Your overlooked/underappreciated/up-and-coming faves: a gift thread

Harriet

Record Breaker
Joined
Oct 23, 2017
Country
Australia
It’s currently the darkest, dullest, emptiest part of the figure-skating calendar, with light not due to peek through again until Mentor Torun Cup and EDUSport Trophy in early January. It’s also the time when a few major gift-giving festivals are celebrated in many parts of the world. So I thought, why not combine these two facts and encourage posters to give each other gifts? Specifically, the gift of overlooked, underappreciated or new and interesting skaters to follow in the New Year. As many of them as you like, with only two restrictions. They should be skating as Seniors domestically and/or internationally, and they can’t come from any of the big federations.

Hard mode: In dance, France counts as a big federation; in Pairs, China does; and in Ladies, South Korea does.

Here are my gifts to you!

Ice Dance

Matilda Friend and William Badaoui, AUS: This gutsy and cheerful pair of Sydneysiders has been consistently scoring PBs at competition after competition this season despite heavy university schedules, low funding and an isolated training location. Have a look at their catchy disco RD to Priscilla Queen of the Desert here and their dramatic take on Game of Thrones in the FD here. Jenny of Oldstones FTW! :) You can also read an interview with Matilda here.

Allison Reed and Saulius Ambrulevicius, LTU: These two have had at good season so far, ultimately scoring two Grand Prix places and making a bit of a splash with their unusual and effective FD. Their RD is a whole different bowlful of neat, sparky fun – if you missed them on the GP, check it out now.

Pairs

Cleo Hamon and Denys Strekalin, FRA: Denys has a hand/wrist injury that’s caused problems for this team a couple of times this season. But they made a strong statement at Junior Worlds last year with their unusual Hunger Games FS, and this year’s SP and Notre Dame de Paris free, when the lifts are cooperating, show that they’re no one-program wonders.

Ladies

Zahra Lari, UAE: Zahra hasn’t competed yet this season due to a fractured vertebra. Yes, she only has a couple of triples and her double axel timing is wobbly in competition. No, she doesn’t score high. But she holds the eye in a way many more technically accomplished skaters are completely incapable of doing. She started skating at age 14 and lands triple jumps in international competition, she’s the first woman to skate in hijab and the first to compete for the UAE, she has innovative spins and lovely step sequences, and her trailblazing has opened the way for more girls from the UAE to skate in the JGP and Novices, including her talented protegée Thea Aboudiwan. Have a look at her SP from last year here (her FS from Cup of Tyrol unfortunately vanished in the YouTube purge).

Jenni Saarinen, FIN: Jenni had a great outing at Finlandia Trophy early this season and followed it up with a solid silver medal at Finnish Nationals. She’s the kind of skater where I don’t necessarily remember her programs in between watching them, but when I watch I have my chin propped in my hands and a smile on my face.

Noémie Bodenstein, SUI: Following a difficult season thanks to injuries and a coaching change, Noémie has been back on a rising course again this year, and just a few weeks ago put out a blinder of a clean FS at Swiss Nationals, beating her PB by almost 21 points to scoop the silver medal out from under the noses of podium favourites Anais Coraducci and Yasmine Kimoko Yamada. You can watch that program here, and her SP from Volvo Open here.

Paulina Ramanuskaitė, LTU: Paulina had a rough time on the JGP this year due to a growth spurt and a back injury; she’s currently off the ice healing. But her skating last year showcased a ton of potential and when she’s on form she’s definitely one to watch. Last year’s FS is here, and her SP is here.

Men

Sondre Odvall Boe, NOR: Sondre’s another one who’s had a bit of a bobbly season so far, but when he’s on he’s lovely to watch: he touches your emotions quietly and in unexpected ways. He’s apparently going back to his Muse FS for the second half of the season and that should be worth a look at Euros, along with his SP to I Found You.

Darian Kaptich, AUS: This year’s Australian national bronze medallist has a nice eye for an effective costume and an increasing technical and artistic range. He’s also one of the most cheerful and charming skaters you could hope to watch in a month of Sundays, and he does it all from sunny, stinking hot Brisbane. As his Nationals programs aren’t up on YouTube, you can get a look at his JGP skates here: SP and FS.

Graham Newberry, GBR: I fell for Graham back in the days when he tended to skate like he was in a battle to the death with his own programs (spoiler alert: he generally lost, but he did at least take the things down with him). These days he and his programs are mostly on the same side and working quite well together, though. Here he is at British Nationals in the short and the free.

Who are your overlooked, underappreciated or delightfully new favourites? Share!
 

Seven Sisters

Medalist
Joined
Jul 17, 2018
Let me be the first to nominate Kazakova/Reviya, the young Georgian dance team that is apparently in the process of moving up to Seniors. An impressively strong team with a fabulous FD—my pick for small federation stars of the future!
 

DSQ

Record Breaker
Joined
Apr 14, 2018
Country
United-Kingdom
This is a great idea!

Dance:

FIN: Juulia Turkkila / Matthias Versluis. They’ve not been skating this season due to Juulia’s neck injury but their ballet FD last season was world class. I fully exspect them to move up the ranks from their 16th at the 2019 worlds if they recover from their injury.

Ladies:

EST: Eva Lotta Kiibus. I don’t understand why Eva isn’t winning the JGP’s she enters, she’s that good. She’s very expressive and has a solid 3Lz. Great costumes too.

Men:

ITA: Daniel Grassl. He has the quads and his favourite skater is Jason Brown. While he needs a little attention to his second mark but that’s normal at his age, plus he is very exciting to watch. Trust me he might podium at this years Europeans.
 

kmw227

On the Ice
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
Let me be the first to nominate Kazakova/Reviya, the young Georgian dance team that is apparently in the process of moving up to Seniors. An impressively strong team with a fabulous FD—my pick for small federation stars of the future!

I second this! I adore Maria and Georgy and their free dance is quite possibly my favorite of the season out of both the juniors AND seniors. It's that good! I was thrilled to see them win the JGPF and I cannot wait to see how they fare at Euros and Senior Worlds as well as Junior Worlds. Hoping for a smooth transition to the senior ranks for them as well :pray:
 

hanyuufan5

❅*:・。.✨
Medalist
Joined
May 19, 2018
Aiza Mambekova!

If I had the money, I'd personally pay for her to train with Ghislain Briand. She's got everything else, just needs the jumps...
 

MGstyle

Crawling around on the ice after chestnuts
Medalist
Joined
Sep 1, 2015
Let me be the first to nominate Kazakova/Reviya, the young Georgian dance team that is apparently in the process of moving up to Seniors. An impressively strong team with a fabulous FD—my pick for small federation stars of the future!
Totally agree!!!

Sofia Shevchenko & Igor Eremenko - admitted I don't have a trained eye for ice dancing and I do know in this field in particular young teams are obligated to "climb up the ladder" when they become Srs. But IMO they do have the finesse, charisma and the star quality to become one of the big names of the new generation. I hope the ladder won't be too steep for them, this goes to Kazakova Reviya as well, but for Sofia & Igor there is a hurdle of the National competition even before the International level!

Petr Gumennik - He does have a serious issue with consistency, but then again, so do most of the top Russian men. He is by far the most musical with the innate gift to move gracefully and sell the program when he gets a right one. (Dima Aliev has become a charismatic, artistic skater, but he did learn to be so along the way, Petya has an inborn talent which was evident since he was small.)

Andrei Kutovoi - He only had one JGP assignment this year, so it is quite possibly just a matter of time. I can only say - remember his name!!
 

GoneWithTheWind

On the Ice
Joined
Dec 7, 2018
Country
United-Kingdom
Brilliant idea for a thread, and glad to see Matilda and William already get a mention, they were going to be my first pick!

Pairs:
Miriam Ziegler and Severin Kiefer (AUT) - I think these guys tick all 3 boxes, despite having placed top 10 at Euros. They had a tricky season last year as, despite their success on the GP and CS circuit, they then had to deal with their coach passing away unexpectedly, but they fought on and even managed to place 10th at Worlds. They have a unique style on the ice and have a great connection to each other and the audience when they skate. I'm really excited to watch them at Europeans this year, as they'll be skating at home in Austria. Here's their joyful short from the 2017/18 season and their emotional free from this season. Also, bonus reason to love them: Miriam is one of few skaters to have competed in the Olympics in two different disciplines, ladies singles (2010) and pairs (2014, 2018)!

Ladies:
Güzide Irmak Bayır (TUR) - Competed senior at the Bosphorus Istanbul Cup 2019 and will be attending Europeans, so I hope she counts! I really enjoyed her performances on the JGP this season and last season, especially her Another Bites The Dust short which she always performed with such joy. She's been building her tech content and, this season, she's added a solid 3T+3T to her short program. I really hope she can skate well at Europeans and earn new PBs.

Dance:
Charlène Guignard and Marco Fabbri (ITA) - I am biased here, because they are my favourites, but these guys are IMO definitely overlooked and underappreciated. They may have medalled at the GPF and Euros, but they still have one of the smallest fan bases of the top teams. They have good technique, are expressive on the ice, have a tiny height difference but still manage to do impressive lifts and their free dance this year packages the whole lot together. Previously, they have performed to often-used pieces of music, but this season their free is unique to them, which is partly why I love it so much!

Katrine Roy and Claudio Pietrantonio (ITA) - these two made their first appearance at Italian Nationals this year, taking the bronze, and I especially enjoyed their emotive free dance. Although it was their first competition together, they had two good performances with nice lifts, good unison and a clear connection between them. I really look forward to seeing them again in the future, hopefully in international competition, so that others can enjoy their performances too!
 

PekkaRink

Rinkside
Joined
Apr 28, 2018
That’s a really nice idea, thanks for your gifts! Although calling it the dullest time of the year while rus nats are going on just made me laugh out loud 😄
 

ice coverage

avatar credit: @miyan5605
Record Breaker
Joined
Feb 27, 2012
It’s currently the darkest, dullest, emptiest part of the figure-skating calendar, with light not due to peek through again until Mentor Torun Cup and EDUSport Trophy in early January. ...

That’s a really nice idea, thanks for your gifts! Although calling it the dullest time of the year while rus nats are going on just made me laugh out loud ��

Yes, I too was scratching my head over the first sentence of the OP.
(The thread would be welcome at any time.)

It's not as if I have a huge number of favorites who are at Russian Nationals, but even I could not resist taking a few peeks during the middle of the night (in the U.S.) at the live streaming and live results -- to see a small number of my favorites there (who are not necessarily among the top contenders) and to try to learn a bit about some other skaters.

Also want to mention that some of us are looking forward to Youth Olympic Games figure skating, for which practices begin on Jan 7 and competition begins on Jan 10.

On the topic of the thread, will mention a 2020 YOG competitor from my "keep-an-eye-on" list: Nikita Kovalenko of Israel.
Go, Nikita. :yay:


ETA (on Dec 27):
Sorry, I had not noticed the restriction in the OP that the thread was intended to be for discussion only of seniors.
But I myself still will be keeping an eye on Nikita. And of the three concurrent competitions that are earliest in 2020, YOG still will be of highest interest to me.​
 

el henry

Fangirl of men’s spirals and split jumps
Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 3, 2014
I actually don’t think given how brand new they are, that this team is underappreciated. But I certainly do think they are up-and-coming. They entranced me from the first time I saw a video from the Canadian summer skates

Utana Yoshida and Shingo Nishiyama, junior ice dancers for Japan

Utashin:hap10:

( I don’t consider Japan a big fed for ID purposes. ;) )
 

Sai Bon

Final Flight
Joined
Dec 28, 2013
Country
New-Zealand
I actually don’t think given how brand new they are, that this team is underappreciated. But I certainly do think they are up-and-coming. They entranced me from the first time I saw a video from the Canadian summer skates

Utana Yoshida and Shingo Nishiyama, junior ice dancers for Japan

Utashin:hap10:

( I don’t consider Japan a big fed for ID purposes. ;) )

I second that!!! (And third, and fourth) :luv17::laugh:
 

CaroLiza_fan

EZETTIE LATUASV IVAKMHA
Record Breaker
Joined
Oct 25, 2012
Country
Northern-Ireland
First of all, can I just say that it is good to see a couple of my kids have been mentioned already. Jenni Saarinen and Aiza Mambekova have both been around for a good while, so they don't really fall into the up-and-coming category. But, I do agree that they are probably overlooked and underappreciated.

The "up-and-coming" category is actually a very hard one to give answers for. It is easy to think of up-and-coming skaters competing at Novice and Junior level. But, not so much at Senior level. For the simple reason that the excellent work that Ted and the crew have been doing with the Junior Grand Prix YouTube channel means that young skaters are normally already established names by the time they start competing in Seniors.

As soon as I saw the words "up-and-coming", I knew who I wanted to give as my answer. But she is currently too young for Juniors never mind Seniors. So, if there is a similar thread in a few years time, I'll mention her then.

Thank you for giving me something to ponder and think over during the New Year break. I'll get back to you with some suggestions.

CaroLiza_fan
 

Harriet

Record Breaker
Joined
Oct 23, 2017
Country
Australia
That’s a really nice idea, thanks for your gifts! Although calling it the dullest time of the year while rus nats are going on just made me laugh out loud ��

Little joke of mine. Should have included an emoji! :)

Thank you for all the suggestions everyone! Lots of new skaters for me to track down on YouTube during this next heatwave...
 

elektra blue

mother of skaters
Record Breaker
Joined
Jul 11, 2018
Country
Italy
little firecracker Julia Lang, she is still a junior and inconsistent but she will grow to threat Ivett Toth's beautiful cactus title :laugh2:

Viktoria Safonova, the other Sambo girl competing now for Belarus, always underscored

P. J. Hallam, new british national champion, hell of a performer. i dare you not to smile after you watch him skate
 

Ruthypegs

On the Ice
Joined
May 5, 2017
Dance:
Charlène Guignard and Marco Fabbri (ITA) - I am biased here, because they are my favourites, but these guys are IMO definitely overlooked and underappreciated. They may have medalled at the GPF and Euros, but they still have one of the smallest fan bases of the top teams. They have good technique, are expressive on the ice, have a tiny height difference but still manage to do impressive lifts and their free dance this year packages the whole lot together. Previously, they have performed to often-used pieces of music, but this season their free is unique to them, which is partly why I love it so much!

I completely agree with all of the points you make, and I also don't understand why Guignard and Fabbri don't have a bigger fanbase. I can also add that Marco, IMO, is one of the top male ice-dancers, Charlene is wonderful, too, and also has some of the best reactions in the K&C, as does their coach. Marco and Charlene also have a lovely supportive partnership, and seem to really enjoy what they do.

In terms of the medal for ice dance for underappreciated/overlooked/up-and-coming: Gold - Gilles/Poirier, Silver - Guignard/Fabbri, Bronze - Turkkila/Versluis


Would also agree that Andrei Kutovoi is definitely one to watch to be a future champion, and PJ Hallam is a brilliant entertainer.
 

iluvtodd

Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 5, 2004
Country
United-States
Brilliant idea for a thread
Pairs:
Miriam Ziegler and Severin Kiefer (AUT) - I think these guys tick all 3 boxes, despite having placed top 10 at Euros. They had a tricky season last year as, despite their success on the GP and CS circuit, they then had to deal with their coach passing away unexpectedly, but they fought on and even managed to place 10th at Worlds. They have a unique style on the ice and have a great connection to each other and the audience when they skate. I'm really excited to watch them at Europeans this year, as they'll be skating at home in Austria. Here's their joyful short from the 2017/18 season and their emotional free from this season. Also, bonus reason to love them: Miriam is one of few skaters to have competed in the Olympics in two different disciplines, ladies singles (2010) and pairs (2014, 2018)!


Dance:
Charlène Guignard and Marco Fabbri (ITA) - I am biased here, because they are my favourites, but these guys are IMO definitely overlooked and underappreciated. They may have medalled at the GPF and Euros, but they still have one of the smallest fan bases of the top teams. They have good technique, are expressive on the ice, have a tiny height difference but still manage to do impressive lifts and their free dance this year packages the whole lot together. Previously, they have performed to often-used pieces of music, but this season their free is unique to them, which is partly why I love it so much!

Oh, yeah! :biggrin: :luv17: :agree:


We got to see Viktor Pfeiffer a few times @ the Liberty Summer Competition in Aston, PA, while he was still an Olympic eligible skater (early 2010's). We were impressed with him, and are glad he's coaching now. Always a pleasure to see him there (@ the Philadelphia International Summer Competition, formerly "Liberty") & @ US Nationals with his students.

Current skaters I really enjoy - Donovan Carillo, Kailani Crane, Souscisse & Firus ...
 
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