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Championship Allotments for 2020/21

ISU European Figure Skating Championships

Jan 25 - Jan 31, 2021, Zagreb, CRO

ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships

Feb 08 - Feb 14, 2021, Sydney, Aus

ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships

Mar 01 - Mar 07, 2021, Harbin, CHN

ISU World Figure Skating Championships

Mar 22 - Mar 28, 2021, Stockholm, SWE

Junior Grand Prix Allotments for 2021/22

August 18-21, 2021, Courchevel, FRA

August 25-28, 2021, Edmonton, CAN (includes Pair Skating)

September 1-4, 2021, Kosice, SVK (includes Pair Skating)

September 15-18, 2021, Krasnoyarsk, RUS (includes Pair Skating)

September 22-25, 2021, Ljubljana, SLO

September 29 - October 2, 2021, Gdansk, POL

October 6-9, 2021, Linz, AUT (includes Pair Skating)

Championship Allotments for 2021/22 and Later

Season 2021/22 Figure Skating

  • 2022 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, Tianjin, China

  • 2022 ISU World Championships, Montpellier, France.

Season 2022/23 Figure Skating

  • 2023 ISU European Figure Skating Championships, Helsinki, Finland

  • 2023 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, Sydney, Australia

  • 2023 ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships, Calgary, Canada

  • 2023 ISU World Figure Skating Championships, Saitama, Japan

Synchronized Skating

  • 2023 ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships, Lake Placid, USA

 

 

  In the News:

2020 Skate America

Pairs Event

by Klaus-Rienhold Kany

The pairs competition at Skate America 2020 had a mixed level. The general weakness of U.S. pairs are the side-by-side jumps and many pairs had their biggest problems there again. Otherwise the level was good, but not outstanding.

The new pair of Alexa Scimeca Knierim (29) & Brandon Frazier (27) won with 214.77 points. In  March, Frazier came from Florida to California to tryout just before all rinks closed. He agreed to change his technique in throws, but took the lead in the lifts. They had no big jump problems, because both of them were good jumpers with their former partners Chris Knierim and Haven Denney. Generally both were the stronger partner of the previous partnership. Therefore finally there is a good chance for the USA to have a pair who can fight for medals internationally. Sometimes you still see small disharmonies, but this is normal after only half a year of training together. They mainly train with Jenni Meno and Todd Sand in Irvine, California.

They skated first and had to start their short program twice because on the first try the wrong music was played. But both are experienced skaters and this did not make them nervous. All seven elements were at least good. The triple twist was even outstanding and had five GOEs of +4 and two of +5 and a level 3. The triple throw loop was excellent, the death spiral forward inward, the spin, the step sequence and the lift as well and the side by side triple toe loop clean, but a bit out of sync. They skated to “In the End“ by Tommy Profitt and to “Too Far Gone“ by the Hidden Citizens.

At the end both skaters smiled like no other U.S. pair in years. Scimeca commented: “I always like to dream big, but I did not expect to be where we are today so soon. We’ve been working really hard at home. We didn’t have much expectation coming in since this is our first real event. We’re happy with how we skated, but we know we have a lot of work ahead of us.”

Skating in the the free program to “Fall On Me“ by Andrea and Matteo Bocelli, they opened with an excellent triple twist (six of the seven judges awarded GOEs of +4) and a combination of triple toe loop and double toe loop during which they were a bit far apart from each other. The triple throw loop was outstanding, the three lifts as well. The triple throw Lutz was good, spins and step sequence as well, and Scimeca landed the parallel triple Salchow a bit on two feet. Their components had an average of 8.7, which are probably the highest components a U.S. pair has received in many years.

Scimeca explained: "I made a joke to Brandon when we got our scores that this partnership is going to work. It is always great to have a successful event and to place well, but more than anything I think inside we're pleased with the progress and we fell like our hard work has paid off. We're just excited for what is to come and excited to keep improving. It's great that this is the Grand Prix that we were able to get our medal at, but I think even if this were a local competition, we would be at the same level of happiness, just because we're proud of the skate that we put out." Frazier added: “We're very happy with the progress we've made this week. We had to make a lot of adjustments since our virtual competition a couple of weeks ago. Chris (Knierim) is kind of a secret weapon, especially with the twist. Todd and Jenni are great with the technical elements, but having someone like Chris – who is fresh off the (competitive) scene and had one of the best twists in the world – to kind of guide you, it plays such a big part in Alexa and I getting as fast as we are.”

Jessica Calalang & Brian Johnson who are training mates of Scimeca & Frazier in Irvine, won the silver medal with 207.40 points. They had been second at U.S. Nationals behind Scimeca & Knierim and fourth at Four Continents Championships in February 2020, but won the International Selection Pool (ISP) Points Challenge, a virtual competition held by U.S. Figure Skating in September. In their short program in Las Vegas, they skated to “Light of the Seven“ from the Game of Thrones soundtrack. Calalang fell on the triple Salchow and Johnson doubled it, therefore, including the fall deduction, they had -0.35 points on this element. Lift, steps and death spiral were excellent, the triple twist even outstanding and got five GOEs of +5. The triple throw Lutz and the spin were good and their components around 8.5. Calalang said: “Our performance wasn’t the best, we did have a mistake at the beginning, but we really tried to focus on our performance and overall skating skills.“

They opened the free program to “Who Wants to Live Forever“ in a version by The Tenors featuring Lindsey Stirling, with their outstanding triple twist (five GOEs of +5). But Calalang almost fell on the parallel triple Salchow and doubled the first toe loop of their combination which was planned triple. Most other elements were stellar and the linking steps were more difficult than last season. She only touched down on the throw triple Lutz. Their components were around 8.6. “For me, my jumps were not to my standard in the program,” Calalang commented. “Besides my jumps, the lifts felt good.”

Andrey Lu & Misha Mitropanov won bronze with 189.65 points. When the ice rinks were closed in springtime, Lu graduated high school and passed her driver’s test. Mitrofanov finished his spring semester courses at the University of Texas. In late summer they moved with their coach Alexei Letov from Plano, Texas to Boston. Their short program to “The Show Must Go on“ from Moulin Rouge was clean, all elements were at least good, the side by side triple Salchow very good. Mitrofanov said: “We put down a very solid program and this gives us confidence right now going into the free skate. It is surprising for us to be in third place, but we’re super happy.“

In the free program to a playful Charles Chaplin medley, nine of the 11 elements were good, the sequence of triple Salchow and double Salchow excellent. But she touched down on the triple throw Lutz and fell on the triple throw loop and both athletes were quite exhausted at the end. Mitrofanov commented: “We are very happy and fortunate with this bronze medal and we are very proud of ourselves. This definitely gives us a confidence boost.“ Lu added: “We need to improve the second half of our free skate. We need to work on that more, because obviously, we’re getting too tired.”

Ashley Cain-Gribble & Timothy LeDuc finished only on fourth position with 189.23 points, which was less than they expected. But in the short, she did not land correctly in his arms on the triple twist, her triple Salchow was downgraded and she landed the triple throw Lutz on two feet. In a powerful free skate to Rakhmaninov’s 2nd Piano concerto, nine elements were good. But Cain-Gribble fell on the triple loop and under-rotated each of the three jumps of her combination. She explained: “We came here with a plan, to skate two strong programs. We didn’t want to lose sight of that. We channeled all of the energy we had left into that long program tonight.”

Tarah Kayne & Danny O’Shea are on fifth position, earning 174.35 points. They left their coach Dalilah Sappenfield under a rumor of a Safe Sport complaint of her having tolerated skater TJ Nyman behaving sexually inappropriate with minor girls in Colorado. Kayne & O‘Shea were provisionally coached by Jim Peterson who left his training school in Ellenton, Florida after having been accused of excessive shouting at skaters and works now in Canton, Michigan. Thus, they are currently without a coach. After a stunning death spiral in the short, Kayne fell on the triple Salchow and stepped out of the triple throw Lutz. In their Carmen free program they made three major mistakes on the individual jumps and the triple throw Lutz.

Olivia Serafini & Marvin Tran of Monsey, New York, took sixth place with 168.07 points. Three elements in their short program were shaky and in the long program Tran fell on both individual jumps. Their triple throw Salchow was excellent, however. Emily Chan & Spencer Akira Howe are on seventh position with 151.15 points. In the short, she touched down on the triple toe loop and fell on the triple throw loop. Their free program had four mistakes and therefore the specialists needed longer than usual to decide. Anna Vernikov & Evgeni Krasnopolski from Israel ended up eighth with 146.12 points. They moved with the whole Israeli team from Hackensack to Montclair, New Jersey. Vernikov fell on the triple toe loop in the short which was downgraded and almost fell on the triple throw loop. In their free they made five mistakes.



Alexa Scimeca Knierim & Brandon Frazier, 2020 Skate America Pairs Champions

2020 Skate America

Men's Event

by Klaus-Rienhold Kany

Nathan Chen

The men’s competition at Skate America included ten U.S. skaters and two Israelis who train in the USA, who performed at a good level.

No surprise at all that two time World Champion Nathan Chen of Irvine, California, won the competition, this time with 299.15 points. During this summer he remained in California because his Yale University on the East Coast offered only online classes. His new short program music is “Asturias“ and “Cancion del Mariachi“ from the soundtrack of “Desperado“ by the Spanish folk group Los Lobos.

Chen opened the Flamenco with an excellent combination of quad toe loop and triple toe loop. His triple Axel also got mainly GOEs of +4, as well as the quad flip later. His outstanding step sequence even had six GOEs of +5 and one +4. Winning 111.17 points was a personal best for him. He said: "The program itself is new to me and there is still a lot of work and improvement to be done. In this program, although it is oriented in Latin-American as well as Spanish music, I am not trying to necessarily hit the identical movements of those dances, but we’re more trying to bring out the character of the movie.“

In the free, he interprets four pieces of composer Philip Glass, beginning with "Metamorphosis." Chen had studied this composer at Yale University. He began with an excellent combination of quad flip and triple toe loop, followed by two outstanding triples and a double Salchow which was planned quadruple. Later he added two quad toe loops, one in a sequence with triple flip. Near the end he popped the Axel. Spins and steps were excellent and his components had an average of 9.3.

 Shae-Lynn Bourne created both programs. Later he explained: “Of course I'm a little disappointed about the jumps that I missed. I made quite a few big mistakes in that program, things I shouldn’t have made mistakes on. I'm just thrilled to be here at this competition, so thankful to everyone who has been involved, to bring us together and how smoothly it went so that skaters just could focus on skating.”

Vincent Zhou won an expected silver medal with 275.10 points. He returned from his training site in Toronto to Colorado Springs just before the pandemic and left Lee Barkell and Lori Nichol on good terms. Christy Krall is his main coach now and saw that his posture is better and his head is up. His short program music is the song “Starry, Starry Night“ (Vincent) about the painter van Gogh. The Canadian ice dancers Gilles & Poirier had used this music two years ago. His first element was an impressive combination of quad Lutz and triple toe loop, followed by a quad Salchow. Later he said: “I think I did a great job, especially with the components, the projection, the performance. I had some shaky practices, mentally maybe not the best day, but I got it together.”

In the free, he interpreted “Algorithm“ and “The Dark Side“ by Muse. He fell on his opening quad Lutz, but repeated the jump in a good combination with triple toe loop. Five good triple jumps followed and only the quad Salchow was under-rotated and stepped out. He commented: “Obviously, there were a few hiccups in the program, but overall I am very proud of myself for what I did in this competition.“

Keegan Messing (28) lives in Alaska and probably is the only Canadian skater to compete at a Grand Prix this season after Skate Canada was cancelled. He won the bronze medal in Las Vegas with 266.42 points, using both program music pieces of last season. He started his short routine to “Perfect“ by Ed Sheeran with a soso combination of quad toe loop and triple toe loop. His triple Axel was excellent, his triple Lutz as well and his spins were outstanding. He explained: “I was overall very excited about how my performance went, this being the first time I’ve skated in front of a ‘crowd’ this year, I was very happy to put a clean program out there. I’m just really happy to go out and feel the butterflies again,”

He opened his free program to “November Rain“ by Guns N‘ Roses with an excellent combination of quad toe loop and double toe loop, followed by a second very good quad toe loop. Five more triples were impressive, but one combination and the triple flip not clean. “I am pretty stoked on how I skated today“, he commented. “I had two little bobbles in the program, but this is one of the few times that I've actually been able to go out and leave everything I had out on the ice. Going into the long program, I thought this is for you guys, in Canada, to everybody who has to stay home. I am so proud that I was able to come here and have a safe competition.”

Tomoko Hiwatashi, trained by Damon Allen and Christy Krall in Colorado Springs, came fourth, earning 254.30 points. The 2019 Junior World Champion who was third at U.S. Nationals 2020, opened his short program to “Standards“ by Leslie Odom Junior with an excellent quad toe loop, followed by a shaky triple Axel and a good combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop. He began his free program with a very good combination of quad toe loop and triple toe loop, but popped the second quad. Five more triple jumps were good, but he fell on the second triple Axel. His steps were excellent.

Ilia Malinin’s fifth place with 220.31 points was a positive surprise because he is only 15 years old and was only 16th at his first Junior Worlds in March 2020. His parents are Tatiana Malinina who skated for Usbekistan and won the Grand Prix Final in 1999, and his father Roman Skorniakov who competed at several World championships. Since March, Ilia learnt the quad toe loop and the quad Salchow and presented both clean jumps in both parts of Skate America. In the short, he added a solid triple Axel, in the free, he also performed five good triples and an under-rotated toe loop. His style is still junior-like, but he is very promising.

Alexei Bychenko from Israel left the rinks in Hackensack, New Jersey, with the whole Israeli team in September and now trains in the Montclair University Ice Arena. The 32-year-old skater finished sixth with 214.62 points. He started his short with an excellent triple Axel, but stepped out of a quad toe loop. His triple Lutz was not perfect, the other elements good. His first element in the free was a clean combination of quad and double toe loop, but he stepped out of the second quad. Two triples were good, but he made two more mistakes.

At the age of 13, Alexei Krasnozhon came from St. Petersburg in Russia to the USA. When he turned 18, he hired an attorney and spent many hours with him to fill out the many forms and to bring documents (for example photos of him on podiums) for a petition as an athlete of extraordinary abilities. He finally received his Green Card in September 2020, after waiting longer than usually. But Krasnozhon still has to hope that he gets U.S. citizenship before the Olympic Games which he needs in case he qualifies for 2022. With his Green Card he is finally allowed to work. He kept his residency in Texas, but followed his coach Alexei Letov to Norwood near Boston to train there, sharing an apartment with team mates Jimmy Ma and Misha Mitrofanov.

At Skate America, he finished seventh with 214,61 points, just .01 points less than Bychenko. In his short, he performed to “Heart Upon my Sleeve“ by Avicii and the Dragons. He began with a good quad loop (which was called a triple loop by the jury first), followed by a very good triple Axel, but his combination of triple flip and double toe loop and two spins were a bit shaky. In the free to “Dracula“, he fell on the under-rotated quad, but continued with five good triples. The triple Lutz got an edge call, he doubled a combination which was planned triple and the last spin got no points.

Maxim Naumov of Boston finished on eighth position with 214.27 points. The 19-year-old skater’s parents and coaches Evgenia Shishkova and Vadim Naumov were World Champions in pair skating for Russia in 1994 and moved to the USA after their marriage and career. Maxim won the Junior title at U.S. Nationals 2020 and was fifth at Junior Worlds 2020. In Las Vegas, he opened his short program to “Run“ composed by the Japanese song writer Joji with a soso combination of triple flip and double toe loop, followed by a triple Axel with touchdown and step out. His free program music pieces are “Unstoppable“ by E.S. Posthumus and “Stabat Mater“ by Woodkid. Four triple jumps were good, but he landed the double toe loop after the triple Axel on two feet. He fell on the second triple Axel and the flip had an edge call.

Camden Pulkinen placed ninth, earning 207.82 points. He trains in Colorado Springs under Tammy Gambill and Damon Allen and was seventh at U.S. Nationals 2020. Her opened his short program to “Caruso“ with a clean combination of triple Lutz and double toe loop, followed by a fall on the triple Axel, a jump which he normally lands in excellent quality. The triple flip and the other elements were good, but the step sequence no longer in the same quality as two years ago. In the free program to “Close Your Eyes“ by Rhodes, six triple jumps were good, but he fell on the second triple Axel and doubled a Lutz - toe loop combination. He did not try a quad.

Jimmy Ma landed on tenth place with 196.98 points. He had left his coach Peter Cain and moved with his new coaches Alexei Letov and Olga Ganicheva to Norwood near Boston. Last season he was 13th at U.S. Nationals and 4th at the Finlandia Trophy. In the short he popped the toe loop which was planned quadruple, The triple Axel was almost clean and the combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop shaky. In the Free to two music pieces by Linkin‘ Park, he stepped out of the double toe loop after the quad toe loop and the second quad had a scratchy landing. Three triple jumps were clean, but three others and the step sequence not.

17-year-old Joseph Kang, student of Viktor Pfeifer in Wilmington, Delaware, came 11th with 192.37 points on his senior debut after being sixth in the junior category of U.S. Nationals 2020. His triple Axel had no smooth end, he overturned the triple Lutz before the triple toe loop and he touched the board with his body. In the free, he popped the Salchow and fell on the first triple Axel, but had five clean triples. Daniel Samohin from Israel ended up 12th with 184.54 points. He had been nominated as an alternate for Canadian Stephen Gogolev who is injured. In the summer Samohin and his father and coach had moved from San Diego to Las Vegas because the San Diego rink closed permanently. He opened his short program with a good combination of triple Lutz and double toe loop, but fell on the triple Axel and doubled the flip. In the free program to the soundtrack of “The Peacemaker,“ only three triples were good, three more jumps shaky and he fell on two.

Czech skater Michal Brezina, who trains in Irvine, California, had been nominated for Skate America, but withdrew two weeks before the event after a hard fall in practice. Two days after Skate America he and several other skaters (among them Stephen Gogolev and the Knierims) were evacuated from their house because of heavy smoke which came from burning hills in the area. Their brand new homes, however, seemed not to be in danger.

A Not So Grand Prix - Details are finally emerging for the organization of the 2020/21 ISU Grand Prix Competitions.  About all that can be said of this year's series is, It's better than nothing, but not much better.

Nebelhorn Trophy 2020 – Ice Dance

by Klaus-Reinhold Kany

The ice dance event at the Nebelhorn Trophy 2020 in Oberstdorf, Germany was not high level although none of the six couples made a big mistake and there were no falls at all. But no first-class couple took part. Due to the Covid-19 virus, all couples had only limited training time. Therefore the ISU had decided that last season’s rhythm and Finnstep steps in the Rhythm Dance are mandatory again, so that all couples may use the same program as last season.

To their own surprise, the Czech brother-and-sister team of Natalie Taschlerova (18) & Filip Taschler (21) won the ice dance competition with 163.62 points in their first fulltime senior season. Last season they had split their time between senior and junior programs and had been 19th at Europeans and 16th at Junior Worlds. They train with Matteo Zanni in Egna in Northern Italy. Using music of the “Jersey Boys“, they opened their Swing program with a good twizzle sequence (she had level 4 and he level 3), followed by an entertaining midline step sequence. The Finnstep had a level 2, the Pattern Dance Type Step Sequence a level 3, but the curve lift only a level 1 because they stumbled a bit and had to finish the lift abruptly.

Their free dance to a Tango medley had a high speed, much fire and components of 7.3. Taschler explained how they got in good physical shape in Italy: “We train in a valley in a mountain area in Italy. Our rink was closed for almost four months from March to June. As soon as we were allowed to leave the apartment again and the rink was still closed, we ran the mountains uphill and downhill every day.“ Five elements had a level 4 and the two step sequences a level 2. Their best element was the twizzle sequence which had GOEs of +2 and +3.

Sasha Fear (18) & George Waddell (21) from Britain won the silver medal with 151.43 points in their very first international senior competition. They train in the famous Ice Academy of Montreal (IAM) under Romain Haguenauer, Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon. As British citizens they were allowed to fly from Canada to Germany without any problems, tests or quarantine. They knew that they have to sit out a quarantine of two weeks when returning to Canada, but they said it was worth while for them. Fear is the younger sister of Lilah Fear who competes with Lewis Gibson very successfully and who trains in the same school. In their Rhythm Dance to “Singing in the Rain“, Fear and Waddell had two level 4 elements, but the Finnstep only got the basic value. In their free dance to Gershwin’s “An American in Paris“, they moved up from third to second place and had good levels. Fear said: “We executed everything we had planned, therefore we are happy.“

The Ukrainian couple of Darya Popova (19) & Volodymyr Byelikov (21) who train in Kharkiv in Eastern Ukraine, took bronze with 148.60 points. For their Rhythm Dance, they used the musical Grease and had mixed levels. In their free dance to “Believer“ most elements were clean, but they got no points for the Choreographic Slide Movement because it was not according to the rules. The best element was their combination lift.

Natacha Lagouge (20) & Arnaud Caffa (21) from Lyon in France finished on fourth position, earning 143.29 points. The students of Olivier Schoenfelder used a Swing and a Foxtrot from “Dream Girls“ for their Rhythm Dance. Four elements were good, but the Finnstep had only a basic level because they did not meet any of the four key points. Their Vivaldi free dance was clean, but the levels were relatively low and one lift was too long.

Arianna Wroblewska (26) & Stephane Walker (29) from Switzerland were fifth with 134.18 points. They are relatively new in ice dance beacuse both were single skaters until two years ago. Wroblewska came from Poland, and Walker was even five times Swiss national champion and took part in four world championships before switching to ice dance in 2018. They train in the school of Barbara Fusar Poli in Milan, Italy. Their levels in the Rhythm Dance were good, except for the Finnstep. In the free dance to two pieces by the “Imagine Dragons“, their levels were good as well.

Hanna Jakucs & Alessio Galli from the Netherlands ended up sixth, earning 124.98 points. Jakucs was born in Hungary, Galli in Italy. They also train with Fusar Poli in Milan. Their programs were a bit slow, but they made no serious mistake. The German couple of Jennifer Janse van Rensburg & Benjamin Steffan, who trains in Oberstdorf under Rostislav Sinicyn, had planned to compete. But Steffan had an ankle injury which aggravated in the days before the Trophy. They went to the draw to try but withdrew after the last practice before the competition.

Nebelhorn Trophy 2020 – Ladies

by Klaus-Reinhold Kany

(28 Sep 2020)  Twenty-two ladies from 13 European countries competed at the Nebelhorn Trophy 2020 in Oberstdorf, Germany. The general level was mixed.

Surprise winner with 173.53 points was 17-year-old Eva-Lotta Kiibus from Estonia who had been seventh at the European Championships 2020 and is a student of Anna Levandi, the former Anna Kondrashova who competed for the Soviet Union in the 1980ies. Kiibus was third in the short program after performing a very good combination of two triple toe loops, a step-out on the triple flip and five other good elements. Her music choice was “Sign of the Times“ by Harry Style and her components had an average of 6.9.

Skating to Rakhmaninov‘s Second Piano Concerto in the free program, she opened with a combination of double Axel and triple toe loop, but stepped out of the second jump. In her sequence of triple flip, Euler and triple Salchow, she stepped out of the Salchow, like on the triple Lutz and the second triple flip. The second half of her program was better: She performed a good combination of triple Lutz and double toe loop, a clean triple loop, a good double Axel and a very good step sequence. But she missed the entry into the second spin. Her components were around 6.8 and her new choreographer is Benoit Richaud. She commented: “I did not expect a gold medal at all at this competition, but it means a lot for me and it is a very good start into the season.“

Alexia Paganini (18) from Switzerland, fourth at Europeans 2020 and seventh of the Cup of Russia 2019, took the silver medal with 168.85 points. In June, she left the USA quickly because of the high numbers of Covid-19 and now trains in Stephane Lambiel‘s school in Switzerland. She won the short program with a performance which included a good combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop, an under-rotated triple loop, an excellent step sequence and four other convincing elements. Skating to “Caught out in the Rain“ by Beth Hart, she received components of around 7.4. The beginning of her free program to a Tango medley was bad, because she fell on the opening first triple Lutz and almost missed the second triple Lutz as well. After a solid triple Salchow and a very good double Axel, her triple loop of her combination was under-rotated, followed by a double toe loop and a fall on the double loop. Three more jumps were clean, the spins and steps very good.

Jenni Saarinen (21) from Finland, who trains in Oberstdorf, Germany with Michael Huth all year, took the bronze medal, winning 163.87 points. She excelled by high jumps, but not all of them were correctly landed. In the short to “Clair de Lune“ by Claude Debussy, she fell on the triple flip and the combination of two triple toe loops was a bit shaky, but the five other elements were very good. Her components had an average of 6.9. She opened her long program to oriental music with a fall on the triple Lutz, followed by a triple loop and a triple flip, but one quarter of the rotation was missing on both jumps. The rest of the program was good, the step sequence even excellent.

The German champion Nicole Schott (24), who also trains with Carolina Kostner’s former coach of Michael Huth, was fourth, earning 156.27 points. She had been second in a faultless short program with a very good triple loop and a good combination of two triple toe loops. She skated in an elegant style while performing to “What A Feeling“ from “Flashdance“ and had components of around 6.9. She began her free program with a good combination of triple flip and double toe loop (which was planned triple), but the next three jumps came only double instead of triple. Her triple Salchow was landed on two feet, followed by a single Axel. Her last jump was a solid double Axel. Her best element in her Vivaldi program was her step sequence which had a level 4.

Josefin Taljegard (25) from Gothenburg in Sweden finished on fifth position with 151.54 points. Her short program included a solid triple flip and a good combination of triple toe loop and double toe loop and was flawless. Her change foot combination spin was excellent. In her long program, however, she made five more or less serious mistakes. The second German skater Nathalie Weinzierl (26), who trains with Olympic Champion Anett Poetzsch, came sixth with 143.01 points. She opened her short program with a clean combination of triple Lutz and double toe loop, but then singled the Axel and doubled the loop – two elements without any points. In her free program, three triple jumps were O.K, but the Lutz a bit shaky and she fell on the loop.

Dutch skater Lindsay van Zundert (15) is on seventh position with 141.93 points in her senior debut. Anna La Porta from Switzerland finished eighth, earning 139.96 points and Czech skater Eliska Brezinova, the sister of Michal Brezina, ended up ninth of the 22 skaters with 139.32 points.

Nebelhorn Trophy 2020 – Pairs

by Klaus-Reinhold Kany

(27 Sep. 2020) The pairs competition (6 teams) at the 2020 Nebelhorn Trophy consisted of six teams, and was not of good level at all. Russian and North American skaters were not allowed to cross the German border due to the Covid-19 virus and the best German pair withdrew after the short program.

Rebecca Ghilardi & Filippo Ambrosini, Italy‘s pair number 2 from Bergamo, 19th at the World Championships 2019, won the competition with 154.61 points. In their short program to the music of “Bring me to Life“ by the US rock band Evanescence, their triple twist was not clearly landed in his arms, the double Axel was good, but they had no triple jump. Four more elements were clean, but the triple throw Lutz not a hundred per cent clean. Their style of skating lacks a bit of elegance.

The students of Franca Bianconi opened their free program with a triple twist which again was not clean. Ghilardi fell on the side by side triple Salchow after landing forward. The first and third lift were good, but they had to abort the Axel Lasso Lift after the entry was wobbly. Ambrosini had so many problems with the double Axel that he could not add a second jump in their combination. The triple throw loop was almost clean and the triple throw Lutz good. Their components were around 6.6. Ambrosini said: “This was not our best competition, but we are happy for our first one in the season. Thank you to the German federation for organizing it in a strange time. I have a feeling that all skaters have become more friends with each other because all are in the same situation.“

Annika Hocke & Robert Kunkel from Germany, who were in the ISU Junior Final last season and fourth at Junior Worlds 2020, took the silver medal, winning 154,26 points. Their triple twist was good, the side by side triple Salchow as well, but Hocke stepped out of the triple throw loop. The other four elements were at least good, the step sequence even had a level 4. Kunkel said: “We are extremely happy that we have the possibility to compete again and we have to get used to an empty rink. But we know that thousands of people all over the world were watching the livestream.“

The students of Rico Rex opened their free program with a clean triple twist, followed by a combination of two double toe loops which originally were planned triple. Hocke singled the side by side Salchow and stepped out of the triple throw Lutz. They aborted the second of the three lifts, but the two others were relatively clean. The triple throw loop was good as well as the other elements. Kuinkel said: “We were so well prepared like never before. We have no explanation why we could not show what we succeeded in practice.“

Cleo Hamon & Denys Strekalin from the area of Paris are third with 144.06 points. Last summer, the French pair had trained with John Zimmerman in Florida, but this summer they were not allowed to enter the USA. In their short program, the triple twist was good, but Hamon doubled the toe loop which he tripled. Her triple throw loop was landed on two feet, the four other elements were clean. They opened their long program with a clean triple twist, but then Hamon singled the toe loop and could not add a second jump. Her double Axel was not safe and she fell on the triple throw loop. The other elements were more or less clean. As Paris is a risk area for the Covid-19 virus, both French pairs and their coach Claude Peri had to pass a covid-19 test at Munich airport (free of charge) and were not allowed to leave their hotel and to enter the rink until they received a negative test result online the next morning which they had to show at the accreditation.

Elizaveta Zhuk & Martin Bidar from the Czech Republic are fourth, earning 143.03 points. In their short, their triple twist was O.K., but her triple toe loop not clean and she missed the landing of the throw triple Lutz. In their free program, they made four mistakes and the other elements were soso, but nothing was very good. The second French pair Coline Keriven and Noel-Antoine Pierre ended up fifth with 130.27 points. They opened their short program with a good double twist, but Pierre fell on the side by side triple toe loop. Keriven stepped out of the triple throw loop and their lift was a bit wobbly. In their free program, she doubled the toe loop and their combination was only a double Salchow with a single Axel.

Minerva Hase & Nolan Seegert from Germany, third at the Cup of Russia 2019, had won the short program with 63.97 points. Their twist was very good, as well as the triple toe loop. They performed the triple throw Salchow in an excellent way, the parallel spin as well, but the lift was a bit wobbly. During the morning practice before the free program, Hase landed badly on a throw, strained her ankle ligament and had to withdraw.

Nebelhorn Trophy Adapts to Covid-19 Virus

A hint for how the Grand Prixs will be organized

by Klaus-Reinhold Kany

The Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany, named after a mountain next to the rink, is the most legendary early fall competition in the history of figure skating. It has existed for 52 years. Therefore the German federation wanted to keep this tradition in spite of the Covid-19 Virus under any circumstances if the health department of the State of Bavaria allowed it. Germany has a much smaller infection rate and much less victims than most other countries in the world. There are only around 5 or 10 dead people per day in September. Therefore the local organizers, the health department of the local county authorities and Peter Krick, the former ISU event manager and now the new "Covid-19 manager of the German Federation“ made a hygiene concept how to organize it. The main goal was to give skaters a possibility to compete safely.

All skaters and coaches stayed in hotels or B & Bs within walking distance to the rink. Therefore they didn’t have to use a shuttle bus. Normally there is one main entrance door which also serves as exit door. But this time, the only way into the rink was through a side door and different from the exit door in order to avoid people meeting and walking too close from each other. A volunteer was standing at this entry door all day and did not let anybody in if this person has not used the hand disinfection liquid which was available with a separate paper napkin. There were several hand disinfection bottles around the rink for use, for example in each wash room, lounge entrance and dressing room. This side door gave way to the accreditation area. Everybody had to fill out a form there to give his name, phone number and E-Mail-address. In case somebody is found positive all other persons are informed and asked if they had a closer contact to this person. If there was a waiting line at the accreditation table, people were asked to observe the distance of six feet from each other.

Everybody had to wear a mask which covers mouth and nose whenever in the rink, except when skating on the ice or coming from the ice and sitting in the kiss and cry after the performance. While the skaters were warming up off the ice, they were not allowed to run around the rink, but there was a special warming up area, like at the big championships. Therefore, the ice in one of the three rinks in Oberstdorf was covered with wood. All persons had to keep a distance from each other of six feet, even when they wore masks. All ways in the rinks were only-way ways in order to avoid people coming too close together. Therefore sometimes you had to walk a longer way around the rink if you wanted to go somewhere, for example to the washroom. There were not only two, but four additional provisional dressing rooms for the skaters, designated by name and country. Therefore, the skaters also could keep a distance of six feet while they were changing their clothes.

In the skating lounge, the skaters had to wear masks and were not allowed to sit, only to stand and eat or drink something (without masks). No self-service was allowed, but a volunteer gave them the food and drinks they would like to have. The tables were cleaned after each use by volunteers. Only one coach per skater was allowed in the kiss and cry area and at the board during practice.

Some skaters, coaches and officials who arrived from a “risk country“ with a much higher number of Covid-19 cases than Germany had to undergo a Covid-19 test (free of charge) when arriving at the airport in Munich or when they came by car or train to the German border. They had to stay in their hotel room until they got the negative test result online the next day. They were allowed to enter the rink only if they had shown the negative online test result at the accreditation. Many skaters said during or after the competition in the press conference that they felt very safe in the rink and well protected from the virus.

In the press room, there were as many tables as accredited journalists or photographers, only one media person was allowed at each table. The number of media people was limited to preferably those who have come to this Trophy regularly. Every media person had to use the same table during the whole week. Tables and chairs and doors were cleaned every evening after everybody had left. All media people also had to wear masks, also during interviews and in the Mixed Zone, except when they were eating and drinking in the press room. Sandwiches were wrapped in paper. The seats of the skaters in the press conference room also had a distance of at least six feet from one another. It was not allowed to stand and talk to other people too close from each other in the rink.

No spectators were allowed in the rink, not even the parents or friends of the skaters. But the livestream of the whole competition was free and available in all countries except Japan and had a very good quality. A TV crew from Japan filmed on their own and bought the rights. There was a special big TV screen in the lobby of the town hall of Oberstdorf for those who were on site and wanted to watch the competition. Photographers got an assigned seat at the rinkboard and could take photos only from the same place during the whole competition.

Between the seats of the judges, there was provisional plexi-glass. Therefore no judge got breathing air from any other judge. The technical panel was sitting less closely together than usually and discussed about elements via microphone, like at big events. While judging, the jury members were free to wear masks or not. But as soon as the judges stood up and went to the judges room or the washroom, they had to wear masks, except when they were eating or drinking something. The judges computer were thoroughly cleaned with alcohol after each part of the competition. The skaters did not draw their starting number, but the technical controller did this in the press conference room and the skaters just watched while sitting there.

In other years, the ISU has always held an examination for those judges who wanted to become ISU judges, and the ISU paid some money to the German federation for organizing this examination; but not this year. No ISU person appeared this year at Nebelhorn Trophy at all although Lausanne in Switzerland, where the ISU is headed, is only four hours away by car and there is no border control between Switzerland and Germany. But everybody in the ISU must certainly have been very happy that the first real international competition in this season was organized at all. With all these sometimes costly safety measures and no money from tickets and for the judges examination, the German federation seems to make a financial loss of around 10,000 or 15,000 US Dollars. But their vice president and treasurer Florian Gerlach and Covid-19 manager Peter Krick said they did it for the skaters.

Nebelhorn Trophy 2020 – Men

by Klaus-Reinhold Kany

(26 Sep. 2020) Due to the Covid-19 virus, neither North American nor Russian or Asian skaters nor any judge from these countries were allowed to come to the 52th Nebelhorn Trophy 2020 in Oberstdorf, Germany. So it was a competition only between non-Russian European skaters.

The men’s event (17 skaters) had the highest level of the four categories. The winner (233.08 total points) is 21-year-old Deniss Vasiljevs from Latvia, fifth at Skate Canada 2019 and 19th at the Olympic Games of 2018. He trains in Stephane Lambiel’s school in Switzerland. He has always excelled by a crowd-pleasing style, but often had problems with the triple Axel and the quad jumps. In Oberstdorf, he began his short program to a tango medley by Astor Piazzola and Jerry Feet with a triple flip which was a bit shaky, a triple Axel which got a “q“ by the technical panel and a triple Lutz with a touch-down. Therefore he could not add any second jump. The new q means that the jump lacked exactly one quarter of a rotation, so it was nearly under-rotated. The three spins and the step sequence (level 3) were outstanding. His components had an average of 8.1.

In the free program to Prokoviev’s “Romeo and Juliet“, he moved up from fifth to first place. His first element was a very good quad Salchow. Two good triple Axels came next, followed by three other triples. His only mistake was a popped triple flip. Spins and steps were as excellent as usual and his components around 8.3. In the press conference, he said: “I imagined 19,000 people here in the rink, like in Japan, and tried to take the energy from the virtual people on the live stream. I trained the quad Salchow in the summer, but I did not expect to land it here. But after it worked in the warm-up, I was ready and willing to try it. But this is not my number one priority. I don’t like masks, but I respect the rules and think the competition was very well organized. I felt very safe here.“

The surprise winner of the silver medal with 231.65 points was Italian Gabriele Frangipani (18) from the school of Lorenzo Magri in the small town of Egna. He had been 13th at the European Championships this year and is a member of the Italian police which sponsor several Italian skaters. In the short program, he missed the quad toe loop, but the other six elements were at least good, the triple Axel and the step sequence (level 4) even very good. In the free, he landed a good quad toe loop and stepped out of the second one. Four triples were clean, but he stepped out of the second triple toe loop which came in combination, and fell on the last triple Lutz. Spins and steps were good. His French choreographer Benoit Richaud (who also has worked with Bradie Tennell regularly) had taught him unusual movements which the judges like. He said: “For me, walking around in the rink with a mask was not strange because in Italy we had very strict regulations to fight the virus after the many victims at the beginning of the pandemic.“

20-year-old bronze medalist Nikolaj Majorov from Sweden (218.07 points) is the nine year younger brother of Alexander Majorov who finished his career 18 months ago. Competing to “Writing on the Wall“ by Sam Smith, Nikolaj opened his short program with a very good combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop, followed by a step-out on the triple Axel and a triple flip which was nearly under-rotated. In the free he used Samurai-theme music pieces, among them the soundtrack of “Flying Tiger, Hidden Dragon“. He stepped out of the quad Salchow, but six triple jumps were clean and the flip a bit under-rotated.

Maurizio Zandron had switched from Italy to Austria two years ago because of the many good Italian skaters. He finished on fourth place, earning 217.65 points. His short program with four triples was almost clean, the Axel a bit shaky. Seven triples in the free were clean, the Salchow a bit wobbly. Matteo Rizzo of Bergamo in Italy, seventh at the Worlds Championships 2019, had been the favorite of this competition. But he finished only 5th with 214.14 points. In the short he did not try any quad. In his combination of triple Lutz and triple loop, the loop was under-rotated and the triple Axel a bit shaky. In the free, he stepped out of the under-rotated quad toe loop. Five triples were good, but he landed the second triple Axel on two feet.

German National Champion Paul Fentz won the short program with a very good quad toe loop, a good triple Axel and 81.86 points. But in the free, only four triples were good. He stepped out of the quad toe loop, fell on the second triple Axel and doubled two jumps which were planned triple. Alexandr Selevko (20) is the older of the two Estonian brothers and ended up on seventh place with 211.48 points. His brother Mihhail Selevko (18) finished ninth with 193.01 points. Lukas Britschgi was the best of the three Swiss skaters and took eighth place with 210.16 points. He landed a quad toe loop and six triples in the free program.

Pair Skater Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya Dies by Apparent Suicide at Age 20

by Klaus-Reinhold Kany

(19 July 2020) On Saturday morning, July 18, 2020, local time, Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya, the Russian pair skater who had competed for Australia from 2016 to late 2019, committed suicide. She jumped out of a window of her apartment on the sixth floor of a Moscow building to the ground and and was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

Her Australian skating partner Harley Windsor, who she had performed with until January 2020, was in Sydney, Australia and commented on Facebook: “Words can not describe how I feel right now, I am devastated and sick to my core about the sad and sudden passing of Katia. The amount we had achieved during our partnership is something I can never forget and will always hold close to my heart. This news is something you can never prepare for. Rest In Peace, Katia.“

Alexandrovskaya was born in Moscow on January 1, 2000, and after doing singles she had been training in the Moscow pair skating school of Nina Mozer from 2014. But she could not find a longtime good partner until Australian skater Harley Windsor came to Russia in early 2016 with his Russian-born coach to find a partner. In Australia only few people practice skating and he could not find any girl who wanted to do pair skating competitively with him. Mozer recommended he try with Alexandrovskaya and helped her to get released from Russia within a few weeks because nobody expected she would ever become a top skater.

They began to train in the spring of 2016 and made such quick progress that they competed in the Junior Grand Prix in the same year, even winning their second Junior Grand Prix in Tallinn, Estonia. They qualified for the Junior Final in December 2016 where they finish fifth. Only three months later they won a surprising gold medal at the Junior World Championships and beat the Russian pairs with all the usual triple elements. Two weeks later they were 16th at their first senior Worlds.

In the fall of 2017, they qualified again for the Junior Final, which they won. They also qualified for the Olympic Games of 2018 at the Nebelhorn Trophy 2017. Afterwards Australia gave Alexandrovskaya citizenship very quickly. Therefore they could compete at the Games in South Korea where they were 18th and some weeks later 16th at the senior World Championships 2018. In the summer of 2018, they decided to move to Montreal and train with Richard Gauthier. But in the long run, they were not very happy there. Alexandrovskaya dreamt of becoming World Champions, but criticized her partner and their coach during many practices.

These were the first signs of her depression which became worse in 2019. Therefore they did not compete as well as in 2016 and 2017, and the team left Gauthier and went back to Moscow. In 2019 their results were not strong, placing 9th at Nebelhorn, and 7th at Skate America, and they had injury problems. On January 10, she did not turn up for training because she had to go to a Moscow hospital. The doctors diagnosed epilepsy after about ten days in the hospital and told her and to Windsor that it was very dangerous to continue a skating career. Therefore they split in January 2020 and Windsor went back to Australia. She got medication against her problems, but they obviously proved inadequate to help her to the extent needed.

Elite European Skaters Return to the Ice

by Klaus-Reinhold Kany

(6 July 2020) In Russia, some rinks opened in late May. One was in Novogorsk near Moscow, but all skaters and coaches who wanted to work there had to stay in a strict quarantine for two weeks in one hotel before being allowed to train. Coach Eteri Tutberidze had stayed with her daughter, the ice dancer Diana Davis (who was fifth at Junior Worlds 2020 with Gleb Smolkin), in Novi, Michigan (where Igor Shpilband works) between mid-March and the end of May. When she returned to Russia, she also had to stay in quarantine, like everybody who has arrived from abroad.

 The second rink for top skaters was in Kislovosk in the Caucasus mountains in southern Russia, near the border to Turkey. Some skaters from St. Petersburg and the school of Evgeni Plushenko went there in mid-June. Plushenko was afraid of infecting himself with the virus in a plane. Therefore he rented a small mobile home in St. Petersburg and drove more than 1,500 miles to the mountains. Some top skaters of Alexei Mishin came in early July. Mikhail Kolyada, one of Russia’s male top skaters, by the way, changed coaches and now also trains under Mishin. He had asked the federation if he could train with Rafael Arutunian in California, but the federation was not willing to pay this training.

 In June more Russian ice rinks opened again, especially far from Moscow because the capital still had many infections.  

In late May, at least two rinks in the French Alps opened again, mainly for national team members of the French federation.

The first rink is in Courchevel, site of the biannual Junior Grand Prix in an altitude of about 5,500 feet near Albertville. Coaches Brian Joubert and Laurent Depouilly came there to work with their students. Among them are Kevin Aymoz and Adam Siao Him Fa. Fa switched coaches, left Joubert and now trains with Depouilly.

The second rink was in the mountain resort of Vaujany near Grenoble where Florent Amodio has his international skating school. The new federation president Nathalie Pechalat asked renowned French choreographer Benoit Richaud to work with several French single skaters. Pair skater Vanessa James still is in Florida waiting to be allowed to train, but she does not know yet if the pair will continue to exist. Her partner Morgan Ciprès sits in France and has to appear in front of the new disciplinary commission of the French federation on July 9 after having sent photos of himself totally naked to two girls in Florida two and half a years ago.      

In Germany one of the rinks in Berlin opened in late April, at the beginning only for five skaters who are national team members and their coaches. The skaters were the two pairs Minerva Hase & Nolan Seegert and Annika Hocke & Robert Kunkel plus the single skates Paul Fentz. Those five skaters had been qualified fort he World championships in Montreal which was canceled in March.

The coaches had to wear masks and everybody was tested. The name and phone number of everybody was registered in order to be able to contact them quickly if one person was tested positive. Nobody else was allowed in the rink, neither parents nor judges nor federation people. Beginning from mid-May ten skaters were allowed, in June more, but not more than ten skaters on the ice at the same time.

In early May, another German training rink for not more than five national team members was opened in Oberstdorf, site of the annual Nebelhorn Trophy in September. This rink is in Bavaria where the rules were a bit stricter than in the rest of Germany. During the first weeks, pairs and ice dance couples were not allowed to train together but only separate with a distance of six feet from one another. Therefore they could not practice any lifts or pair spins, but only basic movements or side by side step sequences.

The mandatory entrance to the rink was different from the mandatory exit in order to avoid skaters coming too close while entering or leaving the rink. They had to change clothes at home because the changing rooms were closed.

In June everything was a bit less strict, because Germany had only a small number of new infections, Bavaria (with a population of 13.5 million) only 30 – 40 per day and between zero and four cases of death. But the border between Germany and Russia is still closed. Therefore the new couple of Elena Pavlova & Ruben Blommaert could not train because she was stuck in Russia and he was stuck in Germany.

The rink in Dortmund has re-opened again as well, therefore the German ice dance champions Katharina Muller & Tim Dieck and some other team members can train there. But Muller & Dieck hope that the border to Russia will open again because their main coach was and is Angelika Krylova in Moscow. They did not exclude that Krylova might come to Dortmund with some of her Russian students for some times if this is easier than travelling to Moscow for Muller & Dieck.   

In Austria, two ice rink were re-opened in early May for national team members: One is in Gmunden near Salzburg and the other one in Telfs near Innsbruck. Both rinks are far from the Austrian capital of Vienna hardly any top skaters live and train there.

Austria’s top skaters, the pair of Miriam Ziegler & Severin Kiefer who were tenth at the World Championships 2019, trained in Gmunden, but during the first weeks without their main coach Knut Schubert. Normally they train in Berlin with him, but the border between Germany and Austria were locked from mid-March to mid-June. Normally there is no control at all at this border. Second problem: At the beginning,  they were not allowed to train together, but only in a distance of two feet although they live together and are a couple off the ice.     

In Britain, the rinks were closed longer than in Continental Europe because the United Kingdom had more cases of Covid 19 than the rest of Western Europe. But there were differences between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Some rinks in Canada opened in early or mid-June, especially the rinks of the Ice dance academy on Montreal. Therefore the dance couples could train again, though with some restrictions. From July 2 on, Canadian tourists were allowed to come to Europe again without two weeks of quarantine, but for Americans and Brazilians, the border remains strictly closed.  

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.

A Quad Salchow, Nearly as Good as It Gets

The anatomy of a fully rotated quad Salchow, executed by Yuzuru Hanyu.

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

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19 Oct. 2020 -  The ISU today announced the cancelation of the Internationaux of France, what would have otherwise been the fourth stop of the 2020 Grand Prix of Figure Skating.

Currently, China, Japan and Russia remian on the Grand Prix schedule.

16 Oct. 2020 -  The ISU today announced the cancelation of the Four Continents Championships in Figure Skating and Speed skating.  This follows on the heels of the announcement of the cancellation of Skate Canada International, the second previously planned stop for the 2020 Grand Prix, earlier this week.

The 2021 Four Continents Figure Skating Championships were to have been held in Sydney, Australia.  Sydney now has the provisional allotment for the 2023 Four Continents Championship.

2020 Skate America remains on track to be held next week using a stringent "bubble" approach; while cancellation of Skate France and Rostelcom Cup in the near future is a strong possibility.

 Russia is undergoing a recent surge in Covid cases in a second wave, with outbreaks among athletes in several sports reported. Cases are also on the rise in Europe, with localized lockdowns being reimposed, and more expansive lockdowns under consideration.

6 Oct. 2020 - U.S. Figure Skating announced today (Oct. 9, 2020) two-time U.S. National Champions Madison Chock and Evan Bates have withdrawn from 2020 Skate America.

“After much consideration, we have decided to withdraw from Skate America,” Chock and Bates said. “Our training and preparation have been affected by the pandemic and at this time we are 100% focused on our preparation for the 2021 Toyota U.S. Figure Skating Championships. We will be staying at our training base in Montreal, but will certainly miss the thrill of competition and seeing our U.S. Figure Skating family. We wish everyone good health and good luck!”

30 Sep. 2020 - The ISU announced today the cancellation of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final, originally scheduled for Beijing/China - December 10-13, 2020

Regarding the test event, the ISU said, "Concerning the Olympic Test Events in Beijing there were also a number of logistical points raised by potentially participating teams that meant that hosting the competitions on the scheduled dates (close to the end of year holidays and National Championships) would have impacted on the number of participants, given the potential need to quarantine on returning to their home country."

In it's announcement the ISU also stated, "The ISU, in consultation with all stakeholders and considering the pandemic developments, is evaluating the continuation of the 2020/21 season, in particular the re-scheduling possibilities for the important Olympic Test Events. The ISU will communicate the conclusions at a later date."

29 Sep. 2020 - French pairs figure skater Morgan Cipres and his partner, Vanessa James, retired from the sport on Tuesday amid allegations that Cipres sent lewd photos to a 13-year-old American figure skater on Instagram. Cipres is under investigation by the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office in Florida for allegedly direct messaging two photos of his penis to a 13-year-old American figure skater in 2017.

20 Jul. 2020 - The ISU announces the Junior Grand Prix Series for 2020/21 is cancelled.  ISU Statement follows.

Since the last ISU Council meeting on July 6, the ISU has been informed of increased travel and entry restrictions which would seriously complicate the travel of Junior Skaters with the consequence that some ISU Members simply cannot or do not feel comfortable to send Junior teams to the remaining ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating countries. Furthermore, the potential extensive sanitary/ medical care measures (including possible quarantine) would put an unsustainable burden on the organizers.

Based on the advice of the Medical Commission and the Council appointed Working Group, the ISU Council has therefore concluded that the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating events of the season 2020/21 cannot be maintained and that all events of the series must be cancelled.

 If later during the season the pandemic developments and situation change and allow for the safe organization of international junior indoor events and some ISU Members wish to host an International Competition for Juniors, the ISU would consider financially assisting interested ISU Members, subject to receiving a detailed proposal. Preference will be given to ISU Members that had previously been allotted an ISU Junior Grand Prix event for the 2020/21 season.

The ISU regrets the cancellation of this popular junior series even though it is in line with the ISU policy to put the safety and health of event participants as the number one priority.

The ISU Council will meet again online on August 3 to evaluate the pandemic developments and related situation and to update the season planning for the ISU senior Events.

22 June 2020 - Two-time and reigning U.S. champion Alysa Liu announced today that she will begin training under a new team of coaches, including Lee Barkell, Lori Nichol and Massimo Scali. She has worked with all the coaches except Barkell in the past.

Liu, who became the youngest lady to win a U.S. title at age 13 in 2019, will continue to be based in Oakland, California.

“I am very excited to announce that I will be training under the guidance of a new team of coaches including Lee Barkell, Lori Nichol and Massimo Scali," Liu said. "I look forward to working with all my coaches even though some of them are located in different parts of the world.”

Liu was previously coached by Laura Lipetsky.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank my former coach Laura Lipetsky for everything she has done for me since the beginning of my career,” Liu said. “We’ve worked so closely together, and she has helped me get to where I am today.”

Liu will compete as a junior internationally and senior domestically during the 2020-21 season.

28 May - The 2020 ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Canada Cancelled

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, British Columbia.

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. 
 
The ISU 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.

The ISU 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 temperature check.

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 and quarantine.

The ISU has implemented the following precautions at ISU Events  aimed at all accredited persons for the prevention of contracting the Coronavirus:

  1. Questionnaire and health checks to be completed at arrival at the ISU Event  
  2. Health checks periodically throughout the ISU Event
  3. Availability of tests for coronavirus on anyone with a temperature
  4. 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.
  5. Isolation room(s) to be available if necessary
  6. Availability of hand sanitizer throughout the venue and the hotel
  7. Gloves to be available if requested
  8. Reinforce education regarding frequent hand washing, use of hand gel and cough etiquette.
  9. Reduce handshaking and close physical contact
  10. 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 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.


2020 / 2021 Season

October Competitions

Oct 07 - Oct 10, 2020, ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating, Ljubljana, SLO

Oct 23 - Oct 25, 2020, ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating, Skate America, Las Vegas, NV, USA

Oct 30 - Nov 01, 2020, ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating, Skate Canda International, Ottawa, CAN, SLO

November Competitions

Nov 06 - Nov 08, 2020, ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating, Cup of China, Chingqing, CHN

Nov 13 - Nov 15, 2020, ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating, Internationaux de France, Grenoble FRA

Nov 20 - Nov 22, 2020, ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating, Rostelcom Cup, Moscow, RUS

December Competitions

Dec 10 - Dec 13, 2020, ISU Grand Prix of figure Skating Final, Beijing, CHN

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 Choingqing, China November 6–8
Internationaux de France Grenoble, France November 13–15
Rostelecom Cup Moscow, Russia November 20–22
NHK Trophy Osaka, Japan November 27–29
Grand Prix Final Beijing, China December 10–13
 
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