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 2020 and 2021
ISU European Figure Skating Championships
Jan 20 - Jan 26,
ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships
Feb 03 - Feb 09,
Junior Figure Skating Championships
Mar 02 - Mar 08,
Figure Skating Championships
Mar 16 - Mar 22,
European Figure Skating Championships
Jan 25 - Jan 31,
Figure Skating Championships
Mar 22 - Mar 28, 2021,
ISU European Figure Skating Championships
Jan 25 - Jan 31,
ISU World Figure Skating Championships
Mar 22 - Mar 28,
2021, Stockholm, SWE
In the News:
Top American Men Have Sights on U.S. Championships in
by Liz Leamy
America’s premiere men’s skaters,
including Nathan Chen, the 2018 World Champion and two-time
U.S. titlist (2017 and 2018), Jason Brown, the 2015 U.S.
champion and Vincent Zhao, the 2017 World Junior gold
medalist, among others, are on the home stretch preparing
for the 2019 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Detroit,
January 19th and running through January 27th.
This main event, which will be held at
the new state-of-the-art Little Caesar’s Arena in downtown
Detroit, should be full of drama, as Chen, who is the 2017
and 2018 International Skating Union Grand Prix
Final champion, and the other top athletes face each other
the closing weekend, January 26 and 27.
For Chen, 19, a full-time freshman at
Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, competing at
Nationals represents an opportunity to achieve cement his
reputation as the premier man in American figure skating,
and shut down naysayers who question the effectiveness of
training across the country from his primary coach.
“It’s cool that I had an opportunity to
compete at Worlds and had the opportunity to win [last
year],” said Chen, who is the youngest of five children.
“[However,] I don’t really want to carry too much of my past
into the future. I have to basically skate as well as I can
[and] just want to focus on all the things I do in training
so I do my best in competition.”
Chen, who is coached by Rafael
Arutyuyan, who is based at the East West Ice Palace in
Artesia, California, spent two weeks of his college holiday
break recently training his short and long programs and
technical and artistic skills with his coach.
At Yale, Chen trains at the Ingalls
Arena, the famous whale-shaped architectural structure based
in the center of the historic Ivy League campus, where he
skates approximately one and a half hours daily, four to
five days a week.
Chen seems to have
adapted effectively to this new way of life and has managed
to make his academic responsibilities work in concert with
his training schedule.
“I’m glad [with] the way things have
been going,” said Chen. “There is still a lot of work to be
Chen said his primary goal at Nationals
is to skate clean and plans to perform the same technical
elements as he did at the Grand Prix Final last December.
For Chen, everything comes down to
simply getting the job done.
“Motivation is based upon whatever you
have to have done at the end of the day,” said Chen.
Jason Brown, the effervescent 24
year-old Chicago-area native, meanwhile, is looking to make
his mark in Detroit and reclaim a U.S. Nationals podium
Brown, whose reputation among many in
the skating community is one of being ‘a skater’s skater,’ finished
second at the 2014 and third at the 2017 U.S. Championships,
respectively, but missed making the 2018 Olympic team after
placing sixth at last year’s Nationals.
Brown, a five-time International
Skating Union Championship Grand Prix medalist, in turn,
decided to change up his world as a means to further evolve
both as an individual and athlete.
Brown, who had been training in
Monument, Colorado for several years prior to making this
change, announced last spring that he was going to relocate
to Toronto to work with Brian Orser, Tracey Wilson and their
Brown, who was renowned for his
exceptional skating fundamentals due to the guidance of his
previous longtime coach, Kori Ade, said he has been working,
over the past year, on approaching his skating from a
“I’ve been working toward the U.S.
Championships. I’m excited about (being there) and am
focused on day-to-day training,” said Brown. “I think I came
(to Toronto) with a strong base and built upon that.”
Brown said he feels he and his current
coaching team have hit an optimal stride in terms of their
communication, which he believes is key in regard to his
stature, growth and development.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned (from
being in Toronto) is our communication has gotten stronger
and better (over the past year)”, said Brown. “It’s a lot
more confidence I have in knowing what to expect and knowing
what our relationship is as a coach and athlete.”
According to Brown, Orser oversees all
aspects of his skating, while Wilson, the 1988 Canadian
Olympic bronze dance medalist, serves as his primary coach
and focuses on his daily training plan.
He also works closely with Karen
Preston, the two-time Canadian champion, and Lee Barkell on
all of his technical elements.
Brown said in regard to his skating, he
feels he has much more to give.
“I’m so proud of my career and
everything I’ve done, but I knew I had more to give and that
physically I wasn’t done,” said Brown.
Ultimately, it seems like Brown is
planning to show everyone in Detroit he is anything but done
with his skating, which certainly should be exciting.
Vincent Zhou, 18, the 2017 U.S. silver
medalist and 2018 U.S. bronze medalist,
is another contender to watch.
Zhou, whose hometown is Palo Alto, California, and who
trains with Tammy Gambill, Tom Zakrajsek and Christy Krall
in Colorado Springs, Colorado,
has been working steadfastly on further strengthening his
triples and quads this season.
He plans to skate to ‘Exogenesis
Symphony Part 3’ by Muse for his short (choreographed Lori
Nichol) and the ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ and ‘Rising
Sun’ film soundtracks (created by Jeffrey Buttle) for his
Reports from Vancouver.
2018 Skate France International
by Klaus-Reinhold Kany
The sixth and
last Grand Prix of this season before the Vancouver Final is
called "Internationaux de France de Patinage.“ It takes place in
southeastern France, in the university city of Grenoble
where the Olympic Winter Games were held in 1968. The U.S.
team won two medals in figure skating then: Peggy Fleming
became Olympic Champion and Tim Wood took silver behind
Austrian Wolfgang Schwarz. The best U.S. pair were Cynthia
and Ronald Kauffman on sixth position. The legendary Ludmilla Belousova
& Oleg Protopopov won the pairs gold
medal. Ice dance was not yet an Olympic sport.
Prix of 2018, like the one in 2017, does not take place in
the old Olympic rink, but in a newer and smaller ice rink
called "Pole Sud“ (South Pole) about two miles south of
downtown. In each of the four categories there are several
skaters who can hope to reach the Grand Prix Final in case
of a top placement.
Big favorite in the men‘s event is the 2018 World Champion
Nathan Chen after winning Skate America in October. Also
hoping for a medal are Boyang Jin from China, Dmitri Aliev
and Alexander Samarin from Russia, the second U.S. skater
Jason Brown, Deniss Vasilievs from Latvia and Keji Tanaka
In the ladies event there might be a hard fight for gold
between the 2016 and 2017 world champion Evgenia Medvedeva
from Russia and the new Japanese star Rika Kihira. U.S.
skater Bradie Tennell is a candidate for the bronze medal as
well as Mai Mihara from Japan, Stanislava Konstantinova and
Maria Sotskova from Russia.
Vanessa James & James Ciprès from France are highly
favored in the pairs competition. The two other medals
might be won be the North Koreans Tae Ok Ryom & Ju Sik
Kim, the Russians Alexandra Boikova & Dmitrii Kozlovskii
or the Americans Tarah Kayne & Danny O’Shea.
In ice dancing the reigning world champions Gabriella
Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron from France announced his
back pain is gone which made them withdraw from the NHK
Trophy. If they compete, they are big gold favorites. The
two other medal might be won by Victoria Sinitsina &
Nikita Katsalapov from Russia and by Piper Gilles & Paul
Poirier from Canada. Outsiders for a medal are the U.S. team
of Kaitlin Hawayek & Jean-Luc Baker, the Spanish dancers
Olivia Smart & Adrian Diaz as well as the second French
team of Marie-Jade Lauriault & Romain Le Gac.
Ice Dance Event
2018 Skate France International Gold
2018 Rostelecom Cup
by Klaus-Reinhold Kany
In 2018, the Rostelecom Cup is the fifth of the six Grand Prix
competitions. In the Western countries this event is often
called the Cup of Russia which had been the real name before
Russia found a sponsor. Like in many years before, it takes
place in Moscow‘s Megasport Arena, which is situated some
miles northwest of the Kremlin and from downtown. This rink
is well-known all over the world and also easy to recognize
by TV-viewers because of its bright colorful seats for the
spectators. It had also served for the World Championships
2011, which had been removed from Tokyo to Russia after the
earthquake, tsunami and disaster of a nuclear power station
in Japan in March 2011, just one week before the planned
The biggest star and men‘s gold favorite is Yuzuru Hanyu who
plans his second Grand Prix after winning in Finland.
Everything but gold again would be a big surprise and only
possible if he is in bad shape. Hoping for the other medals
are Mikhail Kolyada from Russia, Keegan Messing from Canada,
Artur Dmitriev junior and Andrei Lazukin from Russia as well
as Kazuki Tomono from Japan.
In the ladies competition, the 2018 Olympic Champion Alina
Zagitova from Russia hopes to win her second Grand Prix
after Helsinki. The other top skaters are Mako Yamashita and
Yuna Shiraiwa from Japan, Sofia Samodurova and Polina
Tsursakaia from Russia and Elizabet Tursynbaeva from
Kazakhstan. A bis question mark is Gracie Gold who had been
invited in May for a comeback. She arrived in Moscow on
Wednesday, but she has not done any smaller competition
which U.S. Figure Skating normally requires some weeks
before a Grand Prix. Karen Chen has had injury problems for
a long time, but she withdrew so late that no alternate
could be invited. This is an unfair and not sportsmanlike
In pairs, the 2018 world silver medalists Evgenia Tarasova
& Vladimir Morozov from Russia are the favorites. The
other medal candidates are U.S. skaters Ashley Cain and
Timothy LeDuc, the two Russian pairs Daria Pavliuchenko &
Denis Khodykin as well as Alisa Efimova & Alexander Korovin.
The Italians Nicole Della Monica & Matteo Guarise
also have a chance for a spot on the podium.
In Ice Dance, Alexandra Stepanova & Ivan Bukin from Russia
should normally be the best. Other candidates for a medal
are Sara Hurtado & Kirill Khaliavin from Spain, Natalia
Kalisek & Maskym Spodyriev from Poland plus U.S. dancers
Christina Carreira & Anthony Ponomarenko. The other U.S.
team of Madison Chock & Evan Bates withdrew too late to
invite somebody else, which is, like in the case of Karen
Chen, not a fair and sportsmanlike behavior because all of
them had already withdrawn from their first Grand Prix and
knew probably much earlier that they cannot compete in
Ice Dance Event
2018 NHK Trophy
by Klaus-Reinhold Kany
The NHK Trophy is a traditional annual international skating
competition which has been taking place for 40 years
(starting in 1979) and moves around Japan. Since the
beginning of the series in the 1995, it has been part of the ISU Grand Prix Series.
year, it is the fourth Grand Prix and takes place in
Hiroshima, a harbor city on the Seto Inland Sea in the
southwest of Japan, on Honshu, the largest island of Japan, with 1.2 million people. The city is
worldwide known as the site of the explosion of the first atomic
bomb in the history of mankind, on August 6, 1945. Nearly the whole city was destroyed. After the war
the city was rebuilt quickly, and is a modern industrial city
The competition takes place in the Hiroshima Prefectural
Sports Center on Friday November 9, Saturday, November 10
and the ice dance free program and the exhibition on Sunday,
November 11. Also known as the "Green Arena,"
due to the color of its dome, it is located near the
Peace Park and the city art museum, and holds about 6,000
people for the competition. At the center of the Peace
Park is the Peace Bell which reminds of the catastrophe.
Nearby is also the Atomic Dome (one of the few building near
ground zero to survive the atomic blast) which can be seen
from the arena, and the rebuilt Hiroshima Castle. The
Castle, built in the 1590s was destroyed in the bomb blast
when its foundation collapsed. The rebuilt castle is now a
museum for the history of Hiroshima prior to WWII.
In the men’s competition, the favorite is Olympic silver
medalist Shoma Uno. Japan’s even bigger star Yuzuru Hanyu
decided not to compete in his home country because he is
always more nervous there than anywhere else. Other podium
candidates are the two Russian skaters Sergei Voronov and
Dmitri Aliev, the second Japanese skater Sota Yamamoto and
Vincent Zhou from the USA.
In the ladies competition, Skate America winner Satoko
Miyahara from Japan is one of two favorites and tries to win
a second time. The same is true for Elizaveta Tuktamysheva
from Russia after her victory at Skate Canada. Maria Bell
from USA, Maria Sotskova from Russia and Eunsoo Lim from
South Korea also hope for a spot on the podium.
The pairs medal might go to the Helsinki Grand Prix gold
medalists Natalia Zabiiako & Alexander Enbert, the
Canadians Kirsten-Moore-Towers & Michael Marinaro, the
Chinese team of Cheng Peng & Yang Jin. Outsiders are the
two U.S. teams of Alexa Scimeca Knierim & Chris Knierim as
well as Tarah Kayne & Danny O’Shea.
In ice dancing, the big favorites Gabriella Papadakis &
Guillaume Cizeron from France withdrew three days before the
competition because Cizeron suffers from heavy back pain.
The Gold medal favorite now seems to be Tiffani Zagorski &
Jonathan Guerreiro from Russia, followed by four candidates
for the other two medals: Kaitlin Hawayek & Jean-Luc Baker
from the USA, Lilah Fear & Lewis Gibson from Britain,
Shiyue Wang & Xinyi Liu from China, all three from the
Montreal ice dance school, plus U.S. dancers Rachel &
Ice Dance Event
2018 Skate America Gold Medalists
(Men's Gold Medalist Nathan Chen had a plane to catch!)
Past News Nuggets are in the Archive
4 Jan. - The
ISU Council has provisionally allotted the ISU Grand Prix of Figure
Skating Final 2019 to the Federazione Italiana Sport del Ghiaccio
(FISG). The Event is to be held on December 5-8, 2019 in the Palavela arena in
Torino (ITA). This will be the second time the Grand Prix Final has
been held at the Palavela arena, site of the figure skating competition
for the 2006 Olympic Winter Games.
27 Nov. - The U.S. National
Championships will return to Greensboro, NC in 2020. Greensboro was
previously the site of the Championships in 2011 and 2015. In a
departure from the past, the 2020 Championships will only include Senior
and Junior events.
7 Nov. - Todd Sand was at the boards
putting on Alexa and Chris Kneirim during practice at NHK. Sand
said he has been working with the team in California for the past few
weeks. Whether this will lead to a long term relation, he said,
is yet to be decided.
Mariah Bell skated her program at the afternoon
practice at NHK, but later, midway through the practice, left the ice
and did not finish the session.
7 Nov - Changes to NHK Trophy
entries. Dance: Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) out
due to his having a back injury. Ladies: Gabrielle Daleman
(CAN) out due to mental health issues, replaced by Kailani Crane (AUS);
Elena Radionova (RUS) out, replaced by Alena Leonova (RUS). Pairs:
Annika Hocke & Ruben Blommaert (GER) out with Hocke having an
unspecified viral infection, replaced by Laura Barquero &
Aritz Maestu (ESP).
25 Oct. -
Veronik Mallet (CAN) has withdrawn from Skate Canada
International 2018 on Thursday before the draw for medical reasons.
According to the medical bulletin, Mallet aggravated a previous foot
25 Oct. - Skate Canada announced
today that Kelowna, British Columbia will host the 2019 Skate Canada
International. The event will take place at Prospera Place, a 6,886-seat
multi-purpose arena, from October 25-27, 2019.
Kelowna will host the 46th installment
of Skate Canada International. This is their second time hosting the
event, they previously hosted in 2014.
15 Oct. - Karen Chen has withdrawn
from the ISU Grand Pirx in Helsinki. Chen is recovering from a
foot injury. She is still currently schedule to compete at the ISU
Grand Prix in Russia, Rostelcom Cup.
12 Oct. - Larkyn Austman and
Gabrielle Daleman withdraw from Skate Canada International. Austman
has withdrawn due to injury. She is recovering from a left foot
sprain that she sustained in September. Austman is the 2018
Canadian National Bronze medalist and was a member of the 2018 Canadian
Daleman has taken a break raining to focus on her
mental health. She was a member of the Canadian Gold Medal Team
at the 2018 Olympics and is the reigning Canadian Champion.
Veronik Mallet and Alicia Pineault have been added
to the Ladies event at Skate Canada International, in Laval Canada.
9 Oct. - Six-time Canadian National
Champion and 2010 Olympic bronze medalist will serve as the official
athlete ambassador during the 2018 Skate Canada International which will
take place in Laval, Que, Canada. "I am extremely excited to be named
Athlete Ambassador of Skate Canada International," she says.
"Although I have moved on to a new chapter of my life, I hold cherished
memories of my figure skating career and am honored to represent Skate
Canada, an all athletes participating at this prestigious event.
Rochette competed at Skate Canada International six
times during her career, medalling five times and winning gold three
01 - Nov 04, 2018, Tirnavia Ice Cup, Tirnava, SVK
02 - Nov 04, 2018, ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating,
07 - Nov 11, 2018, Ice Challenge (Cancelled), Graz, AUT
07 - Nov 11, 2018, Volvo Open Cup, Riga, LAT
09 - Nov 11, 2018, ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating - NHK Trophy,
09 - Nov 11, 2018, Pavel Roman Memorial, Olomouc, CZE
09 - Nov 11, 2018, Prague Riedell Ice Cup, Prague, CZE
Nov 11 - Nov 18, 2018, Inge Solar Memorial,
Alpen Trophy, Innsbruck, AUT
16 - Nov 18, 2018, ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating - Rostelecom
Cup, Moscow, RUS
21 - Nov 25, 2018, Skate Celje, Celje, SLO
22 - Nov 25, 2018, Warsaw Cup & Mazovia Trophy 2018, Warsaw, POL
23 - Nov 25, 2018, ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating -
Internationaux de France, Grenoble, FRA
26 - Dec 02, 2018, Tallinn Trophy, Tallinn, EST
27 - Dec 02, 2018, Bosphorus Cup, Istanbul, TUR
27 - Dec 02, 2018, Denkova-Staviski Cup, Sofia, BUL
28 - Dec 02, 2018, Open d'Andorra, Canillo, AND
29 - Dec 02, 2018, Christmas Cup, Budapest, HUN
02 - Dec 07, 2018, Santa Claus Cup, Budapest, HUN
05 - Dec 08, 2018, Golden Spin of Zagreb, Zagreb, CRO
06 - Dec 09, 2018, ISU Junior & Senior Grand Prix of Figure
Skating Final, Vancouver, BC, CAN
14 - Dec 16, 2018, Grand Prix of Bratislava, Bratislava, SVK
08 - Jan 12, 2019, Mentor Torun Cup, Torun, POL
09 - Jan 12, 2019, EduSport Trophy, Targu Secuiesc, ROU
15 - Jan 19, 2019, Europa Cup Skate Helena, Belgrade, SRB
21 - Jan 27, 2019, ISU European Figure Skating Championships,
31 - Feb 03, 2019, Reykjavik International Games, Reykjavik, ISL
01 - Feb 03, 2019, Egna Dance Trophy, Egna, ITA
04 - Feb 10, 2019, ISU Four Continents Figure Skating
Championships, Anaheim, CA, USA
05 - Feb 10, 2019, Bavarian Open, Oberstdorf, GER
05 - Feb 10, 2019, Sofia Trophy, Sofia, BUL
06 - Feb 10, 2019, The Nordics Open, The Nordics, Linköping, SWE
06 - Feb 12, 2019, Olympic Hopes (Cancelled), Targu Secuiesc, ROU
07 - Feb 10, 2019, Dragon Trophy & Tivoli Cup, Ljubljana, SLO
15 - Feb 17, 2019, Jegvirag Cup, Miskolc, HUN
20 - Feb 23, 2019, Ice Mall Cup, Eilat, ISR
20 - Feb 24, 2019, TallinK Hotels Cup, Tallinn, EST
21 - Feb 24, 2019, Challenge Cup, Den Haag, NED
25 - Mar 03, 2019, Cup of Tyrol, Innsbruck, AUT
02 - Mar 12, 2019, 29th Winter Universiade, Krasnoyarsk, RUS
04 - Mar 07, 2019, Triglav Trophy & Narcisa Cup, Jesenice, SLO
04 - Mar 10, 2019, ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships,
15 - Mar 17, 2019, Coupe de Printemps, Kockelscheuer, LUX
18 - Mar 24, 2019, ISU World Figure Skating Championships,
Saitama City, JPN
28 - Mar 31, 2019, Egna Spring Trophy, Egna, ITA
01 - Apr 07, 2019, Inclusive Skating International Event, Glasgow, GBR
04 - Apr 06, 2019, Belgrade Trophy, Belgrade, SRB
11 - Apr 14, 2019, World Team Trophy, Fukuoka, JPN
19 - Apr 21, 2019, Rooster Cup, Courbevoie, FRA
15 - May 19, 2019, Oceania International Novice Figure Skating
Competition, Melbourne, AUS
19 - May 25, 2019, ISU Adult Competition, Oberstdorf, GER