Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Why'd you leave her lonely, Scott?

I cut-and-pasted this Canadian Press interview with Jessica Dube from the time Bryce Davison was first injured:

I added the link so the original article is accessible, as I'm live blogging this post and don't yet know how much I'm going to edit/butcher the cut-and-paste below.

Background: At the time of this article's publication in early 2011, Jessica Dube and then-boyfriend, Olympic gold medal-winning ice dancer Scott Moir, were hot and heavy. Scott Moir's facebook status still broadcast he was in a relationship with Jessica Dube, and Scott Moir had been announced as the choreographer person who'd designed the footwork of her singles skater short program. He would also soon post "Can't wait til next week - Jtaime" on Jessica's facebook wall, and appear at her Challenge singles competition, where he and Tessa, according to Debbi Wilkes and a Skatebuzz video purporting to display the event, had a book signing. (Even though no fans attending Challenge 2010 reported seeing either Tessa or the book signing.)

While previous interviews with Jessica had plugged in mentions of "boyfriend Scott Moir", this piece in particular cries out for the inclusion of Scott. When Jessica chose to skate singles while Bryce was recovering, it was immediately announced that Scott Moir had stepped in to choreograph Jessica Dube's short program, and this article isn't just about Jessica Dube's singles skating, it's also about her loneliness as new-minted singles skater. The relevance - it's everywhere:

Scott Moir, famous Canadian figure skater: 
  • is her boyfriend
  • has also had his season sidelined
  • is also newly partnerless
  • Has choreographed Jessica's short program that she's about to compete at Canadians
 Isn't he a significant component of Jessica's singles skating story? Shouldn't the interviewer ask if the lovebirds compared notes on partners training alone? Shouldn't it be asked what advice Scott was giving Jessica? How they were supporting each other during this challenging period?

That's nowhere in here.

Despite Skate Canada broadcasting Scott's involvement with her singles short at every opportunity (Jessica, Annie Barabe, P.J. Kwong, Skate Canada), here, in a mainstream media interview, Jessica's gold medal amoreaux was never mentioned, and the Dube Davison/Virtue Moir injury and separation parallels were ignored. How come?

I don't want to retroactively do anybody's job for them but I've added in the stuff this reporter neglected to write about only because it's so super glaring by omission. This is the article that appeared in the Canadian Press, along with material in italics that the journalist for some reason neglected to include:

Dube to skate singles at Canadian championships
Jessica Dube will be skating solo at the national, a strange experience for the traditional pairs partner.
Jessica Dube will be skating solo at the national,
a strange experience for the traditional pairs partner.

There are moments when loneliness strikes and Jessica Dube will seek out the company of her coaches just to fill the silence.

The figure skater from St-Cyrille-de-Wendover, Que., is going it alone this season after her pairs partner Bryce Davison underwent season-ending knee surgery in October.

With the pairs season a write-off for the former world bronze medallists, Dube is competing in singles as a way to stay sharp and motivated until her partner’s return. But it hasn’t been easy.

“It’s a big change to be alone all the time, I’m so used to having someone to talk to,” Dube said in a phone interview from Montreal. “Now, skating by myself, sometimes I enjoy it because I’m in my own bubble doing my own thing. But sometimes I’ll go to my coaches just because I need to talk to someone or I just need someone to be there.

“It’s a bit weird, but I’m starting to get used to it.”

Dube's longtime boyfriend, Michigan-based Olympic gold medalist Scott Moir, can relate. In 2008-2009, in an incident so little publicized this article won't bring it up, Moir's own partner, Tessa Virtue, was sidelined for months following surgery for chronic exertional compartment syndrome. "It's definitely an adjustment, training by yourself all the time when you're used to having someone else around" agrees Moir. "Skating teams do acquire a co-dependency. I know it was difficult for me when Tessa was away and I was in Canton [Michigan, where his training center, Arctic Edge, is located]. It really helped to have the sandbags and hockey sticks, but it wasn't the same. Sometimes I'd skate along the boards talking to myself, just to fill the loneliness. It was a totally new deal."

Nobody knows better than Moir the stressors that can undermine even the strongest athletic partnerships when one partner is recovering and the other is miles away, alone on a frozen cloud of ice. Unlike Dube Davison, Moir and his partner didn't communicate at all during their separation, and by the time Virtue returned to Canton, the two were Virtual strangers. It took another year to get their on-ice relationship back in sync. "I'd really recommend communication" emphasizes Moir.

Dube's loneliness was eased somewhat when Moir spent time in Montreal choreographing her singles skating short program. How did he do?

"He's an ice dancer and they're the best at steps, so it gave me a really secure feeling for him to do that part of the program. It was something new and fun in our relationship to work together on the ice." reported Dube, her voice briefly brightening. "It was a lot of fun to work with my girlfriend, Jess." confirms Moir. "I know there are other skaters who are romantically involved and work together, but this was a completely new experience for me."

The 23-year-old Dube will compete at the Canadian figure skating championships this week in Victoria, where she’s hoping for a top-five finish. Moir, who because of Virtue's renewed shin struggles is not competing at this event, has no plans to attend and lend Dube support in person, despite the rare situation of a completely open schedule during Canadians weekend and the opportunity to have his partnerless girlfriend all to himself.

She’s more accustomed to the top spot on the podium as she and Davison are three-time national champions in pairs, but her purpose for competing at all this season was simply to have a reason for going to the rink every day.

“I just want to go out there and enjoy myself, because that’s why I decided to skate singles this year, to do something and still be happy being on the ice,” Dube said. “I wouldn’t have stopped skating anyways, and then when I heard it would be six months (for Davison’s recovery), I thought, that’s a bit long to go to the rink every day and just do whatever.

“At least now I have programs to train and something to look forward to and work toward.”

This season was supposed to be a chance to make up for last year’s disappointment for Dube and Davison, who were sixth at both the Vancouver Olympics and world championships.

But a week before they were to open their season at Skate Canada in Kingston, Ont., Davison jammed his knee landing a jump. He underwent surgery Oct. 26 after doctors found a three-centimetre bone fragment had chipped off where his thigh bone meets the knee, due to a condition called “osteochondritis dissecans.”

Davison, who’s recovering at home in Huntsville, Ont., resumed walking just over a week ago, and it’s hoped he’ll be back on the ice by March or April.

Annie Barabe, who’s coached Dube in either singles or pairs for the past 15 years, believes her prized pairs team will come back stronger from this experience.

Dube, who used to skate singles and finished sixth at the 2008 Canadian championships, has traditionally struggled with her jumps. Her triple Salchow proved costly at the Vancouver Olympics when she failed to land it.

Now she’s had to expand her repertoire of jumps for singles, adding Lutzes, flips and toe loops, and the result has been more consistency across the board.

“In pairs, they were only doing the Axel and Salchow, just doing those jumps every day, and sometimes if it doesn’t go well, you just keep practising your mistakes in the jumps,” Barabe said. “When there’s more to practise, sometimes you have less problems. Now she’s way, way more consistent in her jumping.”

Barabe said there’s a lightness to Dube’s demeanour that she hopes she can carry into next season in pairs.

“When they were getting ready for the season, people were expecting: go to Grand Prixs, win, never make mistakes,” the coach said. “Compared to now, she’s doing it for fun, she decided to do it at the last minute, there’s way less pressure and I can see she’s way more relaxed. When she has bad days, it’s not the end of the world.”

Dube had just three weeks to prepare for her first event in singles after Davison’s injury and two of them were spent choreographing and learning her two singles programs.

She finished seventh at the Eastern Challenge event in Mississauga, Ont., to earn a berth at the nationals. “It was weird to be on the ice by myself,” Dube said. “At first I was a little bit lost, in the warmup I didn’t really know what to do, it took me a long time to get going because obviously I’m not used to it,” she said.

“Bryce and I always had our little routine, we always did the same warmup, I think that’s what made it so weird, because when I stepped on the ice, I didn’t have a plan, so I was like, ‘Oh my God, I need somebody to take my hand and do something with.’”

After the short program, Dube received a pep talk from Davison, who was in Mississauga to watch her skate. Moir was also present, along with his platonic partner, Tessa Virtue. When not cheering on his girlfriend, Moir and Virtue spent time in the concourse signing copies of their book for legions of eager fans. Almost working as a team of their own, while Moir signed in the concourse, Davison bolstered his partner's spirits.

“[Bryce] just calmed me down, he just said you know what you have to do, just set a plan, so that’s really helped me,” said Dube.

She talks to Davison daily, and he was recently in Montreal to watch her training.

"That's the way to do it" approves Moir. "I wish Tessa and I had kept talking."

Maybe experience is the reason the figure skating community points to Dube and Davison as such strong role models for healthy communication between figure skating partners. This isn’t the first time a serious mishap has separated the two. At the Four Continents in Colorado Springs in 2007, they were doing side-by-side camel spins when Davison’s blade slashed Dube’s face. The gash required 83 stitches to close and the two underwent counselling for post-traumatic stress disorder.


  1. It would be tempting to say these kinds of mainstream-media articles didn't mention any connection between Scott and Jessica because Scott and Jessica desired privacy and had specifically asked not to be mentioned together.

    Darn. If it just weren't for the public chronicling of Scott and Jessica's private relationship all over public social media. And not any kind of accidental public sharing, as if fans had secretly shared private stuff. Nope, this was straight from Scott and Jessica themselves plus their friends and family.

    Well, there goes that theory.

    1. Forget social media - at this particular time, the sham was actively flirting with and exploiting mainstream media, even if the relationship fell short of consummation.

      There's also video of Jessica, plus media quotes from Barabe, from P.J. Kwong, plus press releases, all informing us how boyfriend Scott Moir was choreographing Jessica's short program. It was everywhere.

      Why did this interview about Jessica's singles skating ignore something so on point with its focus? Her boyfriend was in the exact same lonely situation!

      The choreography piece - as the blog said early in the blog's existence - Skate Canada's deft touch is all over that. Consider: In 2009 Bryce and Jessica tabloid it up about how it's a struggle for Bryce to see her with her boyfriend, whom Jessica barks is SCOTT MOIR while the producer helpfully shows a video clip of Scott Moir, famous ice dancer.

      In 2010 Bryce is injured and has surgery. His season is toast and he's back living with his parents. Let's see how tactfully and compassionately Skate Canada responds. No need to wait - SC and Scott hire a brass band to announce Jessica Dube's boyfriend Scott Moir is choreographing Jessica's short program.

      Imagine if during Tessa's struggles somebody had used her pain - or appeared to use it - as an opportunity to promote themselves or their relationship with Scott, at her expense, with Scott's cooperation. How would Virtue Moir fans have felt?

      It read like that all over to Dube Davison fans.

      This guy - Bryce - had stuck by Jessica through everything - past the point where other skaters would have called it a day and gone hunting for a new partner. Bryce always talked her up. He boosted Jessica's morale. Here he is now, the injured guy, and her "woe is me saga" becomes the story, and he doesn't care. These were things the Dube Davison fans valued in him and the partnership.

      Skate Canada and Dube/Davison themselves made it their business to have us believe the Scott situation was hard for Bryce. But never mind that - when Bryce is injured let's have Skate Canada help Scott rub salt in Bryce's wounds.

      So this interview is just strange. Jessica's LONELINESS? She's dating Scott Moir, also an elite figure skater, also unexpectedly alone on the ice while his partner is recovering. Why doesn't the article explain how Scott's availability is a big comfort, or explain why not?

      It wasn't just facebook - Skate Canada was busy at this time pushing the Scott/Jessica connection.

      Even without social media, nobody could ever plausibly claim Scott was omitted because of privacy. All along Jessica Dube and Scott Moir had been connected in articles written about her (in articles written about her, the media was always more circumspect in articles written about him.). Of course, these weren't articles published by outlets with a national presence or major non-skating distribution, except for Hello magazine.

      In a 2009 article on Jessica and Bryce's experience filming their Vancouver promo piece, there was a mention about how she'd spent a week of May vacation in the Dominican with boyfriend Moir. There was Menage a Trois Sur la Glace, created so that anyone unaware of Jessica's facebook knew there WAS a boyfriend Scott Moir - Jessica Dube's boyfriend.

      There was the Hello magazine "most beautiful" 'recognition' Jessica received after the Olympics where she told how her boyfriend Scott Moir makes her feel beautiful. These two privacy lovers also had Jessica front and center with the family, bigger than life, on camera, at every Canadian competition.

      So this sticks out. This interview talks about her singles skating, but not that her boyfriend choreographed a program, talks about her loneliness without Bryce without mentioning the famous skater boyfriend who also has free time on his hands due to his own partner's injury, and could presumably be using some of it to ease that lonely feeling. Scott? What's a Scott?

    2. So Jessica broke up a real relationship with Bryce, to embark on a fake relationship with Scott?

    3. No. One had nothing to do with the other. The struggles between Jessica and Bryce were because they're Jessica and Bryce - lots of connection but lots of conflict.

      I'd go so far as to suspect that if Bryce weren't part of the package with Jessica, Jessica wouldn't have landed the gig.

    4. Are you saying that Bryce "enhanced" the Jessica Package, because the fake rivalry between he and Scott drew even more attention away from Tessa?

  2. On another note, did you see the clip on SC last night about the Canadian nationals returning to Ottawa next week for the 100th anniversary of the competition complete with a title sponsor for the new year? I wonder if canadian tire will start selling kozy would be a nice touch to have a little cooler of pudding in the sporting equipment department

    1. Kozy Shack is now merely a preferred supplier. Canadian Tire isn't the new BMO - it's the title sponsor for Canadians.

      Unlike Skate Canada, the USFSA has primary title sponsors and event title sponsors; they're able to title sponsor all kinds of event segments as well as having title sponsors for itself over all. From what I've read, Canadian Tire is a segment title sponsor. It's made a commitment not only to sponsor Canadian Nationals, but also promote CanSkate. It's better than just having sponsors who pay for the mention while unloading product on the skaters, but it doesn't fill the hole where BMO used to be.

      Does anybody notice that Miss Debbi Wilkes is the camera loving Director of Business Development, yet it was Lavoie announcing and describing the partnership with Canadian Tire? Isn't it Debbi's job to develop these relationships to the point of achieving a partnership? This is the woman who planted herself in the Kiss'n'Cry at Skate Canada where everyone in the arena could see her as well as hear her nonstop, but she's shy about this?

      I kid. Debbi's title is Director of Business Development. That's not her job and never has been.

  3. Like i remember, Scott name was removed from Jessica choreographers list :)
    You wright great fairy tale. First time i read it my thought was - how i could missed this interview with Scott about his work with Jess :)))))))))))
    I am wonder why we didnt read nothing about Jessica after she split-up with Scott? Werid.
    And what do you think about nobody saw V-M togetehr off-ice at competitions in different countries?

    1. Thanks (re fairy tale).
      I don't think it's true that nobody saw them. In fact I know fans did and do. But 99% of the time fans are there for the competition and when it's over they're not following the skaters around, and the skaters are also working.

      If you think about it, when did we read about Jessica even dating Scott? It's all facebook, and it's photos that we're supposed to decide what it means (like her in the stands at competitions) - they know we'll put it together. There was a double standard. For Scott, it was always "a girlfriend" but never by name. He never mentioned the relationship except to compare it to Tessa ("nobody understands me like Tessa, not even my girlfriend." and "whoever I end up with will have to love Tessa as much as I do.") It's Jessica articles where everybody would put in the "boyfriend Moir" part.

      Remember that interview with Jessica and Bryce after the Olympics, about whether they would try for Sochi? The article brought up Virtue and Moir's gold medal and Jessica and Bryce mentioned it without anyone saying Scott was her boyfriend. All Jessica said was "WE didn't win the gold medal, so..." - meaning, we aren't going to retire. Part of the article was about if Tessa and Scott would retire after winning. And in it neither Jessica or Bryce acted as if Virtue Moir were anything but teammates. Bryce acted like he knew them better! (Which is true, but they're not supposed to make it obvious).

      They just thought facebook could disappear. Once they don't need the lies, all that was "unofficial" and could shut down. The sports press never wrote about it, the networks never said he's dating this Jessica Dube, so the history would be clean for their family. You can't watch the Olympics and hear "He's dating Jessica Dube, right there in the stands next to his cousin Cara." The Olympic video is going to last a long time. I think the social media stuff will last for a long time too. They didn't plan on that. However, the mainstream media won't ask, because what journalists pay attention to what fans do on tumblr or twitter, or what games people play on facebook? The "journalists" don't know what Scott/Jessica did on facebook. The Skate Canada reporters will never talk about it (like P.J.).

    2. Just want to tell you - you didnt know FS well. Some of them during competitions spend more time in official hotels or near practice rink :)))))

  4. About the book signing - I just mistakenly deleted someone's comment (along with my own that I was trying to amend) and I apologize). I was trying to address several points this comment made. I'll try to do it anyway.

    First, this comment speculated that the "book signing" was set up at challenge early in the morning, before anyone was really there, and then struck after the film was done.

    What would be the point of that? That speculation, IMO, misses the point. If they were actually going to have a book signing at Challenge, and film it, they may as well have had an actual book signing.

    IOW, I believe it's very unlikely the book signing staging happened at Challenge at all. It was faked in order to mess with the timeline, so people would look at the "Challenge book signing" and even though Tessa was behind a table - they'd say - it's December - she doesn't look pregnant!

    When it wasn't faked in December at all - but much earlier. They were playing timeline games with Tessa's physical appearance.

    Then, too, the point of Debbi's interview wasn't to further the Jessica part of the sham, but to further the hide-the-pregnancy part of the sham. Debbi kept near berating them about how definite it was that they'd compete at Canadians "next month". When Scott and Tessa hedged, Debbi pressed with - at least they would be there to sign the book THERE. Debbi knew they would be nowhere near Canadians when the time came, and so did Scott and Tessa. The book signing was a timeline scam - film it early, say it happened during Challenge, and fans would look at Tessa and think that's what she looks like in December.

    At the time I remember hearing the occasional Scott sighting (in the hallway on his own, for instance) and I presume he showed for Jessica's short program so the fans could see him following up on the prior week's "Can't wait - Jtaime" facebook.

    Okay, I think that covers what I wanted to say about the comment I deleted but I also want to add something else. I'll put it a the comment below.

    1. In Menage a Trois Sur La Glace, Bryce doesn't mention Scott's name, but says definitively he'd been friends since childhood with Jessica's boyfriend, and they weren't friends anymore. (It's Jessica who announced the name of her boyfriend). This piece initially was released early in 2009.

      Even though Jessica would sometimes get confused and report she had started "dating" Scott in March 2008 (understandable for a girl who confuses London and Ilderton), Jessica/Scott were first set up and reported to the fandom in 2007. So by the time Bryce said he and Scott weren't friends anymore, Jessica and Scott had been a "thing" for two years. We were meant to believe it was still such a sore spot Bryce had to call attention to it in 2009. Friendship - over.

      Well, the boys must have kissed and made up right after that, because at WTT Bryce and Scott were talking over Jessica's head left and right, joking and corner-of-mouth talking and wisecracking. Jessica may as well have been invisible.

      Then at the gala for Canadians in 2010, Scott grabs Bryce's arm and hugs it to his chest, ignoring Bryce's partner on the other side.

      And Bryce's family offered congrats to Scott and Tessa on various facebooks of Scott and Tessa connections. The Moirs connected with Bryce's clan in Calgary when Tessa and Scott were doing the Stampede. You'd think there might be a little bitterness when we look at the scenario that fans got from it all. That Scott had started dating his best friend's girl, who was also his best friend's skating partner. That this immediately affected Bryce and Jessica for the worse, with Bryce making himself an emotional burden on Jessica and Jessica completely over skating with Bryce. That this had no effect on Virtue Moir whatsover so Scott was able to win a gold medal despite homewrecking Dube Davison, while due to the Scott thing Dube Davison fell apart and were never the same.

      Yet the Davisons were aight with it! They were delighted for Virtue Moir, congrats everywhere, let's get together again!

      They really have trouble keeping their lies organized in any type of logical sequence.

  5. While it's true that Debbi-interview with VM at Challenge (Dec 2010) feels fake and OTT because of the way she insists they talk about being at Canadians, and VM look uncomfortable talking about that. The problem with trying to fake time-lines is that Tessa did appear in public just about a week after Challenge, in the Winter Dreams on Ice show. If she was pregnant, and faked enough to appear in a show, why not be at Challnge sitting behind a table?

    1. It feels fake because there's nobody in line at the damn book signing but a couple of Skate Canada volunteers! It's not because of the OTT style of Debbi and Debbi's interview focus, because that's how she always is. The tip-offs are - look at the environment! Where are the fans? Where's the supposed LINE. Look at the blue being carried by or worn by those in "line". These are not fans.

      If you're going to have a book signing shouldn't there be fans present?

      And the other tip-off is nobody who actually did attend the actual Challenge reported seeing Tessa or the book signing, and you'd think this was something a bunch of skating fans would recall, especially those that attended the whole event and did manage to spot Scott lurking here and there, but missed a whole book signing in the concourse.

      Tessa was about twice the size in Winter Dreams on Ice than she was sitting behind that table (there's a photo of her standing next to somebody standing up from there).

      Winter Dreams on Ice was in London, home base for plenty of sham hinkiness. For example, you'd imagine there would be tons of video plus photos with fans who got autographs, but only the in-and-out-of-focus, long-distance video of the programs made it to youtube. I wonder if cameras were otherwise permitted in that venue, or precisely how many tickets for civilians were available.

      Furthermore, Scott looked like he was skating with a refrigerator, and he set down and picked up Tessa extremely gingerly (I don't think because she was heavy, or he feared harm - I think because her center of balance was different).

  6. "I don't want to retroactively do anybody's job for them but I've added in the stuff this reporter neglected to write about only because it's so super glaring by omission. This is the article that appeared in the Canadian Press, along with material in italics that the journalist for some reason neglected to include:"

    Brilliant job including all the stuff that was omitted but that all the fans really were wondering about at the time.

    Thanks to this blog for making me aware of Skate Canada's manipulations (or attempted manipulations) with the media. They conveniently mentioned Scott ("Jessica's boyfriend") when there was a specific message they wanted to convey to the fans but other times it was as if there were no Scott/Jessica at all. Skate Canada is doing it again in the way they've pretended there's no Dube/Wolf. As a fan of Canadian skating/skaters, and someone who represents the people Skate Canada hopes will plunk down their hard-earned money to attend Skate Canada events, I resent all these media manipulations. I will remain a fan of Canadian skaters but I think the Federation are a bunch of incompetent idiots. I wish I never had to see any of their faces anywhere, nor the stupid logo.