Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Fresh Faces in Pairs

There are lots of Pairs Teams making their Senior Grand Prix Debut this season. Who should you keep an eye on?

Kaleigh Hole and Adam Johnson (Canada) - These two had a solid Junior Grand Prix Season last year, actually winning the Junior Event in Lake Placid, placing third in Belarus and finishing 5th at the Junior Grand Prix Final. They opted to skate as seniors at Canadian Nationals placing 7th and capped their season off with a 10th place finish at Junior Worlds. As you can tell from the video below they are a bit green around the edges but they have programs chock full of content including some pretty impressive lifts. A little speed, a little stretch, a little 'razzle-dazzle' and this team could go somewhere.

Tatiana Novik and Mikhail Kuznetsov & Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov (Russia) - Two Russian Teams make Senior Grand Prix debuts this fall. Both teams have the classic trademarks of Russian teams. Stolbova and Klimov in particular have good speed. Both teams had mixed results on the Junior Grand Prix last season with Novik and Kunnetsov finishing 4th at the Junior Grand Prix Final and Stolbova and Klimov 7th. The teams went 1-2 at Russian Nationals (Junior) with Stolbova and Klimov taking the title. At Junior World's Stolbova and Klimov again got the better taking the bronze over their teammates who finished 4th. Both teams need to gain better consistency to be competitive with the top teams in the world.

Britney Simpson and Nathan Miller (USA) - This is an energetic team that has great promise. This team is hungry for success and you can see it each time they are on the ice. Trips to the Junior Grand Prix Final (6th place finish) and Junior Worlds (5th place finish) have hopefully given this team some experience and training to begin a successful career as seniors. They still need to polish things a bit, increase the difficulty in their choreography, and generally improve their skating skills, but I think they are well on their way.

Wenjing Sui and Cong Han (China) - China's legacy as a pair skating powerhouse is well in hand with this young team. They blew through their competition at every event. Clean sweep of their Junior Grand Prix Events, Junior Grand Prix Final, and Junior Worlds make this team a formidable match, even for the senior teams they'll be facing this season. The first time I saw this team I was blown away. Their like a miniature Pang and Tong. This teams technically ability far exceeds their years. They are routinely landing Throw Quad Salchows. For this team it's about finesse at this point. Making sure their landing positions match perfectly, making sure the sure the spins are in unison, adding that little extra stretch to an already solid position. I expect this team will go VERY far.


Anonymous said...

I agree about Sui and Han's trememdous potential ! But I hope they'll be able to maintain it through their puberty. History shows how talents are so frequently lost when skaters can't adjust with their physical developments, and I don't want to see that happening with them.

Anonymous said...

I agree, throwing a quad is easier when your partner is under 75 pounds and under 5 feet, but she will grow and it will get much more difficult to do it as an adult. That is why only few teams dare attempt it and only one regularly.