Photos from Rostelecom CupPhotos by Robin Ritoss Read More +
Cup of China Photos!by Robin Ritoss Read More +
Photos from Skate Canadaby Robin Ritoss Read More +
Hubbell & Donohue Ready for Reinvention
Coverage of Skate America!
Testa & Csolley aim for Pyeongchang
Autumn Classic Coverage!Photos by Melanie Hoyt and Recaps by Jacquelyn Thayer Read More +
The Latest from the ISU
Other Technical Updates
Grand Prix series heads to France for Trophee Bompard
- Created on Wednesday, 19 November 2014 20:00
by Laura Flagg | Photo by Robin Ritoss
Trophee Bompard, the second-to-last Grand Prix event, takes place this week in Bordeaux, France. Only seven teams will be competing in France as the reigning World Champions, Anna Cappellini & Luca LaNotte, withdrew last week.
Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron are coming off a stunning victory at Cup of China. Given the immense amount of progress they've made, their beautiful free dance to music by Mozart, and the home ice advantage, they are the favorites. A medal of any color will guarantee them a slot in the Grand Prix Final, and they should manage that with relative ease. However, picking up a second victory will be a slightly more difficult task.
Among their main competitors is the team of Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier, who won the silver at Skate Canada. Barring major mistakes, like the ones they had in their short dance, they should be able to improve their score. Whether this will be enough to place ahead of Papadakis & Cizeron remains to be seen. Their short dance, if skated cleanly, has the potential to be one of the very best this season. A top-two finish will clinch them a spot in the Grand Prix Final, barring multiple major upsets in Japan next week.
Skaters head to Moscow for Rostelecom Cup
- Created on Wednesday, 12 November 2014 22:40
by Laura Flagg | Photo by Daphne Backman
Rostelecom Cup, the fourth event in the Grand Prix series, will take place this week in Moscow. A full roster of eight teams will compete, headlined by the battle between new Russian teams (and former partners) Elena Ilinykh & Ruslan Zhiganshin and Victoria Sinitsina & Nikita Katsalapov.
Madison Chock & Evan Bates are coming off their first-ever Grand Prix win at Skate America and are the favorites to take gold in Russia. Coached by Igor Shpilband, a strong showing in Moscow will pave the way for their first Grand Prix Final appearance. Both their short dance and their free dance to "An American in Paris" have been extremely well received by international judging panels.
Another American team, reigning World Junior champions Kaitlin Hawayek & Jean-Luc Baker (pictured, right), will be making their Grand Prix debut. They competed at Nebelhorn Trophy earlier this season, where mistakes in the short dance cost them a medal; they finished fourth overall. Their beautiful new free dance is to music from the 2013 film adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet.” While the story is very familiar to skating, this music is not. Hawayek & Baker are coached by Angelika Krylova and Pasquale Carmerlengo.
Alexandra Aldridge & Daniel Eaton hope to improve on their sixth-place finish at Skate Canada. Their free dance, to music from “Gone with the Wind” had a lackluster reception from the judges, especially in comparison to their short dance. The duo, who recently switched coaches to train with Marina Zoueva, placed fifth at last season's U.S. Nationals. Before that, they were two-time U.S. junior champions, and the direct comparison to Hawayek & Baker could set up an interesting battle for the second half of the season.
Shanghai hosts Cup of China, next stop on ISU Grand Prix series
- Created on Wednesday, 05 November 2014 19:40
by Melanie Hoyt | Photo by Robin Ritoss
This weekend, the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating will make its third stop in Shanghai. Cup of China was last held in Shanghai two years ago. This event will mark the season debut of the reigning world champions, Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte, as well as the competitive debut of the new team of Elena Ilinykh & Ruslan Zhiganshin.
Cappellini & Lanotte have made a major change since their narrow victory at the World Championships last season. While they continue to split their time between Milan and Michigan, their secondary training base is now in Canton with Marina Zoueva, instead of in Novi with Igor Shpilband. The Italian world champions should have plenty of confidence after last season, but since they have not competed yet this season, all eyes will be on their technical mark to see if they achieve their targeted levels. Their Paso Doble to “Capriccio Espagnol” should have plenty of flair, and they have chosen darker music than usual, “Danse Macabre,” for their free dance this season.
Their American training mates are expected to be among the medal contenders. Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani will surely hope to build on their silver medal from Skate America. Another silver or a gold should be enough to qualify them for the Grand Prix Final, but with a bronze, they will have to wait and see how the rest of the series goes. The Shibutanis performed very well two weeks ago in Chicago, but their levels held them back from challenging for gold. Coach Zoueva was not impressed with the calling, and it will be interesting to see if they have made the necessary changes to get the levels this time around.
Grand Prix series continues in Kelowna, BC
- Created on Wednesday, 29 October 2014 18:18
by Katie Tetzloff | Photo by Julia Komarova
Moving west from last week’s excitement in Illinois, this year’s Skate Canada International will take place in Kelowna, British Columbia. Eight teams representing five countries will take the ice at this season’s second Senior Grand Prix event, held October 30 to November 1. Six of the eight teams train in North America, with two pairs of training mates heading to the event together.
As the host country, Canada has three teams competing, including the favorites, Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Poje. If they land on the top step of the podium in Kelowna this week, it would be their first Grand Prix victory. This, year their short dance is set to “La Virgen de la Macarena,” and their free dance is a medley of selections from Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.” Weaver & Poje have already won a gold medal this season at Nebelhorn Trophy, scoring 165.32.
Canada’s second team, Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier, also has a chance at medalling this week in B.C. Two weeks ago at Skate Canada’s Autumn Classic, Gilles & Poirier earned a total of 142.52 points. Though a lift mishap in the short dance meant that they did not receive credit for the element, their “Streetcar Named Desire” free dance boosted them into second place overall.
Élisabeth Paradis & François-Xavier Ouellette will also represent Canada. This is only their second year competing internationally at the senior level, and after having placed fifth at Nebelhorn Trophy with a score of 128.05, this team was called in as a last-minute substitution at last week’s Hilton HHonors Skate America. Making a huge leap from eighth in the short dance with a memorable and passionate free dance performance, Paradis & Ouellette finished in fourth with a total of 137.30.
Hubbell & Donohue Ready for Reinvention
- Created on Tuesday, 28 October 2014 21:23
by Jacquelyn Thayer | Photos by Robin Ritoss
For Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue, it's a thin line between creative ambition and long-range practicality.
“I think once we’ve found a piece," said Donohue, "we go ‘Okay, well what strengths does this piece bring out in us? What can we show that’s different, what can we do to take people by surprise, what can we do to push ourselves?’"
And long-term planning became a necessity in the wake of the series of injuries that beset Hubbell over the past year. A concussion in June 2013 required time away from the ice in the off-season, but it was a torn labrum that took the greatest toll on the team—though it coincided with their biggest international achievements, including the couple's first Grand Prix medal, a bronze at Skate Canada International, and a victory at January’s Four Continents Championships. Although they qualified as first alternates to the U.S. World team, they declined the opportunity in favor of immediate treatment for Hubbell’s injury, surgery in March.
“We felt it was better to prepare for the next quad,” said Donohue. “So we felt it was better to give up our spot in order to get Madi healthy and get the surgery she needed and get a jump-start on this current year.”
Flair & drama in the #SA2014 short dance
- Created on Saturday, 25 October 2014 14:56
by Melanie Hoyt | Photos by Daphne Backman
The short dance at 2014 Skate America was filled with plenty of flair and drama. While the top two spots are probably locked up, the remaining six teams are within four points of each other, and any of them could grab the last spot on the podium.
Americans Madison Chock & Evan Bates have given themselves a comfortable lead going into the free dance. They earned 68.96 points in the short and have a four-point cushion over their American teammates, Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani. Chock & Bates chose to put a perky spin on the Paso Doble theme, which makes their program different from the other short dances this year.
“We don't look like typical Paso Doble matadors and we wanted to put our own spin on it,” Chock explained. “We are still trying to bring that strong presence as well. We don't want people to feel intense watching us. We want people to enjoy it and suck them in as they are watching. We want to give them something to wonder about.”
They skated well and earned level 4 on the Paso Doble pattern, as well as the twizzles and the lift, while picking up a level 3 for their Partial Step Sequence and their midline steps.
Testa & Csolley aim for Pyeongchang
- Created on Tuesday, 21 October 2014 21:50
by Daphne Backman | Photos by Robin Ritoss
This week, Federica Testa & Lukas Csolley will make their Grand Prix debut at Skate America in Chicago. The team has been steadily improving to earn this chance since the start of their partnership three years ago.
In September 2011, Italian-born Testa’s two-year partnership with Christopher Mior came to an end. At the same time, Slovakian training-mates Nikola Visnova & Lukas Csolley decided to stop skating together after five years as an on-ice duo. Testa had a brief tryout in Finland that didn’t pan out, and then she returned to Italy. Both teams had trained in the same location for the past year and their coaches encouraged them to try out with each other. “It worked out very well, so we decided to start our adventure and represent Slovakia,” Csolley said. In just their third season together, Testa & Csolley moved from 17th to 12th at the European Championships and finished fourth at the Winter Universiade. They placed 23rd at the 2014 World Championships and were just 1.5 points from qualifying from the free dance.
Testa received her citizenship for Slovakia last November, which made her eligible to compete for Slovakia at the Winter Olympic Games, but the team narrowly missing qualifying for the Sochi Olympics after finishing one place away from qualification at Nebelhorn Trophy last fall. Testa & Csolley were first alternates, but did not skate in Sochi.
Open d'Andorra19 Nov 2014 All Day
November 20-23, 2014
Warsaw Cup20 Nov 2014 All Day
November 21-24, 2014
ISU GP - Trophee Bompard20 Nov 2014 All Day
November 21-23, 2014
Pavel Roman Memorial27 Nov 2014 All Day
November 14-16, 2014
Olomouc, CZE Website