Saturday, March 22, 2014

Why are people in figure skating so concerned about perception?

I haven't subjected myself yet to the interview where Tessa Virtue wishes people would not focus on the scandal, the better to bring credibility to the sport.

Tessa Virtue, ladies and gentlemen.

You know what would bring credibility to the sport, Tessa? If the sport had credibility.

The language used when skaters talk about how the public sees figure skating is always so sketchy and WTF.There was Sinead Kerr jumping onto twitter complaining that VM interrupting their 4CC's Carmen hurt the "perception" of the sport.

What actually hurts the perception of the sport, and will continue to hurt the perception of the sport, is that it's fucked up and corrupt, secretive and shady, and lacks all accountability.

What hurts the perception of the sport are communiques as dead honest and earnest as this one, from South Korea:
"We had to be extremely careful with our action because filing a complaint may adversely affect our relationships with the ISU and international figure skating judges, which could put our athletes at a disadvantage at future competitions," the statement read. "However, after deliberating over what would be the best course of action for our people, we decided to appeal with the ISU."
The ISU Constitution and General Regulations state that "no protests against evaluations by referees, judges and the technical panel of skaters' performances are allowed." The ISU also states that protests against results "are permitted only in the case of incorrect mathematical calculation."
However, under Article 24 of the ISU Constitution and General Regulations, complaints may be filed with the ISU's Disciplinary Commission "within 60 days of learning of the facts or events which constitute a disciplinary or ethical offense." The KSU and the KOC said they believe the composition of the panel in Sochi was in violation of the ISU's ethical rules.
What? WHAT? Is South Korea saying that if its complaint is taken amiss, the ISU may see to it that South Korean figure skaters skating according to the rules of CoP will have their scores fucked with in retaliation? South Korean skaters' levels and GOE and components  - the stuff that quantifies what a skater did on the ice, and nothing more or less - will instead actually reflect the ISU's displeasure with South Korea filing a complaint?

Tell me more, South Korea! How does the ISU get this done, exactly? You file a complaint, suddenly your skaters aren't making the final flights. Who issues the directive? It's not "The ISU". It's not a whole bunch of judges individually reacting as one to this complaint and individually deciding to jack your skaters' scores. It's a person. Somebody has to tell them to do it. Who?

Why are the public faces of the sport - the skaters -  more concerned with how the sport is perceived rather than how it is? Why are they eager for a disconnect between perception and reality?

Perception: Tessa and Scott interrupted their program and were allowed to go back and finish! How is that fair?
Reality: Tessa and Scott interrupted per the ISU's own rules.

Why wasn't THAT explained instead of all the oh oh oh oh oh oh hurting the perception! The ISU has/had a rule. Tessa and Scott were within that rule. Instead of the incredibly shady shade thrown left and right immediately suggesting Scott and Tessa were faking, how about explaining that they acted according to the ISU's rules on interruptions?

Why so assbackwards, skaters who threw shade? A little quick-triggered and oversensitive, are we?

Desired Perception: Judging is fair, DW brought it and skating is a wonderful, legitimate sport.
Reality: The results in ice dance have been predetermined for at least the past two seasons (and probably more). Any comparison between what DW did on the ice and what the ISU rules say they ought to have done on the ice in order to get the scores they received demonstrates that without a doubt. The sport is corrupt.

If figure skating were a real sport, staffed by officials who didn't use the mafia as their role models, someone like David Dore would register a strong objection/protest to South Korea's suggestion that the ISU would ever ever retaliate against a Federation's skaters for that Federation filing a complaint about a competitive result. But I bet it doesn't bug them. I bet nobody in the media who followed DW/VM and Slotnikova/Yuna Kim is going to go - wow, a whole entire Fed just announced, humbly, that the governing body of this terribly legitimate sport will possibly retaliate against the Federation's athletes on the score sheet if it doesn't like that the Federation filed this complaint.

They'll just let that statement sit there, and continue to tell us how on point DW's scores were versus VM. Scores that have no relationship to what was skated only happen when Russians are on the ice or on the judging panel.The ISU itself is A-Okay.

Obvious relational associations and logical implications are disregarded in the media coverage of these events. Just leave em there on the ground.

To conclude, let's note that the Korean Skating Federation has just told us that the ISU is perfectly capable of controlling/directing the international judging community to score a skater and event per an agenda that has absolutely nothing to do with the skater's performance on the ice (retaliation, or say, directing a particular team towards a gold medal at the Olympics). Not at one event, but systematically, going forward. However did South Korea receive the impression this was possible?

I can understand why a liar like Tessa would be reality averse, valuing perception over truth but I don't think she should be doing psa's about it on Strombo.

P.S. I found this 2011 article: David Dore and figure skating that quotes both David Dore and Christine Brennan. David Dore is described thusly: "One of the smartest and most profound international officials in figure skating today."

Gee I wonder what THAT pre-interview was like.

The topic is the International Judging System.

"Everybody has an agenda and you have to play your own game."  explained Dore.

"The new system is still undecipherable for civilians" said Christine Brennan.

Let me ask you Christine. Did you ever make a first-hand attempt to understand the new system or did the word "factored' pull you up short. Did you ever give yourself a boost by learning anything about blade work, steps and turns? Or did you look at it and go shit, that's a lot of decimal points and small type, nobody's going to understand it cause I don't!

"These are really difficult times for figure skating in terms of the sports media," said Brennan. "[Coaches and officials] need to think about ways to make it [more] interesting."

The thing with Brennan is she gets all her stuff from the people whose perspective is overcooked from being inside the sport too long. She doesn't act like a journalist and get that bird's eye view.

Does the "Ice Challenge Competition" discussed in this article actually happen?  It seems to be a competition for former champions and medalists, like the old pro comps.

Like any community, the inner workings of the ISU are complex and sometimes challenging, but it can work if you know how to work with it.  "The culture and concept of the ISU is that it’s a team," said Dore, who urged coaches to be smart, innovative and creative in terms of utilizing the IJS.

Uh huh. I don't exactly understand what is being said in this paragraph.

Okay, I figured out why that last paragraph is a WTF. This article isn't making sense. It's not explaining, connecting, or linking the supposed issues it's addressing into a coherent statement.

Let's look:

1. As I understand this article, it's saying the "new" judging system is a marketing challenge because the general public doesn't understand it and it takes longer for the scores to pop up when skaters are in the kiss'n'cry.

Okay, I see. But then there's this:

2. "Everybody has their own agenda and you have to play your own game."

What does that have to do with the UJS. Agenda in what respect? Agenda about what? Play your own game about what?

and let's look at this:

3. "Like any community, the inner workings of the ISU are complex and sometimes challenging, but it can work if you know how to work with it."

Yeah, no. That's not "like any community." Furthermore, complex generally means there are multiple components, not that nobody knows what the fuck is going on. How come this author (and Dore) aren't laying out what the "inner workings" are, what is so complex about them, and telling explicitly what the challenges are? How does one learn to "know how to work with it." What are examples of people who have successfully worked with it? What did they do? What challenges were presented? What is the wrong way?

I understand that might be a tough challenge when nobody's telling us what "it" is.

IOW, bullshit bullshit bullshit. They're telling us nothing here.

P.S. I also suspect it's likely that the Letter of Inquiry the ISU sent after Virtue Moir interrupted Carmen at the 4CC's was the ISU simply capitalizing on the event to throw shade on VM and enable the DW narrative. If the DW trajectory weren't the agenda, no letter of inquiry would have been sent.


  1. In the "Off the Record" interview, this exchange happened:

    Host: "People talk all the time about the judging...that it's pre-arranged, or whatever. But isn't it true in your sport, and I'm just talking about ice dancing, people very seldom screw up the way they would falling on a jump...that if you skate your best, and if the Americans skate their best, the judges will have decided in advance who they like and who they would give the gold medal to, is that fair?"

    Scott Moir: "I think that's fair to say in our sport, particularly, yeah. But now that we've been working and trying to evolve ice dance, it's a lot more athletic, there's a lot more chance you're going to go out there and make a mistake, it's very technically demanding, the timing of the lifts, but yeah. I think there's probably a predetermined winner."

    So right there, Scott admits the judging is likely predetermined. He has put it on the record, so to speak. That is followed by this:

    Host: "No matter what happens, no matter how bad you think it is, you can't talk about the officiating while you're still skating 'cause they'll make you pay."

    Tessa goes into one of her rote answers about how she and Scott can't pay attention to the officiating and the host interrupts her and tries to stop her from stepping around the question he asked. He continues:

    Host: "...I'm talking about afterwards. You can't go and say 'we were robbed.' Like you just can't do that. I'm not saying that you were, or that you thought that" (he's giving them a BIG OUT in that moment) "but you have to be politically correct."

    Tessa Virtue: "Yeah, it's a slippery slope, and mostly we just want credibility for the sport. We don't want to have those rumours flying around. We don't want people talking about the controversy. We want them focused on ice dancing."

    The host follows up by saying: "controversy is healthy, though," to which Tessa replies "it's true."

    1. (continued)

      I think there is a big (monumental?) difference between the credibility of V/M's skating and the credibility of the sport of ice dance (or figure skating in general).

      V/M's SKATING is credible. They skate programs that meet (and brilliantly stretch) CoP guidelines and they do it with more precision, speed, and power than any other team today. There is not one edge, transition, or element that is *not* credible. In that sense, they *have* brought credibility to the skating ON THE ICE.

      However, the skating is only part of the equation. It is up to the judges to properly apply the judging system and to the ISU to ensure it is properly applied. Neither one of those things is currently happening in ice dance (especially not where D/W are concerned). The culture of the sport facilitates the corruption that allows for predetermined results to occur, and if anyone tries to question those results, they are punished. A sport that functions in that manner has no credibility.

      A couple of things stand out in that "Off the Record" interview. The first is that there is no distinction made between the credibility of the skating and that of the sport as a whole. If Tessa was trying to make that distinction, she failed in doing so clearly. If she was *not* making that distinction, she's flat out wrong. The second thing that stands out is the argument the host makes (and which Tessa agrees with) that "controversy is healthy." That is a dangerous and oftentimes incorrect assessment, based on the argument that "all publicity is good publicity." Controversy such as exists in figure skating does not give the sport credibility, it destroys it and instead reinforces the image of it as a niche, corrupt, non-sport.

      While no one WANTS to focus on scandals or controversy, as long as the sport's culture facilitates corruption up to its highest levels, it will not change unless it is forced to do so. The only way to force it to the change is to bring the corruption out into the light.

    2. Just as an aside, sometimes I wonder about Tessa. Her and her tuning out. Tuning out is not the answer to every fucking thing, Tessa. I'm saying this in reaction to her initial attempt to deflect the question by pretending he was talking about what they can and can't think about when they're about to skate. "We step on the ice in our bubble."

      However, reading your transcription, I realize I have, indeed, watched this section. And I'm of two minds about what Tessa said re: credibility. She could be saying "We want talk about scandal to go away, because it hurts the credibility of the sport." Or she might be saying, in an attempt at diplomatic framing, that she and Scott are not addressing these subjects (scandals, scoring) because they're poor sports, but because when these things (dubious outcomes) happen, and people talk about it, it hurts the perception of the sport. IOW, they're trying to say - this isn't about sour grapes. This is about how the sport is damaged when predetermined results become what the public focuses on, instead of the skating, and we care about that. It's not just us being selfish.

      She is saying she hates that the focus is on scandal. I'm not positive if she's saying she wishes people wouldn't talk about it, or she wishes there weren't scandal for people to talk about. I think my first impression (now that I know it was this interview) was the latter, but with her, one can't know for sure. She did try to deflect as her first response.

    3. The interviewer gave her a big OUT after she initially deflected the question, but not before Scott looked like he was about ready to jump in front of her and take the bullet for them both.

      In interviews, Tessa is usually far more rote than Scott in her replies. She rarely deviates from the answers to the prepared talking points, going so far as to twist herself into knots or go scrambling around so she can bring the question back to where she wants to answer it a certain way.

      She said she wants the public to focus on "ice dance." It's not clear what she meant but it *could* be the skating only, though I wouldn't automatically assume that with her because she can lie and circumvent with the best of them.

    4. I sort of think the host meant to be saying that we shouldn't run away from or bury controversial issues, but acknowledge them, address them, confront them, work them out. I took his statement as saying denial is unhealthy. I didn't take it as meaning controversy = hype and no publicity is bad publicity. He is faced with two people (Scott and Tessa) who deflect, redirect (especially Tessa) and answer with pat, overly processed sound bites instead of forthrightly. He's got Scott antsy and ready to jump over the chair and Tessa looking less than at ease, all because, IMO, he's using a tone that suggests he's actually interested, actually cares. Even though this is territory Scott and Tessa wanted to cover, he's not going through the motions. He's actually listening to and processing their answers, and I think that throws both Scott and Tessa off and puts them on guard. He can see their discomfort, so he's making a reasonable point (or implying it, in my mind, and that's just my read) - listen, this isn't something to squirm away from, it's healthy to talk about controversial topics, instead of running away from them.

      He said it as: "controversy is healthy" but given the dynamics of the exchange - Tessa trying to get it back to the little pat, sound-bitey world, the interviewer prompting more of a "real" answer, which gets Scott and Tessa both shifting and tensing, I see it as, in part, a response to their discomfort. As in "look, this isn't adversarial, this shouldn't make everybody - you or your sport - uncomfortable. It's healthy to talk about this stuff, right?"

      I am almost sorry he took this tack, because he can't pursue it. He even said it - you can't say "We were robbed" because they'll make you pay. And Scott and Tessa can't really agree with that because that's pretty much saying we were robbed. He seems to lightbulb that after saying it and he rushes in to say "Not that you're saying it or believe it!" So he sort of takes that genie out of the bottle and then tries to stuff it back in, because if what he just said is true, then Scott and Tessa can't admit it's true.

      This really interests me:

      "A couple of things stand out in that "Off the Record" interview. The first is that there is no distinction made between the credibility of the skating and that of the sport as a whole. "

      If I understand your point, then I think nobody discusses the credibility of the skating AT ALL, because ice dance has proactively worked to make sure that's a no go area, and everyone who comments on the sport have apparently been instructed to tell us ice dance is about impact and effort.

      The actual problem in Sochi was the lack of credibility in DW's skating. DW were again, massively overscored and did not do what the protocols record them as doing. Everybody who pursues the topic of "unfair result" with Scott and Tessa or "We were robbed" comes at it by first stipulating that DW were great, BUT.

      DW were not great. And while Virtue and Moir's skating has credibility, DW's does not. That is where the proof of malfeasance and predetermined results lies - in DW's skating. Once you start talking about skating credibility in ice dance, it's out in public that DW didn't do it. And that's why the topic of skating credibility isn't addressed, other than a mild opinion that VM were somewhat better and ought to have won with DW second. For all the blather about predetermined and scandal, everybody certainly avoids the one area where the proof is in the pudding. It's not behind closed doors. It's right there on the ice.

    5. Well, it might be that Scott *tried* to talk about the credibility of the skating when he mentioned how he and Tessa have tried to push the sport and that it's more athletic than ever before. But neither one made a distinction made between that and the sport, it's sort of all lumped together. It could be they *want* them lumped together, it's hard to say. But if the conversation is going to be about how this stuff needs to be talked about but can't be, it means everyone agrees there's something wrong in the first place. It's ridiculous to say "we know there's something wrong in figure skating but we can't talk about it or else we'll be punished" and expect people to accept that as a credible sport.

      I've mentioned it here before (though it was long ago now), but in the rare moments he has been truly candid about the SKATING, Scott Moir has proven himself to be the smartest guy in the room. So it seems like he especially, but Tessa as well, *want* the focus on the credibility of their skating and on how they will NOT sell it out ever (which is truly ironic since they'll sell out everything off the ice). So in that, they have integrity, though I am not naive enough to believe they have never benefitted from the system in other ways. But if they don't differentiate between the skating itself and the sport (meaning, the skating + how the judging system is applied), those two things are conflated and that does no one any good. I know they *can* differentiate between the two because Scott in particular has done it in the past.

    6. Might I mention that even in the infamous "moms" video, skating was dumbed down for us. Alma Moir, who has coached for eighty billion years and is a skating fanatic, kept telling us that Scott and Tessa needed to make "their Scott and Tessa mark." That sounds like impact-speak. Scott and Tessa's actual mark is that, as 9:29PM writes above:

      "V/M's SKATING is credible. They skate programs that meet (and brilliantly stretch) CoP guidelines and they do it with more precision, speed, and power than any other team today. There is not one edge, transition, or element that is *not* credible. In that sense, they *have* brought credibility to the skating ON THE ICE. "

      The problem with emphasizing that they've brought credibility to the ice is it implies credibility was lacking elsewhere. It seems forbidden to talk about that. If they talk about their skating qualities, explicitly (instead of just on the ice) connect it to CoP requirements, standards, then people start wondering why that's so special. Isn't everybody doing the same thing? Why is it a stand-out that somebody's skating is credible and actually takes the rules and ups the ante?

      That's a hornet's nest, given DW. Because DW aren't doing any of it, Scott and Tessa are unable to point out that they're doing it, lest they bring upon themselves and theirs a South Korean-esque fate.

    7. It's a testament to the absolutely corrupt nature of the sport that the skaters who best embody what the judging system is designed to reward, and who bring it on the ice in every respect, would be punished for pointing that out in the first place.

      I think there's also a difference between popularity and credibility. The sport of figure skating can be both popular and credible, or it can be popular and not credible. It's easy to assume the ISU doesn't care about credibility unless its lack of it threatens the sport's placement in the Olympic Games (and even when that threat is made the culture surrounding the sport has prevented the judging system from being properly applied). But if that's the case, why are skaters like Sinead Kerr crying foul about perception? Why the hell should it matter?

      Oksana Domnina is one of the only people who was ever honest about the situation regarding V/M, regardless of whether it was meant as a genuine compliment or a slight.

    8. Sinead Kerr bugged because she went after skaters, not the ISU. If she has a problem with the rule, speak up about the rule. Make it clear you understand that these skaters observed the rule and did nothing untoward. The way she tweeted she implied Scott and Tessa abused the rule or took advantage of something.

      Scott and Tessa are doing the same thing, only with Marina. Find a low ranked scapegoat, use them to divert attention from those in power.

      Figure skaters bitch about perception all the time, and always in the cheapest fashion. Look at Ashley Wagner talking about how it hurts the sport when someone wins with a fall. That's perception. Let's say Adelina skated her program clean and Yuna Kim skated her program clean - does that eliminate the problem with the result? Would everyone have been okay if Slotnikova hadn't stumbled? I don't think so. There were other issues. That was stupid framing by Ashley - plus maybe not so pc considering she fell left and right at her own Nationals and still ended up on the Olympic team after finishing off the podium.

      >>>It's ridiculous to say "we know there's something wrong in figure skating but we can't talk about it or else we'll be punished" and expect people to accept that as a credible sport.<<<

      Those who cover the sport in the sports pages on and off line try to paint lipstick on the pig all the time. They report that some type of grapevine reached Virtue Moir to change or not change the goose dismount, the Farucus lift, somebody - oh who cares who - suggested the Seasons straight line be simplified, blah blah blah. Nobody does the basic who what when and where. They report on the sports cloak and dagger as if this is just PART OF THE SPORT. And then when something like Slotnikova versus Kim happens (because DW are American, therefore there was no problem with that outcome) they're crying for an investigation because somebody has sullied a totally straight up sport, and you know it was Russians, the only consistent blight on skating's integrity.

      Does it cross their minds that if competitors are hearing things through back channels, without reference to specific rules, and without clear, instruction, with zero transparency, that this is not a sign of a sport that has any legitimacy? It's not some cute figure skating cultural quirk, like they pretend it is. It's dirty. They write about it both ways, it's got all these very special secret ways of running things, but please shut up all you paranoid hysterics who claim this last competition's results were rigged.

      I also think there's a reason everybody focuses on what Virtue and Moir do or did and not on DW. Even those who think Virtue and Moir ought to have won have not bothered to look at DW's skating, compare it to the top five, and wonder why they aren't doing anything the others are doing, and yet were given WR scores and gold.

    9. I don't know why all of these skaters in a sport where corruption is embedded in the system and directed by those at the top are so concerned about perception. Hey kids, your sport IS a seething clusterfuck, accept it and deal. Maybe it's just overcompensation - the sort discussed when we've discussed how VM telegraph their lies. Maybe it's because the sport is SO corrupt it makes everybody self-conscious, so everybody pretends to be super, utterly, totally ANTI corruption - corruption is bad! But, they can't go after where the corruption exists, so they make little shows of piety about VM interrupting Carmen, Chan winning after falling, Slotnikova beating St. Yuna. All this perception obsession might just be the sport telegraphing that they know it's corrupt.

    10. I meant to add, in my comments about how sportswriters enable the self-canceling narratives presented by figure skating, that, again, a major Federation has bravely, and with excruciating courtesy, filed a complaint while explaining they had to tread carefully lest the ISU - not a Russian, not some judge married to a Federation bigwig - the fucking ISU - RETALIATE by crushing its skaters under its big boot and putting Korea on the blacklist. They didn't say "We hope this doesn't happen." They said they knew they were risking this, so had to tread carefully.

      What did figure skating "journalists" say?


    11. Another common interview answer as of late (usually out of Tessa's mouth) when asked about the Olympic results is "we knew what we were getting into," meaning when they decided to do competitive ice dance in the first place.

      I don't know what that means. They knew they were getting into a corrupt sport? That it can and will turn on skaters? Is she only trying to speak about the judging system being subjective, that a skater/team won't always win even if they've earned it on the ice, and they can't control what the judges do? (Though subjectivity and corruption go hand in hand in figure skating.)

      SOMEONE controls what the judges do. Something that drives me up the wall is how EVERYONE wants a pass in that regard. As you've said, the ISU is people, it isn't some omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent entity no can see. Everybody fears punishment for speaking out. WTF? IS THIS A LEGITIMATE SPORT OR THE HUNGER GAMES ON ICE?

      If someone wants the skating and thus, the sport to be credible, how does "we know what we were getting into" work into that equation?

    12. Subjectivity is used as such a blanket term in figure skating and it shouldn't be. It definitely does not apply to DW v. VM. DW are flat out not doing it. There is nothing to weigh and compare. There's very little to evaluate vis a vis VM. It's simply not there. It's a flat out heist.

      I actually just looked up the definition of subjectivity:

      "Subjectivity is the condition of being a subject: i.e., the quality of possessing perspectives, experiences, feelings, beliefs, desires, and/or power. Subjectivity is used as an explanation for what influences and informs people's judgments about truth or reality."

      You know one of the major things in figure skating that is meant to influence and inform people's judgment about truth or reality on the ice? The RULEBOOK. Also, knowledge of skating technique. There is nothing subjective about a flat. There might be margin calls such as a shallow edge, but when someone is flat out on a flat, it's not a forward outside edge. When someone is hopping they're not stroking. When someone is skating face to face with their partner an arm's length apart, they're not skating close together.

      This sport isn't really that subjective. CoP was meant to make it even less subjective.

      Subjectivity comes in when weighing similar values. I've used the example before of a skater with a fast (meaning ice coverage) contact-packed program executed neatly and a skater with less content but huge, textbook elements and a run of blade that has them sailing across the rink.

      Subjectivity isn't awarding gold and high pcs to a team of skaters who defy the rulebook. That's corruption.

      You know, following Aussie Willy's remarks, I wonder if she knows people can read. She can say something like - they don't need to do x, y and z to get the level, they just have to fulfill the criteria. She knows we can READ the damn rulebook criteria and see that DW didn't do it either, right? So many people who talk about and dispute this act like figure skating isn't something we can freaking SEE. We can SEE it.

    13. And how does "We, the South Korean Federation, knew when contemplating this action that we risked the ISU retaliating by punishing our skaters and damaging our organization" fit into the desire to protect the public's perception of the sport. Hey Ashley, don't you have something to say about the Korean Fed's assertion? How about you, Sinead? Can't wait to read what relatively picayune thing either of them vents about next.

      The Korean Federation isn't saying we're scared the Big Bad Russian Federation will punish our skaters at the next Europeans because we're complaining about a win by a member of their team. The Korean Federation has said it's afraid the ISU - the actual international governing body of the entire sport of figure skating (and speed skating) would PUNISH KOREAN SKATERS ON THE SCORE SHEET. Not sanction Korea because it possibly defied the prohibition against complaints (although it appears Korea is safely within the provision that says it can complain about disciplinary or ethical offense). PUNISH THE SKATERS. Same deal as if one complained about the Dean of a University and the Dean retaliated by failing your kid in every course no matter how your kid actually performed in class.

      I know I keep re-emphasizing, but that is just huge, what the Korean Fed is saying about the ISU, and Korea isn't complaining or accusing. It's just saying we take this action knowing we risk offending you, O Great Ruler.

    14. I can't wait until nobody brings up the South Korean fed's statement or everyone severely downplays it in the media coverage of Worlds.

      All is well! Nothing to see here! Boop bee doooooooo.

    15. "I don't know why all of these skaters in a sport where corruption is embedded in the system and directed by those at the top are so concerned about perception. Hey kids, your sport IS a seething clusterfuck, accept it and deal. Maybe it's just overcompensation - the sort discussed when we've discussed how VM telegraph their lies. Maybe it's because the sport is SO corrupt it makes everybody self-conscious, so everybody pretends to be super, utterly, totally ANTI corruption - corruption is bad!"

      I think the culture of the sport has to be taken into account here. You can't really be successful in the sport if you don't play the games to some extent. When you're deep inside, you're being transformed or shaped by the culture, and it allows for certain types of superficial complaints while others are totally off-limits. Like "damn it, people think our sport is rife with gay men. This causes such a negative perception of the sport!"

      Meanwhile the ISU is caught deleting and going after commentators questioning the Olympic results on message boards, and the South Korean federation writes a letter explaining they know their filing a complaint might adversely affect their skaters in the future.

      And yep...silent night.

    16. I also think, when you really love something, it's difficult to step back and see how much of a clusterfuck it really is. Or even if you *can* see it, that love for the skating is still there and it's difficult to detach oneself from it in order to properly criticize the sport for being as corrupt as it is. After all, that's the punishment that's always bandied about - that your skating will be penalized for speaking out, and when someone works so hard and so long, they lose perspective, didn't have it to begin with, or are willing to compromise principles to some degree (if they have those principles at all, which some may not if they've truly been shaped by the negative aspects of figure skating's culture).

    17. I think the media is going to take the South Korean Federation's statement and simply reiterate talking points about Adelina versus Yuna Kim and the dicey members of the judging panel. They'll throw stuff out there about whether or not the outcome was legitimate. They will completely ignore the fact that the Korean Federation announced to the world that the ISU apparently has a history of telling international judges how to score skaters no matter how they've skated, in conformance with an agenda set by the ISU. Which is, WHO is, people.

      I look at Ottavio Cinquanta up there and I see that he's a speed skater. I look right below him and there's David Dore, who knows all about figure skating.

    18. <>

      Apparently at some point this season, a Russian journalist asked Marina Zoueva why V/M's 'Seasons' FD wasn't more "audience friendly" and was instead a program for "ice dance connoisseurs."

      So there it is. If you push the sport, masterfully work within and stretch CoP boundaries, and up the ante OF THE SKATING, all of which Seasons did - that isn't what should be expected of great athletes in a sport. No, no. To skate such a difficult program was presumptuous. Haughty.

    19. OMG, AW is killing me:

      "No because IJS is actually a lot about fitting into a criteria, particularly when it comes to the levels. And it doesn't necessarily relate to quality in some aspects. A skater can do a really crappy spin but if they do enough to get the levels then that is what happens. And that is what the Technical panel look at. I have sat on both sides (being a judge and being a TC). You really have to look at things very differently when you just looking at what the skater is doing rather than how they are doing it."

      So I guess all judges trained in the D/W era are looking for crappy elements that fit into a criteria. Is crappiness a criteria? It would seem so, when it comes to the judging of D/W's elements.

    20. She's a caller too?!?!?

      She's right that in some cases, spins being one of them, you don't always have to do something well to get the levels. Hit your positions, hold them long enough, you have the levels. In ice dance, though, quality of edge definitely is part of the levels for pattern dances and footwork. Other stuff like posture, hold, closeness, unison, line, extension, goes to GOE, but the edges are supposed to be clean on the turns to get the level.

    21. AW sounds so ignorant, yet she can trace it all back to her ice dance seminars? What a farce those training seminars are. Nothing more than part of the culture of corruption in ice dance. Those seminars should be taped and allowed to be publicly scrutinized. That would help in getting rid of these manipulations.

  2. LOL! Scott says if he and Tessa were on DWTS, they'd totally win.

    1. He kind of obliquely let it be known that he and Tessa dance together off ice for fun.

  3. Wow, Doris P just gave a stellar explanation why D/W do two twizzles versus three:

    "A hop does not make it easier to get a level 4 twizzle. If it did, more teams would do it. When a person hops (or jumps), the majority of the acceleration is vertical. When he lands, he has both the risk of landing insecurely, not on the correct part of the blade to start a good twizzle, and botching the first set of twizzles (and getting lower or no credit due to losing levels), and of having a secure but rough landing that loses forward momentum, resulting in a slow twizzle for lower GOE.

    The majority of teams do 3 twizzles because 2 of them are in their preferred, easier direction. They get to start and finish the sequence looking their best. If you check the twizzles of teams doing 3 sets, they often look more unsteady or out of control in the second set."

    Well, okay then, V/M and all the other teams have been busting their chops for no good reason, making themselves look bad doing an extra third set.

    1. Yes Doris, except when DW have less forward momentum (or neglible, such as on their second set) they still get +3 GOE.

      The energy from the leap is channeled into the rotation. It's not a risk of a rough landing. It assists in rotational speed that helps SECURE the stability of the freaking twizzle.

      She's an idiot.

    2. I won't post at FSU but I hope someone points out the other dance teams that have done that oh-so-difficult twizzle set.

      Her point about the second set is stupid. DW slow down a LOT on their second set, so if anyone needs a third set to compensate, it would be them. They don't do it because they don't even have enough speed for a third, nevermind worrying about how good it's going to look.

      And it still doesn't explain why their GOE doesn't go down even when they're 180 degrees out of sync. That's quite an achievement in and of itself, to be doing the same twizzles for 6 years, every program year in and out, and still not be able to get them right every single time.

    3. Also, V/M do 3 counter clockwise twizzles and 3 clockwise twizzles every season between their 2 programs.

    4. You can't write this stuff...

      "The same is true of twizzles. Of the three options, sets of 3, sets of 2 with a hop or jump, or twizzles with at least 2 sets done on the same foot, we do see probably the most of the 3 sets, least most of the one-footed. Therefore, I would guess that of the 3 options, 2 sets with a hop or jump is in the middle for difficulty. However, there are enough teams doing each method that I'm happy with them all being rated at an equal maximum base level (level 4)."

    5. Anon at 8:06 pm - do you know of other teams that can go either clockwise or counterclockwise within the same season? To me that's pretty impressive...

    6. So the level should be based on enough teams doing each method that they should all have an equal opportunity for max base value? Not, you know, giving the max base value to the most difficult element? If it's the middle level of difficulty, doesn't that mean it should be level 2 or 3?

      Cultural relativism is one thing, but does it really have to be part of the figure skating rules? We all do whatever we can and it's all equal because we feel that it would be nice if we didn't say one is better than the other? Kind of like how DW's not skating is just a style, equally valid and deserving of 10s, and back in Lysacek's day, SPs with a 3flip-3toe would get the same score as SPs with 4toe-3toe? And under 6.0, Sarah Hughes' not rotated triples were just as valid as actual triples?

    7. Doris Pulaski just needs to stay away from anything and everything to do with the physics of motion. First the freaking spinning stool, now this.


  4. Off-topic to this particular entry, but look at this set of videos from the Women's Lifestyle Show in London:

    They say they haven't watched their reality show. I wonder if that's a way to absolve themselves of responsibility for the shite that show ended up being. The show was mostly about off-ice separateness, supposed conflicts within the relationship and working hard at connecting. Not much skating at all except as a means to show how they struggle with insecurities and connection.

    Both Tessa and Scott were portrayed opposite what they have said and everyone has seen of their relationship all these years-- according to the show, Tessa spends her time hating herself and worrying about Scott's anger and Scott spends his time looking forward to the moments he can get away from his skating partner who is such a bother, but he still gets to control her dating choices. They are so radically different they can't stand to even breath the same off-ice air, in case Scott should succumb to liking golf or Tessa might get dirty out in the country. (*ROLLEYES*)

    These videos, as well as all the interviews they've been doing since Sochi, are full of contradictions to the reality snow narratives. Right now they're saying that "preparing for Sochi" involved big issues of conquering nerves (not insecurities or anger, simply the normal competitive nerves all athletes experience). In the show, they talk with a sports' psychologist about..... Connection! Huh? Not competition nerves? (As if "connection" is an issue when of course that isn't a problem at all).

    Here, they also mention who they worked with for costumes, that Tessa kept getting beautiful sketches. Where was any of this in the reality show? The costume segment didn't show a thing of what they talk about here in the videos (in fact, as someone else said, it looks like the costume episode was mostly a pretext to show Scott shirtless plus to portray them once again as a partnership eager to spend time away from each other in order to "relax" as, naturally, they cannot "relax" with each other).

    As usual with VM, what they say today contradicts what they said yesterday. Who cares all that stuff was on TV and will be on reruns forever and ever? What was the purpose of doing that show anyhow just to turn around and contradict all of it? I don't get it. The show was not a "road to the Olympics." It was soap opera script, including a "triangle" of Scott and his "girlfriend" and his skating partner. How does that have anything to do with preparing for the Olympics? It doesn't. For some reason, in the lead-up to Sochi they were motivated to do a TV show for the purpose of selling us the sham. It certainly wasn't to get a true behind-the-scenes of ice dancing nor ice dancers preparing for the biggest stage of their career. It's becoming more and more obvious it was to get Scott on film with Cassandra and show Tessa as being on the outside of his romantic desires. And today? Who knows what other narratives they'll come up with next.

    1. I wonder what they're going to think when they actually sit down and watch it? Surely they'll realise what a completely terrible idea it was? Maybe they already do, that's why Tessa said she might not watch for a few years and was it Scott that said they called it a "documentary" because they thought that sounded better than a "reality show". Bet they'll wish they had done a documentary now. Had to laugh at Tessa saying it would be something to show her kids...yeah, I don't think LM will be itching to see her dad making out with someone who isn't her mother.

    2. Why would they ever sit down and watch it? It's served its purpose, which is to sell their fake storyline to the public. It has very little to nothing to do with V/M's actual life story. I doubt they'll ever watch it.

    3. I'll add, I'd guess the plan has always been to not watch it, ever. Why would they? It's a bastardization of their real life meant for public consumption, not for their own. They're lying when they say the show is for them to look back on later in their lives. No it isn't. It was never about that, unless what they want to look back on is a fictional television show.

    4. I don't think they'll be able to keep from watching it, if only for curiosity's sake. It's hard to believe any of it would be a surprise, given the voiceovers that were totally in sync with the storylines. I do wonder if they realize how ridiculous they come across? How stupidly douchebag? Did they realize Cassandra was a terrible actress and all those scenes would be ridiculous in their shallow focus on Scott? That Scott can't act for beans when it comes to pretending affection for another woman?
      So much second-hand embarrassment. I can't even.

      They need to watch it and be mortified. Maybe that would get them to shut the hell up about how fun it was to do this *project.* They just need to stop talking about it at all. Ugh.

    5. Cassandra bordered on irritated / bored in the pumpkin scene. I can't decide if the pumpkin was there because they are so awkward they can't converse without something else to focus on, or it's because if they didn't have a shared "activity" he'd be expected to at least be as physically affectionate as he was with P. Chiddy, and based on the stilted, choreographed couch canoodling, that would be a challenge.

      You know how people talk about the way VM up the ante and use reverse psychology in order to convince people they're telling the truth. I wonder if "show my kids" was one of those times, because ew.


    6. I think Tessa and Scott simply underestimated the impact the show would have on their future. None of their shams ever caught up with them, they got away with everything because the media chose to ignore all the pictures and Facebook entries. Based on their uncomfortable looks whenever asked bout the show they probably expected not to be bothered with it again.
      Like a criminal who starts getting sloppy because he believes he's superior to everyone and can't get caught.
      And Moirville has lost all sense for reality ling ago.


    I don't get the "it's 1 o'clock in the afternoon, give me a break" comment. Was Tessa trying to diminish him or something with the "girls?" comment?

    1. Anon at 5:02 pm - everyone will have different interpretations but I think a similar scenario was in a 2009 TEB interview where Scott said that "he fell in love with it" and Tessa then asked him off the cuff in a low voice "you fell in love with it (meaning ice-dance) or me?" and then Scott proceeded to say - don't say this to anyone but I fell in love with ice-dance....
      Actually I don't think there was anything wrong with Scott saying in the current video - pretty girls - it's a generalization...back when he started skating...and who knows maybe Tessa was trying to rib two cents...

    2. He got into ice dance and that gave him the opportunity to skate with the one pretty girl - her. She was ribbing him a bit asking "girls?" As in, girls, plural, Scott? He fell in love with her, they're married now, and she was having a little fun with him in that moment. His response back was playful as well, as in "give me a break for the slip of tongue/generalization, it's early in the day, still!"

    3. There were so many Easter eggs in their talk and the Q&A that I'm feeling a little sick from the sugar...or something....

    4. 2:53 - I think you've used the easter egg analogy before - do you mean they're purposely hiding-but-wanting-to-be-found things in these interviews?

    5. I don't know if it's on purpose...I don't know them so don't know the motivations for their craziness. Maybe they do it subconsciously, but who really knows. BTW, I wasn't the one who used the egg analogy originally.

    6. I am the person who used the term easter egg, meaning something hidden only for someone in the know to find. I don't think it's directed at fans, I think it's for their child (that's just my feeling). See, we couldn't talk about YOU cause it was unsafe, but we said we wanted a beautiful daughter, we said we nurtured our programs the way we nurtured you, everytime we shouted out to the nieces we meant you, we said we would show our reality show to you (see, we didn't forget you existed), and since there are no public photos of our wedding, we made a whole magazine of them for you!

    7. 9:54 - there was also that whole rubber ducky thing with the fan in 2012 "For Scott and Tessa's baby!" after, I believe, they'd skated their short. That was set up.


    8. Why do you think (or how do you know) it was set up? I always thought that was so weird.

  6. I took the "girls" exchange the same way. Scott said something similar back in 2010, that once he started skating with a "very beautiful little girl" he figured it was better than hanging out with nineteen other guys.

    I just find Tessa a case. She will go out of her way to push Scott and other women on us, she will set it up so we think she was one of many little girls with a crush on him but she didn't know if he liked her or not, but then two inches from a camera at TEB 2009 she'll ask him if he fell in love with ice dance or her, and at this event she teases him about using the plural.

    It is absolutely bizarre how nearly to the letter these two are conducting their post-Olympic media rounds, right down to almost talking more about their Vancouver experience (again) than their Sochi one.

  7. Somebody calling out the lack of training of the judges with regards to the women's if only somebody would call out the willful blindness of the judges in the ice dance event...

    1. Well as OC has pointed out in this post - why should there be any repercussions in actually questioning the judges and the results. In addition, when an audit of a process takes place - usually you find the weaknesses and then you address the weaknesses by either re-training or you overhaul the current process. Right now as it stands - there is a complete breakdown in the judging process itself in terms of validity of what is being scored and then you throw in that the judging has a problem with reliability over events and well then it doesn't mean much when two variables as validity and reliability are not meaningful. Then to add to the conflict - there is no "whistleblower" mechanism...Obviously the South Korean Olympic Committee is not only interested with Yuna Kim's result and the judging in Sochi - but they are hosting the next winter olympics...I think they want assurances that the same dubious judging overall won't be repeated in 2018 from the IOC...

    2. Problem is we're not dealing with mistakes. Not in dance. No judge made a "mistake" in scoring DW astronomically for years despite the fact that they skated without meeting the standards and criteria set down in CoP and while employing moves discouraged in CoP. It was no "mistake" that the judges arbitrarily droppedVM's levels, and repeatedly waited til late in the season to 'suggest' taking out showpiece elements of their program. It's all intentional.

    3. I wish someone with clout would do that for ice dance.

      My problem with that letter is, I have no problem believing the calls were wrong, just show me the gifs. Don't tell me that the footwork calls should have been different because Sotnikova got level 3 in the past. Most footwork sequences are choreographed to be level 4, and it's not out of the question that she trained harder and was in peak condition at the Olympics and got all the turns correct. Tell me what the turns were and which ones you think were not clean, don't link to a post from Goldenskate of all things. Don't tell me Yuna had more content and fully met the criteria, tell me HOW. I can believe it, I just need to see the evidence.

      And again, show slo mo gifs of the combo. Even the Korean fans did that. Don't just say that her edge on the lutz is always wrong, therefore it was wrong here. Some skaters do have worse flutzes at some times than others. At least his explanation on her 3toe being UR was more technical, and is observable to those that want to look it up, but saying she has never been credited with 3lutz-3toe before is disingenuous, since she usually does 3lutz-3loop or 3toe-3toe. And just because the 3lutz-3toe was underrotated in another competition does not mean that was so in Sochi.

      Even if he's right about everything, and he very well could be, it just smacks me as "use the previous protocols as evidence, rather than the skating and the rulebook." And that is precisely what we need to avoid. I don't care what Sotnikova or D&W did all season, I care about what they did at the Olympics!

      How the skating community can completely ignore the whistleblowing in L'Equipe but go on to attack this little girl for having the skate of her life and hugging someone afterwards truly makes me sick. She's 10 years younger than Meryl and doesn't have a university education. If there were any cheating on her part, she is a lot less likely to have understood it or been complicit in it.

      I do think he has an interesting point about why does the ISU require all of these complex footwork sequences if they're not even going to bother to call them legitimately.

    4. I agree with you 10:00 a.m. I'm going to have to upload canadablue's Skating Skills video up into a new post, illustrated by quotes from this letter. Everything complained of in Adelina's skating existed tenfold in DW's skating, and NO, it's not apples to oranges. Skating skills are skating skills. Flow, knee compression, run of blade, stability on one's blades, quiet edges, speed generated from a running edge up - all of it applies equally to ice dance, was not in DW's skating, and DW were credited for it - not just credited for it - awarded monster scores above and beyond people who had just done it not just better than DW could ever dream of doing it (if they ever tried, which they didn't) but better than anyone else in the world. DW didn't deserve the level on their footwork and VM did. The entire thing can be transposed to DW versus VM but apparently it's only corrupt if you're Russian.


    5. There's a tumbler user who is making very interesting posts about ice dance elements, complete with gifs.

      I know they aren't doing the same turns but the difference in quality between VM and DW is very noticeable. If someone could do a side-by-side comparison of the different turns in gif form, that would be a great. I'd do it but I'm useless with this stuff.

    6. OMG, the difference between MOST of them and VM are noticeable. Meryl's skate doesn't even attempt to stay on the same lobe when she turns. The break is obvious. And the extremely short, tight, non-matching curves she and Charlie do are also obvious. Very choppy. Everybody else is miles better, into the ice, smoother, if they're going to stay curving in the same direction, when they change edges, they don't break the curve and the glide remains smooth. Charlie and Meryl seem to have glue on their blades that stick in the ice and prevent a smooth run of blade.

      I had just seen this tumblr earlier and it was just infuriating because in slow motion like that, put together with everyone else, Meryl and Charlie's skating skills aren't in the same class - everything they do is shrunken and choppy compared to everybody else.

    7. I'd love to see bracket versus bracket, counter versus counter, three turn versus three turn - DW's versus everybody else's.