Category: Feature

Digerness and Neudecker Focused on the Steady Climb

by Jacquelyn Thayer For every championship title that seems a foregone conclusion, another may come down to a simple decision: stay novice or take a leap of competitive faith? Before creating something of an upset in the junior pairs field at the 2017 U.S. Championships, Nica Digerness and Danny Neudecker began their off-season planning to…

Reality Surpassing Story for Stellato and Bartholomay

by Jacquelyn Thayer What might be overachievement for many new pairs — third in the short and fourth overall at their debut Nationals — is, for Deanna Stellato and Nate Bartholomay, a bit more like a storybook accomplishment. “For me last year, it was mainly about learning how to skate pairs,” said Stellato, who before…

Deardorff and Settlage Begin With the Basics

by Jacquelyn Thayer Though Skate Detroit will mark a competitive debut for U.S. pair Winter Deardorff and Max Settlage, it’s also the culmination of nearly a year’s preparation. Settlage, whose six-season pairing with Madeline Aaron concluded last summer, faced the prospect of re-entering the partner search scene while dealing with an additional complication. “One of…

What Price Skating Glory, Part 2: Institutional Funding

by Jacquelyn Thayer Editor’s Note: This article has been sourced through both public documents and interviews obtained as possible. For the sake of both accuracy and education, we welcome more detailed information on U.S. funding and will gladly update if and when that information is made available. Two for the Ice took its first look…

In the end, a beginning for Paul and Islam

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

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

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

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…