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The Big Picture
27 Oct 2016
News from the Southwest Pacific Region
Clubs of the SWP region are invited to send us news items for inclusion here.
SWP REGIONAL 2016 COMPETITION CALENDAR
Sat, Nov 5
Nov 13 -14
Nov 16 - 20
2017 Pacific Coast Championships
2017 Regional Figure Skating Championships
Williamsville, New York
2017 Sectional Figure Skating Championships
2017 Adult Sectional Figure
U.S. Adult Championships
In the News:
Grand Prix Final Comes to Marseille, France
by Klaus Reinhold Kany
After two years in Barcelona, Spain, the Grand Prix Final 2016 will
take place in Europe again, this time in Marseille which is France‘s
second largest city and greatest Mediterranean harbor city.
has around 850,000 people and a lot of Arabic influence. Many ships
from the former French colonies of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, which
are independent states for about 60 years now, stop in Marseille. You
might compare the big North African community in Marseille with the
big Cuban community in Miami. This year’s Final will be the last one
in Europe for some time, because next year it is planned in Nagoya,
Japan and in two years in Vancouver, Canada.
Marseille has little skating tradition. The event will take place in
the "Palais Omnisport Marseille Grand Est,“ which was built
about seven years ago and is a few miles southeast of downtown. In
2009 French national championships were held there when it was quite
new, but otherwise there have been no major skating events here.
Like in the
past years, the senior and the junior final are held together. This is
a win-win situation because firstly it helps to save money for the
ISU. Secondly the best juniors in the world can see the best seniors
live who often are their idols. Thirdly it is also more interesting
for the spectators because a senior final with only six skaters or
pairs in each category alone would be over too quickly and for some
visitors not worth travelling around the world. This year several
thousand Japanese fans are expected.
There are four junior and four senior competitions, each of them with
six skaters or couples. In single skating this means one flight, in ice
dance and pair skating two. Unlike last year in Barcelona, there is no
synchronized skating competition included this year because the
synchronized skaters have the Shanghai Trophy in March as a comparable
Each skater who qualified for one of the Finals competed in two
Grand Prix. This year‘s six senior events took place in Hoffman
Estates in the USA, Mississauga in Canada, Moscow in Russia, Paris in
France, Beijing in China and Sapporo in Japan.
In the senior men’s final, a fight between Brian
Orser’s two top students Yuzuru Hanyu and Javier
Fernandez for the gold medal can be expected. Both
skaters were outstanding in at least one of their
two Grand Prix: Hanyu with more than 300 points at
the NHK Trophy and Fernandez in Russia. But
Patrick Chan should not be neglected because of
his outstanding skating skills if he lands his
jumps. In Canada he even beat Yuzuru Hanyu.
three of these men have been World champions and are the clear three
medal favorites. The other three senior men are
Japan’s rising star Shoma Uno and a bit
surprisingly the two Americans Nathan Chen and
Adam Rippon. Chen qualified with a second place at
the NHK Trophy and a fourth place at the Trophée
de France whereas Rippon came to Marseille with
two bronze medals, at Skate America and in Paris.
Unlike at the world championships in Boston, the
U.S. men were more successful than the U.S. ladies
in the fall. First alternate is Boyang Jin from
China, followed by Sergei Voronov from Russia and
Alexei Bychenko from Israel.
In the ladies final, there are no U.S. skaters
this year because neither Gracie Gold nor Ashley
Wagner did well at both their Grand Prixs, and Polina
Edmunds withdrew before the beginning oft the
Four of the six ladies in the Final are
from Russia which confirms the superiority of this
country in this discipline although neither the
2015 World champion Elizaveta Tukamysheva nor the
2014 Olympic team gold medalist Julia Lipnitskaia
The reigning World Champion Evgenia
Medvedeva, who had also won last year‘s Grand Prix Final, is a slight
favorite for the gold after her two
victories in Canada and France, butut her
countrywoman and world bronze medalist Anna Pogorilya did two excellent Grand Prix in Russia
and Japan as well and will fight hard to win.
third Russian skater, Elena Radionova, also is a
medal candidate after winning in China and being
second in Russia. The fourth Russian lady Maria
Sotskova would be happy to win a medal as well,
but it would be a surprise.
The two non-Russian
ladies in the Final are Kaetlyn Osmond from Canada,
who won two silver medals in her Grand Prix in
Canada and China and performed the highest jumps
of all ladies; and the second
is Satoko Miyahara from Japan who qualified with a second and a third
place. First alternate is Ashley Wagner, second alternate is Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (Russia)
and the third is Mai Mihara from Japan.
Reigning world champions Meagan Duhamel & Eric
Radford from Canada are the favorites in the pairs
competition in spite of making some mistakes in
their two Grand Prixs, in Canada and Japan, which
they both won nevertheless. Two other hot medal
candidates are the two new Chinese pairs who
exchanged partners after the World Championships
Both pairs of these Chinese paris are better now for it: Xiaoyu Yu and
the very experienced Hao Zhang won silver in
Mississauga and gold in Beijing whereas Cheng Peng & Yang Jin took silver in China and Japan.
Evgeni Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov from Russia
also have an eye on the podium after being third
at Skate America and second in France. The second
Canadian pair of Julianne Séguin & Charlie Bilodeau are in the final for the second time,
mainly thanks to their victory at Skate America.
World bronze medalists Aliona Savchenko & Bruno Massot from Germany qualified by winning their Grand Prixs
in Russia and France. But they
withdrew from the Final because Savchenko still
suffers from the ankle injury (half-torn ligament)
which occurred after a bad landing on the triple
throw Axel during the competition in France.
Therefore the first alternates Natalia Zabiiako & Alexander Enbert from Russia were invited
to the Final.
Haven Denney & Brandon Frazier who now train
with Rockne Brubaker in Geneva, IL near Chicago would
be the next alternates, Liubov Ilyushechkina &
Dylan Moscovitch from Canada the third ones.
Several top couples have not competed in this
year’s Grand Prix: The Olympic Champions Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov pause because
Volosozhar is expecting a baby in March. The
Olympic silver medalists Ksenia Stolbova & Fedor
Klimov from Russia withdrew because of several
injuries, and the Chinese team Wenjing Sui & Cong
Han, second at the World Championships in Boston,
have not trained since May because she underwent
surgery on both feet.
The ice dance events in the Grand Prix Series had
a very high general level, and more than six
couples would merit to take part in the Final.
After their extremely strong comeback with two
victories, the 2010 Olympic Champions Tessa Virtue
& Scott Moir from Canada are slight favorites; but the 2015 and 2016 World
Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron, from France, mainly
lost against the Canadians at the NHK Trophy
because of two small mistakes. If they do not make
any mistakes, like at the Grand Prix in France,
there might be a close race between gold and
If everything goes normal, the other four
couples can only hope for bronze, although they
are excellent as well. Not less than three of them
from three different dancing schools are Americans
which underlines the high level of U.S. ice dance
in general: The 2016 World silver medalists Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani won gold at Skate
America and the Cup of China. The 2016 World
bronze medalists Madison Chock & Evan Bates
qualified with two second places in Canada and
Russia. Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue, sixth
in Boston, won a silver and a bronze medal in
their Grand Prix events. And last but not least,
Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev from Russia
qualified because of a third place in the USA and
a first place in Russia. They recovered well after
being wrongly banned from Worlds because of doping.
It turned out later that the substance she said
she had taken last year was illegal only after
January 1 of this year. It could not be proved
that she had taken it this year.
alternates for Marseille are Kaitlyn Weaver &
Andrew Poje from Canada, Piper Gilles & Paul
Poirier, also from Canada as well as Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte from Italy. All of
them had been in a Final before and are very good
The best six
Juniors in each category in the seven Junior Grand
Prix competitions qualified for the Junior Final.
The Junior Grand Prix took place in St. Gervais
(France), Ostrava (Czech Republic), Yokohama
(Japan), Ljubljana (Slovenia), Saransk (Russia),
Tallinn (Estonia) and Dresden (Germany). The
Russian skaters were most successful and won 14 of
the 24 spots, the U.S. skaters four, Japan three
and the Czech Republic, South Korea and France one.
In the ladies Junior Final, three skaters are from
Japan (Rika Kihira, Kaori Sakamoto and Marin
Honda), and three from Russia (Anastasiia Gubanova,
Alina Zagitova and Elizaveta Nugomanova who came
as first alternate after her countrywoman Polina
Tsurskaya withdrew due to a knee injury.
For the men’s Junior Final the four Russians
Alexander Samarin, Roman Savosin, Ilia Skirda and
Dmitri Aliev are qualified, plus the South Korean
boy Jun Hwan Cha and the U.S. skater Alexei
In ice dance, the three medalists of
the 2016 Junior World Championships all remained
juniors and are in the Final. Like in seniors, no
less than three dance teams are from U.S. figures
skating: Lorraine McNamara & Quinn Carpenter,
Rachel Parsons & Michael Parsons, who are
favorites for gold and silver, as well as
Christina Carreira & Anthony Ponomarenko. The
three other teams are Alla
Loboda & Pavel Drozd as well as Anastasia
Shpilevaya & Grigory Smirnov, both from Russia
and Angelique Abachkina & Louis Thauron from France
The Junior Pairs Final would almost have been a Russian national
Junior championship because five of the six teams which qualified are
from this country: Mishina & Mirzoev, Ustimkina & Volodin,
Atakhanova & Sirodov and Boikova & Kozlovskii will compete, but Borisova
& Sopot withdrew because
Ekaterina Borisova has some (unknown) painful injury.
Instead of them, the first alternates and
Australians Alexandrovskaya & Windsor will
compete in France, plus the Czech couple and
reigning Junior World champions Duskova & Bidar.
ISU transmitted the whole Junior Series in a high
quality live stream with the Canadian Ted Barton
commentating. You can still see all programs on
the ISU channel on YouTube. There were around
seven million clicks during the Junior Series this
year, last year there were four millions.
NHK Trophy, as most of the
time the sixth and last event of the ISU Grand Prix Series, returned
to Sapporo on the northern island Hokkaido for the first time since
2011. The week before, Sapporo also hosted the Japan Junior National
Championships which were, like NHK Trophy, a test event for the
upcoming Asian Winter Games next February.
Cup of China - In the
end, most of the top favorites prevailed at the Audi Cup of China in
Beijing, the fifth and penultimate event of the ISU Grand Prix of
Figure Skating Series in Beijing, but there were also a few upsets,
most notably Ashley Wagner’s failure to make the podium. Overall
there were quite a few excellent performances, but also some
Grand Prix Moves on to Trophée
de France -
The Trophée de France is
the fourth of the six Grand Prix of this season. For many years this
competition had been held in the Palais Omnisport, a huge arena for
multiple events (not only sports) in downtown Paris, in the part of the
city called Bercy. But in the fall of 2014 and also 2015 the
30-year-old arena underwent a complete renovation and was closed.
Therefore the French federation decided to go to Bordeaux twice which is
about 300 miles south of Paris.
Rostelecom Cup - Rostelecom
Cup in Moscow was the third event of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure
Skating series for 2016 & 17 and thus some of the medalists qualified for
the Final or at least have a very good chance. Russian skaters were
not as dominant as in some previous years, however the host country
still got five out of twelve medals: gold and silver in the Ladies,
gold in Ice Dance, silver and bronze in the Pairs event. But the
competition showed also that the Ladies are still Russia’s top
discipline and the only one that almost guarantees medals and
European Commission Ruling Has Potential to Upend ISU Eligibility
Gracie Brings Golden Glow to Westchester Skating Academy
- Gracie Gold, the two-time U.S. champion, showed what a force she in
the sport when she made a visit to the Westchester Skating Academy in
Elmsford, New York last month (July).
Congress Elects New Leadership
Should 2017 Adult Nationals be moved from North Carolina to protest North Carolina HB2?
A new book by Tatjana Flaade
Even if you don't read German, the pictures
alone are worth the price
Available on Amazon and other book sites
Past News Nuggets are in the Archive
Oct 27 - The 2017
edition of Skate Canada will beheld in Regina, Saskatchewan
from October 26-29, 2017 at the Brandt Centre located at Evraz Place.
Oct 13 - The 2017
edition of Skate America will beheld in Lake Placid, NY at the end of November 2017.
As a part of the 2017 & 18 Olympic seasons, US Figure Skating had asked that
Skate America be the last of the six Grand Prix events. The Final next
season will be in Nagoya, Japan.
Sep 26 - Hall
of Fame pair skater Frances Dafoe passed away at age 86 on Friday evening.
Dafoe, a native of Toronto, was a pioneer in pair skating with her partner
Norris Bowden. During their career they captured four Canadian titles from
1952-1955, two World titles in 1954 and 1955 and an Olympic silver medal in
1956. They became the first Canadian pair team ever to win a World title in
1954. They were also the Canadian Ice Dance Champions in 1952.
Dafoe has a long list of honors, including becoming
a member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1955, entering the Canadian
Olympic Hall of Fame in 1958, receiving the Order of Canada in 1991 and
being inducted into the Skate Canada Hall of Fame in 1993.
After her competitive career Dafoe remained actively
involved in skating. She was an Olympic judge and a successful costume
designer. She was a graduate of the famed Parsons School of Design in New
York City and went on to design thousands of costumes. She worked for CBC
for close to 40 years designing costumes for various shows. She also
designed the costumes for the closing ceremonies at the 1988 Olympic Winter
Sep 23 -
Patrick Chan will be working with a new coaching team this season. Marina Zoueva,
Oleg Epstein and Johnny Johns will make up Chan’s coaching team. He will
train in Canton, Michigan at the Arctic Edge Arena.
“I am excited to be working with Marina, Oleg and
Johnny. They each bring so much to the table and have such a rich history of
coaching world and Olympic competitors in all the disciplines. I am looking
forward to the season ahead and my first event the Finlandia Trophy in just
a couple weeks,” said Patrick Chan.
In August, Chan and his previous coach Kathy Johnson
ended their skater-coach partnership after four years working together.
Chan’s first grand prix of the season will be Skate
Canada International. The event takes place from October 27-30, 2016 in
Mississauga at the Hershey Centre.
ISU congress agrees to eliminate
anonymous judging.ISU congress agrees to eliminate
14 - 18 Nov -
ErzurumTrophy, Erzurum Turkey
16 - 20 Nov -
Open D'Andorra, Canillo Andorra
17 - 20 Nov -
Warsaw Cup, Warsaw Poland
18 - 20 Nov -
ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Audi Cup of China 2016 & 2017, Beijing China
18 - 20 Nov -
Minsk-Arena Ice Star, Minsk Belarus
18 - 19 Nov -
Pavel Roman Memorial, Olomouc Czech Republic
20 - 27 Nov -
Tallinn Trophy 2016, Tallinn Estonia
23 - 27 Nov -
Skate Celje, Celje Slovenia
25 - 27 Nov -
ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating NHK Trophy 2016 & 2017, Sapporo Japan
30 Nov - 4 Dec -
NRW Trophy S&P, Dortmund Germany
6 - 11 Dec -
10th Santa Claus Cup, Budapest Hungary
7 - 10 Dec -
Golden Spin of Zagreb, Zagreb Croatia
8 - 11 Dec -
ISU Junior & Senior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final 2016
& 17 Final, Marseille France
16 - 18 Dec -
58th Grand Prix of Bratislava, Bratislava Slovak Republic