Category: Profile

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…

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…

Connection Key to Creation for Kayne and O’Shea

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by Jacquelyn Thayer Last season offered one particularly key lesson for 2016 U.S. national pair champions Tarah Kayne and Danny O’Shea: choose the music with which you connect and which, then, can connect with the audience. It led them to a successful free in skating warhorse “Music of the Night”; it led them further off…

Time and Life Shape Return Perspective for Arnold and Williams

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by Jacquelyn Thayer One could say that the reports of Canadian ice dancer Thomas Williams’s retirement were an exaggeration. “I planned on continuing—that was my original plan all along,” said Williams, who split from partner Nicole Orford in early 2015. Certain reports, however, suggested that he had publicly concluded his career. “I never announced anything…

With Past as Prologue, Paul and Islam Carry On

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by Jacquelyn Thayer It was a classic quote of much-debated origin — “Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts” — that concluded the ice dance team’s reflective Facebook post, a season wrap-up tradition begun in the wake of a devastating Canadian Nationals, where an element error…

Canadian Nationals a Coming of Age for Mariposa Dancers

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by Jacquelyn Thayer This week, senior dance at the Canadian Tire National Skating Championships will include a pair of training mates with a history of their own. In 2012, Mariposa School of Skating’s Lauren Collins and Danny Seymour became Canada’s novice ice dance champions. Four years later, the skaters will make their national senior debuts…

Achievement Comes at a Cost for Pfund and Santillan

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by Jacquelyn Thayer Even quick on-ice successes for a new U.S. pair can come with a struggle increasingly common — and increasingly public — for athletes in Olympic sport. Jessica Pfund and Joshua Santillan, based at the rising pairs camp in Ellenton, Florida, have seen limited funds make an impact at the most fundamental level…