Friday, May 3, 2013

Why *did* Scott and Tessa cold-shoulder Debbi Wilkes?

While Debbi Wilkes lowered her profile a tiny bit after we saw her creeping in the background of skater interviews, positioning herself center frame and having instructed everyone in the premises to clear the field of vision for her, which - embarrassing - she nevertheless popped up and re-commenced interviewing skaters not long after, including Chan and including Kaetlyn Osmond. But not Scott and Tessa.

Now what happened? Were Scott and Tessa mortified when they realized Debbi was staging herself in the background of their interviews with P.J.?

I don't think so. Scott and Tessa were standing there like petrified mummies, barely moving even from the neck up as P.J. opened the can and dished out MacQuestions. They knew what Debbi was doing back there. It was payment in kind.

I wonder, though, if they had previously failed to do the math that Debbi spending all this time on them, leaching off their spotlight, contributed to her egregious neglect of other figure skaters.

People might talk.

I wonder if, amidst all the convenience of having various directors running around a la flunkies and Scott and Tessa's personal managers, it hadn't crossed Scott and Tessa's minds that because these officials were so focused on Scott and Tessa, other skaters were getting screwed, and these other skaters and their families might be pissed.

And furthermore, because these particular personalities were of service to Scott and Tessa in the positions they occupied, the positions weren't filled by people qualified to do the actual job. Ergo - the work of those positions was neglected.

Scott and Tessa's use of flunkies dedicated to their very specific personal interests gave clowns like Debbi job security and prevented the hiring and installation of people who would actually work in the best interests of everyone. What was good for Scott and Tessa was detrimental to the health of Skate Canada at large, and Scott and Tessa were using Skate Canada officials/resources that are meant to be allocated to Skate Canada, not towards Scott and Tessa's personal concerns, some of which were manufactured.

You know the old stories in business and politics about why the hell is this egregiously incompetent person in an important job? So the department or organization becomes dysfunctional not just in the area of personal politics, but in getting anything accomplished? People interested in doing something find themselves stymied or logjammed because the person at the top had other agendas? Maybe they're having an affair with the big boss, maybe they're somebody's bosom buddy, trusted consigliere or maybe they make another contribution that has little to do with getting the job done and everything to do with a personal tie?

That's pretty much what it looked like for quite awhile there with Wilkes and Virtue Moir. Not to mention, all that Debbi's familiar, Barb MacDonald, cared about was pumping out Scott/Jessica sham drops and posing adjacent to the organization's stars. All Debbi cared about was putting herself and her teeth on skatebuzz and pasting herself to VM and their parents (mothers).

I don't think Scott and Tessa care much that Debbi Wilkes is a horrible interviewer. I don't think they care that she sucks up all the oxygen in a room, or that she's back there striking the pose while they're parroting sound bites to PJ.

But Alma and Carol and their families have been part of Skate Canada almost as long as Debbi. Their business is figure skating, not only as a regional club but as an ambitious club that they hope will launch more than just their own kids towards competitive careers on a national level. Their kids have coached juniors and other youngsters.

To have an important Skate Canada director be so public about acting as their kids' personal consigliere while doing jackshit for anyone else in the organization is a political liability. But that's what was happening. Debbi had the title of Director of Business Development and she did nothing but interview skaters and get in Scott and Tessa's sham business.

It looked bad once attention was called to this. And I think that's the only reason Scott and Tessa backed off from Debbi. It's not because Debbi is corrupt; it's because the association began to hurt the Moir brand as figure skating's biggest fans.

Now that Scott and Tessa have appeared to put some distance between themselves and Wilkes, Wilkes hasn't changed her way of doing business (her business is Debbi Wilkes) but at least Scott and Tessa can no longer be blamed. Debbi is now busy pretending that Gilles & Poirier are big, in demand stars, international audience favorites who are asked to perform in galas even after finishing far out of the running in the actual competition. She needs a star to manage and leach off because she doesn't do her director's job - that's just a title. As much of contemporary figure skating seems to be built on the philosophy that you no longer need to actually do or be something, just say you have or are, then Debbi and Barb are saying Gilles & Poirier are stars in order to excuse their star-fucking activities and neglect of real work. They're busy managing this totally spontaneous response to and demand for Gilles & Poirier.


  1. Why would VM and the Moir skating enterprises care about the public perception of associating with Debbi Wilkes but they could care less that sham pursuits make them all look like morons, both now and in the future when people look back and know what was going down.

    Their seeming ability to compartmentalize is crazy.

    1. Well we know they compartmentalize. We know they can't link A and B. Remember when Scott announced that Tessa didn't have facebook and if you were friends with "Tessa Virtue" on facebook you were friends with a fake? "So not cool" announced Scott.

      Do you think the hypocrisy crossed his mind? They're clueless.

      The Debbi situation isn't so much that she's horrible and taints Scott and Tessa by association so much as there's an important job the person who has her title is meant to be doing and she wasn't doing it. The job affects everyone because it impacts Skate Canada's fiscal bottom line. Instead Skate Canada put a woman in that spot who quickly spent almost full time wrangling Scott and Tessa's personal, non-skating, non-Skate Canada logistics and shamming and glomming onto their moms.

      If I were a skater I'd think - that's nice. Skate Canada has even less money to fund developing skaters and promote their development than it used to because they apparently need somebody in business development who is dedicated to Scott and Tessa's self-aggrandizing sham games instead of developing business.

      Scott and Tessa's schemes, for years, were a higher priority than cultivating sponsors and nurturing relationships with existing sponsors. Skate Canada felt no need of a person qualified to reach out to the corporate world. They decided they needed to task somebody as a full time Scott and Tessa flunky and sham point person.

      They weren't budgeted for that, so they simply dedicated the Business Development Director to that job, and turned Business development (and communications) into sham departments.

      Long term sponsors bolted for the exit and none took their place, and Skate Canada didn't react because helping Scott and Tessa scam the public on Skate Canada time and on Skate Canada's dime was a higher priority.

      This was Scott and Tessa's personal business, it wasn't Skate Canada business, but that's where resources went.

      Scott and Tessa (and the Moirs) seem just fine with this.

      Since they're now arms-lengthing Debbi, maybe after four years it dawned on them this was wrong. We know they're slow.

      That's the problem. We'll not even get into whether or not the USFSA's press office bent over backwards dropping pr items about what a wonderful couple Lycasek and Belbin were, instead of the press office doing the work of reaching out to the public and helping them know all the figure skaters, but I don't think they did that.


  2. How come Skate Canada puts so much effort into promoting P/G when Weaver/Poje would make a lot more sense ? They at least finish among the top ten and now with her overcome injury they have a great story to tell as well.

    1. I don't know. I think some of it is Gilles Poirier are at a Canadian training center and Debbi & Co. have all access. That's not really the case at DSC. Also you need a strong stomach to get in bed with Debbi Wilkes and Piper Gilles' stomach is made of cast iron. I imagine Poirier just mainlines Dramamine. Their coach is happy to suck up to Wilkes - Krylova and hubby may not have the same interest.

      Then, too, Weaver & Poje are getting it done on the ice so they don't need deals made in back rooms, that obviously went down at Canadians this year and last.

    2. Skating is corrupt by default but IMO the political interplay between the US and Canada is of interest. For two Canadians running, the judges stripped points from Virtue Moir and made up "questions" about elements while padding Gilles & Poirier's scores til they were in hailing distance of Virtue and Moir. This does DW a favor because VM's own judges are throwing them under a bus, very emphatically. It sent a strong signal that Canada wouldn't object if VM got fucked over at Worlds as well.

      This is a huge favor Canada did DW and since it happened two years running, who are we kidding? If we don't think it's intentional how is Slipchuk out there making the case for Chan and mum on Virtue Moir? Without being at all unsportsmanlike he could easily define why DW aren't on their level but he doesn't. All of official Canadian skating goes along that DW and VM are neck and neck and critiques VM on skating/tech and DW only on chemistry.

      Gilles & Poirier packed two sets of gala costumes for TEB before the thing was even competed, then pretended they got to skate two exhibitions "due to the reception our performances received." The American Hubbell & Donohue didn't kick up a fuss despite finishing higher than Gilles & Poirier and being excluded from the gala anyway.

      I think the USFSA is perfectly happy to let Gilles & Poirier have a potential Hubbell & Donohue gala spot seeing what a swell job Skate Canada is doing 'softening up' Virtue Moir for international competition against DW.

    3. Isn't it interesting that neither Vanessa Crone or Emily Samuelson could not find strong partners - afterwards...the USFSA of course would prefer not to have Meryl upstaged and naturally Skate Canada would prefer to not have Gilles/Poirier upstaged....that's my two cents...and seriously even though the Shibs have weakness' - they should not be 15-20 points lower in scoring than D/W...

      OC- heck even at worlds - G/P skated the gala and the Italians C/L did not? The favouritism is blatant...gosh I would love to have dinner with Marie-France Dubreuil and Shae-Lynn Bourne to get their thoughts on this political crap....

  3. I also want to know why Chan is not getting called out on re-using his short-program for next year. Yes - other skaters have done that in the past - but there is absolutely no excuse for Chan. Theoretically, this should be viewed as a weakness, like D/W's recycling of elements. Perhaps another reason that Skate Canada is not backing up V/M...

    1. 6:07
      If DW recycled elements and they were done perfectly and beautifully and 100% to the standards in the rule book, then yes, there wouldn't be a problem. BUT -- DW recycle and their execution is sloppy, they are not 100% within the rule book. Adding to which, these sloppy and relatively easy elements (compared to what many other top teams are doing) are getting higher points every season.

      Hell yeah, there is a big problem here.

    2. DW recycling elements isn't the problem. The blog is calling out the recycling in their case only because year after year they're recycling what are, comparatively, easier elements that the judges choose to classify at Level 4, with high base values and high GOE despite the fact that they don't really meet the criteria for this under CoP. DW have been recycling crap stuff for years and years. Other skaters have to keep evolving. All that's required of DW is that they deliver everything with their patented hyped up, frenetic, hectic performance style so their elements (and by extension, the points the judges give them) aren't clearly seen by fans and media as the junkyard hype they are.

      The blog has gifed and screen capped and otherwise broken down what DW do, and when that's done they absolutely fall apart. We see very little skating in and out of elements and a lot of fake skating - Meryl doing her air edges, or Meryl at a 90 degree angle to the ice clutching onto Charlie out of an element but she's got her leg stuck out wide to the side with her boot tilted so hey, it's an edge. Let's ignore you're supposed to skate on those things, not pose those things.

      If I screen capped what Chan does, even stuff he recycles, it would conform to the criteria for the highest levels and base value (and often GOE) under CoP. He's legit. DW recycling isn't the problem - it's WHAT they're recycling (low grade crap) and how it's all employed in a program (fake skating).