2021 Skate Canada (Pairs) Thoughts and Comments? | Golden Skate

2021 Skate Canada (Pairs) Thoughts and Comments?

gsk8

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James and Radford need more mileage but are doing great for only having four competitions so far.

I'm so happy for Sui and Han and so sad for Moore-Towers and Marinaro!

“Our Free was going pretty well,” said Moore-Towers. “We did a great job on precision. The first lift we mixed the hands, but Michael salvaged that. There is no rhyme nor reason for the lifts. We had a tricky practice this morning, so we had more focus on the jumps and throws.”

What are your thoughts on the Pairs' event?
 

s_parks

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Sep 25, 2013
S/H look solid for their first gp of the season. The most important thing for them is to continue to stay injury-free so they can keep making progress.
Don't love black swan for P/K but considering their progress was derailed by illness and injury, I'm looking forward to how they'll look by mid season.
 

BlissfulSynergy

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Sep 1, 2020
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P/K's sp is nice. Their fs I found awful. It needs a lot of tweaking. Plus, Daria has reminded me just how nervous she appears to get, which is probably why Khodykin is always giving her an encouraging pep talk just before they skate. I imagine it is extremely nerve-racking to be calm under competition conditions. Pairs is a tough nut to crack.

I thought Ash/Timothy skated so well. Even in the sp, they had a quality performance, despite Ash's fall on the sbs jump. It was just that one mistake for which the judges too heavily penalized them. Kudos to Ash/Timothy for stepping it up and not backing down in the face of the judges' sp disdain. So far, Ash/Timothy have three bronze medals this season. Their 'body of work' will be an important factor at U.S. Nationals in January.

I still have programs to catch up with. Jason Brown, Nathan Chen, and Keegan Messing were fabulous in the sp. I'm looking forward to catching their free programs today.

It's hard to say what is happening with Canadian pairs teams. The discipline is known not to be very strong at this time. But it is purely surprising to see James/Radford still having a hard time, and to see M-T/M falling apart, and even Walsh/Michaud really struggling at Skate America last weekend. I think J/R look great together, and they started out so well in the fp. Vanessa seems to tighten up and get nervous when she needs to deliver. J/R have such a smooth style together, so I hope they can work it out soon. I think they should change their free program music because those 'falling' lyrics can become subliminal. I don't see how they can't see this. I hope they don't stubbornly hold onto this free program, which hasn't done them any favors all season long.

M-T/M's 3-twist looks the worst I've ever seen it. I wonder whether it's just nerves for the Canadian athletes, or a combination of lack of having competition under their belts last season. They didn't have their Canadian Nationals, which is probably a lingering disappointment for many of them. Plus, maybe some of them are a bit out-of-sync, from not being battle-tested. J/R's main issue is probably learning each other's rhythms under competitive conditions, and becoming more comfortable and more confident. It takes time, apparently more time than they were prepared to realize and to strategize for.
 

BlissfulSynergy

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Ash and Tim were low scored again.
Yep. Had they been rated as the quality team that they are, their sp score should have been much higher, even with Ash's fall, their only mistake. I'm glad Ash/Timothy came back strong and clean. They ended up placing pressure on teams ahead of them.

I thought for sure either of M-T/M and J/R, or both were going to step it up at home and at least vie for a bronze medal, pushing H/S out of podium-contention. Actually, H/S had a chance to solidify their third-place position when both top Canadian teams faltered, but H/S' weaknesses showed in the free skate.

Matter/Ferland are not often given enough PCS credit for their performances, which are well-choreographed and performed. For sure, the judges will begin to drop GOE downward on good elements, once skater(s) start making mistakes which the judges are not expecting. Case in point: J/R, who started out well in the fp with nice GOE on their opening elements. After V's fall on the sbs jump, the drop in GOE on other good elements, I found noticeable.
 

readernick

Medalist
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Dec 5, 2015
Like most other people, I love Sui/ Han . Their SP was good but not great. The didn't seem as fast as usual. It is a new program and really early in the season. Their FS is amazing. T/M can match them technically and their SS are even a bit better, but performance wise imho Sui/ Han are just on another level. Rooting for them to get the gold this year.

P/K have great quality pair elements but I can't get into either of them as performers. The SP was high quality. The FS has a lot of growth to do. I thought they might challenge Boikova/ Kozlovskii this year because B/K are struggling but I don't see that happening after seeing this performance.

I really enjoy Ashley and Tim's FS. They have nice matching. I've been a bit down on their chances because they don't have the best pairs elements and Ashley seems to be struggling on the jumps, but I thought their throws and lifts looked better here... Their twist still needs some work. On the whole, I think they will give C/J a strong fight for the second pairs spot but I still don't see them challenging K/ F.

MT/M really had a good competition aside from the lifts in the FS and ugly twist. I thought they looked a lot better here than at Finlandia. Hopefully, next time they will get it all together.

Can't get into J/R. They have nice lines but their lines aren't really matching which is normal since they are a new pair... But also James looks scared in the lifts. It really takes me out of the performance...

I agree that M/F were not properly rewarded for some of their nice qualities.

H/S had a great SP, the FS wasn't to the same standard.
 
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GoneWithTheWind

On the Ice
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Dec 7, 2018
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Overall, minus a hand full of standout skates, this was a pretty messy pairs event.

I really enjoyed Sui/Han's free, even with the jump mistake. I like the variation in the death spiral. Their pair spin is very pretty but needs sorting, they're throwing away 1.5 points in BV with it. I remember Meagan Duhamel commenting (possibly in an interview shortly after 2018 Olympics?) that it was always in the back of her mind when they were up against S/H that they were likely to throw away points/levels on their spin. They were in their own league here, so it didn't matter, and I look forward to seeing them, T/M and M/G go against each other later in the season.

I liked both of Ashley and Timothy's programs, their matching lines will always be so impressive, and I love the sbs spin in the short where they both do the Y-spin variation. Great recovery from the short to skate a great free. I'm really rooting for these two to make the Olympic team and was pleased to see them medal here.

Pavliuchenko/Khodykin's short is very fun, I can't wait to see it performed more cleanly but both programs were messy here. The free clearly needs a lot more work and polishing, but I think it will be a good program for them eventually. Good for them for pushing the tech with the 3T+3T+2T.
Can't get into J/R. They have nice lines but their lines aren't really matching which is normal since they are a new pair... But also James looks scared in the lifts. It really takes me out of the performance...
I completely agree! They also, to me, seem really disconnected and as if they rarely look at each other when they are skating.

A shame to see Hase/Seegert slip down the ranking after their beautiful SP. Maybe all their travel problems caught up with them?

MT/M's lifts... Yikes. The twist also seems to have regressed a lot. I really hope they can regroup before their next GP and make sure they go to the Olympics as Canadian no.1s.

Matte/Ferland had a nice FS, good to see them get a new PB. Jones/Boyadji always look so happy to be skating and those throws were really good!
 

skylark

Gazing at a Glorious Great Lakes sunset
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I couldn't get into Daria and Denis' skates, especially the FS. I think they've overdone it on the acrobatic moves. It's impressive what Daria can do, but so much of it doesn't make a pairs program, to me. In fact, I just read an interview of B/K in which Kozlovskii talked about James/Cipres' (former) programs which included original acrobatic feats, but he emphasized that they were blended into the transitions, entrances and exits so well that they didn't disrupt the pairs skating. That's what I feel P/K's do indeed do. But I love the pep talks Denis gives her.

Ashley and Timothy's FS was the highlight for me. They skate with such passion for their music, such attention to detail on their choreography, such gorgeous synchronicity and lines. Their programs this year highlight their beautiful unison and all the intricacy. I live for the falling leaf, so sublimely together, so light and delicate. And I'm so happy to see them gaining consistency. I think (hope) that's what will crack the tough nut that some of the judges are. Already, I can see them being rewarded on things like their Axel lift and that heavenly throw 3Lutz. A few great elements that surprise the judges tend to elevate the GOEs, which I agree started out quite stingy. As usual, for C-G/L. I've seen them do th3Lz that well in practice (and their twist too). So I know how hard they're working to improve.

As an Ashley/Timothy fan, I really enjoyed seeing their name remain at the top of the listing for most of the night!

J/R have such a smooth style together, so I hope they can work it out soon. I think they should change their free program music because those 'falling' lyrics can become subliminal. I don't see how they can't see this.

LOL. So true! Other people have pretty much said what I'd say. I had high hopes for J/R, and I still do. I think they could both express and make into reality some aspects of their skating that were missing with previous partners. I stumbled across a pairs video of 2019 Europeans earlier today, the one J/C won. It reminded me that Vanessa always had jump issues, with stepouts and such if not actually fallin'.

I enjoy Hase/Seegert very much. Also, it's fun to see a pair throw a monkey wrench into the expected order. I'm impressed with Matte/Ferland. I like their smiles, and there's something genuine and smooth about their style. I loved Zoe and Chris's throws; her smile when she lands them exemplifies what pairs girls love, that feeling of flying. Sui and Han showed so many of the qualities that make them an all-time great pair. It's funny: when they aren't their best in early season, fans give them benefit of doubt. When other pairs aren't at their best early on, folks too often tend to write them off.

Kirsten and Michael -- well, when I re-watched their FS after the fact, I could see where they'd worked to bring their elements up toward their previous levels. But when I watched the comp in real time, their whole skate made me feel uneasy. It probably comes down to the twist and the lifts scaring me to death. Yesterday I stumbled across an NHK comp video from 2018 in which I was afraid Michael was going to drop Kirsten right into the stands. And then I realized it was the very same lift that came down on Saturday. I'm sure they'll double down and get smoothed out, as they go forward. It was hard seeing how awful Michael felt, but it was very classy how Kirsten focused her energy on not just reassuring him, but being there in the moment with him. Very much what pairs do for each other, at their best.
 

Azikin

Medalist
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Jan 12, 2018
I don't think I've every seen a competition so full of cheesy pop songs. Except the two best pairs it was very difficult for me to watch (and listen to) the free programs...
 

skylark

Gazing at a Glorious Great Lakes sunset
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I don't think I've every seen a competition so full of cheesy pop songs. Except the two best pairs it was very difficult for me to watch (and listen to) the free programs...
I don't like to hit the mute button during figure skating programs, because a big part of why I like skaters is how well they express the music. But I finally promised myself I'd mute any program skated to 'Fix You' or 'Carry Me.' It helped.

a bit OT: I disliked Mishina/Gallyamov's FS music this year, but I'm beginning to think it was a wise choice. Of course, I knew they'd develop it throughout the season and they'd totally draw me in and convince me eventually, because they do feel their music, and I love how they skate. But with all the sappy love ballads being done by pairs this year, M/G's music is beginning to make them look even more like a classical pair.
 

Skater Boy

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Joined
Feb 24, 2012
I couldn't get into Daria and Denis' skates, especially the FS. I think they've overdone it on the acrobatic moves. It's impressive what Daria can do, but so much of it doesn't make a pairs program, to me. In fact, I just read an interview of B/K in which Kozlovskii talked about James/Cipres' (former) programs which included original acrobatic feats, but he emphasized that they were blended into the transitions, entrances and exits so well that they didn't disrupt the pairs skating. That's what I feel P/K's do indeed do. But I love the pep talks Denis gives her.

Ashley and Timothy's FS was the highlight for me. They skate with such passion for their music, such attention to detail on their choreography, such gorgeous synchronicity and lines. Their programs this year highlight their beautiful unison and all the intricacy. I live for the falling leaf, so sublimely together, so light and delicate. And I'm so happy to see them gaining consistency. I think (hope) that's what will crack the tough nut that some of the judges are. Already, I can see them being rewarded on things like their Axel lift and that heavenly throw 3Lutz. A few great elements that surprise the judges tend to elevate the GOEs, which I agree started out quite stingy. As usual, for C-G/L. I've seen them do th3Lz that well in practice (and their twist too). So I know how hard they're working to improve.

As an Ashley/Timothy fan, I really enjoyed seeing their name remain at the top of the listing for most of the night!



LOL. So true! Other people have pretty much said what I'd say. I had high hopes for J/R, and I still do. I think they could both express and make into reality some aspects of their skating that were missing with previous partners. I stumbled across a pairs video of 2019 Europeans earlier today, the one J/C won. It reminded me that Vanessa always had jump issues, with stepouts and such if not actually fallin'.

I enjoy Hase/Seegert very much. Also, it's fun to see a pair throw a monkey wrench into the expected order. I'm impressed with Matte/Ferland. I like their smiles, and there's something genuine and smooth about their style. I loved Zoe and Chris's throws; her smile when she lands them exemplifies what pairs girls love, that feeling of flying. Sui and Han showed so many of the qualities that make them an all-time great pair. It's funny: when they aren't their best in early season, fans give them benefit of doubt. When other pairs aren't at their best early on, folks too often tend to write them off.

Kirsten and Michael -- well, when I re-watched their FS after the fact, I could see where they'd worked to bring their elements up toward their previous levels. But when I watched the comp in real time, their whole skate made me feel uneasy. It probably comes down to the twist and the lifts scaring me to death. Yesterday I stumbled across an NHK comp video from 2018 in which I was afraid Michael was going to drop Kirsten right into the stands. And then I realized it was the very same lift that came down on Saturday. I'm sure they'll double down and get smoothed out, as they go forward. It was hard seeing how awful Michael felt, but it was very classy how Kirsten focused her energy on not just reassuring him, but being there in the moment with him. Very much what pairs do for each other, at their best.
I realize it takes too but Marinaro seems to have some strength and technique issues . KMT is not that big. But for years he has looked shakey on the twist and lifts. I know KMT gambled and unfortunately loss when she went long term with Marinaro rather than Dylan who supposedly was retiring but did skate another quad cycle
 

BlissfulSynergy

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I disliked Mishina/Gallyamov's FS music this year, but I'm beginning to think it was a wise choice. Of course, I knew they'd develop it throughout the season and they'd totally draw me in and convince me eventually, because they do feel their music, and I love how they skate. But with all the sappy love ballads being done by pairs this year, M/G's music is beginning to make them look even more like a classical pair.
I would have to disagree, but I know you love M/G absolutely. Their music is what it is, but I do not think it truly does much of anything for them. They could be skating to any music, because they aren't truly expressing anything about the music. It's just playing in the background as they exhibit their astounding technical prowess (enhanced by Moskvina helping to elevate their confidence to the nth degree, while camouflaging their youthful weaknesses).

Obviously, We Are the Champions, was a brilliant choice that worked wonderfully well for M/G in 2020 - 2021. Unfortunately, many teams, including M/G, have made so-so and lackluster music choices this season, as far as I'm concerned.

In general, I don't understand any of the continual Bolero (music versions*) that some skaters/coaches end up choosing in an Olympic season. Bolero is not actually a good choice for skating programs. It was an oddity when Chris Dean used it to iconic proportions in 1983-1984. But then, Chris is some kind of rare genius as a skater, choreographer, ice dancer, visionary.

Bolero didn't work when Savchenko/Szolkowy chose a version of it, nor when Michelle Kwan famously attempted a program to it, nor any of the other Bolero choices, including Shoma Uno this season :cry:, and certainly not Boyang Jin's use of Bolero with another piece (Invocacion y Danza).

Anyway, to say the least, pairs this season is shaping up so far to be somewhat of a snooze-fest in terms of program and music selections, outside of a few bright and interesting choices by pairs teams, including by Peng/Jin of China, and by Lu/Mitrofanov of the U.S. If things continue in the direction they are heading in pairs, I can see M/G prematurely winning Olympic gold, or possibly Sui/Han, as they can't be counted out with the Olympics in Beijing, and the love and admiration they engender in the skating community.

In any case, IMO, M/G need more seasoning, more tough competition, and more opportunities to grow through experience. But, it is what it is right now, re the less than exciting pairs competitive landscape so far this season.
 

skylark

Gazing at a Glorious Great Lakes sunset
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I realize it takes too but Marinaro seems to have some strength and technique issues . KMT is not that big. But for years he has looked shakey on the twist and lifts. I know KMT gambled and unfortunately loss when she went long term with Marinaro rather than Dylan who supposedly was retiring but did skate another quad cycle

The way I remember Kirsten's explanation is that, in 2014, she wanted to go to two more Olympics, while Dylan was sure about working for 2018 but not 100% certain about 2022. There may have been more to it, but that's what she said. Michael actually looks much stronger and surer on the lifts in person, as I found when I saw them at SA 2017. But I tend to forget that, because via stream, their lifts scare me. One thing: lifts are 2-way. If the woman isn't doing or can't do 100% of her part, then it may look like the man can't lift well, but that may actually not be the issue. Anastasia Mishina recently said that the woman has to "jump into" the lifts. And I remember a Worlds back in 2002 or so when Elena Berezhnaya had had the flu for a few days. They decided to compete, but Anton couldn't get her into the lifts, because she didn't have her strength back yet, in order to hold herself up and do her part in the lifts. It was pretty dramatic, and it really did illustrate what the performance of lifts is actually about.
 

labgoat

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One thing: lifts are 2-way. If the woman isn't doing or can't do 100% of her part, then it may look like the man can't lift well, but that may actually not be the issue. Anastasia Mishina recently said that the woman has to "jump into" the lifts.
(y)
 

chuckm

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Aug 31, 2003
I do think that is the problem with KM: she is very tiny, but she doesn't help out with the lifts. IIRC, Dylan Moscovitch had back and shoulder problems similar to what Michael Marinaro is experiencing.
 
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