Happy New Year! As we head into 2012, I thought I should start with a brief look back at ice dance in 2011. Meryl Davis & Charlie White became the first U.S. world champions in history while also leading a North American sweep of the podium, the summer brought mass break-ups of long-term partnerships and subsequent re-teamings, Sinead Kerr & John Kerr and Federica Faiella & Massimo Scali retired from competition, and a new wave of Russians swept the podium at the Junior Grand Prix Final.
HURTADO & DIAZ SAY HOLA TO MONTREAL
Spain’s Sara Hurtado & Adria Diaz have relocated to Montréal, Quebec, to train with two-time World silver medalists Marie-France Dubreuil & Patrice Lauzon. Hurtado & Diaz, who improved leaps and bounds under former coach John Dunn, will work to continue their development under their new coaches.
IJS FAILURE AT GRAND PRIX FINAL
On December 28, the ISU admitted to an error in the ISU Judging System calculation program. The 0.5-point difference from this calculation error would have meant a switch in the free dance ranking of Davis & White and Virtue & Moir, but it would not have affected the overall results. Excerpts from the release:
“The calculation program used up to and including the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final had erroneously calculated the Dance result with the previous Grade of Execution (GOE) for the Combination Lift, which was upgraded with ISU Communication 1677 in July 2011… The calculation program has been updated immediately after detection of the error and random checks throughout other international results between July 1st, 2011 and today have shown no discrepancies in the final rankings.”
Julia Zlobina & Alexei Sitnikov of Azerbaijan collected their second medal of the season, a gold, at the first annual Istanbul Cup in Turkey. Though only fourth in the free dance, Russia’s Valeria Starygina & Ivan Volobuiev remained in second by virtue of their short dance score. Germany’s Tanja Kolbe & Stefano Caruso took the bronze by less than one point. Though Agafanova & Dun of Turkey finished second in the free dance, they could not overtake the Germans overall and settled for fourth.
The 2012 Japanese National Championships were held in Osaka from December 22-25 with Bryna Oi & Taiyo Mizutani claiming the gold.
The four-time Japanese national champions, Cathy Reed & Chris Reed, were forced to miss this year’s event due to Chris Reed’s foot injury. The injury was sustained in a warm-up collision at NHK Trophy in November and the team was also forced to withdraw from Rostelecom Cup. Eventually, the pain required him to have his entire foot put into a cast for three weeks to speed up the healing process without any disruptions. His cast is scheduled to be removed at the end of this week and will be followed by several weeks of physical therapy before he can return to the ice. Cathy and Chris are hopeful that they will be able to compete at Four Continents in February.
From December 25-28, Russia held its 2012 national championships, ending with somewhat predictable results. Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitry Soloviev won their second consecutive Russian National title, finishing nearly 10 points ahead of Elena Ilinykh & Nikita Katsalapov, who won the silver. Ekaterina Riazanova & Ilia Tkachenko finished fourth in the free dance, but still won the bronze medal. Ekaterina Pushkash & Jonathan Guerreiro were third in the free dance and fourth overall. Ksenia Monko & Kirill Khaliavin, the 2011 World Junior Champions who have missed most of the season due to illness, finished fifth.
Bobrova & Soloviev debuted new free dance costumes in Saransk, opting for a bright red instead of the black version they have worn all season.
YOUTH OLYMPICS 2012
U.S. Figure Skating announced its team for the 2012 Youth Olympic Games, which includes Rachel Parsons & Michael Parsons, the 2011 U.S. novice champions. The Parsons siblings will have a busy month as they will travel directly from the Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria, to the 2012 U.S. Championships in San Jose, California.
“It will be so amazing to walk out there with all 57 of our American teammates for opening ceremonies, wearing the red, white, and blue,” Rachel said.
“We’re looking forward to the skating competition and, hopefully, getting to see some of the other events to cheer on our team,” Michael added. “Over a thousand athletes from all over the world are participating and we are excited to be a part of it.”
Though an official roster is still not available, the entries are expected to include Christine Smith & Simon Eisenbauer (Austria), Jana Cejkova & Alexander Sinicyn (Czech Republic), Millie Paterson & Edward Carstairs (Great Britain), Colette Long & Daniel Linovic (Germany) and two teams from Russia, Anna Yanovskaia & Sergei Mozgov and Maria Simonova & Dmitry Dragun.
Congratulations to Jennifer Wester & Daniil Barantsev who welcomed their son, Anden Daniel Barantsev, on December 29th.
EVENTS THIS WEEK
January 4-8 – 2012 Nestle Nesquick Cup (Junior & Senior) – Torun, Poland. Competitors of note include: Coomes & Buckland, Kubova & Kiselev, Heekin-Canedy & Dun
January 6-7 – 2012 German National Championships (Senior) – Obertsdorf, Germany
January 6-7 – 2012 Olympic Cup (Novice & Junior) – Balashika, Russia. Competitors of note include: Evgenia Kosygina & Nikolai Moroshkin
January 6-8 – 2012 International Trophy of Lyon (Novice, Junior & Senior) – Lyon, France. Competitors of note include: Walden & Edwards and Zahorski & Miart (senior) and Papadakis & Cizeron (junior)