2023-24 US Pairs Figure Skating | Page 8 | Golden Skate

2023-24 US Pairs Figure Skating

midori green

On the Ice
Joined
Aug 31, 2022
Ah yes, that's correct. I am not sure if Baylen Taich, who won novice pairs with Michael Chappa qualified for sectionals as she is #13 in Upper Great Lakes region. If she qualified for sectionals, she may do it in the midwest as I did not see her in the intermediate ladies competition in the Pacific
What I've seen so far...
Junior Pairs skaters at Mids: Cayla Smith (novice), Jared McPike (novice)

Novice Pairs skaters at Mids: Jolena Grohne (novice)
 

Spiralgraph

On the Ice
Joined
Jul 28, 2003
Country
United-States
Yes, I had only gotten to see them compete once this year and was told the content was watered down for their first competition. I agree they aren't likely to take the US title.
I'm disapointed that several of the teams watered down their content. How can we fans know what teams are truly capable of if they choose to perform easier tech elements? Plus, those teams have less experience performing their harder elements under pressure.
 

midori green

On the Ice
Joined
Aug 31, 2022
Addition:
What I've seen so far...
Junior Pairs skaters at Mids: Cayla Smith (novice), Jared McPike (novice), Olivia Flores (junior)

Novice Pairs skaters at Mids: Jolena Grohne (novice)
 

skylark

Gazing at a Glorious Great Lakes sunset
Record Breaker
Joined
Aug 12, 2014
Country
United-States
Good luck and good skating at NHL, Chelsea and Balazs! 😍
 

Diana Delafield

Frequent flyer
Final Flight
Joined
Oct 22, 2022
Country
Canada
I'm disapointed that several of the teams watered down their content. How can we fans know what teams are truly capable of if they choose to perform easier tech elements? Plus, those teams have less experience performing their harder elements under pressure.
If the more difficult moves are still giving them jitters in practice, they're sure to come apart under competition pressure. Do the fans really want to see skaters getting injured just because their fans want to watch them try "Wow!" moves they haven't really mastered yet? (There's only one correct answer to that rhetorical question.)
 

Spiralgraph

On the Ice
Joined
Jul 28, 2003
Country
United-States
If the more difficult moves are still giving them jitters in practice, they're sure to come apart under competition pressure. Do the fans really want to see skaters getting injured just because their fans want to watch them try "Wow!" moves they haven't really mastered yet? (There's only one correct answer to that rhetorical question.)

I both agree and disagree with you. If pairs aren't consistently landing their elements in practice sessions, they shouldn't be doing them in competition. And we fans really shouldn't expect them to perform something they don't complete that often.

On the other hand, the phrase I cited was "watered down" which means (at least to me) that those pair teams have attempted and/or achieved those elements in competitions, not just in training or practice. I compare it to when skaters water down their content in galas or exhibitions. We know darn well that Nathan can do multiple quads, but in the galas he usually would confine himself to triples only. But when he was at the Olympics or Nationals in a real competition out come those stunning quads.

At some pont, if they want to compete well skaters have to try those skills they can do most of the time in practice.

Now, whether any American pair team can consistantly complete triples or triple throws at this point in time is an entirely different question!
 

slider11

Medalist
Joined
Jan 12, 2014
I am a huge fans of Chan and Howe, Kam and O'Shea and Plazas and Hernandez. But with Chan and Howe injured and K/O and P/H not performing to GP expectations I am concerned that injury will eliminate one or more of them. It seems that the jumps and throws are the biggest nemesis. I wonder if they did double axels in combo and a series of doubles rather than the triples, if their health, well-being and confidence would improve. The scores may suffer but their bodies are suffering worse!
 

Diana Delafield

Frequent flyer
Final Flight
Joined
Oct 22, 2022
Country
Canada
I both agree and disagree with you. If pairs aren't consistently landing their elements in practice sessions, they shouldn't be doing them in competition. And we fans really shouldn't expect them to perform something they don't complete that often.

On the other hand, the phrase I cited was "watered down" which means (at least to me) that those pair teams have attempted and/or achieved those elements in competitions, not just in training or practice. I compare it to when skaters water down their content in galas or exhibitions. We know darn well that Nathan can do multiple quads, but in the galas he usually would confine himself to triples only. But when he was at the Olympics or Nationals in a real competition out come those stunning quads.

At some pont, if they want to compete well skaters have to try those skills they can do most of the time in practice.

Now, whether any American pair team can consistantly complete triples or triple throws at this point in time is an entirely different question!
Yes, I zipped that remark off late at night and it was too generalized. I can only speak for pairs programs from personal experience, but there's a continuum on which there are things you just successfully achieved for the first time in practice last week, up to elements you can do in your sleep. Where you draw the boundary as to what you do in a particular competition and what gets left at home depends on your own comfort zone -- your own dare-deviliciousness, if you will -- and also on the level of competition. Is this event one on a series of steps leading to The Main Event, where it's better not to stumble, to ensure you do get to the higher level (and that also depends to some extent on which other pairs are you competing against on that particular day)? Or is this your goal event, your national championships or higher, where you're willing to go all out and take more risks? I competed in the 6.0 era, but today's competitors, or their coaches, have to strategize points the judges will/might give for simpler elements you can do well vs more difficult elements on which you very well could end up on the seat of your sequins. So you consider the judges as well.

Only the born showmen, though, the ones who love to skate primarily for the audience and are probably going to go on to professional careers in the shows, are going to tailor their programs for the fans. Pairs elements particularly are invitations to injury, possibly the life-changing kind. If you want to risk all to get the favour of the fans, you might as well time-travel and become a gladiator in a Roman circus. That was my point in my original reply, that fan-pleasing is way down on the list of Things to Consider when planning what to put into a program at a particular event. I was telling someone just a day or two ago about a long-ago competition my partner and I won, at the highest level there was for juniors in those days when no one came to watch the juniors except your own parents and there was nothing higher outside your own country. The (few) other pairs had more difficult elements included, but it was just one of those nights where everyone else crashed and burned (even pair spins were going down) and we, with our basic, probably boring program, landed everything securely on our feet as needed.

Pairs skaters have a higher tolerance for risk than singles or dancers, but even they have their personal limits, which fluctuate depending on the timing and importance of the event.

[PS: I don't follow American sports unless it's convenient on TV, so I can't answer for the strategies of US pairs or their coaches. My attitudes are coming from experience in Canada and, to a lesser extent, in the UK where I lived and skated for a few years while attending grad school there.]
 

moonvine

All Hail Queen Gracie
Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 14, 2007
Country
United-States
Does anyone know where Digerness/Sadusky are training? They have no fan thread.
 

BlissfulSynergy

Record Breaker
Joined
Sep 1, 2020
Country
Olympics
I'm disapointed that several of the teams watered down their content. How can we fans know what teams are truly capable of if they choose to perform easier tech elements? Plus, those teams have less experience performing their harder elements under pressure.
As new teams, they are probably still working on acclimating to each other, and managing possible complications with different techniques., e.g., on throws.

I agree to wanting these teams to show more competitive readiness, skill and ambition. But, it's helpful for us fans to be realistic regarding the challenges of building a successful partnership in pairs figure skating.
 

BlissfulSynergy

Record Breaker
Joined
Sep 1, 2020
Country
Olympics
Now, whether any American pair team can consistantly complete triples or triple throws at this point in time is an entirely different question!
πŸ€” Why be all down on U.S. teams? Come on now. I know it feels deflating when we had some great teams who retired or split (or in Chan/Howe's case were out of GP due to surgery rehab). But the whole nature of fs is a difficult, long term process, with no guarantees, and continual obstacles to overcome. Look on the positive side that there are at least a lot of very promising U.S. pairs partnerships, and Spencer & Emily will be back in time for the remainder of the season. πŸ€

The other thing is that it's not just American teams who have inconsistencies on elements. Did you see the GP series and the GP finals in pairs? πŸ˜³πŸ«£πŸ˜πŸŽ’πŸ«¨πŸ™ƒπŸ˜΄πŸ€©πŸ™„πŸ€¨πŸ€”πŸ«’πŸ˜₯πŸ₯°πŸ« πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘ŒπŸ½πŸ‘ŽπŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ€ŒπŸ½πŸ€žπŸ½πŸ˜«πŸ₯Ή

I mean, that's unpredictable figure skating, innit? πŸ€·πŸ½β€β™€οΈ πŸ₯³

During this transitional time period, it might be helpful to find ways of being supportive of teams you like, as well as realistic about where they are on their journey.

Critiques are warranted, but too much angst and complaining just ends up with fans never being satisfied. I often see that happen in discussions about U.S. pairs. There's a lot to be proud of and positive about. U.S. pairs has a strong legacy. πŸ’ͺ Yet, even when Alexa/ Brandon won, there was complaining and dissing. A&B have received more praise in some quarters now that they are no longer competing.

And there are some clueless or hopeful detractors who have claimed that U.S. pairs has no depth. That's a wrong, short-sighted claim. For all the teams the U.S. has lost in recent years, there's still a number of promising teams in both juniors and seniors. But this is a development phase. Embrace it. πŸ€—
 

BlissfulSynergy

Record Breaker
Joined
Sep 1, 2020
Country
Olympics
But with Chan and Howe injured and K/O and P/H not performing to GP expectations
Spencer Howe has had issues with his shoulders throughout his pairs career (and Emily has had chronic ankle issues). They both spoke about this during a podcast interview in 2022. Maybe it is still up on YouTube. I can't recall who interviewed them.

I mention this to point out that it was not a sudden injury. Spencer made the decision to get surgery to try and alleviate his shoulder pain. The timing was better now than later. E&S both said in the 2022 interview that they didn't even know if they would make it or do well during the 2022 - 2023 season, so the success they had was a bonus. ✨️

What were the GP expectations for Plazas/ Hernandez, honestly? Of course, they didn't perform to their ability at times, but they were not favorites to medal on the GP going into this season. The fact that they medaled at Golden Spin this weekend is something they can feel proud of accomplishing.

There were surely hopes for Kam/ O'Shea to fare better on the GP, at least for a bronze. However, despite what lovely connection, style, and positive assets Ellie/ Danny have, they will need to regroup and to find strategies for resolving Ellie's issues on jumps and throws. It may have to do with Ellie having been a junior skater new to pairs and thus in her prior partnership in juniors, she was just beginning to learn triple throws and sbs triples. Those elements apparently were not solid in her repertoire when she partnered with Danny. I get the feeling that trying to learn these difficult elements under the pressure of heightened scrutiny and expectations, with a more experienced partner, has been overwhelming for Ellie.

Chelsea/ Balasz are also gorgeous together and experienced in pairs, although still a new partnership trying to put it all together. They particularly need to resolve Chelsea's dilemmas on jump and throw landings. It's not a lack of ability. It just seems to be technical, strengthening, and quickness fixes needed for Chels to get better snap on jump landings. She needs to get her free leg out faster to avoid double-footing.
 
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BlissfulSynergy

Record Breaker
Joined
Sep 1, 2020
Country
Olympics
New fan zone article on Flores/ Wang:


ETA:
In other news, former U.S. pairs skater, Tarah Kayne, is now coaching at the Toronto Lakeshore Skating School, as announced by the school on their Instagram. Apparently, Canadian coach, Andrew Evans, is also based there.

U.S. pairs skaters, Danny Neudecker & Grace Hanns have switched their coaching team back to Dalilah Sappenfield at Monument, CO. Both Danny & Grace were previously coach by Sappenfield for many years, with other partners, before being coached by Drew Meekins & Natalia Mishkutionok at World Arena. Danny O'Shea who is paired with Ellie Kam, is also on the pairs coaching staff at World Arena, in Colorado Springs.

Also, Elliana & Ethan Peal have a YT podcast, where they recently posted an interview with U.S. junior pairs skaters, Flores/ Wang. ✨️

I will provide a link in the Pairs Divine Discipline thread, in The Edge forum.
 
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