Four Continents 2017: Pairs Review

Prior to the event, the pairs competition at this year’s Four Continents looked a bit unpredictable. For three of the top pairs, it was their first international event of the season after time off due to major injuries/illness. Another question was how World champions Duhamel/Radford would rebound from their bronze medal at the Grand Prix Final. Ultimately, it proved to be a great competition overall, with many strong performances. Here’s my look at what happened. Continue reading

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Europeans 2017: Pairs Review

This year’s European Championship was easily one of the best pairs competitions we’ve seen since Sochi. The event was star-studded, with Savchenko/Massot, Stolbova/Klimov, and Tarasova/Morozov the top contenders coming in. However, other Euro pairs were determined to make their mark this year. And none more so than French couple James/Cipres, who unexpectedly took the bronze with two career-best performances. The level of competition among the top teams was incredible—we saw one personal-best score after another. As a pairs fan, it was a joy to watch! Let’s look back at what happened.  Continue reading

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2017 U.S. Nationals: Pairs Review

The 2016-17 season has been a bit wild and unpredictable for U.S. pairs. There’s been some highlights and some exciting new talent; but also, a lot of injuries and problems. The roller-coaster season continued at U.S. Nationals in Kansas City, where we saw some surprises and unexpected results. Continue reading

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Interview with Cain/LeDuc

This afternoon, Ashley Cain/Tim LeDuc will take the ice for their first U.S. Nationals together. This unlikely duo teamed up just 7 months ago, after both took a long break from pairs skating. Despite their time away, Ashley/Tim immediately clicked as partners and have had surprising success in their first season together, winning a bronze medal at Golden Spin of Zagreb. Ashley/Tim recently spoke with me about their new partnership, their season so far, and their hopes for Nationals and beyond. Check out my interview with them for Figure Skaters Online!

cain-leduc

http://figureskatersonline.com/news/2017/01/19/cain-and-leduc-we-have-to-stay-connected-and-just-trust-each-other/

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Russian Pairs: A New Generation

Sometimes, it seems like pairs skating begins and ends in Russia.

Factually, of course, this isn’t true. Obviously, lots of other countries have competed in pairs since 1908, when the discipline first became part of Worlds and the Olympics. In the early years, pairs skating was dominated by Austria, Hungary, and Germany. Then, from 1954-1962, Canadian pairs won 7 world titles. In recent years, China became a force. And now of course, it’s a Canadian pair, Duhamel/Radford, who reign as two-time World pairs champions. Continue reading

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Grand Prix Final 2016: Pairs Review

The pairs event at last weekend’s Grand Prix Final ended unexpectedly, with Tarasova/Morozov of Russia winning gold and favored World champions Duhamel/Radford taking only bronze. Along the way, we saw some growing pains from the new Chinese pairs, more consistency from Zabijako/Enbert, and scrappy performances from Seguin/Bilodeau. The overall level of skating was not as high as at last year’s Grand Prix Final. But it was interesting to see some new faces and storylines emerge in Marseilles. Continue reading

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NHK Trophy 2016: Pairs Review

NHK Trophy in Japan was the last stop on the Grand Prix circuit this season. For the third consecutive year, Duhamel/Radford won the event. We also saw strong performances from the two Chinese pairs at the competition. Let’s take a look at what happened. Continue reading

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Cup of China 2016: Pairs Review

At Cup of China, the pairs competition is usually all about the top Chinese pairs. And it was never more so than this year, when we saw new teams Yu/Zhang and Peng/Jin compete against each other for the first time.

These 2 new pairs are the product of a partner swap that the Chinese federation made last spring, when they broke up the successful teams of Peng/Zhang and Yu/Jin and required them to switch partners. This partner swap was controversial, and I think many fans were anxious to see how the ex-partners would look at this event.

For now, the answer is that both new teams looked really strong at Cup of China. And as much as I feared there might be drama, there wasn’t any. All parties involved actually looked happy, or at least at ease, during warmups and in the kiss-n-cry. And the new teams’ results pretty much speak for themselves, and are very promising for the future. Even with #1 Chinese pair Sui/Han out due to injury, the Chinese pairs dominated this event, finishing 1-2-4.

While it’s too soon to call the partner swap a success, we at least know that both teams have gotten off to a very good start, and show promise for the future. For the skaters’ sake, I’m happy about that. Continue reading

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Trophee de France 2016: Pairs Review

The pairs event at Trophee de France featured some some big names, but I was disappointed to see a field of only 6 pairs (instead of the allotted 8). Two French pairs who were originally assigned to the event withdrew quite late, and were not replaced. Since pairs skaters already have the lowest number of entries in Grand Prix events, it was really disappointing to see 2 slots go unused. With only 6 pairs entered, Savchenko/Massot easily dominated the event. Continue reading

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Rostelecom Cup 2016: Pairs Review

Last season, Aliona Savchenko/Bruno Massot burst onto the scene with an unexpected World bronze medal. Savchenko/Massot showed huge potential in their debut season. This season, their task is to fulfill that promise and establish themselves as gold-medal contenders at Worlds and Olympics. They took a step forward this week by winning Rostelecom Cup. Meanwhile, Russian pair Natalia Zabijako/Alexander Enbert—also in only their second season–turned heads by winning silver at their home Grand Prix. Let’s look at the action in Moscow. Continue reading

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