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The U.S. Pair Team of Zhang and Bartholomay have announced the end of their partnership. They are the reigning U.S. silver medalists in Pairs, finished 12th at the Olympics, and finished 14th at 2014 Worlds.

Nathan Bartholomay has expressed interest in finding a new partner while Felicia Zhang has said she is retiring from skating so that she can attend the University of South Florida on a full-time basis.

The talk last spring was the Zhang and Bartholomay had planned to stay together only through the Olympics, but after achieving decent placements at the Olympics and Worlds, were considering continuing on with their partnership. Apparently, Zhang has decided to move on from the sport.

So another U.S. Pair bites the dust. The field is going to be pretty thin at Nationals in January. At this stage, pretty much any team who wants to do Senior Pairs is probably going to get an invitation to compete.

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who are the current US juniors champions?



Madeline Aaron (Max’s little sister) and Max Settlage are the reigning U.S. Junior Pairs champions. They had already indicated that they planned to compete at the Senior level at Nationals this year. They have received Zhang and Bartholomay's spot at Skate Canada.

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It’s nice to report that a new Pair is forming for the U.S. – Gretchen Donlan and Nathan Bartholomay.

Donlan formerly skated with Andrew Speroff, but he retired from competition and is skating Pairs with his girlfriend Kylie Duarte on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. Bartholomay previously skated with Felicia Zhang, who retired from competition to attend college full-time.

The Pair is newly formed and has begun training with Jim Peterson in Florida.

Also, it’s official that Valentina Marchei will partner up with Ondrej Hotarek to skate Pairs for Italy. The new Italian pair will train in Montreal with Bruno Marcotte and also in Milan with Franca Bianconi.

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All of these partner changes are making my head spin.  Wow, I thought Joubert was retiring.  Too bad he and Valentina aren't pairing up  - that would be a sexy pair for sure.

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I was browsing at Figure Skating Universe and noticed that some videos were up from a summer competition called Glacier Falls.  Polina Edmunds and Jason Brown debuted their new short and long programs there.  Polina looks amazing.  Her programs are light, airy, flowy, and her jumps looked spot on.  I believe she did a 7 triple long--that's pretty darn great for this early in the season.  Jason's programs are also wonderful with inventive choreography and jump entrances.  I just hope he can up his technical content.  Without the quad he will be hard pressed to keep up with the other guys.

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I wouldn't expect Jason to have a quad this early in the season.  It was a minor competition and skaters are still working on their choreography and jump layout.  I do hope he at least tries to do one during his Grand Prix events, though, showing judges that he's working on it and he knows he needs one to be competitive.


I'm not really crazy about his SP (it may grow on me) but I love his LP already.  Rohene Ward has created another masterpiece for Jason.


Also loved Polina's programs, too.  Rudy Galindo choreographed both programs and they're both great.  Gracie Gold's new SP was great, but I wasn't blown away.  But again, it's early.  The skater I really enjoyed watching was Leah Keiser.  Good jumps, spins, footwork...she seems to have great musicality and listens to the song.  I'm interested to see her again.  Wasn't all that impressed by Mariah Bell or Courtney Hicks.  Meh.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Great to find a figure skating forum here (had no idea there was one at TWOP...it pays to browse!)  Thanks to Good Queen Jane for the updates on new rules. So glad they've shortened the time required to get to center ice (this just may cause Jeremy to reconsider retirement, though). That minute always added to the drama and IMO just increased the misery for the overly nervous skaters.  As a non-fan of vocals (I don't watch exhibitions), I'm not looking forward to this addition to pairs and singles this season.  It hasn't been an issue in ice dancing but I'm dreading having to endure a LP while Idina ? (help me, John!) wails away her Frozen theme song. I'm looking forward to reading everyone's posts here (have been a poster over at SkateFans and Golden Skate forums for years).

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The Junior Grand Prix of France - the first international competition of the season - was held this past weekend. The U.S. brought home one medal - a bronze in Ladies by Amber Glenn - and had respectable placements in both Men and Dance. There was no Pairs event at this competition.


The JGP of France was the first competition in which the revised ISU scoring rules were applied, much to the dismay of some of the skaters. Some examples of the impact of the new scoring rules:


- A WEEDed (wrong edge entry deduction) lutz in 2013-14 was scored with a base value of 6.60; with the negative GOES for the WEED, the final points for that jump were about 5.75. This year, a WEEDed lutz receives a base value of 4.62 (30% lower due to the error); with the negative GOES for the WEED, the final points for that jump were about 3.35. That’s a difference of 2.4 points between last year’s scoring and this year. Quite a few Ladies lost points on a WEEDed lutz.


- Several skaters had jumps declared invalid because they used the same jump more than twice in the Free Skate. The new rule is no double jump (including the double axel) can be included more than twice in total in a Free Program (as a solo jump or as part of a combination/sequence).


- One skater - Alexander Samarin of Russia - received a 1 point deduction in his Free Skate for a late start. Samarin made several circuits around the ice after his name was called and didn’t reach his starting pose within the required 30 seconds.


If you need a “skating fix” or want to see the performance of a skater (or skaters) at the Junior Grand Prix events, the ISU is using YouTube to make the Junior Grand Prix performances available.

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- Several skaters had jumps declared invalid because they used the same jump more than twice in the Free Skate. The new rule is no double jump (including the double axel) can be included more than twice in total in a Free Program (as a solo jump or as part of a combination/sequence).

If this happens, is it a deduction, or is it just not included in the scoring?

(Thanks, Good Queen Jane, for the education on the finer aspects of the sport!)

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It's as though the jump never happened. For example, Amber Glenn in the Free Skate in JGP France did a double toe as the second jump of a triple lutz combination; she had already done two double toes as part of a three jump combination, so the third double toe was considered a repeated jump and didn’t count. So instead of getting points for a combination, she just got points for the triple lutz as a solo jump. And since she had done a solo triple lutz earlier in the program, this triple lutz was treated as a repeated solo jump and scored at 70% of its base value. So instead of starting with a base score of 7.30 for a triple lutz/double toe, Amber had a base score of 4.62 for a downgraded triple lutz.


I can't imagine why people say they don't understand the scoring in figure skating these days!

Edited by Good Queen Jane
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Not really. It's all computerized. The Technical Specialist enters the jump into the computer which assigns the base value. The Technical Controller keeps track of the illegal elements and falls and enters those in the computers. So in the example of Amber Glenn above, The Technical Specialist, who is supported by the Assistant Technical Specialist, enters each double toe jump. The Technical Controller notes when the third double toe is called and enters a deduction. Only if  there is a disagreement within the Technical Panel about a call would the tape be reviewed before the score goes up. Also, the skaters submit a list of elements in the order expected to be skated before each competition and the Technical Panel attend practices, so they have a pretty good idea about what to expect and pay special attention if there is a deviation.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Browsing Figure Skating Universe again, and found some you tube links to some performances at a JGP event by a 13 year old American named Andrew Torgashev.  This kid has beautiful posture and lovely flow on the ice.  He really looks like an up and comer.

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Some interesting skating stories from Team USA:




Have to say, I was hoping Ashley Wagner would retire, just because I'm less than enthralled with her skating. I hope Jason Brown gets a quad and can challenge for a medal.  He's fun to watch.


I will miss Meryl and Charlie very much. I also knew I could count on them to skate brilliantly.

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The first international event for Seniors takes place this week in Salt Lake City with the U.S. International Classic, which is part of what’s now called The Challenger Series (a nicer name than just “B Competitions”).


There are 11 competitions in the Challenger Series, including the Nebelhorn Trophy and the Finlandia Trophy, and skaters’ placement at these events will add points toward their ISU ranking. A skater’s ISU ranking is important because, among other things, it determines which group a skater will be in for the short program draw at events such as Europeans, Four Continents and Worlds (e.g. the “not ready for prime time” early skaters or the last two groups). Skaters also can attempt to get required minimum technical scores at the Challenger Series events, if they haven’t already achieved them. For many skaters, these events are a good “warm up” for the Grand Prix series, not to mention a chance to get a shiny medal and a few thousand dollars in prize money if they end up on the podium. Skaters also can get feedback on their programs’ format and execution from international judges, as well as see how they stack up against the competition, before competing in the more prestigious events.


In addition, the Challenger Series gives the ISU a chance to experiment with some changes. The ISU is going to test a new judging panel format in the Men’s and Dance events at the Nebelhorn Trophy in late September. The 12-judge panel will be divided into two groups; seven judges will be assigned to mark the component scores and five will evaluate the grade of execution (GOE) for each element. Four of the five judges doing the GOEs also will be assigned one category in the component score to mark. The idea is that more accurate scoring could result from judges not trying to evaluate all the elements in two categories at the same time. It’s an idea worthy of a test. Whether the federations, judges, coaches and skaters like the idea is still to be determined.


The field at the U.S. International Classic is smaller than in past years. In the past, the U.S. International drew skaters from the U.S. and Canada, as well as international skaters who were training in both countries. However, Canada has decided to host its own Challenger Series event in October, and this has cut down on the number of entries from that country.


There will be 10 entries in the Men’s event in Salt Lake City, including Andrei Rogozine and Jeremy Ten from Canada and Ronald Lam representing Hong Kong. The U.S. skaters will be Max Aaron, Ross Miner, Jordan Moeller and Doug Razzano.


In Ladies, American skaters will be Polina Edmunds, Courtney Hicks, Mirai Nagasu and Ashley Shin; their main competition among the 14 entries will be Alaine Chartrand of Canada and Brooklee Han, who skates for Australia.


The organizers managed to round up 5 Pairs for this competition: Jones and Reagan who skate for Canada, Ono and To representing Hong Kong, and American Pairs Aaron and Settlage, Calalang and Sidhu, and Scimeca and Knierim.


In Dance, the 7 couples competing will include Orford and Williams of Canada, Hurtado and Diaz of Spain, Aldridge and Eaton of the U.S. and Cannuscio and McManus of the U.S.


Icenetwork.com will provide live streaming of this competition for subscribers.

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Glad I thought to look for this thread before everything begins to get underway. I'm really looking forward to seeing Jason Brown's program to Tristan. It isn't a piece that I remember hearing too often in skating. The one program I can think of off the top of my head where the music was used came from Sale and Pelletier around 2001.

I'm also looking forward to Mirai's Madame Butterfly. I like that some people are going for opera. I was dreading the music choices certain people would make and after Jason Brown's pick for his exhibitions last season, fun choreography aside, I basically had Tim Gunn style *concerns* so I'm glad to see they were unwarranted.

I understand both sides of the Jeremy Abbott thing. On the one hand I want to give the guy a break and on the other I'm like fuck that, how many times already? I have a soft spot for headcases and screw ups but he's reaching the end of the line for me.

Random question but thinking about Miki Ando retiring after having her daughter, are there any other notable skaters apart from Irina Slutskaya and Ekaterina Gordeeva who had a child and went back to compete and do well?

As for the various rule changes I'm super happy about the death spiral changes regarding the change of arm. If only something similar could be done regarding the layback so that most of them don't have to look alike.

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Random question but thinking about Miki Ando retiring after having her daughter, are there any other notable skaters apart from Irina Slutskaya and Ekaterina Gordeeva who had a child and went back to compete and do well?


Tatiana Navka had a baby in 2000 and went on to win the 2004 and 2005 world titles and the Olympic gold in 2006, and Irina Rodnina had a baby in 1979 and won the 1980 world and Olympic titles.

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Okay somehow I was under the mistaken impression that Jason Brown would be skating to Wagner's Tristan so at first I was a little disappointed when I finally saw the program but that feeling only lasted for a few moments because I really like the program and think/hope it will work well for him.

I'm definitely disappointed that Gracie is doing Phantom since it's so tired. Ditto for Max with Gladiator.

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The U.S. International, held last week, was the first Senior international event of the season, so it’s not surprising that the skating wasn’t particularly outstanding. The whole purpose of these competitions is to try out programs, get feedback from the judges, and figure out what needs to be improved. Most of the skaters went home with a list of things to work on.


Here are the results:

MEN: 1) Max Aaron, USA  2) Ross Miner, USA  3) Daisuke Murakami, JPN

LADIES: 1) Polina Edmunds, USA  2) Courtney Hicks, USA  3) Riona Kato, JPN

PAIRS: 1) Scimeca and Knierim, USA  2) Calalang and Sidhu, USA  3) Aaron and Settlage, USA

DANCE: 1) Aldridge and Eaton, USA  2) Orford and Williams, CAN  3) Cannuscio and McManus, USA



- Several skaters lost points in both the Short and Free Skate under the new scoring rules. Those popped jumps and tacked on singles no longer got points, much to the dismay of some of the skaters.


- U.S. Figure Skating might be experiencing a bit of “buyer’s remorse” by giving the host country’s choice in Pairs to Aaron and Settlage for Skate America. Calalang and Sidhu, who are coached by Jenny Meno and Todd Sand, looked very good in Salt Lake City. They won the Short Program and gave Scimeca and Knierim a run for their money in the Free Skate. Aaron and Settlage, in contrast, finished 3rd in both and weren’t really in contention.


- Now that Pairs no longer get extra points or higher levels for changing hands during the death spiral, none of the Pairs did that move. I thought it made for a much cleaner line and a better execution of the element (no fumbling hands or crossing arms during the element). I liked seeing the death spiral back in its original format.


- Max Aaron has let his hair get long and curly, and it wasn’t an attractive look. One minute into each of programs, his hair was flying wildly around his head, and at the end of the program, it stuck out and around his face in complete disarray. Max, it’s time to get a haircut.


- Ross Miner seems to be developing “Jeremy Abbott syndrome”. The judges love the way he skates, giving him high component scores, and he gets Level 4 on all of his spins and footwork. It’s just those pesky jumps that give him problems and keep him from being really competitive.


- Among the usual coaches at the boards (Tom Z., Frank Carroll, etc.), there was one surprise. John Coughlin was at the U.S. Classic coaching a skater from Mexico in Men. I guess John is doing some coaching in between show gigs this year.

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Max Aaron needs to do something about that hair. Charlie White he is not.


US ice dance is looking pretty good. I've warmed up to Chock and Bates (I'll never not miss Emily, though) and I'm hoping they'll finish on the World's podium this year.

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Nice! Really looking forward to Skate America now. I'll admit that the bitchy part of me would have paid to see Sandra's reaction to getting this news.

I'm so glad about the death spiral rule change.

I don't know how I feel about a person being penalized so harshly for a pop. I can see zero points for every pop that happens after the first one though. I can just see some bad falls and/or overall sloppiness being a result of skaters forcing themselves to pull in even though they know it's not going to work right at the moment of take off. Pops are frustrating and some skaters give into the urge more than others but I don't know that being especially strict about this is necessarily going to lead to skaters giving cleaner programs. We'll see. I'm not avidly against the rule change I just wonder how necessary it is at the end of the day.

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Or as Johnny calls him "Sir Terence" lol.  Glad Scott and his yelling are gone along with Sandra and her vapid comments.  I don't love Tara, but Johnny and Terry are good commentators and she's part of the package deal.



Max Aaron needs to do something about that hair.


Agreed.  The Jewfro is not a good look for him (I'm Jewish with curly hair so I feel his pain).  He should stick to the short hair, it's too distracting for him and the audience.


I watched the Lombardia trophy (videos here ) and was very impressed with Richard (Ricky) Dornbush who captured the lead of the men.  Not a fan of Coldplay's music, but his skating was very good - some nice spins and jumps and connected with his music, he's also doing 'tano lutzes like Jason Brown.  He's one to watch this season.  Also impressed with Japan's Satoko Miyahara and Hannah Miller of the US who came in 1st and 2nd of the ladies.  Satoko looks much less juniorish and her Miss Saigon program looked near perfect to me this early in the season.  Hannah has great jumps and a lot of energy - she may emerge as a contender this year.


Michael Christian Martinez (Philippines) who made a splash in Sochi, skated to "Phantom" (POTO) and came in 3rd, I think.  He's another talent on the horizon and already has a lot of fans.  So sick of POTO but he did a good job.


Glad the skating drought is over and we're warming up for the Grand Prix season.  Good Luck to all the skaters!

Edited by apgold
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Agreed.  The Jewfro is not a good look for him (I'm Jewish with curly hair so I feel his pain).  


I'm not familiar with the skater you mentioned but as a Jewish curly girl myself, and one who lives in a very high humidity area, I feel both of your pain!

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In the "I don't know why you waited this long to announce it" news, Skate Canada announces Virtue and Moir are sitting out the whole '14/'15 season and just plan to do shows.  I'd like to see them and Davis & White come back to do one more season, but if they don't, they certainly have a substantial resume to be proud of.

Edited by COESpiral
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Michael Christian Martinez (Philippines) who made a splash in Sochi, skated to "Phantom" (POTO) and came in 3rd, I think



He finished 6th overall. The final standings:


MEN:1) Richard Dornbush, USA - 237.28  2) Takahito Mura, JPN - 235.79 3) Adian Pitkeev, RUS - 215.90


LADIES: 1) Satoko Miyahara, JPN - 183.90  2) Hannah Miller, USA - 170.26  3) Angela Wang, USA - 160.25


PAIRS: 1) Denney and Frazier, USA - 157.80 2) Manacorda and Machi, ITA - 132.80 3) Bazarova and Deputat, RUS - 130.40


The next event in the Challenger Series is the Nebelhorn Trophy this weekend. Nebelhorn usually attracts some “heavy hitters” and this year is no exception. In Men, the U.S. will send Jason Brown and Alexander Johnson up against the likes of Denis Ten (KAZ), Michal Brezina (CZE), Konstantin Menshov (RUS) and Sergei Voronov (RUS). Ladies will have Gracie Gold and Mariah Bell facing Alena Leonova (RUS) and Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS).


In Pairs, Americans Scimeca and Knierim and Aaron and Settlage will compete against Kavaguti and Smirnov (RUS) and James and Cipres (FRA). Dance will have Chock and Bates and Hawayek and Baker of the U.S. taking on Weaver and Poje (CAN) and Zhiganshina and Gazi (GER).

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Yuzuru Hanyu has withdrawn from the Finlandia Trophy scheduled for Oct. 10-12 due to a sore back. Hanyu hurt his back last week, and, as a precautionary measure, has decided not to compete in the Finlandia Trophy, which is one of the “pre-season” Challenger Series events. Hanyu fully expects to compete in his two Grand Prix events, Cup of China and NHK Trophy, which take place in November.


Libby96, Smirnov ruptured a tendon in his knee in October of 2013 and never recovered from the injury in time to compete last year. It will be interesting to see how they do at the Nebelhorn.


ETA: The ISU is providing live steaming from the Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany this week. You need to be “sleep challenged” to watch some of the events, but others are in the morning/afternoon in the Eastern time zone.


If you want to watch, go to: http://new.livestream.com/accounts/10053677/events/3397094 No logon or passwords required.


The Short Dance and Pairs Short are already completed, but here is the rest of the schedule:


(All Times Listed are EASTERN)


Thursday, Sept. 25: 1:00 pm – Men’s Short Program


Friday, September 26

4:30 am – Ladies Short Program

8:00 am – Pairs Free Skate

12:45 pm – Men’s Free Skate


Saturday, September 27

4:30 – Ladies Free Skate

8:20 am – Free Dance

Edited by Good Queen Jane
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Just when you thought you've seen everything...! Julia Sauter , a 17 year old Romanian skater, did her long program at Nebelhorn to Beethoven's 5 Secrets, a cello piece. Her costume was a black unitard with a cello design on her back. However, the cello was flesh colored and the bottom corresponded to Julia's bottom, thereby making it look like she was mooning everyone. She got a one point deduction for "costume failure." What was her coach thinking? You can check it out here: http://new.livestream.com/accounts/10053677/events/3397094/videos/63271722

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Her costume was a black unitard with a cello design on her back. However, the cello was flesh colored and the bottom corresponded to Julia's bottom, thereby making it look like she was mooning everyone. She got a one point deduction for "costume failure." What was her coach thinking?

OMG, what were they thinking?!? Did not one person stop to tell her that was not a good idea? It didn't look cool or avant garde, it just looked ridiculous and had the added benefit of making her ass look enormous.

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NBC/Universal Sports TV have announced their figure skating broadcast schedule for the season. Go to: http://www.usfigureskating.org/Story.asp?id=50559&type=media to see the schedule.


Basically, Universal Sports TV will show the Ladies and Men Short Programs, the Pairs Free Skate and the Free Dance at the Grand Prix events, Europeans, Four Continents and Worlds.


NBC will show the highlights of the Men and Ladies Free Skate plus any other noteworthy performances from those events. Apparently the Pairs Short and Short Dance have been deemed not worthy of TV coverage.


For Nationals, NBC will offer coverage of all the Free Skate Programs, and presumably noteworthy performances from any of the Short Programs.


Johnny Weir, Tara Lipinksi and Terry Gannon will do the commentary for the NBC broadcasts. No word yet on who will do commentary for Universal Sports TV.


Icenetwork.com will provide complete coverage of all skaters at all events to its subscribers via live streaming and archived video

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Too bad about the shorts for Pairs and Dance. Still, I'll take what I can get. Hopefully viewership will improve with the trio doing the commentary for NBC. I'm curious too about who will be doing the commentary for Universal Sports. Maybe Ryan Bradley will be one?

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