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News from the Southwest Pacific Region

Clubs of the SWP region are invited to send us news items for inclusion here.

Provisional Allotments for 2021


ISU European Figure Skating Championships

Jan 25 - Jan 31, 2021, Zagreb, CRO

ISU World Figure Skating Championships

Mar 22 - Mar 28, 2021, Stockholm, SWE

  In the News:

2020 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.

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 16-22, 2020
  • 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 decision.


2020 Junior Worlds

Reports from Tallinn, Estonia.

A Quad Salchow, Nearly as Good as It Gets

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

2020 Four Continents Championships

Hanyu, Kihira, Sui & Han Highlight Successful Four Continents Championships in Seoul, Korea

by Tatiana Flade

Excellent performances by star stars such as Yuzuru Hanyu, Rika Kihira, Wenjing Sui & Cong Han and many others highlighted the ISU Four Continents Championships in Seoul, Korea. Even the Corona virus panic didn’t stop the event from being a success.

Precautions were taken, but some of them seemed unnecessary or exaggerated. Spectators had fill into a health inquiry from where they were asked whether they had been to China or had contact to ill people, all accredited people had their temperature checked every time they entered the rink. However, you can be infected and contagious without showing any symptoms such as fever for up to two weeks. Most people wore masks all the time, although these don’t provide an effective protection. Everyone was reminded of washing their hands regularly  - which is something you should do anyway, especially when using the restroom and before eating.

Only one skater withdrew apparently because of the Corona virus – Christy Yi Leung from Hong Kong, who is actually based in the USA. The Chinese delegation needed a special permit to be able to enter Korea as the country closed their borders from people coming from China on February 4.

Several spectators from China possibly were unable to attend because of these travel restrictions. According to the organizers, about 25 percent of the tickets had been sold to Chinese fans. Korea had officially reported 25 cases of Corona virus infections until February 8, so all these measures seemed a bit over the top. It was not like the virus was rampant in Seoul. Every year more people die from the regular flu. Except for all the people wearing masks, the event seemed like business as usual and no major problems arose.

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

Ladies Event

Men's Event

Pairs Event

Dance Event

2020 European Championships

Graz, Austria

Ladies Event

Men's Event

Pairs Event

Dance Event

2020 U.S. Nationals

21-26 January 2020

Greensboro, NC

Gracie Gold Jumps Back Into National Ring

By Liz Leamy

Gracie Gold, much to the excitement of many fans and thousands of those involved in the sport, is in the proverbial house here in Greensboro where she has been making, in typical style, quite a splash.

The Chicago-area native, who captured the attention of the world back in mid 2010s when she clinched the 2014 and 2016 U.S. titles with her power, pizzazz and infectious high energy, valiantly made her way back into the national center ring upon scoring bronze medals at the 2020 South Atlantic Regional and 2020 Eastern Sectional Championship events last fall.

The beguiling 24 year-old, who also placed fourth at the 2014 Olympics and 2015 and 2016 World Championships, wound up 13th in the short Thursday night with a noble performance in which she executed a big double Axel and triple Lutz (with a landing that was two footed)-double toe.

Due to the fact that she had singled a triple loop, Gold lost some crucial points affecting her standing in this first-round showdown.

Wearing a black dress inflected with sparkling gold accents, Gold was clearly a crowd favorite, as the audience gave her a thunderous round of applause when she completed her program.

For Gold, who trains full time in Aston, Pennsylvania with Alex Zahradnicek and Pasha Filchenkov, the narrative seems to be all about self empowerment these days, as this outing marked another vital step forward in her journey back into the spotlight of figure skating.

Gold’s performance here in Greensboro marks the first time she has competed in this event since 2017, when she was sixth at that U.S. Championships.

This venerable athlete, who was followed by virtually all of the biggest media outlets when she made her first big gold-medal splash in the championship skating world, including the New York Post, New York Times and USA Today and was said to have hung around with such mega-celebrities as Taylor Swift when she lived in the Los Angeles area from 2013 through 2016, revealed the powerful spirit here that brought her to worldwide fame a few years back.

Somehow, much of the reason for this is due to the good   old happiness and contentment factor, as Gold, who resides in Claymont, Delaware, is said to be settled and content with her situation at the Aston Ice Works complex, where the renowned Philadelphia Open is held every July.

There, Gold teaches group and private lessons when she is not busy training on and off ice, usually on weekends.

According to insiders, she is adored by many of the young skaters there, as she is said to always make time to chat with them, which is a true test of practically any individual’s character.

Meanwhile, Gold is building her brand, as she has recently formed a partnership with the company Julep, creators of makeup, skincare and nail polish.

For Julep, Gold serves as a spokesperson for their products and also their philosophy of strength, beauty and spirit, which seems appropriate based upon the type of person she is and continues to evolve into.

With this, let the next stage of the games in regard to this promising and talented athlete carry on.

Nathan Chen Seeks Fourth Consecutive U.S. Title - Nathan Chen, the 20 year-old Salt Lake City native and quad jumping phenom who, over the past number of years, has been largely responsible for raising the technical bar of figure skating, seems as hungry as ever to claim his fourth consecutive U.S. title at the 2020 Nationals in Greensboro, North Carolina next week.

Cain-Gribble and LeDuc Set to Defend Their U.S. Pairs Title - Ashley Cain-Gribble & Timothy LeDuc, the 2019 U.S. champions who have been making a name as a global podium threat the past few seasons, seem as poised as ever to retain their position as the country’s premiere pair in Greensboro.

Hubbell and Donohue Looking to Clinch Third Consecutive Title at U.S. Nationals - Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue, the reigning two-time U.S. champions and two-time World medalists (silver in 2018 and bronze in 2019) seem to be as pinpoint-focused as ever in regard to the prospect of capturing a third consecutive gold medal at the U.S. Championships in Greensboro.


Alysa Liu Eager to Defend U.S. National Title in Greensboro - Alysa Liu, the effervescent 14 year-old Clovis, California native who last season, catapulted herself right into the sport’s main spotlight after having captured the 2019 U.S. title, seems poised and primed to defend her position as the ladies frontrunner at the 2020 U.S. Championships in Greensboro next week.

The Next Olympic Ladies Champion Revealed - The next Olympic Winter Games are about two years away, but already the writing is on the wall for who will be the next Olympic Ladies Champion.

The Axel is the Only Jump that Takes Off Backwards

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

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

Current Replay Systems Not Up To Task of Insuring Accurate Calls

2019 Grand Prix Junior and Senior Finals - The Junior and Senior Finals in Torino, Italy closed out the first half of the 2019/20 season.  Given the number of entries and medals that went to Russia, this might as well have been Russian Nationals.  Half the medals were captured by that country.  The United States placed second in the medal count with five.

2019 NHK





Exhibition Cast
Photo by Robin Ritoss


2019 Cup of Russia





Shiseido Cup of China 2019





Exhibition Cast
Photo by Robin Ritoss

Liubov Iliushechkina & Charlie Bilodeau Show New Type of Press Lift at Skate Canada International

by George S Rossano

The Canadian pair team of Liubov Iliushechkina & Charlie Bilodeau presented a new form of press lift in their free program at the 2019 Skate Canada International in Kelowna, BC.

The ISU (rule 619) divides listed lifts into five groups with the following definitions, with hand to hand lifts being group 4:

Group One - Armpit Hold position
Group Two - Waist Hold position
Group Three - Hand to Hip or upper part of the leg (above the knee) position
Group Four - Hand to Hand position (Press Lift type)
Group Five - Hand to Hand position (Lasso Lift type)

The Lift’s Group is determined by the hold at the moment the Lady passes the Man’s shoulder.

 In Groups 3–5 full extension of the lifting arm(s) is mandatory.

Rule 619 also states:

Partners may give each other assistance only through hand-to-hand, hand-to-arm, hand-to-body and hand to upper part of the leg (above the knee) grips. A change of hold means going from one of these grips to another or from one hand to another in a one hand hold. Changes of hold during the lift are permitted.

The takeoff of this lift (shown below) highlights an interesting ambiguity in the rule.

The lift meets the requirement for a legal hold (hand-to-arm) but does not meet the definition of a group 4 lift (hand to hand), or any other group for that matter.  If anything, this hold starts off looking closer to an armpit hold (group 1) than anything else. But it's clearly not hand to hand.

Nevertheless, the technical panel called this a group 4 lift; and there you have it, a new hand to arm group 4 lift is created.

To paraphrase Humpty Dumpty in "Through the Looking-Glass":

“When I use a rule,” the Technical Panel said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make rules mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said the Technical Panel, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

Like Captain Barbossa's comment about the pirate code in Pirates of the Caribbean, it seems for the ISU "the code (rulebook) is more what you'd call 'guidelines' than actual rules."


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News Nuggets

Past News Nuggets are in the Archive

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.

9 Dec. 2019 - The World Anti-Doping Agency’s Executive Committee have unanimously endorsed the recommendation of the independent Compliance Review Committee that the Russian Anti-Doping Agency be declared non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code for a period of four years.

The 12-member committee supported the recommendation, which includes a series of strong consequences and conditions for reinstatement.

In remarks when the announcement was made, WADA President Sir Craig Reedie said: “For too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport. The blatant breach by the Russian authorities of RUSADA’s reinstatement conditions, approved by the ExCo in September 2018, demanded a robust response. That is exactly what has been delivered today.

 Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and re-join the global anti-doping community for the good of its athletes and of the integrity of sport, but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial."

 As a result, the WADA ExCo has responded in the strongest possible terms, while protecting the rights of Russian athletes that can prove that they were not involved and did not benefit from these fraudulent acts."

This ban covers both the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo and the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.  Despite another doping ban, some Russian athletes will still be able to compete at these Games.

The sanctions handed down, however, mean there won't be a Russian flag or national anthem at the Olympics. But it is expected athletes who can be proven to be clean can compete under the Olympic banner.

Similar restrictions were imposed for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, where there was no “Russia” but there were 168 “Olympic Athletes from Russia," two of whom later failed doping tests.

Russia rejects the WADA ruling, and is expected to challenge it before the international Court of Arbitration for Sport.

22 Oct. 2019 - Vincent Zhou, the bronze medal at the 2019 World Figure Skating, has withdrawn from both his Grand Prix assignments, Cup of China and Rostelecom Cup.

“It’s really difficult to balance classes and training at the same time,” said Zhou, who is in the middle of his freshman year at Brown University. “I want to perform at the highest level on the ice and in the classroom, and I have not been able to dedicate the necessary time to my skating with my rigorous class schedule. Unfortunately, the timing of my midterms has fallen right in the middle of an important training period for me this fall. This was a tough decision because I love to perform in front of the fans, but this is the best decision for me right now.”

2019 / 2020 Season

March Competitions

Mar 02 - Mar 08, 2020, ISU World Junior  Championships, Tallinn, EST

Mar 13 - Mar 15, 2020, Coupe du Printemps, Kockelscheuer, LUX

Mar 16 - Mar 22, 2020, ISU World Championships, Montréal, CAN

Mar 26 - Mar 29, 2020, Egna Spring Trophy, Egna, ITA

April Competitions

Apr 03 - Apr 05, 2020, 15th DVTK-AVAS Cup, Miskolc, HUN

Apr 06 - Apr 12, 2020, Triglav Trophy & Narcisa Cup, Jesenice, SLO

Apr 15 - Apr 18, 2020, Golden Lynx, Gomel, BLR

May Competitions

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

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

2020-2021 ISU Grand Prix

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