Friday, July 19, 2013

If that were true, Charlie and Meryl would be in trouble


The relevant quote from this feature from Meryl is:

"It's a power shift from Russia, to skating being rewarded for good skating."

OY!

and from Charlie:

"If you don't do your job, you're not going to be rewarded, and you don't deserve to be. We want it to be a real sport like that."

Charlie also says "In the olden days, the American teams just weren't what the judges were looking for."

In the olden days the judges were looking for the best ice dancers. Thank God those days are gone.

Says Meryl "This new judging system is what got us out of that funk."

For sure. Only under this new system could a team that fake-skates dominate against what may be the best ice dance team of all time.

The "new judging system" means that people only look at the protocols, instead of looking at the skating to see if the protocols are honest.** And that's how DW are getting away with it.

The "new judging system" produces fans like Peter Murray's favorite expert, Patrick Ryan. Ryan looks at protocols, not skating, to justify DW's win count, but he'll complain about protocols if he thinks they should be lower for Virtue and Moir, without getting specific about what they did on the ice that was overscored (he and P.J. Kwong would probably get along.).

He just believed they should have been punished more at the 4CCs 2013 for interrupting the program, and he also flat out declared (in his claim that they didn't receive ANY deduction) that Virtue Moir are a default second to Davis White, so deductions start from them with silver medal scores, not contending scores.

(When people started bitching about Virtue Moir and the 4CCs 2013, I thought it was just ridiculous at first. Virtue Moir won the short dance. What on earth could they gain by faking an interruption (a withdrawal, such as in 2011, is a different thing)? Then I was like "Ohhhhhh - we're supposed to believe Virtue and Moir can't beat Davis White in the free - Carmen can't get it done. We have to pretend they withdrew to save face!"

But the slings and arrows were so weirdly alike and so insistent.

Without the rationale that Virtue Moir were trying somehow to avoid being beaten, there is no reason for them to fake an interruption. That this bullshit idea got any traction at all shows how the politics are aligned against Virtue and Moir in the media and in much of the higher profile North American skating world (and some overseas). Why would the best in the world interrupt their program?

Oohhhhh - they're NOT the best. Davis White are.

When the ISU published that letter of inquiry claiming some skaters "misused" the interruption rule, they acted like puppets. I thought a lot of the reaction to Virtue Moir at the 4CCs came off rote as hell, and suspect as hell, and the silence from Skate Canada was fascinating. IMO, the ISU is making a political statement about Virtue/Moir and Davis/White - otherwise what on earth would motivate Virtue/Moir to interrupt their program and then finish the competition?

That letter isn't about interruptions or rule abuse. It's throwing in another piece of propoganda that DW are better. That's what "misuse" implies.

The gall here has no ceiling. We are meant to believe Virtue and Moir are a default second to Davis White. By claiming "misuse" in the letter of inquiry, the ISU is validating the claims that Davis White are better than Virtue Moir.

Davis White partisans, and they apparently include the ISU, want to establish that Davis and White are empirically better every time they take the ice. Ergo, without an obvious mistake (IOW, detectable to the casual viewer) by Davis and White, Virtue and Moir are skating to earn a SILVER model.  Gold isn't even on the table when they compete with Davis White.  The 4CC score differential at the end of the free in the 4CC's 2013 is the set score differential between VM and DW with both skating through their programs. That's Virtue and Moir's max. Got that?)

While Davis White pretend they're all about "reward what's on the ice!" they don't mind if their supporters veer away from skating into saying things like "I don't know much about skating, but Tessa and Scott are so sterile and Meryl and Charlie are so passionate, I am much more affected by them!"

They are trying to claim every inch of turf there is - the "it's a sport!" turf, AND the "best performance" turf, and at the same time, throw shade at Virtue and Moir.

There are two obvious things that stick out. One, Davis White don't do the job under CoP, and they're rewarded beyond anything they put on the ice, per the standards and criteria in the ISU's own rulebook.

That's not taking into account some of the things they do (or half-ass) under the rules that shouldn't be IN the ISU rulebook (a hop or knee-jerk into two sets of twizzles = Level 4, their spins getting Level 4's and called the best despite Charlie flinging Meryl around as a rotational aid. WHEN do they generate rotational speed off an edge?).

So this yammering on about how it's fair finally is just obnoxious. I guess it's the American way - throw shade at anyone better than you.

The other thing is the implication in this youtube feature embedded above is that Russians in the past were rewarded despite not doing their job on the ice.  Russians won because of  political "power", and not because they were the best skaters.*

When Americans win, it's truth and justice.

I don't blame DW for this but it's always, always been obnoxious on the part of North America. Always. American women, for a long time, kicked ass in women's singles because the USA had the best women. Canada and the US shared the best men with Russia (usually), on the world stage.  Russia won in pairs and dance because they had the best pairs and the best ice dancers.

This is just another case where everybody pretends nobody understands ice dance, so "the best" can be whatever the skating world's politics find it convenient to say is the best, and then the ISU gets busy enabling.

Here's the message(s) DW are trying to get out.
  • They're the best in the whole wide world. They're dominant. They "roll into" enemy territory and take what's theirs.
  • They're underdogs against corrupt forces conspiring to put Virtue Moir on top. How do we know when a competition is corrupt? When Virtue Moir win.
  • Virtue Moir know they're not as good as Davis White and "misuse" ISU rules to save face at competitions where they've won the short dance and are leading in GOE at the time the rule is invoked.
________________
*I love how Punsalen & Swallow's remarks are framed almost to make their observations sinister. How - when champion Russian teams retired, they'd turn into coaches, and another would take their place. They had a system! It was a legacy. We saw decades of dominance.

That, of course, describes a country that prioritizes pairs and ice dance. They valued it. North America always prioritized singles. It makes sense. But this piece goes ahead and pretends that creating superior skating teams is some kind of iron curtain/Eastern bloc conspiracy that needed a complete overhaul and some good old North American honesty and fresh air. It's also incredibly ironic that the same system that functioned quasi honestly ONCE, when it made Virtue Moir Olympic champions, has now been corrupted to suppress Virtue Moir and throw monster scores at Davis and White that they didn't earn. This system has also clearly institutionalized a double standard in the scoring criteria between Davis White and Virtue Moir. And it's knocked the concept of "pcs" on its ass.

**And I want to know how that became the norm. How come so many supposed "skating knowledgeable" fans only look at the protocols and not at the skating to see if the protocols are applied with integrity? When did not looking at the skating itself become a thing?

P.S. - Scott and Tessa have made similar points about CoP, or used to make them, but that was back in the days when nobody was sure if the judging was going to make Domnina/Shabalin Olympic champions no matter what was on the ice, and Worlds 2009 justified any apprehension the skaters had about that. But the reality is, CoP no longer rewards what you put on the ice. If it did, Davis White wouldn't get the scores they get. CoP is just a tool for obfuscation. It's another excuse not to become informed about actual skating.

P.P.S. when I look at the posing sections, the stop and slides, the hopping in place, and all the other non-skating two footed bullshit in a typical Davis White program, I think those on Jacquie White's facebook who smirked about "didn't take a rest stop in the middle" have some nerve. IMO, the ones abusing the interruption rule are Davis White - they just call it choreography.

43 comments:

  1. "Scott and Tessa have made similar points about CoP, or used to make them, but that was back in the days when nobody was sure if the judging was going to make Domnina/Shabalin Olympic champions no matter what was on the ice"

    i dont remember tessa and scott throwing potshots at the russian fed.

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    1. No, they made points about CoP, about how it rewards what's on the ice and ice dancers don't have to artificially wait their turn.

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    2. And now, the ISU has taken that concept of not waiting your turn - a fair and just principle - and bastardized it into the concept that if a superior team wins most competitions because they are in fact better skaters, that it represents protocol judging and must be stopped.

      Only in ice dance - the non-jump discipline, the discipline that doesn't even have in-betweens because it's ALL in-betweens - are skating quality, edges, posture, transitions, and interpretation all mooted by mistakes like turning out of a twizzle (even if that twizzle is more difficult, in better unison up to and after the mistake, choreographed with variations that go with the music, is a different twizzle than the twizzle from last year or the twizzle in the FD, and is part of an overall balanced program that shows mastery of multi-directional skating and interpretation of the music and set pattern).

      Because that would be so unfair, if poor widdle DW had to "wait their turn" by waiting for the big bad VM to retire. And imagine if VM made a mistake! How could they *possibly* beat DW without it being cheating? Gosh, it's too bad they don't have a book or something with the rules and criteria and how they should be applied.

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    3. Waiting your turn is NOT a fair and just principle in any type of real sport. And most especially not in an Olympic sport. It doesn't matter if you've shown up ten years running and someone straight out of juniors kicks your ass - it should be about the skating. If you have to wait your turn, your sport is not a sport. How is that "fair and just"?

      But it isn't about the skating. Or Davis and White would not be this artificial juggernaut.

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    4. "Only in ice dance - the non-jump discipline, the discipline that doesn't even have in-betweens because it's ALL in-betweens - are skating quality, edges, posture, transitions, and interpretation all mooted by mistakes like turning out of a twizzle (even if that twizzle is more difficult, in better unison up to and after the mistake, choreographed with variations that go with the music, is a different twizzle than the twizzle from last year or the twizzle in the FD, and is part of an overall balanced program that shows mastery of multi-directional skating and interpretation of the music and set pattern)"

      And even if your competitors are turning out of their twizzles sooner than you did in your "mistake". It's okay because THEIR pivoting, non-edge sustaining and other fakery is "choreo".

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  2. I could perhaps make allowances for DW, considering them to be honestly self-deluded about their own skating. That is, if they trained with someone like Carol Lane, who calls what G/P do great skating. But DW train with Tessa and Scott, imo definitively as you say, one of the greatest ice-dance teams of all time.

    There's no way DW aren't aware of Tessa and Scott's superior skills. I have to conclude DW know all their self-promotion is a pile of lies they hope will aid in getting them a crown they don't deserve.

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    1. Delusion can run deep, though. Just look at Bourne/Kraatz.

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    2. Yeah, but they hedge an awful lot. I think it's a lot of delusion and a lot of politics. I think they have the "all's fair" mindset, like Tanith did. Tanith used to talk about how it was important to have your own judge because that was the sport. Prior to the Olympics in Vancouver she talked about revamping her skating and how she and Ben didn't want to just "pick up the pieces". That said volumes of how they viewed their skating vis a vis the others who were best in the world - they relied upon someone else not doing their best.

      I don't think anyone on that end cares how they win gold. They work hard and deserve it. One of the things they're working hard on is to establish that your skating is only one of many components that determine the gold. How is your social media exposure? Who is your sports management company? What mega "all American" brands sponsor you? Are you earning congeniality award points? Can the audience tap their feet to the music - do you beg for applause when you perform your program? Do you SHOW how hard you're working?

      This may as well be 1984, and all the weirdo ass backwards dumb ass stuff that people thought went into gold back then. In Scott Hamilton's bio he recites a whole list of things he thought got him gold besides his subpar free dance, none of them on the ice, and he has no problem with it.

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  3. "That's Virtue and Moir's max. Got that?"

    Well, Worlds pretty much confirmed that for these people. Do you think Worlds might have been different if the 4CC incident never happened?

    And the other question is WHY. If the original thing the ISU wanted was some sort of rivalry, why have they tipped it over into dragging V/M down to a permanent second place?

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    1. "And the other question is WHY. If the original thing the ISU wanted was some sort of rivalry,"

      That's assuming the ISU is in fact working to create or maintain a rivalry. I don't know about that. It could be simply about ISU dirty politics. It's DW's "turn" because of political maneuverings between federations that the public knows nothing about. IMO the ISU could care less about either VM or DW. There's something else going on here.

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    2. What's going on is that the US singles skaters suck, and ice dancing is the only discipline that hasn't yet been touched by the emerging Asian skating market. That, combined with the emigration of Russian coaches and the decline in Russian skating, plus the difficulty of defining and understanding good ice dance, makes it ripe for the picking.

      The US has considerable resources, including monetary and political. Those resources are now being put toward ice dance which they never have been before.

      It's a little more difficult in the singles - you can't just say that a triple toe is as difficult as a quad toe (though, Lord knows, they tried with Lysacek), but you can totally say that the twizzle with hop is the most difficult twizzle. Who the fuck knows any better? Just say whatever they do is level 4.

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    3. "Just say what they do is level 4". These rules will be amended when Davis White retire. There's a reason shakier lower level teams do "their" sort of level 4 while nobody is doing what VM do.

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  4. "That is, if they trained with someone like Carol Lane, who calls what G/P do great skating."

    Speaking of, looks like someone may have called in some favors or greased somebody on the editing staff to place Gilles and Poirier above the fold on the front page of Canada's highest circulating newspaper. They certainly aren't hiding their blatant attempt to politicize themselves onto Canada's Olympic team. SC has all but paved the way for them, but those pesky bureaucrats in the Ministry of Immigration are blocking the road.

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  5. It does beg the question - why is Skate Canada so desperate to get team that finished 18th at the last Worlds onto the Olympic team? Furthermore, and in fairness, shouldn't they notify Paul/Islam that they may as well skip nationals, as barring yet another broken bone, the podium slots are predetermined?

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    1. Oh and btw, so glad to see that the new CEO has changed the tone of Skate Canada's p.r. I wonder if his mandate was "hands off".

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    2. Paul's "Piper is my best chance" comment really stands out. Sounds like it's all about HIM, and they've got to get HIM to Sochi. Otherwise, what is he talking about? He's been to an Olympic Games with Vanessa Crone.

      Maybe Paul and Islam should find someone to write an article about them in which they're described as platonic besties. That should do the trick.

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    3. "Maybe Paul and Islam should find someone to write an article about them in which they're described as platonic besties. That should do the trick."

      Eh, that's so last Olympic cycle. VM may be carrying on with the same theme, but SC has moved on to promoting G/P as the next-best-thing deserving all the clout of their federation. Isn't it interesting that in both cases SC is promoting lies--last cycle the lie was VM as platonic besties. This time around it's that G/P are Canada's future in icedance (excuse me while I puke).

      Besides, and thankfully, Paul/Islam haven't shown any interest in calling their relationship anything other than what it is.

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  6. "Eh, that's so last Olympic cycle."

    Not really. V/M are still throwing out the "we're platonic!" lies despite have been married for years and now having a child, and W/P have tossed the same "platonic besties!" message into their media as well (though they don't attempt to constantly cram it down everyone's throats like V/M do). G/P are marketed as SC's "fun!" team with great personality who love to hang out together and bedazzle things. So, they're platonic besties too!

    The point is, P/I are more or less being themselves in the public eye, and are doing so in a very professional manner. They aren't concocting fake storylines and trying to hit fans over the heads with them. That gives Skate Canada NOTHING TO DO, because the only thing that federation thinks constitutes marketing is talking about personal stories they believe will drive fan interest. And for whatever twisted reason, they seem obsessed with selling all their top dance teams to the public as platonic best pals.

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    1. Skate Canada's promotion of the Today's Bride photos is probably one of their more asinine moves lately. "Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir look like the real thing!"

      Paul/Islam are no fun at all for Skate Canada. Never mind that they're attracting a league of adoring fans and are fantastic skaters *and* dancers. Why bother with them when Gilles/Poirier are SO MUCH FUN. I sincerely hope she isn't able to get her citizenship in time. What happens then, eh Skate Canada?

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    2. I'd say asshole. But that's Barb's default.

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    3. Don't forget the #playingdressup hashtag, because without that there was a chance we might have assumed those photos were of a real V/M wedding where Tessa wore eight different gowns and Scott at least three different suits before, during, and after the ceremony.

      I've long wondered if V/M's constant reiteration that they want their "skating to speak for itself" is directly tied to their federation's obsession with marketing their skaters' personal stories. At first glance the two things seem contradictory, but a second look reveals they could very well be connected.

      I'm not sure what would drive the sentiment to begin with, but if some less-than-knowledgeable Skate Canada exec believing him or herself to be a marketing "expert" claimed that partners telling the truth about their romance would distract away from their skating, I could see them proposing that the best solution would be to concoct a platonic storyline for those couples. In doing so, the public might instead focus on the skating rather than the romance, but at the same time might HOPE that the team will fall in love eventually.

      It's an incredibly stupid premise because for one thing, plenty of real life couples have been open about their romance and still been both successful and popular. But secondly, it comes across more as a marketing scheme concocted by a group of people who wanted to give themselves something to do, rather than it actually benefiting the skaters.

      The reason Tessa and Scott are as popular as they are isn't because of their personal story (or rather, the fake personal story they sell to the public). If they were half as talented and tossed out the same "we're platonic!" nonsense they do now, far fewer people would give a shit about them. The reason they're so popular is because they're such good skaters and a top team in the sport. That's the irony. They ARE appreciated for their skating, but seem to be convinced that's not why people are interested in them OR that the way to get people interested in them is to sell them a fake bill of goods and hope they bite. And maybe the bonus for V/M is that it gives their families something to do by helping create this fake storyline complete with fake girlfriends and social media posts, freeing up V/M from those responsibilities and giving all those people who supported them over the years a "role to play" as a thank you.

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    4. "The point is, P/I are more or less being themselves in the public eye, and are doing so in a very professional manner. They aren't concocting fake storylines and trying to hit fans over the heads with them. That gives Skate Canada NOTHING TO DO, because the only thing that federation thinks constitutes marketing is talking about personal stories they believe will drive fan interest."

      Never thought about it that way. While I don't care for P/I (their constant use of light romantic movie soundtracks make it appear as if they are trying to do cheap imitations of the Umbrellas of Cherbourg, ad nauseum), that is such an unfair, fucked-up reason for them to be treated like shit by the federation. They are certainly better than G/P, at least.

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    5. "It's an incredibly stupid premise because for one thing, plenty of real life couples have been open about their romance and still been both successful and popular. But secondly, it comes across more as a marketing scheme concocted by a group of people who wanted to give themselves something to do, rather than it actually benefiting the skaters."

      BINGO. It's amazing that people like Debbi Wilkes, with the jobs they pretend to have, needed "something to do." but they did and this was it. And now Skate Canada is devoting its resources to promoting Gilles & Poirier. What a do-nothing Fed.

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    6. OC 9:21
      The blog has speculated as to the origins of the sham. Why would VM continue with the same exact methods even after it appears Skate Canada is no longer as personally involved with their PR (such as it is)? With Skate Canada not directing their show like it did before G/P, why are VM still doing things according this stupid premise? Everything is the same and on schedule, except for Debbi Wilkes not standing next to them at every opportunity and Scott's GF being switched out to another name/face. Why would Skate Canada lose interest in them when VM are still the good little skaters, doing things according to Skate Canada's schemes?

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    7. I don't think they're doing things according to Skate Canada's schemes at the moment. I think right now it keeps Moirville out of their hair. More and more I think a lot of what Scott and Tessa do goes to them wanting to be left alone - by EVERYONE, and fans are the least of it. Fans are the scapegoat for everyone who wants to point their fingers at some fake group of people who are REALLY bothering Scott and Tessa, when the reality is, it's them.

      Unfortunately it works out to them wanting to be left alone at their convenience, and then not left alone when they don't want to be left alone. I get it, but I also understand that there's a way to do it, and this mess isn't it.

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  7. The North American DOMINANCE slant on that article is such a self-serving load of crap as well because the three North American teams on the podium are coached by Russians and without their coaches who trained, skated, and developed under the RUSSIAN system, the only team that would have been near that podium would have been Virtue Moir. Say all day long that Zoueva and Spilband are Canadian and American, that is who they became as citizens; it is definitely not who they are as coaches. That's all from Russia. Further, Russia didn't stop dominating because a new system was put in place that made everything fair. It stopped dominating because its political structure and economic policies dismantled its Olympic sports programs. They no longer existed, the infrastructure wasn't even in place anymore, many of their best skaters and coaches had to come to North America to work.

    But that article pretended like North America was home growing its own great skaters all this time and it only took a fairer scoring system to reward them as they deserve. What other sport could sell that fantasy and have the media and the public buy it?

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  8. "What other sport could sell that fantasy and have the media and the public buy it?"

    The US media has always hated the Russian dominance in figure skating. Any chance they get to pretend now finally things are right and just (American ice-dancers are winning something) they'll run with it. Facts be damned.

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    1. Exactly. This kind of media slant isn't really any different from the Cold War era coverage that painted the Russians as cold, machine-like, and corrupt.

      The United States relationship with Russia has soured greatly over the past ten years in particular, and Putin's very nasty, public attempts to turn Russia back into a police state have convinced many Americans that the Russian Cold War stereotype is still very much in play. The Sochi Games are already billions over-budget. Most of the Olympic venues in Sochi are being built by migrant workers who often go unpaid and are not allowed to leave the construction sites. The residents around Sochi have complained of terrible treatment by Russian officials and forced displacement. Add to that the recent Edward Snowden fiasco, which has greatly embarrassed the United States government, and there's no doubt that the American "enemy" come the Sochi Games will be the Russians. And I'm sure the North American figure skating commentators (American and Canadian) will milk the fairness vs. corruption dichotomy for all its worth in regards to their assessment of the judging system.

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    2. I so wish the US would just boycott Sochi. How epic. Too bad they've already poured so much money into their star athletes.

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    3. Technically the US government doesn't fund Olympic athletes at all. There's no Ministry of Sport. I know there are private organizations and corporations that help off-set athlete training costs, though (for years the Home Depot company has been a major sponsor and employer of amateur athletes hoping to compete in the Olympics).

      This Winter Games has already gone down on record as the most expensive in Olympic history on account of kickbacks, shoddy construction, infrastructure costs (had to build roads and such), etc. It's costing more than the Beijing Summer Games, and that hosted over 10,000 athletes in a city of over 20 million people. Sochi's athlete total will be closer to 2000-3000 or so. The cost overrun is absolutely enormous (over 500% by some estimates) and much of it is due to cronyism. Then there's the fact that Sochi sits close to the North Caucasus region, which on account of decades upon decades of civil war is a bastion of instability and violence. That's upped the cost even more because Putin will have to bring in so much security it could give the Korean DMZ a temporary run for its money.

      This Winter Games is about Putin and his desire to put on a display for the world to see, and the US is determined to counter that show of strength with one of its own. At the Sochi GPF, D/W and V/M were asked what it was like to skate in front of Putin (who was there for the FD) and I cringed at the question. There's no way the US will boycott this Games. The American government will want to outmaneuver Putin's need to flex his muscles by winning the medal count. A boycott would be considered an admission of defeat in Sochi. Instead the US media will use the chilly relations between both governments to its advantage, and one of the sports where the Russia/USA (or North American in ice dance) competition will be most hyped is figure skating.

      If you thought CoP was praised as fair and balanced in Vancouver, just wait until next February. The acclamation by the US (and Canadian) media will be through the roof.

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  9. "Virtue Moir are a default second to Davis White, so deductions start from them with silver medal scores, not contending scores."

    What do you think brought about this shift? For their entire careers (except for the 2011 injured season) it seemed like V/M could do no wrong, at least in the major competitions. What did D/W do to establish that their skating IS the protocol?

    ""Ohhhhhh - we're supposed to believe Virtue and Moir can't beat Davis White in the free - Carmen can't get it done. We have to pretend they withdrew to save face!" "

    Because that's what they did in 2011 (regardless if 2013 was an actual injury.) I think two FD stoppages at the same competition in different years has affected their image. If they hadn't cried wolf the first time, their second stoppage probably would have been given the benefit of the doubt.

    "...Russians in the past were rewarded despite not doing their job on the ice. Russians won because of political "power", and not because they were the best skaters.*

    When Americans win, it's truth and justice."

    Well, LeGougne was caught politicking the scores for the Russians. The Americans don't complain that pairs judging isn't fair because a pair has never won the Olympics, because America doesn't have any good pairs.

    "They're underdogs against corrupt forces conspiring to put Virtue Moir on top. How do we know when a competition is corrupt? When Virtue Moir win."

    Eh, in 2010 there was a lot of "North American pride" about the top two finishers. The Canadians and Americans seemed happy for each other. And I don't know if this is going to be true for 2013-2014 season. That remains to be seen. Historically, the teams have flip-flopped so we'll see if this season belongs to V/M.

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    1. "What do you think brought about this shift? For their entire careers (except for the 2011 injured season) it seemed like V/M could do no wrong, at least in the major competitions. What did D/W do to establish that their skating IS the protocol? "

      I don't agree with this. VM have never really enjoyed a comfortable time at the top, as most top ice dancers have, including less talented teams like Navka/K who did compete under IJS. (I won't bother to compare to the days of T/D, B/B, and G/P dominating for whole cycles).

      VM have certainly had a successful career and shot up to the top quickly, but they have never been treated as if they could do no wrong.

      In 2007, I can't complain about their placement, but really, if you look at the skating and compare them to B/A, it looks like B/A should be the ones in 6th and VM third. In 2008, VM were treated pretty well. In 2009, they could have won the CD at Worlds (even Schoenfelder thought so), and the PCS for Pink Floyd could have been higher (bearing in mind that the competition for gold was gimpy D/S - who had just as many issues in execution as VM, but a far emptier program). I think all of these years their placements are fair and justifiable, but it's not like they got a free ride or anything.

      In 2010, VM lost the GPF, lost the CD at the Olympics to D/S (and I agreed with that, but it doesn't demonstrate that VM "can do no wrong" in the judges' eyes), and, absurdly, lost segments to DW at Worlds. 2011 you exempt. In 2012, DW received nearly equal scores to VM on the GP - what did they do to deserve them? At GPF, Scott fell, and they were justly penalized (penalties that do not seem to apply to Chan or Kostner), but that's not "doing no wrong." In the FD, VM actually won it, but the scores were close enough that the scoring fuckup made it close enough that they lost the FD before it was corrected - how did DW outperform them in that FD? At FCC, DW won the SD with their awful Latin program, and while VM won in the end, the sentiment was that this was because DW were effected by Charlie's asthma. At Worlds, the scoring actually made sense, but then it was reversed at WTT.

      2013 was a shitfest, of course.

      So I don't think VM have actually ever enjoyed the deference they deserve as excellent figure skaters and dancers who are well ahead of the pack (primarily) and as Olympic champions (politically). Unlike every other skater in the history of the world, they didn't even get any home ice advantage in their own hometown.

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    2. 7:28 AM, cont:
      DW are the ones who have been overmarked their entire career. They have benefited tremendously from training with VM. From the start, they have been branded as a fucking foursome - the two young NA teams, the two up and coming Shpilband teams, the two teams who can get all level 4s. Ok, but one can actually SKATE.

      In every WC except 2008, DW have been within one placement of VM. I absolutely 100 million percent believe that DW's marks in their debut year piggybacked onto VM's. Were they such an amazing team in 2007 to deserve 7th, with a shitty CD, and non-tango tango, and a generic Polovetsian with workmanlike elements? Are they really so comparable to VM's amazing CD, tango, and masterpiece that is Valse Triste (from which, as OC pointed out, DW couldn't even manage to do the simplest moves in their 2011 FD?). Why didn't DW get marked down for being juniorish, skatig without power, with terrible lines and posture, like most teams do in their first Worlds? VM deserved those marks because they actually skated with the polish of a seasoned team (if a bit slow). DW just... got those marks, cause.

      In 2009, yes DW had a nice FD, but remember, the CD was still in play and they had a very rough OD. 4th place was generous, not a robbery.

      What was so much better about Phantom over Ave Maria that they deserved to win 2010 Nationals? Was their CD really the third best in Vancouver? What skating qualities were present that were better than FS, or PB?

      This is something that has been cultivated for YEARS. DW didn't just come out of nowhere and start getting handed the marks. They have been quietly branding this image from the start, rather than working on their skating. BK and other NA teams have tried this, but this is the first time it actually worked.

      I agree about the NA pride thing. I still see a little of it on FSU, a la "who cares who wins, they are both so great, you can't pick between them, it comes down to how they skate on the day, it's just personal preference at this point, and we're just so lucky to have two NA teams at the top anyway."

      In 2010 NA was satisfied to have an NA winner and US gold. DW were coming from 4th. Today DW come as 2x WC, and the US is going to flip out if they don't win.

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    3. I don't agree about LeGougne. All the corruption in figure skating and the one time the American media monolith, Time and Newsweek (big deals at the time) Scott Hamilton, the broadcast networks, the Canadian and American Federations all put their hissy fit on blast, paint themselves into a corner when a better team beat S&P, oh, how convenient, a smoking gun is produced? The woman was unstable and IMO it is just as reasonable to suspect she was pressured/manipulated/bribed into a "confession" as that anything happened. The media was having a heart attack over a minor stumble by Anton Sikhourlidze in the middle of a program that by any measure was a more difficult program skated with more power and complexity, claiming S&P deserved to win instead, and along comes "proof" to cover their ass. The reality is that based on the skating B&S deserved to win.

      It's also takes just the most amazing gall that the S&P situation - and the real scandal is the media pressured the OOC into handing off that pacifying second gold medal - happened because of the American media, not Skate Canada - and now DW partisans are pointing to 2002 as evidence Skate Canada can manipulate on behalf of Virtue and Moir against the superior DW! My God. American media interests in the end got that done for a north AMERICAN pairs team, but now let's pretend it was Canada and America was standing on the sidelines tsk tsking about Canada's whining.

      I think the skaters get along personally, and it also appears to me that Canada is enabling the take down of Virtue and Moir - at least not fighting back as they would with Chan. After the 4CC's where was the defense of Virtue and Moir in Canada when shade started being thrown at them? Even now their own teammate is co-signing a post calling that incident shameful.

      Also, notice that with all the shade being thrown nobody is spelling anything out, because they can't. It's all - oh this is so bad for the perception of the sport! But, if you analyze all the bullshit, in order for things to be shady, Virtue Moir would have to be a lesser team than DW, and that's simply not the case. But nobody wants to get into the actual skating, because DW loses every time.

      This week Gilles & Poirier are above the fold - above the fold - in Canada's biggest newspaper. 18th finishers at the Olympics and the article treats it as a given they'll be on the Olympic team if Piper's citizenship is fast tracked. What kind of message does that give to Paul/Islam, currently training hard? How did a low ranked team end up above the freaking fold with a huge color photo as well? This is who Skate Canada cares about now, not Virtue Moir, who were thrown under the bus at the last two nationals.

      Re the two stoppages and crying wolf - attempting to exploit that is gutless. The first time, they withdrew. Everybody else moved up. It didn't impact the skating.

      The only people whose placement and skating was impacted by the second interruption was Virtue Moir, who were looking to repeat as winners.

      What Virtue and Moir are doing is lying about their personal lives. Obviously, there is much more of a discussion about this on the internet than years ago, whether or not people believe it. And I think DW partisans in and out of skating don't give a shit that VM are lying about their personal lives, but they are ready and willing to exploit the suspicion that VM aren't on the up and up by pretending they aren't on the up and up on the ice, either, and the scores for them aren't on the up and up. Which is the absolute inverse of the truth.

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    4. "This week Gilles & Poirier are above the fold - above the fold - in Canada's biggest newspaper."

      I know, right? Above the freaking fold. I'm curious how many times V/M have been on the cover of the Toronto Star besides when they won Olympic gold (and maybe they weren't even then, I don't know).

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    5. you're right. D/W would be nothing if it werent for V/M.

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    6. 7:33 a.m. I want to say I agree with most of what you've said and so much just nails it.

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  10. Over the last year, other ice dancers have stated that V/M are a great team - like Weaver/Poje, Paul/Islam, Pechelat etc, the Hagasawas who now train at Canton - so not everyone feels like Ms.Duhamel...but the fact that they are still pushing the G/P train after an 18th place finish at Worlds last year is disheartening from Skate Canada. It's funny that the Canadian Olympic Team has given more media to Towers-Moore/Moscovitch than Skate Canada itself. Perhaps Duhamel should redirect her anger...yes Jessica Dube was given perks etc but now that is done...Skate Canada and its handling of its ice-dance teams are a disgrace. Yes Paul Poirier is a solid skater but the pushing of this team is effing ridiculous...Carol Lane/PJ Kwong you know it...gosh I would pay good money to have on off the record conversation with Tracey Wilson, Shae-Lynn Bourne ,Marie-France Dubreuil and Krylova about the WTF state of icedance...

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    1. The Gilles & Poirier push is disgraceful. The article in the Toronto Star is explicit letting us know that Gilles & Poirier ARE on the Olympic team if Gilles' citizenship is fast-tracked. Where do they get that? From the skaters. From Skate Canada.

      Poirier is quite clear that the only way he stays home is if Gilles doesn't get her passport. I don't know why Paul & Islam are even going through the motions for next season. Whatever one thinks of their programs or style, their speed and power has evolved to make them more than competitive with Gilles Poirier, their programs and choreography is more complex and their unison actually exists, unlike G&P. If it's about the skating, they have as much claim to Sochi as GP.

      The pro-Gilles & Poirier comments below the article are twisted in the extreme. One actually breaks out the violin about how Gilles gets no funding, all of her training costs are out of pocket,, and this isn't sustainable. If that's the case, I'm delighted her circumstances are sustainable enough for her to enjoy resort vacations, seeing as she's "unable to work."

      Poirier says "She's my chance" (for Sochi). What a tragedy for Canada if he doesn't go. If Sochi was really his priority then he could have stayed with Vanessa. Why should the Canadian bureaucracy fast track Poirier's personal choices?

      The article and the mega pr reeks of unearned privilege.

      There's also a muddying of Paul's resume. Paul was Canadian champion with Vanessa, not Piper, and then only because Virtue Moir didn't compete. He was silver medalist with Vanessa, not Piper. He was silver medalist again because Weaver & Poje were injured and, lucky for him and Gilles, Paul and Islam fell in the free, because the free he and Piper put down was nothing to write home about.

      The bottom line is why is Skate Canada so keen to promote an 18th placed finisher at Worlds? Another argument is that they're the "future of ice dance in Canada" - which, again, this appears, IMO, to be about political relationships inside the organization and nothing to do with potential, and, more importantly - give me a fucking break. However, since they're the most DW-like dancers in Canadian skating, that would explain why Skate Canada is enabling the Virtue Moir take down. If Virtue Moir are rewarded, there's little justification for disproportionately rewarding Gilles & Poirier.

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    2. Well I haven't read the article - but if they actually pulled out the no funding card with Piper and all expenses out of pocket - well how do you explain that her sister - Alexe Gilles competed at nationals in Canada ? And then for a while Todd Gilles was training/competing with Emily Samuelson...oh yeah the Gilles family is really hard up for cash...I remember the first year that G/P got together and they had a long road trip in the US - no less in Piper's black Porsche SUV...and the hypocrisy continues...let me guess - who is paying for Christopher Dean's choreography? Don't think it's coming out of Carol Lane's or Paul Poirier's pocket...if anything the Gilles family is trying to buy positions in Canada since their daughters have stiff competition in the US...

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    3. Can you imagine being Vanessa Crone and seeing this article? Vanessa perhaps should give Meagan Duhamel a call and say that this article is an embarrassment period...

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    4. The Gilles & Poirier fan names huge sums coming out of "Piper's pocket" (I think 70K), as a sympathy card. This is a girl from a family who can put out that money in under two years and they think it's a sympathy card? They also think telling us that Piper trains five hours a day demonstrates her work ethic and qualifies her as much harder working than your average Canadian. It's simply insufferable.

      IMO there are no grounds to expedite her petition. She and her partner finished eighteenth at Worlds. There are two strong ice dance teams well ahead of Gilles & Poirier so Canada doesn't rely upon Piper to make a big contribution to Canadian prestige. Without Virtue Moir and Weaver Poje, there is Paul Islam. They aren't at the level of the top two, but they are certainly on par with, and IMO, better skaters and dancers than Gilles Poirier, and both are already Canadian citizens. How would the Ministry justify expediting Piper's passport so she can jump the line ahead of a skater (Alexandra Paul) every bit her equal, and, IMO, stronger, who is ALREADY Canadian? What would that say? We're giving preference to an American over a Canadian? We prefer an opportunistic American to go to the Olympics over someone who has always competed for Canada, who is every bit as good?

      Why are so few people questioning the memo that the only thing standing between G&P and Sochi is Piper's citizenship? Did Skate Canada guarantee Sochi to Piper if she agreed to skate with Paul? It seems like it.

      Why is nobody challenging Skate Canada's enormous, unjustified investment and heavy duty promotion in Gilles & Poirier, far out of proportion to their achievements? What have Gilles & Poirier been promised? What does Skate Canada receive in return? Skate Canada is blatantly more interested in G&P than they are in their own Olympic champs, in their pairs teams, or in Weaver & Poje. Paul Islam are just in the way and don't have a prayer. WHY?

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  11. Me at 8:51 am - hell Kevin Reynolds who actually won 4CCs this year and put in a solid performance at WTT - can't get some love from Skate Canada. Again - I am not a huge fan of Kevin's skating but really you Skate Canada if this is going to be the G/P show for the next couple of years - I'm out....actually I'll probably be out when V/M retire but u know what I mean...

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