Skate America 2018 review

Posted on 2018-10-23 • 6 comments


I think I should make some changes in my CV and lits “figure skating” as my “bad habit”. It’s addictive and it for sure plays some games with my brain, because for some reason I thought that it was a good idea not to sleep two nights in a row. Anнway here I’m and I want to share some impressions. It won’t take long I promise)

Let’s start with pairs.

Last seasons, pairs were one of my favorite disciplines and I was so happy that ISU increased the number of teams who get to the free program. Now I start to worry that first warm-ups can be scary to watch again(

I liked young US pair Nica DIGERNESS / Danny NEUDECKER. They have a lot of lovely qualities. Usually I’m quite sceptical about US pairs and their perspectives, but here I really see good potential.

I also liked the new (new for me) German team Minerva Fabienne HASE / Nolan SEEGERT, especially the short program. It was solid and nice, pity they weren’t that good in the free program. Maybe they just lack some experience, it’s not an easy test for young team to do well when there’s a real possibility to win a medal of serious international competition.

Alexa SCIMECA KNIERIM / Chris KNIERIM. Unfortunately the miracle didn’t happen. Maybe it’s too early for Aliona to be the main coach or maybe they weren’t ready to work with intensity she wanted from them. Guess we will never know, but I’m really sad it didn’t work out. The other things that bothers me, the guys looked not just lost, but there were no fire, no desire to fight…like “Well it didn’t go well, but we didn’t want it that much…” and they gave me an impression of someone who’s already thinking about retirement(

At this point Ashley CAIN / Timothy LEDUC look more motivated, you can see that they really want that. So I won’t be surprised if they win Nationals this season. I like their programs even despite the fact that the short is such an obvious cosplay of Aliona and Bruno)

Alisa EFIMOVA / Alexander KOROVIN – nice pair, with some good elements (like twist and throws) but I don’t have much to say about them. Evgenia TARASOVA / Vladimir MOROZOV changed the SP but I can’t say it much better than the previous one. But anything that isn’t Candyman would look “well ok, it could have been worse”. The free is nice, but I still don’t understand why they try to make them “trendy” when good-old classics would suit them much better?


So we have another CarMan) Romain PONSART joined the club. He definitely got his inspiration from Tessa and Scott’s dark Carmen.

Julian Zhi Jie YEE was amazingly good in the short program! Nice choreography, he listens to the music, the jumps looked good. Unfortunately he also didn’t cope with nerves or excitement in the free program(

I see some improvements in Vincent ZHOU‘s second marck. Muse Exogenesis…again…But this music helps him, you can see it. The theme of free program also suits him well. But “-20” points in tech says for themselves. You can’t just hope that at the right competitions judges will pretend they didn’t see the underrotations.

Matteo RIZZO is a lovely skater to watch in terms of the second mark. He also tryes to improve in technique, works on quad. But I think his programs look a lot the same with last season’s. Same stylistic…and last season’s were stronger.

Sergei VORONOV surprisingly got bronze. I don’t know why he changed his SP. Rachmaninov’s music is amazing but you have to have certain qualities at the certain level to skate to this music. Sorry, Sergei, no offense, but components are not your strongest side. I would give this music to Nathan and ask Shae Lynn to do the programs…

Michal BREZINA landes his quad salchow and wins silver…What’s going on here? Did I fell asleep in the middle of competitions? Because despite some mistakes Michal hasn’t skates like this for so long! But looking at other Czech skaters, seems that he can skate forever if he wants to. I think Michal is one of those skaters who can really benefit from new rules. His triples are of good quality, when he lands his quad it gets positive GOE, his spins are good, he has the components. So go get it Michal!

Last season I fell in love with Nathan Chen‘s Nemesis SP from the moment I saw it. Unfortunately I can’t say the same about this season’s program. It’s difficult, it’s fun, it has a lot of details…but it isn’t special, it doesn’t have such nerve. The free program does have. This program shows how Nathan has changed, matured. But he needs to do something with costumes and hair, because now it’s a disaster)

Ice dance

Watching the free dance of British team Lilah FEAR / Lewis GIBSON I suddenly realized how much I miss such dances! Honestly, I’m tired of these trendy lyrical dances which more often remind me of music in elevators.

That’s why I’m a bit disappointed that Lorraine MCNAMARA / Quinn CARPENTER switched to such style too. They had individuality and now they look like everyone else(

I liked Tiffani ZAGORSKI / Jonathan GUERREIRO‘s FD, I think it has potential. While it looks rough and unpolished, but it’ll grow over the season. I like that they have ambitions and weren’t afraid of trying something new, this choreo is a challenge for them and I think it will pay off. Interesting thing that Tarasova didn’t say much commenting their performance and was moderate in praise, so be sure she already thinks what to add to Bukin’s FD)

Interesting coincidence, both Charlene GUIGNARD / Marco FABBRI and Madison HUBBELL / Zachary DONOHUE have great, sensual, mature tangos and free dances which don’t suit their age and status. Charlene and Marco have lovely La La Land, the best one we’ve seen so far. But this dance would suit much better some young team like Hawayek Baker or Mcnamara Carpenter.

I was also very disappointed by Madison and Zach’s choice for the free dance….I think that pair who claims to be the best in the world should make more ambitious choices…This dance is nice and tender but it’s generic lovely, in their recent style, nothing outstanding or special. And that’s sad because these two has so much more to offer.


My two sadness – Marin HONDA and Polina TSURSKAYA….It’s always painful to watch when talent couldn’t realize itself. Marin has great short program, I love the changes (new dress, elegant hairdo), such a flirty young beauty. Unfortunately she also had enough power only for the short program(

It so sad for me to say this but in Polina’s programs, performances, costume for FP – everything is a disaster. I know that Tarasova choreographed her program and I simply don’t understand how such experienced choreographer could do that..especially the opening move in the short program( Why? And what it has to do with waltz?!

I don’t know where Americans found Megan WESSENBERG I have never heard about her, but she’s made a good debut at Grand-prix. She has good speed, good skating skills, she listens to the music and has a connection with the audience. Another solid debut – Sofia Samodurova who took bronze. She got a chance and she used it. So now she will probably get the Rostelecom cup.

Somehow we used to the fact that Bradie TENNELL is consistent so the mistake was so unexpected. But still her SP is so cool! It’s interesting, it’s unusual, it stands out! Her Juliette gives quite different impression – what the choreographer wanted to tell us with some of this moves?))

Kaori SAKAMOTO is another lovely skater, with good skating skills, good and soft jumps, nice programs. But her programs don’t get me emotionally involved…I don’t know why.

Satoko‘s programs are brilliant! Amazing choreography, amazing execution. Best programs of the season, just another level. The short program is a masterpiece, but this time I fully appreciate her free program. Satoko doesn’t make an impression of natural tango performer, but she copes with the task greatly! Every move is polished, she knows what she wants to say with this moves and gestures. Simply amazing! Such a pleasure to watch!


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6 Responses to “Skate America 2018 review”

  1. Mad for Skating says:

    Great review! Very honest, accurate, and funny!

    I really loved the new couples Hase/Seegert and Digerness/Neudecker too. Hase/Seegert’s SP is one of my favorite SP’s so far this year!

    It breaks my heart about the Knierims and Aliona. You can tell their programs are so heavily influenced by Aliona – the FP feels so much like Savchenko/Massot’s “Lighthouse”. I was really looking forward to this collaboration…

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who saw “That Man” in Ashley and Tim’s SP! :) and the FP reminds me of Della Monica/Guarise’s FP from last year.

    I do like Tarasova/Morozov’s FP this year, but I think it needs some more distinct movements so it doesn’t blend in with other similar programs. I actually wish they would skate Boikova/Kozlovskii’s FP this year. But her dresses this year are a HUGE improvement!

    I agree with you about Nathan. The SP is unique but doesn’t quite work for me. The FP is stunning! (Now we just need to start the mission “Bring Back Nathan’s Cute Curls!”)

    I haven’t always been a big fan of Satoko, but I like her programs this year! I can tell she’s worked very hard to get those little jumps fully rotated, and I’m happy for her!

    Kaori has such beautiful jumps, and I love Sofia Samodurova’s FP! I can admire that Bradie has worked hard to mature and look like a real competitior, and I think these programs are a step in the right direction.

    • FS Gossips says:

      “Now we just need to start the mission “Bring Back Nathan’s Cute Curls!”
      and nice black shirts too

      • Mad for Skating says:

        yes, yes, and a million times YES. “I’m sorry, but the old cute fashionable Nathan with good hair can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Because he’s dead.” :(

        Oh well, he’s studying hard at the university, so maybe he just doesn’t have time to do his hair and get good costumes…

  2. jimmbboe says:

    “Well it didn’t go well, but we didn’t want it that much…” and they gave me an impression of someone who’s already thinking about retirement” That was exactly my thought, as well!

    • FS Gossips says:

      I won’t be surprised if they withdraw from GP. Now they will look for a new coach, probably will have to relocate…it all take time.

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