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Yankowskas and Coughlin Debut Programs at Indy Challenge

American pair skaters Caitlin Yankowskas and John Coughlin debuted their new programs at the Indy Pairs Challenge, according to Icenetwork. They won the competition.

The pair's free skate was apparently an emotional skate to "Ave Maria," dedicated to John's mother who passed away in February.  What a beautiful tribute. 

Coughlin and partner Caitlin Yankowskas put that emotion to work, gaining some of their highest-ever program component scores and edging top Canadian prospects Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch by 0.54.

More remarkable, they did it despite mistiming positions in both their choreo spiral and pair spin, earning no points for those two moves.

"I guess today wasn't about the elements; it was about the emotion," Coughlin said. "Our program component scores [53.72] were threw the roof. It's a lot easier to get the presentation marks when you're feelings are so authentic.

"My mom was my best friend; she really shared in my skating. Even these last few years, when she too sick to come to competitions, the first thing I would do after a program was call her. I still get the urge to call."

The pair's short program was a tango.  It does sound like there were some element issues for the pair but hopefully there is time to work on that.

The article also discusses changes in the death spiral scoring; apparently men are expected to stay low in the pivot longer than they were before and it's been tough getting used to.

Some coaches called the back-to-roots approach is refreshing.

"It's not a bad thing; now in the death spiral, you've got to see some good basics," Wirtz said. "Last year, there were flips, rolls and everything else, and anyone could get Level 4."

Still, the lower position is causing discomfort for some.

"You can get down there all right, but sometimes you can't get back up," Moscovitch said.

"There's not a pair's guy in the world who hasn't felt that," added Wirtz.