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Thread: Interview with Dalilah Sappenfield

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    Keepin' it real gsk8's Avatar
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    News Interview with Dalilah Sappenfield

    Coach Dalilah Sappenfield talks with Ted Flett in Colorado Springs (38 min). They cover a bit of history in coaching Keauna McLaughlin/Rockne Brubaker and Caitlin Yankowskas/John Coughlin, as well as what's in store with Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim. Pairs comparison is also touched upon regarding countries.

    Enjoy!!

    https://youtu.be/3P6eLUwJXDw

    She has a point in that U.S. pairs need to stay together longer (as do the Chinese, Russians, etc.) G&G were her favs
    Last edited by gsk8; 08-09-2017 at 11:37 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gsk8 View Post
    Coach Dalilah Sappenfield talks with Ted Flett in Colorado Springs (38 min). They cover a bit of history in coaching Keauna McLaughlin/Rockne Brubaker and Caitlin Yankowskas/John Coughlin, as well as what's in store with Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim. Pairs comparison is also touched upon regarding countries.

    Enjoy!!

    https://youtu.be/3P6eLUwJXDw

    She has a point in that U.S. pairs need to stay together longer (as do the Chinese, Russians, etc.) G&G were her favs
    I haven't listened yet but, I wonder how she deals with couples who don't stay together. John and Caitlin were great together and I was shocked when they split.

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    I didn't realize Dalilah and Nina Mozer are of the same skater generation and actually "grew together" in junior pairs. (Dalilah's wikipedia page is a short stub that doesn't even have her birth date listed.) The collaboration between Dalilah's camp and Mozer this summer isn't really that surprising, then.

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    With that couple, she made it clear that it was John's decision. I got the impression thst she didn't feel she should interfere, but would have much preferred that he had stayed with Caitlin.

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    Ted Flatt does it again! Charming interview. With Dalilah, it's her spirit and personality that shine through. She loves the teamwork and cooperation of pairs; she guides her pairs but when they're adults, she respects where their own dreams lead them.

    When asked what pairs she looks to, she mentioned Tatiana & Maxim three times! ; for me V/T are the current standard for pairs, in terms of the discipline and fulfilling all aspects of it, somewhat like G&G were.

    The whole conversation about Caitlyn Yankowskas & John Coughlin. I still haven't gotten over that heartbreak; that Caitlin, the best pairs lady the US had, went without a partner for years and never did find another who matched where she was competitively. I also felt (like Moxiejam) that Dalilah would have preferred they stay together, but it was a very difficult year for John, and she had to respect his right to choose his direction.

    Chris Knierim is the student who's been with Dalilah the longest! for 13 years, with his first partner, Brynn Carman.

    Talking about the culture of pairs discipline and the way pairs are viewed in the US, she said it's something we're improving, but it used to be that pairs was thought of as where you could skate if you weren't good enough for singles. Which is pathetic! I think the attitude has its roots in the technical. Even Katia Gordeeva was switched to pairs because she wasn't a strong jumper, apparently; then she and Sergei rose above, to prove that connection, synchronicity, matched technique, and joy elevate good technique. Nowadays, pairs have a much better chance of rising if both team members are individually strong jumpers. Deanna Stellato also said last year that was why she'd never considered pairs in the past; it was only if you weren't good enough.

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    In case somebody is getting a little too sad over their Yankowskas/Coughlin memories and/or US pairs in general and needs a laugh... https://youtu.be/-UDKzSyB4CU?t=268

    John telling this story gets me every time!

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    Quote Originally Posted by nimi View Post
    In case somebody is getting a little too sad over their Yankowskas/Coughlin memories and/or US pairs in general and needs a laugh... https://youtu.be/-UDKzSyB4CU?t=268

    John telling this story gets me every time!
    He tells it so well!

    But for the record, I for one am NOT sad about US pairs. I think we're on an upswing and we're understanding the true vision and purpose of pairs in new ways. We've got 2-time World Champion pairs switching to being partly coached by American John Zimmerman now. And with Zimmerman, the French pair M/C improved greatly, in results and process, in just one season.

    I think Dalilah is also a big part of a new positive direction in pairs; and it's the diversity in styles and strengths of our top pairs coaches that points to a great new direction. Most agree that we've had the talent. Even Jim Peterson finally sees the wisdom of sending top pairs to another choreographer and getting other eyes/vision for them.

    Also, last year a USFSA person suggested two pairings that are awesome. Both pairs performed stunningly in their first year together: Deanna Stellato & Nate Bartholomay; and Ashley Cain & Timothy LeDuc. Ashley's only 21, and Tim's only 26, so they have time as well as great potential.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skylark View Post
    Ted Flatt does it again! Charming interview. With Dalilah, it's her spirit and personality that shine through. She loves the teamwork and cooperation of pairs; she guides her pairs but when they're adults, she respects where their own dreams lead them.

    When asked what pairs she looks to, she mentioned Tatiana & Maxim three times! ; for me V/T are the current standard for pairs, in terms of the discipline and fulfilling all aspects of it, somewhat like G&G were.

    The whole conversation about Caitlyn Yankowskas & John Coughlin. I still haven't gotten over that heartbreak; that Caitlin, the best pairs lady the US had, went without a partner for years and never did find another who matched where she was competitively. I also felt (like Moxiejam) that Dalilah would have preferred they stay together, but it was a very difficult year for John, and she had to respect his right to choose his direction.

    Chris Knierim is the student who's been with Dalilah the longest! for 13 years, with his first partner, Brynn Carman.

    Talking about the culture of pairs discipline and the way pairs are viewed in the US, she said it's something we're improving, but it used to be that pairs was thought of as where you could skate if you weren't good enough for singles. Which is pathetic! I think the attitude has its roots in the technical. Even Katia Gordeeva was switched to pairs because she wasn't a strong jumper, apparently; then she and Sergei rose above, to prove that connection, synchronicity, matched technique, and joy elevate good technique. Nowadays, pairs have a much better chance of rising if both team members are individually strong jumpers. Deanna Stellato also said last year that was why she'd never considered pairs in the past; it was only if you weren't good enough.
    What direction did he choose? I have seen him and Caitlyn in interviews and they always seemed to get along so well. I saw them at Nationals in 2011 and I was shocked when they spilt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrrice View Post
    What direction did he choose? I have seen him and Caitlyn in interviews and they always seemed to get along so well. I saw them at Nationals in 2011 and I was shocked when they spilt.
    Like, within days of their 6th-place finish at 2011 Worlds, he announced the break-up. Then, within a couple of weeks it was announced that he and Caydee Denney were partners. Doubly shocking.

    Dalilah alluded to it being a difficult year for John, and now that he's a commentator, I see nothing but generosity and good will in him. So I have to chalk it up to something akin to what I heard/read Ilia Kulik say ... that he retired from competition after winning the Olympics because he simply hated what he was doing. He went on to say that it was the creative and artistic side of the sport that really interested him, and proved it with some of the most innovative SOI programs. So I think it must have been something, NOT that, but something, with John, not visible from the outside.

    I highly recommend the TSL 45-min. interview with Caitlin Yankowskas. Hers and Rudy Galindo's are probably the most inspirational and at the same time truthful I've heard. For similar reasons. Caitlin said John was her best friend, and she wanted the best for him. Here's Caitlin's: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyrarCB6alA

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrrice View Post
    What direction did he choose? I have seen him and Caitlyn in interviews and they always seemed to get along so well. I saw them at Nationals in 2011 and I was shocked when they spilt.
    Weren't John & Caydee a new off-ice couple at the time? (Don't know if they still are.) Perhaps this was a simple case of wanting to skate with Caydee.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moxiejan View Post
    Weren't John & Caydee a new off-ice couple at the time? (Don't know if they still area.) Perhaps this was a simple case of wanting to skate with Caydee.
    That was the scuttlebut, and many people's dark suspicions, but I don't know if it was true or not. Could have been. They're good friends now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moxiejan View Post
    Weren't John & Caydee a new off-ice couple at the time? (Don't know if they still are.) Perhaps this was a simple case of wanting to skate with Caydee.
    Right. The funny thing is, I'd completely forgotten this until you mentioned it. In the throes of new love, it seems reasonable. I'm not saying that was true of John. Just a general observation.

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    In an attempt to drag this thread back to topic, I wanted to say how much I enjoyed just listening to Dalilah. She and Alexa have a similar way of speaking.

    Dalilah said she and Alexa share a belief that "if something is meant to be, no one can take it away from you." I thought this was interesting, in light of Alexa's story about getting partnered with Chris. She knew she wanted to work with Dalilah, and took steps. Dalilah said, okay, but we'll have to look outside the country for a partner. You're too tall for the available American pairs men.

    Alexa is 5 feet 2 inches!! And apparently DS is a firm believer in the one-foot-difference (or so) rule of pairs skating.

    It happened that Chris's partner at the time wanted to move to California. He didn't want to, so they ended the partnership. So Dalilah sent for Alexa to fly over that week-end, and Chris picked her up at the airport. Alexa deadpanned: "I thought he was pretty cute."

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