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2017 Golden Moments

Photos © Shirley McLaughlin

The Big Picture



News from the Southwest Pacific Region

Clubs of the SWP region are invited to send us news items for inclusion here.


2018 Regional Figure Skating Championships

North Atlantic

Hackensack, New Jersey

Oct. 4 -2017

Upper Great Lakes

Blaine, Minnesota

Oct. 4 -2017

Northwest Pacific

Eugene, Oregon

Oct. 4 -2017

South Atlantic

Aston, Pennsylvania

Oct. 11-15, 2017


Fort Collins, Colorado

Oct. 11-15, 2017

Southwest Pacific

Ontario, California

Oct. 11-15, 2017

New England

Westborough, Massachusetts

Oct. 18-22, 2017

Eastern Great Lakes

Antioch, Tennessee

Oct. 18-22, 2017

Central Pacific

Salt Lake City, Utah

Oct. 18-22, 2017

2018 Sectional Figure Skating Championships


Boxborough, Massachusetts

Nov. 15-19, 2017


Bloomington, Minnesota

Nov. 15-19, 2017

Pacific Coast

Spokane, Washington

Nov. 15-19, 2017

2018 Eastern Sectional Championships
2018 Midwestern Sectional Championships
2018 Pacific Coast Sectional Championships

2018 Adult Sectional Figure Skating Championships


Ardmore, PA

March 9-11, 2018


Rochester, MI

March 9-11, 2018

Pacific Coast

Pasadena, CA

March 9-11, 2018

U.S. Adult Championships

Marlborough, MA

April 10-14, 2018

2018 U.S. Adult Championships
2018 Eastern Adult Sectional Championships
2018 Midwestern Adult Sectional Championships
2018 Pacific Coast Adult Sectional Championships

  In the News:



2018 Olympic Winter Games

(full coverage)

Zigitova Jumps from World Junior Champion to Olympic Champion in Eleven Months

First athlete from Russia to win a Gold medal at the PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games

(24 February) Alina Zagitova, the latest wunderkind to come out of the Russian ladies skating program, took the Gold medal in the Ladies championship Friday morning, eleven months after winning the 2017 World Junior title in her first attempt.  Zagitova is the second youngest Olympic Gold medalist in this event after Tara Lipinski.

He only serious rival here, training mate and reigning World Champion, Evgenia Medvedeva put up a good fight in the Free Skate, earning the same point value as Zagitova in the segment.  With a higher point value in components, Medvedeva was the winner of the Free Skate segment, but failed to overtake the lead Zagitova built up in the Short Program.

In the end, the Gold medal was decided by the difference in jump content value for the two skaters in the Short Program, with the value of a triple toe loop for Medvedeva traded off against a triple Lutz for Zagitova.

In the free, Medvedeva again had jump content value below that of Zagitova, this time by 3.98 points.  But unlike their competition at the European Championships, and in the Short Program here, where Medvedeva trailed Zagitova in GoE points, Medvedeva outscored Zagitova in GoE points here by 16.85 to 15.61.

 In components Medvedeva has consistently outscored Zagitova this season.  In the Olympic free Medvedeva outscored Zagitova in components by 2.44 points, and there were many observers here, and some judges, who felt Zagitova was (and all season has been) over scored in components by an amount that deprived Medvedeva of the Gold.  For example, several judges on the panel had Medvedeva ahead in components by more than 2.44 points and up to 4.4 points.

Component scores, of course, are highly subjective, easily manipulated, and not in the hands of the skaters, while program content is purely the choice of the skater, and their base value a hard fact.

Since winning the 2015 World Junior Championship Medvedeva has been executing essentially the same free skating content in nearly the same order.  After moving up to senior, all she changed was the addition of the choreographic step sequence as element 10, and moved double toe loop + double toe loop from the triple loop in element 6 to the double Axel in element 7.  The mix of jumps, however, has remained the same.  In her short program in 2015 she included triple Lutz, flip and toe loop, but in 2016 reduced the difficulty to flip, loop and toe loop and has stuck with that since.

 Medvedeva clearly seems to have an issue with the triple Lutz, and we assume if she could cleanly skate two programs that include more than one total in the short plus long she would.  Further, if her first two jump elements had been in the second half she would have won the Gold, and we again must assume the reason she doesn't do that is because she cannot consistently skate a clean program with all the jumps in the second half.  But whatever the reason, this Gold was decided by trading a triple Lutz for a triple toe loop.

Skating a classically-styled routine to "Don Quixote" in an orange tutu dress, she skated a clean program, with only a small balance issue on landing her first jump element.  This was the lowest scored element of the program, but still received 0s and 1s.  This triple Lutz was meant to be in combination with triple loop, which was omitted, but she then added one to her second Lutz later in the program to recover the points.  She skated with good speed and some emotion, with components that averaged 9.38.  In the view of some, however, the program did not have the unity and seamless continuity needed for such marks.

"I was very nervous today," she said after skating.  "I was more calm for the short program, because I understood I had no room for error and I have to skate clean.  There was a lot of pressure on me and Zhenia (Medvedeva).  All fans were waiting for us athletes from Russia to be on top."  She added later, "When I saw the scores I was surprised and it was a nice surprise.  I am glad that I as able to deal with my nervousness, go out there and skate my program calmly."

Medvedeva gave a clean performance to "Anna Karenina" with no significant errors.  She skated with nice speed and good expression, with her characteristic approach of taking on a character role in the performance, something that she did much better than Zagitova.  Rather than a character, Zagatova is really only skating pretty moves to pretty music.

Medvedeva's performance showed good expression and was a complete seamless whole, which earned components averaging 9.68.  Given the distinct superiority of the performance as a whole, it was surprising that the point spread between Medvedeva and Zagitova was only 0.30 expressed in average component value, though a few judges, at least, had the spread as high as 0.55.  Interestingly, the Russian judge substantially favored Medvedeva over Zagitova.

On her performance she said, "I felt in my program really like Anna Karenina in the movie.  I put everything out there that I had, I left nothing on the ice.  I have no regrets."  She elaborated, "This was my mindset going out - not to leave anything on the table. I didn't think about errors, not about a clean skate.  Honestly, I skated like in a fog, for the first time.  It is because I realize that I am enjoying the process, these four minutes are historical and they only belong to me and the whole world is watching only me for those four minutes."

Skating as the black swan from "Swan Lake," Canadian Kaitlyn Osmond performed a nearly clean program with a base value that nearly matched Medvedeva's but with lesser GoEs, mainly in the 1s and 2s, with some threes.  On her first jump element she stepped out of the landing of a triple Lutz, which also had an edge attention.  Her components for the program, which was skated with speed and power, averaged 9.46, a bit higher than Zagitova. It was her strongest performance of the season, and scored as seasons best.  Osmond and Japanese skater Satoko Miyahara were the only two skaters in the last warm-up group to score their season's best.

Describing her mindset going into the free skate she said, "I was so excited, I was so ready for this program.  All day I was terrified, I was so nervous, but it is a program I feel super comfortable with in practice and I was so ready to show it in competition, that's exactly what I felt."

Miyahara had a chance at moving up from fourth place after the short to the Bronze medal.  Her program, set to "Madame Butterfly" had a higher base value than Osmond, and even Medvedeva.  It was cleanly skated but the quality of the elements (all 0s through 3s) was not high enough to make up the points she trailed form the short program, and neither did the components that averaged 8.91.  She needed to score in the low 9s for components to pass Osmond.

Though she did reach the podium, she said, "Being here is glorious enough and I'm very happy, whatever the result."  She added, "It was beyond imagination. I fully enjoyed my performance, and being able to reflect myself.  It was a priceless moment."

The U.S. ladies started the day in 9th, 10th and 11th place, and ended the day in 9th, 10th and 11th place.  It was the most pathetic result for U.S. ladies in Olympic competition.  All three skated in the third of the four warm-up groups.

Current U.S. Champion Bradie Tennell moved up among the U.S. ladies from 11th to 9th place.  She had step-outs and  near falls on two elements, double Axel - triple toe loop (with an under-rotations) and triple Lutz ( with an under-rotation).  She achieved level four on her steps and spins.  Her GoEs were mostly 1s and 2s but her base value was not competitive.  Her "Cinderella" routine scored average components of only 7.87,  well below the standard for an elite international competitor.

Former U.S. Champion Mirai Nagasu, who was 9th in the short placed 12th in the free and dropped to 10th place.  Nagasu had not been getting around on the triple Axel all week in practice, generally executing a bit less than one-quarter short.  Such an attempt would not get an under-rotation call, but usually results in a fall.  In the free she popped the jump to an Axel no-value, and then on element 7 she popped the planned  triple Lutz to a single.  A triple flip also received a few -1s.  She missed a level each on her steps and one spin. The program was skated too slowly, with no attack or presence.  It was a lackluster skate.  Her components averaged only 7.76.

Former U.S. Champion Karen Chen was 10th in the short and dropped to 11th after the free skate.  She had major errors on four jump elements.  Except for those jumps, her GoEs were mostly 1s and 2s, and her components averaged 8.01, the highest among the three Americans.  Skating to "Tango Jalousie" she skated with reasonable speed, but the performance lacked the tango attack one would expect for such music.

No one expected the U.S Ladies to challenge for an Olympic medal, but the results being so low here was still a huge disappointment, and symptomatic of the world of hurt U.S. Ladies figure skating (and U.S. figure skating in general) is in.  Given that there will be few retirements before Worlds, these results suggest the U.S. ladies are unlikely to earn three slots for 2019 Worlds when they compete next month at the World Championships in Milan.

Medvedeva at Technical Disadvantage to Overtake Zagitova

(22 February) Rivals for the Gold, Evgenia Medvedeva and Alina Zagitova are are poised to be the first Russian athlete at these Games to win a Gold Medal.  These two skaters last competed against each other at the European Championships in Moscow in January, where Zagitova outscored Medvedeva in both the short and the long.

In the Short Program both skaters have very similar programs, except that Medvedeva executed a lower base value group of jumps.  This spotted her rival 1.87 points in the technical score.  In the components Medvedeva was able to make up only 0.80 points of that.

In the Free Skate, Medvedeva leaves even more base points on the table, spotting Zagitova 3.25 points of base value.  The jump content of the two skaters, listed in order of value of the eleven jumps in a program is this:

Zagitova Medvedeva
3Lz, 3Lz 3Lz
3F, 3F 3F, 3F
3Lo 3Lo
3S 3S
3T 3T, 3T
2A, 2A 2A, 2A
2T 2T, 2T

As in the short, Zagitova has a second triple Lutz vs. a second triple toe loop for Medvedeva, and in addition a double loop vs. a second double toe loop. In addition, Zagitova puts all her jumps in the second half for the bonus, while Medvedeva has two jumps in the first half, giving away the bonus on those two jumps.

For GoE points, Zagatova outscored Medvedeva at Europeans in both the short and the long, and here in Gangneung in the short.  On the other side of the scoring, Medvedeva outscored Zagitova in components in the same segments.

If both ladies skate their best, Zagitova has the clear technical advantage and could well outscore Medvedeva by up to 5 to 10 technical points in the free.  Given that both skaters are already scoring in the mid 9s, there are not enough additional component points available to Medvedeva to make up the technical deficit in that case, even if she scores perfect 10s in the components.

Medvedeva's Gold medal hopes hang on her skating better than her best in the free, and Zagitova cracking in the free.  Zagitova's personality, as we have thus far observed it, suggest her cracking is not a likely scenario.

Zagitova and Medvedeva Battle for Gold, Osmond in Position for Bronze in Ladies Championship.

(22 February) The current stars of the Russian women's skating program placed first and second in the Ladies Short Program at the Gangneung Ice Arena on Wednesday.  Alina Zagitova took the lead over her countrywoman and training mate Evgenia Medvedeva by 1.31 points.  Skating before Zagitova, Medvedeva skated a record highest score, only to have the record broken by Zagitova three performances later.

"I was very focused in all practice," said Zagitova.  "When I made mistakes I ws corrected and tried to fix them.  With the work and the help of the coaches I was able to do a clean short program."  She added, about the possibility of winning the Gold, "The most important thing is to show your best, to give 100% so that the coaches, the judge, the audience and yourself are pleased."

Both ladies skated back loaded programs (all jumps in the second half), but Medvedeva spotted her opponent 1.87 in base value by executing jumps of lesser value than Zagitova - in order of difficulty, triple flip, triple loop, triple toe loop and double Axel vs. triple Lutz, triple flip, triple loop and double Axel.  Both ladies executed the same value content for their spins and step sequence, all of which achieved level 4.

In GoE points (the points resulting from the judges GoEs), Zagitova outscored Medvedeva by 12.20 to 8.22 points.  The presentation and artistic content of Medvedeva was slightly favored by the judges with 38.42 point to 37.62 points.  Both ladies presented strong secure programs, though Medvedeva's routine was somewhat superior in the connecting content of the elements.

Both skaters are trained by Eteri Tutberidze in Moscow, and their programs are virtually identical in content and layout.  Both skaters begin with a flying camel spin and then the step sequence to kill time until the second half.  Then both execute the jump combination, the solo jump and the double Axel in succession.  Finally Medvedeva ends with the combination spin and layback spin, while for Zagitova it's the layback spin and then the combination spin.  The two patterns of ice converge are similar and the elements are placed in more or less the same areas of the ice.  The two routines are about as cookie cutter as they come.

Describing her rivalry on the ice with Zagatova she said, "Last time I hear so many news that Alina Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva are opponents on the ice and off the ice.  We are humans, we communicate as usual, we are friends, we are girls, young girls.  We can talk about everything to each other."  But on the ice she said, "When we take the ice this is sport and we must fight.  In every competition I feel like a little war.  This is sport, this is war.  We must show our best, no matter if you are nervous or not.  When you take the ice you are alone. Yes, your friend is competing here but you have to fight."

Kaitlyn Osmond (CAN) gave a much stronger performance in that in the Team event to place third in the short, with 78.87 points.  Her routine to two Edith Piaf songs was competitive with the Russians in components, averaging 9.26 vs. 9.41 and 9.61 for the Zagitova and Medvedeva.  Her elements were the same content as Zagitova, but with only the double Axel in the second half, and the GoEs from he judges were slightly lower.  While she is numerically in the race for the Gold or Silver, moving higher up on the podium will likely require one of the two leading ladies to falter in the Free Skate.

Osmond scored her season best, and commented, "It means so much.  I have been fighting to keep this program and improving it at each event.  I was a little upset after the team event short program, but to come out here, not long afterwards and do this program and do a personal best and season's bet it's really important to me."

Satoko Miyahara (JPN), the 2015 World Silver medalist sits in fourth place, 2.93 points behind Osmond.  She skated a clean program to "Memoirs of a Geisha," though her opening triple Lutz - triple toe loop combination was not particular strong and only received an average GoE of 1.  Her two other jump elements were scored somewhat higher, and her spins and step sequence received mostly 2s and 3.  Her components averaged 8.92.  She has the potential to move up, though if both she and Osmond skate clean, Osmond has stronger jumps and components, and thus the advantage.

"I wanted to be more expressive and more open," she said.  "And I hope I can do that in the free program."

The second Canadian competitor, 2017 World Bronze medalist Gabrielle Daleman had a lackluster skate, with an error on her opening jump combination (a step out of the second of two triple toe loops with a hand down).  Her components (average (average 8.25) were not competitive for a medal contender.

Mirai Nagasu (USA) scored the highest of the U.S. ladies.  She fell on her opening triple Axel attempt, which was fully rotated.  On triple loop she had a poor landing edge that was scored negative.  Her spins reached level 4, but the steps level 3.  The expression of her routine to Chopin's Nocturne No. 20 was not embraced by the judges and her components averaged only 7.67.  Medvedeva used the same music and received components of 9.61.

About the Axel she said, "I think I over-shot it.  I kind of landed it, then I kind of fell and ended taking the fall.  But it was a fight.  I still did my triple-triple and still managed to do my loop as well.

Karen Chen, the 2017 U.S. Ladies Champion, stepped out of triple Lutz and put a hand down, preventing completion of the planned triple-triple jump combination.  later in the program she added a double toe loop to her triple loop jump to get at leat a few points back.  Skating her "On Golden Pond" routine from last season, she moved in slow motion over the ice with little attack, though with some petty positions.  Her components average 8.09.  She currently sits in tenth place.

The third U.S. lady, 2018 U.S. Ladies Champion Bradie Tennell sits on 11th place.  She fell on the triple toe loop in her opening combination, and then went on to cleanly complete the rest of the program. She achieved level 4 in all the leveled elements, except her layback spin at level 3.  Her program places the solo jump and the double Axel in the second half.  The speed and attack of her skating did not look as strong as at U.S. Nationals.  her components averaged 7.38, the lowest of the three U.S. Ladies.

For the combination, she explained, "You just have to get u and keep going as if nothing happened.  You know my left arm just got away from me and I just kind of sat down."

2018 U.S. National Championships

29 December - 7 January 2018
San Jose, CA

Olympic and World Team Selections

Estimated Attendance

Russian Athletes to Compete Under IOC Banner at PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games


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News Nuggets

Past News Nuggets are in the Archive

3 Mar. - Adam Rippon and Maia & Alex Shibutani have withdrawn from the upcoming World Championships.  They will be replaced by Max Aaron and Kaitlin Hawayek & Jean-Luc Baker.  Men's alternates Jason Brown and Ross Minor declined invitations to the event.

14 Feb. - First Day on the Ice: Tips from a Professional Skating Coach (and Mom) by Jocelyn Jane Cox is intended for parents who are thinking about taking their children skating for the first time or for parents who have already gotten their kids out on the ice, but need a bit more information.

Currently a number one Amazon Best Seller, this book was released just in time to catch the wave of interest stirred up by the Winter Olympics. Additionally, itís helpful for coaches who are just getting started in the business or coaches who want a refresher.

Cox is a freelance writer, humorist, figure skating coach and mother of a five-year-old son. She formerly competed in ice dance and pair skating with her brother, Brad Cox, and they made the national team four times together at the junior level. She has now been coaching skating for over 25 years. In that time, she estimates that she has probably taught hundreds of skaters through both group and private lessons. She focuses mostly on ice dance and moves in the field.

This clear, often humorous guide helps the parents of beginners figure out what to wear, what to talk about beforehand, how to lace the skates, and even give parents insider techniques to try with their children both on and off the ice. The goal is for the first day in skates to be a positive one and to lead to more fun in the future.

Cox got the idea to write the book when her friends were asking her questions about taking their toddlers and pre-schoolers to the rink for the first time.

ďEven though I have been coaching for a long time, I only started seeing it from the other side, in other words, the parentís perspective recently, when I started taking my son (now five) out on the ice.Ē

Cox realized that thereís a lot you can do to prepare your child for a fun day of skating before they even step on the ice.

ďWhat Iíve written in this short book may seem really obvious to skating insiders, but isnít obvious to people who have no experience with skating, and thatís who Iím hoping to help.Ē For example, she says that even small details like the right length of socks can make a big difference on that first day.

9 Feb. - The Court of Arbitration for Sports ruled today that 45 Russian athletes banned by the IOC from participating in the current Winter Games would not be allowed to compete and confirmed the IOC's right to decide who can compete.

"That's it ó the story is over," said Russian delegation spokesman Konstantin Vybornov, as quoted by the AP.

CAS held two days of hearings and ruled that the IOC did not act in a "discriminatory, arbitrary or unfair manner."

CAS described the IOC process as a permissible eligibility decision rather than a sanction against the skaters.

16 Jan. - Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir are named the flag bearers for the Canadian Olympic Team at the PyeongChang opening ceremonies.

12 Jan. - Ross Minor and Ashley Wagner withdraw from their Four Continents assignments.  Star Andrews withdraws from her World Junior assignment.

February Competitions

Feb 01 - Feb 04, 2018, Sarajevo Open 2018, Sarajevo, BIH

Feb 01 - Feb 04, 2018, The Nordics, Nordics Open, Rovaniemi, FIN

Feb 02 - Feb 04, 2018, Egna Dance Trophy, Egna, ITA

Feb 06 - Feb 11, 2018, Sofia Trophy 2018, Sofia, BUL

Feb 08 - Feb 11, 2018, Dragon Trophy & Tivoli Cup, Ljubljana, SLO

Feb 09 - Feb 25, 2018, Olympic Winter Games 2018, PyeongChang, KOR

Feb 15 - Feb 18, 2018, Olympic Hopes, ROU

Feb 16 - Feb 18, 2018, Jegvirag Cup 2018, Miskolc, HUN

Feb 22 - Feb 25, 2018, Challenge Cup, Den Haag, NED

March Competitions

Mar 05 - Mar 11, 2018, ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships, Sofia, BUL

Mar 16 - Mar 18, 2018, Coupe de Printemps, Luxembourg, LUX

Mar 19 - Mar 25, 2018, ISU World Figure Skating Championships, Milano, ITA

April Competitions

Apr 04 - Apr 08, 2018, Triglav Trophy & Narcisa Cup, Jesenice, SLO

Apr 05 - Apr 08, 2018, Egna Spring Trophy, Egna, ITA

Apr 09 - Apr 14, 2018, Ephesus Cup, Izmir, TUR

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