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2021 Skate America

Las Vegas, NV

Photos Copyright 2021 by George S. Rossano

Women's Event Report

Men's Event Report

Pairs Event Report

Ice Dance Event Report

Results Details

Digital Program

Vincent Zhou (USA), 2021 Skate America Men's Champion

Jimmy Ma chill'n after the Men's Short Program

Why is this lift legal?

This lift in Hubbell & Donohue's free dance has generated some controversy due to the overhead position.

Past rules for dance lifts required the hands of the lifting partner be no higher than the head of the lifting partner.  Clearly this is not the case here, and this lift looks like an overhead pairs lift

But referring to the current rules you will find this gobbledygook description of an illegal dance lift:

f) point of contact of the lifting hand(s)/arm(s) of the lifting partner with any part of the body of the lifted partner is sustained with the fully extended arm(s) higher than the lifting partner’s head (the supporting arm may be sustained and fully extended above the head);

There are two problems with this rule.

First, and most important, "fully extended" is not defined in the rules.  It is always bad rule writing when key terms are not defined, and particularly bad when the definition of a key term is needed to decide if a penalty is required or not.

Second,  the main text of the rule says a lift with the point of contact above the head sustained with fully extended arms is not permitted, but the closing parenthetical says the supporting arm can be fully extended above the head.  It's hard to visualize how the the supporting arm can be fully extended above the head, while the point of contact is not above the head, not even if the man has tyrannosaurus rex arms.

So here's the out for this lift. The interpretation of "fully extended" is currently taken to mean (in the absence of a definition in the rules) having the elbows locked.  If the elbows are bent ever so slightly the lift is legal.

The following detail show the supporting arms to be slightly bent, making the lift legal.

Whether it is artistically pleasing to have a pairs lift in a free dance is a separate question; as is whether it is a good idea to have a rule that allows overhead lifts but only with bent arms which is far more dangerous than with fully extended arms, as bent arms require far more strength to support the lifted partner and stabilize the lift position.

Estimated Attendance:

Pairs SP: 1400
Men's SP: 1600
Dance RD: 1700
Women's SP: 1700
Pairs FS: 2100
Men's FS: 2100
Dance FD: 2100
Women's FS: 2100
Exhibition: 800

2021 Skate America Returns to Las Vegas, NV

Skate America, the first competition in the 2021/22 ISU Grand Prix, returns to The Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, NV, for the third consecutive year.  Thanks to the relaxation of Covid restriction, spectators are allowed for this year's competition.


Thursday, October 21, 2021

  • All day Official practice

 Friday, October 22, 2021

  • Morning Official Practice
  • PAIRS – Short Program  18:00
  • MEN – Short Program 19:25

Saturday, October 23, 2021

  • Morning Official Practice
  • ICE DANCE – Rhythm Dance  13:51
  • WOMEN – Short Program  15:19
  •  PAIRS – Free Skating  18:37
  • MEN – Free Skating  20:10
  • Victory Ceremonies (Men, Pairs)

Sunday, October 24, 2021

  • Morning Official Practice
  • ICE DANCE – Free Dance  11:18
  • WOMEN – Free Skating  13:02
  • Victory Ceremonies (Women, Ice Dance)

In order to meet Covid restriction, anyone involved with the competition was required to have proof of vaccination and a negative Covid PCR test conducted within 72 hours of arrival.

Bradie Tennell Withdraws from Guaranteed Rate Skate America Due to Foot Injury.  Starr Andrews to step into her place

Hubbell and Donahue Continue Their Farewell Season at Skate America

Chock and Bates Resume their Rivalry with Hubbell and Donohue at Skate America

Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier Poised to Put Out Top-rate Performances at Skate America

Vincent Zhou Set Sights on Stellar Outcome at 2021 Skate America

Day 3 Highlights

While most Grand Prixs end on Sunday night, Skate America typically has one or two segments on Sunday morning, and the Gala in the evening.  This year the Dance free dance and the omen's free skate were Sunday morning.

Madison Hubbell& Zacharey Donohue (USA) maintained their lead and won the Dance event with a solid fluid performance.  Their countrymen, Madison Cock & Evan Bates were only 1.31 points behind, skating their new astronaut-alien routine.  The two couples left the rest of the field in their wake.

Alexandra Trusova (RUS) won the Gold, leading n both the short and the long. Daria Usacheva (RUS) placed fourth in the short, but held on to maintain second place overall.  The potential Russian sweep was broken up by Young You (KOR) who was second in the short.

The evening gala was sparsely attended, with perhaps an audience of 800.  The gala was run at breakneck speed, with no group numbers and less than the usual announcer banter, due to Covid precautions.

Day 2 Highlights

A full day with four segments, starting off with the Rhythm Dance and Women's Short Program in the afternoon, and the Pairs and Men's finals in the evening.

Americans Madison Hubbell & Zacjhary Donohue lead countrymen Madison Chock & Evan Bates by just 1.02 points, the main difference being in the technical elements score. Canadians Laurence Fournier Beaudry & Nikolaj Sorenson sit in third seven points farther back.

The Russian Women swept the top three spots, led by Alexandra Trusova.  Kaori Sakamoto (JPN) lies 0.35 points back in fourth place, still in contention for a medal.

Tarasova & Morozov (RUS) gave another commanding performance to win the Pairs event.  Knierim & Frazier (USA) came back with a strong second place finish in the free skate, but it was not enough points to get onto the podium.

Vincent Zhou (USA) gave another outstanding performance, and put the world on notice, that there is no longer a clear favorite for men's Olympic gold.  The field is now wide open for the top men.

Nathan Chen gave a strong free skate performance to place second in the free skate, but he could not claim enough point to make up any ground on Zhou.  Inexplicable, however, were the 9s received in program components for a program devoid of any meaningful choreography or artistic merit.  He ended 26 points behind Zhou.

With a third place finish in the event Chen needs a win in his second Grand Prix to make the Grand Prix final, as a third-third series result never makes the final, and a third-second series result is iffy.

Day 1 Highlights

Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov (RUS) won the Pairs Short Program with a refined performance to “Metamorphosis 2” by Philipp Glass and “Experience” by Ludovico Einaudi, Countrymen Aleksandra Boikova & Dimitrii Kozlovskii trail them by 5 points, Skating to the finale of "Swan Lake." Riku Miura & Ryuichi Kihara (JPN) sitting in third, 8 points behind the leaders, performed to "Hallelujah."

Jessica Calalang & Brian Johnson were the best placing U.S. team, with a fourth place result in the short, followed closely behind by their countrymen Alexa Knierim & Brandon Frazier.

Vincent Zhou (USA) gave an outstanding performance to "Vincent" to take the lead in the Men's Short Program. Shoma Uno (JPN) placed second despite receiving no credit for his opening double flip (quad planned).  Jimmy Ma (USA) placed third with a solid performance to an edgy rendition from "Swan Lake" taken from the "Black Swan" soundtrack.

Favorite Nathan Chen had major errors on quad Lutz and quad flip + single toe loop (triple toe loop planned), and sits in fourth place, nearly 15 points behind Zhou.

2021 Skate America Gold Medalists Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue (USA), Alexandra Trusova (RUS), Vincwnt Zhou (USA) and Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov (RUS)

Women Medalists

Men's Medalists

Pairs Medalists

Dance Medalists

Gold Medalists