Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Is Jessica Going to Skate Canada No Matter What?

This is a placeholder so I can look back and see how it played out. It's speculation.

But - I wonder if the tbd spot at Skate Canada is already earmarked by Skate Canada for Jessica and Sebastien - part of the quid pro quo for her role in the game of "Scott and Jessica are dating." 
Jessica and Annie have declared Dube/Wolfe's goals for the season  --  same as Jessica with D&D. A podium finish at Nationals, an international assignment and the available berth at Skate Canada. Meantime Skate Canada reported - apparently erroneously - that Bryce had retired for good.

True, she and Bryce had the Olympic podium as a goal and didn't get it, and there was a rumor that unlike the defending champs in the other disciplines, she and Bryce were not guaranteed a trip to the Olympics no matter how they finished at Nationals 2010. There's nothing wrong with setting your goals high. But I'm curious. This is a somewhat resurgent time in pairs, and Sebastien/Jessica are by no means leading the charge.

Fans could always count on seeing D&D at Skate Canada along with Virtue/Moir. But now that Moore-Towers/Moscovitch are the champions, the champions don't get Skate Canada. Maybe Dylan needs to fake-date Tessa.

In the outing at Liberty, winning the long, Sebastien doubled his sbs triple flip (so the team got credit just for the double), Jessica fell out of a death spiral and they both splatted on the second half of the double axels. These aren't "new team" mistakes. They beat Americans Donlan/Speroff by just five points. They did just a split double twist. Girls new to pairs as well as other girls in brand new teams are doing the triple - girls with no world medal who have never been to the Olympics. What the hell with Jessica?

In a good showing in their Quebec short, Jessica and Sebastien both splatted the triple flip. In the long Jessica aborted two lifts.

Sebastian also again doubled the flip, and singled the first axel. And again with a split two twist.

Jessica's pairs combination spins have been sloppy the past few years but here she even had to hop a few times to get aligned for the same combinations she's done for years with Bryce. They were slower than at Liberty and had a heavy descent from the one lift they accomplished.
Jessica making like a Christmas ornament.
Jessica did not appear to have any intention of doing either press lift and while hanging off Sebastien's back aborting the second she seemed to glance over at Annie. She did not seem chagrined or disappointed at any point.

(Perhaps Sebastien needed to be made to feel insecure so she can reassure him and have the upper hand.)

Going by her performance in the ladies short, the Dube/Wolfe long program performance did not suffer from Jessica's focus on those singles skills she's claimed restored her "spark" for figure skating. 

This is a lot of equanimity combined with some pretty desultory skating for a girl we're supposed to believe hopes to earn her way to Skate Canada. Unless it was earned before she and Sebastien ever competed this summer.

This team has been together over six months; she's a World medalist, he's a junior nationals medalist and the long program has degraded since we saw it at Liberty.

Not to mention that while skating to an explicitly non-romantic Phillip Glass score, at Quebec Jessica randomly seemed to believe she was skating The Way We Were. The eyes would close and the head would swoon, the shoulders lifted and sighs were heaved. She zoned out. This was not her performance mode at Liberty. It was the weirdest.
Way We Were-ing it


  1. Moore-Towers/Moscovitch are the only reigning Canadian champions who will not be at Skate Canada (Chan and Phaneuf will be there).

  2. Compare Canada's singles fields versus pairs and dance -- disciplines that involve one person on the ice aren't faring so well for them internationally as are the team disciplines (Chan's world championship doesn't suddenly elevate the rest of the field). When a fed can only host a maximum of three skaters/teams from their own country, distribution makes sense, especially when some skaters might attract more international interest than others do.

  3. Anon 2 - So if Jessica and Sebastien get Skate Canada, does that mean they are a team that attracts international interest?

  4. I wasn't referring to Jessica and Sebastien; I was referring to those teams who receive assignments at *non-host country events*. By distribution I mean "being selected to compete at an event by another nation's federation, not just one's own" though I apologize for a lack of clarity on that front.

  5. I feel bad that Skate Canada is shitting all over Moore-Towers/Moscovitch after their relatively poor placements at 4CC and Worlds. What a slap in the face to not get Skate Canada as the reigning National champs.

    I too feel like the TBA spot at Skate Canada has been earmarked for Jess/Sebastien. I'd be surprised if we don't see them there. I think that they show promise but they need time before appearing on the international stage.

    Anyone want to start a rumour that Jess and Sebastien are a couple? It might help explain her bizarre facial expressions in the long. Also, I just really want that rumour out there.

  6. Dube/Davison always got Skate Canada even when they disappointed Skate Canada's international expectations, such as the 2008-2009 season, not to mention the last Olympic season where, unlike MTM in 2010, they didn't make the Grand Prix final.

    Jessica is GP-eligible due to her world ranking with her previous partner. She's in no need of international experience via a Skate Canada TBD assignment customarily given to skaters who need the seasoning. Even if there weren't another team in the wings who would potentially genuinely benefit from the experience, giving the assignment to Dube/Wolfe at this stage would be gratuitous. Seasoning on the big stage she has plenty of. It didn't help her skate like a grown-up in Quebec.

    For Jessica, it would be a perk, of no benefit to the development of Dube/Wolfe and none to SC apart from paying off Jessica for off-ice contributions.

  7. I think D-W will go to SC only if they will have good result in Obersdorf. Last season the same situation was with Duhaml-Redford, who get TBA spot at SC. If Jess will have bad skating in Obersdorf - she will not skate at SC. And D-W will not have another chance to skate at GP - only at home at SC no?

  8. Per the ISU rules, Jessica (and Sebastien) are GP-eligible due to her world ranking with Bryce.

    As a side note with Jessica - as a figure skater, she appears to me to be most concerned with retaining the lifestyle. She is not ready for "real life", she wants to stay in training, compete, travel through this next Olympic cycle. If she can stay top 5 in Canada, that's possible. It doesn't appear to me as if she cares much about international results once the embarrassment of the competition at hand is over - certainly not enough to change her training habits.

    Why then, at what is a more dynamic period in pairs than SC has had for awhile, did Quebec happen? At Liberty, she and Sebastien didn't have a perfect program. It's a typical Jessica pairs program - only the music cuts ever change in her lps. It was content-lite, but they skated with reasonable speed and she, at least, hit her triple flip. Come Quebec, they are slow, much more cautious, they apparently added some slight complexity to the first two lifts which she was too chicken to attempt in competition and outright bailed on doing, and she and her partner seemed less connected, not more. They were beaten by a far greener Canadian team.

    A tba spot is usually for newer lower ranked teams coming up. Jessica is a world medalist. She would essentially be having it both ways - eligible for GP because of her world standing with Bryce, but considered as 'green' by SC because of her new partnership with Sebastien. I believe if she got SC it would be to further the charade, because she is a known quantity to SC. At this stage they surely do not expect the leopard to change its spots. They leaned on her and Bryce to enhance their difficulty and get outside coaching (a la when they got the 3 twist with help from S&P) after the Olympics. She failed to even try any of it at that summer's Quebec competition intended to get feedback on it!

    When Bryce was injured, that was her escape route. She created a new, green pair with Sebastien, has her excuse to downgrade her twist, doesn't have to enhance difficulty, is eligible for the GP because of Bryce, but SC can pretend she and Sebastien are a promising new pair who can benefit from the "experience" at SC even though Jessica has far more experience than most pairs there and her problem is training and attitude, as SC knows full well.

  9. Not to mention, D&D were always given SC, yet in their first season as Canadian champs, MTM don't get it. That isn't so much about MTM as the fact that D&D got it always, along with VM, but even though VM are at SC this season, suddenly Skate Canada doesn't feel it's all that important to have THIS pairs team at Skate Canada.

  10. But you must notice, that D-W will not be at High Perfomance Camp this year. They ARE NOT a member of team Canada yet, no? And maybe SC didnt want to pay money for trevalling such not greate team, when Nationals chmpions deserve this GP vacations, no?
    And you know, i notice all best skaters get GP competitions, wich they want to have. Maybe M-T-M wish to visit another contries

  11. I'm pretty sure that Kirsten doesn't enjoy travelling much and would have much preferred to stay at home and attend Skate Canada. I agree that Duhamel/Radford deserved Skate Canada because they had a fabulous end to their season but as National Champs and Grand Prix finalists, M-T/M should have been assigned SC.

  12. How could you know Kirsten doesnt enjoy travelling? Are you Kirsten?

  13. No, I'm not Kirsten but I do have her as a friend on Facebook and for a while she was answering questions on Formspring and I got the impression that she really didn't care for travelling.

  14. If M-T/M and D/R were both assigned Skate Canada, where might Lawrence/Swiegers have ended up, since this is their only assignment (contrast with another up-and-coming Canadian team like Alexandra Paul/Mitchell Islam getting only one assignment, but its coming from the Japanese fed)? Remembering that Skate Canada would also still get that host selection pick.

  15. D/R are being very aggressive in training, Megan is a veteran who wants the 2014 Olympics, they're not the defending champs - this is a team that could really benefit from two international assignments and from making an international impression.

    MTM are the champions and loaded with personality, they are popular with the crowds, Skate Canada has this fixation with selling tickets and creating stars, but they're fine with not having the champions and sending MTM abroad. It was never something they did with D&D - they got SC with VM like a matched set.

  16. Very few skating fans in Canada really like MTM. (They are not DISliked, but they aren't necessarily loved, either.) The idea that SC could make them into stars/use them to increase ticket sales is laughable.

  17. "Message boards" are not synonymous with "skating fans across Canada" just FYI.

    The standing O MTM got from the crowd at Skate Canada last season as subs was probably just covering up the crowd's indifference.

    They are the champions. D&D's presence all these years (and Jessica just got the nod) was of a non-skating benefit to VM and Skate Canada that Kirsten/Dylan cannot provide, so SC doesn't have the same incentive to give MTM SC every year, for non-skating reasons.

  18. Dude, Canadians give standing ovations at SC and Canadians for everything. I didn't say fans were indifferent towards MTM; I said the idea of making them "stars" or using them as ticket-boosters was ridiculous. And it is. I'm part of the Ontario skating community and do not gauge reactions by "message boards, btw.

  19. And this is not even saying that MTM don't deserve a spot at SC - they are the national champions at the moment, so of course they do.

  20. The Ontario skating community - any self-styled skating "community" - is a generic designation that includes groupies and hangers-on and low level skaters and their families, sufficiently vague so as not to really place anyone inside a real loop. Not to mention since when has anyone inside a regional skating community been able to determine who has the potential to become popular "across Canada?" that kind of sweeping assertion is simply asinine. Or - laughable, if you will.

    As Skate Canada has turned out to be absolutely inept about how to boost-ticket sales or make people into stars the fact that the Ontario skating community somehow believes MTM don't have what it takes probably forecasts them becoming the next skating superstars in Canada.

  21. Right. And you have the right to judge because somehow, you're "in the loop" and know everything. You may have come close to guessing a few things that are correct, but you're so far off the mark on most things that it makes me laugh.

  22. Not to mention, no "skating community" region or position possesses the full spectrum of the "inside story", not about fans, not about what's going on with the skaters, not about what's going on with the organization as a whole. There's no central warehouse that stores all the date/conclusions/received wisdom from which a member of a "skating community" can refer - as if Canada's "skating community" is even remotely organized in that respect. It's all simply buzz, grapevine, confirmation bias and gossip, as it is everywhere else.

    Skate Canada in general has turned out to be uniquely inept about identifying and addressing issues that might spur the public's interest in figure skating, boost ticket sales and increase ratings.

    We will disagree about the standing o for MTM at that particular competition.

  23. "I didn't say fans were indifferent towards MTM; I said the idea of making them "stars" or using them as ticket-boosters was ridiculous."

    Yes, because the idea of taking them and using their presence at a home GP event to sell tickets would be absurd. MTM are the reigning national pairs champions, have personality to burn, and would probably be popular with younger fans. What fantastic logic on your part.

    Congratulations on being a part of the Ontario skating community. Maybe you can all take a class in basic marketing together and get a group discount.

  24. P.S. - I always find it interesting that those who throw out "skating community" use the term as if there's a unified school of thought. I.e. - it is well known inside the "skating community" that so and so are dating, it is well known inside the "skating community" that this and that is the case.

    Meantime many families can't get their stories straight about what's going on with specific family members inside their own house, yet entire "skating communities" (definition left ambiguous), according to certain individuals, somehow manage to nail down unified understandings, information and conclusions about everything from who is popular across Canada and can sell tickets or become future stars to what's happening at management level in the Fed to what's going on in the romantic lives of particular skaters. No internal disagreement, no incomplete info, no rumor, no b.s., no nothing - the skating community KNOWS.

  25. "Very few skating fans in Canada really like MTM. (They are not DISliked, but they aren't necessarily loved, either.) "

    "I didn't say fans were indifferent towards MTM; I said the idea of making them "stars" or using them as ticket-boosters was ridiculous."

    Okay, my bad. I thought not DISLIKED, but not necessarily loved = indifferent.

    Please define that for me, I obviously don't get what the word means.

  26. Wait, let me get this straight. Skate Canada is struggling to sell tickets to its events. Last year at Nationals only half the seats were filled on any given day. But taking the current pairs champions, placing them at Skate Canada, and marketing them towards potential ticket buyers would be ridiculous because you think (or rather, know) MTM aren't loved across Canada?

    The point of good marketing is to bring in new fans to the sport, not simply to encourage fans that already exist to keep buying tickets. MTM are great in front of the camera and they seem like they interact well with fans. That snooty "well around here we know who is going to be a star and who isn't" mentality is probably why the damn federation is struggling to sell tickets as it is.

    Good grief, Ryan Bradley isn't the best national champion the USFSA has had in years. In fact, he's far from it. But the guy is a potential marketing gold mine because he's personable, funny, and interacts well with fans. If he had stayed amateur, I can't imagine the USFSA saying "well damn, he's not really loved across the United States, we can't use him to sell tickets for this upcoming season and home GP."

    If SC was better at this, they'd MAKE MTM into stars with a good marketing campaign that targets potential new fans, including young kids. Are the best current pairs team in Canada? Maybe they are, maybe they aren't. That doesn't matter, and it's obviously a topic for debate anyway. If they can't hold onto the title after this year, then so be it. But that doesn't change the fact that right now, they've got the hardware and that's the kind of stuff that sells.

  27. "You may have come close to guessing a few things that are correct, but you're so far off the mark on most things that it makes me laugh."

    Well then, why don't you elaborate which information is so far off the mark? At least the blog writer has been specific about why he/she holds certain views and I appreciate that he/she doesn't shy away from defending the opinions set forth in this blog. Surely, if you "know" something presented here is incorrect this is the place to enlighten the fans?

  28. It doesn't change the fact either that Dube and Davison got Skate Canada every year when VM got Skate Canada, when they were champions and when they were not, and suddenly MTM don't get it - possibly because MTM can't help out VM in off-ice Mississauga photo ops or pose in the stands with the Moirs. Yet SC - they squeeze Jessica in there at this year's Skate Canada even before her Nebelhorn results and after a Quebec skate of perfect crap. That must make Duhamel feel like trash, not to mention the winners of the Quebec event. Too bad Duhamel didn't sign up for off-ice public relations and social media contributions of a certain kind.

    I could be overlooking a teaching moment though.

    What defines the "Ontario Skating Community" and how does one qualify for membership? Who conducted the research that produced the conclusion MTM lack sufficient popularity across Canada, and what research tools were employed? What qualifies the researchers to perform this research? Is this research conducted on all Skate Canada figure skaters, a two-tiered research project that gauges both current popularity and potential popularity? Do they use an outside company or is it done in-house?

    When was this conclusion disseminated to the community at large and by what means?

    Are these conclusions shared by MTM, their training mates, their coaches and families? Or have these conclusions been shared WITH them? How demoralizing.

    How are "fans" defined? Ticket buyers? People who watch figure skating on television? How are these people identified and who maintains the database and does one-time participation qualify someone as a "fan" or is it repeaters? How large a sample was used in the research or did the Ontario Skating Community get feedback from all of them?

    Is there a distinction between "fans" and the "public"? Skate Canada wants to broaden figure skating's appeal to the public.

    What are the criteria used to determine which figure skaters are potential box-office draws and future stars? Who developed this criteria and how has it been proven an accurate gauge in the past?

    What criteria do MTM fail to meet, and as it's the conclusion of the "Ontario figure skating community" that they do not have the potential to be FUTURE stars or future box office draws, how was it determined that MTM would never be able to meet this criteria even in the future? What factors shut them out from ever growing in popularity?

    Thank you.

  29. Wait, did Dube/Wolf already get Skate Canada?

    If so, there is no way I'll believe it wasn't predetermined. I'm positive Jessica already knew they were in when they skated at Quebec.

    Setting aside my disgust with SC, I'm thoroughly looking forward to being further entertained with the V/M-Jessica-SC shenanigans. We should take bets or something.

    As a skating fan (not from Ontario, alas, so my judgment must be faulty) I would much rather see MTM than D/W.

  30. "Wait, did Dube/Wolf already get Skate Canada?"

    Yes, they've been officially selected for the TBD slot.

  31. "Yes, they've been officially selected for the TBD slot."

    Is this based on the spectacular skating they've shown up to now? Yes, I know they "officially" qualify to be entered due to Jessica's previous standing earned with Bryce, but I thought that being a new team SC would also take into consideration how well they've done in their only two outings so far.


  32. I'm not checking this, so I stand ready to be corrected, but I thought someone here or elsewhere said to me that SC waited for Duhamel/Radford to do well at Nebelhorn?? before giving them SC last season.

    I really wanted to call this (Jessica getting SC) as soon as I saw MTM didn't have it. That threw into relief how reliably D&D got it no matter what - champion, no champion, needing more international exposure or not. And Jessica reiterating how she wanted Skate Canada with Sebastien, repeating that SC gave them positive feedback ???????? and yet not skating as if the Skate Canada assignment was on the line. Skating as if it were in the bag.

  33. "What does Jessica get out of it" has been asked here before. Originally, quid pro quo. She and Bryce only confirmed they'd BEEN a couple after they claimed they were no longer a couple, and the reason they were forced to admit they'd BEEN a couple was Jessica's 2006 habit of smooching Bryce on the lips on ice on national television. Still her face slash was an opportunity to get out the message that they were "exes" but still, you know - BEST FRIENDS. Jessica's motivational issues had also been a subject of on-air commentary since 2006 (again, prior to the face slash). She was tagged as a talented-but-fragile headcase early on, a Vancouver podium contender but someone who also needed a buffer.

    So now Bryce is gone and Jessica is (presumably) not a couple with Bryce anymore, so what keeps her in the sham game apart from keeping in Skate Canada's good graces and getting consideration (Skate Canada GP) in return? Sure, she and her family get all the Roots gear cast-offs anybody could want. She gets to go to Mexico, Monaco, Punta Cana (with Veronique and Jonathan), and those trips to Ilderton must make her willing to do almost anything (yes, that was sarcastic). I also suspect that the "Hello" magazine citation of "one of Canada's 50 most beautiful" was Skate Canada payback. As these things work, a publication generally does not conference room and pitch names until they get a list. There's some of that, but what generally happens is emails go out to production companies, agencies (sports agencies, theatrical agencies, networks, etc.) and publicists asking for suggestions. It seems feasible to me they emailed SC for a figure skater and SC was all "Jessica!" To be named one of Canada's "50 Most Beautiful" is more valuable to Jessica than Olympic gold. And who is going to lift an eyebrow when the list also includes Celine Dion?