The Big Picture
News from the Southwest Pacific Region
Clubs of the SWP region are invited to send us news items for inclusion here.
Provisional Allotments for 2021
ISU European Figure Skating Championships
Jan 25 - Jan 31, 2021, Zagreb, CRO
ISU World Figure Skating Championships
Mar 22 - Mar 28, 2021, Stockholm, SWE
In the News:
2020 ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Canada
With the uncertainty surrounding the
COVID-19 pandemic, Skate Canada has cancelled the 2020 ISU
Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Canada. The event was
scheduled to take place from August 26-29, 2020 in Richmond,
The Remarkable Life of U.S. Olympic and
World Coach Ron Ludington - Ron Ludington,
the iconic U.S. Olympic and World pairs and dance coach who
was a force and fixture on the national and global
competitive scene for many decades, sadly passed away on
Thursday, May 14th, after
having been admitted to the Christiana Hospital in Newark, Delaware
earlier that week. He was 85 years old.
2020 World Figure Skating Championships Cancelled
World Short Track and World Synchronized Skating
Championships also cancelled for 2020
Statement from the ISU, 16 April 2020
Mindful of the escalating negative COVID-19 developments,
the resulting world-wide human tragedy and the measures
taken by the public authorities as well as logistical
challenges the ISU Council during its on-line meeting held
on April 16, 2020 concluded that a postponement of the
pending 2020 ISU Championships is not possible.
Consequently, the ISU Council has decided that the following
ISU Championships must be definitely cancelled:
- ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships,
Seoul, March 13-15, 2020
- ISU World Figure Skating Championships, Montreal, March
- ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships, Lake
Placid, April 3-5, 2020.
In regard to the
planning of the 2020/21 skating season and considering
the uncertain development of the COVID-19 crisis and its
impact on the staging of international sports events,
the ISU Council will hold another on-line meeting on
April 28 when different scenarios of the COVID-19
developments and impact on the ISU Event calendar will
be discussed. The objective is to work out and
communicate to all stakeholders options suitable for
different scenarios in order to limit the uncertainty to
the strict minimum. This evaluation will also consider
the ISU Skating Awards in Figure Skating.
Statement from the ISU, 11 March 2020
With the uncertainty surrounding the spread of the COVID-19
virus, Skate Canada and the International Skating Union
(ISU), were informed today by the Government of Quebec that
they have decided to cancel the ISU World Figure Skating
Championships® 2020. The event was scheduled to take place
from March 16-22, 2020 in Montreal at Centre Bell.
The ISU and Skate Canada and have closely monitored the
provincial and federal health authorities’ position on the
spread of the virus and fully respect the difficult decision
made today. Like the authorities, the ISU and Skate
Canada are committed to the health and safety of the
athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers and spectators.
The ISU therefore is unable to hold the ISU World Figure
Skating Championships 2020 at the above-mentioned planned
date. The ISU thanks Skate Canada and all the partners
involved in the preparation of the Event and for their
cooperation during the critical monitoring phase leading up
to this decision.
Many stakeholders have been affected by the cancellation of
the World Championships, the ISU and Skate Canada will be
communicating directly with each group in the coming days.
Any fan who has purchased tickets directly from the official
ticket provider Evenko will receive details on the refund
process in due course.
Considering the current uncertain developments surrounding
the Coronavirus pandemic, a rescheduling and/or relocation
of the above-mentioned Championships within the current
season, even if the season would be extended by several
weeks after its normal end in early April, cannot be
reasonably considered. During the coming weeks, the ISU will
evaluate in cooperation with all stakeholders whether the
ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2020 could possibly
be held later in the year, but
in any case not before October 2020.Before
taking a final decision, the ISU will remain in close
contact with Skate Canada and ISU Members.
The ISU regrets that the most important Figure Skating Event
of the season cannot be held as planned but the ISU also
understands that the safety and wellbeing of all
participants and the community take precedence and is sure
that ISU Members, Skaters and fans will understand this
Reports from Tallinn, Estonia.
The anatomy of a fully rotated quad Salchow, executed by
2020 Four Continents Championships
Hanyu, Kihira, Sui & Han Highlight
Successful Four Continents Championships in Seoul, Korea
by Tatiana Flade
Excellent performances by star stars such as
Yuzuru Hanyu, Rika Kihira, Wenjing Sui & Cong Han and many others
highlighted the ISU Four Continents Championships in Seoul, Korea.
Even the Corona virus panic didn’t stop the event from being a
Precautions were taken, but some of them seemed unnecessary
or exaggerated. Spectators had fill into a health inquiry from where
they were asked whether they had been to China or had contact to ill
people, all accredited people had their temperature checked every
time they entered the rink. However, you can be infected and
contagious without showing any symptoms such as fever for up to two
weeks. Most people wore masks all the time, although these don’t
provide an effective protection. Everyone was reminded of washing
their hands regularly - which is something you should do
anyway, especially when using the restroom and before eating.
one skater withdrew apparently because of the Corona virus – Christy
Yi Leung from Hong Kong, who is actually based in the USA. The
Chinese delegation needed a special permit to be able to enter Korea
as the country closed their borders from people coming from China on
Several spectators from China possibly were unable to
attend because of these travel restrictions. According to the
organizers, about 25 percent of the tickets had been sold to Chinese
fans. Korea had officially reported 25 cases of Corona virus
infections until February 8, so all these measures seemed a bit over
the top. It was not like the virus was rampant in Seoul. Every year
more people die from the regular flu. Except for all the people
wearing masks, the event seemed like business as usual and no major
The ISU Four Continents Figure Skating
Championships 2021 will be held in Sydney, Australia.
2020 European Championships
21-26 January 2020
Gracie Gold Jumps Back Into National Ring
By Liz Leamy
Gracie Gold, much to the excitement of
many fans and thousands of those involved in the sport, is
in the proverbial house here in Greensboro where she has
been making, in typical style, quite a splash.
The Chicago-area native, who captured
the attention of the world back in mid 2010s when she
clinched the 2014 and 2016 U.S. titles with her power,
pizzazz and infectious high energy, valiantly made her way
back into the national center ring upon scoring bronze
medals at the 2020 South Atlantic Regional and 2020 Eastern
Sectional Championship events last fall.
The beguiling 24 year-old, who also
placed fourth at the 2014 Olympics and 2015 and 2016 World
Championships, wound up 13th in the short
Thursday night with a noble performance in which she
executed a big double Axel and triple Lutz (with a landing
that was two footed)-double toe.
Due to the fact that she had singled a
triple loop, Gold lost some crucial points affecting her
standing in this first-round showdown.
Wearing a black dress inflected with
sparkling gold accents, Gold was clearly a crowd favorite,
as the audience gave her a thunderous round of applause when
she completed her program.
For Gold, who trains full time in
Aston, Pennsylvania with Alex Zahradnicek and Pasha
Filchenkov, the narrative seems to be all about self
empowerment these days, as this outing marked another vital
step forward in her journey back into the spotlight of
Gold’s performance here in Greensboro
marks the first time she has competed in this event since
2017, when she was sixth at that U.S. Championships.
This venerable athlete, who was
followed by virtually all of the biggest media outlets when
she made her first big gold-medal splash in the championship
skating world, including the New York Post, New York Times
and USA Today and was said to have hung around with such
mega-celebrities as Taylor Swift when she lived in the Los
Angeles area from 2013 through 2016, revealed the powerful
spirit here that brought her to worldwide fame a few years
Somehow, much of the reason for this is
due to the good
old happiness and contentment factor, as Gold, who
resides in Claymont, Delaware, is said to be settled and
content with her situation at the Aston Ice Works complex,
where the renowned Philadelphia Open is held every July.
There, Gold teaches group and private
lessons when she is not busy training on and off ice,
usually on weekends.
According to insiders, she is adored by
many of the young skaters there, as she is said to always
make time to chat with them, which is a true test of
practically any individual’s character.
Meanwhile, Gold is building her brand,
as she has recently formed a partnership with the company
Julep, creators of makeup, skincare and nail polish.
For Julep, Gold serves as a
spokesperson for their products and also their philosophy of
strength, beauty and spirit, which seems appropriate based
upon the type of person she is and continues to evolve into.
With this, let the next stage of the
games in regard to this promising and talented athlete carry
Seeks Fourth Consecutive
U.S. Title - Nathan Chen, the 20 year-old Salt Lake City
native and quad jumping phenom who, over the past number of years,
has been largely responsible for raising the technical bar of
figure skating, seems as hungry as ever to claim his fourth
consecutive U.S. title at the 2020 Nationals in Greensboro, North
Carolina next week.
Cain-Gribble and LeDuc Set to Defend Their U.S.
- Ashley Cain-Gribble & Timothy LeDuc, the 2019
U.S. champions who have been making a name as a global podium threat
the past few seasons, seem as poised as ever to retain their
position as the country’s premiere pair in Greensboro.
Hubbell and Donohue
Looking to Clinch Third
Consecutive Title at U.S. Nationals
Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue, the
reigning two-time U.S. champions and two-time World medalists (silver
in 2018 and bronze in 2019) seem to be as pinpoint-focused as ever in
regard to the prospect of capturing a third consecutive gold medal
at the U.S. Championships in Greensboro.
Alysa Liu Eager to Defend U.S. National Title in Greensboro
Liu, the effervescent 14 year-old Clovis, California native who last
season, catapulted herself right into the sport’s main spotlight
after having captured the 2019 U.S. title, seems poised and
primed to defend her position as the ladies frontrunner at the 2020
U.S. Championships in Greensboro next week.
The Next Olympic Ladies Champion Revealed
- The next Olympic Winter Games are about two years away, but already the writing is on the wall
for who will be the next Olympic Ladies Champion.
Perfect Air Position
- What is it? What does it look like? Why does
Grand Prix Junior and Senior Finals
- The Junior and Senior Finals in Torino, Italy closed out
the first half of the 2019/20 season. Given the number
of entries and medals that went to Russia, this might as
well have been Russian Nationals. Half the medals were
captured by that country. The United States placed
second in the medal count with five.
Photo by Robin Ritoss
Photo by Robin Ritoss
Liubov Iliushechkina & Charlie Bilodeau Show New Type of Press Lift
at Skate Canada International
by George S Rossano
The Canadian pair team of Liubov Iliushechkina & Charlie
Bilodeau presented a new form of press lift in their free
program at the 2019 Skate Canada International in Kelowna,
The ISU (rule 619) divides listed lifts into five groups
with the following definitions, with hand to hand lifts
being group 4:
Group One - Armpit Hold position
Group Two - Waist Hold position
Group Three - Hand to Hip or upper
part of the leg (above the knee) position
Group Four - Hand to Hand position
(Press Lift type)
Group Five - Hand to Hand position
(Lasso Lift type)
The Lift’s Group is determined
by the hold at the moment the Lady passes the Man’s
In Groups 3–5 full extension
of the lifting arm(s) is mandatory.
Rule 619 also states:
Partners may give each other
assistance only through hand-to-hand, hand-to-arm,
hand-to-body and hand to upper part of the leg (above the
knee) grips. A change of hold means going from one of these
grips to another or from one hand to another in a one hand
hold. Changes of hold during the lift are permitted.
The takeoff of this lift (shown below) highlights an
interesting ambiguity in the rule.
The lift meets the requirement for a legal hold
(hand-to-arm) but does not meet the definition of a group 4
lift (hand to hand), or any other group for that matter. If anything, this
hold starts off looking closer to
an armpit hold (group 1) than anything else. But it's
clearly not hand to hand.
Nevertheless, the technical panel called this a group 4
lift; and there you have it, a new hand to arm group 4 lift
To paraphrase Humpty Dumpty in "Through the Looking-Glass":
“When I use a rule,” the Technical Panel said,
in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I
choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,”
said Alice, “whether you can make rules mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said the Technical Panel,
“which is to be master—that’s all.”
Like Captain Barbossa's comment about the pirate code in
Pirates of the Caribbean, it seems for the ISU "the code
(rulebook) is more what you'd call 'guidelines' than
Past News Nuggets are in the Archive
29 Feb. 2020 - The ISU confirmed the
2020 ISU World Short Track Speed Skating
Championships 2020 will not be staged as originally scheduled on March
13-15, 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak in South Korea.
Authorities of the city of Seoul have closed the Mokdong Ice Rink and
ordered the cancellation of all planned competitions.
will evaluate the possibility of holding the Championships later in the
year, but in any case not before
mid-October 2020. All other ISU
Events for the season 2019/20 remain scheduled as planned.
advises that anyone with any symptoms of acute illness should NOT be
traveling to ISU Events. Anyone seeking accreditation for ISU
Events will be required to complete an ISU questionnaire and a
Anyone with an acute illness or temperature will not
be granted an accreditation. Instead they will be provided with a mask,
isolated and will follow the protocol of the host country for testing
The ISU has implemented the following precautions at ISU Events
aimed at all accredited persons for the prevention of contracting the
- Questionnaire and health checks to be completed at arrival at
the ISU Event
- Health checks periodically throughout the ISU Event
- Availability of tests for coronavirus on anyone with a
- Availability of masks for anyone who has cold-like symptoms or
requests one. Please note that masks are not recommended for anyone
who is healthy. Masks are recommended for anyone with symptoms.
- Isolation room(s) to be available if necessary
- Availability of hand sanitizer throughout the venue and the
- Gloves to be available if requested
- Reinforce education regarding frequent hand washing, use of hand
gel and cough etiquette.
- Reduce handshaking and close physical contact
Educational sheet included in
information on the ISU Events App.
Local Organizing Committees will be responsible to implement any necessary measures for the general public.
8 Feb. 2020 - The president of France's ice
sport federation, Didier Gailhaguet, resigned over a damaging sex abuse scandal
engulfing his sport. Four members of the federation board have
In his resignation announcement Gailhaguet said,
"In the spirit of conciliation I took the sensible decision to resign
with philosophy, dignity but no bitterness."
In an autobiography published on January 30, former world championship
bronze medalist Sarah Abitbol accused coach Gilles Beyer of raping her
several times from 1990 to 1992 when she was between the ages of 15 and
17. Other accusations have since followed including another skater,
the parent of a skater, and
Gailhaguet's had led the French ice sport federation
since 1998, except for a three-year international ban following the
2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics scandal, and from 2004 to 2007
critical auditor's report.
The French Sports Ministry, led by
Roxana Maracineanu, has promised a thorough investigation of the
accusations, most of which, if not all, predate Gailhaguet's tenure as
The key question concerning federation officials is
what did they know, when did they know it, and what action did they take
to protect their athletes. Beyer is described as having an
executive position with the federation until 2018, and was also a
national team coach for several years.
6 Jan. 2020 -
U.S. Figure Skating has selected the Orleans Arena in Las
Vegas as the host for 2020 Skate America, Oct. 23-25, 2020, and the host
for the 2021 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships, Feb. 24-27, 2021.
Skate America, which will return to Las Vegas after a successful 2019
event, will be the first competition of the International Skating Union Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series.
Tickets for Skate America will go on sale later this
“We received an overwhelmingly positive response from skaters and fans
in regard to their experience at 2019 Skate America,” U.S. Figure
Skating president Anne Cammett said. “The convenience of having the host
hotel within a short walk of the Orleans Arena was heavily considered in
the decision to return. We also heard good things from the skaters and
coaches about the arena, the ice and the professional staff at the
“After hosting a successful 2019 Skate America
competition, The Orleans and Boyd Gaming are honored to continue the
great relationship that has been built with U.S. Figure Skating with its
decision to bring Skate America back to the Orleans Arena Las Vegas in
2020,” Executive Director of the Orleans Arena Rex Berman said. “This
continues our proud tradition of hosting Olympic style events, and we
cannot wait to welcome these world-class athletes back to the property.”
The 2021 U.S. Synchronized Skating
Championships will mark the first time that the event has been held in
“U.S. Figure Skating is excited to showcase our
premier synchronized skating event in Las Vegas,” Cammett said. “This is
a great opportunity for the athletes, coaches, officials and fans to
come to such a vibrant sports city. I’m looking forward to seeing the
bleachers full, the banners waving and hearing the cheers at the Orleans
2 Jan. 2020 -
World bronze medalist Vincent Zhou announced today that he will begin
training with Lee Barkell and Lori Nichol in Toronto, Canada. Zhou will
also continue to train with Mie Hamada. Zhou had previously been coached by
Tammy Gambill, Christy Krall and Tom Zakrajsek in Colorado Springs.
“I can’t thank Tammy, Christy and Tom enough for all they have done for
me and my career,” Zhou said. “I’m excited to begin training with Lee,
and also work more regularly with Lori, in Toronto, and continue to work
Zhou withdrew from both of his Grand Prix assignments
this season to focus on school this fall. He has since decided to begin a gap year at Brown University
to focus on figure skating. He is scheduled to next compete at the
2020 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
9 Dec. 2019 -
The World Anti-Doping Agency’s
Executive Committee have unanimously endorsed the recommendation of the
independent Compliance Review Committee that the Russian Anti-Doping
Agency be declared non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code for a period
of four years.
The 12-member committee supported the recommendation, which includes a
series of strong consequences and conditions for reinstatement.
In remarks when the announcement was made, WADA President Sir Craig Reedie said:
“For too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport. The
blatant breach by the Russian authorities of RUSADA’s reinstatement
conditions, approved by the ExCo in September 2018, demanded a robust
response. That is exactly what has been delivered today.
afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and re-join the
global anti-doping community for the good of its athletes and of the
integrity of sport, but it chose instead to continue in its stance of
deception and denial."
As a result, the WADA ExCo has responded in the
strongest possible terms, while protecting the rights of Russian
athletes that can prove that they were not involved and did not benefit
from these fraudulent acts."
This ban covers both the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo and the 2022 Winter
Games in Beijing. Despite another doping ban, some Russian
athletes will still be able to compete at these Games.
The sanctions handed down, however, mean there won't be a Russian flag or national
anthem at the Olympics. But it is expected athletes who can be proven to be clean can compete under the Olympic banner.
Similar restrictions were imposed for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter
Olympics, where there was no “Russia” but there were 168 “Olympic
Athletes from Russia," two of whom later failed doping tests.
Russia rejects the WADA ruling, and is expected to challenge it before the
international Court of Arbitration for Sport.
22 Oct. 2019 -
Vincent Zhou, the bronze medal at the 2019
World Figure Skating, has withdrawn from both his Grand Prix
assignments, Cup of China and Rostelecom Cup.
difficult to balance classes and training at the same time,” said Zhou,
who is in the middle of his freshman year at Brown University. “I want
to perform at the highest level on the ice and in the classroom, and I
have not been able to dedicate the necessary time to my skating with my
rigorous class schedule. Unfortunately, the timing of my midterms has
fallen right in the middle of an important training period for me this
fall. This was a tough decision because I love to perform in front of
the fans, but this is the best decision for me right now.”
2019 / 2020 Season
Mar 02 - Mar 08, 2020, ISU World
Junior Championships, Tallinn, EST
Mar 13 - Mar 15, 2020, Coupe du Printemps, Kockelscheuer, LUX
Mar 16 - Mar 22, 2020, ISU World
Championships, Montréal, CAN
Mar 26 - Mar 29, 2020, Egna Spring Trophy, Egna, ITA
Apr 03 - Apr 05, 2020, 15th DVTK-AVAS Cup, Miskolc, HUN
Apr 06 - Apr 12, 2020, Triglav Trophy &
Narcisa Cup, Jesenice, SLO
Apr 15 - Apr 18, 2020, Golden Lynx, Gomel, BLR
May 06 - May 08, 2020, Oceania
International Novice Competition, Auckland, NZL
May 17 - May 23, 2020, ISU International Adult
2020-2021 ISU Grand Prix
Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Oct 30– Nov 1
Cup of China
Internationaux de France
Grand Prix Final