Sunday, September 15, 2013

Three years in the making

I looked at the lift and cut it up into screen caps which I'll post a little later. (Done. Below.)

But here's what can be reported.

Up until that lift Meryl and Charlie are sliding and two footing and dragging instead of skating. "Persian" in Meryl and Charlie language = lunging. They're not dancing or skating and their skates and bodies are miles apart.

The component parts of the lift show, no surprise, that Marina has again used tricks to extend the move and make it appear more is going on than there is. Most of it happens before the lift. Charlie is planted on two feet and pulls Meryl past him in the shoot the duck. He turns around as she goes past him (both of them are still on the ice). We are still in lift prep, not in lift. The trick is in the lasso grip, which is straight out of basic pairs. When he pulls her towards him they are facing each other gripping with arms crossed (his right hand holding her right hand, left holding left). As he swings her past him (swinging her as she is still on the ice) their arms open up because they're now facing the same direction. She twists her lower body towards him from there, he adjusts 3/4ths as he swings her onto his shoulders.




The mechanics are - it's a lasso lift and she lands face down, pelvis plastered to his shoulder/neck,  as opposed to in pairs where they keep the hand hold until the lady is extended above his head. While she's in that position he hooks his left arm between her legs above her knees, up to his elbow, pinning her to his neck, shoulders, assisting her rotation to her back and the next position change.

When she rolls forward for the next position, her leg is braced against his bent leg. When Tessa slides into the crouch, she's carrying her own weight and maintaining lower body stability herself, not by bracing a leg against Scott.

Meryl's not on his back. She's on his shoulders and draped across his neck, his head and back bunched foreward. Shocker. The whole thing is a dressed up fireman's carry.






What I'd like to know is, is this the lift, or is this the transition into the lift, or the preparation for a lift? If it's the lift, there's no lifting going on. She's being dragged. There's no skating either. He's planted on two feet, she's on a flat being dragged. In the discussion on the ISU's new rule about interruptions, the judges need to determine if the interruption happened as part of the element, or if the skaters were merely in between or en route. Is this the element itself? If Charlie got a cramp would the judges consider this the element?

My favorite part is they don't even come near each other in this thing.
Until she's landed, they're arms' length apart. Their skates
and bodies are in different universes. Starting this far apart,
much of the prep on the ground, also facilitates that
run-the-clock down thing they love, as they need to close
 the gap before they can do anything. That seems to be why
re-set by separating so frequently.
Meryl is dropped super low to create resistance when Charlie yanks, so they have momentum when she's in the air and she doesn't have to use her core strength to keep her legs extended. However, she's not yet in the air, so she's not lifted yet. In fact she's the opposite of lifted. She's gone lower to the ice. It's almost like one of those shoot-the-duck entrances into a death spiral - one of the ones that drag.



And here's the actual lift. It's a pairs lift. I bet I could find shoot-the-duck lifts in pairs in juniors. But the lift only starts here.



He turns to face the same way she's facing as she plops across his shoulder his back face down.  As is typical with Meryl and Charlie, her pelvis is pasted to his shoulders. Their centers of gravity are locked together. This is nothing new.



A little boost there with his right arm, pushing her over the shoulder.



She's draped across his shoulder, not on his back, and hanging on with both hands. We've seen them in this position many times before.

I don't know what you'd call this, but she ain't on his back. Looks like she's on his head. His posture in lifts is, as ever, divine. Broken at the waist. Not in a lean from the pelvis with an extended line in the torso, a la Scott. Just hunched.


Look at his left arm - it's blurry, but it's hooked between her legs and she's completely on his neck/shoulders.


She's lying across his NECK, on her back, and he's got his arm hooked between her legs on her upper inner thigh. And that's the whole thing.

What a fireman's carry does is distribute weight across the shoulders to make it easier to carry something a longer distance. Charlie's got his whole arm hooked around Meryl's leg above the knee, pinning it to his shoulder. It also helps him push her down into her position change. When weight distribution varies as in many of Virtue and Moir's high level lifts, balance is achieved by the female partner distributing her own weight and carrying it, and the male's balance. The fireman's carry is for dead weight. Meryl is in a fireman's carry on Charlie's shoulder.

Everyone on icenetwork needs to revisit basic anatomy. She's not on his back, she's on his shoulders and his neck. It's a little dicey considering what I believe are the rules, and considering nobody can argue she's not supported there, given Charlie's arm. Last year there was talk when Tessa "sat" on Scott's shoulders as one of the positions she hit in the rotational but with her it's easy to argue she's carrying herself and not sitting up there. Here, we've got Meryl on Charlie's shoulders and neck and he's clearly bent over, and we can see his back, and she's not on his back.

42 comments:

  1. Why Meryl and Charlie agree to use the lift of T / C?

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    1. Do you mean Tessa & Scott? It's an insult to VM to compare this to their beautiful lift where she rolls over his back.

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  2. that lift is so sloppy

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  3. Just lovely. Meryl's legs going every which way, ensuring the position takes full advantage of her bent ankles, and Charlie's ass going in the opposite direction.
    If Charlie were to get a cramp from crouching over or from the stress of firmly keeping his 2 feet planted on the ice, while Meryl is in the shoot-the-duck position, I think this would be considered to be part of the lift. It's the only way he can get enough momentum to sling-shot Meryl up, so without it the lift would not happen.

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    1. That makes sense. So IOW, the first component of this "lift" has Charlie bent over, shoulders rolled down, feet planted, butt jutt, Meryl butt's nearly sweeping the ice, because as I surmised, the resistance created by her dead weight swinging from his arms is how they create momentum to sling her across his shoulder. Once her pelvis is draped over his shoulder/neck, he hooks his left arm between her legs to assist in turning her over and there she's posed, like a boa.

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    2. To assist in turning her over and also to keep her locked in place.

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    3. Exactly, she is not propelling herself onto his back, nor is he using upper extremity strength to lift her like a male pair skater would do. Their two hands are locked together control the direction.
      Look, not saying it's easy, but their technique, well the screenshots speak for themselves, don't they?

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  4. How does he not have any back injuries, what with his shit technique?

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    1. I guess he back is spared because Meryl is so petite, but even at that he looked pretty winded at the end of the program.

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  5. What the fuck is this? Monkey clinging to a tree, indeed.

    The Americans must be so proud this crap passes for their "best ice dance team"

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  6. Hey, did anyone else notice some structural and pacing/tempo-change similarities with V/M’s last programs?
    Here’s a summary of what I mean
    http://youtu.be/93PJ6dkkDe0

    Some subtle, some not so subtle. All of it really sad.

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    1. Well, there was that Marina quote that they'd skate each other's programs this year, but I can't find the article. I'd be terrified what that means for V/M, if I didn't completely trust their good taste (in skating, that is).

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  7. When Meryl rolls off his shoulder down to the front, she kneels on Charlie's knee.

    When Tessa rotates off Scott's back around to the front, she's carrying herself and is not on his leg or hip.

    110 points. This is a farce.

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  8. Three years in the making, and their technique is worse than ever, but the D/W ubers will tell you how much they've IMPROVED since Vancouver, so that's why they DESERVE gold, and you're all blind of if you don't see their improvement.

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    1. They'll tell you how much but they won't say how. They'll just recite a list of elements but not say what they've improved in the elements or the skating that relates to the judged standards or the criteria for the highest marks.

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    2. As far as I can tell, the only thing they've changed this year is they've slowed down their typical breakneck speed. As previously mentioned, this has served to expose their weaknesses even more. Heck they even found a reason not to promote their new found connection. Wanna bet any "tweaks" to their current programs will involve upping the speed (Since they can't rely on long edges and carriage)?

      So improvements, not really.

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    3. I was rewatching Prince Igor
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Odrn-svt_do
      and there are moments I think they'd be incapable of doing now. For some reason, their core strengths and their edges have completely disappeared.

      Also notice that Charlie didn't almost pass out at the end back then. Does he have late-onset athsma?

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    4. Is SLC at altitude?

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    5. It's not as high as Colorado Springs, but it's somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 feet.

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    6. But Charlie's out of breath pretty much anywhere these days, isn't he? I'm sure it's legit, but you have to wonder why it didn't use to be as much of a problem. As has been discussed before, they don't allow their skating to help them through a program, and therefore it's sheer stamina they use. Impressive, but not skating.

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    7. I think their speed is the same - they're not covering ice at great speed compared to Virtue and Moir. The lunging tries to cover a lot of ice, holding each other at arms' length tries to create the illusion of covering ice (because they're literally occupying a larger footprint doing that) but their blades are the same speed as before; they've just eliminated the scrambling feet and are using open choreography and leaning to visually occupy more space on the ice, making it look less small.

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    8. How is it even possible that their inferior skills are holding them up? You'd think this approach would expose their weaknesses, not do them any favors.

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    9. Because everybody is ignoring that they're not skating in between. They're skating WIDE open. Everybody has just decided to ignore the pumping, ignore the arms' length and the lunging and the two feet. They're ignoring the lack of speed because Meryl and Charlie are doing a lot of deep knee bends that make it look "sweeping". It's Emperor's New Clothes. Nothing on the ice is holding them up. The JUDGES are holding them up. Politics is holding them up.

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    10. Charlie does have asthma, yes.

      http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/olympics_blog/2009/03/strong-medicine.html

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    11. Nobody was suggesting he didn't have athsma, we're quite aware of the fact. My point is he didn't used to seem so out of breath, and is it because they're working against their skates the entire way through. (btw, that's NOT something that should be happening in figure skating).

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  9. what a nice lift! I would call it lifting sack of potatoes! that class that style! (pure irony). To say that the lifting of d / w are similar to those of v / m is how confusing the shit with nutella!

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  10. http://www.iceskatingintnl.com/

    "Davis revealed an interesting background fact in the press conference afterwards. Most ice dancers might think about what kind of music they want the following season, but they do not actually start working on the project until the season begins, and sometimes lose a lot of time because they can’t get the music just right.

    But not this team! “Charlie and I were really excited to debut this program. It’s a program we have kind of been crafting with Marina for a couple of years now, with some of the elements, and the music is something we’ve been thinking about for a while. ”

    They're going to deflect any criticism of ripping off V/M this way. Pre-empt more like it, they never have to deflect anything.

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    1. Yup, just like the judges asked them to keep a lift last year, and Meryl had always wanted to skate to Notre Dame, and it had nothing at all to do with dumping the Sinatra FD...

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    2. Meryl - just stop. This from a team that can't even put an interesting exhibition program together. Please if this was the final product of 2-3 years of love - then no you haven't pushed the boundaries of skating. I would be willing to be a little lenient on Meryl with the lifts if she was able to outedge Tessa, outspin Tessa, outtransition Tessa or skate on one foot longer than Tessa but that's not the case. Actually if the female US Olympic gymnastics team had to choose between Meryl or Tessa - it would be Tessa hands down. Actually they would take Maia Shibutani before Meryl. Yes perhaps I am being harsh but Meryl knows D/W are being gifted and to make this type of statement is arrogant. Basically their FD is designed for them NOT to fall. With regards to the back-pack lift - it might win some fans over - but it just emphasizes - exposes how little Meryl can do without being thrown like a projectile..it appears juniorish because Charlie is doing the work...you get the same impression when pairs team start working together - the guy just overpowers the girl..however at the senior level - the best teams are an equal partnership irregardless of height difference.

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    3. she is obviously insulting v/m since v/m recently said it took them forever to carefully chose their music

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    4. I don't think Meryl was insulting V/M about music choices...

      I'd like to look at it another way: V/M took so long to choose their music because not just any kind of music will do. V/M considered very carefully what they want to put on the ice for this Olympic season, what they want to say with their skating, taking into account how much they've grown technically and artistically. Even last season when they chose Carmen, a skating warhorse, they did so with the full intent of creating a fresh interpretation.

      Years from now, we will still be remarking on their audacity to take that modern direction. Who remembers Notre Dame as a program, even just a few months after its last outing? But many people from both fan camps as well as the more neutral fans are still talking about Carmen (for good or ill).

      Every lift, twizzle and footwork passage this Olympic season will have been created to fully serve V/M and Marina's vision for the Glazunov/Scriabin FD--of that I have no doubt.

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    5. What's funny is now some D/W fans are admitting ND was a weak program. Why they think this FD is strong is beyond me.

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    6. @Anon 10:04: bang on about taking a war horse and turning on its head. D/W's Shez routine is cliche down to the costumes...nothing new or memorable about the choreography (if you consider lunging, hopping, bastardized lifts and recycled juniorish twizzles choreography).

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    7. Meryl's extreme thinness and the very feminine costume help finesse what are clunky, awkward, etc. etc. mechanics and transitions. It's the difference between seeing somebody with three dimensional contours doing something and the illusion of Tinkerbell, tiny and sparkly, doing the same.

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    8. I also look at program talk as so much talk. It's storyline; it's part of the sales job - what inspired it, when it was decided upon, the whole works has, I'm guessing, more to do with telling a nice story than the actual process.

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  11. Saw Weaver/Poje's FD online. Wonderful tango character (unlike that other team in 2011).

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    1. Indeed...they actually looked like a man and woman dancing. D/W look like they're playing dress-up in Disney cartoon character clothing and masquerading as ice dancers.

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    2. Ahahahaha great!! so true!

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    3. It may be true but that's an immaterial distraction from the issue that counts - this program is empty. The skating is one dimensional, one directional, the team is skating far far apart, and they're using lunges and other low to the ice moves to create a footprint. It's simplistic and being touted as difficult. It may be difficult for a number of non-skating reasons, but it's not difficult or high level skating or ice dance.

      I want to break it up into gifs but I think it's better to wait until Virtue and Moir debut their long program and then compare. I have a feeling their program will have actual content.

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    4. Totally agreed, OC, and can't wait to see V/M's FD compares to this crap. But on the basis of this competition alone, W/P's FD had so much more content, difficulty and actual SKATING than D/W, and they certainly nailed the tango flavour than D/W ever did in their pathetic 2011 "tango".

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    5. Not to hijack this discussion to W/P lovefest, but I just saw their FD and LOVED it.

      The one move at 1:35 is more difficult and in keeping with the character of the tango than D/W's entire junk-ass 2011 FD:

      W/P:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kCH306U0tM

      D/W:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbF4Njyueiw

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  12. There's also a good SD analysis by BKFan on V/M's FSU thread. I love how we as V/M fans can back up why V/M are superior.

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