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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 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 success.

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.

 Only 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 February 4.

 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 problems arose.

The ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2021 will be held in Sydney, Australia.

Ladies Event

Men's Event

Pairs Event

Dance Event

2020 European Championships

Graz, Austria

Ladies Event

Men's Event

Pairs Event

Dance Event

2020 U.S. Nationals

21-26 January 2020

Greensboro, NC

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 figure skating.

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 back.

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 on.

Nathan Chen 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. Pairs Title - 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 - Alysa 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.

The Axel is the Only Jump that Takes Off Backwards

In Search of the Quad Axel - What will it take to complete a quad Axel?

The Perfect Air Position - What is it?  What does it look like?  Why does it matter?

Current Replay Systems Not Up To Task of Insuring Accurate Calls

2019 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.

2019 NHK





Exhibition Cast
Photo by Robin Ritoss


2019 Cup of Russia





Shiseido Cup of China 2019





Exhibition Cast
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, BC.

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 shoulder.

 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 is created.

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 actual rules."


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News Nuggets

Past News Nuggets are in the Archive

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 also resigned.

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 another coach.

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 following a 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 federation chief.

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 spring.

“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 Orleans Arena.”

“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 Las Vegas.

“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 Arena.”

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 with Mie.”

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.

 Russia was 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.

“It’s really 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

January Competitions

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, ROU

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

February Competitions

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, ROU

Feb 20 - Feb 23, 2020, Challenge Cup, Den Haag, NED

March Competitions

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

April Competitions

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 Competitions

May 06 - May 08, 2020, Oceania International Novice Competition, Auckland, NZL

May 17 - May 23, 2020, ISU International Adult Competition, Oberstdorf, GER

2020-2021 ISU Grand Prix

Event Location Date
Skate America Las Vegas, Nevada, United States October 23–25
Skate Canada Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Oct 30– Nov 1
Cup of China tbd November 6–8
Internationaux de France tbd November 13–15
Rostelecom Cup tbd November 20–22
NHK Trophy tbd November 27–29
Grand Prix Final Beijing, China December 10–13
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