World Championships 2017 review: pairs

World Championships 2017

Here should have been a pathos preamble about the importance of the pre-Olympic World Championships, power disposition, alliances and bla bla bla. But actually, I don’t believe in such things much. For the current level of technical difficulty in men’s, ladies’ and pairs’ competition almost a year it’s plenty of time. Anything can happen.

Yes, yes, I hear the exclamations “Ice dance, ice dance! What about ice dance?” Well, ladies and gentlemen, ice dance stopped been a sport long time ago. You either make up your mind to it and continue watching or don’t and then stop watching.

No 1 in my personal “Meet in dark corner and check how fast they can run” list is Finnish cameramen. I really wanted to throw something heavy in him! What can we see from the angle “camera on the ceiling”? And that wire…..

I completely agree with Tarasova, pairs should have a day-off between short and free programs, because it’s the most difficult and high-injury discipline.

“Quad throws are killing skaters”, they yelled, but the horror on the wings of night of this championships was a twist…triple. First the Swiss guy stunned the audience….Who knew that it was only the beginning! Vanessa’s back somersault made my heart sank to my stomach. And the cherry on the cake – Ksenia Stolbova crushing Fedor. Well, that was scary.

Young Czechs are very nice, but the girl is rushing a lot. It’s ok. They say that it goes away with age. And she burned her awful tights!

American pairs have only one spot for Olympics. But I don’t see anyone reliable except Alexa and Chris. I wish them to fully recover as soon as possible and have a great off season. Strange thing, Alexa was ill, but it was Chis who made more mistakes…..Well, maybe he was too worrying about her.

Ah, Valentina! I think at this World Championships only Elizabet Tursynbaeva’s mom was happier. Valentina, you also should have taken your mom to the kiss and cry corner. I’m sure, Madam Marchei would have shown us what a southern temperament is! This time Valentina also remembered that actually she’s from single skating and knows how to do at least a toe and a salchow. That was a great performance, very cool and very emotional. Love them.

Looking at Vanessa James, I get a light emerald shade. Yes, I know envy is a bad feeling. But she’s so beautiful! Unfortunately didn’t turn out to repeat European breakthrough. It was one of my biggest sadness from pairs’ competition. I love their free program, so it’s pity to say goodbye on such note.

It’s bad to say such things, but I see some positive side in Eric‘s injury. They had no chances to win this World Championships….but since he had an injury there are no reputational losses. They performed badly just because of the injury. So, new season from a clean slate. And Eric is a real man! Has skated both programs clenched his teeth no matter how bad he felt and didn’t let down Meagan and their team. Respect!

Interesting, does saving the spots and the highest place at Worlds brings Lyuba Iliushechkina somehow closer to the Canadian passport? Halloo, Canadians! I never understood your skating federation, but at least have something reasonable should be not alien to it? They need a solid second pair for the Olympic team competition. I’m really happy for Lyuba and Dylan, their place and marks for PCS.

I didn’t expect anything from Stolbova – Klimov. Including two clean skates. Because miracles do not happen. But I did not expect SUCH! With all the Russian generous spirit they made mistake everywhere where it was possible and dropped to the 13th place. And when there was already nothing to lose, with all the heroism peculiar to the same Russian soul they did almost a feat in the free program. I think that’s right that they’re going to change programs. These are cool, but not for OG. I hope next season they will do without depression and without injuries.

I always suspected that vampires exist. Especially in figure skating. Hao Zhang does not age, but blooms with the new young beauty next to him.  I think they were undermarked in the short program. All because of stupid rankings and early warm-up. But still the result is impressive. New pair has passed the entire season at such high level without a single major breakdown.

Just tell me, why European Champions, the winners of the GPF Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov in the free program program look like a poor Cinderella? When all their rivals dressed up in designer costumes and have programs made by famous choreographers? The designer of this something (I can’t even call this costumes) is listed as No 2 in my list “Meet at dark corner and check how fast he runs”. I would be ashamed to let even juniors to wear such “costumes”. And the fact that these “costumes” received a deduction is just a sign from above, regardless of whether something has fallen off or not. I really hope that this pair will get some good investments during this offseason: coaching attention, programs, costumes. Who knows, maybe this pair will be the main hope for medals.

No matter what Aliona Savchenko says, she returned for gold. Everything was on her face, when Sui/Han’s marks appeared. But the pair is moving on increasing: bronze, silver and then….well you never know. They understand that it is impossible to win only with ultra-c elements. They work on both technique and programs. Both programs are very cool. If I were a skater I’d already booked John Kerr’s time for doing my program.

Sui and Han are mind blowing and breathtaking! It’s hard to believe that at the end of the summer she was in a wheelchair. Programs are absolute luxurious and they skate with lots of freedom. There is no feeling “I do it because choreographer said so, here I should wave and here I should smile”. Flight, freedom and what a sensuality and sexuality. Who would have thought five years ago that these “little Chinese in a funny cowboy program” would become such an oustanding pair.

To be continued.

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39 Comments on World Championships 2017 review: pairs

  1. Mad for Skating // 07/04/2017 at 01:31 // Reply

    Hey skating fan, I found this and thought it sounded like a good piece of music for Stolbova/Klimov.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEHdzcw7K-c

    • skating fan // 08/04/2017 at 12:37 // Reply

      Good for a peaceful moment in a program but for the entire program they need more “attack”.

      • Mad for Skating // 10/04/2017 at 14:26 // Reply

        Oh yes, of course. I just thought this sounded dark and modern, like them.

      • Mad for Skating // 10/04/2017 at 17:06 // Reply

        They could use the tracks “Horn of Plenty” (which sounds victorious) or the opening of “Learning the Skills” (which is big and dramatic).

  2. Mad for Skating // 05/04/2017 at 02:46 // Reply

    I personally don’t care about ice dance. Pairs’ is my favorite discipline so thank you for putting this up first. Here are my thoughts.

    SUI/HAN:
    First of all, Wenjing Sui is an absolute goddess. Looking at her, I hear Demi Lovato singing, “What’s wrong with being confident?” She is divine and we don’t deserve her. Their programs are just so classy. I predict they’ll win the 2018 Olympics. Mark my words.
    I will say, though, that I think 150 is a wee little tiny bit high for a program with a fall.

    SAVCHENKO/MASSOT:
    Aliona always comes shooting for gold. Those triple axels gave me life like I never knew before. Bruno has grown so much as a skater this season – deserves some respect. They were edged so narrowly here that I even thought they had won – and apparently she did, too. Their short program is my favorite this season, so theatrical and well-choreographed, and the free is like a dream. Really, they’ve become one of my favorites. I just hope that she does not go for both triple axel and quad at the Olympics.

    TARASOVA/MOROZOV:
    For me, this pair wins purely on technical merit. Nothing interesting for me to watch (except for those flapping blue horrors which I could gladly forgo). The deduction made me laugh because I figured you’d think the same thing. I don’t dislike them, but they don’t give me any reason to ditch earth goddess Duhamel and warrior queen Stolbova. Besides the fact that they’ll probably bring home a medal from the Olympics while Duhamel and Stolbova are slain as tragic heroines like Joan of Arc.

    YU/ZHANG:
    These two were similar to Tarasova/Morozov in the way of being excellent technically but lacking the power to draw me away from the two (okay, maybe three? Four?) pairs in the world who can move me to tears. I don’t feel the chemistry between them (for obvious reasons) but they are very skilled. I’m pleased with how they performed and they are strong contenders.

    STOLBOVA/KLIMOV:
    That dang short program was the scariest 2:50 of my life. I think it was the first time that I actually swore at the screen. After the twist fail, I was half certain poor Fedor would become the first victim in Ksenia’s Hunger Games and expected a grand show. But suddenly they’re all smiles and cuddles. Who is this woman, and what have they done with Stolbova?
    The best they could’ve done was bronze, so I didn’t cry much over fifth place. But if they were going to skate for fifth, at least they did it in a way that made me feel as though some small miracle happened in the free skate. The theme of pulling oneself out of depression could not have been truer at the moment; they had really sunk themselves deep. But to be honest, I’m happy if they change the programs. These programs are good, but they won’t earn the same PCS as Sui/Han and Savchenko/Massot. I’m still betting on my Girl on Fire.

    ILIUSHECHKINA/MOSCOVITCH:
    These two are my new loves. Such beautiful skaters telling beautiful stories! I adore their programs so much – I have watched 5 times already! I really hope they can figure out her citizenship because they are so amazing. I can’t say enough nice things about them.

    DUHAMEL/RADFORD:
    As for our reigning World Champions, this year didn’t go so well in general. I screamed when the hometown Finnish princess took a scary fall on that quad. I adore them but you could tell the energy, the sparkle, was not there. Injuries considered, they skated well enough and can now take some time to prepare for next year.

    JAMES/CIPRES:
    I can’t help but like Vanessa. Gorgeous lady with perfect diva flair and great taste in costumes. But Morgan needs to be careful with her! She’s not a shot put to be thrown with all one’s strength! He’s bound to break her neck, throwing her like that. They have impressive programs and elements, and that last lift is breathtaking, but I feel like their skating skills aren’t on par with the other top teams. I wish someone would teach them how to skate faster – then they’d be unstoppable. But I’m sure the old male judges aren’t even looking at their feet while watching Vanessa in a skintight unitard LOL.

    SCIMECA-KNIERIM/KNIERIM:
    When such a lovely tender lady appeared on the ice, at first I was confused – where is the purple lipstick, the faux-leather unitard? I love this new gentle side to Alexa, and I feel like I’m watching some sappy romance movie. But the jumping has remained the same – Chris’s side-by-side jumps are still their biggest problem. Some pairs just have certain things that they struggle with.

    Phew! That was a long review! But now we have a terribly long off-season to endure…so I must share all my thoughts before the drought :)

    • I started to really like Lyuba and Dylan when I was looking for some pairs transitions which adult skaters from my group can use. I was watching a lot of programs on youtube on low speed and I was unpleasantly amazed how empty some programs actually are. But not Luba and Dylan’s. There is so many ineresting small things in their programs! I really appreciate it. And of course you can watch their lifts endless…..Lyuba has such a beautiful positions!

      • Mad for Skating // 05/04/2017 at 18:39 // Reply

        Luba is my new love when it comes to transitions and lift positions. Such a graceful girl. I didn’t expect to be so impressed but they are amazing!

    • skating fan // 08/04/2017 at 12:29 // Reply

      Stolbova/Klimov

      After the twist fail, I thought about Europeans 2015 when they skated their FP to Notre Dame de Paris and Fedor fell before the last throw jump and she was so mad at him, and I was thinking, don’t be so mad at poor Fedor and I was really surprised (in a good way) by her behavior at Worlds :)

      • Mad for Skating // 10/04/2017 at 14:47 // Reply

        OMG I remember that event all too well, and I also thought of the Europeans when the twist went awry :( She used to get mad so easily! (Having a “pair girl” temper myself, I’ve learned that much fire is not always well-received LOL!). When she got done here, I was shocked at how gentle she seemed. My friends and I were joking that maybe she’s fallen in love with him :)

  3. skating fan // 04/04/2017 at 19:49 // Reply

    I hope for the best for Stolbova-Klimov too. I remember when I have seen their performance for the first time (it was a transmission from Sochi) and I was mesmerized by their speed, flow across the ice and fluidity. But I hope that they do not change their FS, because this style suits them and the program is orginal and it captures attention and it deserves to be skated cleanly.
    Savchenko-Massot are improving rapidly, their twist and lifts are just amazing.
    I hope for a better choreography for Tarasova-Morozov in the next season. I like their energetic SP though. They are charming and more important solid and consistent, but they need a better program for their FS. Maybe something in the style of their “Lord of the dance”- program? They were great skating to it :)

    • Mad for Skating // 05/04/2017 at 17:22 // Reply

      Stolbova has always been my soul sister so I am a little biased on that. Their skating skills are amazing – they move so easily on the ice. They grabbed my attention in 2014 – I said “who is this sparkling lady in the red dress and her partner skating to the Addams Family? Whoever they are, they’re GOOD!” I do like their FS this year, it took a while for it to grow on me to be honest but now I understand the style. I just think it needs a little more content in the choreography here and there, maybe more moves in hold, to be an Olympic-medal program. Maybe they could keep the music and layout but add more moves to make it more complex.
      Savchenko and Massot are my latest obsession – the height on the twist and the ease of the lifts is just breathtaking.
      I too enjoyed Tarasova/Morozov’s short program – it was cute, energetic, and classy. Lord of the Dance was a good program idea for them; I think an upgraded version of that sort of program would actually help them. Riverdance for the win?

      • skating fan // 05/04/2017 at 18:29 // Reply

        Riverdance is a good idea :) I think that programs to Riverdance are always enjoyable to watch, Jason Brown is a real proof of it, his program to it was amazing and I still like watching it on youtube :P

        • Mad for Skating // 05/04/2017 at 18:41 // Reply

          I adore Riverdance…and everything about Jason. Whenever I need a mood boost, I watch his 2014 Nationals skate.

    • I like both Stolbova/Klimov’s programs. They are very well choreographed. High class programs. I just think that they are not for Olympics. It’s hard to win with such FP, because of it’s mood. I got the idea of depression and think that for Olympics they need something powerful but not depressing, music that will push them and create “victorious mood”.

      Tarasova/Morozov is a classic pair, with nice long lines, good elements, in best traditions of Russian pair skating. So I think classical music will suit them. Not so powerful as for Ksenia and Fedor, maybe something more romantic as they are a couple off ice.

      • skating fan // 05/04/2017 at 18:34 // Reply

        I get what you mean with “victorious mood” but I cannot help liking it. It is different and I thing that their strong skating matches music, I can see depression in this program but I can also see a fight against it, willingness to be on top again and I like it :). In general, I like different programs, maybe it is a reason why I like so much Carolina Kostner’s “God of thunder” program.

        • Mad for Skating // 05/04/2017 at 19:01 // Reply

          I love unique programs too. I love that fight against the depression – in general that’s kind of how Worlds was like. They sunk themselves so low in the short program, then fought hard and pulled themselves up in the free. That was emotional for me.
          I would like to suggest the Hunger Games soundtrack for them. To me Ksenia and Fedor embody the characters of Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark – she is feisty and bold, he is charismatic but gentler and kind of holds things together, emotionally supports her. And it’s not an overused piece of music – I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Hunger Games program. Just food for thought.

          • skating fan // 05/04/2017 at 19:18 // Reply

            I have never thought about it, but I think that you are right, it may be an interesting choice of music for them, with spark and portaying them as warriors which they are. Their strong skating needs stron music and I don’t think that I’ve seen a Hunger Games program too.

            • Mad for Skating // 05/04/2017 at 19:31 // Reply

              I’ve always thought they remind me of the Hunger Games, both in personality and in style. I think the powerful roles would suit them, and there could be some gentle moments too.
              I don’t know why we’ve never gotten Hunger Games programs – it’s such a phenomenon in the USA. Maybe because it doesn’t go well with the “ice-princess” image? Well whatever, Ksenia and Fedor would fit the roles fine.
              The only thing is that Ksenia would need to grow out her hair for the signature Katniss braid :)

              • skating fan // 05/04/2017 at 19:55 // Reply

                I think that she let her hair to regrow and that her hair is longer that at Russian nationals so maybe the signature Katniss braid is not out of question :P I agree that in last year FP Ksenia had the “ice-princess” image, but in other programs not. They would be able to pull a Hunger Games program off. I don’t know too, why we’ve never gotten Hunger Games programs. I am myslelf a big fan of Hunger Games and I would enjoy to watch such programs.

                • Mad for Skating // 05/04/2017 at 20:19 // Reply

                  Well, maybe she is regrowing her hair! The barrette at Worlds gives me some hope…I always liked it long :)

                  Ksenia has never been a traditional ice princess type like Tatiana Volosozhar, but I love her flair.

                  I too am a hardcore Hunger Games fan (my obsession started just this year) and I was actually drawn to it because the characters are so much like Ksenia and Fedor. My friend and I actually sometimes call her “Katnissenia”

              • skating fan // 06/04/2017 at 11:53 // Reply

                I looked at your blog posts and there are certain similarities :)They are both warriors, we agreed on that part already, but there are similarities in appearance too. However, they have different eyes.

                • Mad for Skating // 06/04/2017 at 17:04 // Reply

                  Yes, I noticed that too – Ksenia’s are brown and Katniss’s are gray. Maybe from the far seats in the arena, no one will notice eye color :)

          • “And it’s not an overused piece of music – I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Hunger Games program. Just food for thought.”
            I thought I’ve seen one. Matilda Algotson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AM7MgxkdZhg

            • Mad for Skating // 06/04/2017 at 01:31 // Reply

              Really? I had no idea! I don’t know of Matilda Algotson so that would explain why I never saw it. But it’s cool!

        • Their FP is different that’s why it was a good choice for pre-opympic season. Because pre-olympic season is a perfect time for experements, for trying something new, so in Olympic season you can go back to your best choice and it wouldn’t seem that you’ve been doing all the same programs the whole Olympic cycle.

          • Mad for Skating // 06/04/2017 at 01:31 // Reply

            Yes! This was the season to experiment. Otherwise you get criticized like Papadakis/Cizeron.

          • skating fan // 06/04/2017 at 11:59 // Reply

            You are right, but I think that experiments are more suitable for some skaters than classsical music. Don’t get me wrong, there are skaters who exel at programs to classical music, but there are others who are better at experimentation. For example, Rika Hongo, I really enjoy her fierce programs like “incantation” and it’s right style for her.

            • I do not insist on classical music only) They can even continue to work in a modern style. why not? It suits them. I just think that Olympic program shouldn’t be dark, about mad people and depression etc. It should be something that will make an emphasis on confidence, power, energy, bright personality.

              • Mad for Skating // 06/04/2017 at 17:22 // Reply

                Agree. Something that engages the crowd. They can’t clap along to dark music like that. At Worlds, everyone was clapping to Tarasova/Morozov’s music, and I tell you that’s why their scores have snowballed. Ksenia and Fedor need something to capture the audience.
                I personally think a program with more emotion might suit them – something intense, but with a happy ending.

            • Mad for Skating // 06/04/2017 at 17:05 // Reply

              Yes! Every skater has a unique style. Rika has a fierce style and uses it well.

              • Speaking about Rika. She may have some problems with lines and posture, but she has charisma, she’s memorable. Can’t say the same about a lot of Japanese girls, who have good lines but boring to death.

                • skating fan // 07/04/2017 at 00:29 // Reply

                  Yes, I agree with you about Rika, she has energy and is memorable. I like a lot her fierce programs. I think that she has good edges too. But, I hope that she will cope with her underrotations and come back with new interesting programs in next season.

                • Mad for Skating // 07/04/2017 at 00:56 // Reply

                  Yeah. She has a lot of potential. If they can correct her jumps, that star power will shine.

      • Mad for Skating // 05/04/2017 at 18:50 // Reply

        I like both programs too. The FP has such a strange, dark vibe but I do really find it interesting. Ksenia’s general vibe is strange and dark so she fits into it so easily. I was amazed at how elegant she looked in the SP to Clair de Lune – the Russian assassin is suddenly ladylike and regal! But I think such a program won’t give them that “attack” feeling they’ll need for the Olympics.
        Tarasova/Morozov in a more classical program would be good for them. I think their choreographers need to watch some videos of Gordeeva and Grinkov or Berezhnaya and Sikharulidze (and yes I finally learned to spell his name!).

        • skating fan // 05/04/2017 at 19:00 // Reply

          I agree with you about Stolbova-Klimov’s SP, they need more “attacking” music indeed, something like “the Addams family” or “crouching tiger, hidden dragon”.

          • Mad for Skating // 05/04/2017 at 19:04 // Reply

            Yes! I love their attack! Ksenia is a warrior and needs to be able to show it! Hence my idea about the Hunger Games.

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