2017 Golden Moments
Photos © Shirley McLaughlin
The Big Picture
News from the Southwest Pacific Region
Clubs of the SWP region are invited to send us news items for inclusion here.
In the News:
Top contenders set to take ice at Skate
by Liz Leamy
This week, a handful of the world’s
leading skaters will battle it out in hopes of making the
podium at 2018 Skate America, the first of six world-class
showdowns comprising this season’s International Skating
Union Championship Grand Prix series.
This celebrated annual event will be
held at the Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, Washington,
a 10,000-seat venue operated and owned by the Stillaguamish
Tribe (who manages and oversees the Angel of the Winds
Casino Resort in that same area) from Friday, October 19th
through Sunday, October 21st.
This year’s Skate America roster
features an elite group of 60 ISU-ranked skaters
representing 12 different countries who will compete in the
men’s and ladies singles, ice dance and pairs disciplines.
American entries include Nathan Chen,
the 2018 World and two-time U.S. champion, Vincent Zhao, the
two-time U.S. medalist (silver in 2017 and bronze in 2018),
Bradie Tennell, the 2018 U.S. titlist, Alexa Scimeca Knierim
& Chris Knierim, the two-time U.S. champs and Madison
Hubbell & Zachary Donohue, who took silver at the 2018
World Championships and 2018 U.S. gold, all of who
represented the U.S. at the 2018 Olympics last winter, among
other standout American and international contenders.
The ladies field is formidable.
Leading the U.S. contingent is Bradie
Tennell, the 20-year old Illinois native who last year,
scored bronze in this competition. She is expected to rack
up high marks with her impressive library of high, quick
triple jumps and high-octane spins.
Starr Andrews, the 17-year old
California native who placed sixth at the 2018 U.S.
Championships should also score high points with her
electric jumps, artful spins and compelling artistry.
Megan Wessenberg, a 2018 U.S. ladies
contender from the Boston area, should also be a force in
this showdown. She is known for her big triples and
super-fast spins, among other things.
In addition, skaters from such
countries as Japan, Russia, France, Canada and Belgium
competing in this event who are forces to be reckoned with.
Satoko Miyahara, the 2017 Skate America
champion and 2018 World bronze medalist, is expected to put
out exceptional programs, as are her teammates, Kaori
Sakamoto, the 2017 Skate America second-place finisher and
Marin Honda, the 2017 World junior silver medalist.
Polina Tsurskaya, the 2017 NHK Trophy
bronze medalist and Sofia Samodurova, the 2018 CS Lombardia
Trophy second-place finisher, should also represent Russia
in fine fashion.
Alaine Chartrand, the 2016 Canadian
champion, is another contender to watch in this event.
The men’s competition should also a memorable one.
Nathan Chen, the jumping dynamo from
Salt Lake City and defending Skate America titlist who is
currently attending Yale University in New Haven,
Connecticut as a freshman, ought to be up to his stalwart
Vincent Zhao of California, who placed
sixth at the 2018 Olympics, is also expected to knock out
Jimmy Ma, a Long Island, New York
native and 2018 U.S. men’s contender, should also put
together a strong series of programs here.
Other contenders include Sergei
Voronov, the accomplished Russian known for his exceptional
technicality who was third at this event in 2017.
Alexei Bychenko, the powerhouse jumper
who trains in Hackensack, New Jersey and placed fourth at
the 2018 Worlds, is also a formidable contender, as are
veterans Kevin Reynolds, the six-time Canadian medalist and
Michal Brezina of Czechoslavakia, among others.
Leading the U.S. contingent are Alexa
Scimeca Knierim & Chris Knierim, who last year, started
training with 2018 Olympic champion Aljona Savchenko. They
are expected to knock out a series of high-octane programs.
The Knierims will be joined by American
teammates Ashley Cain and Timothy Leduc, who were the gold
medalists at the Ondrej Nepala Trophy last September and
Nica Digerness and Danny Neudecker.
Evgenia Tarasova (of the famous
Tarasova skating family) & Vladimir Morozov, two-time World
medalists in 2017 and 2018, will represent Russia, while
Evelyn Walsh & Trennt Michaud, the 2017 World Junior
silver medalists, will skate for Canada.
Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue
will lead the U.S troupe. They train in Montreal with
decorated Olympic coaches Marie France Dubreuil, Patrice
Lauzon and Romaine Haguenauer.
Rounding out the American contingent
are Karina Manta & Joe Johnson, who are based in Colorado
Springs and Lorraine McNamara & Quinn Carpenter of
Other entries in this event include
Charlene Guignard & Marco Fabbri of Italy, Tiffani
Zagorski & Jonathan Guerreiro of Russia and Katharina
Muller & Tim Dieck of Germany, among others.
Grand Prix Begins this Week with Skate
Following Pyeong Chang, Others Taking
off from Competition this
By Klaus-Reinhold Kany
After each Olympic Games and the subsequent World
Championships in Olympic years, many skaters announce their
retirement or at least a time away from competition of some months or a
year. This year more top skaters than ever did so. This
offers the next generation of skaters a chance to establish,
to be invited for Grand Prix and to begin to prepare for the
next Olympic cycle until 2022. Most of those who compete now,
plan to do so until 2022.
Some countries, especially Canada,
lost a whole generation of very successful skaters. One of
the reasons is that Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir will
organize a well-paid tour of around 60 shows through Canada
in late fall (autumn) during the Grand Prix competitions and
everybody wanted to join them
Since the ISU published the Grand Prix entry list in
late June, a lot of skaters who were on the list then,
announced later (and some more will announce soon) they
will not compete at this year’s Grand Prix.
There is an important change in the Grand Prix locations: In
mid-June China gave back the Grand Prix and all other figure
and speed skating events of this season. The official reason
is that the ice rinks do not have the necessary standards
and have to be renovated before the Olympic Games of 2022.
But the real reason, it is thought, is that the Chinese sport minister is
upset with the ISU because in figure skating two Olympic
judges were banned for one and two years because of too
nationally influenced judging. And in short track two
Chinese athletes were excluded during the Games because of
unfair treatment of other skaters during the races. So the
ministry asked the federation to skip all ISU events, which
is quite silly.
At first the ISU asked South Korea to
organize a Grand Prix. In this case the traditional balance
(two Grand Prix in Asia, two in America and two in Europe)
would have remained. But South Korea did nor want to hold
it. Then the ISU asked all federations. Finland has asked
the ISU for years to get a Grand Prix, therefore the ISU
decided to give it to Helsinki. If the Grand Prix is well
done and the ISU gets good money from TV rights, is it
possible that China will lose and Finland will get the Grand
Prix also in the next years.
In ice dancing, by far the most successful discipline of U.S. Figure Skating, 12 of the 24 couples who skated at the
Olympic Games, will not compete the Grand Prix this
season, with several having retired. The Olympic Champions Tessa
Virtue & Scott Moir never officially declared their
retirement, but nobody, including their coaches, expects them
to come back to competition after winning two individual
Olympic gold, one Olympic silver medal and gold and silver
at the two team competitions of the Games. In late fall they
plan to go on tour through Canada in about 50 or 60 shows.
The second Canadian couple Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje
plans not to compete at the Grand Prix, but to come back for
Nationals, Four-Continents and Worlds. For their free dance,
they will use the song which Denis Ten (who was killed on
July 19th) had planned to use for his free program as a
remembrance to him. Olympic bronze medalists Maia & Alex Shibutani will not compete this season and even their coach
Marina Zueva does not know if they will come back next summer.
Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev from Russia officially
announced they will take off this season, but often this is the
first step to a retirement. Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte
from Italy officially declared to retire and do only shows,
but you cannot be sure of their announcement because they
have sometimes have changed their minds. The same is true for
the British champions Penny Coomes & Nicholas Buckland.
Kana Muramoto & Chris Reed from Japan have officially
retired, Kavita Lorenz & Joti Polizoakis from Germany have
split and only Polizoakis looked (unsuccessfully) for a new
partner. Yura Min & Alexander Gamelin who competed for
South Korea, split and accused each other of behaving badly.
Alisa Agafanova & Alper Ucar from Turkey retired as
planned and Ucar is working as a coach in Marina Zueva’s
rink and the Detroit Skating Club. Elected as
athlete speaker, he is a member of the ISU dance
committee. Lucie Mysliveckova & Lukas Csolley from
Slovakia officially retired and Cortney Mansourova &
Michal Ceska from Czech Republic unofficially split.
Big favorites for another World title are
Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron from France who
are not sure yet if they will compete this Grand Prix this
season. Hot medal candidates for Worlds and the Grand Prix
Final also are the two American couples Madison Hubbell
Zachary Donohue as well as Madison Chock & Evan Bates. All
these three teams train in the Montreal dance school.
Gilles & Paul Poirier from Canada may also hope for medals.
Alexandra Stepanova & Ivan Bukin should be couple number
one in Russia and hope to place higher at Worlds than last
season, when they finished seventh. The second Russian
couple Tiffany Zagorski & Jonathan Guerreiro is close (8th
at Worlds). Charlène Guignard & Marco Fabbri are Italy’s
best couple now and also hope to move up.
Kaitlin Hawayek & Jean-Luc Baker, 10th at Worlds and
alternates for the Shibutanis, hope to qualify for Worlds
again at Nationals if they beat the rising World Junior
silver medalists Christina Carreira & Anthony Ponomarenko
as well as former Junior World Champions Lorraine McNamara
& Quinn Carpenter.
The two strong Spanish couples keep
competing, and time will show if Olivia Smart & Adrian
Diaz (12th at Worlds) or Sara Hurtado & Kirill Khaliavin
(12th at the Olympics) will be the national team number one.
The Danish team of Laurence Fournier Beaudry & Nikolaj
Sorensen who were not allowed to compete at the Olympic
Games because of the Canadian citizenship of Beaudry,
changed countries and will compete for Canada from February
2019 on. They hope to qualify for Four Continents and Worlds.
The relatively new team of Carolane Soucisse & Shane Firus,
who train in the same Montreal dance school as Beaudry &
Sorensen, also hope to get a spot for Canada at these
Among the ladies, there are much less retirements and
competition interruptions than in the three other
disciplines. In June, the 2018 World Champion Kaetlyn Osmond
announced that she will not do the Grand Prix in 2018, in
August she added that she will not compete this season at
all. Her coach Ravi Walia said she had so much stress after
her world title that she needed some rest in the summer. But
he said she trained almost every day to prepare for the tour
in the fall. Mirai Nagasu did not retire officially but has
other plans. Nicole Rajikova from Slovakia who lives and
trains in Hackensack, New Jersay, finished university and
got an offer in July to start a high-level diplomatic job at
the U.S. embassy of Slovakia. If she likes this job she will
definitely finish her skating career.
The door for medals at the World Championship seems widely
open for those Russian teenage skaters who are old enough to
compete at the senior level, among them certainly the
Olympic Champion Alina Zagitova, the 2017 World Champion
Evgenia Medvedeva, who now trains with Brian Orser,
Maria Sotskova, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (who re-learnt the triple
Axel) and Polina Tsurskaya.
The quad jumper and Junior World
Champion Alexandra Trusova, however, is still too young to
compete at the senior level this season. Other top skaters
in this season might be Satoko Miyahara,
Kaori Sakamoto and
several other junior skaters from Japan as well as Dabin
Choi and Hanul Kim from South Korea.
Carolina Kostner from
Italy has not said much about her future, therefore she is on
the Grand Prix list, but in the summer she trained neither
in Oberstdorf,Germany nor in Russia. In the USA, Gracie Gold
announced her comeback and she is invited to the Rostelecom
Cup in Moscow. Bradie Tennell and Karen Chen might be other
candidates for Worlds, but a medal would be a surprise. In
Canada, Gabrielle Daleman and Alaine Chartrand continue.
Loena Hendrickx from Belgium might be a rising star,
Schott from Germany continues her career as well.
Former World Champion Javier Fernandez said he will compete
only at Japan Open, perhaps Spanish Nationals and probably
Europeans, and then will definitely finish his career.
Patrick Chan from Canada retired, but the country’s second
male Olympian Keegan Messing hopes to win Canadian Nationals.
Kevin Reynolds also aspires this title.
U.S. Champion Nathan
Chen plans to continue and hopes to win a medal at Worlds
again, but he must cope with training in California and
attending University on the East coast. Adam Rippon does not
compete in this season and it is open if he ever comes back.
Max Aaron officially retired whereas
Jason Brown continues
and is coached now in Toronto. Vincent Zhou continues as
Jorik Hendrickx from Belgium will skip at least his
Grand Prix and said otherwise he will keep all options open.
Junhwan Cha from South Korea and Deniss Vasilievs from
Latvia might be rising stars. Michal Brezina from the Czech
Republic continues as well as Alexander Majorov from Sweden.
Daniel Samohin from Israel plans to continue and the other
Israeli Alexei Bychenko was not sure in the summer what to
do, although he had announced last year he would finish his
career after the Olympic season. Misha Ge from Uzbekistan
had said in spring he would finish competing, but the year
before he had said the same and then decided to come back.
Brandon Kerry from Australia and Matteo Rizzo from Italy
hope to rise.
Favorites for the medals at the Grand Prix Final and the
World Championships in Japan will be Nathan Chen, the top
two Japanese skaters Yuzuru Hanyu and
Shoma Uno, who both
continue. Other Japanese skaters like Kazuki Tomono and
Tanaka might fight for medals as well. The Russian skaters
Michal Kolyada, Dmitri Aliev and
Sergei Voronov also hope to
be strong enough to place on the podium.
The Olympic Gold medalists Aliona Savchenko & Bruno Massot
from Germany decided to skip at least all competitions
during this season because they plan to do many shows and
especially Massot was quite exhausted and had back problems
But Savchenko said she does not exclude coming back before
the next Olympic Games.
Bronze medalists Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford from
Canada finished their competitive career after last season,
as well as the Italians Valentina Marchei & Ondrej Hotarek
(6th in Pyeongchang). The Canadian couple of Julianne Séguin
& Charlie Bilodeau (9th in Korea) split, mainly because
Séguin gained some weight. The other Canadian pair Lubov
Iliushechkina & Dylan Moscovitch quit after they were not
nominated for the Olympic Games. She now works with the
Cirque du Soleil, he is looking for a profession.
Russian couple of Kristina Astakhova an&d Alexei Rogonov
split as well, and Rogonov plans to continue with Alina
Ustimkina, whereas Astakhova has finished her career. The Czech
couple Anna Duskova & Martin Bidar split as well and both
made several try-outs in the summer with new partners.
top two Chinese pairs withdrew from their Grand Prix,
officially because of injury problems. The Olympic silver
medalists Wenjing Sui & Cong Han will pause because Sui’s
broken foot has not healed yet. Xiaoyu Yu & Hao Zhang also
withdrew from their Grand Prix because of injury.
Stolbova & Fedor Klimov from Russia split after not being
allowed to compete at the Olympics. Stolbova now trains with
Russian skater Andrei Novoselov (in Hackensack under Nikolai
Morozov) who had competed for France in the last four years,
but never got French citizenship. Klimov retired, but did
not exclude a comeback with another partner in the future.
Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov now train
mainly under Maxim Trankov and hope for a title at Worlds,
as well as the French team of Vanessa James & Morgan Ciprès who
continue to train in Florida under John Zimmerman. The second
Russian pair Natalia Zabiiako & Alexander Enbert also
continues competing, as well as Italy’s Nicole della
Monica & Matteo Guarise.
Kirsten Moore-Towers & Michael Marinaro are the best Canadian pair now and have high hopes
their first goal reaching the Grand Prix Final. The North
Koreans Tae Ok Ryom & Ju Sik Kim plan to compete longer as
well as Germany’s Annika Hocke & Ruben Blommaert.
pair might be the Junior World Champions Daria Pavliuchenko
& Denis Khodykin from Russia who compete in their first
Four U.S. teams might battle for one spot at
Worlds: Alexa Scimeca Knierim & Chris Knierim, whose main
coach now is Aliona Savchenko in German; Ashley Cain
Timothy Leduc who stay in Texas; as well as Tarah Kayne
Danny O’Shea and Haven Denney & Brandon Frazier.
Past News Nuggets are in the Archive
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 Inernational. Austman
has withdrawn due to injury. She is recovering from a left foot
sprain that she sustained in Septemeber. 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 memeber 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 whcih 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
10 - Oct 13, 2018, International Adult Figure Skating Competition,
10 - Oct 13, 2018, ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating, Yerevan, ARM
18 - Oct 21, 2018, Minsk Arena Ice Star, Minsk, BLR
19 - Oct 21, 2018, Cup of Nice (Cancelled) , Nice, FRA
19 - Oct 21, 2018, Halloween Cup, Budapest, HUN
19 - Oct 21, 2018, ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating - Skate
America, Everett, WA, USA
Oct 24 - Oct 28, 2018, Crystal Skate, Bucharest, Otopeni,
24 - Oct 28, 2018, Golden Bear, Zagreb, CRO
26 - Oct 28, 2018, ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating - Skate
Canada International, Laval, QC, CAN
01 - Nov 04, 2018, Tirnavia Ice Cup, Trnava, 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
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,
ISU European Figure Skating Championships
Jan 25 - Jan 31,
ISU World Figure Skating Championships
Mar 22 - Mar 28,