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News from the Southwest Pacific Region

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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:

Chen Third Times Golden in 2019 Grand Prix Final

by Klaus-Reinhold Kany

Skaters from Russia (two), China, France, Japan and the United States (one each)  qualified for the men’s competition at the 2019 Grand Prix 2019 in the Olympic rink of 2006 in Torino. About 7,000 spectators watched the competition, among them perhaps half, or more, from Japan.

This competition of six skaters was a highlight of the Junior and Senior finals because for the first time in this season the two single skating superstars Yuzuru Hanyu and Nathan Chen competed against each other. Nathan Chen was the run-away winner, gaining a new world record of 335.30 points. In a quiet corner of the skating lounge and certainly in his hotel room, he could be seen reading books for his midterm examinations at Yale University which he has to pass next week. But when it came to practice or competition on the ice, he put aside his books and performed the best jumps and programs.

He skated in costumes different from those at his two Grand Prix and commented after the short: “I saw Vera (Wang) before I came here and she was gracious enough to really really quickly get the costume done. I’d been talking to her. In this costume I felt free and I think that’s really important.“

In the short program he used the song “La Boheme“ by Charles Aznavour, a French singer with Armenian background who had died last year. In this segment, Chen won 110.38 points which was a new personal best for him and 13 points ahead of Yuzuru Hanyu. He opened his routine with an outstanding quad Lutz, followed by a relatively good triple Axel and a good combination of quad toe loop and triple toe loop. His three spins were excellent and his step sequence outstanding with three GOEs of +5 and six GOEs of +4. His components had an average of 9.5.

Talking in the same high speed as skating, he commented: “I’m happy with the score of course. I’m happy with the Lutz but I was a little shaky on the Axel and a little shaky on the toe loop. It’s an awesome opportunity to compete with Yuzuru, every time he pushes me and that makes things a lot more exciting. He’s one of the best ever to step on the ice and to have the opportunity to share the ice with a guy like that, someone I’ve watched grow up through the junior ranks since I was a baby.“

Chen could start his free program only after the ice had been cleaned from the hundreds of Winnie Poohs and other toys which Hanyu’s fans had thrown on the ice after his performance.

Skating to three pieces from “Rocketman“ by Elton John, Chen‘s first element was a stellar combination of quad flip and triple toe loop, followed by a very good quad Lutz. Next was a good sequence of quad toe loop, Euler and triple Salchow. The triple Axel came very good as well. In the second half he added another quad Salchow and another quad toe loop in outstanding quality, plus a combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop. His spins were fast and had level 4, his step sequence a level 3, and his choreographic sequence was outstanding with seven GOEs of +5. His components were around 9.6 with one 10.0 for performance. 224.92 points only for the free program was a new world record as well.

Later the 20-year-old athlete said: “I’m extremely happy with the score and I was happy that finally this season I was able to lay down two pretty solid, relatively clean programs. The quad loop is scary. Props to Yuzu for trying that. I’ve done it in the past but it’s a scary jump. Salchow is a clean edge jump but the fact that you’re so off axis in the loop just really scares me and I’m so afraid of hitting the boot. I’m happy that the Salchow is back and will just try to maintain it for the rest of the season. I got pretty gassed at the end of my program so I guess I need to work on my stamina a little bit.“

Two time Olympic Champion Yuzuru Hanyu won the silver medal with 291.43 points. He began his short program to “Otonal“ by Raul di Blasio with a stellar quad Salchow, followed by his best jump, the triple Axel (six GOEs of +5). But then he stumbled on his quad toe loop and could not add a second jump, which cost him 13 or 14 points. The spins were excellent, the step sequence outstanding and the components around 9.5.

He said: “This program was performed by Johnny Weir here and he got second place (in the Short Program) at the (2006) Olympic Games. I wanted a good performance as well. I am a little disappointed. Also, the point gap between me and Nathan is a little big, so it will be hard to come back. It feels the same alone compared to having my coaches here. Brian (Orser) is very busy with other competitions and skaters, and Ghislain (Briand) has some problem coming to the country. It was my first time by myself but it feels pretty much the same.“

There were wild rumors why he had come without any coach. Was there a conflict between him and Orser because Hanyu insisted to perform the quad Lutz and even trained the quad Axel which Orser did not want because of the risk of a new injury? He fell on this quad Axel in Torino several times in practice. Finally he himself and others said that Hanyu decided to come with his second coach Ghislain Briand. But Briand’s passport disappeared or was stolen on the flight from Toronto to Munich. Therefore the Munich border control did not let him enter Germany and board the plane from Munich to Torino. The coach had to fly back to Toronto, get a new passport and came back only for the free skate.

In this free program to "Art on Ice“ and on his 25th birthday, Hanyu began with a very good quad loop, followed by a good quad Lutz. One quad Salchow and two quad toe loops followed, the first one in a sequence with an Euler and an under-rotated triple flip. As last jump element he had planned a sequence of two triple Axels. But he was so exhausted after five quads that he could perform only one single Axel and admitted that practicing the quad Axel confused him for the triple Axel. This mistake cost him around 20 points. Spins and steps were very good, but not outstanding and his components had an average of 9.4.

After having dedicated his program to Evgeni Plushenko and using his music from the 2006 Olympics in the same rink, he commented: “I think Evgeni would not be really satisfied with my program. I’m really satisfied that I could land the clean quad Lutz in my program. I took the decision to do five quads yesterday because I probably couldn’t win and so I wanted to accomplish something at this competition. So I decided to do the quad Lutz and the quad loop and I’m very happy I managed to accomplish my goal this time. To be honest I wanted to do the quad Axel as well. I also felt the connection with the audience. I’m satisfied with the first half of the program but regret about the second half. I was so tired in the end that I wasn’t able to hang on to the ending pose. Nathan (Chen) makes me stronger and makes it more fun to skate.”

Kevin Aymoz from France won a surprising bronze medal in his first Final, earning 275.63 points. He did not get nervous when they played the wrong music for his short program first, but was fully concentrated when the correct music, “The Question of Y,“ by Prince came. Performing in an extremely entertaining way, he started with a good quad toe loop and a combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop. His triple Axel was excellent, the spins as well, but the highlight was his authentic step sequence in which imitated Prince and had two GOEs of +5. As usual, he and his U.S. coach Silvia Fontana, who had skated at the 2006 Olympics in this very rink, became very emotional afterwards. He said: “The Grand Prix Final was not my goal for this season and so I was not stressed, I was just happy to be here and I just had fun. I was so confident when I went out but then when the music did not play I felt so lonely standing there on the ice. But when the music did start I forgot totally and it was just a pleasure to share.“

Aymoz opened his free program to “Lighthouse” by Patrick Watson with a very good combination of quad toe loop and triple toe loop, followed by a fall on the second quad toe loop. Five triple jumps were at least good, one was under-rotated. But his interpretation and impression were excellent and therefore he had components of around 9.0. “It was a great experience to be here. I never imagined to be next to these two guys. I’m going to keep working this way for the Europeans trying to keep this dynamism. I want to put another quad in now.“

The three other skaters made several mistakes. Alexander Samarin is fourth with 248.83 points. He stepped out of the quad Lutz and almost fell, then he overturned the quad flip, which was under-rotated, and could add only a shaky double toe loop. The rest was good. In the free program, he began with a combination of quad Lutz and triple toe loop without much flow after the landing. Then he stepped out of the first quad toe loop and turned the second planned quad into a double one. Two triple Axels and two more triples were very good.

Boyang Jin from China finished on fifth place with 241.44 points. Instead of a quad Lutz in the short, he performed a triple one which he landed forward and his combination of quad toe loop and triple toe loop was shaky. In the free, he landed a quad toe loop, but fell on two more quads.

Dmitri Aliev from St. Petersburg ended up sixth with only 220.04 points. His short program was solid and convincing with quad Lutz, but after a very good quad Lutz, his free program turned into a disaster with six serious mistakes. He refused to give any comment.

Other Notes from the Grand Prix

Japan's Shun Sato was without a doubt the highlight of the day in Torino. He brought the audience to its feet with his gold medal performance in the junior men's event.

Russia's Andrei Mozalev (left) captured silver and Danill Samsonov claimed the bronze. Samsonov is so popular with the international media he is having his own press conference on Sunday morning.

Another fun fact: the "flowers" that were presented at the GPF are actually chocolate, Torino being the chocolate "capitol" of Italy.

Junior Ladies Grand Prix Final

by Klaus-Reinhold Kany

Four skaters from Russia, one from the USA and one from South Korea qualified for the Ladies Junior Final in the Olympic rink of the 2006 Games in Torino, Italy. The general level was excellent and all were very happy to have qualified.

Kamila Valieva (13) from the school of Eteri Tutberidze in Moscow won the event with 207.47 points. This school is by far the most successful single skating school in the world and brought seven skaters to the two Finals. In the short program, Valieva was fourth but only two points behind the winner. Her triple loop was a bit shaky, but the double Axel very good. Generally, her landings are really beautiful. Her combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop with two hands over her head was excellent and had mainly GOEs of +3. Many Russian skaters perform the majority of their jumps in this way because it raises the GOEs. She performed two of the three spins (all level 4) very well and the layback spin in an outstanding way. The step sequence (level 3) was also very good.

She used the music pieces “Spiegel im Spiegel“ (mirror by mirror) by Arvo Pärt (which the Shibutanis had used some years ago) and “Allerdale Hall“ by Fernando Velazquez. There is a story behind the program which made it a piece of art if you know it: She is coming off a Picasso painting, wearing almost the same costume as in the painting. At the end of the program she goes back into the painting. Her components were around 7.7, which seemed a bit low because many judges did not see her qualities yet. Valieva commented: “I felt the loop was wobbly but I knew I had to pull myself together, carry on and skate as well as possible. I was quite nervous - it is the Grand Prix Final and it is my first time here, but I know in principle I can skate clean. I just need to be less nervous.“

In the free program to the Exogenesis Symphony Part 3 by Muse, she proved how good the quality of her elements is. She had five more points than Alysa Liu from USA although she did not perform any triple Axel nor any quad jump. She opened her program with two excellent double Axels, a triple loop and a combination of triple flip and double toe loop. In the second half, where she gets a bonus of 10 per cent, she had two triple-triple combinations and a fifth triple, all of them in outstanding quality. The spins had several GOEs of +5 and the components were around 7.8.

“I’m happy with the skate and with the jumps I did“, she said. “It was a simple version today but it was clean so that’s the main thing. I wanted to do a quad toe loop at the Final so I am disappointed about that. I don't want to talk about my injury, but I came back about three weeks ago. I want to get my quad toeloop back and then I will see. I would like to learn a triple Axel too.“ She was also asked about the revolution in ladies skating with the quads: “It is thanks to Alexandra (Trusova), who started landing them, then Anna (Shcherbakova). If I don’t want to fall behind I have to land the quads as well.“

The reigning U.S. senior champion Alysa Liu (14) of Oakland, California, finished second with 204.65 points. She had taken a narrow lead in the short program, being the only one with a triple Axel. In a junior lady’s short program, this jump is allowed only in the combination and she added a good triple toe loop. Her double Axel and her triple loop were good, two spins as well and the layback spin outstanding with four GOEs of +5. She skated to "Don’t Rain On My Parade“ by Barbara Streisand. She commented: “My short program felt pretty good. I was very happy with it. I’m just trying to enjoy the moment even during the program.“

For her free program, she used a new version of the second part of Anton Dvoraks Symphony No 9 “From the New World“ called “Illumination“, adapted by Jennifer Thomas. She fell on her opening triple Axel, then performed two quad Lutzes, the first one with a triple toe loop, but both were under-rotated as well as the second triple Axel. Four other triple jumps were good and the spins excellent. But in both programs her speed was a bit low. She explained: “I‘m happy I came here and it’s a relief it’s over but I’m disappointed. My goal is always to skate a clean program but I didn’t do it. Laura Lipetsky has been my coach since I started skating and we have this connection. When I do something wrong she starts to talk and I already know what she’s going to say. I love Nathan Chen, Yuzuru Hanyu and Alexandra Trusova because they’re really good skaters and they’re fearless. Girls realize quads are possible and they try them.“

Daria Usacheva from the Tutberidze school won the bronze medal with 200.37 points. Her short program was technically flawless with a excellent combination of triple flip and triple toe loop, but her style less emotional. In the free, five triple jumps were clean, but she she stepped out of two others. Her music choice of “Je suis malade“ (I am lovesick) is a bit strange for a 13-year-old girl. She said: “I am happy that I am in third, but am not happy with the mistakes and errors I made, I could have skated better.“

Ksenia Sinitsina from te Moscow school of Svetlana Panova finished on fourth place with 195.57 points. Her short program had no mistake, and mainly GOEs of +3, including for the combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop. Six of her triple jumps in the free were good, but the toe loop after the flip under-rotated. Haein Lee from South Korea is fifth, earning 194.38 points. Her short program was almost clean, only the toe loop after the Lutz was under-rotated. All her seven triple jumps in the free were good, but not excellent. Viktoria Vasilieva from Moscow ended up sixth with 184.37 points. The short program had a very good combination of triple Lutz and triple toe loop and no mistake. Five triples in the free were good, but two not a hundred per cent clean.

2019 NHK





Exhibition Cast
Photo by Robin Ritoss


2019 Cup of Russia





Shiseido Cup of China 2019





Exhibition Cast
Photo by Robin Ritoss

2019 Skate France International

Grenoble, France

The 2019 Internationaux de France de Patinage, in the University and 1968 Olympic City of Grenoble, in the Alps of Southeastern France is the third Grand Prix of this season. The rink is called "Pole sud“ (South Pole) and is about two miles south of downtown. Grenoble has no airport because of surrounding mountains. Therefore all skaters, coaches, officials and spectators who come by plane, arrive at Lyon airport, which is about 50 miles northwest of Grenoble, and go to Grenoble by bus, train or car in about one hour.  This is the third year this competition has been held in Grenoble. <more>

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."

2019 Skate Canada International 

Kelowna, BC

The second Grand Prix in 2019 is Skate Canada International in the wine city of Kelowna, British Columbia. The biggest star is the two time Olympic gold medal winner Yuzuru Hanyu from Japan who plans to compete in Canada again a bit more than one month after his first competition at Autumn Classic in Oakville near Toronto. A huge crowd of Japanese fans are therefore heading to Kelowna and many hotels are booked out. If the student of Brian Orser does normal no other competitor should be able get as many points as him. But several other skaters hope for silver and bronze medals, for example European bronze medalist Matteo Rizzo from Italy, the two Canadians Nam Nguyen and Roman Sadovsky, Brandon Kerry from Australia and the second Japanese skater Keiji Tanaka. Russian skater Mihkail Kolyada had to skip the whole fall season because he has to undergo a sinus surgery and is replaced by Julian Yee of Malaysia. U.S skater Camden Pulkinen gives his senior Grand Prix debut.  <more>

2019 Skate America 

Las Vegas, NV

Current Replay Systems Not Up To Task of Insuring Accurate Calls

The 2019 Junior Grand Prix Series 

The seven 2019 Junior Grand Prix were a great success for the hundreds of skaters who competed and won a lot of experience for their later career in seniors. Russia once again was by far the most successful country and won 15 of the 24 spots for the Junior Final, the USA only two. Most Junior Grand Prix are attended by less than 300 spectators, but a huge exception was the event in Tcheliabinsk in Russia where more than 5.000 spectators came every day. All programs were transmitted with livestreams on the ISU channel and can be watched again on Youtube. <more>

Lake Placid Junior Grand Prix Draws Premiere Juniors From All Over Globe


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News Nuggets

Past News Nuggets are in the Archive

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

December Competitions

Dec 02 - Dec 08, 2019, Santa Claus Cup, Budapest, HUN

Dec 04 - Dec 07, 2019, Golden Spin of Zagreb, Zagreb, CRO

Dec 05 - Dec 08, 2019, ISU Grand Prix Final (Senior & Junior), Torino, ITA

Dec 13 - Dec 15, 2019, 61st Grand Prix of Bratislava, Bratislava, SVK

January Competitions

Jan 04 - Jan 05, 2020, English Inclusive Skating International Championships (Special Competition), Solihull, GBR

Jan 07 - Jan 12, 2020, Mentor Torun Cup, Torún, POL

Jan 08 - Jan 12, 2020, EduSport Trophy, Bucharest,  Otopeni, ROU

Jan 09 - Jan 19, 2020, Winter World Masters Games (Adult Competition), Innsbruck, AUT

Jan 09 - Jan 22, 2020, 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games, Lausanne, SUI

Jan 14 - Jan 18, 2020, 13th Europa Cup Skate Helena, Belgrade, SRB

Jan 20 - Jan 26, 2020, ISU European  Championships, Graz, AUT

Jan 24 - Jan 26, 2020, Reykjavik International Games, Reykjavik, ISL

Jan 30 - Feb 02, 2020, Dragon Trophy & Tivoli Cup, Ljubljana, SLO

February Competitions

Feb 03 - Feb 09, 2020, Sofia Trophy, Sofia, BUL

Feb 04 - Feb 09, 2020, Bavarian Open, Oberstdorf, GER

Feb 04 - Feb 09, 2020, ISU Four Continents  Championships, Seoul, KOR

Feb 06 - Feb 09, 2020, The Nordics & Nordics Open, Stavanger, NOR

Feb 07 - Feb 09, 2020, Egna Dance Trophy, Egna, ITA

Feb 13 - Feb 16, 2020, Ice Challenge, Graz, AUT

Feb 13 - Feb 16, 2020, Tallink Hotels Cup, Tallinn, EST

Feb 14 - Feb 16, 2020, Jegvirag Cup, Miskolc, HUN

Feb 14 - Feb 16, 2020, Sarajevo Open, Sarajevo, BIH

Feb 18 - Feb 22, 2020, Open Ice Mall Cup, Eilat, ISR

Feb 19 - Feb 22, 2020, Bellu Memorial, Bucharest,  Otopeni, ROU

Feb 20 - Feb 23, 2020, Challenge Cup, Den Haag, NED

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

2019-2020 ISU Grand Prix

Event Location Date
Skate America Las Vegas, Nevada, United States October 18–20
Skate Canada Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada October 25–27
Internationaux de France Grenoble, France November 1–3
Cup of China Chongqing, China November 8–10
Rostelecom Cup Moscow, Russia November 15–17
NHK Trophy Sapporo, Japan November 22–24
Grand Prix Final Turin, Italy December 5–8
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