Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Plague of the American Pairs

The death spiral: an unfortunately prophetic move for the partnership of any American pair.


I am taking a break from blogging, yet the fates keep trying to tempt me.  Frank Carroll went bitchy queen, but I am waiting to comment. (Yet loving it.)  Unfortunately, there is some news on the American pairs front.

Caitlin Yankowskas and John Coughlin have split after one of the best seasons in recent memory for an American pair.  These couples just don't understand the concept of working together for a long time and sticking with it when making progress (or struggling.)  It is one big elongated one-night-stand.  Three years...what an accomplishment.  Caitlin is going to look for a new partner, while Ginger Bear's plans are unclear.  Is she too tall for Rockne?  Funding is likely not an issue, as they would be receiving the most USFSA funding of anyone.  They take the adage 'Quite while you're ahead' far too seriously.

The official release:
(5/4/11) - Caitlin Yankowskas & John Coughlin, the 2011 U.S. pairs champions, announced today they have ended their nearly four-year on-ice partnership.

Beginning their career together in 2008, Yankowskas & Coughlin enjoyed their most successful season in 2010-11. Their campaign began with a fourth-place finish at the NHK Trophy, followed by a bronze-medal showing at the Cup of China, marking their first podium finish in the International Skating Union (ISU) Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series. They went on to capture their first U.S. title in January before finishing fourth at the 2011 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in February.

Most recently, Yankowskas & Coughlin placed sixth at the 2011 ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Moscow. Their finish at the World Championships was the highest by an American pairs team since 
Rena Inoue & John Baldwin placed fourth in 2006.

"Emotionally, this has been a roller-coaster year for us," Coughlin said. "Our finishes on the Grand Prix circuit and at the U.S. Championships and Worlds are something we are very proud of together and will cherish always."

Coughlin lost his mother, Stacy, to a chronic respiratory illness in February, 2010. The team dedicated the 2010-11 season to her memory, most notably performing their free skate to "Ave Maria," a program they rode to several career-best finishes.

"I will forever cherish the memories and successes that John and I had together," Yankowskas said. "I respect and support John unconditionally with his future endeavors."

Yankowskas will search for a new partner, while Coughlin will evaluate his options before making future plans. He plans to stay involved in skating.

"We would like to thank our coach, Dalilah Sappenfield, and her support team for their tireless effort," Yankowskas and Coughlin said. "Without our friends, families and fans, we would not have enjoyed such a successful career."

"I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Caitlin and John," Sappenfield said. "I respect their decision and look forward to supporting them both in any way possible as they move forward."

41 comments:

  1. I swear, it's like every US team with potential to be great gets to Worlds, goes "hey, a top 10 finish, that's pretty good. Instead of working harder and improving our country's dismal standings in this discipline, let's just quit." And then we're left with the Inoue and Baldwins and Evora and Ladwigs who will just never break through to the top echelons. (Actually, I'm surprised Evora/Ladwig haven't announced a split yet...)

    Either that, or the Russian federation is paying any US pair skater who has better than a 70 percent landing rate on a triple toe to come up with some reason to trade in their sequins.

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  2. This is why we need more Russian coaches teaching US Pairs -- to shake them vigorously, slap them upside the head, and tell them they're INSANE when they come up with ridiculous ideas like splitting up when they're the best US pair to come along in some time. The most exciting part of Y&C's program at Worlds was that I felt they'd already outgrown it and was so excited to see what they'd do in the future. Ugh.

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  3. What a slap in the face to fans. Why bother to follow American pairs at all. Don't get attached. It's like Rockne Brubaker is the only serious pairs skater in the whole country. At this rate Inoue and Baldwin should come back to competition.

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  4. They are absolute idiots to do this.

    First, as others have pointed out, it usually takes years as partners to get to a high level. You don't stop just when things are getting good.

    Also, even if a pairs team is unusually good their first year out, it is highly unlikely that their PCS will reflect this. Fair or not, reputation matters. After finishing 6th in the world, international judges would have looked at John and Caitlin very differently. But now that they're split, that benefit is gone.

    Morons.

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  5. This is so disappointing. They're the best US team to come around in a long time and now poof. Back to business as usual.

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  6. OK, I just read the press release, so perhaps my "morons" comment should be changed to just "moron", because if you read between the lines it sounds like a certain skater might have wanted out, but regardless, this is a dumb decision.

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  7. McLaughlin/Brubaker, Denney/Barrett, Yankowskas/Coughlin hold the past 4 US pair titles... All split within about a year of winning a US title. Coincidental, or bizarre, or a little of both?

    If the rumors are true and Coughlin is doing this to skate with Denney, then I wish them well, their styles match each other. I hope Caitlin can find a partner though. She has the pretty lines that Keauna McLaughlin had. It would be sad if the two prettiest US pair girls weren't skating. Caitlin is young, I hope she can find someone soon.

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  8. Denney and Coughlin can team up but they will likely not do any better than Denney and Barrett... Caitlin WAS that team... Denney and Coughlin may be good technicians, but w/o the International "look"...

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  9. Yes, Catlin has the competitive fire and the russian elegance that made that team. I hope she finds a good partner soon.

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  10. Seriously...I'm over U.S. Pairs. I'm rooting for Volosozhar and Trankov.

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  11. This news is really upsetting!! I thought Yankowskas and Coughlin were a great pair and were only now starting to tap into their potential. U.S. pairs skating is in a sorry state right now. It looks like Evora/Ladwig may be motivated to remain amateur simply because they are now America's top pair, considering this split and the one from Denney/Barrett. I think it would be a good idea for Caitlin and Rockne to pair up. Caitlin has more potential than Mary Beth, in my opinion.

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  12. I agree. It would be a shame to lose Caitlin. Maybe she can pair up with the Canadian guy (Bruce??) who's looking for a partner. I hear he has dual citizenship.

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  13. I also vote Yankowskas over Barrett.. the latter might land the jumps more often, but the former is miles more pleasant to watch and will likely remain so - i want to give Coughlin the benefit of the doubt though; he seems to be having one of those Mulan reflecting pool moments, which is his right

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  14. Off topic--- Aunt Joyce, even if you don't feel like answering your questions, could you please leave your Formspring open for viewing? I haven't had time to keep up with all your answers and want to go back and read now.

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  15. Why does Sappenfield chase away all the pretty ones. Certainly Coughlin couldn't have made this decision to ditch Caitlin for Caydee on his own?

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  16. I guess Taylor Toth will have his choice for partners. Or maybe Bryce Davidson will become American.

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  17. Bryce Davison was born in California. Maybe you're joking, but I'm wondering if he could skate for the U.S.

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  18. I don't know the details, but Bryce Davison could skate for the US because he has dual citizenship. Before I was actually thinking he should give Keauna McLaughlin a call if he needs a partner, but she's probably too busy partying and doing lord knows what. I think it would be worth giving Caitlin a call... She seems driven. The only thing is, Bryce would have to be willing to skate for and train in the US. I don't know what John's deal is- if he's hoping to partner with Caydee or if he's just getting older and wants to coach. But either way, the US pairs seem to lack discipline, focus, drive, or just something that is needed to keep good teams together.

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  19. Taylor Toth has a very thin build. If Felicia Zhang who's 5'1" tops thinks he's too scrawny for pairs, he may not have many partner options.

    Bryce would be awesome for just about any top pair girl, whether they are in the US or elsewhere. Only thing is, he needs to get his major leg problem under control.

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  20. what do people think about brubaker and evora? mark is getting kinda old and mary beth looks like his illegitimate child...

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  22. Brubaker is way too short for Evora-- Ladwig was at least 5'10. There is no way in hell Caitlin Yankowskas is going to Taylor 'I can't land triples' Toth. Do we have any Russian American guys with strong jumping skills? Caitlin's next partner had better be good, or else what a waste of Russian look.

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  23. Why would anyone choose Denney over Yankowskas? I'm baffled by this.

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  24. Evora is barely 5'0. She could skate with just about anyone. But really, there's no point in her leaving Ladwig at this point.

    I could see choosing Denney over Yankowskas if Coughlin wasn't willing or able to get along with Yankowskas at all. However, they really didn't EVER show any signs of serious problems on the ice. Didn't Yankowskas call him her best friend as recently as Nationals? Something to this story is off.

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  25. I wonder if Coughlin is simply exhausted from an overly emotional year. I do wish, however, that they wouldn't call it quits just when they were finally reaching their potential. Maybe he feels he can't beat the Ave Maria program?

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  26. Please don’t pair up with Bryce or Brubaker. They are both too short.

    I will no longer look to root for a U.S. pair. They win Nationals and then they are done. This is the only pair in a long that time that had potential. Good luck Caitlin in finding a good tall partner or switching countries.

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  27. @anon 9:32... perfect way of summing it all up

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  28. While Rockne is pretty short, isn't Bryce like 6 ft tall?

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  29. ISU bio suggests BD is only 5'8"...

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  30. Bryce is about 5'10". Definitely not Coughlin size, but not too short either and reasonably well built.

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  31. Caitlin should be with someone Coughlin's size to have a certain look on the ice imo. Of course they have to be a pretty good skater/partner.

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  32. It's there life. Who the fuck are you tards to tell them they are wrong?

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  33. their* ... we are the tards of the interwebz; we know all ;)

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  34. They aren't wrong, it's their lives, only they know what it was really like to train together. But from a skating standpoint, they may be wrong here. ;)

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  35. Keauna's tweeting about maybe coming back. She may see an opportunity here with all these US pairs dropping like flies.

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  36. What you are is a fucking idiot hiding behind a computer. Not a single one of you would say a thing to their faces because you know it's NONE OF YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS.

    What the hell is with gay people thinking only THEIR fucking opinion matters.

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  37. Not everyone is gay, and everyone is entitled to their opinion about a top US pair team splitting. Chill!! If it bothers you so much, don't read it.

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  38. I've now decided to hope for a "we take it back" announcement a la Faiella and Scali...

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  39. Denny and Coughlin are indeed teaming up: http://www.usfigureskating.org/Story.asp?id=46171&type=media

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  40. I'm very curious about the back story to all of this.

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  41. Wow, poor Caitlin! If Bryce Davison can come back from his knee injury, I'd love to see him and Caitlin team up and beat the hell out of the former partners who dumped them.

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