Monday, July 8, 2013

Marketing your way to gold

Apart from the Sale & Pelletier incident in 2002, which was more like a railroad job, has a figure skater or skating team successfully marketed their way to an Olympic gold medal against superior competition before, or are D/W breaking new ground?

They're so relatable!

We saw Meryl Davis sailing away with her Kelloggs Cereal on her Sunday sail, as you do. They're busy acquiring as many marquee names - like Derek "makin some shapes!" Hough as they can think of to help brand their upcoming Olympic programs. At the rate they're going their costumes will have to resemble NASCAR race uniforms.

This may as well be a "Four Your Consideration" campaign for Best Picture. Sochi will just be the venue for the announcement. The votes will have been cast already.

Their partisans are trying to create an issue out of what happened at the 4CC's 2013 with Virtue and Moir, and there's agenda all over that. That agenda is they want Virtue and Moir's scores to be lowballed through Sochi, to compensate for inflated scores at 4CCs.

They want us to believe Virtue and Moir were overscored at the 2013 4CCs, get out the memo that Virtue Moir are overscored, period. It's audacious, I'll say that. Silver medal and still overscored!

Nobody is talking about Davis and White's skating. It's all how Davis and White make people feel. And how unfairly they're treated. Once in awhile, they lose to a better team that outskates them every time they take the ice. Not that often, but from time to time. OMG - the humanity!

Some of their partisans are quite belligerant about how irrelevant they find the actual skating. And yet they think gold in Sochi in a freaking skating discipline is D/W's by right.

How much have we heard - if anything - about Meryl and Charlie's actual skating? Not "expression" - their SKATING?

How much have we heard about the stars who are helping them shape their programs?

How much have we heard about their Kelloggs sponsorship? How much have we heard about their work ethic and all around wonderfulness? The actual competition is a mere formality. #sochigold is inevitable, if this sport is to be considered legit. If North America is not to shame itself in Russia. If North American fans don't have their perception of the sport soured by the blatant and unfair score inflation for Virtue Moir. #sochigold. What's skating compared to matters of such urgency?

Over here, we have Virtue and Moir, who have tied their own hands. They can't counter market without tying themselves in knots. "Look - a bridal magazine shoot where we pose like a bride and groom even though we're only platonic and by the way look at me and Cassandra in Aruba!"

Thanks guys. That helps.

Virtue and Moir are completely checkmated, marketing wise, by Davis and White. Davis and White may be nothing like the cheery Disney-fied versions of themselves they instagram and tweet, sunny one dimensional personalities with only hash tags and exclamation points in their heads. But I doubt very much they've got a baby and a marriage with each other on the down low, which means they've got a whole lot more scope for this marketing shit than Virtue and Moir, who simply have not put themselves in a position to put themselves out there. Davis and White have got the field to themselves.

Even if Charlie were, say, secretly hitched to Tanith, that's not such a scandal. It might be a little bit shady to have his wife comment on the Sochi ice dance event, but that's not a big leap from having his girlfriend comment on the Sochi ice dance event, so big whoop. There's really nothing that could come out that requires them to tie their hands now. They are free to work it and work it til we're barfing up cornflakes. (And btw, I'm not suggesting Charlie is secretly wed to Tanith. Just that it wouldn't really matter.)

Virtue and Moir officially (and of course, hypocritically) claim to shun social media, but social media is where Davis and White are hustling themselves into a gold medal before they've even unveiled their programs. Every single thing they do on twitter and facebook is making the case that they DESERVE gold as people.

One would think that Virtue and Moir partisans would enter the arena with the strongest weapon available to them - Virtue and Moir's skating.

That would require their Federation in their corner, and their Fed has abandoned them now that the Skate Canada officials have determined Virtue and Moir have either declined to serve or no longer serve the personal agendas of these officials. They're not going to get the word out they way they do consistently with Patrick Chan.

Scott comes from a huge skating family, yet as connected as they are in figure skating in Canada they don't seem able or motivated or I don't know what to use their connections to make the case for Scott and Tessa based on sport.

Maybe it just goes against the grain to treat the public as capable of understanding this as a sport. But that's the only counterargument available to them, because it sure looks as if DW have gotten the message that this medal is not going to be awarded for anything that happens on the ice. Here's how they're railroading this thing before the competition even happens - if Virtue and Moir blink at the wrong time in the same competition where Charlie and Meryl are two-footing, leaping, hopping, skipping, clutching, dragging, knee sliding and otherwise junkyarding their way through their program - then everybody will scream that Virtue and Moir were overscored because of an ill-placed eye-lash flutter from Tessa. They'll scream it before the season starts, they'll scream it at every competition Virtue and Moir skate before they even meet Meryl and Charlie, and at the end the scores they got vis a vis Gilles & Poirier at the last two Canadians will look like inflation while D/W's scores - it's only fair - will make Yuna Kim's scores look like Rachel Flatt's.

80 comments:

  1. As far as the skating, my impression is that Virtue-Moir have the mindset of, "our skating speaks for itself."

    Well, it does as far as their legacy. But for winning medals in the here and now it has not done them any good to rely on that. If there had ever been a FD that "speaks for itself" it was V/M's Carmen. There's no other way to explain what happened but that the judges had predetermined the outcome. V/M's Carmnen is one of the best FD, if not the best, in the history of ice dance -- it didn't make any difference in the ISU politiking. Heck, even their own federation joined in the dirty games that kept V/M from the deserved gold medal.

    I don't see any indications V/M intend to answer all the media hype and politiking for DW. More fools them.



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  2. "Look - a bridal magazine shoot where we pose like a bride and groom even though we're only platonic and by the way look at me and Cassandra in Aruba!"

    Accurate. Depressingly so.

    Not even a word about their golf tournament. How much did they raise? Where are the photos? How gracious and charming were Scott and Tessa as hosts? The only thing that I know is that Cassandra and her friend shared a few drinks in a golf cart. Oh and Tessa posed with a sign. That's great!

    I can't believe that Skate Canada would just give up on the best ice dance team ever.

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    1. Skate Canada doesn't really exist at the marketing level we're dealing with here. At this level, the officials are busy marketing and positioning themselves. They've been doing that since 2006 and I don't see it changing with a president based in the US (who was also a judge at the 4CC 2013) and a CEO acquired from Skate Canada's only big name sponsor. Skate Canada - the officials - care about covering their ass, promoting themselves, and serving themselves. They care about the skaters only as it's a platform for themselves, personally. It seems clear that Virtue Moir decided not to be that platform anymore or SC decided there was more long term professional benefit for certain officials personally to promote and hobnob with the Gilles family. You can't get behind Virtue and Moir's skating and promote Gilles & Poirier. The former undermines the latter. How grateful were Virtue Moir, really? How much quid pro quo was going on there besides reflected spotlight? Likely things are more tangible with the Gilles.

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    2. Whether it's true or not it gives the impression that the Moir skating business is using Scott and Tessa. They got theirs. They got their bursary money, the people who attended got their photos with the Olympic champs, the relevant skating club facebooks got their albums updated with a few new pictures. They didn't see this as positive press for Scott and Tessa themselves. Carol Moir and Scott's brother and sister in law now have restricted tweets in order to maintain sham deniability, and that is of course of such tremendous use against the full court press of Meryl Davis's instagrams.

      Surely the Moirs know people with public twitter accounts who could instagram some great photos with friendly, accessible captions. But why should they bother? They got theirs. They'll be milking that cow all year and if the "kids" come home with silver, or worse, well they'll cry in the stands. What on earth could they have done?

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    3. They'll be milking that cow all year and if the "kids" come home with silver, or worse, well they'll cry in the stands.

      That's fucking sad and disgusting. Is everyone under the mistaken impression that we're dying to see pictures from Scott and Tessa's bedroom? Shit. We're all so starved for something ANYTHING that the fans will glom onto a single shot from the Olympic summit as if it's the best thing we've ever seen.

      I don't quite understand why VM are continuing to skate. Why not just retire and have another baby or Scott can marry Cassandra or whatever the case may be. Who's forcing them to keep going? Are they really happy? Tessa was so worryingly thin and worn down by the end of last season. How is she going to handle the pressure of an Olympic season? Is she actually healthy enough?

      They're not going to win the gold, that much is clear but what happens if they find themselves off the podium entirely.

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    4. "Surely the Moirs know people with public twitter accounts who could instagram some great photos with friendly, accessible captions"

      It's not like the Moirs don't know how to promote something VM-related through friends' or family's social media accounts. The did it all the time to promote Scott and Jessica and the same pattern continues, albeit to a lesser extent, with Scott-Cassandra.

      Oh, but then people starting realizing they were playing stupid mindgames with the fans and they all ran to shut down the accounts. They are so smart. Trying to make sure they can pretend to have clean hands re. the sham. Naturally, in the process they also shut down their best avenues for good PR for VM.

      What? Use all their clout and resources as a skating family and community to promote VM the SKATERS, with none of the asshole sham narratives? Well, whoever heard of such a thing.

      The incompetent idiocy. It's mind-blowing.

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    5. Nobody is "under the impression" we want tweets from Scott and Tessa's bedroom but the sham has spent a lot of time trying to create the impression that we do. That's some big ass sham they've engineered and kept going - they need a major rationale and guess who'll be left holding the bag as sex-obsessed, intrusive ubers? Us. Otherwise they've got that big sham that went on seven years and no good reason for it.

      The reality is there IS no good, real reason for how they did it and the amount they did and how they continue to do it, but they don't want to be that naked and leave themselves open to people wondering WTF is wrong with Ilderton & Co. All the guesses would probably be all too correct. So we're the scapegoat. Don't worry. Nobody has mistaken impressions. We're just a projection of their own unseemly obsession and lack of boundaries. We're gonna take the hit for who they are.

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    6. "They're not going to win the gold, that much is clear but what happens if they find themselves off the podium entirely."

      I'd say being off the podium entirely is a pretty safe bet. D/W are being given gold no matter what--no matter how they "skate" or how everyone else skates, even if they fall 15 times. Russia wants silver for B/S, and since the games are in Russia, that's done. France really wants a medal for P/B and they're the only French skaters in the hunt. Done. That means V/M are off the podium.

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    7. "I'd say being off the podium entirely is a pretty safe bet."

      It's not a safe bet at all. It's a sucker bet and if you take it, expect to be out a lot of money.

      There's a valid argument to be made that Davis and White's PR will continue to have some degree of impact on their placements this coming season, including a possible gold medal in Sochi. This post lays out the ways Davis and White's PR campaign is far superior (in another universe, practically) to anything Virtue and Moir are doing.

      But there is nothing that indicates Virtue and Moir will be dragged off the podium on account of a nefarious PR agenda meant to convince everyone they have no business being in the top 3 in ice dance. Their scores don't indicate that, nor do those of their non-Davis and White competitors. Look at last season's Worlds scores. In the FD, Cappellini and Lanotte finished 11 points below Virtue and Moir. Bobrova and Soloviev - 12 points. Pechalat and Bourzat - 15.

      There's good analysis based on trends, and then there's histrionic assumptions driven by fear and anger. Don't fall into the trap of the latter.

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    8. I think VM will win silver. A French team on the podium is not a given, look at 2006 and 2010.

      It doesn't really a matter. A silver would be a fucking huge slap in the face. A silver behind DW would give me the exact same feeling of accomplishment as finishing 25th in the SD and not even making the free. What a joke.

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    9. I agree with you, 7:53. I doubt very much that VM will finish off the podium because that in itself would become a scandal. I think it's gold for DW, silver for VM and bronze will go to either the French or the Russians, which ever one politicks the hardest.

      VM's PR isn't just bad, it's nonexistent.

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    10. "VM's PR isn't just bad, it's nonexistent."

      Now now, no reason to be upset. They do too have PR.

      Anyone who googles them will know all about their platonic passion and special friendship that loves to do things like Bridal photo-shoots that are just for fun. You will find tons of material of Tessa and Scott earnestly talking about their friendship that is not romantic.

      A google search also brings up lots of pictures and other goodies of Scott and Jessica and more recently, Scott and Cassandra.

      So see? They do have PR. It just happens to be all about their relationship that isn't. And Scott's pictures with his girlfriends. Made public to keep their all-important media message in the forefront. They stick to these talking points. Voila! PR!

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    11. I agree that Davis and White's PR is far superior to Virtue and Moir's nonexistent version of whatever it is they're defining as "marketing." But a careful reading of this blog's opinion on the issue indicates that even the blogger isn't claiming a Davis and White gold medal in Sochi is a given, or that Virtue and Moir should just retire and have more babies because there's absolutely no possible way for them to win.

      This blog has compared how the two teams operate in the public sphere (which includes using social media directly or via surrogates to try and influence public opinion) and I think has deduced (correctly) that Davis and White have the right approach, no matter how annoying it is (or some might find it). Their PR, combined with the media campaign facilitated by their federation, has worked to convince countless numbers of fans that Davis and White are on equal footing with Virtue and Moir in every respect. And of course their inflated scores back up that assessment (the two things are symbiotic).

      But, it's one thing to identify trends and use them to make predictions, it's another thing to go barreling down slippery slopes.

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    12. Based on trends only, my predictions for Sochi are:

      1. If Virtue and Moir skate two perfectly executed programs and Davis and White "skate" two "perfectly executed" programs = Virtue and Moir win gold medal.
      2. If Virtue and Moir have a few small stumbles during one of or both of their programs and Davis and White "skate" two "perfectly executed" programs = Davis and White win gold medal.
      3. If both teams have a few small stumbles during one of or both programs = Davis and White win gold medal.
      4. If Davis and White win gold medal, ISU/USFSA/American media declare win legit.
      5. If Virtue and Moir win gold medal, USFSA/American media question legitimacy of win. ISU doesn't give a shit unless American media makes big enough stink.

      How am I doing?

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    13. Sounds right to me.

      I predict Davis/White have the exact same twizzles with the exact same "character of the dance" for both the Finnstep sd and the free dance, with a lot of pseudo character of the dance gesturing prior to entering the twizzles and a big gesture or pose after exiting the twizzles - neither of which constitute doing the twizzles themselves in the character of either dance, and both twizzles will get full points for doing twizzles in the character of the dance. These will be the same twizzles they've been doing for four years with the addition of the hop entrance that makes things easier, but for the purpose of the ISU's physics-defying rulebook, is said to make it harder as long as DW are competing.

      They will attempt new "shapes" for lifts but the mechanics - two handed gripping, pasting their cores and centers of gravity together, and climbing down onto a pseudo edge (Meryl's skate blade inclined in space in an "edge" position but actually not balanced "on" the edge) while actually maintaining stability by hanging onto each other.

      They will continue to re-set their balance and stability by hopping. They will also generate speed by hopping. They will get off their edges after every element and prior to every element.

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    14. Anon 7:50 AM is on the right track but I'm not sure sure about the first premise. A perfect VM may need mistakes from DW. The narrative that DW's "clean programs" are perfect is being pushed HARD (and OC at 9:05 is completely right).

      I can see a perfect VM eking out a win over the "perfectly executed" farce by DW only by the slimmest of margins, probably on levels, but having to overcome a PCS and GOE lead from DW. Similar to the SD at 4CC.

      VM will need to get all level 4s and hope DW don't get them, in order to have any chance.

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    15. It's the fucking pcs and GOE bullshit - employed for the absolute opposite of what is actually going on with DW - that is truly obscene.

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    16. @9:40, two things work in Virtue and Moir's favor in the first scenario. One is that in the past, when they skate perfect programs (meaning, perfectly executed) and Davis and White also skate "perfect" programs (a lot of hopscotching in place of actual skating), Virtue and Moir win the head-to-head. The second is that Virtue and Moir don't generally hit their stride until right before Worlds (usually at 4CC). That's the point where they've finally removed the excess and can fully concentrate on upping their speed and power. Those two things in combination are what help move them past Davis and White (despite the latter usually having higher scores earlier in the season).

      I notice a lot of Virtue and Moir fans, upset about Davis and White's PCS and GOE hinkiness, tend to then run down the slippery slope and declare that a Virtue and Moir gold in Sochi is a lost cause. It is not. However, on account of the PCS and GOE hinkiness, Virtue and Moir will have to skate two perfectly executed programs if they want to win. And they *can* do that, because they've done it before. A perfect Virtue and Moir have always defeated a "perfect" Davis and White.

      Look at 4CC this past season. Virtue and Moir won the SD (by a small margin) and before they pulled up injured in the FD were out-GOEing Davis and White. I don't know if they would have out-PCSed Davis and White (given how the SD had been scored) but I'm guessing between both teams the difference in that mark would probably have been around half a point and in keeping with past trends, Virtue and Moir would have edged out the win. That would have put them in the driver's seat for Worlds.

      Instead, cue the mid-FD injury and all hell broke loose on the PR front. Virtue and Moir were made the poster children for abusing a rule and not being slammed enough in the points (even though they *did* lose points and their actions were well within the boundaries of the rule). Davis and White's win at 4CC put *them* in the driver's seat for Worlds. When they got there, Tessa's twizzle flub helped them out by providing cover for Davis and White's inflated scores.

      I foresee a similar trend playing out this coming season, albeit slightly tweaked given the need to peak in February instead of March. But Virtue and Moir are well aware of how to do that since they did it during the 2009-2010 Olympic season. If Virtue and Moir skate lights out (which they've done many times before), they win a second Olympic gold. Any other scenario = Davis and White win.

      I don't think the underlying intent of inflating Davis and White's scores is to ensure they win. I think it's to force more equilibrium at the top and make Virtue and Moir really "earn" their wins by forcing them into a fabricated rivalry.

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  3. Oh and if being right or winning this pissing match or whatever is more important to Tessa and Scott -- why are we all still here?

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    1. I don't think we need to share their priorities.

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  4. Why would Kelloggs want an anorexic spokeswoman, anyway...

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    1. You don't have to eat the cereal, duh. You just have to take it for a Sunday sail.

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    2. That is very rude.

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    3. no body shaming please

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  5. So apparently this Peter dude thinks that ice dancers have to write a whole essay on their music choices for the upcoming season, because really, who cares about the actual skating?

    This was one of his comments to a link he posted about the Shib's music for the 2013-14 season:

    I don't think I have ever seen such a comprehensive and detailed account of how they arrived at their music selection and the process it took and those involved in the process. It is so well written and explained. The article will add so much to the context of what we will see on the ice this season from them. It was very thoughtful of them to write all about it.
    But moreover it was definitely written for an audience whose importance is higher than we fans; aka the officials and judges. I think this will become more and more the norm in the future, for it should. It will be seen by those dance teams as mandatory to help give them a chance at medaling.

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    1. You know what would help your fucking context of what you see on the ice this season Peter? Knowing what you're seeing on the ice.

      Too obvious?

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    2. I thought it was very well written, and as I'm a big fan it was awesome that they shared it. But if skaters have to file paperwork about their programs to be treated fairly that is seriously messed up. Oh wait! That sounds about right.

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    3. Oh Peter - perhaps you need to go to the ballet, symphony, broadway show more often. I mean film makers, artists, musicians etc ALL go through a PROCESS...Anyone who is interested in figure skating gets that there is a PROCESS...don't get me wrong - there is nothing wrong with the Shibs describing their process but to actually imply that this should be mandatory for the officials and judges...well...if that's the case these officials should not be judges...perhaps if there was real journalism in this sport - they would cover this aspect. My two cents..

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    4. Say Peter, should all skaters be required to write an essay on their music selections, or just the ice dancers. I'm trying to imagine slogging my way through endless essays, written by people who have no business writing...what a tedious task that would be! The Shibs are gifted, both with words and video. I'd say they're more the exception than the rule.

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    5. I wonder what D/W's "process" would be: "Hi, we're D/W, we chose this big, brash piece of music to hide the fact that we can't really skate or dance, but gosh, we have great hair"!

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    6. What's really hilarious is that the ISU has emphatically insisted that this is exactly what they DON'T want.

      Alexander Zhulin was so voidy that he, literally, had to disburse a pamphlet explaining the concept behind UZ's 1991 FD and the ISU reprimanded it.

      The ISU 2010-11 communications stated FDs should use more uplifting music and be easy for the audience to understand. They specifically DO NOT WANT any explanations of the FD. They feel it is unnecessary. VM probably erred with the storyline-based 2013 programs, but in the past, the top teams usually did this and ended up winning anyway.

      This guy doesn't know what he's talking about. He seems to know nothing about the history of ice dancing, not to mention the technique as OC says.

      The ISU will give the medals to whoever they want. The decision always comes first; then they justify the scores. And that's usually the fans justifying, not the ISU. The ISU doesn't care at all.

      The answer to "what is mandatory for ice dancers in the 2014 season" is "whatever DW decide to do."

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    7. I agree that when you have the ISU doling out monster scores to a hoppy, skippy, non-skating, scurrying and two footing team like DW and it so happens that the penultimate od is the freaking Yankee polka and the Olympic od is the Finnstep, the fix is as in as it gets. We musn't let Meryl and Charlie be undone by the need to demonstrate big, extended run of blade patterns.

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  6. Anon here at 7:20 pm - just to add if D/W had such a great PROCESS system, then why has the USFSA during Champs Camp asked D/W to change their programs over the last 2-3 years...yes I would like an answer to that...I would also like to know what PROCESS the ISU used to have the Yankee Polka as the compulsory pattern this year for the seniors and the Blues for the juniors - if I am not mistaken...

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    1. "Yankee" and "Polka" are two words that should be banished from the English dictionary. I would have loved to see the Blues for the seniors...V/M would have melted the ice.

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  7. one thing meryl did wrong with that photo marketing wise - she's alone. what is she promoting? singles skating?

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    1. dude, you actually think that Meryl and Charlie *together* can promote anything? They're so fucking awkward around each other that it's cringeworthy.

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    2. thats true but i thought they were trying to promote their new connection?

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    3. oh right. they're almost like a married couple. well, maybe they're undergoing a rift right now. i hear that happens prior to an olympic season. give meryl a chance to blot her eyes and sniffle about how charlie doesn't truly understand her desire to go sailing with her cocoa krispies.

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    4. oh right. they're almost like a married couple. well, maybe they're undergoing a rift right now. i hear that happens prior to an olympic season. give meryl a chance to blot her eyes and sniffle about how charlie doesn't truly understand her desire to go sailing with her cocoa krispies.

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    5. She's promoting MERYL. And KELLOGGS. If that combination doesn't deserve gold in Sochi, what does?

      Neither she nor Charlie are promoting skating. Meryl is a darling and bff's with Tanith! Tanith is Charlie's gf! Charlie is the greatest and the nicest!

      It works separately or together. They deserve the gold. They will probably write a fabulous extra credit essay when they release their music, and the judges will take it under consideration when they evaluate Meryl and Charlie's skating on the actual ice, to see if their performance carries out their thesis.

      Because that's not fucking insane at all, PETER MURRAY.

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    6. I don't know about rift but we are sure to get companion pieces to last season's reveal that Meryl has struggled all this time with depth perception but never let it be known seeing as how she wants to be judged for her skating only except when it's directly before Worlds. Maybe it will be Charlie's turn to drop the tragic shoe before Sochi but my guess is Meryl since figure skating prefers tragic females.

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    7. wow thats nothing compared to CECS. i bet if you made fun of her because of that people would be up your ass OTOH people are allowed to make fun of tessa's leg cramp @ 4cc when they know she has been struggling with her legs for like years.

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  8. D/W buying their way to gold. Disgusting. We should all just form a group and promote V/M ourselves with the way V/M's non-existent PR is handled.

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    1. The corporate sponsorships and high-profile social media presence is a big help in promoting them but it's mostly the consistent message (don't talk about the skating! Just talk about the gold as if it's an inevitability - a coronation) that is doing the job here. It's concerted propoganda.

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    2. Except that VM have become somewhat of a joke pretty much everywhere and anyone admitting that they think they deserve the gold in Sochi is clearly out of their mind.

      In what other sport is the gold medalist determined by who most *deserves* it? A runner crosses the finish line first but he doesn't win because a competitor has been training super hard and guys, he totally deserves that gold.

      I'm certain that VM have been training as hard, if not harder than DW. We just don't see it. What we see is Scott vacationing in Aruba with a fake girlfriend. The reality is that they have the added bonus of a 2.5 year old daughter and a life that doesn't involve Sunday morning sails but rather time as a family.

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  9. The narrative of the DW sham (and it is just as much a sham as VM's) really needs to be analyzed and questioned by more people. Even their fans, deep down, know that Notre Dame was a steaming pile. So pointing that out isn't enough.

    For example, what exactly is so great about that Bollywood program, again (please, let's focus on the skating, not the bindi)? Yes, I went THERE. Why is that program so sacrosanct? Even many DW fans admit their CDs were not that great and Phantom was not a brilliant FD. The narrative is that this particular program was so good that it won them an Olympic silver medal. An Olympic silver medal is a pretty big fucking deal. They had never even been on the podium. We're supposed to buy that they definitely deserved at least silver, and maybe gold (because someone people "liked them better.")

    What was it about the Bollywood program that really deserved a medal?

    It was entertaining, it seemed to be a legit representation of Bollywood, the costumes were authentic-seeming, upper body, hand, and facial expression were all strong. What about the skating part? Take away the costumes and "exotic" look and what do you have?

    I see posing, two footed skating, the music and choreography expressed in hand and upper body movement, all pasted on to their usual footwork, twizzles, and lifts. It's not bad, but the dance isn't incorporated into the skating. From what I've seen of Bollywood you can do a lot with turns and low-to-the-ground positions (you know, like VM did with their Kalinka twizzles the year they finished 11th at Junior Worlds). How is this dance markedly different from that of PB or the Kerrs (substitute "American" posing) or FS ("Italian" posing)?

    A VM fan can explain exactly why VM's OD was different. The upperbody was outstanding, the facial expressions rocked, but that isn't really what made it a great ice dance. It was intricate, with a lot of quick footwork on deep edges that turned on a dime, lifts and elements out of no crossovers, difficult edgework in between the twizzles (PLUS "handography"), risky lift positions, they challenge themselves doing the footwork to a beat with no melody, hitting the rhythm perfectly... and all this, while being better at every basic point of ice dancing than DW (this is axiomatic).

    And oh, dare I say anything about Samson & Delilah? It is a nice program - really, I like it. But isn't it just gesturing prettily to pretty music, and then pretending to be "fast" when the music gets fast? What ELEMENTS OF FIGURE SKATING are different in that program? What elements of figure skating are different and great about Pink Floyd - tons.

    And S&D is their masterpiece program, the one they have been copying for years, as if it's on a par with Air, Bolero, or Mahler.

    This has been going unchecked for years because everyone took for granted that VM were better skaters (most of all VM) but the seeds were there, DW should not have been beating VM in segments here and there in 2009-10. Team sochigold has been carefully cultivating this for years, and VM, training at the same freaking rink, should not have allowed themselves to be caught unawares like this.

    I love all the ideas about the fans getting together and marketing VM and keeping the conversation about the skating, but this is a monumental challenge when the subjects themselves only want to talk about how they don't have sex with each other. A group of fans can't exactly compete with the marketing dollars behind DW's high profile sponsorships. SC had a concise plan with "own the podium" into Vancouver and they seem to have no plan at all for Sochi...

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    1. Samson & Deliliah was the original version of the new Charlie & Meryl - gesturing to music and pretending to be fast when the music gets fast. Everything subsequent to that has reworked the same game plan. Maybe looking back people find it fresh.

      There isn't a lot of partnering going on in the Bollywood o.d. Like most of DW's programs it's a great show program. This is probably the best of their show programs. I haven't looked at the Bollywood program in some time but as I recall, while it has a lot of work arounds their transition, unison, and partnering issues, it's a lot less cluttered than what they've done since. I wonder if they've gotten more frantic as a substitute for more powerful and greater difficulty. They haven't progressed as skaters since 2010 but they've gotten a hell of a lot busier, which passes as progress.

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  10. I heard from someone on Twitter that Cassandra is pregnant. Didn't someone say once that Scott was probably sleeping with her even if he is with Tessa? What if it's true. :( How is he supposed to focus on Sochi when his girlfriend is expecting?

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    1. Wasn't there a conversation a while ago about how far Scott would go with his sham girlfriends?

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    2. Does this come from Heather? She congratulated Cassandra with smth recently

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    3. It was a comment on Moirville's lack of taste and lack of boundaries.

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    4. Idk maybe. I heard it from a friend who's on all the boards and she said it came from someone who knew them on Twiiter.

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    5. Scott's not sleeping with Cassandra.

      But to me that's typical fan logic. Scott has a fake girlfriend so why not also sleep with the fake girlfriend even though the only reason he HAS a fake girlfriend in the first place is he's with Tessa. Banging the fake girlfriend would go in a circle and pretty much make the need to protect his relationship with Tessa a moot situation.

      The someone who knows them on twitter is likely the infamous Heather troll who appears to be trying to jerk Moir strings as assiduously as she jerks fan strings. A short time ago she hinted about "happy news" for the Cassandra/Scott couple.

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    6. Oh, then it's probably Heather. lol

      Didn't thought someone's still feeding the troll

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    7. Apart from your Heathers, I don't think Scott and Tessa have to worry much about fans coming to believe he actually had sex with Cassanddra. But considering that the sham with Jessica started before he married Tessa, that it continued during the period that they lie that they had a rift, and it continued after their marriage and during her pregnancy, good luck with fans keeping track enough to believe there was nothing going on. The cryptic image messaging they attempted at the end of that sham, bringing Tessa and Kate out from behind the curtain, for example, shuffling the players around so Tessa sat with Sebastien's arm around her and Jessica posed with Eric Radford a la how she often posed with Scott - is a little subtle for the sorts of people who are going to be fan fictioning their own reality. The fact that the entire thing was a charade DUE to the fact he was with Tessa all along will be hard for these people to remember considering the visible timeline is/was all Scott/Jessica.

      Also. I'm not a Jessica fan and I think she was the worst. OTOH, it's hard to bash her too hard for her original participation in all of this, considering she was a teen-ager and her Federation was up to its neck in the brilliance of the entire scheme. Why should she have been the one with the common sense? The original sham involved Skate Canada, the other members of the team, friends, family, and the excitement of increased public attention and anticipation of the Vancouver Olympics and potential stardom. There didn't seem much of a down side.

      OTOH we have a 23 year old woman and her mother, years after Vancouver, who decide yes, it will be a wonderful idea to pretend to be the girlfriend of a married man/father because maybe she and her brother can get some steam under their modeling ambitions.

      There's no excuse for those people.

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    8. Oh ok. So Cassandra isn't pregnant then. That's a relief! Why go around telling ppl she is then?

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    9. Anon I don't know if you're serious so we'll see as this conversation progresses.

      Heather is a troll. She's on twitter for attention. She started out acting "normal" on twitter - as normal as you can be when you join twitter and all of your tweets immediately start bashing fans who think Scott and Tessa are together, and extolling the wonderful Cassandra/Scott couple. This was the point where the Moirs thought Heather was a twitter asset and started following her for about five minutes, because after all these years stirring the shit on the internet they are still so so fucking stupid.

      Then this Heather person upped the ante and started taking potshots at Tessa. Then she started getting even more ridiculous. At the point where she became super ridiculous she stopped getting much attention. That's when she hinted at happy news for Cassandra/Scott - to try and get some attention. People had stopped feeding the troll, so she was trying to provoke a reaction.

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    10. Yeah I get that. Heather is obviously off her rocket but why say she's pregnant? I mean, won't it eventually be obvious that she's not?

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    11. She is just hinting around. She's not said it flat out - she's being coy. And she can be all "oh, so it's believeable that TESSA's pregnancy can be hidden but Cassandra's can't?"

      I doubt she will ever flat out say it. If she's who I think she is, she's just trying to bait. She can always hint she meant secret wedding, or bought an apartment, etc.

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    12. P.s., and with that let's table the topic of Cassandra's nonexistent pregnancy as a result of her nonexistent sex life with Scott Moir for now.

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    13. I just want to say that this:

      "The original sham involved Skate Canada, the other members of the team, friends, family, and the excitement of increased public attention and anticipation of the Vancouver Olympics and potential stardom. "

      made me greatly amused at the idea that Skate Canada and VM are not only half-assing PR for Sochi, they're even half-assing the sham now!

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    14. http://25.media.tumblr.com/b4da5966c4791c24a437f06c83fd0677/tumblr_mokjnquSYM1qz82gvo1_500.jpg

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    15. How much is Skate Canada even involved at this point? All of Barb and Debbi's focus appears to have switched over to Gilles & Poirier, which makes me wonder at the state of the relationship between Virtue Moir and those two, who were formerly very involved. Barb still has a basic role to play at events but Debbi has never seemed to have an actual job to do other than making herself visible and the amount of time Barb and Debbi spent on Virtue and Moir's bullshit suggested that neither of them did much real work. The sham was make-work for them.

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    16. "How much is Skate Canada even involved at this point?"

      Obviously Skate Canada isn't involved much, if at all. What is hard to understand is why VM don't take control of their own PR. Instead, they're half-assing the same stuff they and SC previously did to excess. It was terribly conceived then and it still is, so why are they continuing with the same game plan: relationship-status updates, Scott and fake GF on social media, highly restricted information to the public re. anything related to VM's public events (golf charities) or their training.

      It looks like VM are happy to let SC handle all of it and if SC doesn't want to get involved, then eh - let's leave everything on auto-pilot.

      They've grown up around SC and ISU politics. This indifference to how the system works is baffling when you consider Scott's family background in skating.

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    17. I actually suspect it's more that something has alienated VM and Debbi, since VM avoided being interviewed by Debbi all last season. Debbi had a lower profile until her terrifying reemergence as a live commentator at high profile events, but prior to that, even when she did interview skaters at an event, the skaters didn't include Virtue Moir. If I'm right, and then that would account for SC's lack of interest. Debbi and Barb never had any business involving themselves directly in the sham they way they did - in involving Skate Canada in a public hoax. But I believe their motives were self-serving since everything they do is self-serving, not for the greater good of the organization. For one, neither is qualified to do anything for the greater good of anything but their own self interest. I think it's a combination of Debbi and Barb constantly being called out, therefore bringing possibly embarrassing focus to their activities, and Virtue Moir intentionally putting some type of distance between themselves and Debbi.

      As to the sham I think the blog is right in its speculation that so much of it exists to occupy Moirville. They need to pretend there's a fan issue in order to justify what they're doing. Hell, they'll try to create a fan issue. If there's none, they'll make one up. The reason they don't have professional management - real professional management like the machine that handles things for Davis White - is because real professional management would nix both the game playing and Moirville's overinvolvement. Moirville wants to remain involved. I suspect Scott and Tessa want Moirville to remain involved in their so-called pr rather than have Moirville involve themselves in the skating or their personal lives. Of course members of Moirville could grow up and make these choices unnecessary, but I believe it's exactly as a comment here once said - they see Scott and Tessa as an investment and now is the time to reap dividends from a number of angles.

      It's always been notable that a parochial, nationalistic crowd like this one was perfectly willing to move their famous skating team to Michigan to be coached among Americans under the direction of Russians, but they take skating and competition seriously.

      OTOH, they find themselves perfectly capable of public relations and there's no need to involve professionals. I wonder what gave them the idea they knew what they were doing.

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  11. https://twitter.com/avaiay/status/355741830932996096

    Moirville, it's not nice to mock fans. Some fans can be crazy, but making a list of tracks that VM have skated to isn't really crazy at all.

    If this were DW or DW friends and family, they would be tweeting the person who made the list, thanking them and telling them how sweet and thoughtful it was.

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    1. Alma calling this "crazy fans" is rude. No wonder Tessa and Scott have no positive PR - with such loving family members looking out for their interests.

      This same woman thought it was hilarious to set up stings on facebook where fans expected photos of Scott and Tessa and she delivered Scott and Jessica. Oh yeah Alma, that wasn't crazy at all. It's the fans who are crazy. (Moirville are a bunch of ***holes.)

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    2. Technically it was a student of Alma's, not Alma herself, who used the #crazyfans hashtag. The tenor of the tweet still suggests something not nice about Alma, but it wasn't she herself who said it in this tweet.

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    3. "The tenor of the tweet still suggests something not nice about Alma."

      Exactly.

      So it wasn't Alma who used that hashtag, but it's certainly obvious her friend knows she will be in agreement and won't mind an invitation to mock Tessa and Scott's fans. Such nice people, having a public laugh over Scott and Tessa's fans.

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    4. What a bitch. If Alma had any class, she would say something.

      And that playlist is awesome. Listening now. Is there a way to download it?

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    5. IMO Moirville wilfully doesn't get how their use of social media reflects so negatively on their precious Olympic champions.

      Blogger is right. They've used social media as their private little playground and they feel entitled to do so, without regard for consequences. How is it a whole group of people think they can behave this way without a negative impact? I think it could be argued that Tessa and Scott have already been paying a heavy price--and they still don't change their activities or tone on social media. (*headdesk*)

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    6. Heaven's sake. It's one thing to claim fans are crazy for their preoccupation with Tessa and Scott's relationship (mostly manufactured yes, and they brought it upon themselves etc etc but still...) But now we're crazy because we enjoy what they do on the ice? I have a playlist of the music of all my favourite skating programs, does that make a crazy fan of every skater who made it on the list? Am I allowed to rewatch Tessa and Scott's skates on youtube? How many times, is there a number? What if I upload it for other people to watch too? These folks are a rare breed indeed. Contemptous that we actually have an appreciation to Tessa and Scott's skating. Un-bee-lievable.

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    7. um what? i dont get that tweet.

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    8. That lady is looking for an excuse to make fun of fans. The playlist is one of the most innocuous of fan activities I've ever seen. Most skaters would be charmed.

      Considering how incredibly preoccupied these people - including this student - are with Scott and Tessa themselves - to the level of fans and beyond - it takes gall to point the finger at someone else, but maybe that's the point. They themselves are over involved and proprietary to a suffocating degree. Pretending fans are the real problem is easier on the ego.

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  12. Twitter definitely appears to be the shamming media of choice these days. https://twitter.com/lzielinski73/status/355949656460640256

    Reading down this girl's page further, she was exchanging tweets with the same girl who posted the #crazyfans thing yesterday. The girl's followers and following list seem to indicate involvement in skating, so I googled "Laura Zielinski." Lo and behold, she was a member of the UWO skating team for several years and thus coached by Alma.

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  13. I think this post was ill conceived given all of the V/M publicity of late.

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    1. No, because VM's publicity is about their personal life. Even the ad for Focus media's new documentary switches from advertising a look at Virtue and Moir's Olympic preparations to remind us of the "intense interest" fans "around the world" have in their "unique" personal life.

      None of this has the relevance, or effectively counterprograms, Meryl and Charlie's publicity, which is everywhere presenting them as the deserving Sochi Olympic medalists whose gold medal is assured if the judging is honest.

      Furthermore, on other message boards there's been an argument that Virtue and Moir are correct to emphasize their personal lives, seeing as their couples forum on fan forum gets more participation than the skating forums. The blog is also cited as evidence that Virtue and Moir are responding to fan interest in their personal life.

      No they're not. These forums are REACTING, often in frustration, to Virtue and Moir's manipulation of the fans and misreprsentation of the fans, in particular their misrepresentation of fan attitudes towards their personal life. Fans aren't creating the focus, they're reacting to instigation by Virtue and Moir.

      This blog doesn't discuss their personal life so much as discuss the lies about the personal life, and their manipulation of fans.

      The fan forum thread is an established community going back to 2010. Even though the original thread was a fangirl thread about their relationship, that, too has evolved to its own animal where skating is discussed more frequently than Virtue and Moir's own publicity discusses skating, and where great frustration is often expressed with Virtue and Moir's social media tactics and public relations baiting. I think many fans are also frustrated with Virtue and Moir continuing to misrepresent their supporters in the mainstream media.

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    2. Your take on the general attitudes on fanforum is exactly right. We who post over there are sick and tired of VM's relentless emphasis on their personal relationship.

      Everyone knows how these things work, that VM beforehand arrange to assure this is brought up, thereby providing the excuse to repeat how unique and platonic they are.

      They beat a dead smelly horse that by now we all hate. Where is the pr about the skating? That's what the fans care about.

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