So the new figure skating season has already started this week, with the first Junior Grand Prix … and I realized I still hadn’t finished my end-of-year wrap-up for last season!! Here it is finally. Because it’s so late, I’ve tried to keep this edition a bit shorter than usual. Hope you enjoy this look back at some of my favorite programs, performances, and costumes from last season! Continue reading “Best, Most & Worst of Pairs: 2017-18”
Cranberry Open is a U.S. club competition that takes place every summer in the town of Hyannis, on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. I usually try to make it down there for one day each summer to see some early-season skating.
The competitors at Cranberry are mostly local New England skaters. However, the event sometimes draws skaters from further afield. This year, Florida coach Jim Peterson brought a contingent of his skaters, including U.S. bronze medalists Deanna Stellato-Dudek/Nate Bartholomay. Yesterday, I got a chance to see the debut of Stellato-Dudek/Bartholomay’s new short program, plus a mix of programs in other divisions. Continue reading “Cranberry Open 2018: Notes”
When Deanna Stellato and Nate Bartholomay announced their new partnership in 2016, many in the skating world were taken by surprise. Bartholomay was a U.S. National medalist and Olympian; but at 27, his skating career was in doubt after partner Felicia Zhang retired in 2014 and a subsequent partnership did not work out. Stellato, for her part, was just returning to elite-level skating at 33, after an unheard-of 16-year absence from the sport. She also had no previous pairs experience. Yet somehow, this unlikely duo joined forces to become a pairs team. Continue reading “Interview with Stellato/Bartholomay (June 2018)”
The Olympics are so big. So many countries participating, so many people watching. For two weeks, we see figure skating on the biggest stage in the world. Well, I’m happy to say that the pairs skaters did not disappoint when it was their turn to take the stage in Pyeongchang. It was a great pairs event, by any measure you could think of. The overall standard of quality was high, the pairs delivered many personal-best programs, and the drama at the top was intense. When it was all over, Aliona Savchenko/Bruno Massot were the new Olympic champions. And they were joined on the podium by two other great teams: Sui/Han and Duhamel/Radford. It was a truly satisfying end to a competition that fans had looked forward to for years. Continue reading “Olympics 2018: Pairs Review”
Last week, I had my Olympic pairs predictions all ready to go up on my web site. Then, the Olympic team event started, and everything changed!
The pairs discipline in the team event was exciting and unpredictable. It gave us a preview of about half the pairs who will compete in the individual pairs event in Pyeongchang. The pairs’ performances in the team event didn’t really go according to plan. Some highly ranked pairs made costly mistakes, while others turned in unexpectedly strong, season’s-best performances. Continue reading “Olympics 2018: Pairs Preview & Predictions”
Last week at Four Continents, U.S. pairs fans saw a sight we haven’t enjoyed for a quite a long time: A U.S. pairs team standing atop the podium at an international competition. Tarah Kayne/Danny O’Shea of the United States won the title at Four Continents, with their U.S. teammates Cain/LeDuc right behind them. It was a great, and much-needed, step forward for the U.S. pairs program. Continue reading “Four Continents 2018: Pairs Review”
Last year, the pairs event at Europeans was one of the highlights of the entire season. Unfortunately, this year’s event didn’t quite live up to that standard. The competition lost a big star when Savchenko/Massot withdrew a few days beforehand, citing a desire to focus on the Olympics (plus an injury to Massot’s back). For the remaining pairs, Europeans 2018 was mostly a competition of missed opportunities, as few teams skated their best in Moscow. Continue reading “Europeans 2018: Pairs Review”
It’s hard to believe, but U.S. Nationals is right around the corner. Due to the Olympics, Nationals is very early this year (Dec 29-Jan 7). With the event coming up so soon, I thought I’d take a look at what to expect from the U.S. pairs in San Jose. Continue reading “U.S. Nationals 2017: Pairs Preview”
The pairs event at Russian Nationals is always so fun to watch. It’s actually one of my favorite pairs competitions of the entire year! The quality level and depth of Russian pairs, as a group, is just so high that it’s inspiring and exciting to watch. This year, there was another level of intensity, with Olympic spots on the line. The Olympic pressure seemed to negatively affect the top teams in the competition, all of whom had mistakes in the long program. However, the younger teams in the competition really shone, with many terrific performances. Unfortunately I don’t have time to do a full review of this event—with holiday preparations here in the U.S.–but here are some brief notes/reactions to Russian Nationals. Continue reading “Notes from Russian Nationals 2017”
The lead-up to this year’s Grand Prix Final was dominated by news of Russia and the Olympics. Two days before the Grand Prix Final began in Nagoya, Japan, the IOC announced that Russia was banned as a nation from the 2018 Winter Olympics. However, the IOC also decided that clean Russian athletes will be able to participate in Pyeongchang as “Olympic Athletes from Russia” (OAR). Continue reading “Grand Prix Final 2017: Pairs Review”