Kseniia Akhanteva & Valerii Kolesov

eterislouisvuitton

On the Ice
Joined
Nov 29, 2019
I thought I would share a few photos from the first stage of the Russian cup.


I like both of the costumes. They're very different and bring out nice qualities. And despite the music cut at the end, I enjoy their SP. It's different than the others. All the others do their twist, axel, throw, lift, and spin in the same order and same place on the ice. I thought at test skates that this would finally be Ksenia and Valeri's golden season.

At the 1st stage of the cup, they lost to Artemeva/Nazarychev by about 8 points. I think the programs are partly to blame for this. The short is a good program. It does not have the same story and wow factor of Senza Parole (A/N), Survivor (Kostiukovich/Ialin), or Interstellar (A/K last year). But they can get good components with this program.

Pink Floyd on the other hand, is lovely for a short program. It's lovely for gymnastics, where routines are 90 seconds. For four minutes, the repetitive sound without a story or change in depth becomes repetitive. There's quite a few leg kicks, and while they are synchronized, Ksenia has grown and is clearly discoordinated. She never points her toes and struggles with lifts now, in addition to her old problems with jumps. The program is not bad. It is the generic definition of a program that is "fine." If you want to be junior world champion, you need a free program that is a little more than "fine."

Nevertheless, they will probably compete at one of the upcoming stages and hopefully qualify to nationals. I had more hope than Artemeva/Nazarychev and Panfilova/Rylov that this would be a team that would last, because of their small age difference (despite Ksenia's young appearance). But now I am starting to worry. Even though Ksenia is already 18, she has noticeably grown taller. She and Valeri had an ideal height difference of 30cm, and even now it should be fine. Though in the podium photos, she is up to his chin and I am very afraid that she will outgrow him.....

Hoping they will come back from their mistakes and win their next stage!
 

hanca

Record Breaker
Joined
Sep 23, 2008
Pink Floyd on the other hand, is lovely for a short program. It's lovely for gymnastics, where routines are 90 seconds. For four minutes, the repetitive sound without a story or change in depth becomes repetitive. There's quite a few leg kicks, and while they are synchronized, Ksenia has grown and is clearly discoordinated. She never points her toes and struggles with lifts now, in addition to her old problems with jumps. The program is not bad. It is the generic definition of a program that is "fine." If you want to be junior world champion, you need a free program that is a little more than "fine."

Nevertheless, they will probably compete at one of the upcoming stages and hopefully qualify to nationals. I had more hope than Artemeva/Nazarychev and Panfilova/Rylov that this would be a team that would last, because of their small age difference (despite Ksenia's young appearance). But now I am starting to worry. Even though Ksenia is already 18, she has noticeably grown taller. She and Valeri had an ideal height difference of 30cm, and even now it should be fine. Though in the podium photos, she is up to his chin and I am very afraid that she will outgrow him.....

Hoping they will come back from their mistakes and win their next stage!
I don’t particularly like their Pink Floyd program either. However, their problem is not the program as such. They have much worse problems. They look good - they are polished and they have that feeling a couple who has been together for a long while has - the constant awareness where the other one is and knowing what he/she will do. They are nicely synchronised, in fact, this season I like watching them more than ever in the past.

However, Ksenia has never been a consistent with her jumps. But this competition, it was somehow even worse than usual. Usually I feel she at least fights for it. This time it was like if she can’t be bothered. As if she gave up. The double footed throw landings - she could have at least tried to land on one leg. Not sure what was wrong, maybe she has some small injury or even just pulled muscle and wasn’t at her bets. I hope their second event will have different feel to it.

Overall, they are watcheable, elegant, but as a coach, I would want more expression from them. It is like if they are sleepwalking through the program. A bit of passion, a bit of fire, add a bit of life into it. I would make them watch Kostiukovich or Radionova’s past programs, and then fake it until you make it! Maybe they need a program which will force them to be more expressive. They are good, but they could be great.
 

eterislouisvuitton

On the Ice
Joined
Nov 29, 2019
I don’t particularly like their Pink Floyd program either. However, their problem is not the program as such. They have much worse problems. They look good - they are polished and they have that feeling a couple who has been together for a long while has - the constant awareness where the other one is and knowing what he/she will do. They are nicely synchronised, in fact, this season I like watching them more than ever in the past.

However, Ksenia has never been a consistent with her jumps. But this competition, it was somehow even worse than usual. Usually I feel she at least fights for it. This time it was like if she can’t be bothered. As if she gave up. The double footed throw landings - she could have at least tried to land on one leg. Not sure what was wrong, maybe she has some small injury or even just pulled muscle and wasn’t at her bets. I hope their second event will have different feel to it.

Overall, they are watcheable, elegant, but as a coach, I would want more expression from them. It is like if they are sleepwalking through the program. A bit of passion, a bit of fire, add a bit of life into it. I would make them watch Kostiukovich or Radionova’s past programs, and then fake it until you make it! Maybe they need a program which will force them to be more expressive. They are good, but they could be great.
They are good, but they could be great.

I couldn't have said it better. Right now, they are the utter definition of fine. They could be more than fine, they could be amazing. I think if they are to keep the Pink Floyd music, then they need to perform more. I like that they engage with each other, as they have been together a long time and clearly are (were?) a very well matched team. Kostiukovich is the best example of all. We don't have videos from that St. PEtersburg copmetition, but look at her fac ein the photos. Briukhanov, like Ialin, is playing backup already. Ksenia and Valeri could be double that - starring together. Maybe Pink Floyd doesn't need extra faces and fist pumps like Polina, but it could use some more angular movements and commitment to the music.And there are so many black dresses this season - go for some purple, some blue, whatever. Ksenia would look good in anything sparkly. They need to do anything to make themselves stand out, or else A/N will run away with the whole season. Hard to imagine that a year ago they were a barely known team from Perm and here they are.

Back to Ksenia and Valeri, I don't think KSenia is giving up on the elements. At that level of competition there is such pressure from everyone around her that I'm sure she is fighting for her life. Quarantine was rough on everyone, and Ksenia looks like she is going through puberty. For a small frame like hers it won't be as hard as a curvaceous girl, but difficult nonetheless. It seems that she is also struggling to change positions in the lifts. They may have to adjust the lifts so that she does not have to spread herself so far out in the air like Panfilova and Artemeva, as she is getting taller and Valeri will struggle with his center of balance.

As of now, there is a TBA for pairs in Rostelecom. Based on recent form it would most likely be Kadyrova/Balchenko or Artemeva/Nazarychev (if Artemeva is old enough) but Tarasova/Morozov are not currently entered. If none of those teams get entered and Rylov's health issues aren't resolved, is it too much to ask for Ksenia and Valeri to make their senior debut this year? Russia will sweep regardless of who they send anyways....
 

hanca

Record Breaker
Joined
Sep 23, 2008
Russia doesn’t need to send a junior pair to a senior GP. What would be the point? They have quite a few newly created senior pairs this season, so if they figure out who is the best, send them.

As you said, there is Kadyrova/Balchenko. I think they have the best chances because they are in senior reserve team.

Anastasia Balalbanova/Alexey Svyatchenko - competed a week ago, placed third at the first Russian cup, Scored 186.
Karina Akopova/Nikita Rakhmanin - new pair, but both experienced pair skaters. Last week scored 179.
Alina Solovieva/Elisei Ivanov - they were at St Peters test skates and scored pretty well for a new pair. (Don’t remember how much exactly, but it was over 180).
Victoria Vasilieva/Nikita Volodin - not likely to go to the GP, she is new to pairs (though we don’t know when exactly she switched to pairs. )
Veronika Varentsova/ Dmitri Bushlanov – will they skate for Belarus?
Maria Pavlova/Ilia Spiridonov - they will compete in a week in Moser’s competition, so we will see how good they are.
Valeria Ponosova/ Dmitri Yalin – They probably split up already because she is again on Russian ice partner search
Lina Kudriavtseva /Roman Zaporozhets - they will compete in a week in Moser’s competition, so we will see how good they are.

Rylov’s health issues were having tonsils or adenoids removed, so that shouldn’t keep him off ice for long. It is not as if he was injured.

Why would you send a junior pair to senior GP? I know that this season the GP would be mostly skating against Russian teams and they will compete against them at the nationals anyway, but what’s the point moving to seniors before a pair is ready? And what next year, disappear within the senior field because they were not ready? Or return to JGP? When someone moves to GP, going back to JGP seems like a step back. I would rather someone was the best junior in the world than under average senior only because they moved up too early.
 
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eterislouisvuitton

On the Ice
Joined
Nov 29, 2019
Well it seems today that Tarasova/Morozov have withdrawn, another team have withdrawn. Therefore, Ksenia and Valeri will make their senior international debut at Rostelecom cup this year!

It makes sense. They are the #2 team behind Artemeva/Nazarychev as of now and will age out of juniors and move up eventually. They could have put in Kadyrova/Balchenko, but their pair elements need a lot of work. So I think this is a good choice, and Ksenia and Valeri will probably move up to seniors full time next year.
 

eterislouisvuitton

On the Ice
Joined
Nov 29, 2019
Ludmilla Velikova comfirmed their schedule: Rostelecom Cup and then Russian Cup stage 5. They will face Boikova/Kozlovski, Mishina/Galliamov, Panfilova/Rylov, Mukhametzianova/Mironov, Vasilieva/Volodin, Tarasova/Morozov. They already have 2nd at their first stage but the competition will be fierce. This is why I think it is best to not risk Ksenia's jumps and allow her to focus on what she is good at - twists and throws. I also hope that she has gotten some more time to adjust to her more womanly body.

Right now they do 3S+eu+2S and 3T. The 3T is rarely landed, and the eu+2S doesn't have nearly as many points as 2T+2T. IT is never clear to me if they go for 3S+eu+3S or 3S+eu+2S. They get good GOE on neither. So it wouldn't hurt too much to replace one with a 2A. I'd say 2A+2T+2T and 3S is a safer layout, with decent BV as well.

The only downside to seeing them so much is that they will likely not have time to ditch their free program. Once again, the program is fine. Their skating is fine. Their costumes are fine. Their performance is fine. Their coordination is fine. If they want to stand out and win junior worlds, they need to realize their potential and be more than fine. It is still beyond me why they did not keep interstellar and get a new free, but it is what it is. Now I just hope that being in the same rink as Kostiukovich will inspire some charisma, confidence, and energy into this pink floyd program.

IMO they still should take the time to get a new free for the second half of the season. Next season is Ksenia's last junior eligible season. And btw, Ksenia/Valeri are not returning to the JGP. Russia does not send teams to the JGP for 5 years, and they need to move up eventually. That is, if JGP manages to happen in 2021. This free program could literally make or break them. If I were judging I would give maybe 7.25 for performance, 7.5 for interpretation, 8.0 for transitions. If they do a program like interstellar and add a few more transitions, then I would say at least 8,0 performance, 8.5 interpretation, and 8.5 transitions. That is quite a difference. If they want to receive GP assignments next year and make a name for themselves, then they need to be in the top 6 at senior nationals, and named an alternate to Euros or worlds. Kozlovski, Galliamov, Morozov, and Rylov have all had health issues in the last few months. The door is open, but they need to walk through it. As for juniors, they need to make sure that they win either junior nationals or juniot worlds, preferrably both. Artemeva/Nazarychev and Kostiukovich/Briukhanov won't make it easy. Mukhametzianova/Mironov have the jumps too.

I may be alone in this, but I really think that the Pink Floyd program could make or break their season. Along with the selection of SBS jumps in the free.
 

eterislouisvuitton

On the Ice
Joined
Nov 29, 2019

Rostelecom Cup, they were 6th and last of the Russian teams. I was really hoping that they would win everything this season, and when they land things, it's still great, but they were an entire 24 points below Artemeva/Nazarychev here and Ksenia is clearly still having growing pains. She doesn't straighten her arms, her legs, point her feet, give commitment to choreography, or any of the other refined things that would give this program a bit more of a wow factor. Even during the bows, her arms were relaxed, fingers not pointed, and foot not at the knee in the passe twizzle. In gymnastics, they would call her limbs "wet noodles." She's pretty good in the short, however, so I wonder if it is the program. I think it's hard for him, as he hasnt' grown much since he got into pairs skating but she has grown a lot. I really hope she will not grow any more, because if she does, then I can see this team falling apart/her career in competitive skating not having a great future.

Also, is it really so difficult to replace the 3T with a 2A
 

eterislouisvuitton

On the Ice
Joined
Nov 29, 2019
Junior worlds are cancelled. Ksenia is still young enough next season, so if they can get it together by then, maybe they will have their moment next year. Too bad about their struggles now though :(
 
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