The Big Picture
News from the Southwest Pacific Region
Clubs of the SWP region are invited to send us news items for inclusion here.
Provisional Allotments for 2021
ISU European Figure Skating Championships
Jan 25 - Jan 31, 2021, Zagreb, CRO
ISU 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
In the News:
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
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
In June more Russian ice rinks opened again,
especially far from Moscow because the capital still had
In late May, at least two rinks in the French Alps opened
again, mainly for national team members of the French
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.
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
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
A Lost Season
Skating in Southern California Soon to Reopen
(Revised June 22, 2020)
(June 8, 2020)
As we write this in early June, rinks in Southern
California remain closed.
In the urbanized counties of Southern California the
current case rate is 0.3 to 0.6 percent of the population,
with Los Angeles County being the worst case.
Deaths in Southern California are running at about 4
percent of cases.
Nationwide, Covid-19 deaths are running at about 900
per day, a bit less than half the rate during the peak of
the pandemic in early April.
Nationwide deaths are projected to continue at a rate
above 400 per day into August.
Cases and deaths in the rural counties of California
are at a much lower rate than the urban centers.
In this environment, California has
developed a four phase plan for reopening businesses.
On June 5 the state announced that counties that have
attested they meet the state’s requirements for phase three
openings could begin to open additional types of business,
under the state plan.
All but 10 counties in California have so far attested they
meet the phase three requirements, with those ten all in the
San Francisco Bay area.
The details for how phase-three businesses can open,
and the schedule to be followed, are being left up to each
weeks of waiting, the ball is now in the court of county
health departments to say what practices phase-three
business must follow, and what the schedule for resuming
be. It is
anticipated counties will make their announcements in the next
week (by June 12).
Skating rinks are phase-three
businesses under the California’s plan.
When the counties give the word, rinks can open and
competitions can again be held, but with the restrictions
that spectators will not be allowed at competitions.
Sporting events with spectators are phase-four
activities in California, and there is no hint of when phase four opening
will be reached.
It is expected this will not occur for several more months.
While many states are planning reopening of businesses
with four phase plans, the businesses included an any
particular phase varies from state to state. For
example, while ice rinks are phase-three businesses in
California, they are phase-four businesses in New York.
Thus, competitions in California may have an earlier start
Since early March, in a tsunami rolling
through the calendar, clubs have been cancelling their
The last competition we know of held in Southern California
was in early February.
Most clubs have cancelled their competitions outright instead
of rescheduling them for later in the summer.
Currently, no competitions are scheduled in Southern
California through the end of July.
Only three clubs in Southern California are currently
known for certain to be planning to hold competitions before the
Southwest Pacific Regional qualifying competition: The
Glacier Falls Summer Classic, rescheduled to August 20-23;
the Golden West Championships, the weekend of Labor Day; and
the Pasadena FSC Open, sometime time later in September or
Southwest Pacific is still on the schedule for the weekend
of October 17.
The National Qualifying Series (NQS)
component of competitions was canceled earlier this season.
The NQS approved competitions are a mechanism to
allow skaters to qualify for Sectionals without having to
compete at Regionals.
As for the Regionals themselves, these competitions
are still on the schedule, though there is no guarantee they
will not be rescheduled or canceled. Details will be
announced by U.S. Figure Skating in the future.
U.S. Figure Skating announced in
mid-May that plans for the qualifying competitions will be
announced no later than July 1.
On June 4 officials
received an e-mail that availability requests for qualifying
competitions will be delayed, and available in a few weeks.
As U.S. Figure Skating develops its plans for how
qualifying competitions might be held, the association is
working closely with the few non-qualifying competitions
still in the planning stages for later this summer to
determine the best way to hold competitions with social
distancing in place.
One thing is certain, competitions held the remainder
of this year will look very different from past practices.
If things go smoothly, it is likely
singles skaters in Southern California will be able to
return to training in about 7-10 days, with social
distancing requirements in place within rinks, and
reduced occupancy loads.
Pairs, Dance and Synchro, however, may still be
problematic, as these disciplines require skaters be in
close proximity for long periods of time in order to train.
Hockey has a similar problem.
phase-three guidelines public sessions would fall under the
same criteria as opening gyms to the public, involving as
yet to be determined reduced occupancy loads.
One added complication for competitions is that some
states still have in place quarantine requirements of 14
days for persons entering the state, meaning an out of state
competitor would have to arrive 14 days before a competition
starts before they could venture outside their hotel.
For those states, as a practical matter entries would
probably end up limited to skaters within the state where
the competition was held. For California, however,
this is not an issue.
Assuming rinks in Southern California open by July 1,
skaters will have slightly over two months before entries
close for Regionals, leaving little time to recover past
skills and also acquire new skills needed to test and move
skaters are allowed to skate up at Regionals (not currently
allowed by the rules) it would seem nearly all skaters who
planned to compete at a high level this season are out of
luck. Given the
short development timeline that skating now requires of
athletes to reach elite status, this season will likely be a
setback that will impact their future development for
seasons to come.
And as bad as all this is, it has the
potential to get worse.
U.S. Figure Skating is preparing for a potential loss
of members this season of over 10%.
Meanwhile, health officials warn of a second wave of
Covid-19 coinciding with the start of flu season in October.
It would be unfortunate on many levels, if qualifying
competitions were reschedule to later in the year, only to
have that coincide with a second wave of Covid-19 on top of
the peak of flu season.
Skating is not nearly out of the woods this season, and any plans
to be adopted can only be based for now on best guesses and estimates for how things will unfold.
Internationally, one of the Junior Grand Prix
competitions has been cancelled and another rescheduled, and it is
possible that the entire Junior series will be cancelled.
The ISU has given the host federations of the senior Grand
Prix until August 1 to confirm they will be able to host
those competitions. We have heard that should one of
the countries be unable to hold their competition Finland
would like to be a substitute host. Assignments to the
Grand Prixs have also not yet been announced, and the ISU
lists all the Senior events as provisional allotments.
Locations for the French and Japanese Grand Prixs were
only recently announced. Earlier in the year it was
rumored that the French Grand Prix would be held in Nantes,
or perhaps Grenoble again. With the resignation of
Didier Gailhaguet and the election of Natalie Pechelat as
federation president earlier this year, the French
federation has seen a bit of turmoil this season which
delayed a decision on the location of that event, which is
now listed on the ISU schedule for Grenoble. NHK
Trophy is now listed on the schedule for Osaka.
Skate America is still on schedule to lead off the Grand
Prix Series in Las Vegas, NV the weekend of October 24.
Nevada currently does not have in place a quarantine for
travelers entering the state; however, the U.S. does
have quarantine requirements for entry into the U.S.
Current regulations would also prohibit spectators at Skate
America and the other Grand Prix events.
If current travel restrictions remain in effect into
October, travel between the Grand Prix events will be
problematic. All the countries hosting Grand Prix
events currently have requirements for persons entering each
country to quarantine themselves for 14 days. Thus,
anyone attending Skate America, for example, could not meet
the quarantine requirement to attend (or participate in)
Skate Canada or Cup of China, but would barely meet the
requirement to allow participation in Internationaux de
France (TBD) three weeks later, and so on, through the
The current travel quarantine requirements may
create an insolvable problem for the people who normally
work several, in not all six, of the Grand Prix events each
season. Further, competitors who are assigned to two
events are scheduled within two weeks of each other could
not meet quarantine requirements for their two events, and
skaters while in quarantine could not go to a local rink and
train. In addition, anyone who participated in NHK
Trophy (the last of the six Grand Prixs) could not meet
Chinese quarantine requirements to participate in the Grand
Prix Final two weeks later.
Notes added June 22, 2020:
Since California county health departments were given
permission to implement phase 3 openings on June 12, 2020
four rinks in southern California posted on their websites
shortly thereafter they were partially open for freestyle
session. The majority of rinks remain closed.
The number of Covid-19 cases in the U.S. has been on the
rise the last two weeks, and this is true also for the state
of California. Recently the state ordered the use of
masks, a requirement that had been dropped by most counties
earlier this month. The speed at which rinks will
reopen is now again in doubt. One rink in Southern
California has posted on its website it will not reopen
until phase 4 reopening is approved by the state.
Internationally, the Schengen area has been reducing
travel restriction within the area, but travel restrictions
(with 14 day quarantining) between the area and other
countries have been extended to July 1. After that
date countries outside the area will be required to meet
certain criteria to be allow unrestricted travel.
Given that the pandemic is continuing to run nearly unabated
within the U.S., travel between the U.S. and the Schengen
area is likely to be restricted for a lengthy period to
2020 ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Canada
With the uncertainty surrounding the
COVID-19 pandemic, Skate Canada has cancelled the 2020 ISU
Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Canada. The event was
scheduled to take place from August 26-29, 2020 in Richmond,
The Remarkable Life of U.S. Olympic and
World Coach Ron Ludington - Ron Ludington,
the iconic U.S. Olympic and World pairs and dance coach who
was a force and fixture on the national and global
competitive scene for many decades, sadly passed away on
Thursday, May 14th, after
having been admitted to the Christiana Hospital in Newark, Delaware
earlier that week. He was 85 years old.
2020 World Figure Skating Championships Cancelled
World Short Track and World Synchronized Skating
Championships also cancelled for 2020
Statement from the ISU, 16 April 2020
Mindful of the escalating negative COVID-19 developments,
the resulting world-wide human tragedy and the measures
taken by the public authorities as well as logistical
challenges the ISU Council during its on-line meeting held
on April 16, 2020 concluded that a postponement of the
pending 2020 ISU Championships is not possible.
Consequently, the ISU Council has decided that the following
ISU Championships must be definitely cancelled:
- ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships,
Seoul, March 13-15, 2020
- ISU World Figure Skating Championships, Montreal, March
- ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships, Lake
Placid, April 3-5, 2020.
In regard to the
planning of the 2020/21 skating season and considering
the uncertain development of the COVID-19 crisis and its
impact on the staging of international sports events,
the ISU Council will hold another on-line meeting on
April 28 when different scenarios of the COVID-19
developments and impact on the ISU Event calendar will
be discussed. The objective is to work out and
communicate to all stakeholders options suitable for
different scenarios in order to limit the uncertainty to
the strict minimum. This evaluation will also consider
the ISU Skating Awards in Figure Skating.
Statement from the ISU, 11 March 2020
With the uncertainty surrounding the spread of the COVID-19
virus, Skate Canada and the International Skating Union
(ISU), were informed today by the Government of Quebec that
they have decided to cancel the ISU World Figure Skating
Championships® 2020. The event was scheduled to take place
from March 16-22, 2020 in Montreal at Centre Bell.
The ISU and Skate Canada and have closely monitored the
provincial and federal health authorities’ position on the
spread of the virus and fully respect the difficult decision
made today. Like the authorities, the ISU and Skate
Canada are committed to the health and safety of the
athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers and spectators.
The ISU therefore is unable to hold the ISU World Figure
Skating Championships 2020 at the above-mentioned planned
date. The ISU thanks Skate Canada and all the partners
involved in the preparation of the Event and for their
cooperation during the critical monitoring phase leading up
to this decision.
Many stakeholders have been affected by the cancellation of
the World Championships, the ISU and Skate Canada will be
communicating directly with each group in the coming days.
Any fan who has purchased tickets directly from the official
ticket provider Evenko will receive details on the refund
process in due course.
Considering the current uncertain developments surrounding
the Coronavirus pandemic, a rescheduling and/or relocation
of the above-mentioned Championships within the current
season, even if the season would be extended by several
weeks after its normal end in early April, cannot be
reasonably considered. During the coming weeks, the ISU will
evaluate in cooperation with all stakeholders whether the
ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2020 could possibly
be held later in the year, but
in any case not before October 2020.Before
taking a final decision, the ISU will remain in close
contact with Skate Canada and ISU Members.
The ISU regrets that the most important Figure Skating Event
of the season cannot be held as planned but the ISU also
understands that the safety and wellbeing of all
participants and the community take precedence and is sure
that ISU Members, Skaters and fans will understand this
Reports from Tallinn, Estonia.
The anatomy of a fully rotated quad Salchow, executed by
2020 Four Continents Championships
Hanyu, Kihira, Sui & Han Highlight
Successful Four Continents Championships in Seoul, Korea
by Tatiana Flade
Excellent performances by star stars such as
Yuzuru Hanyu, Rika Kihira, Wenjing Sui & Cong Han and many others
highlighted the ISU Four Continents Championships in Seoul, Korea.
Even the Corona virus panic didn’t stop the event from being a
Precautions were taken, but some of them seemed unnecessary
or exaggerated. Spectators had fill into a health inquiry from where
they were asked whether they had been to China or had contact to ill
people, all accredited people had their temperature checked every
time they entered the rink. However, you can be infected and
contagious without showing any symptoms such as fever for up to two
weeks. Most people wore masks all the time, although these don’t
provide an effective protection. Everyone was reminded of washing
their hands regularly - which is something you should do
anyway, especially when using the restroom and before eating.
one skater withdrew apparently because of the Corona virus – Christy
Yi Leung from Hong Kong, who is actually based in the USA. The
Chinese delegation needed a special permit to be able to enter Korea
as the country closed their borders from people coming from China on
Several spectators from China possibly were unable to
attend because of these travel restrictions. According to the
organizers, about 25 percent of the tickets had been sold to Chinese
fans. Korea had officially reported 25 cases of Corona virus
infections until February 8, so all these measures seemed a bit over
the top. It was not like the virus was rampant in Seoul. Every year
more people die from the regular flu. Except for all the people
wearing masks, the event seemed like business as usual and no major
The ISU Four Continents Figure Skating
Championships 2021 will be held in Sydney, Australia.
2020 European Championships
21-26 January 2020
Gracie Gold Jumps Back Into National Ring
By Liz Leamy
Gracie Gold, much to the excitement of
many fans and thousands of those involved in the sport, is
in the proverbial house here in Greensboro where she has
been making, in typical style, quite a splash.
The Chicago-area native, who captured
the attention of the world back in mid 2010s when she
clinched the 2014 and 2016 U.S. titles with her power,
pizzazz and infectious high energy, valiantly made her way
back into the national center ring upon scoring bronze
medals at the 2020 South Atlantic Regional and 2020 Eastern
Sectional Championship events last fall.
The beguiling 24 year-old, who also
placed fourth at the 2014 Olympics and 2015 and 2016 World
Championships, wound up 13th in the short
Thursday night with a noble performance in which she
executed a big double Axel and triple Lutz (with a landing
that was two footed)-double toe.
Due to the fact that she had singled a
triple loop, Gold lost some crucial points affecting her
standing in this first-round showdown.
Wearing a black dress inflected with
sparkling gold accents, Gold was clearly a crowd favorite,
as the audience gave her a thunderous round of applause when
she completed her program.
For Gold, who trains full time in
Aston, Pennsylvania with Alex Zahradnicek and Pasha
Filchenkov, the narrative seems to be all about self
empowerment these days, as this outing marked another vital
step forward in her journey back into the spotlight of
Gold’s performance here in Greensboro
marks the first time she has competed in this event since
2017, when she was sixth at that U.S. Championships.
This venerable athlete, who was
followed by virtually all of the biggest media outlets when
she made her first big gold-medal splash in the championship
skating world, including the New York Post, New York Times
and USA Today and was said to have hung around with such
mega-celebrities as Taylor Swift when she lived in the Los
Angeles area from 2013 through 2016, revealed the powerful
spirit here that brought her to worldwide fame a few years
Somehow, much of the reason for this is
due to the good
old happiness and contentment factor, as Gold, who
resides in Claymont, Delaware, is said to be settled and
content with her situation at the Aston Ice Works complex,
where the renowned Philadelphia Open is held every July.
There, Gold teaches group and private
lessons when she is not busy training on and off ice,
usually on weekends.
According to insiders, she is adored by
many of the young skaters there, as she is said to always
make time to chat with them, which is a true test of
practically any individual’s character.
Meanwhile, Gold is building her brand,
as she has recently formed a partnership with the company
Julep, creators of makeup, skincare and nail polish.
For Julep, Gold serves as a
spokesperson for their products and also their philosophy of
strength, beauty and spirit, which seems appropriate based
upon the type of person she is and continues to evolve into.
With this, let the next stage of the
games in regard to this promising and talented athlete carry
Seeks Fourth Consecutive
U.S. Title - Nathan Chen, the 20 year-old Salt Lake City
native and quad jumping phenom who, over the past number of years,
has been largely responsible for raising the technical bar of
figure skating, seems as hungry as ever to claim his fourth
consecutive U.S. title at the 2020 Nationals in Greensboro, North
Carolina next week.
Cain-Gribble and LeDuc Set to Defend Their U.S.
- Ashley Cain-Gribble & Timothy LeDuc, the 2019
U.S. champions who have been making a name as a global podium threat
the past few seasons, seem as poised as ever to retain their
position as the country’s premiere pair in Greensboro.
Hubbell and Donohue
Looking to Clinch Third
Consecutive Title at U.S. Nationals
Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue, the
reigning two-time U.S. champions and two-time World medalists (silver
in 2018 and bronze in 2019) seem to be as pinpoint-focused as ever in
regard to the prospect of capturing a third consecutive gold medal
at the U.S. Championships in Greensboro.
Alysa Liu Eager to Defend U.S. National Title in Greensboro
Liu, the effervescent 14 year-old Clovis, California native who last
season, catapulted herself right into the sport’s main spotlight
after having captured the 2019 U.S. title, seems poised and
primed to defend her position as the ladies frontrunner at the 2020
U.S. Championships in Greensboro next week.
The Next Olympic Ladies Champion Revealed
- The next Olympic Winter Games are about two years away, but already the writing is on the wall
for who will be the next Olympic Ladies Champion.
Perfect Air Position
- What is it? What does it look like? Why does
Grand Prix Junior and Senior Finals
- The Junior and Senior Finals in Torino, Italy closed out
the first half of the 2019/20 season. Given the number
of entries and medals that went to Russia, this might as
well have been Russian Nationals. Half the medals were
captured by that country. The United States placed
second in the medal count with five.
Photo by Robin Ritoss
Photo by Robin Ritoss
Liubov Iliushechkina & Charlie Bilodeau Show New Type of Press Lift
at Skate Canada International
by George S Rossano
The Canadian pair team of Liubov Iliushechkina & Charlie
Bilodeau presented a new form of press lift in their free
program at the 2019 Skate Canada International in Kelowna,
The ISU (rule 619) divides listed lifts into five groups
with the following definitions, with hand to hand lifts
being group 4:
Group One - Armpit Hold position
Group Two - Waist Hold position
Group Three - Hand to Hip or upper
part of the leg (above the knee) position
Group Four - Hand to Hand position
(Press Lift type)
Group Five - Hand to Hand position
(Lasso Lift type)
The Lift’s Group is determined
by the hold at the moment the Lady passes the Man’s
In Groups 3–5 full extension
of the lifting arm(s) is mandatory.
Rule 619 also states:
Partners may give each other
assistance only through hand-to-hand, hand-to-arm,
hand-to-body and hand to upper part of the leg (above the
knee) grips. A change of hold means going from one of these
grips to another or from one hand to another in a one hand
hold. Changes of hold during the lift are permitted.
The takeoff of this lift (shown below) highlights an
interesting ambiguity in the rule.
The lift meets the requirement for a legal hold
(hand-to-arm) but does not meet the definition of a group 4
lift (hand to hand), or any other group for that matter. If anything, this
hold starts off looking closer to
an armpit hold (group 1) than anything else. But it's
clearly not hand to hand.
Nevertheless, the technical panel called this a group 4
lift; and there you have it, a new hand to arm group 4 lift
To paraphrase Humpty Dumpty in "Through the Looking-Glass":
“When I use a rule,” the Technical Panel said,
in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I
choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,”
said Alice, “whether you can make rules mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said the Technical Panel,
“which is to be master—that’s all.”
Like Captain Barbossa's comment about the pirate code in
Pirates of the Caribbean, it seems for the ISU "the code
(rulebook) is more what you'd call 'guidelines' than
Past News Nuggets are in the Archive
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,
“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.
29 Feb. 2020 - The ISU confirmed the
2020 ISU World Short Track Speed Skating
Championships 2020 will not be staged as originally scheduled on March
13-15, 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak in South Korea.
Authorities of the city of Seoul have closed the Mokdong Ice Rink and
ordered the cancellation of all planned competitions.
will evaluate the possibility of holding the Championships later in the
year, but in any case not before
mid-October 2020. All other ISU Events for the season 2019/20 remain scheduled as planned.
advises that anyone with any symptoms of acute illness should NOT be
traveling to ISU Events. Anyone seeking accreditation for ISU
Events will be required to complete an ISU questionnaire and a
Anyone with an acute illness or temperature will not
be granted an accreditation. Instead they will be provided with a mask,
isolated and will follow the protocol of the host country for testing
The ISU has implemented the following precautions at ISU Events
aimed at all accredited persons for the prevention of contracting the
- Questionnaire and health checks to be completed at arrival at
the ISU Event
- Health checks periodically throughout the ISU Event
- Availability of tests for coronavirus on anyone with a
- Availability of masks for anyone who has cold-like symptoms or
requests one. Please note that masks are not recommended for anyone
who is healthy. Masks are recommended for anyone with symptoms.
- Isolation room(s) to be available if necessary
- Availability of hand sanitizer throughout the venue and the
- Gloves to be available if requested
- Reinforce education regarding frequent hand washing, use of hand
gel and cough etiquette.
- Reduce handshaking and close physical contact
Educational sheet included in
information on the ISU Events App.
Local Organizing Committees will be responsible to implement any necessary measures for the general public.
8 Feb. 2020 - The president of France's ice
sport federation, Didier Gailhaguet, resigned over a damaging sex abuse scandal
engulfing his sport. Four members of the federation board have
In his resignation announcement Gailhaguet said,
"In the spirit of conciliation I took the sensible decision to resign
with philosophy, dignity but no bitterness."
In an autobiography published on January 30, former world championship
bronze medalist Sarah Abitbol accused coach Gilles Beyer of raping her
several times from 1990 to 1992 when she was between the ages of 15 and
17. Other accusations have since followed including another skater,
the parent of a skater, and
Gailhaguet's had led the French ice sport federation
since 1998, except for a three-year international ban following the
2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics scandal, and from 2004 to 2007
critical auditor's report.
The French Sports Ministry, led by
Roxana Maracineanu, has promised a thorough investigation of the
accusations, most of which, if not all, predate Gailhaguet's tenure as
The key question concerning federation officials is
what did they know, when did they know it, and what action did they take
to protect their athletes. Beyer is described as having an
executive position with the federation until 2018, and was also a
national team coach for several years.
6 Jan. 2020 -
U.S. Figure Skating has selected the Orleans Arena in Las
Vegas as the host for 2020 Skate America, Oct. 23-25, 2020, and the host
for the 2021 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships, Feb. 24-27, 2021.
Skate America, which will return to Las Vegas after a successful 2019
event, will be the first competition of the International Skating Union Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series.
Tickets for Skate America will go on sale later this
“We received an overwhelmingly positive response from skaters and fans
in regard to their experience at 2019 Skate America,” U.S. Figure
Skating president Anne Cammett said. “The convenience of having the host
hotel within a short walk of the Orleans Arena was heavily considered in
the decision to return. We also heard good things from the skaters and
coaches about the arena, the ice and the professional staff at the
“After hosting a successful 2019 Skate America
competition, The Orleans and Boyd Gaming are honored to continue the
great relationship that has been built with U.S. Figure Skating with its
decision to bring Skate America back to the Orleans Arena Las Vegas in
2020,” Executive Director of the Orleans Arena Rex Berman said. “This
continues our proud tradition of hosting Olympic style events, and we
cannot wait to welcome these world-class athletes back to the property.”
The 2021 U.S. Synchronized Skating
Championships will mark the first time that the event has been held in
“U.S. Figure Skating is excited to showcase our
premier synchronized skating event in Las Vegas,” Cammett said. “This is
a great opportunity for the athletes, coaches, officials and fans to
come to such a vibrant sports city. I’m looking forward to seeing the
bleachers full, the banners waving and hearing the cheers at the Orleans
2 Jan. 2020 -
World bronze medalist Vincent Zhou announced today that he will begin
training with Lee Barkell and Lori Nichol in Toronto, Canada. Zhou will
also continue to train with Mie Hamada. Zhou had previously been coached by
Tammy Gambill, Christy Krall and Tom Zakrajsek in Colorado Springs.
“I can’t thank Tammy, Christy and Tom enough for all they have done for
me and my career,” Zhou said. “I’m excited to begin training with Lee,
and also work more regularly with Lori, in Toronto, and continue to work
Zhou withdrew from both of his Grand Prix assignments
this season to focus on school this fall. He has since decided to begin a gap year at Brown University
to focus on figure skating. He is scheduled to next compete at the
2020 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
9 Dec. 2019 -
The World Anti-Doping Agency’s
Executive Committee have unanimously endorsed the recommendation of the
independent Compliance Review Committee that the Russian Anti-Doping
Agency be declared non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code for a period
of four years.
The 12-member committee supported the recommendation, which includes a
series of strong consequences and conditions for reinstatement.
In remarks when the announcement was made, WADA President Sir Craig Reedie said:
“For too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport. The
blatant breach by the Russian authorities of RUSADA’s reinstatement
conditions, approved by the ExCo in September 2018, demanded a robust
response. That is exactly what has been delivered today.
afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and re-join the
global anti-doping community for the good of its athletes and of the
integrity of sport, but it chose instead to continue in its stance of
deception and denial."
As a result, the WADA ExCo has responded in the
strongest possible terms, while protecting the rights of Russian
athletes that can prove that they were not involved and did not benefit
from these fraudulent acts."
This ban covers both the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo and the 2022 Winter
Games in Beijing. Despite another doping ban, some Russian
athletes will still be able to compete at these Games.
The sanctions handed down, however, mean there won't be a Russian flag or national
anthem at the Olympics. But it is expected athletes who can be proven to be clean can compete under the Olympic banner.
Similar restrictions were imposed for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter
Olympics, where there was no “Russia” but there were 168 “Olympic
Athletes from Russia," two of whom later failed doping tests.
Russia rejects the WADA ruling, and is expected to challenge it before the
international Court of Arbitration for Sport.
22 Oct. 2019 -
Vincent Zhou, the bronze medal at the 2019
World Figure Skating, has withdrawn from both his Grand Prix
assignments, Cup of China and Rostelecom Cup.
difficult to balance classes and training at the same time,” said Zhou,
who is in the middle of his freshman year at Brown University. “I want
to perform at the highest level on the ice and in the classroom, and I
have not been able to dedicate the necessary time to my skating with my
rigorous class schedule. Unfortunately, the timing of my midterms has
fallen right in the middle of an important training period for me this
fall. This was a tough decision because I love to perform in front of
the fans, but this is the best decision for me right now.”
2020 / 2021 Season
Sep 09 - Sep 12, 2020,
ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating, Budapest, HUN
Sep 16 - Sep 19, 2020,
ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating, Shinyokohama, JPN
Sep 23 - Sep 26, 2020,
ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating, Ostrav, CZE
Sep 30 - Oct 03, 2020,
ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating, Tashkent, UZB
Oct 07 - Oct 10, 2020,
ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating, Ljubljana,
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,
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
Nov 20 - Nov 22, 2020,
ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating, Rostelcom Cup, Moscow, RUS
Dec 10 - Dec 13, 2020, ISU Grand Prix of figure Skating Final, Beijing,
2020-2021 ISU Grand Prix
Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Oct 30– Nov 1
Cup of China
Internationaux de France
Grand Prix Final