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The Big Picture



ISU Championship Allotments for 2023/24 and Later

Season 2023/24 Figure Skating

    2023 ISU Grand Prix Final, Orleans, France, December 7-10, 2023

    Jan 22 - Jan 28, 2024 - ISU European Figure Skating Championships, Budapest, HUN

    Jan 29 - Feb 04, 2024 - ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, Shanghai, CHN

    Feb 26 - Mar 03, 2024 - ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships, Taipei City, TPE

    Mar 18 - Mar 24, 2024 - ISU World Figure Skating Championships, Montréal, CAN


U.S. Figure Skating 2022-23 Domestic Competitions

2023 U.S. FIGURE SKATING QUALIFYING SEASON

2023 Eastern Sectional Singles & U.S. Ice Dance Final

Nov 08 - Nov 12, 2022
Lansing, Michigan

2023 Midwestern Sectional Singles & U.S. Pairs Final

Nov 07 - Nov 10, 2022
Lansing, Michigan

2023 Pacific Coast Sectional Singles Final

Nov 08 - Nov 13, 2022
Lansing, Michigan

2023 Toyota U.S. Figure Skating Championships

Jan. 23-29, 2023
San Jose, California

U.S. SYNCHRONIZED SKATING QUALIFYING SEASON

2023 Eastern Synchronized Skating Sectional Championships

Jan 18 - Jan 22
Norwood, MA

2023 Midwestern Synchronized Skating Sectional Championships

Jan 24 - Jan 29
Rockford, Illinois

2023 Pacific Coast Synchronized Skating Sectional Championships

Jan 24 - Jan 29
Rockford, Illinois

2023 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships

Mar 01 - Mar 04
Peoria, Illinois

U.S. ADULT FIGURE SKATING QUALIFYING SEASON

2023 Eastern Adult Sectional Championships

Mar 10 - Mar 12, 2023
Kissimmee, FL

2023 Midwestern Adult Sectional Championships

Mar 10 - Mar 12, 2023
Fort Wayne, Indiana

2023 Pacific Coast Adult Sectional Championships

Mar 03, 2023
Henderson, Nevada

2023 U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championships

Apr 12 - Apr 15, 2023
Salt Lake City, Utah

 

  In the News:

Isabeau Levito Lights Up the Skating World

by Liz Leamy

Photos copyright 2022 by George S Rossano

 

(26 September 2022)  Isabeau Levito, the reigning Junior World Champion and 2022 U.S. bronze medalist, is one of those skaters who has always generated a great amount of buzz practically wherever she has gone, much like many past World and Olympic champions.  Ever since this talented and accomplished 15 year-old Mount Holly, New Jersey native first began competing, she has been a force on the skating circuit due to her remarkable level of athleticism, grace and fluidity.

In looking at Levito’s astonishing competitive history, it is particularly interesting to note that she has been following in similar footsteps as that of some other U.S. World and Olympic champions and medalists who have also been based out of the New York City metropolitan area.

Some members of this group include Sarah Hughes, the 2002 U.S. Olympic gold medalist from Great Neck, Long Island who stunned onlookers as a five year-old at New York-metro area competitions with an Axel, double Salchow and double toe loop; Tara Lipinski, the 1998 U.S. Olympic titlist and New Jersey native who made the same mark in the novice category at 10 with a double Axel, triple Salchow and triple toe loop; and Elaine Zayak, the 1982 U.S. World champion from Paramus, New Jersey who cleaned up in the novice division at age 11 with a double Axel, triple Salchow and triple toe loop, among a few notable others.

Levito, who trains at the Igloo Ice Rink in Mount Laurel Township in Southern New Jersey with longtime coach Yulia Kuznetsova, has been a veritable force on the competitive scene from the jump.

Coming up the line, Levito racked up first place finishes at many non-qualifying competitions in the New York metro area from the Well Balanced No Test through the qualifying regional and national categories.

By age 10, she had clinched the 2018 U.S. Juvenile title with a double Axel, triple Salchow and triple toe loop and the next season, she went on to score silver in the 2019 U.S. Intermediate division at age 11.

The next year, Levito claimed silver at the 2020 U.S. Championships in the junior category at age 12 and then went on to win the junior title at the 2021 U.S. Championships at 13.

Last year, in her first foray as a senior, Levito scored bronze at the 2022 U.S. Championships at age 14.

Two months later in April, Levito won gold at the 2022 U.S. Junior World Championships in Talinn, Estonia, designating her as the first American to have achieved this feat in this division since 2008, when Rachael Flatt, the 2010 U.S. titlist, has placed first there.

For Levito, it’s all about being the best she can be, something that has been a goal for her ever since she first started skating.

Right from the outset, when Levito’s mother, Chiara Garberi, enrolled her in Learn-to-Skate classes at age three at the Igloo Ice Rink as a means to help strengthen her balance, Levito instantly took to the sport.

Soon thereafter, Levito began taking private lessons with Kuznetsova and at that point, it was clear the energy was palpable between the two, who immediately clicked together.

Their chemistry, along with the fact that Levito’s mom was as committed as ever to supporting her daughter’s love of skating, seems to be much of the reason why she has evolved into the skater that she has become today.

In the beginning part of her developmental process, Levito seemed to inherently understand the importance of time, focus and hard work and started to practice with her coach regularly.

At the rink, Levito and Kuznetsova would work on learning all of the primary elements, including edges, turns, power, the basic spins and single and double jumps.

With this base, Levito soon began to evolve an exceptional skater as well as a standout competitor in the New York metropolitan region.

By age 10, she had obtained lightning-quick triples through the toe loop that helped catapult her to the pinnacle of the sport nationally and ultimately, on a global level.

Several years later, Levito could execute all of the triple jumps through the Lutz, much of the reason she went on to wind up on the 2020 U.S. junior podium at age 12.

When asked who has most inspired her on her journey so far, Levito said Evgenia Medvedeva, the 2016 and 2017 Russian World Champion and 2018 Olympic silver medalist, was the primary skater she has always admired and looked up to.

“I always remember watching her when I was younger and just being glued to the phone screen in the car while eating my lunch,” said Levito said at a press conference at the 2022 U.S. Championships last January.

Levito, who style vividly echoes the same balletic and athletic characteristics as those of Medvedeva, has built herself into a vital force of the sport, especially over the past several seasons.

For Levito, however, it’s now about staying focused on continuing to improve.

“Next season, I hope to improve on becoming even more of a well-rounded skater,” said Levito.

According to Levito, the best part of competing is having the opportunity to share her love of skating with others.

“What I enjoy most about skating is performing in front of a crowd and people,” said Levito.

This past season, the moments that stood out most for Levito was performing at the U.S. and World Junior Championships.

“I feel that during Nationals and Junior Worlds I truly enjoyed performing my programs,” said Levito. “To me, what stood out most was how large the events were, but this only made the events more satisfying.”

Clearly, Levito delivered the message of her love of skating to those on hand at these events considering they gave her huge standing ovations.

Meanwhile, Levito earned big props from decorated NBC media commentators Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir for the quality of her skating.

“She is absolutely stunning, technically brilliant but artistically way beyond her years,” said Lipinski, who is also the 1997 World champion and 1997 U.S. titlist, in regard to Levito’s performances in Nashville. “Everything is nuanced and detailed.”

Weir echoed similar sentiments.

“She has such poise,” said Weir, the 2008 World bronze medalist and three-time U.S. champion, about Levito’s programs in Nashville. “Tremendous skating, it was almost like she was skating in a whisper. We leaned in to hear more.”

Certainly, as Levito continues to glide on this amazing path, training as steadfastly as ever with Kusnetsova, as well as Otar Japaridze, Slava Kuznetsov, Evgeni Platov and Zhanna Palagina, it will be exciting to reach greater heights with her skating in coming years, that is for sure.

Levito will be making her Senior Grand Prix debut at the 2022 Skate America competition in Noorwood, Massachusetts, the third week of October.

2022 World Junior Figure Skating Championships

Tallinn, Estonia

The small North European country of Estonia (only 1.3 million people) has been the capital of the figure skating world this season because its capital of Tallinn organized three ISU championships in the Tondiraba ice rink which was built in 2014.  In January the federation started with the European Championships, the week later it organized the Four Continents Championships which China had given back before the Olympic Games. And now in mid-April in the smallest of the three Baltic countries Junior Worlds took place which had been planned in Sofia, Bulgaria in early March. But Bulgaria felt unable because of a high number of Covid 19 cases. And for the fall, Tallinn has applied for a Grand Prix if Russia and China will not hold theirs. 

Like at the Senior World Championships in France, no Russian and Belorussian skaters were allowed to compete due to the world-wide ban because of the war against Ukraine. The Chinese federation did not send any skaters because they are afraid that they might bring new infections into China after coming back from the competition.

Women's Event

Men's Event

Pairs Event

Dance Event 

2022 World Figure Skating Championships

Montpellier, France

U.S. Skaters Turn Their Attention to Worlds

Day 1

Women Short Program Opens World Championships

Pairs Short Program

Day 2

Men Short Program

Pairs Free Skate

Day 3

Dance Rhythm Dance

Women Free Skate

Day 4

Men Free Skate

Dance Free Dance

2022 World Champions

Russian Absence from Worlds Opens Up Medal Possibilities

(5 March 2022)  With skaters from Russia (and Belarus) suspended from international competition and China not entering any skaters in the World Championships, medal opportunities open up in four disciplines, and the chances of some countries to earn three entries for 2023 greatly improve.  In the case of China, all their skaters who competed at the Winter Games were placed into a three week Covid quarantine after the games, and due to the lost training time will not be in condition to compete at Worlds.

In the Women's event, the first, second and fourth place finishers from Beijing will not be at worlds.  This make Kaori Sakamota (JPN) the favorite for gold, and puts Alysa Liu (USA) within striking distance of a medal.  Japan could well end up one-two among the women.  Both the U.S. and Korea are also now in good position to earn three entries for 2023, where that seemed unlikely if the Russian women were competing.

As the Russian men were not contenders at Beijing, their absence from Worlds would not appear to impact the medal possibilities.  The  biggest question is whether Nathan Chen (USA) will actually skate at Worlds.  If he chooses not too, Jason Brown (USA) is first alternate, though he also was ambiguous in Beijing on whether he would compete at Worlds.  Second alternate for the U.S. is Jimmy Ma.  Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) will also not be competing at Worlds.  That opens up medal opportunities for Junwan Cha (KOR) and Daniel Grassl (ITA).

(15 March 2022) Due what is described as a "nagging injury"  Nathan Chen withdrew from the 2022 World Championships.  He was replaced by third alternate Camden Pulkinen."

Ilia Malinin (USA) who was third at 2022 U.S. Nationals, but was not named to the U.S. Olympic Team, earned his minimum technical score to compete at Worlds at the Challenge Cup in The Hague, Netherlands the last week of February.  There he scored 260.69 points, well below his score of over 300 points at U.S. Nationals.  Most likely, to make the podium at Worlds a skater will need at least 280-290 points.  If Chen and Brown both choose not to compete at Worlds, it is not clear the U.S. will have a strong enough team to earn three entries for 2023.  In that case, strong performances from Vincent Zhou (USA) and Malinin will be needed.

The pairs event at Worlds is shaping up to be a competition of the best of the mediocre.  Between them, China and Russia took the top five places in the pairs event in Beijing.  This puts the U.S. pair teams in the odd position of being contenders for two medals at Worlds, and also pretty much guarantees the U.S. will earn three entries for 2023.

Russia placed second, sixth and fourteenth at the Winter Games in Dance.  If the other entries from Beijing all compete at Worlds, that would make Gabrielle Papdakis & Guillame Cizeron (FRA) most likely to take the gold, and the U.S. silver and bronze.  Charlene Guignard &  Marco Fabbri (ITA) will have to find about 8 points somewhere to challenge for the Bronze.  The absence of the Russian dancers puts Canada in an improved position to earn three entries in dance for 2023.

ISU Suspends Russia and Belarus Participation in ISU Events

(1 March 2022)  Following the IOC statement of 28 February 2022 concerning the suspension of Russia and Belarus participating in international sporting events, the ISU has suspended the participation of Russia and Belarus skaters and officials in ISU events. The statement from the ISU reads in part:

Following the IOC recommendation, in order to protect the integrity of ice skating competitions and for the safety of all the participants of international ice skating competitions, the ISU Council based on Article 17.i.q)i) of the ISU Constitution, agreed that with immediate effect and until further notice, no Skaters belonging to the ISU Members in Russia (Russian Skating Union and the Figure Skating Federation of Russia) and Belarus (Skating Union of Belarus) shall be invited or allowed to participate in International ice skating Competitions including ISU Championships and other ISU Events. The same applies to Officials listed in the respective ISU Communications and/or Regulations under Russia and Belarus.  The ISU Council will continue to closely monitor the situation in Ukraine and its impact on the ISU activity and will take additional steps if and when required.

This includes Worlds and Junior Worlds (if they are held).  What this means for the holding of Rostelcom Cup as part of the 2022 Grand Prix of Figure Skating is unclear.

Also unclear is what this will mean for Russia qualifying entries for 2023 Worlds, if they are allowed to participate next year.  One would hope it means that by not having skaters this year to qualify for entries next year, Russia would be allowed only one entry, if any, in each discipline in 2023.  Further, by not being able to participate in ISU events for the foreseeable future, skaters from Russia and Belarus will not have the opportunity to earn minimum technical scores to enter future Championships until their ability to compete in ISU events is restored.

Business as Usual with Russian Athletics Must End

Raising Women Age Limits, Too Little Too Late

2022 Olympic Winter Games

Beijing, China

February 4 - 20, 2022

View of Bird's Nest and Flame from Medals Plaza

Pairs Medalists: Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov, Wenjing Sui & Cong Han, Anastasia Mishina & Aleksandr Galliamov

Grieving Kamila Valieva after Women Free Skate

Women Medalists, Alexsanda Trusova, Anna Shcherbakova, Kaori Sakamoto

Dance Medalists, Sinitsina & Katsalapov, Papadakis & Cizeron and Hubbell & Donohue

Men's Medalists, Yuma Kagiyama, Nathan Chen, Shoma Uno

Coming Up

Saturday, February 18

Beginning at 19:00 (Beijing time) Pairs Free Skate

Successful Four Continents Championships in Europe - Until recently, one would never have believed that a Four Continents Championship would take place in Europe. However, since China already gave back the third ISU competition after the Junior World Championships and the Grand Prix Cup of China 2021 because of the ongoing pandemic and the ISU did not find a replacement host at first, the Estonians stepped in and thus hosted two ISU Championships in a row, another novelty.

It deserves great respect what this small federation with its enthusiastic staff and volunteers achieved. In the end, everyone was exhausted but happy. Everything was well coordinated and ran like clockwork, there were no mishaps. The Estonians proved that it is possible to hold a safe event even without a "bubble." Only one positive Covid case was reported during the week.

As at the European Championships, all accredited persons were tested daily. The spectator attendance was lower than at the European Championships, which is not surprising, because the big stars were missing as almost always in an Olympic year. On the other hand, the competition in such a season is the chance for newcomers and for skaters that are the number two, three or four in their countries, who can prove themselves at an ISU Championship. The athletes all emphasized several times how happy and grateful they were that the "Four Continents" took place. <More>

Exclusive Interview with Caroline Green and Michael Parsons, 2022 Four Continents Ice Dance Champions.

Olympic Winter Games Chen / Hanyu Matchup

Top Ten Picks (plus 2) for Men at Olympic Winter Games

No Cinderella Story for Ilia Malinin at US Nationals - What Was U.S. Figure Skating Thinking? - Bronze medal contender left at home to watch Olympic Winter Games on TV.

Is Hanyu Quad Axel Quest a Fool's Errand?

by George S. Rossano

(26 December 2021)  Yuzuru Hanyu won his sixth Japanese national title with 322.26 points. In his free skate he attempted the first quad Axel in competition, a jump he has set his sights on for several years, and a goal that has cost him injury and missed competition this season in the ISU Grand Prix.  His attempt in Saitama was missing more than one-half rotation and was landed  on two feet.  A downgraded quad Axel with a GoE of -5 has a value of 4.00 points, less than a base value triple toe loop.

The attempt is the first jump in his free skate program

In In Search of the Quad Axel we discuss the height and rotation requirements to successfully fully rotate a quad Axel.

Playing the above competition video at one-quarter speed and measuring the time in the air several times, we come up with a time in the air of 0.75 seconds.  This is about as much time in the air that elite skaters ever achieve.  To fully rotate an attempt with that time in the air requires an average rotation rate in the air of 6.0 rotations per second and a peak rotation rate of nearly 7 rotations or more, which is where the attempt comes far short.

The average rotation rate of this attempt is 5.3 rotations per second, well above what is typical for a triple Axel, but far short of what is needed for a quad Axel; in other words, not even close.

Breaking this down a little further, Hanyu's rotation rate is significantly greater on the first half of flight (takeoff to peak of the jump) and well over 6 rotations a second, but much slower on the second half.  So the problem is not a lack of torque and initial angular momentum on the takeoff.  Rather the problem is control of the moment of inertia in the air.  That is, the main flaw in this attempt is the air position that slows the rotation.

In this attempt, there is too much "light" between the legs, which are not perfectly straight and the elbows stick out too far with the arms not tight against the torso - with a look we refer to as "helicopter arms."  These three position defects increase the moment of inertia and slow the rotation rate.

Comparing Hanyu's air position to Nathan Chens' there is a significant difference in technique between the two.  Chen uses flat palms against the chest with forearms fully in contact with the torso.  Hanyu uses a fist into palm, in front of the sternum.  Hanyu's position leaves the elbows farther from the rotation axis than Chen and allows the elbows to more easily open outwards away from the rotation axis.  Chen's position is more stable and resistant to "helicopter arms" in the air.

Getting more takeoff angular momentum for this jump is probably not obtainable, so to get this jump to full rotation would require reducing the moment of inertia by 12% or more.  Whether Hanyu can improve the position enough to get there remain to be seen, but given how long he was worked on this jump and how far off the mark it still is dynamically, it seems unlikely.

The question we asked earlier in the season remains.  Does Hanyu want to be a three time Olympic Champion, or does he want to be the first skater who attempted a quad Axel at the Olympics and lost.

Interview with Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri, Italian Ice Dance Champions

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Technical Stuff

GLOSSARY OF TERMINOLOGY

IJS Basics

Clean Programs and Landed Jumps

Reductions for Errors in Jump Elements

The Perfect Air Position

A Quad Salchow, Nearly as Good as It Gets

In Search of the Quad Axel

The Axel is the Only Jump that Takes Off Backwards

Current Replay Systems Not Up To Task of Insuring Accurate Calls

News Nuggets

Past News Nuggets

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2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
2021 2022      

22 March 2022 - It was announced today that the 2022 Internationaux de France will be held in Angers, France.  Separately, there are rumors that Cup of China and Rostelcom Cup will not be a part of the 2022 Grand Prix, and competitions will instead beheld in Italy and Finland in their places.

Future Competitions

Jan 09 - Jan 15, 2023 - Canadian Figure Skating Championships, Oshawa, ON, CAN

Jan 23 - Jan 29, 2023 - U.S. Figure Skating Championships, San Jose, CA, USA

Jan 23 - Jan 29, 2023 - ISU European Figure Skating Championships, Espoo, FIN

Feb 07 - Feb 12, 2023 - ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, Colorado Springs, USA

Feb 27 - Mar 05, 2023 - ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships, Calgary, CAN

Mar 20 - Mar 26, 2023 - ISU World Figure Skating Championships, Saitama, JPN

2022-23 ISU Grand Prix

Event Location Date
Skate America Norrwood, MA, USA October 21–23
Skate Canada Mississauga, ON, CAN October 28–30
Internationaux de France Angers, FRA November 4-6
MK John Wilson Trophy Sheffield, GBR November 11-13
NHK Trophy Sapporo, JPN November 18-20
Grand Prix Espoo Espoo, FIN November 25-27
Grand Prix Final Torino, ITA December 8-11

2023-24 ISU Grand Prix

Event Location Date
Skate America TBD October 20–222
Skate Canada TBD October 27–29
Internationaux de France TBD November 3-5
Cup of China TBD November 10-12
Rostelcom Cup TBD November 17-19
NHK Trophy TBD November 24-26
Grand Prix Final Orleans, FRA December 7-10

2022-23 Junior Grand Prix

August 24-27, 2022, Courchevel, FRA

August 31 - September 3, 2022, Ostrava, CZE (includes Pair Skating) 

September 7-10, 2022, Riga, LAT (includes Pair Skating)

September 21-24, 2022, Yerevan, ARM

September 28 - October 2, 2022, Zagreb, CRO (includes Pair Skating)

October 5-8, 2022, Gdansk, POL (includes Pair Skating) 

October 12-15, 2022 Egna-Neumarkt, ITA


 
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