Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Star Is Born

(Go to 8:00)
In America, those who can't jump particularly well have long turned to pairs.  The old adage was: If you can't do singles, go to pairs.  If you can't do pairs, go to dance.  While that is certainly not necessarily true about ice dance, our pairs have continually suffered as pairs skating has become more athletic and required higher levels of technical proficiency.  The Russians didn't always necessarily place the weakest skaters of the batch in pairs.  This is one of the many factors that influenced their success.

Pairs skating is an art form, but it also requires a tremendous amount of internal gusto on behalf of the lady of the pair.  Mary Beth Marley is tough.  Always a great jumper, she is becoming a woman now and still keeping a desirable figure for a singles skater of a pairs skater.  What is remarkable is how well she has developed unison with Rockne, how comfortably she lands the throws and how well she relates to a partner.

Mary Beth and Rockne train with John Nicks and Christine Binder.  Simply put, John Nicks is one of the great pairs coaches of all time.  Tatiana Tarasova has gone as far as to call Mr. Nicks a genius.  Armed with one of the sport's legends in the corner, Mary Beth and Rockne are progressing quickly.  One can only imagine how well they'll be skating in a year.  They may not have every difficult element yet, but they will.  Mr. Nicks isn't rushing them, they way other new pairs often are.  They are learning to skate and be a pair before they're attempting every ultra-difficult maneuver.

(Go to 33:45)


  1. She's becoming a woman? They relate well to each other? lol. I think she's doing well thus far, but her body is that of a 12 year old girl. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but she's not "a woman". And I think these programs were crafted in a way so that they did NOT have to relate to each other. There is no emotional connection there. I think the difficulty level is pretty good.

  2. ...well, except for the death spiral, transitions, throws. The teams doing throw sals in the short put themselves in a hole. It's a reason I'm worried about Yankowskas/Coughlin... I want them to beat Denney/Barrett, but they lose some ground on the technical difficulty.

    One more thing about Marley/Brubaker.. They debuted that LP in competition about two weeks into their partnership which means it was somewhat thrown together, and I think it shows a bit. Not that I would expect a complex program from someone brand new for pairs. She is doing well, and I really like her singles long program this season.

  3. I'm excited by their steady progress and by their unison. I think a top 5 finish at Nats is not beyond their capabilities.

  4. I am pleasantly surprised at the progress they've made. I don't expect them to contend for a medal at this year's Nats but I think they could be a force next season as they'll have a lot more time to work and up their difficulty. They have some really nice moments - I absolutely LOVE the spiral sequence in their long program and their unison is impressive, not to mention their SBS jumps!

  5. Their unison is better on their sbs spins/jumps than it is during their choreo. That will come later. Maybe they will contend for top 4 just based on the lack of depth in US pairs. I think they still have enough kinks to work out where they shouldn't medal, but with the way teams make mistakes, who knows. A team like C & S, for example, who is a better team at this stage in their development, can be very hot and cold.
    I hope they are scored for what they put on the ice at Nationals rather than what their potential is. There is still plenty to work on but they do look better than the first time I saw them.

  6. They don't look like two skaters who don't connect to each other; they look like two skaters who are incapable of connecting to each other. They both have a lot of maturing to do individually before they are going to be able to put out an attractive product.

  7. very clean and crisp program but no realtion to eachother or the music. they do not have the"it" factor that he had with Keauna.

  8. I don't see anything special but I'm glad that I finally like some other U.S pair skaters. I has been some years since I've actually like a couple of pairs from the U.S. It’s been pretty sad not rooting for anyone from the US in pairs. I always have someone to like in men, ladies and even dance fields. Yankowskas and Coughlin are my favorites in the U.S.. I’m really rooting for them. They have nice height and they have that great look on the ice (especially Caitlin). They don’t look like the typical pairs that come from the US. I’m also rooting for Castelli and Shnapir who have a great avatar program. Marissa has such great flexibility also. They have so many cool moves and big throws. However they really need to work on their individual jumping and Simon can look somewhat awkward like that French guy Alban. Even with the mistakes at Skate America you tell the audience still really enjoyed their program.

    I've never been excited about Denney & Barrett or Evora and Ladwig.

  9. That triple twist isn't good. Many new pair girls seem to struggle with it.

    Marley has a slight knee bend that reminds me of Rebecca Bross. That can be worked on. Their programs are cautious, they're going to struggle with the PCS, but their new and she's very young.