Saturday, March 23, 2013

Weaver and Poje - Character of the Dance

Below are gifs showing the twizzles from Weaver & Poje's short and long program at worlds.

I don't believe Weaver & Poje are better, in the aggregate, than Davis White, although I believe they're more versatile as skaters as well as performers. They still lack the power and consistent depth of edge to challenge for one of the top two places.

But that actually supports the point I'm making here. Weaver & Poje are not as "strong" as Davis & White. Kaitlyn's skating skills are consistently brought up by Kurt Browning as an element she's needed to improve. They've never been held up as an example of fabulous twizzlers.

So let's say that here we have a skating team a great many people agree have not yet reached Davis & White's level. In addition, they essentially do the same twizzle set for each of their programs. And yet, they gorgeously meet the + 1 GOE requirement for executing twizzles in the character of each of these dances:

Sound of Music:

The Statue

Weaver & Poje didn't have to reinvent their twizzle pass. It's the same twizzle pass. If they were DW they could have executed their twizzles with the exact same carriage, attitude, arm styling and phrasing (let's face it, DW don't phrase - EVER) and arguably, the Sound of Music twizzles could have worked for The Statue and vice versa - both programs are soft, both are romantic, both have a sort of call and response dynamic.

But instead Weaver & Poje got more specific. Look at their heads, their arms, and the transitional moves between twizzle sets. Sound of Music can only be Sound of Music (I especially love the hands on hips for the final set - it's not only perfectly SoM but it's also a nod to the polka).

For the statue, the story is told in the heartbreaking transition between twizzle set one and two. Take out "heartbreaking" if that's too subjective and look at the style of the program and stylistic and rhythmic elements that repeat throughout the program and look at those elements echoed in that transition.

So it's not some Herculean task. Yes, modifying the style (phrasing and rhythm go a long way) and the styling (arms) is a challenge but not as great as doing entirely new twizzles.

A lesser team (Weaver & Poje) can do it. The world champions (Davis White) can't. They can't phrase, they can't change rhythm, they can't vary energy, they can't change style. If it's lyrical they do bombastic twizzles that they don't even attempt to phrase; if it's high energy they do bombastic twizzles without even attempting the lightness in Giselle, if it's a Tango they do bombastic one note twizzles without even attempting the sharp, clear, controlled tango style or rhythm. Crooked alignment, out of unison, steamrolled one-note attack is oh so tango. Tango isn't refined at all.

They aren't earning their points on the ice. And I have to ask why a world champion team is so utterly limited and requires so much choreographic protection their Fed is terrified to let them change their program elements in any way for five years running.

After this post I'm going to do lifts. Because in 2008, for the straightline, Scott grabs Tessa's leg as she steps onto his thigh, and she uses her hands on his shoulder to support her step. In 2009 she took his hand in her hand and stepped onto his thigh and got into goose position and then took his hand once more to get down onto an edge. In 2010 they developed this move - Scott's arms extended freely from his shoulders instead of resting on his knees, and she got down completely by herself - either pivoting or leaping.

Meantime through 2013 Meryl is getting herself up on Charlie's leg via a hoist from Charlie and both her hands steadying herself on his shoulders, and he gets her down, two handed, with her free hand resting on his shoulder for additional ballast. They're doing a 2008 straight line in 2013.

Oh yeah, the best in the world. I'm looking forward to more posters who "understand the sport" and "skate at a high level" to explain how this works. If you're informed enough to declare the blog doesn't know how it works, then you know how it does. Please share.


  1. According to the person who made that comment about you (or for that matter I guess anyone who posts here) not understanding the sport, it's also about what "defines" ice dance and furthermore, whatever that happens to be, it is something that is "never going to change." Quote:

    "You hate the teams that are, for better or for worse, defining ice dance right now, and you hate the ISU--so why are you still watching? Shouldn't you get a different hobby? You're wasting your energy on something that certainly will never change."

    So what defines ice-dance is whatever DW are doing, who cares about ISU rules or traditional standards of dance. I also find it very interesting that h/she believes this will never change. What does that mean? Is that an admission of ISU corruption?

    1. Who knows but if you'll forgive a coarse expression a whole lot of supposed skating community types love to come to the blog and talk out their ass. If they represent in any way the people controlling the sport no wonder it's a mess and no wonder it's obvious nobody is capable of critical thinking, logically applying what they've been taught to real world examples, or otherwise knowing what they're doing or doing it with any competence.

      It's horrible to consider that the people who've come to this blog so far to whine about this discussion represent the mindset of those inside figure skating, because holy shit that's a lot of stupid. They don't know how to discuss their own fucking rules or point out how this or that figure skater fulfills the Code of Points, and furthermore they think this stuff is trival and irrelevant. Great. So it is a beauty and popularity contest, then, and not a sport?

      As to "defining the sport" the sport is defined in the fucking Code of Points. "these skaters are defining the sport" is the sort of cicle jerk shit we get from the commentating booth. Virtue Moir have taken the definitions and criteria in the Code of Points and re-defined the standard. But one flows from the other. They're the best CoP skaters out there and apparently the ISU finds that inconvenient. When Virtue and Moir go - oh, exit on a sustained edge? How about THIS sustained edge? they're raising the standard.

      The way DW are "defining the sport" is they're defining it - certainly not intentionally - as the same ridiculously corrupt cesspool the public always suspects it is - their scores are demonstrating that the ISU doesn't give a shit about CoP. They're winning on PCs!! You can look at a kindergarten CoP primer and see that's turning what's in CoP inside out.

      How typical though, that even though skating wants a bigger audience, how dare anyone they think is outside skating be an informed audience.

      There's no sport that's on the level that would throw a fucking fit over the informed analysis of an outsider. They'd just argue the case.

      Figure skating isn't on the level. That's what this recent conversation is looking at.

  2. Nice too know that you believe that ice dance is all about spins and twizzles. Is this blog supposed to be celebrating the team of Virtue and Moir or tearing down Davis and White? IMO V/M skills should be able to be seen without tearing other teams down. It just makes the people that do it look bitter and crazed.

    1. 3:36 -- The team of DW are the ones getting the monster scores while VM are being held down. It is important to compare them to understand what is going on in the judging. Since when is breaking down any program element-by-element, and comparing with other skaters' programs, the same thing as bitterness and craziness? I would agree with you when/if things get personal as far as physical looks, personalities, etc. That is not what is happening here.

      I think this is where VM fans differ. We know anything VM put down on the ice can withstand the scrutiny and we welcome the minute examination of their programs. Go ahead and study anything they do and compare with any other team in the world, including DW -- I won't call you bitter or crazy for doing so. Throwing around that kind of name-calling is just another way of trying to control the narratives and shut down a discussion that scares you. Instead, why don't you join the discussion and contribute meaningfully about the skating itself. Please explain how/why DW are better, or why/how what we are seeing in these gifs receives the scores assigned to them by the judges.

    2. 3:36pm - Is nobody EVER going to come to this blog, and instead of whining and name calling, misrepresenting and finger pointing, going to look at DW's figure skating and explicitly make the case for how they're even on par, let alone better than, Virtue Moir, according to the rule book and how the ISU sets down the way the elements ought to be judged?


      This blog is supposed to celebrate Virtue Moir? I, the blogger, admire Virtue and Moir's skating as the best in the world.

      But the blog wasn't started to celebrate that. However, just as the blog pushed back against the lies and mind fuckery Virtue Moir engage in with their public relations, it's now looking at the lies and mind fuckery so many are employing to falsely claim Davis White are superior to Virtue Moir.

      I don't know what type of figure skating fan you are but you can't evaluate one team of skaters without comparing them to another and you can't decide who is better without judging them both. It's a COMPETITIVE sport. Meaning one is lesser. It's a sport or it's not.

      So which team is better? The one the media tells us or the one who IS?

      The sport is judged and this year DW partisans in the media and apparently among the judges have torn down VM. They've ignored the standards of CoP and the points system of CoP in order to do it.

      The teams are not equal; it's been said they are, and it's a gross insult to Virtue Moir to pretend DW are of equal quality. The only way to be fair to Virtue Moir is to point out that a far inferior team is in no way on their level, and demonstrate it specifically.

      Also, not for nothing, but if you personally think ice dance is MORE than spins and twizzles than on what fucking basis do you believe Davis White can even pretend or fake being better?

      Your statement makes out like - sure, deconstruct spins and twizzles! Because if you looked at other stuff it would be more fair to Davis White!

      For real? Other stuff is going to be looked at and it's going to be a whole lot rougher than looking at the spins and twizzles. Man, for people who love to come here and shoot off at the mouth, logic sure isn't anyone's strong point.

    3. "Nice too know that you believe that ice dance is all about spins and twizzles. "

      LOL I was so sure that's what DW ubers believed.

    4. They also think it's about speed and magical wizard hair.

    5. "Also, not for nothing, but if you personally think ice dance is MORE than spins and twizzles than on what fucking basis do you believe Davis White can even pretend or fake being better?"

      THIS wins.

    6. "Nice too know that you believe that ice dance is all about spins and twizzles. "

      Oh the irony of this statement LOL

    7. This also reminds me on FSU, something along the lines of "VM had to change their spin...see, they can't do everything DW can do" ??? w.t.f. I think the words this person is looking for are "VM only managed to complete n-1 of the many new things they attempted compared to DW". And that's not even considering VM should never have had to change the damn spin. Proper marking would they'd have a cushion large enough to absorb what is arguably their least strong area.

  3. Maybe some of us look at D/W and are able to see the growth and admit that there are still things to work on. In V/M's case I feel like they haven't grown since Vancouver. They stated they were trying to be innovative and push the sport to another level and they weren't skating for the judges. I find that hard to believe considering the fact that they changed the creative parts of their program (spins, footwork)because they weren't receiving the levels.

    1. I'm not sure doing the same stock FD for 5 years and the same set of twizzles for 10 programs screams growth to me.

      Your argument that V/M haven't grown since Vancouver makes no sense. They may be trying to push the sport and they may have given lip service to not caring what the judges think, but Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are two of the most competitive people on the entire planet. Of course they want to win. Basically you're saying that V/M haven't grown since Vancouver because they want to win.

      If you want to make the argument that V/M haven't grown since Vancouver, please explain using criteria set forth in the ISU scoring documents for ice dance.

    2. 5:10pm - if you see growth in DW, please specify where it exists and please connect it to the judging criteria in tech and pcs as set down in CoP.

      If you don't see growth in VM then please say where you don't see it, unless it's that you're hung up on theme and believe that as long as they skate a man/woman relationship they haven't grown. There's nothing more irrelevent to this sport, though, than theme. And actually there's nothing more irrelevant to performance, either.

      This conversation isn't criticizing fans or fandoms - it's criticizing how judges have applied the ISU scoring criteria in awarding points to these teams. This blog hasn't told anybody who they should like.

      However, "growth" is a specific statement. How have DW grown, specifically, and relevantly? Do you dispute that their twizzles are the same the lifts are the same, the spins are the same or not? How have VM stagnated in a way that's relevant to CoP. Have their tech and skating skills fallen behind the highest standard? Do they lack rhythm and musicality? Do they lack speed, power, unison, depth of edge?

      How have DW grown. If you see it, you can say what it is you see.

    3. 2010 Olympics FD
      V/M are all in the nine and 10 range
      D/W mostly high 8's and 9's

      2013 Worlds
      V/M 9's and 10's
      D/W 9's and 10's

      The levels and goe have mostly remained the same. It seems that the growth is all due to the pcs.

    4. Jesus. I hate studying as much as the next person. I probably hate it as much as your average figure skating journalist who sets down a verbal jerk off in place of well researched, knowledgeable reporting and then hits the bar wondering if Robin Szolkovy is seeing anybody.

      BUT. I'm pretty sure DW's element execution doesn't meet the highest requirement set down for pcs in CoP. The next blog segment (barring a sham resurgence in which case the conversation has to pause) is going to be lifts. So probably the best idea is to show how DW's 2013 lifts are a rough approximation of Virtue Moir calibre lifts circa 2008, and then see how well they merit the highest points. I've already seen some of what CoP has to say about lifts, and, as occurs frequently in CoP, they set a standard without defining the standard (for example, I think "aesthetically pleasing" ought to be defined. Art and math have a lot in common. Harmony and other aesthetic attributes actually are quantifiable. Cop, IMO, should have defined "aesthetically pleasing).

    5. "The levels and goe have mostly remained the same. It seems that the growth is all due to the pcs."

      This is just a suggestion. When trying to disprove someone's argument that DW's scores are have been drastically increasing out of proportion with their skating, it really doesn't help your case to pull out the protocols as evidence and say "SEE! Growth!" Explain why they deserve those scores.

    6. I actually think that poster - and I may be wrong - is pointing out funny business. The judges can't pretend the tech has improved, so they're working it on the pcs. Who cares if it was on the ice - say it is!

      Clearly, some DW fans are defending them by pointing to the scoring. The blog questions the legitimacy of the scoring. There shouldn't be any mystique - the ISU publishes the current CoP and CoP describes the standards and criteria. It should be a fairly straightforward business to assess if the scores DW received are justified according to CoP's own standards and criteria.

    7. To 5:10 I appreciate the admission that DW have things to work on, but why is "improvement" so important? I like improvement, I want to see it, but ultimately it's what's on the ice on the day.

      If a student improves from a C to a B+, then wow, big improvement. If another student improves from an A- to an A, that's less improvement, but they have and have had a better GPA all along.

      I know oycanada has been banging the drum about VM's improvement vs DW's lack thereof, but I thought the point was VM were better then, and are stratospherically better now, making current results all the more shammy.

    8. I'm 6:46, now that I look at it again, OC you're likely right lol. As an attempt at defending DW, it fit right in with the recent comments here so I didn't stop and consider.

    9. Easy mistake to make considering most DW "analysis" consists of stuff like "their twizzles are perfect as proven by the perfect GOE on the twizzles." Circular reasoning.

  4. Watched NBC's broadcast today and it was mind-boggling watching DW on the big screen (no VM).

    Every position was ugly. Bent knees through and through. No finesse. Yes, the clear hoisting into the lifts was there, and I kept an eye out for how she holds on to him in the dismounts. Several of the men's singles had better posture than Charlie. They kept separating - at one point it looked like Charlie was across the rink - and coming back together (ah, there's that connection) - pointlessly and randomly.

    Lots of big crossovers, lots of space between them, even in "hold" - oh, and they had that diamond shape between them when they were supposed to be skating together - you know, where they're both bent forward at an angle and their backsides are pointing in opposite directions (watch Fraser Lukanin's compulsories to see what I mean, ie, a team that finished 17th and 19th at the Olympics).

    I guess that's how they generate all that effortless "speed."

    Hairflinging, arm-waving, it was all there. No hip action in the "gypsy" part.

    And that move where they sweep across the ice doing change edge spirals - Meryl's no Michelle Kwan, but she got through it. Charlie's edge was rocking like a mofo.

    Watch how Yu-Na Kim loses her frame every time she enters a jump - that's how Davis White skate their entire program, except their bad posture is much more exaggerated.

    1. That 'teepee posture' you refer to (torsos close, lower bodies distant) is common in novice actors who are nervous with their first love scene. Of course in ice dance the idea is to have the lower bodies and especially the blades as close as possible.

      If DW's blades were close and their mutual bladework intricate, I don't believe it would be as relevant to call out what's unfinished from the knees up - at least not to the same degree. A relevant analogy is Yuna Kim. Her skating technique is strong. Her polish, her finish, isn't. She rarely fully engages her body. But this is a sport. Where it counts - where the blade meets the ice - is the hardest part, and she passes the test.

      Where DW are finagling and cheating is where the blade meets the ice, especially when their blades are proximate to each other. The choreoraphy works incredibly hard to make sure their blades work closely together as little as possible - if at all. Yuna Kim's frame makes her a less sophisticated skater than Michelle Kwan, but her feet/blades are doing the job. DW have worked very hard to stretch those arms (even if they're not opening their chest or lifting their rib cage) and splay those fingers and hoist their chins - but at blade level it's not first rate.

      What is being shown off in DW's programs year after year isn't their skating but Marina Zoueva's canny choreography. She's more aware than the blog, more aware than any DW detractor of just how limited they are. She makes sure they have cover. But my God, do they kill time in their programs. They run out the clock like it's 21-19 at the Superbowl.

      There's a particular move from the Tango that is such brilliant bullshit it deserve a post of its own, which I'll do after the blog does lifts.

    2. Yes, some imperfections from the knees up may be acceptable if the edges are there (see Grishuk Platov) but I suppose when two teams are "perfectly equal in every way" like VM and DW are, we have to take those details into account... how else to separate them!

    3. Thinking about it though, DW's posture is part of the cheat. Kim may not have the most polished leg line, or the best turnout on her arabesque, but she does skate across the ice with an upright posture and proper carriage. The other stuff is window dressing that might add .5 to the P/E score, but her basics are there.

      DW gain speed with a hunched over posture, similar that adopted by speed skaters. VM are already faster and their posture is excellent. If the two teams had to skate with the same posture (DW attempting to stand up straight or VM hunching), the difference in speed would be glaring. VM would probably be twice as fast. This is probably another reason DW struggled in the CD.

      From the ISU site for P/E:
      "Carriage is a trained inner strength of the body that makes possible ease of movement from the center of the body. Alignment is the fluid change from one movement to the next. "

      "Clarity is characterized by the refined lines of the body and limbs, as well as the precise execution of any movement. "

    4. That's weird. When I wrote about Chhrlie's alignment in the free dance twizzles at Worlds, I meant in the dictionary sense:

      1. linear or orderly arrangement: the arrangement of something in a straight line or in an orderly position in relation to something else
      2. positioning of something for proper performance: the correct position or positioning of different components with respect to each other or something else, so that they perform properly
      "The wheels are out of alignment."

      So that's a different definition of 'alignment' by the ISU. I see they haven't definded "fluid" - I wonder their idea of fluid is also unique.

      It would also be nice if they defined things like clarity, fluid, ease of movement instead of simply describing characteristics using adjectives that are themselves undefined.

      Charlie's alignment is off in the dictionary sense as well as the ISU sense.

      I have looked at the Olympic cd and Meryl and Charlie's posture is notably sloppier than Virtue and Moir's and Domnina Shabalin's, so if Scott truly believes DW ought to have been ahead of DS in that phase I'll have to see if it's possible to tell which team has the larger pattern.

      At the moment I'm making lift gifs but something that really bothers me when I look at Charlie and Meryl is the impression I get that they generate momentum via some type of pre-element impetus - it doesn't come out of their blades, and not just in the twizzles.

      If you pull away the huge number of in between tricks and flourishes - the leaps and running steps, the pirhouettes and skipping, and just consider the elements, I think they have a lot of non-blade level assists that they're passing off as style.

      At the moment the lifts kill me because Charlie boosts her up flips her up, she's using her hands, and he helps her down. In the very first Carmen lift Tessa vaults, under her own steam into the arms of Scott who is traveling. What kills me with VM is they work together so closely, so intimately and intricately in lifts, while achieving most of what they do in the lift with the mechanics of the move itself, not Scott boosting her up or Tessa steadying herself or Scott helping her down. They try to keep everything grounded in the movements themselves, versus taking a moment to 'get into' the movement. The getting into it is part of the movement itself.

      They have been so screwed, so cheated, it's an outrage.

  5. "If it's lyrical they do bombastic twizzles that they don't even attempt to phrase; if it's high energy they do bombastic twizzles without even attempting the lightness in Giselle."

    This bothered me so much. Perhaps it's because I've watched many Act 1 Giselles on Youtube before Marina made that program. I could accept that it would be lively--it's Act 1 music, set to ice-dance polka, but I was bothered so much by the carriage, the posture, the arms, the too-forceful punctuation of the musical highlights. I can't help but think what that program would have looked like danced by V/M. D/W felt to me more like Giselle's fellow villagers than Giselle and Albrecht. So I just shrug and convince myself that they're not playing characters, after all-they're just skating to the music.

    1. I've seen comments from neutral fans that they would have loved to see V/M do Giselle bc they would have nailed it.

    2. Well, I think the ISU has a very generalized idea of style of the dance, and how many of them know what the hell they're talking about. Skating isn't ballet, and it's all on blades, so a lot of good faith effort from the knees up goes a long way when it comes to non pattern, non-footwork dance styling.

      Unless you're Virtue and Moir and you're not only doing the style you're actually doing the thing itself on blades. In Carmen most of their moves lowered their center of gravity a la modern movement and did so throughout. But for a strong example look at Tessa coming out of the original Carmen spin. Did the ISU judges give a shit that Carmen raised the standard of what's set down in CoP? They didn't give a single fuck.

      Both the Yankee Polka and the Finnstep are a stylistic benefit to Davis White in a general way, as both are compatible with skipping, running and hopping in the rest of the program. All Davis White would have needed to do for the Giselle twizzles is carry the lightness and balletic/polka-ry airiness into the element - the ISU is certainly not H.T. Parker (famous, brilliant dance critic from the first half of the previous century)

      They didn't even make the attempt. That is the egregious part. All over the program la la la up up up and then come the twizzles BAM like a fucking buzz saw. Give em that character of the dance GOE point!

    3. I've been reading up on the Finnstep tonight. It may benefit D/W stylistically in the general sort of way, but apparantly the Finnstep is supposed to measure the musicality of the couples and be skated with a very upright posture.

      A few excerpts from's description of how the dance should be performed.

      For the first section, ahem, "Good, clean free-leg action is also to be valued throughout this part. The “hop-moves” need to be executed in complete unison using only the legs and knees, not the upper body. Holds and positions need to be elegant, upright, levelled, the upper body lifted erect and almost stiff."

      Second section: "This section needs to be skated with controlled, deep, nicely flowing edges without losing the character and the rhythm of the dance."

      Third: "The many hold and position changes throughout this section should be done effortlessly, with ease."

      Of course, this will all be thrown out the window for D/W while they hop and skip across the damned rink.

    4. "They didn't even make the attempt. That is the egregious part. All over the program la la la up up up and then come the twizzles BAM like a fucking buzz saw. Give em that character of the dance GOE point!"

      hahaha that's such a perfect description

  6. This has nothing to do with elements or the actual skating, but there was an interesting post on FSU about how to cheat under IJS:

    I thought it might be relevant to the larger overall discussion going on here.

    1. That's a great comment by gkelly of fsuniverse. Thanks for sharing it.

      I might quote it and feature it in a new post, too.
      It's relevant as hell.

    2. Thanks anon at 9:51 am for bringing this comment. Another reason why anonymity in judging is bullshit. I don't think there will ever be a perfect system but right now there is too many possibilities to manipulate the scoring sheet. I honestly think that there should be a third panel - independent of the tech panel and the judges who should judge skating skills, choreography, interpretation and transitions. This third panel would be able to work either dance, pairs and singles.

  7. Also, way to get behind your OGM ice dance team, Skate Canada:[2797]/2531/language/en-US/Default.aspx

    1. I'm starting to wonder if the marking at Nats the last two seasons had nothing to do with preparing VM and everything to do with SC being in on the deal.

    2. Lovely. The event was a "sign of healthy judging". You know what's a sign of healthy judging? Judging what's actually skated according to your own fucking rules.

      SC wasn't "preparing" Virtue Moir for a second at two Canadians running. They were stripping points and levels from Virtue Moir while inflating Piper and Paul so Piper and Paul would appear to be in their league.

    3. "Lovely. The event was a "sign of healthy judging". You know what's a sign of healthy judging? Judging what's actually skated according to your own fucking rules."


      In a lot of ways, that statement--the fact that it was even brought up in that press release--reminds me in a lot of ways how the stupid relationship question is brought up in the press. It's not necessary. The relationship question only comes up so V/M can lie and say no. Now, "healthy judging" is brought up in an event with what had one of the most egregious judging transgressions ever in ice dance--a transgression that no one is speaking up about in coming to the defense of V/M. The judging was crooked, no one is calling it out, and then in a press release given by the fed of the fucked over team, the judging being healthy is brought up? JFC. What the fuck is going on here? Why say that?

      I fell like I haven't been as clear as I'd hoped, but I think you'll get what I'm trying to go for.

    4. "Lovely. The event was a "sign of healthy judging"."

      So this is how Skate Canada intends to handle how the ISU is judging ice-dance this quadrennial. Forget about this federation coming up with a media strategy to counter the abundance of "reports that inform" the public how DW are just as good if not better than VM. But as others have mentioned, it's probably just as well. SC would find a way to botch it.

      It's to be hoped someone from VM's camp addresses this? (Professionally, please.) I hope they aren't wasting their time right now strategizing sham crap instead of bringing in qualified help to make sure this same media scenario does NOT happen again throughout this upcoming Olympic season. And the new season has already started- they need to get moving NOW.

    5. ISU is all about the appearance of "healthy judging" in ice dance, not good judging.

      Notice how no one has won more than two world titles since 1998. Can't let anyone dominate too long.

      Because of course, it's impossible that one team could actually skate at a higher level than all the other teams for a period of several years, designing programs with difficult content (cause... the best skaters are more likely to be able to skate difficult content!), and skating them well enough to win most events.

      This is only possible in events like the men's singles, where Chan has won all but a handful of his internationals over the past 3 years. Because his skating is so good, and his programs so difficult, that he can fall several times and usually can still win.

      But it ice dance, it would "be unfair" for the same team to win all the time, even if they deserve it. Can't make poor DW "wait their turn." They certainly should not be expected to change or improve their skating in order to win titles - that would be unfair!

      We are just so lucky to have two teams so close in ability, and both from North America, too!

      Gosh, the judges finally got the judging fair at 2011 Worlds with DW on top of the podium and North America sweeping. They've been slipping - they let VM win a Worlds, and allowed France and Russia on the podium!

    6. 1:54 - the Moirs are going to do what they're going to do, shamwise. I don't think reverse psychology is going to have any effect - as in "I know they're figuring out more sham right now when they should be working on skating!" Or "I hope they're dealing with this judging issue and not sham!"

      I have read a bunch of remarks like this in the comments recently. While this blog is ABOUT the sham, and things related to the sham, I think attempts to get VM to stop via how comments are phrased - warning them off, etc. - is a waste of time and throws the natural course of a conversation off track. Same token, if a conversational thread goes without a sham message for a period of time, it doesn't mean the blog has forgotten about it or that it will enable the Moirs to 'sneak in' a sham while we're talking about other stuff.

      IOW, they'll do what they're going to do. The sham is of course on point, but IMO not so much when the topic is brought up as some type of effort to stop them from doing it using what happened at Worlds as some type of leverage to get them to hold their fire, or used to try and "paint a picture" for the Moirs and influence them.

      I'm not sure if that's clear but I wanted to address it.

      I just dislike anything that looks like an attempt to push their buttons or get some type of message to them and I'm just taking the opportunity to say sometimes it reads like that to me.

      Back to judging - yes the appearance of healthy judging matters more than good judging and healthy judging means everybody gets a turn cause all top skaters are basically equal!

      Somehow the American media doesn't like the take-turns model in ladies - they're all about yearning for a huge ladies star to come back and dominate like Kwan. But dance - they're on board.

      I think obviously everybody involved except possibly the skaters themselves know what's what or Champs Camp wouldn't be making sure Davis White stays inside their little box every season - meanwhile Scott and Tessa seem to barely bother showing up sometimes - they do what they want - and good thing too.

      As to what can be done about it I think help cannot be found with either Skate Canada or the Moirs. There are plenty of people - not media whores - who know skating and could write informed pieces about why Virtue and Moir are better and why this 'rivalry' is pure farce, but they're not regular sportswriters with regular bylines and they're not the usual figure skating media, all of whom write straight out of received wisdeom that's built on erroneous assumptions and general ignorance. A lot of the people who write about the sport appear extremely insecure and defensive about the sport as a sport and all they care about is "support" from the public or a "name" sportswriter - they don't care if the sport is judged fairly or the skaters are treated fairly. Ignorance is easier for everybody. Figure skating writing is all uninformed opinion and I think the 'journalists' like it like that. How many ever reference CoP? How many every make the distinction between what they think is bad judging that, say, allows a sub-par Chan performance to win, and the system (CoP) that allows him to do so legitimately?

      The mainstream sports writers who write about figure skating would be out of a job if they wrote about their main area of expertise in sports (hockey or football) with the utter ignorance they bring to figure skating.

  8. I had smoke coming out my ears when PJ rightly defended Chan and S/S with her "what people need to understand" and "I've really looked at the numbers now", but then completely sold out VM. What a joke.

    1. ^I meant to reply to OC's 4:57 post

  9. After that Skate Canada article - as a proud Canadian, I would rather VM be Russian at this point. There is no way if VM were Russian would the Russian federation throw them under the bus like this. VM has medaled at Worlds over the last 6 years. They won an OGM for Canada. WTF - Skate Canada? Benoit Lavoit - why the eff are you allowing for such garbage to be Skate Canada putting all their capital on Chan and Duhamel/Radford? If that's the case - whoa - are you backing the wrong horses...I am a fan of Chan's but his consistency leaves something to be for Duhamel/Radford - solid couple but there are 2 issues that concern me is a) Duhamel's health - she has had injury issues in the past and b) to me I still see them as 2 individuals on the ice...(I actually prefer MT-M)...
    Getting back to D/W - if things stay the way the are and we don't see anything new from them and they win the OGM, I would like every previous ice dance World Champion within the last 20 years to go on record and indicate the reasons why D/W won on camera. I have stated this in earlier posts, I think the only way we can have "fair" judging for the Olympics next year is that is held in Russia and that the Russians would hate to potentially have a scandal at their Olympics - especially in figure skating.
    P.S. In the Skate Canada article, you also have to love the little dig at the Shibs...sometimes I wish the Shibs would skate for Japan...

    1. As we can read today, Lavoit is leaving. Rats sinking ship etc.

      I think SC is in good shape when it comes to quality skating at the top ranks, but its internal operations - not so much.

      All we know about Skate Canada really is their press releases, skatebuzz, etc. - the media end of it. And we have seen the sponsor situation - the flight of sponsors AFTER Vancouver, the dearth of sponsors for the two years since, and a title sponsor now only for the national Championships, which does not bring in the revenue of a title sponsor like BMO. And we know the media end of it is horribly embarrassing.

      The public face of Skate Canada is run by Debbi and Barb. Debbi being in control, Barb the toady.

      When I look back over this Olympic cycle, Debbi Wilkes interviewed Virtue Moir and was pasted to either Alma or Kate at numerous practices.

      Last year it didn't matter if Debbi interviewed every skater at a competition - P.J. Kwong interviewed Virtue and Moir, or somebody much lower ranked, but not Debbi.

      Cue Skate Canada pushing the hell out of Gilles Poirier.

      Skate Canada is putting their capital where it can reap benefits for its grasping Director of Business Development. Gilles Poirier tanked completely at Worlds. Virtue and Moir are gone as far as Skate Canada is concerned, so Skate Canada has no use for them. That organization is set up to run uphill - what are the skaters doing for the personnel?

    2. Lavois also wants to work closely with the ISU on an international level so it doesn't sound to me as if he's going to go to the barricades to fight for his great ice dance team that's getting royally hosed.

    3. Good luck Mr. Benoit Lavoie - I guess you have learned from the latest Quebec based politicians over the last year or two...resign and flee and then the corruption allegations come out...merci beaucoup...let me guess - Mr. Lavoie will be groomed to be the next Dore...whatever...

    4. "Skate Canada is putting their capital where it can reap benefits for its grasping Director of Business Development. Gilles Poirier tanked completely at Worlds. Virtue and Moir are gone as far as Skate Canada is concerned, so Skate Canada has no use for them. That organization is set up to run uphill - what are the skaters doing for the personnel?"

      All of this just pisses me off so bad. They have one of the greatest ice dance teams ever that should be gearing up to win a 2nd OGM next year--such an incredibly rare feat. Instead, they've thrown them away, as you said, for a team that finished in 18th fucking place at worlds.

      And, no, Lavoie isn't going to fight for V/M. No one anywhere is fighting for V/M.

    5. He's running straight into the embrace of the "international ISU" - an organization not overly concerned with corruption. He feels he can be helpful to them. I bet he does.

    6. I am laughing at the comments at FSU - whoa Lavoie - this os a great move for the ISU...blah blah blah...folks can be so do not leave your organization right before an Olympic Games - especially if you don't already have a replacement named...that folks is NOT leadership...Yes I get that you want to move up in the organization but the timing - could have waited until next spring...

  10. Another note that the ISU might want to consider - I actually think that D/W will want to continue for perhaps another 2-3 years post Sochi...there are earning decent money and I actually think that they have the ego to believe that we can be the best lets keep going...

    1. Maybe Meryl and Charlie want to see how many other teams they can fuck over in their career. They'll be fucking Tessa and Scott over until Sochi. Post-Sochi will bring new opportunities!

    2. 6:45

      It's not Meryl and Charlie screwing VM, it's the ISU and also VM's own Skate Canada.

      And DW have been fortunate to have so-called skating journalists and commentators make it their business to prop up DW as much as possible. If the judges/ISU plus the commentators were doing their jobs correctly, they would have been pointing out all these things we're seeing here about DW's skating.

      For some reason, they've all decided to turn a blind eye and reward DW for their skating that is in fact not according to the ISU's own guidelines. And for that same inexplicable reason, VM are getting neither the acknowledgment nor the points for all the details that make their skating so sublime.

    3. Anon at 7:10 pm - I do agree that the judges, the ISU, the USFSA, Skate Canada etc are screwing over V/M but I don't think that Meryl and Charlie are that innocent either. They want Olympic gold bad...and if it means not complimenting your rivals - so be it..if the USFSA is going full force with the anti-VM sentiment...D/W are not going to contradict either...the only other thing that icenetwork needs to do is basically ask for the 2010 Olympic Gold Medals be taken away from V/M and be given to D/W as well...that's how ridiculous this has become...

    4. Figure skating "journalists" are being lead by the nose. They can always be lead by the nose. It's the ignorant talking to the uninformed - it's how it has always been. They can only write fairly about ice dance if they understand ice dance, and they don't.