletcher/Aidan Brown now are marked as a withdrawal.
Lilianna Murray/Jordan Gillette have been added to the entry list.
Oh, that's such a shame about Liu/O'Shea. I hope very much they recover fully and decide to continue.
 

MCsAngel2

On the Ice
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Apr 10, 2019
I'm glad they withdrew. I saw them at Skate America and they made a BIG impression on me - I LOVED them. I've been worrying during this run-up to Nationals about whether or not they were skating, it's too soon yet. I'm glad they are taking the time to recover properly.

Chelsea & Danny, I'm excited to watch you guys next season!
 

gold12345

Medalist
Joined
Dec 14, 2007
I switch by the day whether I want the team to be "Knierim/Frazier and Cain/LeDuc" or "Knierim/Frazier and Calalang/Johnson". I'm so undecided that I've opened myself up to a "Knierim/Frazier and Lu/Mitrofanov" team as well. But it's hard to imagine that's the best potential team. It's nice to skate clean programs, but if others can usually outscore them with mistakes, what good is your clean skate unless the entire field implodes.


I do think that there's always a lot of excitement when a singles skater or a pair sort of leaps into the attention and the view of everyone, which is what seems to be happening with Audrey and Misha right now. (As I've said before, I've been liking and keeping my eye on them since 2018 International Classic.) When I think of how excited everyone was for Jessica and Brian in Nats 2020, and even in 2019, it seems similar although there are huge differences, as J&B already had a lot of experience with other partners. Gracie Gold in 2013 or 2014, and Jason Brown in the 2013-14 season. Plenty of skating fans knew about them, but sudden visibility "talks," and I wonder if the excitement somehow leaks into the Fed's thinking. Bradie Tennell in 2017-18. Polina Edmonds at Nationals 2014.

You're right, some fans like a Nationals moment or rooting for an underdog. It's not a good strategy for Pairs though. This isn't Ladies Singles with a ton of turnover; Pairs is full of longevity and veterans with established reputations. Lu/Mitrofanov aren't newcomers like Polina Edmunds in 2014. It's L/M's 6th season, and they've been on the GP since 2018. If you haven't scored well on the GP by now and have never made a 4CC team, never mind a World team, you're pretty lucky to be in the Olympic conversation. I feel they're in the conversation not because they have scored that well or done great anywhere except that debacle of an event that was Golden Spin, but because no clear front-runner has emerged between Calalang/Johnson and Cain/LeDuc. A team scoring 190 & 186 on the GP that has maxed out at 195 for clean programs doesn't compel me to send them to an Olympics/Worlds. I enjoy a clean skate, but if it doesn't tend to outscore another pair with errors, I'd rather watch the latter pair mess up and at least show greater potential.

Bradie Tennell was the top US lady in 2017-18. It made total sense to send her to the Olympics. Lu/Mitrofanov currently rank 4th among US pairs. They've never competed in a full field ISU competition. Skating in an early group in a full field certainly wouldn't help their PCS or GOE, which have already been on the lower side to begin with. They also have some base value/quality issues. All pairs have issues, but this pair's scoring potential is relatively low.

All the top pair countries- Russia, China, and Canada- have had an advantage of sending the same pair skaters to the Olympics/Worlds over and over and over again. By the 5th try, Aljona Savchenko became Olympic Champion. Skaters like Sui/Han, Peng/Jin, Tarasova/Morozov, James/Radford will all be back at the Olympics to try to do better than last time. It doesn't benefit the US at all to go with an "underdog". Send your best pairs, because that's what every other country is doing.


Per USFS rules, there are no alternates for Seniors at Nats.

I wonder why there are alternates for Jrs but not Srs. I actually wouldn't have alternates for either since there are next to no pairs available to replace teams in either Jr or Sr (2 pairs maybe). But in Singles it seems to make sense to have alternates. The Sr pairs field is down to 9 pairs and hopefully nobody else has to WD.
 
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skylark

Gazing at a Glorious Great Lakes sunset
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You're right, some fans like a Nationals moment or rooting for an underdog. It's not a good strategy for Pairs though.

I'm not certain it's a good strategy for other disciplines, either. I was just musing that we see this trend, that a skater or team suddenly becomes more visible to a larger audience, and it generates excitement. Audrey and Misha have flown under the radar, more or less, until now, and suddenly a lot more people notice them. I did read an article a couple of days ago in which they mentioned that "it is the plan" to have a 3S-euler-3S in place of their 3S-euler-2S during this season, which I assume means at Nationals. I'll try to find it again and provide a link, but I actually have better luck coming across things randomly, so no promises! If L/M are able to do that and skate as cleanly as they have been, there will be a stir, I would think. But I agree that it wouldn't be the best strategy to send Audrey and Misha to the Olympics, just looking at their international scores so far. We should send our best pairs.


All the top pair countries- Russia, China, and Canada- have had an advantage of sending the same pair skaters to the Olympics/Worlds over and over and over again.

Well, Russia is sending Mishina/Galliamov and Boikova/Koz, who are young teams. Both will only be 20 and 22 by the Olympics (Boikova has a birthday in January; Koz just had one). They're clearly the exceptions, not the rule; and of course M/G won their first World championship. I would say that China and Canada have sent the same pairs to Olympics/Worlds over and over, more so than Russia, recently.
 

Hyena

Tous les whiskys
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Jan 9, 2014
Watching the US pairs practice at Nationals (Peacock is streaming practice sessions that are happening in the main rink, for those in the US with Peacock). Chan/Howe looked veeeerrrrryy good to me. I don't know if they'll go as clean in competition as they looked in practice, since they, like everyone, skated through some elements, but I think they're going to make an impact this year.
 

ucrgirl

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Feb 16, 2010
Alexa and Brandon have withdrawn. Jakie Wong says Brandon tested positive for Covid. I think they could be named to the team but I think this could put their chance at the team event in question if the eventual US Champs skate lights out.
 

momrk

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Alexa and Brandon have withdrawn. Jakie Wong says Brandon tested positive for Covid. I think they could be named to the team but I think this could put their chance at the team event in question if the eventual US Champs skate lights out.
I just saw this on her instagram and am so disappointed for them.
 

gold12345

Medalist
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Dec 14, 2007
Well, Russia is sending Mishina/Galliamov and Boikova/Koz, who are young teams. Both will only be 20 and 22 by the Olympics (Boikova has a birthday in January; Koz just had one). They're clearly the exceptions, not the rule; and of course M/G won their first World championship. I would say that China and Canada have sent the same pairs to Olympics/Worlds over and over, more so than Russia, recently.

I was thinking more along the lines of Tarasova/Morozov, Volosozhar/Trankov (3 Olympics for her, 2 for Trankov), Bazarova/Larionov (11th at their first Olympics, 6th at their next). Kavaguti/Smirnov only went to 1 Olympics but had an 11 year career together and went to 8 Worlds.

As for Boikova/Kozlovskii and Mishina/Galliamov, it's not so much an age thing. They are experienced and clearly part of Russia's top 3 pairs. Russia would never send an underdog to the Olympics or Worlds in pairs.
 
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skylark

Gazing at a Glorious Great Lakes sunset
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Better late than never, I hope? I enjoyed the Pairs SP at Nationals so much! :points::hap10::rock:😍:dance3:Tons of beautiful skating, and something that pleases me almost as much, such a variety of styles and talents ... all in the same event, the same discipline.

In no particular order, as they come to me. (I like to do crossword puzzles in a random way, too.:rofl:)

Kate Finster/Matej Silecky. I surprised myself. I mute "Carry You" now when MT-M do it. But Matej's facial expression in the opening pose grabbed me from the beginning (good camera work too), carried through and gave the whole program a new interpretation. Love and hopefulness, rather than angst. There's something about this pair that I really really like, maybe it's partly because Matej is creative in several fields, and something about that attitude toward artistry has filtered into Kate as well ... into her very bones! They'll be working on improving their elements, but they've come very far already.

Emily Chan/Spencer Akira Howe. Last year, these two advanced themselves in the eyes of audiences as far as technique is concerned. It was great, and very dramatic. This year, I feel like there's a new dedication to also show the character of the dances and engage audiences with their own personalities. Especially Spencer. Their flamingo SP is simply wonderful, and so entertaining. What is it about Spanish music that's so great for figure skating? Maybe is the drama combined with the sharp musical moments.

Jessica Calalang/Brian Johnson. This couple is really special. Something electric happens in the warm-up when my eyes catch them, even via camera. They seem faster than everyone else. Their energy just captures the eye and engages. It was really nice to see with my own eyes that the stress Jessica was under has now had a chance to dissipate and seemingly to disappear, through the process of working it through their bodies via daily training. And of course, they have a history of doing very well at Nationals.

Katie McBeath/Nathan Bartholomay. It wasn't their night, but there's still something rather ethereal and fragile about Katie and her skating, which has altered Nathan also in my opinion. He's something of a chameleon in that he absorbs and projects what each of his partners projected when they were together. It's a great trait to have when you're in a creative and collaborative endeavour. And Katie has something magical in the way she expresses the joy of skating, and pairs skating -- to fly! Hoping for a better free skate for them.

Audrey Lu/Misha Mitrofanov. I've been in their corner for a couple of years now, and their jumps are wonderful. What US pairs fan, or any pairs fan, can't develop an admiration and even positively a taste for good jumps? LOL. I think that in my head I've been talking back to the commentators when they mention (as they always do!) how far L/M have to go in many other areas. But somehow, on Thursday night the comparison was so apparent. The only word I can think of is "quality." The sheer quality of everything could use a step or two up. I think my mind and eyes were still full of Jessica and Brian's fluidity, and everything with L/M paled. Especially because I knew who was coming next ....

Ashley Cain-Gribble/Timothy Leduc. All I could think of as I watched them were three words: harmony, quality and grace. These reflect much more than mere physical or technical elements. As @ice_tulip said elsewhere, CG/L have superb sophistication, great programs, and beautiful lines. I'm going to remind myself of their incredible unison and synchronicity. It's as if two souls become one, in their passion for skating and the music, and in their great desire to bring something splendid to audiences.

My hope is that each of these couples, and Cooke/Bearinger and Plazas/Fernandez will skate their best tonight.

Compared to what these beautiful skaters have given us ... an experience ... arguments about who goes to olys seem just, well, less significant. IMHO. Competition is valuable because it brings out the best in everyone. But I feel like our pairs aren't competing against each other. They're competing with each other.
 
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moonvine

All Hail Queen Gracie
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I hope the teams who weren’t able to compete due to illness can still get funding or consideration for International assignments.
 

TontoK

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Here's something very cool that I think @skylark and @moonvine and @BlissfulSynergy and maybe a few others will LOVE:

It comes from Boston, so I think it's Audrey and Misha and Emily and Spencer... maybe someone can confirm for me. My eyes are old, and it's tough to see.

A "four" doing side-by-side-by-side-by-side 3T. I could just say 3T, but the other way is more fun.

Fours used to be a competitive discipline. There is YouTube video of Tai/Randy and Ken/JoJo doing fours show programs that were highly entertaining. I think the Canadians kept it in their National Championship longer, I've also seen video of that.

Anyway, here's the Boston clip:

 

ladyjane

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Here's something very cool that I think @skylark and @moonvine and @BlissfulSynergy and maybe a few others will LOVE:

It comes from Boston, so I think it's Audrey and Misha and Emily and Spencer... maybe someone can confirm for me. My eyes are old, and it's tough to see.

A "four" doing side-by-side-by-side-by-side 3T. I could just say 3T, but the other way is more fun.

Fours used to be a competitive discipline. There is YouTube video of Tai/Randy and Ken/JoJo doing fours show programs that were highly entertaining. I think the Canadians kept it in their National Championship longer, I've also seen video of that.

Anyway, here's the Boston clip:

Wow! What a pity we no longer have fours as a competitive discipline. It really is cool. Have you also got videos of an intertwined death spiral? The only one I ever saw was at the end of the 2002 OG Gala programme with Sele/Pelletier and Berezhnaya/Sikuralidze performing it, but of course that was a special situation.
 

moonvine

All Hail Queen Gracie
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Here's something very cool that I think @skylark and @moonvine and @BlissfulSynergy and maybe a few others will LOVE:

It comes from Boston, so I think it's Audrey and Misha and Emily and Spencer... maybe someone can confirm for me. My eyes are old, and it's tough to see.

A "four" doing side-by-side-by-side-by-side 3T. I could just say 3T, but the other way is more fun.

Fours used to be a competitive discipline. There is YouTube video of Tai/Randy and Ken/JoJo doing fours show programs that were highly entertaining. I think the Canadians kept it in their National Championship longer, I've also seen video of that.

Anyway, here's the Boston clip:


I love it. Though coach seems they might not know fours used to be a thing.
 

TontoK

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Wow! What a pity we no longer have fours as a competitive discipline. It really is cool. Have you also got videos of an intertwined death spiral? The only one I ever saw was at the end of the 2002 OG Gala programme with Sele/Pelletier and Berezhnaya/Sikuralidze performing it, but of course that was a special situation.
Here's one that I found that includes that death spiral you're talking about. I also has some other neat stuff, like SBS throw 3S, and a camel spin that is pretty well synched up considering it's four people. Also, the coolest lift entry - one guy lifts the lady and tosses her over to the other guy and then lifts his own partner - I really don't know how to describe that, you just have to see it.


Edit: And here's Tai and Randy and Jojo and Ken in exhibition. This one is not as clear because it's under spotlight, and it is more two pairs doing the same stuff than an innovate four routiine... but it has a different death spiral variation and a fours spriral that will make you weep with joy. Also an ina bauer that makes you want to strangle the cameraman because it misses showing the line and extension.

 
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skylark

Gazing at a Glorious Great Lakes sunset
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Here's something very cool that I think @skylark and @moonvine and @BlissfulSynergy and maybe a few others will LOVE:

It comes from Boston, so I think it's Audrey and Misha and Emily and Spencer... maybe someone can confirm for me. My eyes are old, and it's tough to see.

A "four" doing side-by-side-by-side-by-side 3T. I could just say 3T, but the other way is more fun.

Indubitably! Yep, it's Audrey/Misha/Emily/Spencer. I love Audrey's smile (she's wearing a jump suit) when they come out of the jumps!

Fours used to be a competitive discipline. There is YouTube video of Tai/Randy and Ken/JoJo doing fours show programs that were highly entertaining. I think the Canadians kept it in their National Championship longer, I've also seen video of that.

Anyway, here's the Boston clip:

 

skylark

Gazing at a Glorious Great Lakes sunset
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Also, the coolest lift entry - one guy lifts the lady and tosses her over to the other guy and then lifts his own partner - I really don't know how to describe that, you just have to see it.

That was incredible! I kept rewinding to see again, exactly how they did that. Also, I liked the Starry Circle they made at the end of the slow section of the music. Reminded me of square dancing.

I've watched tapes of Stars on Ice shows where Gordeeva & Grinkov did a bit of this with Bechke & Petrov. And I think they did them in different years with other pairs. Just really fun, and so impressive. I remember the SBS throws and the 4-person death spiral.

Oh, and I really like the 4-person Ina Bauer Tai & Randy did with JoJo and Ken.

I'm traveling for the week-end tomorrow so I have to get some sleep. So I can't look up the SOI show to share a clip; maybe next week. But @TontoK, thank you!!!!! You've put a smile on my face. Sweet dreams to everyone!
 

BlissfulSynergy

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Sep 1, 2020
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Here's something very cool that I think @skylark and @moonvine and @BlissfulSynergy and maybe a few others will LOVE:

It comes from Boston, so I think it's Audrey and Misha and Emily and Spencer... maybe someone can confirm for me. My eyes are old, and it's tough to see.

A "four" doing side-by-side-by-side-by-side 3T. I could just say 3T, but the other way is more fun.

Fours used to be a competitive discipline. There is YouTube video of Tai/Randy and Ken/JoJo doing fours show programs that were highly entertaining. I think the Canadians kept it in their National Championship longer, I've also seen video of that.

Anyway, here's the Boston clip:

Thanks for sharing the Instagram clip @TontoK. That's so cool. I read about Fours in James Hines' Figure Skating: A History. He discusses the Fours discipline being very popular in Canada, and he indicated that competitive events were held in North America for many years. It looks like a lot of fun. I remember seeing videos of Babilonia/Gardner and Starbuck/Shelley performing Fours in exhibition. JoJo and Ken were great friends and mentors to Tai and Randy.

Recently, I've been reading another book by James Hines on the development of figure skating and of pairs skating, Figure Skating in the Formative Years: Singles, Pairs, and the Expanding Role of Women, 2015. It's a slim volume, but chock full of fascinating information. For example, in the early days of the development of figure skating, there was a discipline called Combined Skating, which involved two or more skaters tracing a figure on the ice together. Plus, there were so many different types of figures, shapes and patterns that skaters would trace when the sport was developing recreationally (and eventually competitively). Initially, the focus was on the skate blades and tracings on the ice. In those days, only small hops would occasionally be attempted. Attempts at jumping and revolving in the air and landing on one foot came much later.

Thanks again for sharing the clip!
 
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