Category: Feature

In the end, a beginning for Paul and Islam

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Part 2 of a two-part feature; read part 1 here by Jacquelyn Thayer Athletes have spoken of the difficulty in moving from the concretely goal-focused regimen of the sporting life to the more mundane concerns of life after. But in the first months since retirement, the mundane is what’s grounded ice dancers Alexandra Paul and…

With Paul and Islam, the end is where we start from

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Part 1 of a two-part feature by Jacquelyn Thayer Perseverance: few virtues are more celebrated in sport. For athletes grappling with injury and long odds, it becomes a mantra. But just as fundamental is the confidence to know when it’s time to close a door. Canadian ice dancers Alexandra Paul and Mitch Islam initially entered…

Biechler and Dodge Find Calm in Senior Ranks

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by Jacquelyn Thayer Any move up from the junior ranks in skating to senior can mean upheaval. For U.S. ice dancers Julia Biechler and Damian Dodge, bigger transitions were in the works. Though the team has long been based at Aston, Pennsylvania’s IceWorks, changes at that elite rink, where coach Natalia Linichuk once trained students…

Top Teams Ready for Battle at Canadian Tire National Skating Championships

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by Jacquelyn Thayer Ottawa is no stranger to a Canadian championships; chosen this year in part to recognize 2017’s Canada 150 celebration, it’s also hosted the national skating championships 14 previous times—including, most recently, 2014’s Olympic qualifying event, where several of this year’s top skaters then contended for a spot to Sochi. Chief among those…

TFTI’s 2016: A Look Back

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Subscribers to TFTI’s Weekly Protocol, and those who follow Twitter closely, will have heard by now many an opinion on certain of this season’s programs. But with this and with the diminution of the middle ranks particularly in dance since last season, it’s also difficult to present any “favorite programs of 2016” list that offers…

Transitions in Progress for Gingrich and Brown

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by Jacquelyn Thayer It’s common enough for skaters with neighboring levels of success — she a 2014 national novice champion with her previous partner, he 2015’s novice bronze medalist with his — to forge new partnerships as prior ones conclude. For Canadian juniors Keelee Gingrich and Parker Brown, such a match has also meant another…

Aaron and Settlage Seek to Flourish

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This interview was conducted on June 27 and published July 24, to approving response from both partners. On August 10, Aaron and Settlage announced the conclusion of their partnership. This feature stands to capture their comments and perspective as they initially stood in this off-season. by Jacquelyn Thayer For two-time U.S. pewter medalist…