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:
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
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
Jan 04 - Jan 05, 2020, English Inclusive
Skating International Championships (Special Competition), Solihull, GBR
Jan 07 - Jan 12, 2020, Mentor Torun Cup, Torún, POL
Jan 08 - Jan 12, 2020, EduSport Trophy, Bucharest, Otopeni,
Jan 09 - Jan 19, 2020, Winter World Masters Games (Adult
Competition), Innsbruck, AUT
Jan 09 - Jan 22, 2020, 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games, Lausanne, SUI
Jan 14 - Jan 18, 2020, 13th Europa Cup
Skate Helena, Belgrade, SRB
Jan 20 - Jan 26, 2020, ISU European
Championships, Graz, AUT
Jan 24 - Jan 26, 2020, Reykjavik
International Games, Reykjavik, ISL
Jan 30 - Feb 02, 2020, Dragon Trophy & Tivoli Cup, Ljubljana, SLO
Feb 03 - Feb 09, 2020, Sofia Trophy, Sofia, BUL
Feb 04 - Feb 09, 2020, Bavarian Open, Oberstdorf, GER
Feb 04 - Feb 09, 2020, ISU Four
Continents Championships, Seoul, KOR
Feb 06 - Feb 09, 2020, The Nordics &
Nordics Open, Stavanger, NOR
Feb 07 - Feb 09, 2020, Egna Dance Trophy, Egna, ITA
Feb 13 - Feb 16, 2020, Ice Challenge, Graz, AUT
Feb 13 - Feb 16, 2020, Tallink Hotels Cup, Tallinn, EST
Feb 14 - Feb 16, 2020, Jegvirag Cup, Miskolc, HUN
Feb 14 - Feb 16, 2020, Sarajevo Open, Sarajevo, BIH
Feb 18 - Feb 22, 2020, Open Ice Mall Cup, Eilat, ISR
Feb 19 - Feb 22, 2020, Bellu Memorial, Bucharest, Otopeni,
Feb 20 - Feb 23, 2020, Challenge Cup, Den Haag, NED
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