2023-24 US Pairs Figure Skating | Page 13 | Golden Skate

2023-24 US Pairs Figure Skating

BlissfulSynergy

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Bruno Marcotte as their coach is nice to hear, but I'm a bit confused about Tammy Gambill. I know she's Audrey's current coach, but... Does this mean they'll be training partly in Canada and partly in Colorado? Does Tammy coach other pairs or has she in the past?
Yes, that's confusing. I can only imagine that she's listed out of Audrey needing her psychologically to gain a comfort level as she transitions to pairs. A lot of Tammy's skaters seem to have fierce loyalty to her. I don't know why, unless she has a way of making them think they can't do without her. 🤔 We have seen this emotional attachment to Tammy by many of her skaters, including Karen Chen, Claire Seo, and Vincent Zhou. Tammy has also coached Sean Rabbitt, Richard Dornbush, and Philip Warren who later switched to skate for France; he's retired now and performs in shows in Europe and Asia. He has a mean backflip (not learned from Tammy, obviously).

BTW, while Balazs used to train in Colorado under Sappenfield, as a junior, he later returned to his native Hungary and skated one season with Maria Pavlova. He subsequently came back to the U.S. and partnered optimistically, but short-lived with Chelsea Lui; they trained under Meno/Sand and with Brandon Frazier in Irvine, CA.

In junior pairs, Balazs was a U.S. champion with Kate Finster. They split circa COVID season when they moved up to pairs and the partnership no longer worked well due to Finster needing a taller partner by that point. Balazs is a citizen of both Hungary and the U.S. He was born in Budapest, but he came to the U.S. with his parents as a child when they emigrated.
 
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BlissfulSynergy

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Different topic, but does mean Audrey Shin is done singles and only doing pairs?
Yes.

 

Weathergal

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Yes, that's confusing. I can only imagine that she's listed out of Audrey needing her psychologically to gain a comfort level as she transitions to pairs. A lot of Tammy's skaters seem to have fierce loyalty to her. I don't know why, unless she has a way of making them think they can't do without her. 🤔 We have seen this emotional attachment to Tammy by many of her skaters, including Karen Chen, Claire Seo, and Vincent Zhou. Tammy has also coached Sean Rabbitt, Richard Dornbush, and Philip Warren who later switched to skate for France; he's retired now and performs in shows in Europe and Asia. He has a mean backflip (not learned from Tammy, obviously).

BTW, while Balazs used to train in Colorado under Sappenfield, as a junior, he later returned to his native Hungary and skated one season with Maria Pavlova. He subsequently came back to the U.S. and partnered optimistically, but short-lived with Chelsea Lui.

In junior pairs, Balazs was a U.S. champion with Kate Finster. They split circa COVID season when they moved up to pairs and the partnership no longer worked well due to Finster needing a taller partner. Balazs is a citizen of both Hungary and the U.S. He was born in Budapest, but he came to the U.S. with his parents as a child when they emigrated.
I know this background, but it still doesn't explain Tammy or confirm if she has pairs experience. Sorry not a Tammy fan. And so many of her skaters have underrotations. I just don't get the hype about her. I hope they'll consider consulting a jump coach, if needed.
 

Weathergal

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50. CANADA, Figure

Rule 109 paragraph 2. c) & 3.

2. Citizenship/Residence/Transfer Permit

c) A Skater who has competed in any ISU Championships, ISU Event and/or International Competition for any ISU Member and who intends to compete in the future for another ISU Member needs a permit from the last ISU Member he previously represented, which permit shall not unreasonably be denied. In addition, such Skater may compete for the respective ISU Member in International Competitions, ISU Events and IS Championships only after a waiting period of twelve months since the Skater competed for any other ISU Member in any such competition has elapsed.

A Skater who has competed for an ISU member in an IS Championship, ISU Event, or International Competition and intends to compete for another ISU Member requires a permit from the last IS Member the Skater represented. This permit must be issued upon receipt of proper documentation and will be effective following a waiting period of one full season since the Skater represented that IS member internationally.

3. Clearance Certificate

Skaters competing for the ISU Member of a country whose citizenship they do not have (except for members of Synchronized Skating Teams under the 25% quota according to paragraph 2.d) above), and Skaters who have competed in any ISU Championships, ISU Event and/or International Competition before and intend to compete in the future for another ISU Member may do so only after obtaining, through the ISU Member for which they intend to compete, a clearance certificate (CC) from the ISU Secretariat.

Reason: Simplification to make a consistent application of this rule for all athletes. Proper documentation would be the formal request for the release to another ISU member.

Council Recommendation: The Council is not in favor because the proposal would interfere with the authority and competence of the ISU Members. The rule as currently in force respects the authority of the ISU Members and, at the same time, provides for avoiding arbitrariness.

My friend said (since she asked someone higher up in Skate Canada), that the rule means that the skater would not be able to compete internationally the entire season. So even if their final international was Oct 2023, under current rules they would be able to compete under another country Oct 24. Instead, Skate Canada wants them to wait basically a year and a half - July 2025 (2025 is an example).

But ISU is not in favour, so the person she asked wasn’t sure if they were going to withdraw the proposal at congress. I’ll have to ask her if she heard anything.
:thank:
 

BlissfulSynergy

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It's only speculation, but I wonder if the "skate-off" between Liu/Nagy and Chan/Howe before Worlds had the effect of Chelsea re-evaluating her situation, if seemed like a no confidence vote. I agree with you that it would be great if US fed would have invested in L/N and supported them with some way to help solve Chelsea's jump landings. She was making progress on the throws. And her lift positions are to die for, plus such joy in skating.
Yes, it is something questionable to wonder about. I suspect that Chelsea began to feel frustrated, and then she was apparently not receiving enough support. I believe the expectations for Balazs and Chelsea to have high level success immediately only added to the pressure of her jump landing issues. Once it got out publicly about U.S. fed suggesting Balazs try out with Audrey, then Chelsea had no choice but to move on.

It's also possible that Chelsea felt the no-confidence vote as soon as she and Balazs were asked to compete head-to-head against Chan/ Howe. I don't think that should ever have happened. C/H were coming back from injury, so they just should have been monitored for readiness. No public skate-off should have taken place. And if anything why wasn't it Balazs/ Chelsea vs Plazas/ Fernandez? B&C had actually placed 3rd in the free program at 2024 U.S. Nats. It was their sixth place in the sp that had them a few points behind P/F overall. P/F were 4th in sp and fp.

Honestly, Val Plazas has just as much or more trouble with jump landings as Chelsea. I guess Jim Peterson would have been quite upset had the fed demanded P/F vs B&C. In any case, not the best handling of these pairs teams. While I am happy that Balazs has a partner, I am going to tamp down enthusiasm and excitement until I actually see how they look together.

Julie Marcotte as their choreographer is a 'no, no' for me. Julie seems to be the built-in choreographer for all of her brother's pairs teams. 🙄 She hasn't done anything great recently, especially not for Miura/Kihara.
 

saine

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I know this background, but it still doesn't explain Tammy or confirm if she has pairs experience. Sorry not a Tammy fan. And so many of her skaters have underrotations. I just don't get the hype about her. I hope they'll consider consulting a jump coach, if needed.
They also have Andrew Evans as a coach. He coaches pairs and is also the coach for Lulu Lin and Hetty Shi. He should be able to help them with jump issues, he's been doing good work with Canadian junior women.
 

BlissfulSynergy

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They also have Andrew Evans as a coach. He coaches pairs and is also the coach for Lulu Lin and Hetty Shi. He should be able to help them with jump issues, he's been doing good work with Canadian junior women.
Yeah, I see Evans. I know he has previously worked with pairs teams. He coached Ben Mimar & Brooke McIntosh. BTW, Balazs does not have 'jump issues.' He's a solid jumper. It was his former partner who had jump issues.

@Weathergal, I was not making any excuses or acceptance of Tammy Gambill being listed as a coach. I just speculated as to why she's listed. I've only known her to coach singles. Thus, she's clearly Audrey's safety blanket as Audrey launches into this new journey. As I said, there seems to exist a strange loyalty to her, which is even more reason to question why some of her skaters struggle with URs and other tech issues. 🤔
 

BlissfulSynergy

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I know this background, but it still doesn't explain Tammy or confirm if she has pairs experience. Sorry not a Tammy fan. And so many of her skaters have underrotations. I just don't get the hype about her. I hope they'll consider consulting a jump coach, if needed.
Balazs Nagy is a solid jumper. His former partner (Chelsea Lui) had issues, likely largely due to her very long legs and the need to make adjustments to get her free leg out quicker. Others have pointed out Chelsea's history with concussions, as a reason she retired. Still, it's obvious to me that U.S. fed engineered the Shin/Nagy partnership, as well as reaching out to Bruno Marcotte/ Andrew Evans for their main coaches. Marcotte was previously employed by U.S. fed to help Ellie Kam with her problems landing throw triples and sbs triples.

Tammy Gambill appears to be psychological window dressing for Audrey maintaining a comfort level during this transition to pairs. Anyone who is very familiar with Shin as a singles skater would know better whether she had 'jump issues,' i.e., URs as a Gambill-trained singles skater. To my modest recollection, Audrey was a very good jumper as a singles skater. But the transition to landing pairs throws and sbs triple jumps surely requires making adjustments.

I am definitely gonna miss the effortless, sky-high Lui/ Nagy triple twist. 😢 But well wishes to Audrey & Balazs. Fingers-crossed that they can bring something special to the pairs scene.
 
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Weathergal

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Balazs Nagy is a solid jumper without any 'issues.' His former partner (Chelsea Lui) had issues, likely largely due to her very long legs and the need to make adjustments to get her free leg out quicker. Others have pointed out Chelsea's history with concussions, as a reason she retired. Still, it's obvious to me that U.S. fed engineered the Shin/Nagy partnership, as well as reaching out to Bruno Marcotte/ Andrew Evans for their main coaches. Marcotte was previously employed by U.S. fed to help Ellie Kam with her problems landing throw triples and sbs triples.

Tammy Gambill appears to be psychological window dressing for Audrey maintaining a comfort level during this transition to pairs. Anyone who is very familiar with Shin as a singles skater would know better whether she had 'jump issues,' i.e., URs as a Gambill-trained singles skater. To my modest recollection, Audrey was a very good jumper as a singles skater. But the transition to landing pairs throws and sbs triple jumps surely requires making adjustments.

I am definitely gonna miss the effortless, sky-high Lui/ Nagy triple twist. 😢 But well wishes to Audrey & Balazs. Fingers-crossed that they can bring something special to the pairs scene.
I'm a bit confused as to why you're quoting me here. I didn't use the word issues nor imply that Balazs has jumping ones.

I'm also not clear where it states that Audrey is using Tammy as some sort of emotional support bridge. You've said this in several posts, but is this just speculation?

I was merely wondering what Tammy's involvement would be since her background -- to me anyway -- doesn't say pairs coach nor jump coach. I was wondering if perhaps they were splitting their training between Colorado with Tammy and Oakville with Bruno, but that is, of course, just a guess on my part. It was curiosity mixed with a bit of frustration that Tammy is in the picture. I'm not that invested.

I think that Balazs has so much pairs potential -- and hopefully Audrey does too -- and I hope they have success.
 

BlissfulSynergy

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I'm not particularly enthused by Marcotte/ Evans as Shin/ Nagy's coaches. The entire partnership and coaching team was engineered by U.S. fed. We'll see what happens. Maybe it will work out. But I have my doubts about them using Julie Marcotte for choreo and music selection (and she tends to always be the choreographer for her brother's skaters). Please No! 🤦‍♀️

Meanwhile, with Todd Sand no longer the head coach in Irvine, it looks like U.S. fed wants to go in a different direction with Marcotte as an established pairs coach. He was employed by U.S. fed to try and help Ellie Kam with her triple jump landing tech issues. Brandon Frazier has been helping out in Irvine with Jenni and her crew, but with Todd's oversight no longer there and Brandon/ Alexa no longer competing, I guess the shine is not shining as brightly in Irvine.

I'm waiting with bated breath to see whether McBeath/ Parkman can reach their potential as a U.S. pairs team. If Danill doesn't have his release yet, I'm calling it that Georgian fed do not want him and Katie excelling together. They want their re-fashioned team of Metelkina/ Berulava to gain an advantage and foothold on the senior pairs scene before they'll release Danill. And/Or they will be trying to extort ransom sums. 🙄
 
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BlissfulSynergy

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Unless any of us have authoritative insider knowledge, we all speculate here @Weathergal. 😊 Please do not become defensive. I am not taking issue with anything you said. Just conversing and sharing ideas. But let's take any further comments about this new pairing to 'Pairs Worldwide' thread or to U.S. pairs thread in the 'Skate Nations' forum, please. Thank you. 👍

In 'Pairs Worldwide' thread I already questioned Gambill's involvement and expressed my confusion and speculation as to why she's included on the coaching staff.
 
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Weathergal

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Unless any of us have authoritative insider knowledge, we all speculate here @Weathergal. 😊 Please do not become defensive. I am not taking issue with anything you said. Just conversing and sharing ideas. But let's take any further comments about this new pairing to 'Pairs Worldwide' thread or to U.S. pairs thread in the 'Skate Nations' forum, please. Thank you. 👍

In 'Pairs Worldwide' thread I already questioned Gambill's involvement and expressed my confusion and speculation as to why she's included on the coaching staff.
LOL not defensive. I do agree, however, that this conversation belongs in the US Pairs thread and will go there should I wish to continue it.

Apologies to all for derailing. 🙂
 

skylark

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. Once it got out publicly about U.S. fed suggesting Balazs try out with Audrey, then Chelsea had no choice but to move on.

I think that's what bothers me the most.

It's also possible that Chelsea felt the no-confidence vote as soon as she and Balazs were asked to compete head-to-head against Chan/ Howe. I don't think that should ever have happened.

Agree.

Honestly, Val Plazas has just as much or more trouble with jump landings as Chelsea.

True.
In any case, not the best handling of these pairs teams. While I am happy that Balazs has a partner, I am going to tamp down enthusiasm and excitement until I actually see how they look together.

I fell in love with Audrey Shin the first time I saw her skate, which was only a couple of seasons ago. But my feelings about Chelsea already have my enthusiasm for Audrey and Balazs tamped down a few notches. And that's a shame. A lot of people have stated in the past they wish USFS would take a stronger hand in our pairs, but I don't like the way this played out ... publicly, as you said.
 

skylark

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Unless any of us have authoritative insider knowledge, we all speculate here @Weathergal. 😊 Please do not become defensive.

Sorry, but you stated your opinion about Audrey and Tammy G. as if it were a fact. You did the same earlier in this thread, by stating that "the partnership (Finster/Nagy) no longer worked well due to Finster needing a taller partner by that point." Which was never said. It would help if you'd use a qualifying word like "perhaps" or "if," or something like.

still Off-Topic'ing, apologies. :)
 

BlissfulSynergy

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@skylark: It is not unusual to see junior pairs partners splitting for any number of reasons, including physical growth which impacts partnership dynamics, especially among pairs teams. Growing tall is not a negative thing. In fact, it is normal for young athletes to continue growing in ways that impact their athletic development, particularly among young figure skating duos!

I have never seen an official statement confirming that 'so-and-so grew taller, which necessitated a split.' Why would that be publicly stated as a reason why a partnership ended?! At the same time, the lack of public confirmation does not negate physical growth disparities as a reason for partnership break-ups. In general, there's usually more than one reason for pairs partnerships ending, not the least being physical growth changes, especially among young athletes.

In the case of Kate and Balasz, I recall mentioning that I felt Kate needed a taller partner, during the COVID season (after I had viewed one of their 'virtual' performances). Sure enough, the news came shortly afterward that Balasz and Kate had split. They had just come up to seniors that season. A bevy of things often change for junior partnerships, particularly in their transition to the senior ranks. Growth changes are not unusual, and my comments are not a negative condemnation.

I enjoyed Kate & Balasz together, and I hoped they would both continue. Kate went on to partner with a taller skater, Matej Silecky. They were good together but apparently faced the dilemma many skaters face of feeling the need to make significant progress toward their goals quickly. When targeted results are not met, many skaters tend to reevaluate the substantial financial and logistical investments involved in sustaining a career in skating. In the case of Kate and Matej, there were seemingly personal reasons for Kate deciding to end her skating career and move on to other pursuits. Kate was the 2015 U.S. novice pairs champion with Eric Hartley, prior to partnering with Balasz in juniors. Kate & Balasz were U.S. junior pairs champions in 2020 and U.S. junior silver medalists in 2019.

Another example of growth issues impacting a young pairs team: Canada's former junior pairs team, Brooke McIntosh & Brandon Toste. When they split, it was indicated that Brandon decided to move on to academic pursuits, but it had been noted and discussed by fans for awhile prior to their break-up that Brooke was growing at a pace which was impacting her physical matchup with Toste. Growing taller affects an athlete's center of gravity. This is not a negative opinion. It is a factual observation.

Brooke went on to pair with taller skater, Ben Mimar. Their pairing looked promising. They were very proficient technically, but they began to experience inconsistent performances, as Brooke's height steadily increased over the course of their partnership. Brooke is still officially listed in some public sources as 5' 4 1/2 inches. But she must be at least 5' 6" to 5' 7" or more by now. Ben is listed at 6' 4", and so is Brooke's unannounced new partner, Marco Zandron. The difference for the new pairing may be that Brooke has finally reached her adult height and can start afresh with Zandron without worrying about making adjustments to center of gravity fluctuations.
 
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BlissfulSynergy

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Sorry, but you stated your opinion about Audrey and Tammy G. as if it were a fact.
I am not sure why you preface your overly critical statement with 'Sorry...' LOL!

FWIW, I speculatively responded to queries about why Tammy Gambill is listed as one of Shin/Nagy's coaches. Since Tammy has been Audrey's coach for a long time, it's not a stretch to attribute Tammy's continued coaching involvement as being due to their long-term relationship. I do not think it's unusual for an athlete to want someone they trust and have familiarity with to remain part of their team when they embark on a new skating journey. This is true whether or not Tammy Gambill has pairs experience, which I do not think she has. But that does not rule out her value to Audrey. I did not intend my phrasing 'psychological comfort,' and 'safety blanket,' to be interpreted as a negative slight toward either Tammy or Audrey. Hopefully, their trusted bond will be helpful for Audrey during her transition to pairs.

I have noticed criticisms of Tammy Gambill by some figure skating commentators, specifically TSL's Dave Lease. I do not have any strong opinions one way or the other on this because I tend not to be emotionally invested in what happens in the ladies discipline. There are a number of female skaters I admire and root for, but I usually do not watch entire women's competitions. I usually watch just the top flight women domestically and internationally. I have heard it mentioned that many of Tammy's female students tend to have URs. If true statistically, it could be due to a number of factors, not the least being the pressure to master difficult 3/3 jump combinations.
 
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BlissfulSynergy

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Specifically, in regard to Audrey's technical proficiency, I looked back at her U.S. Nationals performances from 2023 and 2024. I have always remembered Audrey to be a graceful, competent skater, though she seems to not have great speed over the ice. Her skating moves are compact and precise, albeit she appears to have an off-center way of landing her jumps. But at least getting the job done landing her jumps is a positive. She is musically and artistically gifted. Unfortunately, though, Audrey has experienced URs, at least in recent season performances. Once that begins to happen, it becomes a difficult tech issue to resolve. My guess is this is probably one of the reasons why USfigsk made the decision to obtain experienced pairs coaching for Shin/ Nagy from well-regarded technical coaches, Andrew Evans and Bruno Marcotte. In following Balasz's career, I have not seen him struggle with any significant technical issues related to jumps. He is a solid pairs guy.

Audrey mentioned in her recent IG announcement regarding her new skating journey, that she has suffered difficult injuries which adversely impacted her singles career. Kudos to Audrey for fighting so hard to continue skating in the sport she loves.
 

skylark

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