Shpilband's dismissal has fired up figure-skating message boards and provided material for fan fiction writing fans who have yet to out themselves as fan fiction writers. Davis and White were the first to comment on the split, and were beyond reproach, but Tessa and Scott, with an astute assist from Beverly Smith, have outdone them, perhaps for the first time in their career history, in the appearance of candor meshing seamlessly with expressions of gratitude and respect. It has to be one of the most adroitly composed and deftly narrated "address the issues" pieces ever. This shows how it's possible to be both factual and discreet, to be generous, respectful and honest, without airing dirty (or any) laundry. It's professional.
I could parse this article for days.
There's this intro:
Olympic ice dancing champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir had been away from their rink in Canton, Ohio [Ohio?!!] for six weeks, when they heard that their two coaches, Marina Zoueva and Igor Shpilband were feuding.
Some of their friends in the rink, Arctic Edge Arena, had been keeping them in the loop in the six weeks away when they had performed across Canada on the Stars On Ice tour and during a vacation that included time in Jamaica for the wedding of Olympic pair skaters Anabelle Langlois and Cody Hay. Virtue and Moir had also been in touch with Zoueva.This is art. Beverly Smith smoothly embeds neat, intelligent distinctions and communicates significant information while protecting the subjects of the article and displaying wonderful tact and judgment. Has she considered a career in pr?
First paragraph: Tessa and Scott had already been gone six weeks when they heard Igor and Marina were feuding. It doesn't say Scott and Tessa didn't know there was conflict, nor suggest Tessa and Scott were clueless about where it could lead; it doesn't say they hadn't taken a position on the issues involved. It indicates they'd heard things had become adversarial. But if anyone wants to conclude that Tessa and Scott didn't find out there were problems til they wrapped up six weeks away from Canton, hey, Smith can't insist on an exact reading of her intro, and that's fine. But she knows what she's doing.
So we understand no fast ones are being attempted, in the second paragraph, Smith tells that during those six weeks, Tessa and Scott were in the loop. Without specifying about what, the reality that the skaters had to be aware there were issues that could potentially lead to the dissolution of the Zoueva/Shpilband team is acknowledged with that advisory. It includes the tip off that Virtue and Moir were in touch with Zoueva. Tact and discretion, but also key information. Smith artfully navigates between those lines.
Also in that "not a word wasted 'make every word tell*' second paragraph, Smith tells us by implication that part of both Tessa and Scott's vacation included attending the Anabel and Cody Jamaica wedding. It doesn't matter if Tessa went to Jamaica, what does is Smith didn't shoehorn in an "ex-girlfriend" reference, or squeeze in a clumsy allusion to Scott being one place during vacation and Tessa another. There's maturity displayed, and a respectful understanding that her readers aren't morons.
When they returned to train in early June, they found out that Shpilband had been fired. It came as a shock to Shpilband, a Russian-born coach who has put North American figure skating on the map.Doesn't say it came as a shock to Tessa and Scott.
Shpilband, 47, was told to leave the club by management who said a conflict between the two had created tensions in the club. "Marina and Igor just weren't seeing eye to eye on some really important things," Moir said. "And they had to split ways. It was really unfortunate."This is my favorite quote from Scott Moir, particularly in contrast to the quotes from Igor immediately following his dismissal. "Weren't seeing eye to eye on some really important things." He considers the issues valid and significant; he's aware of the problems and has an opinion. He's not saying the decision to split was mutual. He says "they HAD TO split ways." This clarifies Scott's position as different than Igor's while exhibiting diplomacy and tact.
Then they go on to give Igor his deserved appreciation, personally and professionally, in a tone that couldn't be more genuine.
There's intention in every syllable of this piece, but nothing cynical/calculated or disingenuous. Beverly Smith is stellar, but Scott matches her in his perfectly calibrated remarks. This is the guy some claim needs a muzzle, needs discipline, needs to play the part. But his comments here show faultless judgment - they register as authentic and intelligent, they observe boundaries and assume the reader understands and respects what is said and not said. By this article, maybe this is the guy they should have let off the leash.
*Strunk & White: Elements of Style