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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)


Figure Skating Event Schedule

Virtue & Moir Top Short Dance, Papadakis & Cizeron Endure Costume Malfunction, Canadian and French Judges Lend Their Skaters A Helping Hand

(19 February)  Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir (CAN) skated an outstanding, nearly perfect program to take the lead in the Short Dance.  They skated with ease and energy before a modest audience of about 4100, in a poorly attended event.  They scored their season best.  Their 83.67 points was a World and Olympic record.

Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron (FRA), placed second, 1.74 points back in a program that did not show their usual ease of motion and fluid skating.  Papadakis suffered a costume malfunction when the clasp her dress failed, and the skaters ended up more focused on keeping her top covered than presenting the program.  Their skating was stiff and cramped as a result.  Towards the end of the program a nip slip went out over the air in the live broadcast.

Madison Hubbell & Zachery Donohue (USA) and Maia & Alex Shibutani (USA) are in a virtual tie for third place, separated by 0.02 points.  The Shibsibs scored higher in components, but gave ground on the elements, including missing two of the key points in the Rhumba sequence.  Hubbell & Danohue also skated their season best

Anna Cappallini & Luca Lanotte (ITA), the 2014 World Champions, sit in fifth place, 1.16 points behind the Shibutanis.  1.10 points farther back are Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev (OAR).  0.02 point behind the Russians lie Madison Chock & Evan Bates (USA) who scores their season best.

The panel included judges from Canada, France, Russia and the U.S.  The judges from Canada could not resist the opportunity of lending their skaters a small helping hand, and a back of the hand to their rivals.

 Canadian and French Marks Comparison

Panel Ave GoE FRA
Panel Ave Comp. FRA
Virtue & Moir 3.00 2.73 2.40   9.95 9.79 9.50
Papadakis & Cizeron 2.20 2.64 2.80   9.45 9.81 9.85

The Canadian and French judges were more subtle than the Chinese judge in the Men's Free Skate, having had company on the panel for the individual marks they gave, but the pattern is unmistakable for the totality of the 40 marks invovled.

Another way to look at this, the Canadian judge was a high judge (*) for Virtue & Moir for every GoE and PC (total of 10), and a low judge (*) for Papadakis & Cizeron for every GoE and PC.  The revise was true for the French Judge.  Never did their marks fall in the middle.

Attendance in the Short Dance was the strangest yet of the Games.  The day started of with about 1/3 of a full house (8200) and built to about 75% of a full house at the end of the fourth warm-up group.  But for the final group, it is estimated about 1/3 of the audience left after group 4, so that the last group skated before a half empty arena.

(*) By high judge and low judge we mean they were among the one or more judge that gave the highest mark or lowest mark.  More then one judge might give the numerically highest or lowest score.

National Bias Shows Itself Again In Men's Free Skate

(18 February) Different judges were drawn, but national bias in the marks showed up yet again in the Men's Free Skate.  Spain did not have a judge on the free skate panel, while China, Japan and the U.S. did. Working our way though the protocol, anomalous marks from all three countries show up in the scoring.

For Nathan Chen, the GoEs from the U.S. are the highest of the panel, including two 3s, vs. none from the rest of the panel.  The U.S. component scores averaged 9.34 vs. 8.74 for the panel as a whole.  No other country gave components that averaged above 8.95  The marks from Japan and China are in line with the panel as a whole.

For Yuzuru Hanyu, the panel was in good agreement.  No one messed with Hanyu's marks substantially, though the component marks from Japan average a bit higher than the panel as a whole.

For Shoma Uno, the Chinese marks are highly anomalous. The GoEs are mostly 1s where the rest of the panel gave 2s and 3s.  The Chinese components average 8.65 vs. 9.27 for the panel as a whole.

For Javier Fernandez, the Chinese marks are again highly anomalous. The GoEs are often 1s where the rest of the panel gave 2s and 3s.  For element two, the Chinese mark is -1 vs. 1s and 2s for the rest of the panel.  The Chinese components average 8.95 vs. 9.61 for the panel as a whole.

The highest marks for Boyang Jin, not surprisingly came from the Chines Judge.  Jin receive ten 3s from the Chines judge.  The rest of the panel was mostly in the 1s and 2s, and only one other judge gave 3s, two from the Kazakhstan judge.  The GoEs from Kazakhstan were the second highest, and clearly stand out from the rest.  Makes you wonder if the Chinese judge had a friend on the panel.

The U.S. marks for Adam Rippon stick out.  The GoEs are the highest of the panel and the components average 9.30 vs. 8.69 for the panel as a whole.  No other judge gave Rippon components that averaged in the 9s.

For Keiji Tanaka, the Japanese judge marked distinctly high and the Chinese judge marked distinctly low, compared to the panel as a whole.

For Han Yan, the Chinese judge marked distinctly high and the Japanese judge marked distinctly low, compared to the panel as a whole.

The were two Russian skaters in the event.  They received marks from the Russian judge that were in line with the rest of the panel.

In this segment it seems pretty obvious the Chinese judge did everything in their power to push Jin up onto the podium and pull his nearest competition down, short of going out on the ice and tripping Uno and Fernandez while they skated.

Nathan Chen Arises from Abyss of the Short Program to the Summit of the Free Skate

Epic Collapse in Short Program is Followed by Epic Achievement

(18 February) Like a legendary Phoenix, Nathan Chen arose from the ashes of the Short Program to triumph in the Free Skate.  No, he did not win the gold, or even reach the podium, but his free skate was a high water mark in the history of Men's figure skating.  He attempted six quad jumps and landed five cleanly, while stepping out of one, a quad flip, that he decided to add to his routine after the debacle of the Short Program.

"I did the best I could in the free program to try and catch up with the points," he said, "but it was not enough to clinch a podium spot.  I am proud of my long program and I was able to win the long actually, it was a big accomplishment for me.  So onwards and upwards."

Chen was 17th in the short, but more importantly he was 22 points below third place and 29 points below the leader.  It was a huge deficit to have to overcome.  With a phenomenal technical Score of 127.64 he blew away the competition in the Free Skate, and when his scores came up, it was clear they would move him up in the standings considerably, but with component scores only in the high eights it was also clear he would still need some of the top contenders to falter, particularly Boyang Jin and Shoma Uno, in order to medal.

Throughout the event the judge spread their marks, going down substantially for skaters who did not skate clean, and up substantially for those that did.  It was clear as the event unfolded that if the top skaters performed well, they would also get big scores, and ultimately both Yuzuru Hanyu and Javier Fernandez both scored personal bests.

When the snow settled, Chen placed first in the Free Skate and fifth overall.  He ended up 0.42 points behind Jin, so the several point he lost on the quad flip cost him one place.  His final score was 7.89 points off the podium.  Overlooked  in all the discussion of Chen's skating, and what jumps he might or might not have landed to medal, however, is that he also trailed Hanyu by nearly 17 points in program component points, only ten of which would have been enough to have won the silver, were he among the leaders in component skills.

Like Fernandez who had a great chance to medal in Sochi, but barely fell short, and had to wait four years to stand on the Olympic podium, so now will Chen.  Onwards and upwards to Beijing.

U.S. Medal Hopes Crushed in Nathan Chen Epic Collapse in Men's Short Program

(16 February) Throughout the season, U.S. medal hopes for the Olympic Men's event grew to the point that Nathan Chen entered the game not only as a medal contender, but as a contender for the Gold.  Twice in 2017 Chen had beaten Yuzuru Hanyu, and he had also bested Shoma Uno and outscored Javier Fernandez.

In the Team event Men's Short Program, Chen did not skate well, but neither did several of the other men and it was tossed off to nerves early in the games.  It has been speculated there is some unknown issue that might be affecting his skating, but if there is it appears to be a state secret.  In any case, hopes remained high going into the Short Program today.

Chen was 26th to skate, second in the last warm-up group following Yuzuru Hanyu.  It was an epic collapse.  On opening quad toe loop - triple toe loop he fell on the quad and omitted the triple.  After two spins he stepped out of quad toe loop, and that error prevented him from completing a jump combination.  The quad Lutz was then designated +Combo and lost 20% of its base value.  On the subsequent triple Axel he stepped out of the landing.

Beyond the elements, the performance was flat with no spark or presence.  His components averaged 8.38, well below what the judges would score some one they thought was gold medal caliber.  His GoEs for his successful elements were also mostly 0s through 2s, with few 3s, again well below what is needed for a medal wining result.

The writing is on the wall.  His Olympic dream will have to wait another four years.  He is 20.8 points below third place, and 29.41 behind the leader.  Making up enough points to medal would require a miraculous Free Skate, and at least one of the leaders falling on their sword.  Chen would have to skate his personal best, and at least one of the leaders would have to score more than 20 points below their personal bests.

National Bias Shows its Ugly Head In Men's Short Program

Transparency is a beautiful thing.  The Men's Short Program included contenders from China, Japan and Spain, and also judges from those three countries.  National bias from these three judges is subtle but clear in the protocol.

The Spanish judge (judge 1) marked Hanyu a little lower than the panel, and Fernandez a little higher.  He gave Fernandez four 10s vs. two for Hanyu, and an average of 9.6 for Hanyu vs. 9.9 for Fernandez.  The Japanese judge (judge 5) played the same game, giving Hanyu a little boost and Fernandez a little drop in the scores.  Compare the GoEs and components for these two skaters on the protocol.  This couldn't be more obvious.  Finally we have the Chinese judge (judge 9) who did the right thing with Hanyu, but marked Fernandez and Shoma Uno down and Boyang Jin up compared to the rest of the panel.

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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"Bullet Men" Installation at Main Press Center

Letterpress Exhibit at Media Village

News Nuggets

Past News Nuggets are in the Archive

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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