|6th Place at TEB and not French = 2 gala performances.|
Updated to mention that Hubbell & Donohue were not invited to skate at TEB's gala but P&I skated twice. TWICE. No last minute fill in because they packed their gala exhibition costumes with them before leaving for the competition.
Maybe if they hadn't skated the second program the team who finished ahead of G&P might have been able to skate the gala once. What's his name again P.J.? He used to skate with Piper? Name not coming to you?
If this is what Skate Canada requests for TEB, imagine what we'll see at Canadians and then Worlds. (As Piper and Paul are already on the team.)
Piper and Paul are prolific social media participants, yet I didn't see either posting their excitement or gratitude at being unexpectedly asked to take a major part in the gala performances usually reserved for medalists and a host country's local and favorite skaters.
Rather, Piper expressed satisfaction with their TEB experience, and, in the same matter-of-course tone as her "come see us in person at Worlds", mentioned the next day's gala.
Piper and Paul are smiley. A lot of people at Skate Canada are big enthusiasts of this team, and striving to make the enthusiasm contagious on the basis of not much more than that.
Tanith Belbin even tweeted out specifically to Piper Gilles (an ex-American skater) how great it was to see someone SMILING in the Kiss'n'Cry at the otherwise apparently Godforsaken Skate Canada Grand Prix. Tanith - do you have this complaint when watching football and hockey - that more team members should smile, no matter what the score? Is figure skating a pageant? What does smiling have to do with anything? It's sports. Or is this preliminary sour grapes on your part over the success of Virtue and Moir's non-smiley but hugely popular Carmen?
It's great to be natural smilers like Tanith and Piper, so the two fawned over each other a bit, but again it seemed like a random reason to single out Gilles and Poirier. And Tanith is USFSA, not SC. But what the fuck, for real.
There's one topic that's avoided and that's the actual skating.
If, like P.J. Kwong, you so strongly believe that Team X deserved a medal over Team Y that you take to twitter and use your coaching credentials to declare this belief unbiased, in my opinion you ought to be able to come up with specific reasons why if you're asked. A valid example of what Team X did better than Team Y - the elements that drove your opinion in the first place. Not - uh, well, I'll have to go back and look.
Go back and look? You don't know? If going back and looking is going to help you find reasons for an expert opinion you've already shared, then why doesn't going back and looking help you preview Paul/Islam? Kwong said on twitter that she couldn't comment on Paul/Islam's programs because she can only judge skating skills in person. Paul/Islam are on youtube, though. Why not check it out?
She's an SC mouthpiece and an ice dance coach, Paul/Islam are Skate Canada National Team ice dancers. P.J. feels comfortable going back to youtube to watch and compare Hubbell/Donohue to Gilles/Poirier at SC so as to retroactively come up with reasons why she's used her status as an expert to declare Gilles/Poirier the rightful Skate Canada bronze medalists, but she's not interested in watching Paul/Islam until she can see them live?
She can only evaluate Piper and Paul - live, video, neither, both - doesn't matter.
Incidentally Hubbell & Donohue outscored Gilles and Poirier by a fairly whopping amount at TEB.
Also incidentally, how does a team like Gilles and Poirier pull down 63(??) in the short dance at last year's Canadians, and despite experts such as P.J. declaring them improved and despite no visible mistakes, pull down a mere 51.+ in front of an international panel outside Canada this year?
There's no Congeniality segment in CoP. There's no Level 4s or high GOES for fun. Or "this program is more appealing" base value.
It's a competition - GP aren't being scored against previous outings, but against other teams. P.J. tells twitter that as an ice dance expert, she can objectively tell us they should have gotten the bronze medal, but can't can't offer a single relevant example off the top of her head of what G/P did better than the bronze medalists.
Why are Piper & Paul skating at the TEB gala? Is it a special request by Skate Canada because they're the 2013 Canadian bronze medalists and have a bye to the World Team? How does that affect the lower ranked teams who will be battling it out for fourth place at Canadians 2013? I want to hear from them.
Sure, a lot of figure skaters find galas a chore and if Piper & Paul eagerly present themselves as willing to round out an afternoon's closing fun, why not.
Can Skate Canada talk about other things this season that doesn't come off as "We interrupt this 24/7 promotion of Piper and Paul to pay lip service to some other non World medalist team Canada skaters. Hi!
Now - back to your regularly scheduled Piper and Paul!"
For example, how about some follow through on Dube/Wolfe? Last season Skate Canada blatantly hyped and favored Dube/Wolfe - well, the Dube part of that - rewriting the story of how the team got together while promoting Dube's work ethic and championship mentality. True to form as we've experienced it lo these many years, Dube rewarded them by blimping out over this past summer, getting a "late start" (it was said) compounded by an ankle issue (it was said), missed all the summer comps, wasn't ready for HPC, and missed the GPS.
You go girl, you hard working champion, you.
It just cracks me up.
Skate Canada has dropped Dube/Wolfe like a hot rock. The only time they're mentioned is if a fan presses someone on twitter (Skate Canada, P.J., etc.). Otherwise it's Dube Wolfe who?
Where's the follow up? What are their current plans - what is their status?
Instead of 24/7 Gilles/Poirier from Skate Canada and their p.r. mouthpiece, P.J., what if Skate Canada interviewed (not just skyped) W&P about their Grand Prix experience? Based on Kaitlyn Weaver's social media remarks, she and Andrew were shaken by the feedback and the scores they received, were considerably disheartened, but are now re-motivating themselves and revamping. It seems there's a lot to talk about there, and maybe some pumping up, expressions of faith, and overall support is called for from their Federation, considering the team still managed to medal in both GPs despite their disappointment. Where's the Skate Canada drumbeat for them?
They are SC's second ranked ice dance team. Is SC completely uninterested in W&P, preferring to hype a 51 point sd team from TEB?
There's another possibility. Which is that even the lower ranked skaters at Skate Canada are disenchanted with their Federation and prefer minimal engagement. This leaves the Federation looking as if they hardly have access to their own figure skaters.
Sure, during competitions the skaters are compelled to present themselves to be interviewed, but maybe much of the rest of the time maybe they're avoiding Skate Canada's embrace. Piper and Paul step in to fill the void. They don't know the word "no". Their availability gives Skate Canada something to do or to appear to be doing on the daily, as it appears to me that the highest profile directors in Skate Canada's communications and public relations areas have nothing but patronage jobs to begin with (Debbi and Barb).
P.S. - apparently the last-place finishing French place team was unable to participate in the gala due to one of them being under the weather. Perhaps the Canadian Piper and Pal stepped in to replace them.
This is beyond weird, the media whoring and attention seeking. Yes, fan outreach is nice but this is ham-handed and it's self-serving. Are they jostling for a reality show? Is there a voting contest in which they're entered so they're out there trying to drum up brand awareness and support? Where is all this intended to get them in a competitive sport where nobody's crowned homecoming King and Queen? How does Skate Canada envision this translating to success for Gilles/Poirier?
Until something else emerges, my working hypothesis is A) the other teams are keeping Skate Canada at arms' length except when required and B) this push is filler because Barb and Debbi don't have enough other things going on to show how busy they are. And they're a bit embarrassed that the figure skaters are trying to disassociate themselves from their federation on the pr end when at all possible. Using that hypothesis, the overhype of Gilles/Poirier is necessary to convince the public they are worth obsessing over, otherwise the public would be - why is Skate Canada all over this new, low-ranked team who have not impressed at their first international? Why them up in Thomas Sabo's grill, why them getting instagrammed, why are they the bff's of P.J. and Skate Canada? Skate Canada is pumping them up so as to justify talking about them a lot, and they're doing that because they don't have enough else to talk about.
If Paul and Piper nominated themselves to fill in for the ailing French team, it would have been nice if Piper had facebooked an acknowledgment that they were under the weather but she and Paul were honored to be skating. It's the "This is just how it is for us - a bye to Worlds, and of course the gala" tone that calls attention to itself.
Scratch the above. Piper and Paul had costumes for their two performances, so they knew ahead of time - the gala costumes were in their luggage prior to the competition. Fun.
Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, who scored much higher than they did, didn't perform in the gala at all.
Past the top three medalists, gala participants at TEB are down to the discretion of the organizers, as it turns out. What do we think happened?
The organizers said - let's invite that fun, colorful, happy pair of sixth place Canadian ice dancers to skate two gala programs and bomb Gao's as well! Hope they have costumes!
Or Skate Canada contacted the organisers in advance of TEB and requested Piper and Paul's participation, so that Piper & Paul would be able to really show themselves to full advantage by packing their gala wear?