2021-22 U.S. Pairs Figure Skating | Page 34 | Golden Skate

2021-22 U.S. Pairs Figure Skating

momrk

Final Flight
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Feb 28, 2012
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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.

Well, these were fun to watch, even with the sometimes grainy video. Love the partner changes and the double death spiral. Thanks for sharing, had totally forgotten about Fours.
 

skylark

Gazing at a Glorious Great Lakes sunset
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^^ thank you, @purplecat! Half of that was very interesting. The other half were the personal things I've grown a bit tired of. But it was a quick read, so all is good.

Here's a question and answer that was interesting to me. Actually, I knew the facts perfectly well, this question just gave a different angle.

Question:
How does the scoring for side by side spins work? Sometimes teams with unison the entire time don’t score higher than teams that are off almost the entire time. Am I misunderstanding what is important?

Answer:
The spins have different levels .... Level 4 spin is the highest level which means the hardest to execute. sometimes they may be a little off in unison but will still score higher then a lower level spin that is very well matched

Like I said, I knew this. But it gives me insight on why the side by side spins are, in general, so much less nice to watch than they used to be. The pairs are aiming for the level 4 because they've done the math. The unison doesn't give enough points to try very hard for it, depending on how the team feels about it. The pairs who do still try for unison (such as Ashley and Timothy) are looking for the highest number of points, of course, like everyone else. But they also have an inherent enjoyment for sbs spins that gives them internal incentive.

To me, this is one more thing I have against IJS (don't get me wrong, I know we're not goin' back). But the pure pleasure of watching SBS spins when a pair has awesome unison really elevates the emotion and even highlights and advances the music. It reminds me of Dick Button saying in 1988 that Gordeeva and Grinkov didn't do anything unusual. They just did everything extremely well, of high quality.

It's like the rules to reward risk over quality -- it means that a singles skater can fall on a quad or two and still win the event. But it may be (dpending) much less satisfying for the viewer who values emotional build-up and likes great performance.
 
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skylark

Gazing at a Glorious Great Lakes sunset
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Another Question:
What is your least favorite element?

Answer:
Actually, Alexa's least favorite elements are lifts.

Reading all the q/a, I had a feel for who answered, and I think it was Brandon who answered this. :) But I'd heard it from her before, in one of those fun q/a videos USFS does sometimes. It was when Alexa and Chris were partners. And it was, and is, fascinating. Because one of the things that made/makes both teams fantastic are their lifts, particularly Alexa's positions in the lifts, which are always so beautiful to watch.

I would love to hear why. Maybe she just doesn't like being that high in the air, or maybe she feels a little less in control of the element? I don't know. But it's funny, because in one of Ashley's IG posts, she kind of poked gentle fun at herself for being someone who likes to "be yeeked up into the air." (The video showed her and Tim doing a 3twist in the back yard.) I'd always sort of assumed that most pairs girls liked it, they like the exciting, freeing feeling of flying.
 

ladyjane

Medalist
Joined
Jun 26, 2012
Country
Netherlands
^^ thank you, @purplecat! Half of that was very interesting. The other half were the personal things I've grown a bit tired of. But it was a quick read, so all is good.

Here's a question and answer that was interesting to me. Actually, I knew the facts perfectly well, this question just gave a different angle.



Like I said, I knew this. But it gives me insight on why the side by side spins are, in general, so much less nice to watch than they used to be. The pairs are aiming for the level 4 because they've done the math. The unison doesn't give enough points to try very hard for it, depending on how the team feels about it. The pairs who do still try for unison (such as Ashley and Timothy) are looking for the highest number of points, of course, like everyone else. But they also have an inherent enjoyment for sbs spins that gives them internal incentive.

To me, this is one more thing I have against IJS (don't get me wrong, I know we're not goin' back). But the pure pleasure of watching SBS spins when a pair has awesome unison really elevates the emotion and even highlights and advances the music. It reminds me of Dick Button saying in 1988 that Gordeeva and Grinkov didn't do anything unusual. They just did everything extremely well, of high quality.

It's like the rules to reward risk over quality -- it means that a singles skater can fall on a quad or two and still win the event. But it may be (dpending) much less satisfying for the viewer who values emotional build-up and likes great performance.
I totally agree with this. To me great unison is 'the thing' what makes SBS spins exciting to watch and probably one of the reasons I like Ashley and Timothy's so much because they generally are in unison (they've got some pretty exciting positions too which makes it even more wonderful) and I would always put unison in front of positions.
 

moonvine

All Hail Queen Gracie
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Joined
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Another Question:
What is your least favorite element?

Answer:
Actually, Alexa's least favorite elements are lifts.

Reading all the q/a, I had a feel for who answered, and I think it was Brandon who answered this. :) But I'd heard it from her before, in one of those fun q/a videos USFS does sometimes. It was when Alexa and Chris were partners. And it was, and is, fascinating. Because one of the things that made/makes both teams fantastic are their lifts, particularly Alexa's positions in the lifts, which are always so beautiful to watch.

I would love to hear why. Maybe she just doesn't like being that high in the air, or maybe she feels a little less in control of the element? I don't know. But it's funny, because in one of Ashley's IG posts, she kind of poked gentle fun at herself for being someone who likes to "be yeeked up into the air." (The video showed her and Tim doing a 3twist in the back yard.) I'd always sort of assumed that most pairs girls liked it, they like the exciting, freeing feeling of flying.

That’s really interesting. She always looks very happy while being lifted.
 

Dawn825

Medalist
Joined
Jan 19, 2021
Speaking of lifts, not having been watching them so closely this year, I was surprised by how rough Lu/Mit's lifts looked yesterday. Like I literally said "what the H is that?" when they got into the first position.
I also had no idea who the female commentator was till they signed off the event 😂 I miss Ashley skating for the US ladies, but the search for a commentator that doesnt drive me crazy continues...
 

SorrySkater

Rinkside
Joined
Mar 30, 2014
I wonder if the dislike of lifts is related to Alexa’s abdominal surgery. Lifts require a lot of core strength, correct? That had to be very difficult for her as she was recovering.
 

skylark

Gazing at a Glorious Great Lakes sunset
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?
Lu's name is Audrey. Did she recently have surgery?
I think @SorrySkater was referring to the earlier post, talking about Alexa's least favorite element being lifts.

@moonvine said:
That’s really interesting. She always looks very happy while being lifted.

I know!!! It's quite the puzzle. Maybe if you DM her, you could slip in a question asking her why. :) I made a list of other elements. There are 4 lifts in a FS including the twist, which is referred to as a "twist lift," but to me has much more in common with a throw. So the other elements are 2 different throw jumps, sbs jumps (2 passes in every FS), the death spirals, step sequence (SP), choreo sequence (FS), the pairs combo spin and the SBS spin. That's it! My guess is that her favorite would be the throws, but what do I know? Like you said, she looks very happy during lifts.

I recall in that same fluff piece Chris saying the SBS spins were his least fave element. It has always been a marvel to me that Alexa and Brandon's SBS spins looked more in sync from the very beginning. Not to make too much of that, but it's interesting, and just shows how very many variables go into creating a pairs team.
 

SorrySkater

Rinkside
Joined
Mar 30, 2014
Another Question:
What is your least favorite element?

Answer:
Actually, Alexa's least favorite elements are lifts.

Reading all the q/a, I had a feel for who answered, and I think it was Brandon who answered this. :) But I'd heard it from her before, in one of those fun q/a videos USFS does sometimes. It was when Alexa and Chris were partners. And it was, and is, fascinating. Because one of the things that made/makes both teams fantastic are their lifts, particularly Alexa's positions in the lifts, which are always so beautiful to watch.

I would love to hear why. Maybe she just doesn't like being that high in the air, or maybe she feels a little less in control of the element? I don't know. But it's funny, because in one of Ashley's IG posts, she kind of poked gentle fun at herself for being someone who likes to "be yeeked up into the air." (The video showed her and Tim doing a 3twist in the back yard.) I'd always sort of assumed that most pairs girls liked it, they like the exciting, freeing feeling of flying.

I think @SorrySkater was joining the conversation about Alexa Knierim's stated dislike of lifts, which stemmed from the interview with Knierim and Frazier posted by @skylark above.
Yes, that is correct. Sorry it wasn’t clear.
 

skylark

Gazing at a Glorious Great Lakes sunset
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Congratulations to Audrey Lu and Misha Mitrofanov for winning the gold medal at 2022 4CC in Tallinn! :party2:

Congratulations to Emily Chan and Spencer Akira Howe for winning the silver medal at 2022 4CC in Tallinn! :hap10:

And congratulations to Katie McBeath and Nathan Bartholomay for their successful skates at 2022 4CC in Tallinn! :jump:

If I'm not mistaken, it was the first 4CC any of these teams have participated in. I'm very proud of them. A special note: someone (Bill? or Ashley Wagner, who commentated) said that before the skates or during warm-ups, Nate was fist-pumping everyone. It's great to see when skaters are displaying such good will and good sportsmanship.
 

Seven Sisters

Medalist
Joined
Jul 17, 2018
Not to stir the pot or anything :), but who thinks Alexa/Brandon and Ashley/Timothy will retire after the Olympics?

if this quote given to a Russian interviewer is accurate, Misha Mitrofanov apparently does! (according to FS Gossips—I have no personal information on it)—

“Well, as I understand it, both American pairs who go to the Olympics will retire after it. So we expect to take their place.”

source: https://fs-gossips.com/they-sent-a-...ly-departure-from-russia-and-life-in-the-usa/
 

skylark

Gazing at a Glorious Great Lakes sunset
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There are a lot of great quotes and thoughts from Ashley and Tim in this article, but here's my favorite:

It focuses on Timothy's non-binary standing, but the interview ranges around more freely. About skating in the Olympics, Ashley said:

"It's been a lifelong dream," said Cain-Gribble. "It's the first time that we really don't have to fight for a spot or qualify for something. We just get to be there and to skate."

I just love this. It's like she feels (maybe both do) that they're freer than ever to let go and skate without pressure or the weight of the future of US pairs resting on them, wholly or partly. At Worlds 2019, they wanted to do well for themselves but also really wanted to make the top ten so as to earn two spots for USA pairs. And they succeeded! Then, at Worlds 2021, they shared responsibility with Alexa and Brandon for trying to earn 3 spots.

I'm incredibly happy that they've earned this opportunity. ❤️
 
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skylark

Gazing at a Glorious Great Lakes sunset
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Not to stir the pot or anything :), but who thinks Alexa/Brandon and Ashley/Timothy will retire after the Olympics?

if this quote given to a Russian interviewer is accurate, Misha Mitrofanov apparently does! (according to FS Gossips—I have no personal information on it)—

“Well, as I understand it, both American pairs who go to the Olympics will retire after it. So we expect to take their place.”

source: https://fs-gossips.com/they-sent-a-...ly-departure-from-russia-and-life-in-the-usa/

Interesting. The closest I've come to hearing anything like this is that Alexa once hinted in an interview that after Beijing she might take time off to have a baby, and then come back to compete with Brandon again. She could have been teasing, but I tend to think she meant it as a real possibility. If that happened, it would make space for Misha and Audrey to move up temporarily and establish a foothold. Then fight again. :)

I've never heard either Ashley or Timothy say or hint anything at all about retirement.

I'm guessing that for both Ashley/Timothy and Alexa/Brandon, it would depend on whether they feel they've met most or all of their goals for competing and could be happy about ending on a high. However they defined that.

It's funny that Misha would say that to an interviewer, though!
 

ManyCairns

Medalist
Joined
Mar 12, 2007
Country
United-States
I haven't wanted to say anything because I didn't want to manifest something that wasn't even being thought of, or to start rumors, but I was thinking if Ash & Tim have a wonderful Olympics, that they might want to end on that high, especially being National champs again, too.
 

Spiralgraph

On the Ice
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Jul 28, 2003
Country
United-States
Not to stir the pot or anything :), but who thinks Alexa/Brandon and Ashley/Timothy will retire after the Olympics?

if this quote given to a Russian interviewer is accurate, Misha Mitrofanov apparently does! (according to FS Gossips—I have no personal information on it)—

“Well, as I understand it, both American pairs who go to the Olympics will retire after it. So we expect to take their place.”

source: https://fs-gossips.com/they-sent-a-...ly-departure-from-russia-and-life-in-the-usa/


That also assumes that Calalang/Johnson will also retire, making room for L/M... Well American pairs is volatile right now, it seems a team actually has to skate well because there's competition for the top spot. No automatic move up. Teams like L/M or C/H still have to develop and improve if they want to win Nationals next season. I'm not ready to pronounce any team the presumed winner for season 2022-2023.
 

moonvine

All Hail Queen Gracie
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I haven't wanted to say anything because I didn't want to manifest something that wasn't even being thought of, or to start rumors, but I was thinking if Ash & Tim have a wonderful Olympics, that they might want to end on that high, especially being National champs again, too.
Even if Ash and Tim AND Alexa and Brandon both retire, it’s not a good look for them to declare themselves the #1 team. Hopefully there was something lost in translation.
 
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