Tuesday, April 8, 2014





I'll do more with this later, but I was so curious how Val would handle the positions in the air in Argentine tango, as often the man holds the woman with her feet off the ground, in frame (but supported). With her hips and both legs free, she hits lines with her legs while he turns or moves her from one side of his body to the other. That would require core control and control of her limbs Meryl has never shown in ice dance.

Take a look. The answer is - Val didn't. The strobe lights also helped the illusion of sharpness, as did a costume down one side of her body.

There has to be a reason Meryl's gotten two weeks of tens, and it's not because her dancing has gotten awesome after weeks one and two. Weeks one and two is when the fan vote comes in and the producers know what they've got. Frequently, if the fan vote is crushing it, the show creates suspense by lowering scores and building them over the season. If somebody is not getting the fan vote, then often their scores are inflated to make them seem like the sure winner. Meryl's score inflation is so abrupt, and so disconnected from what she's actually doing, even by DWTs standards, that it makes me suspect a Ricky Lake, Stacey Keibler, or even Mario Lopez situation (my understanding is Mario was popular enough but Emmitt Smith crushed it in the fan vote).

P.S. Charlie has to learn not to jerk his partner from here to there. Actual dancers like Sharna and Peta don't need to be yanked into place. Still, Charlie got an actual critique. This week, the judges decided to notice what was there and not there, and addressed it.

Okay, duly noted from comments contributor 5:34 below, Maks/Meryl's foxtrot got 120,907+ views. What does that tell us? I don't know. If you filter DWTS youtube videos by count, ignoring the non-dancing performances (like Bieber and Selena Gomez) and ignoring pro dances (like the Hough sibs jiving) and count only the highest views for celeb/partner dances, and depending, I'm sure, on how the search is worded, we see these results:

Bill Nye/Tyne cha cha: 3,545,714 views
Nancy Grace wardrobe malfunction: 1,281,543 views
Kim Kardashian Foxtrot: 1,183,195 views

And a whole bunch of Derek Hough dances with both Jennifer Gray and Nicole Scherzinger are over a million.

Gifs start after the jump.
Look at this. Meryl can't hold her own freaking leg unsupported in space. Not even with her other leg pinned, her arm hooked behind her across her partner's back, gluing her core to her partner, and his left arm across her trunk. Can't do it. Check out her free leg and you know why this didn't make it into the routine. Look how she bends it, and then re-straightens it. She can't hold it straight and steady for even a second. Literally. Time it.

There it is.
There it goes.

Just take that in. Her left shoulder and arm, her hand
gripped and arm muscles clenched. Look at his right arm/hand
holding that leg at the knee. He's locking the joint for her.
Look at her free leg.

Doris Pulaski - your thoughts?
Unbelieveable.
It's supposed to stay straight - see?
She re-set. She just couldn't sustain.
I just had to gif and cap this and post it first. Now I'm going back to start on the rest, and then the AT's of other DWTs female celebs, none of whom wore an Olympic gold medal in ice dance.

Davis White are truly the Frankenstein's monster of ice dancers. What a mess.


Maia Shibutani could do that. Tessa Virtue could do that. Alex Paul could do that. Mother of God I think Piper Gilles could do that. There are novices who can. Everyone on and circling around the international ice dance podium this year could do it. So could your zumba instructor. Why can't Meryl control her core or her limbs? Why does she have no balance of her own?

All Val is doing is an assist. She's supposed to rotate around his arm, which is relaxed and strong. His body is stable. He's not gripping her. He initiates rotation with a push on her right leg's anterior. Her job is to manage her body in the rotation, and arrest the mild momentum in her landing with a slight assist from her partner. This assist, btw, is his right hand holding her upper arm near the shoulder, which is enough to assist a toddler. She should also be able to arrest momentum since she's got the freaking floor to work with as resistance. The landing has her front foot on the floor, knee bent, and her back knee kneeling. Perfect position to absorb momentum. It's not challenging.

But nope. Look what happens when Meryl is asked to control her own body. She can't.

So by performance,this is what it became:

Even after she's landed, after he's got her trunk pinned
and her hips locked all the way around while doing
the entire rotation FOR her, with his other arm gripping the
inside of her leg to separate and straighten them,
she still needs to hook her legs onto his lower leg to
handle the remaining few inches she has til she's down on
the floor. And even then, in position on the floor, he has
to put his arm across her shoulders and trunk to hold her
final pose, and she has to grab onto him.

Look at rehearsal; look at performance. The rehearsal is how somebody who can do it does it, and you don't need to be an ice dancer. Meryl cannot.



Hi there, Charlie.


Oh, boy. When she comes around her legs reach out to hook against Val's freaking right calf. WHAT the hell is going on with her and has been going on with her?
Man, she just does not unhook that arm.
Can't even sit and hold without being pinned and girdled.
Well at least this show is answering a few things, a few questions people had about who, between Meryl and Charlie, needed the clutching, the pinning, the pasting. Him because he couldn't handle anything not directly aligned with his center of gravity AND lashed in place, and skate at the same time - or her because she can't control her body in space?


BTW, Val has done this for years. He knows exactly what kind of fraud the show has got here. 

(I realize we don't need Charlie gifs for this post. The judges called everything out. That was one stiff rumba.)


Lovely. I noticed something in this section. Val is using Meryl's right arm as a lever. He turns her with it. He transitions her with it. He press her down and back with it. This becomes even more obvious when the embeds and gifs of other AT's are seen, including one Val did with a sixteen year-old.

Geez. What kind of miracle happened that she can actually bend her neck? Look at that rigid pelvis, torso and those rigid shoulders. How does she flip her head back without opening her chest or shoulders at all? 






The somersault is Argentine Tango's trickiest part.

Look at Val's upstage arm. He supports her through the whole thing. 60 year-old Kirstie Alley did one by herself in her DWTs free style.

Here's a 56 year-old doing a rotational AT lift.


Jane Torvill. Thanks to 8:40AM in the comments section below this post, who linked it. 

Here's the 27 year old.


As usual, it's the control and refinement that distinguish Meryl.

And a sixteen year old.



I figure Jane and Zendaya are doing it wrong. Whipping your partner around like a sack of laundry with her entire core pasted to yours either front side or back side must be the gold standard.

Here are some other DWTs Argentine Tangos.



Melissa Rycroft.



Zendaya Coleman.



Shawn Johnson.

And look back up at Meryl's. It's just like watching DW skate and then watching all the other top ice dance teams skate. One of these things is not like the others. It must be everybody else who sucks.

176 comments:

  1. Meryl and Maksim currently have 120,907 views from their foxtrot last week on ONE video on youtube. I guess she's America's sweetheart now. :) I think perhaps you should get your meds re-evaluated. After all, only crazy (or paranoid shizophrenic) people would actually think Tessa Virtue has a secret baby... so how can we trust your assessment of anybody's dancing?

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    1. If OC is crazy or not doesn't matter in this case because Meryl's dancing is out there to see for everyone. So are the rules of ball room dancing. Personal opinions don't matter because it's simply obvious.
      120 k are enough to be declared America's sweetheart ? Then the ratings of the show must be even lower than reported.

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    2. Oh sweets. It's been a while since anyone called the blogger crazy. But there is no point. She and her minions clearly believe Tessa does have a child despite all things pointing to the opposite being true. There is no point in arguing with crazy!

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    3. If youtube view counts are the indicator, then Kate Gosselin would have gone a whole lot further on the show.

      Exactly about Meryl's dancing being out there to see for everyone. And just as her "foxtrot" somehow didn't look like any other high scoring DWTs forxtrot ever (and was probably the emptiest number ever to get tens), and just as the programs she and Charlie skate somehow lack everything that we see in other great programs, Meryl's AT lacked what other high scoring DWTs AT's have. Why?

      The critique of this show is another way to look at how Meryl and Charlie move. And even in the AT, where almost every young, fit female celeb from Zendaya to Shawn Johnson to Kellie Pickler to Melissa Rycroff has been in hold, legs off the ground, while holding a line with BOTH legs unsupported and supporting their own core, Meryl did not. Val kept her feet on the floor, the one time she was in the air he pinned one of her legs and the other dangled, and just like on the ice, he kept things racing so she didn't have to sustain anything. Her moves were acrobatic, not dance, not proper AT. If you watch this show, you know this sort of scoring is intended to bury the actual eventual winner. There could always be an exception this season, just as DW were the outliers on ice. But it's remarkable to me that in order to score her the way they do, it has to be scored to a completely different standard than anyone else who has ever scored highly in either AT or foxtrot, because the content is absolutely not there.

      Later on I'm going to embed other high scoring DWTs ATs, just as the foxtrot post did. It's right there for everyone to see - the smoke and mirrors and the keep up the speed so nobody sees she can't control her own body without constant external resistance!

      Charlie is being scored like any other contestant. She's not.

      OC

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    4. 8:29 a.m. - the blog is not the place to have a third party discussion ABOUT the blog or the blogger.

      Second, please name everything that point to Tessa not having a child, bearing in mind that a negative isn't something that can be proven, which many people don't seem to grasp.

      oc

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    5. It reminds of me of this article on another blog: http://skateguard1.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-darker-side-of-skating-fandom.html

      Your suppositions remind me of John Nash's mental illness from "A Beautiful Mind," except it's super creepy because these are real people and you've obviously downloaded and posted their personal photos from social media (you got rid of the creepy head collage... but this isn't much of an improvement). It's just stalker-like. You talk as if you KNOW these people, but you have obviously never met them. And yet you expect people to take you seriously when you have criticisms of someone's skating and/or dancing ability. You hate Virtue and Moir for "insulting" their fan base. What's ironic is that some "fan" like you would deserve their disdain.

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    6. Why can't I discuss you? You certainly feel the liberty to discuss freely about other people in rather great depth. I will post on here as much as I please as long as you do so.

      And that's not how evidence works. See here: http://loltheists.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/hermione-she-gets-it1.png

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    7. 8:44 AM - you may not discuss the blogger and the blog on this blog in the form of a third-party conversation in the comments section, not with yourself, not with anyone else.

      As to the rest of what you said about your intentions, why don't you think about it. Don't POST again, just think about it. You may find you're overlooking something.

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    8. Uh oh, somebody doesn't like that Davis and White's dancing is being discussed or their body movements actually broken down for discussion so they've taken to calling the blogger crazy in passive-aggressive comments. Bahaha. Where have I seen that kind of weak attempt to kill discussion before? Oh that's right, over here every time Davis and White's skating was discussed and broken down.

      If you're so sure Davis and White's performances on DWTS are impressing the nation and they're each pulling in the fan vote, why do you care what someone is saying over here? Why do you pass on the link to this place on every DWTS fanboard there is? "LOOK, that place is SO FUCKING CRAZY, here's the link!"

      And the hits to this site keep on rising. I'm sure the blogger appreciates the free advertising, heh. I know I find the irony of it entertaining.

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    9. It's entertaining but the absence of reading comprehension and subpar critical faculties on display is a bit daunting. For example, the link is to a quote by that heroine of fantasy literature, Hermoine Granger, who says:

      “I mean, you could claim that anything's real if the only basis for believing in it is that nobody's proved it doesn't exist!”

      Right. Because that is the only basis I, and anyone else who knows Scott and Tessa are married and have a daughter, have for knowing they're married with a daughter. The fact that nobody can prove they're NOT.

      An awful lot of people who come to the blog to act out don't seem to understand the difference between, as the saying goes: "I" and "thou". IOW, there's this subset of visitors who seem to believe that because they don't know about something, nobody knows, and there must not be anything to know. The worldview on display there is a stunner, but pretty common.

      When I said "you can't prove a negative" it was in reference to not being able to prove the NON existence of something. Not that that's proof of the existence of something. And not that that was how I know Scott and Tessa's status, and how others know it. It was basically commenting on people who whine that because they don't have the proof, and they can't see it for themselves, it must not exist.

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    10. "Where have I seen that kind of weak attempt to kill discussion before?"

      FSU and Goldenshit?

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    11. "Your suppositions remind me of John Nash's mental illness from "A Beautiful Mind, ...And yet you expect people to take you seriously when you have criticisms of someone's skating and/or dancing ability."

      I guess John Nash shouldn't expect anyone to take his math skills seriously then? Better take away his Nobel Prize!! Even if the blogger were unstable, it doesn't change the fact that most of what he/she writes on skating/dancing is spot on, and verifiable if you learn about the topic yourself independantly.

      I would also like to say that the LOL tone that posters always use when they bring up the blogger's supposed insanity - with specific references to "needing help" and "meds", I mean, rather than the use of a general "that's crazy!" - is really quite offensive. What kind of person makes a joke of that if they thought it was the reality? Only incredibly uncompassionate and ignorant ones. But it's difficult to come up with another reason to shut someone up when you can't overturn their actual arguments, isn't it? The blogger has raised the possiblity of some unstableness with Tessa as an explanation for some of her actions, but I appreciate that it's not a focus or a source of amusement. There IS evidence to suggest Tessa could possibly have some issues. 'And the blogger's reasoning isn't "everything Tessa does is crazy because she's crazy." which is all anyone who criticizes this blog in such a manner can come up with.

      Don't feel the need to prove the blogger wrong - just offer some specific arguments as to why his/her theories are crazy. Not that you think the *idea* of the theories *sound* crazy, why are the actual arguments supporting it problematic? Hermoine got a little overheated IMO, as she sometimes does - she could have offered arguments as to why she thought the existence of the stone was unlikely. A negative can't be proven, it can, however, be argued. If that's not a discussion you're interested in having, then you insisting on being here to set everyone straight is puzzling. Or it would be, if you didn't start off by making it very clear you can't cope with Meryl's dancing being critiqued.

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    12. I just want to address something 8:40 said that I take great issue with.

      The idea that you can't prove a negative is untrue. Russell's teapot is an analogy often used in the discussion of the existence of god. Russell states that if he claims that a teapot orbits the Sun somewhere in space between the Earth and Mars, it is nonsensical for him to expect others to believe him on the grounds that they cannot prove him wrong. It illustrates that the burden of proof falls of the person making the "unfalsifiable" rather than those who disagree.

      Now I'm not actually taking sides or trying to cause drama, I just take issue with the aggressive and flawed stance taken by the poster at 8:40.

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  2. after watching that tango im convinced meryl is a robot. she cant emote for beans and her movement is so stiff

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    1. Yep, but nothing to see here! Ten!!

      The emotion part I'm more or less who cares, the robot part is interesting, the stiffness of her movement is the same as on the ice, and the inability to control her own limbs in space is right in our face in that dance. She doesn't finish the moves with her feet. It's no different from the ice. Do a lot of stuff super fast, use external resistance and support to execute something acrobatic, dress to finesse, and wrap it up.

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    2. I was most interested in this dance because as we know Meryl and Charlie's lifts were always awarded the highest level of difficulty despite the fact that they slowed to a crawl to get into them, and despite the fact that Meryl couldn't manage her own limbs in space, had to have her center of gravity pasted to Charlie or hooked around Charlie, and Charlie had to pin her limbs while another used external resistance to secure her position. There's an infamous screen cap of her pinning her own damn limb down. Look at the rehearsal video up there. People have mentioned that Charlie did DW lifts with Sharna, what the hell is that with Meryl's arm hooked over and through Val's shoulder while he pins her leg in space? That is highest level of difficulty how, with a non-skating entrance and a non-skating exit to boot? All of this is just on display on DWTs, including the reality that the two brothers are resorting to the same smoke and mirrors on the floor that Marina did on the ice. Meryl can't do it.

      What must these brothers be thinking? There are actresses and cheerleaders who could actually manage AT lifts, but not this ice dancer.

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    3. Especially interesting to me is 1:47 in the Meryl video during the practice footage. It's basically the Scherz combolift rotational. Guess we were right about Charlie needing to hold both of her legs in place. It looks like they opted to ditch it - maybe the judges wouldn't have understood the leg holding as much as ice dance judges lol? I am curious what Val tried before getting to that point though? How quickly did he catch on that cores aligned was the only way to go?

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    4. Both brothers for all their fawning, have obviously caught on that Meryl is an acrobat and can't dance, and a very limited acrobat at that - can't support herself. The choreography is the tell. If they thought she could dance, this wouldn't be the choreography. They've caught on, all right. I wonder went Val went from "just do it like this" to "Oh, she CAN'T do it."

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    5. But then, neither brother has to concern himself with whether she can do it or not, because the show is giving her the scores whether she does it or not. Where was the content in the foxtrot? Where was the foxtrot in the foxtrot? But bam - tens. But still, they know she's not doing it.

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  3. Will you be giffing this week, oc?

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  4. Some fan videos of D/W's SOI performances have been posted.

    Looks like Scherz is falling apart at the seams a bit
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhZTH24nKdY

    and their slow Rachmaninoff ex, in which they demonstrate so much grace and control! They rush the dip section and spend the rest of the number a few seconds off the music - the section after the final lift ends up seeming particularly wtf.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w60dxHT7Znk

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    1. And the timing's off again.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2lfUTDFoVM

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  5. On the topic of split lifts, P/I happen to do the same one.

    Interesting to look at two things:
    1) Meryl's legs form a V-shape, until Charlie's hands are there to help straighten them out.
    http://youtu.be/KwYh7tWMWqo?t=1m43s
    Alex achieves the split position before Mitch's second hand touches her.
    http://youtu.be/q-1_hSy2u8U?t=5m25s

    The speed of an ice dance rotational lift maybe requires that support from the man,
    especially when maintaining the split is so crucial to the level. In this particular position, at least, there are other split lifts with only one leg supported - egs. http://youtu.be/8l1xuEUwCy4?t=5m18s but I don't recall ever seeing this particular lift done with only one hand. BUT I have always suspected Charlie was doing more than should be necessary in maintaining the split, and it's fun to get confirmation of that. I mean, look at the speed of Val and Meryl's lift. (You know, closer to the speed at which AT is supposed to be danced.) Absolutely no excuse for her not to maintain the position.

    2) Look at Alex's glorious posture. Meryl is smushing her back towards Charlie's chest as much as she can.

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    1. Although, we're talking about a WR-setting Olympic gold medalists here, so possibly even the position itself is suspect. I wouldn't be surprised if V/M or a future P/I could do it with only one supporting hand from the man. I just don't fault P/I in the least for doing it that way right now. Their technique is impeccable.

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    2. I wouldn't be surprised either, but everything in Alex's alignment is spot on. Meryl's alignment is distorted. It's also very obvious Alex is carrying her own weight with how smoothly she enters the lift, no compensation on her part once she's there, no compensation necessary on Mitch's. It's seamless.

      EVERYTHING about Meryl and Charlie is compensation. As I said in the post above, they're the Frankenstein monster of the sport.

      I'm fascinated by the DWTs Val/Meryl rehearsal footage. I'm so glad I looked at it. I don't think the field producers/field cameras really know the difference between what's in rehearsal and what's made it to performance. I imagine when it comes to the cartwheel rotation move, the editors thought it was the same thing. But Val completely altered the mechanics and turned himself into clutching, pinning, crouching Charlie to actually get the move done for her and to hold her steady in her final pose.

      I do find her inability to support herself or balance herself kind of fascinating. Why can't she? The sort of thing she can't do - not on the ice and not even on the floor - all kinds of people can do, not just pro dancers, and not just Olympic athletes. Countless women on DWTs have done things in AT tango that Meryl Davis has just demonstrated she cannot do. WHY for God's sake? Why do she and Charlie use dumbed down, bastardized mechanics?

      I have read some fans complaining that because she reportedly has depth perception issues, slack should be cut on DWTs.

      But she didn't win the para-Olympics, she was put on top of the podium for the actual Olympics. If we award compensatory scores, why couldn't Tessa Virtue get compensatory scores in 2009 for skating on legs that were burning up and after only maybe three complete run-throughs? Why couldn't Isobel Delobel have gotten some consideration for just having had a baby? Let's go back to 1994 and consider that Maya Usova managed to turn in a gorgeous performance dancing/skating with her husband who was cheating on her with their closest rival. When you take that into account, her performance is twice as amazing.

      No, you can't go there in non-para-Olympic events. In fact, I don't think even para-Olympics go there. The competitors all start/qualify by having some sort of disability, but I don't think each individual performance is then scored on a compensatory sliding scale depending on the degree of disability. Once they're entered, it's a level playing field.

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    3. A poster on FSU wrote that the DWTs gossip was that Meryl and Val weren't getting along, that M couldn't do anything right for him, that he had no patience with her, etc. Hmm. I think he wasn't pandering to her (and her fanbase) like Maks was. That, and he wasn't having it with her (lack of) technique, at least in rehearsal. But obviously from the finished product he now knows which way the wind blows and copped to her inability to dance (or do a proper lift).

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    4. It really is an inability. People can be taught mechanics. Figure skaters may complain that skating technique is in their body and dancing is different but meh to that. Once you have a good mind-body relationship and are fit, in shape and flexible, you can change your technique, at least at the level required to be effective on DWTS. Plenty of pros haven't done different dance styles before this show - they look it up on youtube get the idea, find out what the count is, what the posture is, where the weight is carried, what the knees are doing, the rhythm, etc. There's no dance style that says be out of alignment. Every dance style requires a strong core, carrying your weight and managing your body in space.

      So that is what's a puzzle to me. If we hypothesize - and I don't, I think it's something else - that Meryl simply has crap technique, it's baked in, and nobody ever tried to undo and remake her technique, mechanics, that is actually something that can be done on DWTs. People who are physically fit with no dance background can be taught the fundamentals. So how come she can't? Look at the rotation gif up there, the rehearsal one. What the hell is going on when she completes the rotation and has to help arrest her own momentum and then stabilize herself - and mind you she's on the freaking floor, both feet, I think her knees as well, and Val at least has her by the arm to help balance and take some of the "weight" and she can't do either. She can't arrest what minimal momentum there is in doing such a basic assisted rotation and she can't balance. There are people in pilates classes - regular people - who can do it. Val apparently couldn't say to her - listen do this. He had to throw it out and do the same crap bastardized mechanics she does with Charlie.

      I watched a bunch of rehearsal video with him with Zendaya, one of his previous partners, and there were times Zendaya's legs went out from under her, times he had to tell her to strengthen her core in hold, times he had to tell her to quit traveling in a turn and just turn, and she, a hip hop dancer, took all of those adjustments. It's a language.

      So I just want to know why the woman can't do it when a teen-ager could do it without having ever done it, a teen-ager who was no Olympian. Or why an ex cheerleader in her early thirties could do it. Or a country singer who just keeps fit. All of these were taken in hand by their partners on DWTs and their partners told them the mechanics and technique. But not Meryl Davis. She couldn't.

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    5. It would be one thing if Davis White's bastardized, dumbed down mechanics addressed a non-skating challenge, even though the dumbed down mechanics need to be addressed in the level. They shouldn't be L4. But if they had wonderful skating skills, their lift mechanics might not be worth as much emphasis. However, their skating skills are also crap. There are some gifs I've seen elsewhere on the web, including side by sides of Virtue Moir's Sochi twizzles with Davis White's. Criminal. At the most basic, Davis White's blade run is short (the actual length of the run), cramped (the curve), and choppy (it's not smooth and controlled).

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    6. i dont understand why people make such a big deal about meryl's lack of depth perception? like compared to other injuries/ disabilities, its nothing. i once knew an athlete who was terribly myopic they had to stop swimming competitively. meryl's lack of depth perception doesn't excuse the fact she can't dance.

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    7. If Meryl's eye sight is so bad wouldn't she wear contacts ?

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    8. I think it's more important that Meryl can't skate. Not remotely to the level she and Charlie are scored. Their programs are bastardizations of legitimate ice dance programs at every point - the dancing, most of the elements, and the skating. DWTs is fascinating because it helps deconstruct some of the issues behind the need for the contraptions Marina constructs place of legitimate ice dance programs.

      Meryl doesn't have rhythm, but that's not natural to everybody. There are even pro dancers who can master technique and dance to the count, but are mechanical, even when their technique is stellar.

      Val is better than his brother. He's more like Marina. In the first two dances, Maks had Meryl do a lot of stuff quickly and badly. He didn't edit. In the third dance, the Foxtrot, he just ran down the clock, ignoring the dance's rhythm and footwork, in favor of playing up stagnant atmosphere. It got tens, but it didn't fool many people watching.

      Val realized quickly what she couldn't do, abandoned the attempt to teach it to her, and did it for her, highlighted by stuff she could do that was also bastardization but worked inside the routine's design as a design element. He's also a better, smarter partner. I can't take my eyes off how he works her arm like a lever. He's not the first DWTS pro to work the arm, but this is a supposed dancer/figure skater who should be able to manage her body independently. Val KNOWS it's a joke. When he had the sixteen-year-old, he actually taught her actual ballroom technique. He even made Kelly Monaco dance. He knows how to break it down and give it to his partner. What's bizarre is that Meryl ought to have the language. If it's broken down to her she should be able to do it, but she can't. What is that about? Charlie is trying. His bad habits and his attention span appear to interfere, and it's like as soon as he focuses and tries to "master" THIS part, his shortcomings in THAT part show up in relief (such as his stiffness in turns and any kind of continuous flow through a transition). But ye old college try is there. Meryl, there's apparently no point in trying.

      I'm curious if she knows what she can't do, or if it looks in skating what it looks like in rehearsal up there. Up there it appears as if the process consists of the coach trying something, Meryl goes through the motions, keeping a straight face, and says nothing. It's up to the coach to catch and and abandon it, never saying it's because she can't deliver.

      As much as it looks like a sort of unspoken thing, where nobody acknowledges the obvious, I just can't imagine that being the process. When you're an athlete or dancer, if you don't do it, as she's not doing it up there, the coach generally gives instruction - hold your core. Lock your hips. Open your chest. They coach - shoulders back. They don't treat the athlete or dancer like a puppet, moving limbs around, seeing what can be done or not and never telling the athlete. So I don't know.

      Re her depth perception - I think that goes to challenges in knowing the space you're working in, how close you are to something, how far away. However, IMO, when that came out it almost seemed to me as if it were trying to cover the base of - well why are the lifts so grabby, yanky and pull-y? Maybe it's space management - she needs the security of contact! You know, having it both ways - she needs help (and Charlie's "protection"), but isn't she awesome to be doing it. And of course if anyone queried further the answer would be "and that way is just as Level 4 as any other way!"

      But as we see in DWTs, even when she doesn't have to worry about depth perception, when her partner is basically doing the entire dance for her and she's glued to him like that huge blow up doll Victor Petrenko used to dance with, she still needs dumbed down technique and can't do her share of the work.

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    9. 12:20 AM i dont think contacts can cure or help it??? but then again im not optometrist

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    10. "Re her depth perception - I think that goes to challenges in knowing the space you're working in, how close you are to something, how far away. However, IMO, when that came out it almost seemed to me as if it were trying to cover the base of - well why are the lifts so grabby, yanky and pull-y? Maybe it's space management - she needs the security of contact! You know, having it both ways - she needs help (and Charlie's "protection"), but isn't she awesome to be doing it. And of course if anyone queried further the answer would be "and that way is just as Level 4 as any other way!""

      I've been thinking about this though in regard to lifts. Maybe at first it might be a bit more of a challenge to learn a new lift, but after you learn it, shouldn't muscle memory take over when executing the moves? And I may be overlooking something, but shouldn't you be able to manage and hold your core and limbs independent of your eyesight? If you close your eyes, it doesn't make your ability to control your legs goes away, right?

      Out of curiosity, I just googled blind ballroom dancers. I found a lot of anecdotes about blind individuals who have learned to dance. One man is a ballroom champion. If people who are legally blind can learn how to dance, then why is Meryl's depth perception an impediment to correct technique?

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    11. 10:28 again.

      I have another thought on the lifts. Think about how many lifts are done in pairs where the partners are "blind" because they can't see each other during some or all of the lift. You have situations where, at times, both partners cannot spot each other, yet they still execute the lifts.

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    12. " behind the need for the contraptions Marina constructs place of legitimate ice dance programs"

      I know Marina is a loaded topic, and my feelings are mixed on her, not simply against her. I'm not trying to make a larger point, just asking you an honest question, OC, (and assuming that I haven't misunderstood your stance on Marina to begin with...)

      Why is Krylova a goddess for "insisting on the thing itself", as you said in a post below this one, whereas Marina should shoulder no *blame* for D/W's success. Not just that she indirectly contributed to the mess by her great choreo, but that she actually betrayed the ideals of ice dance to help get the job done. I understand that if she's taking money to provide services for D/W and USFSA, she has to follow through on that, but she didn't have to continue taking the job. If a professor or a piano teacher or anyone like that, was told they had to teach it wrong to compensate for a student's weaknesses, they would have a right to not do so and say "well, I'm a piano teacher, so you can take real piano lessons from me, or go find another teacher", would they not? Marina is a very strong woman, I can't find another conclusion, but that she *enjoyed* being D/W's hustler (because of the challenge of fooling everyone with her choreo or something). Or she liked their money. That's her perogative, of course, and I don't think it makes her an absolutely terrible person, but I do feel I have the right to feel that I don't respect the way she's negatively contributed to ice dance. And this is all separate from any conversation about her supporting V/M or not. Even if she's done everything the absolute best for V/M, what she's done for D/W doesn't bother me any less. Her positive contribution doesn't erase her negative contribution, especially when it has produced such damage to the sport.

      Nor does it have anything to do with things like her supporting D/W in the media. Of course, once she takes their money under a specific understanding, she owes it to them to do everything she can for them. But why did she not put her foot down and insist on some real ice dance years ago, instead of proactively covering for them? D/W can't do it to the level of V/M, but they sure as hell could have done it to some level, but long ago they were let of the hook - why? If they didn't like being continually pushed to do things properly, they could have gone somewhere else or realized that's what you sign up for when you compete in ice dance.

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    13. **Why is Krylova a goddess for "insisting on the thing itself", as you said in a post below this one, whereas Marina should shoulder no *blame* for D/W's success.**

      Krylova doesn't have a team like DW.

      Here are assumptions you're making: that coaches should be pure of heart and if their students can't do it properly, they should reject that student rather than package them to work around their deficiencies.

      You are assuming Krylova is that sort of coach, and if presented with the opportunity to coach DW, she wouldn't do it. You're basing that assumption on what?

      Marina Zoueva, TOO, has her students do "the thing itself" when they are capable of doing it. When they are not, which is mostly only DW, we get what she gives DW.

      You know that Krylova wouldn't do the same because why?

      We don't know why DW were let off the hook, do we? After looking at Meryl on DWTs, I'm currently considering that the woman has an issue that goes beyond bad technique, and everything about her that strikes people as "off" goes to the compensation for whatever that issue may be, but whatever it is, it's it's not correctible.

      Of course Marina is paid to choreograph and coach. That's her livelihood. You're framing it as if SHE LIKES THE MONEY! Frank Carroll does it for money. Krylova does it for money. All the coaches do it for the money. That's why every single one of them shuts up when a hustle like Sochi happens (unless it's Russia). I didn't see Krylova speaking up either. That's because none of these coaches want to alienate a Fed, none of these coaches can afford to alienate a potential client, even if it's a DW. It's their LIVING.

      I don't know where you go from she agreed to work with DW and produce the programs that the ISU could sell as the best in the world, even though they were not, and decide the only possible conclusion is she enjoyed the hustle. REALLY?

      Do you think Val Chmerkovsky, a pro on DWTS, ought to have declined to perform in Week 4 rather than bullshit the AT tango to a bunch of tens? Even if it damaged his relationship with the show? He's an actual dancer. He's something of a technical purist. He's carried that through to the show - it's a point of pride that even when he has a non-dance celebrity, he insists on teaching them proper technique. It's his thing, even on this show. But then he gets Meryl and in under a week he's pretending to be Charlie White and using Marina Zoueva-style workarounds.

      He made Kelly freaking Monaco dance and find rhythm. He makes his celebs do it. He couldn't make Meryl do it, so he clap-trapped it. Why didn't he walk off DWTS? He probably enjoys the hustle? Shouldn't everybody ditch their jobs and their livelihood, alienate the people who give them work, rather than teach wrong technique to those who can't do proper technique?

      Where Marina has students who can do it, she insists they do it. This shows with the Shibs as well. It's your conclusions I don't follow - that because she created programs the Shibs could do, it must be because she's corrupt and did it for the money, which you imply is money she earned in some back room deal, instead of through coaching fees. How do you figure?

      It's her livelihood. Her livelihood is synergistic, like most are. Built on relationships. The USFSA. Other skaters. Other Feds. She serves them, not them serving her abstract vision. That is the JOB. I don't know what you think the job is. It's preparing her skaters for competition. When DW competed, they did well. Marina was supposed to change the parameters of the job and say - screw that the sport is enabling you and you're rising in the ranks - do it right or get out of my arena.

      You know who I think Arctic Edge might have kicked out of the arena? Marina.

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    14. Furthermore, if Marina said "good'by" to Davis White because she hated being part of their corrupt success, and that corrupt success is part of the ISU's agenda, how many skaters do you think would want to be coached by Zoueva - good ones, talented ones? Oh, she just took a stand against how the ISU is scoring Davis White. She can't be a part of such corruption.

      If only she had the courage of Krylova!

      Yes, Arctic Edge woudl be full to bursting and Marina's training center would thrive. Every skater would want to be coached by somebody the ISU can't stand, somebody who defied them. If Krylova did it - kicked DW out because she's too pure to coach them - that would have done wonders for her business, since the ISU and the USFSA (and the other cooperating Feds) were behind DW's ascendency. Every skater would have been getting in line to be coached by somebody who has alienated major Feds and the ISU.

      You're being unrealistic and myopic. When you come here with this, harping on Marina, you're thinking small. The problem is the ISU. The ISU's reach covers every inch of this sport. If a coach who coached DW got rid of them as some sort of protest over how highly the ISU decided they should be scored, they'd be quickly out of the coaching business because tumbleweeds would be rolling through the rink. If they had a rink, and chances are they wouldn't have a rink for long. Chances are the rink would offer somebody else the job of coach-in-residence.

      Even freaking VM couldn't say shit about DW and you think it's because they're blindly loyal to Marina? It's not their families embedded with Skate Canada (which cooperated with the DW hustle) and the fact that their families have a skating business, and the fact that they possibly don't know if they're continuing in the sport or not?

      You're saying that if Krylova had had DW, she wouldn't have taken them as clients. Make no mistake, DW can't do it, that is becoming clearer and clearer. If Krylova had them, she'd have to fake it with them too. Krylova couldn't have forced them to do it properly. How do you know Krylova would have turned them away. Alienated the U.S.F.S.A.?

      Marina's job is to coach. It is the ISU's job to judge. Marina's programs for DW didn't fool the ISU, the ISU just pretended, lied, and gave fake scores. It's the ISU's job to ensure the judging isn't corrupt, not Marina Zoueva's.

      It's like an acting coach who has to help a movie star with a role. The acting teacher understands authenticity, the movie star can't act. The acting teacher has to help the movie star fake it. Or should the acting teacher decline? What if the actor gets an Academy Award over someone better! It would be the teacher's fault, right? Not the voters?

      This is a JOB. Krylova is doing a job. There are coaches, like Shpilband, who have students who can do it and they throw a lot of crap choreography at them anyway.

      I'll tell you MY point of view. That Marina did her job for DW (not theirs for her, because the job is her for them and for their Fed) that she did her job for the Shibs, and for VM, and it was then the ISU's job to sort it out and decide who was best. If I were coaching, I would do the same with a clear conscience. Do MY job, then the other side does their job.

      It's the ISU that failed, not Marina Zoueva. But apparently you believe she should have said "the ISU is overscoring Meryl and Charlie for the programs I give them. Therefore I should stop working for Meryl and Charlie."

      And you think Krylova WOULD have done that. Or somehow forced Charlie and Meryl to do it properly. I, personally, especially after watching DWTS, think Meryl Davies can't do it properly. What we see is as properly as she can do it.

      oc

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    15. "Furthermore, if Marina said "good'by" to Davis White because she hated being part of their corrupt success, and that corrupt success is part of the ISU's agenda."

      based on a recent russian interview, she doesn't seem to be hating it.

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    16. So Marina's students can only "do it" when they can already "do it." She's not, you know, supposed to teach them how to skate. What a great coach. She can take skaters who already skate really well and... then they skate really well. If they can't, she doesn't know how to teach them to actually skate, just how to pretend to not skate. Brilliant technician, there.

      A good coach is supposed to teach their students to work within their ability to the BEST of their ability. If they really worked it, they'd probably look like Cappellini and La Notte, but without the rhythm which wouldn't be too bad. DW could hardly look worse, and since the ISU was so determined to give them those scores no matter what, why *couldn't* Marina throw in some actual technique? Since everyone knew they had all the time in the world to do whatever and would get world record scores, why *not* make them extend a leg and hold an edge once in a while? Even the hockey players on BOTB do it sometimes. It's attainable.

      You can't compare it to a one week stint on an entertainment reality show. This is her CRAFT. She's worked with DW almost 10 years. They suck. She sucks. It's hard to believe a team could be so bad with that much experience, money, and access to specialists. Even if Meryl has physical problems, Charlie doesn't seem to, so... ?

      I'm not 12:10 PM but he/she brought up a very interesting line of thought.

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    17. 4:37 that's a complete distortion. No, Marina Zoueva does not teach people how to skate. She's not a beginner's coach. She works with skaters who are already elite. She was a choreographer in Russia, she is primarily a choreographer at Canton, she problem solves, she brings in outside resources like technical specialists, lift coaches, specialists in particular types of dance. She knows how to synthesize better than anyone else in the sport.

      You have an, IMO, ridiculous idea of the agency a coach has. A coach doesn't set a skating team's agenda. Parents and teams go to a coach at Marina's level because they already HAVE a freaking agenda and they want her to help them achieve it. It seems to me your objection is that she's too good a choreographer. And if she'd turned them down, they'd have had to go to another coach, and that other training center wouldn't have been able to package what they do as effectively and the ISU wouldn't have been able to pull of their scam. And that's the problem. Not that she didn't teach them to skate.

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    18. "A good coach is supposed to teach their students to work within their ability to the BEST of their ability."

      Man is that NOT what coaches at the elite level do. Please tell me where, among the elite teams, the coach is saying - do your best WITHIN what you can actually do. Even though if you do it THIS way, the judges have shown you'll get more points.

      Who? Obviously, every single skating team in the sport is skating purely and earning their points honestly, except for Marina's team of DW. They're all saying to their teams I don't want any crap out there. This is my CRAFT. I want you to only execute the things you can perform honestly. Even if you get tons of points dishing out crap.

      Nope, they're all purists. All of them not only insist the skaters only present technical authenticity on the ice and work WITHIN themselves, but they all have the power to make that the agenda. That's exactly how rinks that coach elite skaters operate all over the world. Only Marina upsells.

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    19. Beginner's coaches are not the only coaches that teach technique. *That's* a distortion. Linichuk improved Belbin's technique. Zhulin improved Bobrova's posture. Shpilband improved CL's technical levels. Of course coaches teach technique! If Marina wants to be a coach, she shouldn't just "bring in" specialists... she's supposed to be working WITH the specialists on a final product involving SKATING.

      It sounds like you think that Marina deserves credit for everything good in her skaters but zero blame for any deficiencies. If they do something well (or appear to, in DW's case), it's because she's SO brilliant, but if they don't do it well, then it must have been an impossible task to teach the element, and it's ok for her to throw her hands in the air.

      So do you think that in 2005 Davis and White and their parents went to Marina with an agenda that said "we know our kids don't skate, or even control their bodies in the non-skating parts of lifts, but we bought our children an Olympic gold medal two cycles from now, so please do your best to make it look like they're pretend skating?" Even I'm not that jaded. I'm quite sure they brought them there so they could learn to skate to the best of their abilities. In that sense, she's done them a disservice, though I guess they don't care because they won. That still makes her a shitty coach, she's just lucky that she was hitched to the right wagon, the one with the most money.

      I never in my post said she should have turned them down (12:10 suggested it). I suggested she should have taught them to skate. Be a coach. Since we know they work sooo hard (longer than ANYone!), she should have used that time to drill CDs (not just bring in her ex-coach to SAY they were doing it right... actually teach them how to do it). Tell them it was unacceptable to skate on bent legs, on flats... do basic skating drills.

      My objection definitely isn't that she's too good of a choreographer, lol. I don't think the packing is effective. It's been patently obvious they didn't deserve their PCS marks since they hit the scene. Everyone can tell their programs are recycled crap. Everyone saw they were bad at Latin and ballroom (even their fans knew this year's SD was a bomb). The construction of DW's program is no better than Kustarova or Morozov's work. DW didn't get the scores because of Marina's "brilliant choreography" but because they were bought and paid for. It never mattered what they put on the ice.

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    20. "Man is that NOT what coaches at the elite level do. Please tell me where, among the elite teams, the coach is saying - do your best WITHIN what you can actually do. Even though if you do it THIS way, the judges have shown you'll get more points."

      Coaches may take out a transition so an element can be done more efficiently, or dumb down the feature of a move to just where they get the level and risk nothing more, or skate further apart to gain speed... but NOBODY is faking it to the level that DW are. All of the other coaches, while of course focusing on what their teams do best, are having their skaters use actual blade technique to get from A to B. And just about every other team IS improving season to season, and during the season, which DW never do.

      I guess you think Suzanne Bonaly was an excellent coach too?

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    21. "Her positive contribution doesn't erase her negative contribution, especially when it has produced such damage to the sport."

      ???

      Marina Zoueva's choreography for D/W has done "damage to the sport" of ice dance? How? Because you don't like that the ISU judges did not do their jobs? Even after Marina said, countless times, that the scoring and placement is up to the judges, not to her?

      I don't like most of Carol Lane's choreography and more often than not, G/P are overscored by the judges. I do not blame that on Lane's choreography or the way that she sells them as she is doing what they pay her to do. The difference between the two is that Marina is far better at working around or disguising the weaknesses of D/W than Lane is at doing so for G/P. It is up to the judges to see through a package/choreography to the skating (bad or good) at its core. You want to talk about who is damaging the sport of ice dance, look at the root of the problem. It is not Lane, nor is it Marina. They are doing their jobs within the system they are working within, period. Want to undo the damage that has been done to ice dance by judges who are able to cheat the system? Kill the corruption in the system. The coaches are not the ones with the power to facilitate it. Not Marina, Lane, Krylova, or even Shpilband. None of them is the head of the ISU.

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    22. "I guess you think Suzanne Bonaly was an excellent coach too?"

      Did she also have an overzealous, extremely powerful skating federation who kept their choice for the Olympic gold on a short leash and forced her to change anything she choreographed/created/coached they didn't approve of?

      If you want to have this conversation about coaches "coaching" teams with deficiencies, you can't not make the federations part of the discussion. The coaches do not operate in a vacuum.

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    23. Patently obvious to whom, 5:44pm? I know sincere, passionate VM fans who thought Die Fleudermaus was nails until it was deconstructed. There are reporters who sincerely thought it was the shit. There are plenty of skating fans and media who honestly thought Bollywood was fabulous skating and so was Phantom. It was definitely NOT patently obvious. I think B.A. fans had a good idea, more than most, because they were pissed DW vaulted past them in time for Vancouver. But the conversation, even among fans, was that the teams were equal. There were some who pointed out the toe picking and running, but "patently obvious" to where everybody knew and said it, that's not true.

      Where you and I disagree is about agenda. No, I do not think that the parents brought Davis White to Marina and said oh please teach them to skate to the best of their abilities. It's please take them to the next level. The next level, in the eyes of a Federation and parents and a team, can involve a whole lot more other than the noble pursuit of skating to the best of a team's abilities. We are not going to be likeminded on this, not just because of Marina, but because the way you think parents and skaters look at skating and competition and how results are determined, and the way I think they see it are entirely different. I don't think ice dance teams switch coaches because they want to become better skaters. Not in ice dance. I don't actually think Tanith and Ben went to Linichuk to become better skaters. That's how Tanith talked it up, but what was she going to say? I was the star of my training center and now we're being crowded out by DW and VM?

      Tanith made a big deal of improving her skating with Linichuk, but let's consider this - perhaps she improved her skating with Linichuk because Tanith chose this time to try to improve her skating. It might not have anything to do with Linichuk. And what was the result, btw, of moving to Linichuk? She lost the U.S. title and finished off the podium in Vancouver, whereas under Marina she was a sequential U.S. champion and won the silver medal in the Olympics. But no matter, after Vancouver she went back to Michigan and became DW's biggest cheerleader.

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    24. "I don't like most of Carol Lane's choreography and more often than not, G/P are overscored by the judges. I do not blame that on Lane's choreography or the way that she sells them as she is doing what they pay her to do. The difference between the two is that Marina is far better at working around or disguising the weaknesses of D/W than Lane is at doing so for G/P. It is up to the judges to see through a package/choreography to the skating (bad or good) at its core. You want to talk about who is damaging the sport of ice dance, look at the root of the problem. It is not Lane, nor is it Marina. They are doing their jobs within the system they are working within, period. Want to undo the damage that has been done to ice dance by judges who are able to cheat the system? Kill the corruption in the system. The coaches are not the ones with the power to facilitate it. Not Marina, Lane, Krylova, or even Shpilband. None of them is the head of the ISU."

      Thank you, 5:53. 5:50 seems to believe the coaches do operate in a vacuum, and can influence outcomes and judging. And no matter how you, 5:50, argue, it comes down to that you resent Marina was able to package DW to a win, a win that was only possible with a corrupt ISU. If you think ANYBODY could have packaged DW to a win, then what the hell is your issue with Marina? That means it didn't matter what Marina did.

      So what you're saying is, your only beef with Marina is she didn't deconstruct DW's skating and rebuild them into legit Olympic gold medalists? Or she didn't refuse to package them? But it doesn't matter how she packaged them, you say. They'd have won no matter what the package.

      So what's the problem, exactly? With her or without her, you're saying, they'd have won. But it's still her fault.

      Okay then.

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    25. My problem with 5:50's argument is it's saying Marina's package doesn't matter because DW would have won no matter who coached them or what the package, but their winning is still HER fault and she's the one who damaged the sport.

      How? If anybody could have done what she did - HOW? If she'd turned them down and they went to somebody else, they'd still have won - and it would have been that training center's fault?

      And if they'd won no matter what, because it was bought and paid for, how did MARINA damage the sport? As you frame it, she's irrelevant, because it was bought and paid for. It didn't matter what she did or didn't do. It was bought and paid for.

      There are too many self-cancelling facets to your position.

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    26. "Did she also have an overzealous, extremely powerful skating federation who kept their choice for the Olympic gold on a short leash and forced her to change anything she choreographed/created/coached they didn't approve of? "

      What USFS had her change was the packaging, the music. It was still the stock FD, always. I highly doubt they were skating real technique at champ comp and USFS rejected it.

      I agree that the coaches don't work in a vacuum, and the federations are to blame for a lot, but it can't always be the excuse for everything involving Marina.

      "Patently obvious to whom, 5:44pm?... I think B.A. fans had a good idea, more than most, because they were pissed DW vaulted past them in time for Vancouver. "

      To me. In my case, not a BA fan, but a Domnina Shabalin fan (yes, they existed) and obvious from the moment DW's Polovetsian came out the same season as theirs... and then at Nationals and I saw DW's "tango" OD... oh my Lord.

      I've never really heard of anyone with a knowledge of ice dance say DW were any good technically (at least until people started bandwagon jumping in the last year or so), and DW fans mostly admitted VM were better, but DW made them "feel" more. It was always mainly Americans/new fans saying DW had anything good technically, always in non-specific terms, and almost as a way of defending how poor they are artistically. So to me, obviously unimpressive.

      "Tanith made a big deal of improving her skating with Linichuk, but let's consider this - perhaps she improved her skating with Linichuk because Tanith chose this time to try to improve her skating. It might not have anything to do with Linichuk."

      I.... can't even answer that. That's just insane.

      "And what was the result, btw, of moving to Linichuk? She lost the U.S. title and finished off the podium in Vancouver, whereas under Marina she was a sequential U.S. champion and won the silver medal in the Olympics. "

      That's why I said DW are probably not unhappy with Marina, in spite of her lousy coaching. That DW won stuff is a fact, but they still couldn't skate.

      I doubt BA would have done any better staying with Marina. VM were too good, DW's medal was bought, and of course a Russian team would be on the podium. Linichuk is probably the reason BA stayed relevant into 2009. It would have been easy for USFS to dump them in 2009 with their poor 2008 showing, injuries, and the "amazing" Samson & Delilah.

      Going back to the point that the original poster was making, it is interesting how you praised Krylova for making her teams "do it" but are almost shading BA for leaving Marina and their skating improving because they lost to the subpar DW and their non-skating choreography. It's interesting that you have such respect for such totally opposing styles of coaching (Marina's and Krylova's).

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    27. "My problem with 5:50's argument is it's saying Marina's package doesn't matter because DW would have won no matter who coached them or what the package, but their winning is still HER fault and she's the one who damaged the sport."

      That wasn't me. You're confusing me with a different poster. I'm not the one who mentioned damaging the sport. It's understandable since there's a lot of different anonymous posts flying around. I just think she's a shitty coach if she can't teach or improve upon technique that isn't already there.

      You've already made it clear that you don't think politicking or PR is part of a coaches job (not unreasonable), but now teaching technique isn't either?!

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    28. I think teaching technique depends upon why the skater, the skaters' team (often mom and dad) and the skaters' Federation went to the coach. IOW, the coach's task is not set by the coach, but by the skaters. I think if Marina had said - forget the rest of your agenda, your kids can't skate! Let me at em, and some day they might be sort of on par with Capellini and Lanotte! the USFSA and DW's team would have thought she had a screw loose.


      "Tanith made a big deal of improving her skating with Linichuk, but let's consider this - perhaps she improved her skating with Linichuk because Tanith chose this time to try to improve her skating. It might not have anything to do with Linichuk."

      I.... can't even answer that. That's just insane."

      Yeah no. You'll have to "even answer that". If it's patently insane, you can say why. Tanith and Ben were the older team and there were DW and VM. They move to Linichuk. But it's all sincerely about Tanith wanting to improve her fundamental skating skills, and only Linichuk can do that. It's not Tanith thinking she has to step up her game and improve them regardless, because of DW's success, and VM''s obvious skill set.

      Insane how? That's not anything, what you said.

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    29. "I doubt BA would have done any better staying with Marina. VM were too good, DW's medal was bought, and of course a Russian team would be on the podium. Linichuk is probably the reason BA stayed relevant into 2009. It would have been easy for USFS to dump them in 2009 with their poor 2008 showing, injuries, and the "amazing" Samson & Delilah."

      Answer this, if you can "even" answer it.

      You repeat that DW's medal was "bought". How then, has Marina Zoueva damaged the sport?

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    30. For clarification's sake as this discussion continues, I'm 5:53 and 6:01.

      In order to break down what is wrong with ice dance, or what has "damaged" it (to use 12:10's terminology), you have to start at the top. That is where the corruption is rooted and where the biggest power tripping happens. To claim a coach (any coach, not just Marina) is who or what has damaged the sport is to assume that coach somehow works in a vacuum, which none of them do. They are hired by skaters to help them get to the next level, which basically means: rise up the ranks and - hopefully - WIN (eventually). But coaches are not the top of the food chain. They may be the most visible members of the "team" around the skaters, but they don't head that team. That's the job of the federations.

      Here is my hypothesis on what went down with D/W. I'll start by saying that I think D/W's skating, given that it's been so well broken down here, has become an absolute farce (especially in the last Olympic quad). But I don't think that was always the case. If you look back on their early years, all their core problems were there, but they did experience some actual growth. I think their 2007 tango OD was a rather decent program that forced them into closed hold and to somewhat improve at blade level. However, it's clear they were never going to improve much beyond that since their core deficiencies remained, but their federation pegged them as the ice dance team to hang its hat upon and then it was off to the races. I'm not even sure if V/M weren't also in Canton that the USFSA's plan would have differed, though it certainly helped that both teams were coming up at the same time, enjoyed training together, and argued that it pushed them to work harder.

      Marina did what she could to work around D/W's deficiencies, and she did it exceptionally well. But it was ultimately the USFSA's pushing them to the top that mattered more than anything. Tanith and Ben were deemed to be past their sell-by date (and I don't know what kind of relationship they had with the fed to begin with), so the path was cleared for D/W, who were MICROMANAGED from the top. Look at how the USFSA complained/worried about Phantom after it was revealed that was what D/W would skate during the 2009-2010 Olympic season. It took Charlie White and Marina meeting with fed officials to convince them it was something they (meaning D/W) really wanted to skate and felt they could turn into a medal-worthy program.

      However, AFTER the 2010 Games is when the USFSA's micromanagement of D/W went haywire because V/M got pregnant but did NOT retire. Not only that, but they came back only months after Tessa gave birth, waltzed into Tapei, and won their first outing of the SD, thus defeating the beloved D/W. How many times between the 2010 Games and this year did D/W announce they changed their program music or were told to create new programs? Twice? Three times? I can't recall. That is not the sign of a coach/choreographer who is maliciously coming up with ways to destroy the sport of ice dance by ruthless trickery, it is the sign of a federation who is determined to put their team on the top of the podium, by hook or crook. And on the subject of actually "coaching" D/W, remember what happened when they tried to challenge themselves with the tango FD? To actually work their deficiencies? They struggled in the first few outings, and BAM. Every bit of complex bladework (what little there was to begin with) was gone in an instant. No time for actual attempts to improve! Their fed had visions of them with gold medals around their necks in Sochi!

      D/W always had deficiencies in their skating, but the real, outright farcical programs did not appear until after Vancouver (and after their attempt to improve with the tango).

      Delete
    31. I also want to get a handle on the perspective advanced in this discussion. Here's my understanding:

      a) DW's gold medal was bought and pair for. Marina's packaging of DW had no impact whatsoever on their results. Everybody knew they were frauds - it didn't matter. It was a done deal. Marina's package was irrelevant. They could have skated anything.

      b) nevertheless, Marina did incalculable damage to the sport of ice dance by agreeing to package DW without insisting that DW renovate their technique (this perspective presumes she had the power to insist. And if she were denied the power to insist, she ought to have refused to coach them).

      c) if she'd insisted on renovating their technique a) it would have indeed been renovated; b) they'd have become Capollini and Lanotte type skaters, which is better than they are now; and c) they'd have still won the gold medal, because it was bought and paid for, but at least they'd have been Capollini and Lanotte type skaters instead of what they were.

      where I'm not clear is

      d) Marina, denied permission to renovate DW's technique, refuses to take them on as clients. They then flounder in training limbo because every other coach in the game has too much integrity to take them on because they're crap? Or, they find a coach, and that coach, having more integrity than Marina, fixes their technique to Capollini and Lanotte level, so that when they're awarded their bought and paid for Sochi gold medal over Virtue and Moir, it's a little easier to take?

      Have I missed something?

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    32. "Marina did what she could to work around D/W's deficiencies, and she did it exceptionally well. But it was ultimately the USFSA's pushing them to the top that mattered more than anything. Tanith and Ben were deemed to be past their sell-by date (and I don't know what kind of relationship they had with the fed to begin with), so the path was cleared for D/W, who were MICROMANAGED from the top."

      I don't think it was so much that BA were past their sell-by date, but that in the greater agenda of pushing DW, they were expendable. In order to set DW up for this year, the push had to begin in the 09-10 season. Whether VM were around or not post-Vancouver, it was going to take a whole quad's worth of wins to make it "convincing" in Sochi. VM aren't the only team that can/could/did outskate DW this past quad. Just to start, on the US level, the Shibutani's should have multiple national titles now.

      I think just due to Tessa's continuing issues with CECS in the 09-10 season, most people were expecting them to retire if they won in Vancouver. To set DW up for the Sochi Olympic quad to "win" a huge string of competitions, it was imperative that they be set up as being equal or nearly equal to VM in the last season that people knew for sure they'd be competing. I think the idea was that in 09-10, DW would be set up as equal or near equal to VM and the natural heirs to the throne after VM retired at the end of that season. (The only thing is VM didn't retire, so this messed with the original plan.) VM would win Vancouver, they'd win a world title, and go on their happy merry way into the sunset, and DW being seen as their near equals, would start off as top dog at the beginning of the Sochi quad, able to rack up "victory" after "victory" so no one would think anything of it when they "won" the next Olympics.

      It seems like the agenda was not to get the US an OGM in ice dance. It was specifically to get DW the ice dance OGM in Sochi. It didn't matter that BA were still the better team than DW in 09-10. They were inconvenient to the big agenda, so they had to be sacrificed.

      Looking back, after BA were sacrificed in 09-10 for DW, I remember telling someone that I was thankful that VM were too good to have that pulled on them. Little did I know, how good VM were didn't matter.

      Delete
    33. "I agree that the coaches don't work in a vacuum, and the federations are to blame for a lot, but it can't always be the excuse for everything involving Marina."

      I disagree with this statement and here's why: I hesitate to call exempting Marina as the problem as an "excuse" when the system is corrupt, that corruption is created at the top, and she and every other coach operates within the system in the same manner. Federations have the ultimate say on programs, not her. And feds must answer to the ISU or they and their skaters pay the price in some way. Just because the coaches are most visible does not mean they are the ones ultimately at fault for the bullshit going down. Which isn't to say they don't have some agency, because they do. But only so much. Marina and all the other coaches are, essentially, expendable.

      The argument against Marina I keep reading is: "she should have maintained ethical standards" meaning, I guess, not coaching D/W, forcing them to improve their skating, or calling them out for getting higher scores than V/M. But what are ethical standards in a corrupt system? She packaged her teams in the way they asked to be packaged. With V/M, it was purity of blade, of the dance, and of movement - all to push the sport forward. With D/W, it was minimize or work around the deficiencies and do it BIG. She gave both teams (and in the case of D/W, also their fed) what they wanted. It was up to the judges to decipher the true skating from the bullshit. They refused to do so. The coaches don't control the judges, the feds and the ISU control them.

      Delete
    34. **For clarification's sake as this discussion continues, I'm 5:53 and 6:01.**

      Thanks.

      "In order to break down what is wrong with ice dance, or what has "damaged" it (to use 12:10's terminology), you have to start at the top. "

      Of course. And the top is the TOP. It's not some nebulous, undefinable thing against which super specific, powerful people like coaches test their powers. It's a power structure populated by specific, powerful individuals with large egos and large agendas.

      "That is where the corruption is rooted and where the biggest power tripping happens. To claim a coach (any coach, not just Marina) is who or what has damaged the sport is to assume that coach somehow works in a vacuum, which none of them do. They are hired by skaters to help them get to the next level, which basically means: rise up the ranks and - hopefully - WIN (eventually). But coaches are not the top of the food chain. They may be the most visible members of the "team" around the skaters, but they don't head that team. That's the job of the federations."

      But fans always seize on what is visible, and take behind the scenes for granted. Behind the scenes, for me, has been for awhile (belatedly, but for at least a couple of years) THE thing. Starting with how somehow advice to take something out manages to find its way to Virtue Moir. That's power. Power isn't with the coaches, unless the coaches are currying favor (look at Platov, and look at the transparency of Igor "Shawn Rettstatt is a wonderful man!" Shpilband). And even that type of currying just showcases how little power coaches actually possess.

      "Here is my hypothesis on what went down with D/W. I'll start by saying that I think D/W's skating, given that it's been so well broken down here, has become an absolute farce (especially in the last Olympic quad). But I don't think that was always the case. If you look back on their early years, all their core problems were there, but they did experience some actual growth. I think their 2007 tango OD was a rather decent program that forced them into closed hold and to somewhat improve at blade level. However, it's clear they were never going to improve much beyond that since their core deficiencies remained, but their federation pegged them as the ice dance team to hang its hat upon and then it was off to the races."

      Yes. I don't know why the Federation zero'd in on them, but as has been pointed out by quite a few people, they're very malleable, very compliant, team players, will do what it takes. It's an unusual package, and I speculate the absence of spectacular talent is the key ingredient. A whole lot of uber driven skaters are very talented, and with that talent often comes temperament and variations in emotional temperature and volatility. DW had the drive without the talent, and didn't appear to have the component variables that often accompany exceptional talent. So in some ways, the perfect machine. If not in performance.

      In a self-dealing, self-aggrandizing, rife-with-resentment sport like figure skating, that's actually rare. Patrick Chan chafes.VM chafe. Michelle Kwan chafed. DW were like corporate pawns. They'd do whatever, whenever. But, as you point out, they'd already hit the ceiling of what they could legitimately accomplish on the ice (not scores, execution).

      Delete
    35. "I'm not even sure if V/M weren't also in Canton that the USFSA's plan would have differed, though it certainly helped that both teams were coming up at the same time, enjoyed training together, and argued that it pushed them to work harder. " Yes, it helped the narrative, and that narrative could also be flipped.

      "Marina did what she could to work around D/W's deficiencies, and she did it exceptionally well. But it was ultimately the USFSA's pushing them to the top that mattered more than anything. "

      YEP.

      "Tanith and Ben were deemed to be past their sell-by date (and I don't know what kind of relationship they had with the fed to begin with), so the path was cleared for D/W, who were MICROMANAGED from the top."

      Yes they were. Champs Camp was never just a mixed zone/rubber stamp for them. They were creatures of the USFSA, if not puppets, than close to puppets. And it's actually very rare, for any Fed, the USFSA, Russia, SC, to have skaters compliant enough to play that role.

      "Look at how the USFSA complained/worried about Phantom after it was revealed that was what D/W would skate during the 2009-2010 Olympic season. It took Charlie White and Marina meeting with fed officials to convince them it was something they (meaning D/W) really wanted to skate and felt they could turn into a medal-worthy program."

      Yes. And then they absolutely rejected Le Strada in 2012.

      "However, AFTER the 2010 Games is when the USFSA's micromanagement of D/W went haywire because V/M got pregnant but did NOT retire. Not only that, but they came back only months after Tessa gave birth, waltzed into Tapei, and won their first outing of the SD, thus defeating the beloved D/W."

      How rude!

      "And on the subject of actually "coaching" D/W, remember what happened when they tried to challenge themselves with the tango FD?
      To actually work their deficiencies? They struggled in the first few outings, and BAM. Every bit of complex bladework (what little there was to begin with) was gone in an instant. No time for actual attempts to improve! Their fed had visions of them with gold medals around their necks in Sochi! "

      Well, it was gone in an instant because they couldn't do it. The opportunity was there. Nobody was positive VM would return for Worlds (even DW, who were as in the loop where that's concerned as anyone). I recall Meryl doing a pre-season summing up, how she and Charlie were good at "this" but the tango was intended to develop other things in their skating - refinement, I think perhaps more complex holds, multidirectional skating, etc. They couldn't do it, and as you note, it was all gone by season's end. The fail was egregious. They fell over themselves.

      "D/W always had deficiencies in their skating, but the real, outright farcical programs did not appear until after Vancouver (and after their attempt to improve with the tango)."

      Die Fleudermaus was the apotheosis of this time, and really showed the sport's ass - and fans' ass (including mine - I still thought VM were better, but when it was unveiled, I thought it was a spectacular program. Yes. Until I pulled up and took a real look, I failed to notice it was a two-footed, gesticulating, arm sweeping, posing and toe-picking farce. It's so ironic that their two most highly praised programs - the Die Fleudermaus fd and the Giselle sd - have the least skating - not that the other programs have much).

      Delete
    36. "Yes. I don't know why the Federation zero'd in on them, but as has been pointed out by quite a few people, they're very malleable, very compliant, team players, will do what it takes. It's an unusual package, and I speculate the absence of spectacular talent is the key ingredient. A whole lot of uber driven skaters are very talented, and with that talent often comes temperament and variations in emotional temperature and volatility. DW had the drive without the talent, and didn't appear to have the component variables that often accompany exceptional talent. So in some ways, the perfect machine. If not in performance."

      I have wondered if the families did some pushing of their own to sell DW to the USFSA, but malleability (or brown-nosing as I'd call it) could have been a key selling point. I can't think of any other skater or team out there who doesn't have some ideas about their own skating. DW just did whatever.

      It's not as if at the time there weren't other better upcoming options to get behind when looking ahead. Samuelson and Bates showed a lot of promise and were praised for their technique and skating skills. This was a fundamentally sound team. They just needed the right showcase for those skills. I remember reading reports from those who saw their American in Paris FD at an event in Canton prior to Bates' injury that it was a fantastic program. It wasn't hard to imagine in 09-10 that with the right showcase for their skills and with the improvement one would expect over time that SB wouldn't be able to be a contender in Sochi. I remember watching them in Vancouver and thinking that they would easily surpass DW in the next year. There was the injury and then the split, but even without those things, they too probably would have been placed behind DW along with the Shibs.

      Delete
    37. " I can't think of any other skater or team out there who doesn't have some ideas about their own skating. DW just did whatever. "

      That's true, and it's SO striking about them. I do some surfing of the web with DW, not just about their skating, but them generally, individually, and as a team. Just gathering impressions, to see if there's another key that unlocks some of the WTF.

      Of course there's the general WTF of a lesser team winning over a superior team, and the usual answer "corruption". That aside, there's just WTF qua WTF with Davis White, apart from results. They're so "off" at almost every call. You nailed it there - they seem to have no ideas or opinion about their own skating. This sort of epic themed theatrical thing they do with their fd is what seemed to at least fake-sell after Samson & Delilah, so they stuck with it, but it was the results that appealed, not the skating. They have what to me appears to be a bizarre detachment from what it is they do.

      I could compare it to Weaver & Poje, who at times seem to reach/search for what they want, but if you did deeper, they are really only looking for the proper package - what they WANT is to skate well.

      So, package-wise - do they want to be theatrical/epic (Phantom). Do they want to just angst it out? (Je Suis Malade). Or what? With them, you don't have to search that hard. The answer is -they're working on their skating. The program is just the vehicle. What vehicle will challenge their skating while proving their skating?

      They're not as naturally talented as some, but the quality of their skating matters to them. Of course the results do as well, but they're going after results from a skating focus.

      Delete
    38. I’m the original 12:10, but this is my first response since then. Please read the whole thing before pouncing on one particular point, if you decide to respond at all. In some cases, I’m explaining what my initial train of thought was because I feel it and my motivation have perhaps been misunderstood, but take any points I make in the in the larger context of where my post goes.

      "Here are assumptions you're making: that coaches should be pure of heart and if their students can't do it properly, they should reject that student rather than package them to work around their deficiencies. "

      That isn't an assumption, it's an opinion about what ideally a coach should do. The assumption was me assuming there are any coaches at all who work that way. There are definitely teachers of other things who do work that way, though certainly not universally - if figure skating coaching is different, why? That’s partly what I was asking – and you’ve explained your opinion very thoroughly at this point.

      "You are assuming Krylova is that sort of coach, and if presented with the opportunity to coach DW, she wouldn't do it. You're basing that assumption on what?
      Marina Zoueva, TOO, has her students do "the thing itself" when they are capable of doing it. When they are not, which is mostly only DW, we get what she gives DW. "

      Yes, it is an assumption on my part that Krylova and the DSC wouldn't do it [take on D/W AND coach D/W in the exact same way as Marina has], but why is it not an assumption in the slightest on your part that she WOULD do it? I'm basing my opinion on the fact that ALL the teams in their camp have consistently improved. O/M have improved and have great programs for their level of skating, they have more to work with there than they would with D/W? Why isn't it ok to produce some movement upwards by O/M? Maybe they could be a C/B if they just focused in a different direction... If D/W were given a real ice dance program, what would happen? They would not be able to perform it extremely well. It would be more obvious to the untrained eye that they are no V/M. But they wouldn't combust into flames. It’s unreasonable to insist they still do something that’s closer to actually ice dancing, even if it doesn’t put them in the best light, because that’s the sport they have chosen to participate in? A coach doesn’t have a right to teach that way? (Rhetorical – you’ve already clearly provided your answer.)

      [These weren’t a direct response to me, but are relevant-

      “You have an, IMO, ridiculous idea of the agency a coach has. A coach doesn't set a skating team's agenda. Parents and teams go to a coach at Marina's level because they already HAVE a freaking agenda and they want her to help them achieve it. “

      So the universal model of figure skating coaching is - you give the team whatever possible advantage they can get without worrying about integrity to the basics, if the parents and students want to be the top team in the world and the students can’t be the top team in the world if they do it properly? (Rhetorical) I hear that you’re saying it definitely is that way, if the coach wants to have a job with anyone - but in my eyes, then that’s another toxic thing about the sport, that a coach can’t even decline to work that way if they want to be part of the system at all.

      “Nope, they're all purists. All of them not only insist the skaters only present technical authenticity on the ice and work WITHIN themselves, but they all have the power to make that the agenda. That's exactly how rinks that coach elite skaters operate all over the world. Only Marina upsells.”

      No, I don’t think they’re all like that. I wonder if Krylova is like that and I’m disappointed that Marina isn’t like that. I was only singling her out because you obviously have such immense admiration for her, and I was curious how you viewed it, but I certainly didn’t start with the viewpoint that Marina was worse than the majority of other coaches. ]

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    39. Part 2

      "Of course Marina is paid to choreograph and coach. That's her livelihood. You're framing it as if SHE LIKES THE MONEY! Frank Carroll does it for money. Krylova does it for money. All the coaches do it for the money. That's why every single one of them shuts up when a hustle like Sochi happens (unless it's Russia). I didn't see Krylova speaking up either. That's because none of these coaches want to alienate a Fed, none of these coaches can afford to alienate a potential client, even if it's a DW. It's their LIVING."

      I wasn’t trying to frame it any way, I’m trying to understand why Marina does what she does, and that was one of two explanations I came up with. My point in bringing up money was that perhaps she was getting MORE from D/W's camp then she normally would from others. Surely she's not lacking in teams who would like to be her clients? (Keep reading below – I know, it’s more complicated). I said I didn’t think that made her a terrible person, and I was not implying anything shady in her dealings. I was saying if her only reason for helping D/W was *extra money*, that wasn’t something I particularly respected. If it was a case of she truly needed them to literally *make a living*, that’s something different. (And, theoretically speaking, couldn't the not-speaking-up thing be much about not hurting what students Krylova already has a la the South Korean fed rather than worrying about her own security as a coach? )

      “It's her livelihood. Her livelihood is synergistic, like most are. Built on relationships. The USFSA. Other skaters. Other Feds. She serves them, not them serving her abstract vision. That is the JOB. I don't know what you think the job is. It's preparing her skaters for competition. When DW competed, they did well. Marina was supposed to change the parameters of the job and say - screw that the sport is enabling you and you're rising in the ranks - do it right or get out of my arena.”

      I see. I thought the job was somewhere on a spectrum between teaching and providing content for her teams to ice dance like an actual teacher and providing a service along the lines of what you say above, with the coach(es) having at least some amount of freedom to determine where on the spectrum the approach of their camp fits. I certainly did not view it as the parameters of the job being as unnegotiable as you describe here.

      I do hear what you’re saying, that either refusing to accept D/W or making them start skating programs with more integrity could have a negative impact for a coach’s reputation and ability to take on new clients.

      “Do you think Val Chmerkovsky, a pro on DWTS, ought to have declined to perform in Week 4 rather than bullshit the AT tango to a bunch of tens? Even if it damaged his relationship with the show? He's an actual dancer. He's something of a technical purist. He's carried that through to the show - it's a point of pride that even when he has a non-dance celebrity, he insists on teaching them proper technique. It's his thing, even on this show. But then he gets Meryl and in under a week he's pretending to be Charlie White and using Marina Zoueva-style workarounds.”

      This isn’t about Marina spending one week doing a bullshit program. Even if she had just done some choreography here and there for them without also being their coach, I wouldn’t have much of an issue. This is her having done this for years and years for them, holding the primary responsibility of how they approach their skating for the majority of their careers. Maybe if Val was stuck with a partner as hopeless at doing what he wants done as Meryl every season, he wouldn’t find the show as fulfilling of a job. Of course, again, I understand when it comes down to “making a living”, it would depend on what his other options were.

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    40. Part 3

      “I don't know where you go from she agreed to work with DW and produce the programs that the ISU could sell as the best in the world, even though they were not, and decide the only possible conclusion is she enjoyed the hustle. REALLY?"

      So your conclusion is – she didn’t enjoy doing it, but she had no choice because if she refused or didn’t play along her whole coaching career would have come crashing down around her? To what extent – she wouldn’t have been hired for coaching and choreographing by *anyone* elite? V/M would leave her? Let’s say it wasn’t that bad – she wasn’t jobless – but the effect on her career was still significant. You’re right – maybe that’s too much to expect from anyone over something as cosmically unimportant as ice dancing, and it’s unfair to judge her in that respect. But you do realize there are people who would choose that path?

      One of the other anons said: “The argument against Marina I keep reading is: "she should have maintained ethical standards" meaning, I guess, not coaching D/W, forcing them to improve their skating, or calling them out for getting higher scores than V/M. But what are ethical standards in a corrupt system?... It was up to the judges to decipher the true skating from the bullshit. They refused to do so.”

      I’m not even sure how to respond to this, except to say our viewpoints are opposite. I think this is a big problem with how the world functions. Everyone passes the buck because it’s not their responsibility. I don’t think there’s an excuse for throwing out ethical standards just because most people within a given situation aren’t following them.

      Also, you (OC) have expressed disappointment with Tracy Wilson… would her network of contacts might not have turned against her if she said a bit more (or talked up D/W a bit less)? Would she not have lost part of her income if NBC canned her? Why are you upset about her?

      “You're being unrealistic and myopic. When you come here with this, harping on Marina, you're thinking small. “

      I don’t come here harping on Marina. I think most of the V/M’s fandoms opinions of the Marina are overzealous and exaggerated, and many of them just plain ridiculous. It’d be really nice if for once you could just explain your point of view as if the other poster is asking in good faith, instead of responding - making an assumption - as if you’re absolutely sure you understand the larger viewpoint that they are coming from. I get the Marina debate can get repetitive, but I asked you a specific question, one particular aspect of the Marina situation that hasn’t been gone over here before, to my knowledge. It at least certainly hasn’t been rehashed much if it ever was raised. I took pains to separate my question from the areas that have been over-discussed here before. I thought it would be an interesting convo to have, I was legitimately honestly curious about how you saw it. Turns out there was a very simple answer, because we were looking at things so differently to begin with.

      (“Even freaking VM couldn't say shit about DW and you think it's because they're blindly loyal to Marina? It's not their families embedded with Skate Canada (which cooperated with the DW hustle) and the fact that their families have a skating business, and the fact that they possibly don't know if they're continuing in the sport or not?”

      ?????? I didn’t say anything of the sort. I made it very clear this question had absolutely nothing to do with what anyone said in the press, and absolutely nothing to do with the relationship between V/M and Marina. )

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    41. Part 4

      “If a coach who coached DW got rid of them as some sort of protest over how highly the ISU decided they should be scored, they'd be quickly out of the coaching business because tumbleweeds would be rolling through the rink.”

      Just to clarify, I was never envisioning it as this grand stand where she kicks D/W to the curb and issues a press release to explain why. I’m more saying – somewhere over the point of D/W’s career with her – maybe 2008-09, or 2010-11, instead of dropping something that other teams would be expected to do no matter what, and saying “don’t bother”, she makes them keep trying to do something the correct way, even if they suck at it. Just incremental decisions about how to approach D/W’s training that resulted in less covering for them at all costs, and more trying to get them to do the most real ice dance they possibly could. Not because Marina was trying to undermine them, just because she thought ice dance should be a certain way as much as possible. If they flunked the test because they were making some mistakes and the ISU couldn’t justify all of their wins, that’s what all other teams have to contend with – skating programs that leave themselves open to mistakes. They part ways because they’re not getting the results they want the way they want, and she’s a stickler for doing things the right way. The working relationships dissolves. BUT I HEAR YOU AND THAT WAS ONLY TO EXPLAIN WHAT MY THOUGHT PROCESS ABOUT D/W LEAVING MARINA WAS. NO NEED TO ASSUME I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU’VE SAID, that no ice dance coach in existence would do things differently because their only job is to get their students the best placement possible, unless their students specifically have other goals such as V/M doing difficult programs for their own sake. I guess I’m wondering if Krylova has created a niche for herself, by only taking students interested in that, but I grant that that’s a different situation than having a relationship with such a politically backed team as D/W to go sour.

      “I'll tell you MY point of view. That Marina did her job for DW (not theirs for her, because the job is her for them and for their Fed) that she did her job for the Shibs, and for VM, and it was then the ISU's job to sort it out and decide who was best. If I were coaching, I would do the same with a clear conscience. Do MY job, then the other side does their job.”

      There we go. I honestly don’t think I could (have a clear conscience). Different personalities, different ways of approaching the world, probably different jobs we’re best suited to. I asked you a question about how you reconciled your admiration for Marina with her actions, and now I know - it doesn’t bother you at all. Mission accomplished.

      “But apparently you believe she should have said "the ISU is overscoring Meryl and Charlie for the programs I give them. Therefore I should stop working for Meryl and Charlie."

      No. This was nothing to do with Marina staging some kind of public protest against the ISU. This was not about me thinking she should have REACTED to the ISU's overscoring of D/W. This was me thinking she shouldn't have been giving D/W those programs in the first place.

      “And you think Krylova WOULD have done that. Or somehow forced Charlie and Meryl to do it properly. I, personally, especially after watching DWTS, think Meryl Davies can't do it properly. What we see is as properly as she can do it.”

      It’s Davis. I think you have a bit of a mental block on that.

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    42. Part 5

      I don’t agree with some of the posters above - I do think there are real limits to what D/W are capable of, and don’t automatically put their issues at Marina’s door. But because we don’t KNOW exactly what was tried inside Canton, I am not prepared to say 100% sure that D/W have the absolute best technique that they ever possibly could. I think it’s likely that somewhere along the way further possible improvement was sacrificed so that they could “keep up with V/M. They won the FD with their first version of the tango by 15 points. It was presumably scrapped because it was foreseen they wouldn’t be able to beat V/M by Worlds. But we don’t know where they could have gotten to if they had kept it the whole season. They would not be World champsions, but maybe they’d be better skaters. I agree that DWTS certainly provides evidence that they have real limitations in several aspects of dance and movement related to ice dance , but what it says about their potential with actual skating skills is limited. Not non-existent, just limited.

      [“I think if Marina had said - forget the rest of your agenda, your kids can't skate! Let me at em, and some day they might be sort of on par with Capellini and Lanotte! the USFSA and DW's team would have thought she had a screw loose.”

      Yeah. I guess I don’t see the problem with being seen as the one with the screw loose if you’re getting to do things the way you think they should be done. D/W could have gone somewhere else if they didn’t like her method. But this is theoretically speaking, I get what you’re saying that the political situation is dicey. ]

      When I’m saying that Krylova might have given them different programs from, this is more where I’m coming from:

      “ Coaches may take out a transition so an element can be done more efficiently, or dumb down the feature of a move to just where they get the level and risk nothing more, or skate further apart to gain speed... but NOBODY is faking it to the level that DW are.”

      I don’t get not keeping some sort of standard to which your teams must work if they’re going to be part of your program at all. If it leaves them exposed, moderately so, then that’s just the level of what the team is capable of. I would do everything and anything to help them improve as much as possible, but I’m not going to glorify their ability to not do it. I don’t get the *deception* involved in Marina’s work. The extent and underlying purpose of it, I mean – obviously all coaches will try to make their students’ look as good as possible….within a certain framework. Marina invented a new framework with the sheer amount of time-killing crap in their programs. But I understand that in your books, that’s what any and every ice dance coach would have done, and I get why you think so, for the most part. It’s been very useful to hear your opinions on the subject, thanks.

      I can see that my concept of coaching is likely too idealistic. If it is that incredibly politicized so that I would have to so fundamentally go against my concepts of how the ice dance programs should be in order to keep my job at all, it’s a very good thing I’m not in that position, and I should keep in mind that I’m looking at it from the perspective of my own inclinations and hang-ups. But it doesn’t change the fact that I’m curious how Krylova would have handled the situation, and less than thrilled with Marina for choosing the specific path she did. But I do have a greater appreciation for the larger context in which she had to make those decisions, so I’ll keep that in mind.

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    43. Part 6

      (PS:
      “My problem with 5:50's argument is it's saying Marina's package doesn't matter because DW would have won no matter who coached them or what the package, but their winning is still HER fault and she's the one who damaged the sport…. There are too many self-cancelling facets to your position.”

      I’m the one who said she damaged the sport, who 5:53 was responding to, not 5:50. I didn't phrase it well, at least not without giving further explanation. Yes, I think her choreography gave them an advantage, that it hid their issues better than others would have been able to, but that it's quite likely they would have won with someone else– none of which was my main point. My issue isn’t so much about the result, as about Marina’s choice to do it. It’s not about her inflicting damage on the sport that no other coach could have done. Some other coach would have filled her role, although who knows how well. It’s that I find the juxtaposition of what she’s contributed to the sport bizarre. What she’s done with V/M and other teams doesn't cancel out her prolific not-ice-dance contribution through D/W. When judging her legacy alone, in my mind. I should have worded it more carefully, because I agree it sounds like I meant “she afflicted a huge amount of damage to ice dance that only she could have done”, which is overstating it. Looks like this is more a quirk with how I view her choices - something that I thought would be more commonly viewed as troubling, or at least somewhat conflicting. Obviously not. That particular part of my initial post was a weighing-values thing, and asking how you weighed it, OC, and was not meant to be a declaration about an objective degree of damage she’s caused for the sport. This has spun into a conversation far beyond the intention of my initial post, which is of course all fine and good, but I want to clarify that I wasn’t advancing a fully fleshed-out theory about D/W and Marina, because I don’t have one. It was the truth when I said I wasn’t looking to make a larger point. I thought the coach-team relationship was more akin to a teaching relationship whose primary aim is to teach the students to do things well, and was curious why you weren’t bothered by her not doing that for D/W, because of your comment about Krylova and your many comments expressing your admiration for Marina. It was a simple question, without a particular agenda. Much light has been shed on the subject since. But I think what you’re missing (in your response to your question at 6:50), is that you’re building a scenario out of snippets from a group of different anon posters, who don’t necessarily agree with each other on all points. Perhaps that’s why you’re seeing such a conflict in the logic. I don’t think anyone was advancing a theory including all of those points.)

      -The End-

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    44. Okay, Parts 1-6, I have read what you said, and I am once again guilty of having blown through some of it when you initially started participating, because I did think I was hearing from the same people who've spoken on it before, whose viewpoints I already know. But where you and I do disagree, as you've noted, is the passing the buck point. I disagree with that very strongly, not least of which is that there is no way Marina could have known, when she took the team on, that it would evolve to this point. As you say, when they were juniors, they showed some ability, and she was coaching them then. It was when they became seniors that the crazy started, and, as someone else has noted here in the conversation, that is also when the USFSA appeared to become intensely interested and controlling, with very strong ideas about DW's programs. What was Marina supposed to do about that?

      Remember, it was the USFSA who threw out Le Strada, not Marina. Do we know what was in Le Strada, what was attempted there, that the USFSA rejected? Remember also that the USFSA had just had a belly full of that tango program, a program whose stated agenda was to improve DW's skating skills (that was pretty much what they were saying, even though it was phrased more adroitly than that) and saw how DW were unable to do it convincingly. A recently pregnant ice dancer beat them in the short dance at Worlds, and they were pretty much helped to the win in the free. It also looked uncertain and effortful, even after they dropped any of the pseudo-complexity they'd attempted. The USFSA saw what addressing skating skills achieved. It didn't cut it.

      By this point, Marina has a close relationship with both teams, she's worked with them for years. At what point does she pull the plug? How does she get the skaters - who prioritize results - to cooperate. And if she persists in addressing skating when the result is the tango program (and perhaps Le Strada) when the other way gets better results, what does the USFSA do if she declines to go in the direction they need her to go? (and remember, built into the actual rules in CoP are key loopholes that faciliate what the USFSA wants to do with DW, and there's nothing Marina can do about those loopholes. I'll address those further down).

      If Marina decides the buck stops with her, what does Arctic Edge do? Do DW leave Arctic Edge or is Marina made to leave Arctic Edge? And what reason is given if that occurs, and how does that impact her future in the sport?

      And I think we also disagree about what DW are capable of. I believe DW are as outlier as it gets. I don't believe they can be compared to any other deficient team. The blog has said before that when you watch the other top teams and then look at DW, one of these things is not like the others.

      I don't know if I've also stressed that when you look at the fucked up teams - Gilles/Poirier initially, for example, Brobova Soloviev, Cooms & Buckland - DW don't look completely like them either. Whatever they were doing back when they were at least doing it a little bit, that was their ceiling. I've gone back and looked and even when they're doing it, they are still doing it mostly in segments, and it's almost always in the transitions, a position change, and especially a direction change, and particularly a direction change in hold, where it looks rough, even for a moment. I think there are clues there. I don't think those things have NOT been worked on, I just suspect there was no success in working on them legitimately, and another way had to be found.

      (cont'd below)

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    45. When I look at these messed up teams, and I do imaginary coaching, it always seems to me as if really getting down into stroking drills would fix a lot of it. It appears to have helped Piper, although Gilles & Poirier have been over-rewarded for that improvement. When I look at Cooms Buckland I see a half baked team that has some genuine natural power, and their coach is giving them frantic choreography on the "do a lot of crap badly is going to win more points than doing legit stuff cleanly" theory, and he seems to be right. In the process, he's baking bad habits into their technique, but I can see where the problem is.

      As I've said in another conversation in this same comments section, I keep chasing things with Davis White, especially since DWTs, because there is something OFF. I look at Meryl and think - would stroking drills get me ANYWHERE? I look at transitions and direction changes and think why the hell can't you do it? Is addressing fundamentals going to accomplish anything? IOW, is addressing their fundamentals going to take them past where they were back in 2006 or so when they did more skating, or is that the best they can do working with fundamentals? I kind of think the latter.

      Look at Alexandra Paul. This is a woman who is a lovely skater, who is trained properly, and knows how to carry herself. She is perfectly comfortable working in and out of close closed hold with her partner, and with direction changes. She also prior to this past season, had a habit of tripping, particularly in a spin or turn. This went to her not being as deep into the ice as Mitch. You could see that plainly. From the ankles up, her technique was beautiful, she did everything properly, and her edge strength needed to catch up to what she could do athletically and as a dancer, to secure herself into the ice. She did that this past season.

      DW don't exactly skate like other teams whose fundamental problem is poor skating skills, although they have poor skating. There's something else going on. I don't KNOW what. I keep looking at the components of what they're doing and it hasn't assembled into a full picture yet, but the components are off in a way that they're not with other teams. It goes to changes of direction and transitions. I don't KNOW why Meryl's feet are so wonky, but her patterns and habits and what happens with them don't look like the bad habits of other skaters who get trashy with their feet. As I said, everything about them is compensatory, and of course it's compensating for insufficient technique, but WHY their technique is insufficient is the million dollar question, but I definitely do not think it's because Marina hasn't addressed it or tried. I do know, of course, that if the choice is between being exposed as the same decent skaters they were in 2006 or so, which would put them maybe in the top ten finish if it were packaged convincingly, and Samson & Delilahing to gold, there's only one choice. Nobody's spending the kind of money and time they do on this sport to have the moral victory of finishing top ten legit instead of gold medal bogus.

      So, just to repeat - as DW don't resemble other top teams, they also don't completely resemble other trashy teams, and it's not just Marina's packaging that's the difference. It's something in the way they actually skate and move and don't skate and move. It's off. I don't know why. DWTs is another way to look at it, and I work it out, out loud, on this blog.

      Anway, here are three key points that facilitated DW's rise to the top that are completely out of Marina's hands.

      1. Lift levels
      2. twizzle levels
      3. let's pretend these footwork sequences are done well.

      Those three things are out of Marina's control. Those are three fundamental things that allow DW to win and the first two are the ISU's decision and the third is flat out corruption.

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    46. P.S. - I'd said CoP facilitated the DW hustle, and I mean those first two points. The Levels. DW don't need to skate in and out of a lift, and Meryl doesn't need to manage her own body in a lift, and as to getting into them, Charlie can just grab her and haul her up there, or sling her up there, because CoP says the way they do it is L4. Marina could say, I don't care, it's crap L4, I want you to skate in and out, and I want Meryl to handle her own body. None of which I think they could do at the skill level they'd need to do it, not even if they spent years addressing it, by the way. I don't know WHY. But I think that, and that informs my point of view on all of this. Her job is to prepare them for competition, to get them to make the levels, and if they're making the levels, do we think Marina should say I don't like the way you're making the level?

      CoP says go ahead Charlie, squat on down after you yank her in, the two of you clutch like you're working for Mayflower Movers, and just push her on up there. Doesn't matter what positions she's in - her limbs can be splayed or she can be bunched up like you just took her out of the dryer. Then lash her into place. When it's done, she can exit tilted like the Leaning Tower of Pisa and hanging onto you for dear life but if she poses her free leg at an edge angle while it's still a few inches off the ice that's good enough. Don't fall and we'll +3 it as well.

      And off course, the twizzles, the signature element of an ice dance program, are L4 and have remained L4 for years, with the addition of a "feature" that is actually an assist (no matter what Doris Pulaski tries to argue), a feature that they half-ass half the time anyway.

      Without those two things meeting the requirements of L4, DW don't win, no matter how Marina packages them. But as they do meet L4, I wonder if anyone thinks Marina should refuse to let DW meet L4 that way.

      Then there are step sequences. Marina isn't hiding anything in the step sequences. There DW are, doing the steps, cramped little curves with jerky, forced edge changes and often as not hitting a flat. No flow. Scurrying and hopping in between. Ice coverage is meh. L4 and +3 over a team with enormous run of blade, stunning flow and control, wonderful unision and speed - a team that got L3 and a shrug for GOE.

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    47. I agree that the way the requirements for level 4 ice dance lifts leave a lot to be desired. With the way their lifts are designed, they do meet level 4 criteria. However, at least this past season, there were times that DW's execution of those lifts fell short of the level 4 requirements and they were still given level 4. More than once, the rotational back half of their combination lift did not have enough rotations for the feature to count in the levels. The man is supposed to have 6 continuous rotations. DW would stop after 5. 5 is not the same thing as 6. 5 does not meet the criteria, yet they were still awarded the level the same as if they'd done 6.

      With the twizzles too, the criteria for levels needs to be addressed, but there are still times that DW's execution should have resulted in losing a level. The dance jump (aka the hop) is supposed to leave the ice to count. If DW don't leave the ice--and there are times that they didn't--they shouldn't have received credit. There is also criteria about continuous rotations in twizzles. There are times you'll see Charlie (always him, as far as I can remember) not meet the minimum requirements for continuous rotation to count. So, with lifts and twizzles, it's not just that the ISU criteria needs addressing, it's that DW also at times don't meet the criteria is it is/was while they were competing. Yet, they still got credit for it, even though they didn't actually do it.

      "As I've said in another conversation in this same comments section, I keep chasing things with Davis White, especially since DWTs, because there is something OFF. I look at Meryl and think - would stroking drills get me ANYWHERE? I look at transitions and direction changes and think why the hell can't you do it? Is addressing fundamentals going to accomplish anything? IOW, is addressing their fundamentals going to take them past where they were back in 2006 or so when they did more skating, or is that the best they can do working with fundamentals? I kind of think the latter."

      I have a friend who skates recreationally and has had several years of lessons, although they've never skated competitively. My friend also followed competitive skating closely in the past, but hasn't really in the past decade. I sent my friend several videos of VM and several of DW and asked for impressions. When my friend got back to me, they were blown away by the quality of what VM were doing, but also picked up on something being off with DW, calling their skating weird and saying they were doing stuff that their [friend's] coach would have called friend out on. My friend also said that to anyone who really knows anything about skating the difference in the two teams should be as obvious as a blinking, screaming neon sign.

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    48. I agree it's not just criteria, it's corruption in deciding that DW have met the criteria even when they haven't. But the criteria as it stands prevents them from being completely exposed. For example, if three sets of twizzles became the Level 4 standard, I do not believe DW could do three sets of twizzles.

      If the criteria for L4 lifts were cleaned up, I do not believe DW could clean them up. Not to top team in 2014 level anyway (or top team in this past quad for that matter). As it stands now, L4 lifts and L4 twizzles are officially in their program, and because they're Davis White, they get credit for executing even when they don't. If the criteria were changed I suspect they couldn't have L4 twizzles and lifts in their programs, period. So just as Marina's choreography, arguably, can be said to be the thing that prevents them from being exposed, the criteria for L4 lifts and twizzles does the same thing. I sincerely believe DW literally couldn't execute L4 twizzles and lifts with changed criteria.

      Your friend saying something was "off" with DW and their skating is "weird": Yeah. And when I look at Cooms Buckland, I say what a mess. Is this what we want ice dance to become? Or first outing of Gilles Poirier, all of her broken lines and Paul dragging her all over the place to finesse the fact that her skating was weaker than his. Bobrova and Soloviev, everybody can see right away - they can skate but man are they sloppy, and get a load of that program!

      But I don't say "weird" or "off", not even when B&S were doing Angry Birds.

      It's the thing that makes me say "weird" and "off" that I'm pursuing with DW, that makes me set them apart from other teams whose skating is undeveloped. I don't say "weird" or "off" with other bad teams. Yes, we can deconstruct DW's program and call it out, point out the non-skating, point out the feet and the redundant points of contact, the hopping and skidding. But what the hell is behind it all? They can't do it, in my opinion, but why can't they do it? I don't know if it matters, except that it's behind my belief that a re-set wouldn't work. If we called a break, and sent them to skate camp to let them get some of their skating skills back on point, I don't think they'd come out much better than they were in 2006, and not because it's too late. There's some fundamental reason or reasons why.

      The weird is why. I just am not sure what the weird IS. It's more than skating, but it impacts the skating, makes it what it is and isn't.

      You are right that the difference between the teams is screaming at anyone who knows even a little about about skating, which is why P.J. Kwong choosing to pontificate about not showing respect is just infuriating. The way everybody who knows anything has been complicit in trying to get the fans back under the tent, lecturing and ridiculing them, is unacceptable. The fans need to be shown some respect, and people in skating need to back off talking down to and about fans, and instructing fans how they should be thinking. Just back off.

      One thing about the screaming neon sign. Paul MacIntosh, of all people (VM's former coach in Waterloo), recently cited Die Fleudermaus as a wonderful program. Tatiana Tarasova also loved Die Fleudermaus. Die Fleudermaus was shit. DW ran around the ice on two feet, then stood with feet planted and waved their arms at the crowd. Repeat. Do they mean it? Do they just admire that Marina created a show program so compelling nobody looked at its content, or did THEY not look at its content, and only at its impact?

      oc

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    49. 12:10/6 parts again -I appreciate your response, thanks.

      "CoP says go ahead Charlie, squat on down after you yank her in, the two of you clutch like you're working for Mayflower Movers, and just push her on up there. Doesn't matter what positions she's in - her limbs can be splayed or she can be bunched up like you just took her out of the dryer. Then lash her into place. When it's done, she can exit tilted like the Leaning Tower of Pisa and hanging onto you for dear life but if she poses her free leg at an edge angle while it's still a few inches off the ice that's good enough. Don't fall and we'll +3 it as well."

      Just wanted to add to this a bit. CoP doesn't exactly say that, because the +3 GOE requirements include - seamless entry and exits, floating/effortless ascent/descent, relaxed stability, effortless change of pose and aesthetically pleasing lines. So there IS a penalty, on paper, for the clinging and the hauling. Of course, GOE isn't worth as much - a L4 is 4.00 and +3 GOE is only 1.50, and is more subjective (in the sense of human perception and gradation, not that it's not objectively there or not). And it's easier for judges to fudge, even though, as 8:29 points out, the levels can be screwy too.

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    50. But needless to say, the GOE was getting fudged. D/W got several perfect lift scores - 14. I just counted them. And that's not counting Nats, where they got 6 more. V/M got 2 - one at SC, one at GPF, none at the Olympics. They also got 6 at Nats, though.

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    51. Well, as I see it, the clinging and hauling are part of the mechanics/content - THING they're doing, in the lift, which means all of that has passed L4. So GOE can't penalize them for the clinging and hauling, as that goes to the technique/mechanics of the lift that has already met the Level. There's no other way to do the lift - it's part of its design. Which, again, has passed L4.

      And then of course, GOE requires everything you've described, which the actual lift (versus the execution of the lift) seems to contradict. But it's helpful that it hasn't exactly defined "aesthetically pleasing".

      So I'd say in this case, that GOE can't mark down for the clinging and the hauling, since that's the lift itself. They have to GOE how well they cling and haul. Is Charlie's grip secure? Does he stumble on the way up? Does he bend and crouch effortlessly? Does she get up there without getting caught on anything on his costume? Do their facial expressions report that everything is precisely as it should be?

      I know. :(

      Holy shit the comparison between lift scores.

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    52. "Yeah. And when I look at Cooms Buckland, I say what a mess. Is this what we want ice dance to become? Or first outing of Gilles Poirier, all of her broken lines and Paul dragging her all over the place to finesse the fact that her skating was weaker than his. Bobrova and Soloviev, everybody can see right away - they can skate but man are they sloppy, and get a load of that program!

      But I don't say "weird" or "off", not even when B&S were doing Angry Birds."

      Exactly. With all of the other teams out there, the issue(s) can be pinpointed and what needs to be done to fix it is a known solution. The root of the weird in DW's skating can't be nailed down and it's not likely there's a real fix there.

      "The way everybody who knows anything has been complicit in trying to get the fans back under the tent, lecturing and ridiculing them, is unacceptable. The fans need to be shown some respect, and people in skating need to back off talking down to and about fans, and instructing fans how they should be thinking. Just back off."

      This. It's been said here before, but there is no other sport out there where the fans are treated like they are with skating and especially ice dance. Even its judged cousin gymnastics treats the fans like they're capable of understanding what the athletes are doing. The commentators explain the judging, they point out in detail what the gymnasts are doing, both good and bad.

      "
      One thing about the screaming neon sign. Paul MacIntosh, of all people (VM's former coach in Waterloo), recently cited Die Fleudermaus as a wonderful program. Tatiana Tarasova also loved Die Fleudermaus. Die Fleudermaus was shit. DW ran around the ice on two feet, then stood with feet planted and waved their arms at the crowd. Repeat. Do they mean it? Do they just admire that Marina created a show program so compelling nobody looked at its content, or did THEY not look at its content, and only at its impact?"

      I'd also like to know why the praise for DF from these people who should and probably do know better. Is it playing politics? Did they get sucked in by the theatrics and "feelings" part and not look at the skating? Were they really praising Marina for creating the program and not praising dw for how they skated it?

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    53. "Well, as I see it, the clinging and hauling are part of the mechanics/content - THING they're doing, in the lift, which means all of that has passed L4. So GOE can't penalize them for the clinging and hauling, as that goes to the technique/mechanics of the lift that has already met the Level. There's no other way to do the lift - it's part of its design. Which, again, has passed L4."

      No, that's not how it works. I'm not saying the judges don't do what you describe, but the system on paper does not give teams an out on GOE based on the construction of their levels. The criteria isn't "was that entrance as seamless as that specific lift alone could be?" A system in which the teams are judged against their own program makes no sense - the teams are being judged against each other, albeit indirectly, and against a standard that CoP sets as being perfect. It's "how seamless was that entrance objectively on a scale of -3 to +3"? Compared to the most seamless of entrances that could ever be, compared to what other teams are doing now. etc.

      The main criteria for lifts consist of two things
      1) one or both partners holding difficult positions, or the lifted partner going through a change of pose, through either a certain number of rotations, or for a certain number of seconds.
      2) "creative/difficult entrances" of which there are options to choose from - it's unexpected, or there's difficult footwork immediately prior to the lift, etc.

      Both of those things can be achieved sloppily. Just unexpectedly haul Meryl up there and hold her in place or haul her around so she changes position. But you CAN do the lift other ways - both in the design and the execution. In the first case, the team has chosen to do the lift this way, and had better have designed it meet GOE criteria as well. A sloppy entrance might fall under one of the options for creative/difficult entrance and they get you a level 4, but if it's *impossible* to do non-sloppily, that doesn't mean that GOE crtiteria gets crossed off the list and ignored. And in the second case, V/M could do the exact same lift structure as D/W do, and they would be executed remarkably different. Tessa wouldn't need her limbs pinned down, she'd be carrying her own weight in the entrances and exits. It's not like all of D/W's problems are in the design of the lift - they execute them worse than theoretically possible as well, they throw in redundancy on top of the details that get it approved for a lift. The design is certainly some of the issue, though, but then a team should think about GOE weaknesses when designing a lift, because they're being judged on that standard as well.

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    54. Also, it's not that the lift itself should be vaguely "aesthetically pleasing", it's that the body lines and pose should be. There is an objective standard of what are good lines and posture are in dance.

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    55. 8:41 - do the rules specifically reference the objective standard in question?

      "Just unexpectedly haul Meryl up there and hold her in place or haul her around so she changes position. But you CAN do the lift other ways - both in the design and the execution. In the first case, the team has chosen to do the lift this way, and had better have designed it meet GOE criteria as well. A sloppy entrance might fall under one of the options for creative/difficult entrance and they get you a level 4, but if it's *impossible* to do non-sloppily, that doesn't mean that GOE crtiteria gets crossed off the list and ignored. And in the second case, V/M could do the exact same lift structure as D/W do, and they would be executed remarkably different. Tessa wouldn't need her limbs pinned down, she'd be carrying her own weight in the entrances and exits."

      8:36, but even as you lay it out here, there's insufficient distinction between the design of the lift and its execution. Here's what I mean. Meryl and Charlie present the fetal ball lift. The design isn't that she rotates up into a shoulder stand with an assist from Charlie. The "creative/difficult entrance" is that she bends over, Charlie squats, and Meryl curls into a little ball as she's raised to his shoulder level. It's L4. My understanding is that entrance, rightly or wrongly (and any reasonable person would say "wrongly" but figure skating isn't reasonable) has passed muster as a creative/difficult entrance by whoever determines levels. Therefore, the fact that she's in a ball and they have to cling to get up there can't influence GOE. It's already met "creative/difficult" as itself. Of course it SHOULDN'T, but it did. To figure skating, that's highest standard.

      Same with the backpack sling lift. The only place I can see where we have to accept that the design itself was deemed to meet the highest standard, but the execution as relates to the design can be separated out in GOE, is in the body positions before she's slung up there, and in one other spot. When Charlie grabs her arms, turns, and yanks her past him, his posture is sloppy, his head down, his chest is caved in and his shoulders are collapsed. Meryl 's legs were in a "v", not parallel in shoot the duck, and early on, her butt nearly grazed the ice. Both of those, I imagine, should be reflected in GOE, but weren't. Later on Meryl got her legs more parallel, but Charlie's posture still collapsed. The third point is when he turned so she can land on his shoulder, he actually had to nudge his shoulder under her. It wasn't one and done. These things should weigh against GOE.

      And I guess that earlier, when I was talking about GOE versus design, I had the fetal ball lift in mind, specifically. That lift continuous to be the most outrageous piece of utter bullshit I've ever seen in a freaking ice dance program. For years not just Tessa Virtue, but other ice dancers have demonstrated creative and difficult ways to achieve an upside own position in a lift - Tessa probably has the most variation. For that lift to pass muster was a freaking spit in the face to fans of the sport. Curl up in a ball, have your entire body from the shoulders down bolted to your partner, then stick your widdle legs in the air and cross them at the ankles since you can't even hold your own freaking legs straight with the entire nature of gravity there to help. But this lift's design met L4. The whole nut. The balled up entrance and being bolted to Charlie was creative and difficult. GOE can't critique design, IOW, and I do think this goes to design, since as is, it met the criteria, even though as you and I know and everybody else knows, it meets no such thing in the real world. Which figure skating is not.

      oc

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    56. "8:41 - do the rules specifically reference the objective standard in question?"

      There are written materials in the ISU backwaters that define what good posture is, not sure about lines. If you were just asking out of curiosity, never mind the rest of the paragraph - just not sure if you're making an argument or not. When the actual written criteria is "aesthetically pleasing body lines", we can't hold the ISU to account because they don't specifically define it, even though it means something specific in dance generally? If they defined it to be something else, that'd be different, and it would of course be preferably if they did define it, but when they don't define it, I think we should be able to assume it means what it always means. Maybe "fast" legitimately means something different to them too, then, you know?

      "Therefore, the fact that she's in a ball and they have to cling to get up there can't influence GOE. It's already met "creative/difficult" as itself. Of course it SHOULDN'T, but it did. To figure skating, that's highest standard."

      There is no creative/difficult entry in GOE criteria, so of course it doesn't influence GOE. The creative/difficult entry is chosen from a list of options, and if they do it, they get the level. But because it got the level, that doesn't magically make the entry seamless, effortless and floating. They shouldn't get the +3 GOE because it wasn't THOSE things. I'm not saying that the GOE is judging the entry design itself. I'm saying if it is the entry itself that prevents a team from making it look effortless - that V/M couldn't even make it look effortless - then a team should have thought about the fact that they couldn't possibly (in theory) be awarded a +3 for it because of that criteria.

      I think I follow some of your argument, but I would describe the issue more as - there is a conflict in the underlying spirit of what CoP says. The levels say it's ok to do it this way, but the GOE says you should do it this way. That needs to be fixed, and I absolutely agree that there are major flaws in the level criteria that need to be addressed, if the lifts D/W do can pass L4 muster. There should be more that references actual skating technique, and "unexpected" is far too vague and easy to bastardize when it comes to the entrys. But I don't agree that when a skate is actually being judged, and the level 4 is assigned by the tech panel, that the judging panel can legitimately go "oh, well, the level criteria says that entrance is legit, the part of my rubric that says -3 to +3 effortless ascent and descent can just be ignored by me then". The entrances/ascents and exits/descents should have been penalized under GOE - not directly because of design, but because the fetal ball entrance, specifically as performed by D/W, is not effortless - period.

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    57. *from the first paragraph, "fast" as in fast rotation, rather than speed which does have a skating-specific meaning.

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    58. Just for interest's sake, I looked in to the level criteria further and realized that a team can only use the "unexpected with no evident preparation" once in the FD. If I'm interpreting things correctly, D/W and V/M met the creative/difficult entry requirements in the following manner:

      D/W SD - not necessary because of an extra rotation
      D/W FD
      CuLi - transitional movement by lifted partner
      Combo - spread eagle established by lifting partner before lifted partner leaves the ice (this makes both parts of the combo L4)
      RoLi - unexpected

      V/M SD - transitional movement by Tessa
      V/M FD
      SlLi - spread eagle before lift by Scott
      CuLi - different type of spread eagle before lift by Scott
      RoLi - unexpected
      RoLi - not necessary because of extra rotation

      Also, on a related note, I believe the Ice Dance Analysts blog has misinterpreted the criteria with regards to D/W's combo lift. They made the argument that D/W should have received a L3 during the Team Event because D/W only completed 5 rotations without interruption. That's all they needed because the L4 is taken care of by the SlLi's entry.

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  6. Dollars to donuts, I'd put money on Little Moir already having better control of her core and limbs than Meryl does.

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    1. Not to mention the woman is built like a gymnast. She's got no body fat. She's about twice as ripped as Charlie. She's short. Her center of gravity is already low. And yet she can't straighten her legs, and she can't balance herself. Are these separate issues or components of the same one? And if it's something she can't control (no double meaning intended), that doesn't matter. It's still an obvious issue that brings what she and Charlie do in lifts below the level of what most other ice dancers are doing, and the scores ought to reflect that. Instead the scores elevate them above everybody else.

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    2. I'm loathe to give Piper Gilles any props, but I believe your comment above is correct. http://youtu.be/gVyQ-HSN6iw?t=1m15s I think Meryl would struggle with this lift. There are more points of contact then is necessary for some teams, but Piper is managing her own body.
      Ok, but now that I've put that, I have to even it out by putting this ;) http://youtu.be/U1BMeefe8vA?t=3m8s

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    3. Piper exits the lift on a running inside edge. She doesn't take one supported glide and immediately hit two feet or go to her knees. Alex exits her lift on a running outside edge then she and Mitch go into closed hold and then into their spin. Piper and Paul keep skating and are in open hold (hand to hand and killian I think). One team is executing cleaner, more complex choreo (P/I) but they are both doing it and Piper Gilles is hardly known for her skating skills. Yet from her first season to this past she managed to improve them.

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  7. Thanks for the gifs! That is something else. If this is what Marina had to go through every time they learned a new lift... well, no wonder they had to work on the Shez ones for 3 years and spent the rest of the time recycling stuff from 2007.

    You know, if Meryl where as fierce as she were said to be at everything else... like if she had amazing edges, beautiful extension, great rhythm, difficult twizzles... then maybe this lack of balance in lifts could be seen as a cute little quirk, and forgivable in a fan sense (assuming that they could still properly achieve the levels with these limitations). But geez.

    OC, the first time I noticed you had posted anything about DW was this two-parter you did (I think it was called DW and speed)... it was this great break down of their skating and you posted tons of pics of them, and BA, doing the same lifts. You had pointed out that her lift mechanics were no better than Tanith's (Igor/Marina era lifts) and that the only reason they looked cleaner was that Meryl has less leg than Tanith. It was like the wizard had finally been exposed. It was so right on, and still is. It would be interesting if you could revisit those posts with an emphasis on DW's "dancing."

    I can't believe there is a Tessa Virtue out there who can do all this stuff flawlessly and people are willing to embrace this mediocrity from DW.

    BTW, OC, you might like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86A8iBO5QI0 56 and 55 year old TD dancing on the floor. Jayne's argentine tango lift pwns Meryl completely.

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    1. And as was pointed out to me when this was first discussed on the blog, Tanith's lift mechanics were actually better. Her everything was better. She has/had terrible lines and no grace, but in the split leg rotational Tanith could manage her own core. She didn't need to be pasted to Ben. I believe the split rotational gifts comparison are in the post you describe.

      After that post went up, quite a few people pointed out that while Tanith was not Miss Grace, she and Ben had better skating skills than DW. Once you compare the teams' split rotationals side by side, you can see that Marina had to downwardly modify the mechanics in DW's so they could execute. Meanwhile Tanith had a whole lot more to organize - longer limbs further away from her center of gravity, and she could do it without gluing herself to Ben.

      Jane Torvill was/is remarkable. Christopher Dean is sort of a cult fave for choreography, but I don't care much for his choreography. I recognize that he introduced elements of modern dance to ice dance in an era when it was ballroom focused, but ice dance took that turn from ballroom to modern and went towards Vegas schlock in the 90's and early-mid 0's. As skaters, he and Torvill had incredible unison at blade level and extending through every inch of their bodies when they were in contact and apart, depth of edge and continuous flow. Torvill was also quite tiny - I used to think she was exceptionally short-legged, but I think just tiny - with exceptional control of her core and limbs.

      When this blog started looking more closely at DW, many B&A fans came here to point out that DW's skating skills and execution hadn't actually passed B&A's, only their scores did. And that if one looked passed Tanith's gawkiness, one could see the foundational skating skills used by Tanith and Ben in their competitive programs were much stronger than DW's. As soon as you say, okay, keep your eye on the blade, keep your eye on how their bodies relate to each other, don't worry about grace - it's immediately obvious how much better B&A still were than DW at the time DW passed them on the scoreboard.

      At the moment I'm just fascinated by this Meryl thing. What the hell is going on. It's a Greatest Mystery to me. The compensation in her programs with Charlie is extreme. His skating skills are nothing to write home about - his blades rock like a ship in a storm even when not carrying Meryl (that faked out 'change edge') spiral they did across center ice, others have pointed out he goes up on flats in steps. He's careless, rushed, sloppy. Meryl is the same, but for different reasons, as if she's careless, rushed and sloppy in order to blow past things she can't do, so you don't notice she can't/didn't do them. From the moment I started watching her it was obvious her skates did the most random things - she'd be in the middle of something and take walking steps. One of her skates would abruptly slide forward. She'd actually stand still. I have no idea what the root cause of it all may be but I keep chasing it.

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    2. Meryl looks like a rag doll in that rehearsal gif...what the hell is that?

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    3. Thanks OC for these last GIFs..seriously I've said this before - nothing personal against Meryl Davis but in the real dance world - she would be opening and closing the curtains...as others have pointed out - if it was just the acrobatics that were a weakness fine...but the skating - lack of edging, lack of holding a position in order to demonstrate control...it's mind-boggling...and Charlie is not ridiculously better..
      In the end - I am glad that VM are doing the Japanese shows with the Shibutanis and an all around great cast...it seems everyone is having a great experience...and a shout-out to Carolina Kostner who just appears to be the loveliest of people - class all the way without taking herself too seriously, lol...

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  8. Doris P will go on a longwinded post about how these screen pics and videos were doctored. Meryl's legs are straight as arrows, she'll say.

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    1. Let's not forget that it's much harder to keep your legs straight and maintain your balance when your partner has one arm pinned across your body and the other hand pushing your legs straight from the inside and forcing your rotation inside the girdle of his left arm. That's why Val changed the mechanics. He wanted to really challenge Meryl.

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    2. A tiny bit off topic, but I just got back from the "Stars on Ice" in New Jersey. I wasn't going to go, but I got an extremely cheap ticket---so cheap, that they were basically papering the house to get butts into seats. (And it was still less than half full) What was truly amazing, seeing D/W skate live, is how SLOW they really do skate, Meryl especially. In fact, the only person who skated slower than she did, was Alissa Czisny, who always skated slow, but unlike Meryl, has also had two hip operations, so what is Meryl's excuse? Miss Davis also simply could not hold an edge---she was rocking all over the place, even while just skating forward in a straight line. She also has absolutely no personal warmth----cold, cold, cold. Perhaps she really is a robot, after all..... That's the only way one will ever see sparks when looking at Meryl Davis skate. Ugh....

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    3. Their speed is as Emporer's New Clothes as everything else about their skating. Frantic isn't speed. It's not just Virtue Moir who are faster than Davis White. Look at any warm-up. Davis and White skate small.

      There's one thing I find strange in Davis & White's skating. The program as a whole tends to become labored as a season wears on. Look at the skating at the Olympics - it's slow. The wheels are coming off. Davis and White stop finishing anything and just struggle to maintain the impression of constantly doing something - which is a poor substitute for continuous flow. The programs flatten out.

      One would think the opposite would be the case. Because of her pregnancy, Virtue and Moir didn't have a conventional training arc prior to Worlds 2011. But by spring summer, when they skated the Latin number in shows, they were flying. The power was unbelieveable. Tessa had trained during her pregnancy, skated, gotten strong, and so once she was past giving birth and her recovery, she was a powerhouse. Everything was unleashed.

      DW just appear to become drained during the season, instead of building power.

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    4. Oh, I'm completely with you, OC. Their so called "speed" IS the Emperor's New Clothes....every time an announcer would mention it, I would scratch my head. And to anyone that puts out the whole "You have to see them LIVE! It's different then simply watching them skate on television!" I can honestly say----I did see them skate live, and they are SLOW. They didn't even seem frantic, just SLOW. Nothing was finished off, and they both were sloppy in their movements. (And yes, I did notice that Meryl was on her flats a lot of the time) There wasn't even a variation of speed, as if they could say they were saving their "faster" skating for an appropriate place in the music---nope, they had one speed only, and that was slow..... The only time I noticed them skate a bit faster was in the closing group number, when they were getting ready to circle the ice and get the heck out of there----but they both only achieved it by charging down the ice like hockey players---no finesse whatsoever. I contrast their skates to the two performances of Novarro and Bonmentre, who never really got respect with USFS, and I have to say, N/B wiped them off the map. They had considerably greater speed, flow, control and polish. And better lifts, to boot. Plus, while she's not Tessa (and who is?) Kim can certainly control her own core, straighten her legs, and point her toes. D/W looked like the US 4th place finishers that they should have been.

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    5. 10:52 - it's funny, most people who've seen them live say the same thing and have been saying it for years. They're noticably slower live, and they don't use as much of the rink as the other teams. They skate in straight lines.

      I know when the blog started its critique of Davis White some comments did say in what I took to be a challenging tone "Have you seen them LIVE?" But it's live where the slowness shows up the most. However, since Vancouver, it's more and more apparent on television, especially as so many other teams have really developed their speed over the past quad, and Virtue Moir have increased theirs tremendously.

      oc

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    6. There was an NBC day show where N/B phoned in to talk about D/W's win. And they both ended up sounding kinda like "Yay America, but yeah, we really love V/M, and wow, tough day, but, um, yeah, ...go USA! I guess." if you read between the lines. It was cute and awkward and made me appreciate them even more.

      The one time I saw D/W, I was shocked at how slow they were. I felt very strongly that V/M were better, but still thought I'd be impressed... Nope. Guess the judges were, it was one of their WRs.

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    7. 12:23 do you have a link to this interview? who is N/B btw? im not american therefore im not very familiar with NBC.

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    8. I'm not 12:23 and I don't have a link to the interview, but NB are Kim Navarro and Brent Bommentre. They were, IMO, an incredibly underrated US ice dance team. They retired from competitive skating in 2010 but are still doing shows. I thought they were excellent dancers and sound skaters, but perhaps lacked in difficulty with their elements. If memory serves me correctly, they could typically execute very cleanly and their GOE's should have helped to offset lower base value.

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  9. "What kind of miracle happened that she can actually bend her neck?"

    That cap reminds me of the pre-spin sexy times posing in Scherz. http://youtu.be/lrFwokp3z48?t=2m33s It always kills me the way her head rolls back here.

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    1. Here's what I'm wondering. Hypothesis: Meryl Davis had/has a physical issue of some kind that has driven all of this. It relates to joint stability. Suppose her being that ripped is also compensation - suppose if she weren't that shredded, her joints would be even more unstable. They're not stable now, but they'd be hopeless without the sort of compensatory muscle tone she maintains. And keeping the weight where it is is part of it. That would also account for all of the external resistance required for her to maintain any kind of position longer than an instant. External resistance is her locking her own joint, pressing her body against something or someone, someone or something pressed against her, someone locking her joints for her. She even has to lock her ankles somehow.

      And all of this impacts balance. Through force of will she's come up with this bastardized set of workarounds. Marina packaged it, and the ISU decided to look the other way and claim it's just like real skating and actual ice dancing - even better.

      It would be an interesting story, and maybe admirable that somebody could apply themselves around a very specific challenge, but it doesn't transform non-skating and non dancing into skating and dancing.The non-skating is still visible. It doesn't transform the Rube Goldberg contraptions Marina re-jiggers every season into an ice dance program with valid content executed with superior skating skills.

      Apart from accounting for the bizarre in the lift mechanics, such an hypothesis might also account for so much of the random in Meryl's skating - the abrupt two footing that seems to occur without her knowing it, the skate abruptly jerking/sliding forward, the instances of walking, how impossible it is for her to do anything legit in sequence. It would account for the crouching, and (I think) wide stepping.

      Look at anybody else's programs, even Coomes Buckland's. Coomes Buckland strike me as more of an early iteration of Gilles/Poirier - they're not good enough to skate with control so they do a lot of frantic nonstop garbage and then throw in little bits of skating. They're going for the quantity over quality approach, the let's throw a lot of shit at the wall and see what sticks angle. Still, while they may only trace one and a half curves or so when they decide to do a little non-element skating, it's a relatively deeper curve compared to DW.

      A situation such as the one I'm hypothesizing about Meryl might make a great movie, where somebody can't do something the way they're supposed to, but through the combined efforts of something like a Great Escape team they contrive to fake it, and they win. There would also be a poignancy in the level of denial (well, poignant if they weren't running away with unearned medals, robbing those who've earned them).

      Even if something like that happened here, it was still daylight robbery. They didn't work around obstacles and deliver great skating and dancing despite this challenge and that. They worked around obstacles by working around skating and dancing, and were then given world record scores for the skating and dancing they weren't doing.

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    2. Interesting. The Moms really missed an opportunity here. Instead of depth perception, they could have gone with "Meryl has a rare joint disorder. It's a miracle she can even stand upright. But we think it's great no one ever gives her the benefit of the doubt. It's pushed her to be the best in the world."

      It would make sense why she is coddled in training and/or not bothered by what she can't do and/or D/W have never been able to change. It would be a fantastic movie about a team who makes it to the level of ISU championships. Along the same lines as the Reynolds siblings or something. But if you can tell that there's a problem, they aren't the best in the world! Let alone, the best in the world for the majority of a whole quad, collecting countless WRs as they go. It's still criminal.

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    3. Caveat: this part is completely subjective. I don't KNOW what Meryl is thinking or not thinking. But to me, when she is working with Val on that split leg rotational and on the assisted rotational/cartwheel thing, there's a disconnect above the neck. Most dancers, or motivated DWTs competitors, also evaluate in the mirror. You can see Amy Purdy do it. She and Derek are both looking in the mirror (in their initial package) - he's assessing, she's following what he's doing and processing.

      I'm talking small tells like movement of the eyes, the mobility of the face, however you read a face to say "they're thinking" or "they're processing". The amount of tension in the body or not in the body. If the bodies of the coach and student are relating to each other - if the student is responding to physical cues, that's something you can see in the body.

      Look at Meryl. She's stiff. Even when she's stumbling in her landing of the assisted vertical rotation, she's blank-faced. I think if you're processing how to do something, feeling it through your body as to what the movement needs, where should the tension be, where should the force be absorbed - you see that process. You see focus in the face, you see concentration, you see energy manifest itself in the facial expression and in the body.

      Charlie's kind of lame, but I see him processing when he's working with Sharna and even Peta. He too quickly goes into "I got this" mode (from what I can tell from heaviliy edited packages, of course), and he's too often wrong about it, but I see the relationship between what he's doing and thinking and the cues he's receiving from the instructor.

      In the rehearsal gifs up above, Meryl is blank. She doesn't appear to be working through whatever Val is trying. She's not working it through her body, she's not evaluating mentally how it feels in her body, thinking through. There's no process. And there's a bit of a strain, and a sort of a blank over it. That's what I see. Going through the motions. She has what she does, he has to fit it in to whatever he's planned. There's no exchange happening, no mutuality.

      Obviously, as I said in another comment, I'm chasing this thing. There's a lot of repetition in what is NOT happening, a lot of repetititon - stability in the hips, ability to lock the knees, for two - in the things that are not happening, if you get me. Everything that is faked is about locking her joints externally, finding an external resistance (if not downright locking her in by having her partner girdle her core and also find a way to pin or resist her limbs), so any move that doesn't allow that has to be tossed out. Look at the cartwheel. When Kirstie Alley did a cartwheel on DWTs, she was more fit than she'd been, but still overweight and a little sloppy. Still, she did it on her own and her arms were straight. Not locked, but straight. Look at Meryl. Not only is Val helping her flip over him, but her elbows are completely bend as she launches herself. They collapse. She's flipping over with her arms completely bent.

      Yeah, the story of how you fake it to make it would be exciting, a fantastic movie, except for, as you say, it's entirely obvious they have a problem. They are not actually pulling it off. They are pulling it off via institutionalized, legislated denial, not because they're actually pulling it off. In the process, those who've deserved the wins have been robbed.

      oc

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    4. Caveat: I'm about to address Charlie but first I want to bring in Virtue and Moir. Virtue and Moir have that thing that the ultra-talented have - the luxury of never being satisfied. Because their talent is near-limitless, and so developed, and because their abilities so expansive, they can engage almost in an endless process, and they can love the process. Process an only lead to good things, it only leads to another leap forward in what they can do, immersing themselves can only end up producing performances such as those they delivered in the GPF and the Olympics after about a season and a half of pushing, testing and exploring everything and synergizing everything - the skating, the choreography, the performance energy, their timing, the interaction with each other, the communication within performance. It's so rewarding that when they hit the zone and everything fires, they just want to get back to the process and see what else they can do. The doing is as rewarding to them as the achieving, although of course they want the win - they're competitors. However, it's clear the process is extremely fulfilling and they love to extend and deepen the process.

      Now, Charlie. This impression is only based on the heavily edited DWTS rehearsal packages and his performances and his demeanor after his performances. When he first started working with Sharna, it appears to me they connected, he liked the process, he liked working with a partner with whom he COULD connect and from whom he could learn, and he enjoyed the acting part. He was into it. So the contemporary went well and he was on the leaderboard. Next week, they did it again. Len bitched a bit about hold break, but it was a technical call and didn't go to Charlie's technique or performance, and the other two gave him nines. The audience seemed to love it. The acting part appeared fulfilling too.

      By the jive, it was as if he stopped exploring and processing. It was "Hey, I can dance, I can act, and I'm adorable!" He was ready to lock it down. It was already cake to him. He stopped processing and working and just wanted it set in stone. And the jive ended up being a generously scored kind of careless and bad.

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    5. IOW, it's as if he doesn't understand the process never stops. But the process never does stop, not with people who are really good. Here, it seemed to be, hey, I'm learning something new, it's fun to work with her, I enjoy rehearsal - and now I can act and dance! I'm done! Process done! I just have to turn it on now!

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    6. For me, one of the most perplexing things about DW is that they seem to lack the desire to improve and push themselves that you see in, it seems, every other team and skater out there. Sure, there are the short and long term goals about placements and winning things, but all of these skaters and teams seem to have a common, unifying desire to improve their skating for themselves, the constant push to be better than they were the quad before, season before, competition before. It's not just to place higher. It's about actually bettering their skating, whatever the placement is. For skaters, it seems like there is a great deal of personal pride and satisfaction in real improvement on the ice, independent of where they finish in competition. That desire to improve for real and that personal satisfaction and in improving their skating and pride in what they're doing on ice seems to be missing from DW.

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    7. I agree, which is why I think there's something there that tells DW, as a team, that improving has limited rewards. If you have big talent, you feel it, you feel you can do more. With these two, DW, they were spoon fed the sound bites this past year and regurgitated them, but all those talking points just sounded like slogans. They didn't connect. VM are so fake in so many ways but no matter how they package their skating talk, when they talk skating there's such power and strength behind what they say, it cuts through the agenda and registers as real. Even the Carmen bullshit - they talked so much shit about Carmen by Worlds last year, but somehow behind it you could feel the power of their investment in Carmen, you could feel what it meant to them, how they'd worked on it, approached it, their intentions with it.

      But then, as I mentioned above, VM really are limitless. The process is rewarding to them because there's so MUCH to the process with them. There are so many freaking choices available to them. There are so many angles - rhythm/timing angles, relationship dynamic angles, timing angles, element placement, transitions and linking moves experimentation - everything is always on the table. They can do anything. How do you edit, how do you choose, when you can execute every choice and even challenge yourselves with choices you've not attempted yet, that nobody's attempted? Even if you can edit out a bunch of stuff based on taste and temperament, that still leaves so much with them.

      DW, IMO, are about winning. They're results oriented. Of COURSE VM are results-oriented and want to win, but they're nearly equally process-oriented. DW seem detached from what they're doing. The program, the skating, the narrative - all nothing but a device to get the result. The winning matters, the skating doesn't. Think about Charlie White being bored with the rumba cd because the actual steps were kind of basic. Think of Scott Moir - by any measure a much better skater (funny how I think any fan, even DW fans, would cite Scott as better than Charlie and Tessa as better than Meryl but still maintain DW are better than VM) - who enjoys the rumba because of RHYTHM. He can find phrasing inside that rhythm. It's not a sterile step to him. The step is how he accesses the rhythm. He's musical. DW aren't. That's one of the key differences, I think.

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    8. http://www.teamusa.org/Video/2014/04/10/Qualified--Charlie-White-and-Meryl-Davis-Gold-Medal-Recap--Episode-5

      This has some interesting footage. Looks like Meryl gets to be a ballerina in a group number. I assume D/W will have the same roles as V/M, that should be fun to watch.

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  10. I do wonder what the judges have to gain by promoting Meryl on the show? If she's such a crappy dancer why would they give her tens? And why would other dance experts talk about how good she is. What do they have to gain?

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    1. Well, I don't know what their storyline is. Here, though, is an hypothesis.

      They had a vision for the show, which included Davis versus White, probably all the way to the finals. The two previous Olympic figure skating gold medalists got huge fan votes, even though one (Lysacek) didn't win. So I imagine the presumption was they could take fan voting for granted. So Meryl was scored in the middle of the pack and Charlie was scored a bit higher.

      But then after the first two weeks the fan vote comes in. If it's not high enough for Meryl, and she continues to be scored according to what she's actually doing, the combination of vote and scores could have her go out weeks before Charlie, which might be politically incorrect as well as submarining the story for the season.

      IOW, her score inflation could be their bid to keep her on the show to the finals. She needs that edge. OTOH, the way DWTs appears to function, nothing is stopping DWTs from giving her more reality-based scores and ignoring the fan vote, and simply not telling the audience they're keeping her on the show even though she lacks the numbers to stay on.

      I think it's basically storyboarding though. There's usually somebody early on who seems like a sure thing, gets tens all the way through, only to have somebody just below them overtake them in the end. Meryl appears to have been abruptly thrust into the role of presumptive winner, setting her up for a reversal in both score and placement as we get to the latter part of the season.

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    2. Lol, Conspiracies!! I bet if you broke into Tessa's house (which I wouldn't put it past you) to find this baby or evidence of it, you would come out insisting that they hid all of the evidence from you so you would never discover her (how the hell would you know the gender, anyway?). Lordy. You are creative.

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    3. ^^^ Weak attempt to discredit the blogger because you don't like what s/he's saying about Meryl and want to kill discussion, 9:06. Try again.

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    4. I like how the people who hate this blog, who cry about how rude or appalling they believe the things written here to be, so easily say appalling things like "I wouldn't it past you" to break into someone's house. The hypocrisy and desperation in those posts is rich.

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    5. It's hilarious how people cry foul when they're the ones dishing it in the first place!! And it's not offensive as much as it's hilarious. It's not just the judges conspiring against Tessa and Scott... it's EVERY judge over the course of YEARS. and then it's every commentator, every expert (and real ones, not wannabes from the internet), every media person, and now it's everyone from DWTS. It's everyone in the world!!.... except the people here. Who also happen to also know the truth about some secret baby. Please tell me this concept is not ludicrous.

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    6. You're incredibly naive if you don't think the outcome of DWTS is almost entirely decided by the show's producers, just as it is with every reality show on television. There are plenty of people who work in the television industry who can break it down quite extensively. Anyone who has watched the show for years can also discern the patterns the reveal how the producers set up and manipulate outcomes because those patterns are rather clear.

      I know V/M were the rightful winners of the ice dance gold in Sochi because they outskated D/W in every respect.

      Finally, it is fact that V/M are married with a child. She is not a "secret baby." Whether you believe it or not doesn't matter one damn bit. Feel free to go right on not believing it. No skin off my teeth. It doesn't make her existence go away.

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    7. I'd love to believe it. How about you show me some proof?? I'm not kidding. I believe things when I have the evidence to back it.

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    8. I have no idea what you mean by proof. Photos? Birth certificates? Would you like for the kid to show up on your front door step? Would that be enough for you? I don't carry around photos of their kid and I certainly don't have access to those documents (nor would I try to gain access).

      I guess you'll believe she exists when you have the evidence you want to back it up. Which is fine, but it still doesn't change the fact that she's a real child with half the DNA of Tessa Virtue and half the DNA of Scott Moir, her married parents.

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    9. Well, what convinced you? I swear I'm not being sarcastic. I want to know. Did you meet this child?

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    10. No. Many people have, though. In fact, I'd bet several fans have seen her but didn't know who she was. It's not like she wears a name tag everywhere she goes.

      Let me put it this way, I know she exists because Ilderton and the entertainment industry V/M work within leaks like a sieve. In fact, I read somewhere V/M were asked to go on DWTS and turned it down. If that's true, I wonder if one of the reasons they did was because that show is one of the worst offenders for leaks. And not just of actual pre-packaged, false gossip (which V/M use as part of their efforts to lie to fans about their personal life), but people regularly dig up actual dirt and pass it around freely.

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    11. Ok, so I'm guessing you haven't seen any wedding photos, either. So you've spoken to people who have met her? Or you read somewhere where people posted about meeting her? Do you have a link to this statement, if that's the case? Did anybody post a picture of this kid?

      I don't understand why V/M would lie to their fans. It seems kind of counter-intuitive to me. I think it would only aid their support if they were known to be married.

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    12. Like I said, the entertainment industry and their hometown leaks, and that's how many people know. But it's mostly spread off the record. I don't know about anything public. Doesn't mean something isn't out there, though. Just that I'm not aware of it.

      And I think it's stupid and counter-intuitive that V/M lie to their fans as well, but they do.

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    13. Well I suppose someday I'll be the fool that questioned it, but even if it were true, I would think Tessa and Scott deserve the privacy if they didn't want people to know. I enjoy their skating, but I don't deserve much of anything from them. I think it's kind of entitled for people to feel wronged for not knowing the "truth," if this even were true.

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    14. "I don't understand why V/M would lie to their fans. It seems kind of counter-intuitive to me. I think it would only aid their support if they were known to be married. "

      to maintain that young lovers image that they portrayed during UoC? isnt that how show business works? perhaps they are more marketable as platonic friends who deem it appropriate to kiss and fondle eachother every now and then on the ice than your average marrieds. i think in a recent russian interview someone said that v/m look like average canadian college kids while d/w look like a romance novel (which makes no sense bc i've seen pictures of tessa and scott specifically taken elina paasonen that look like they can be on the cover of nicholas spark's next novel) even tho meryl looks nothing like the women on the cover of harlequin romance novels and charlie has like 0 sex appeal

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    15. Well, it *is* true that V/M are married with a child, but I think you might be confusing what this blog has always argued with the idea that "entitled" fans feel V/M "owe them the truth."

      I think if you read through every post on this blog going back the two or three years it's been around now, you'll see the blogger has never said "the fans deserve to know the truth about V/M's marriage and child. It's wrong to not make that information public."

      What this blog *has* always argued is that when V/M shit on fans for their own amusement or as a means of making money by shoving lies down the public's throats and then mocking them when they buy the bill of goods they're being sold, fans have a right to publicly call them out. It's saying "quit blaming your ridiculous behavior on the fans" when clearly it's not the fans causing them to do ANYTHING.

      If they don't want to publicize their personal life, that is V/M's right. But if they want to manipulate the goodwill of fans in order to proactively sell lies by telling them "we're being authentic" and "this is the real us, we aren't lying to you" then yes, fans have a right to criticize that kind of bullshit since it is the fans it is directed at.

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    16. As far as evidence goes, yesterday I saw the program from 2011 when they were handed the infamous rubber duckies that OC mentions. Someone yells about this is something for "the baby" and Scottsays "Thank you very much" . Peace out

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    17. What's the difference? What's the difference between keeping their private lives private over something like that and "lying"? What does any of this have to do with them blaming the fans for anything?

      And there's no need to keep telling me it's true. I get that you believe that. But the only thing that would convince me is proof. There's no need to waste your time typing it, just so you're aware.

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    18. 2:52 AM - thanks - that is the blog's point of view. I'd like to elaborate though, that at this point the WHY of why they do it (other than that they've dug such an enormous hole that digging even further may seem closer to an exit than crawling back out) is speculation, and can be argued based on observable behavior on line and off, but I don't know WHY for certain, because the reasons they tell or told their connections - "privacy" - just don't hold water. I understand two people like Scott and Tessa, whose relationship is just as magnetically fascinating to their nearest and dearest and their community as it is to fans, not wanting to put it out there and get the opinion of everybody and their brother. "You're too young to marry." "A kid - already?" and all sorts of second guessing and unwanted advice. Avoiding that kind of thing was the rationale given out for the sham when it began.

      But since their community and nearest and dearest know their actual status, and are offering most of the advice and second guessing anyway, and trade stories and chew on their personal business, the sham doesn't really prevent that sort of thing.That stuff is a lot more wearying coming from people who know you and presume access to you than it is coming from a bunch of fans chatting amongst themselves on the web.

      So I guess what I'm saying is, I don't know why they do it, because I'm not sure how it helps them make money. I have had conversations about it with people both in the entertainment industry and with people who have to market themselves in their own line of work. Not in depth conversations, but just - this is what these skaters are doing - what do you think?Two of these people have said "Brilliant! It's brilliant!" without really explaining why they think it's brilliant. Neither is in skating, but my takeaway was they thought the brilliance lay in the whole matrix, all the angles of it, the lying, the fans calling out the lying, the community involvement. All immediately thought the community involvement was a big part of why they shammed, for the same reasons the blog thinks the community is a big part of why they sham.

      Financially though, and as others have pointed out, they would have the sponsorships we know about even if their status were known. Possibly the plug wouldn't have been pulled on the Roots deal if they hadn't decided to continue the sham, so they lost out there. Where the financial advantage is in real dollars, I don't know. The reality show came relatively late in the game - even if it was set up in 2012, they'd been shamming for years with no apparent prospect of a reality show.

      As much as that community blabs to each other, I can see not wanting to come clean because it would be like a green light for them to blab more publicly, on the record and off. And I also doubt very much that when this sham was set in motion, the PLANNED for it to be what it's become. I don't think they thought "And we'll still be shamming when we're married with a kid- possibly when we're married with two kids!" It feels as if one thing led to another, nobody wants to pull back and get that bird's eye view, so to speak, and now it's so enormous nobody knows where the freaking exit is, and they've also kept upping the ante, almost to create reasons not to come clean. Sort of, oh we can't now, now that we've done a reality show! They don't want to face that music.

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    19. "In fact, I read somewhere V/M were asked to go on DWTS and turned it down. If that's true, I wonder if one of the reasons they did was because that show is one of the worst offenders for leaks. And not just of actual pre-packaged, false gossip (which V/M use as part of their efforts to lie to fans about their personal life), but people regularly dig up actual dirt and pass it around freely."

      And they hook up the tabloids with the dirt. There's the current stable of pros, there's the discarded pros, there's the pros who were tried out for a season and didn't get asked back, there's the so called "Troupe" and there's Maks Chmerkovskiy who gossips like he's got a back fence for a dance belt. He can't help it. There's no nice little tent under which they all congregate and play nice to appease the bosses, not even working for ABC. ABC doesn't give a shit if the dirt on the pros hits the tabloids because other pros tipped off the tabloids, ditto doesn't care about the celebs.

      God help them if the tabloids got a load of VM's situation.

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    20. It's easy to see why VM wouldn't do DWTS, but the thought of them being approached before DW is amusing.

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    21. ^ Now that makes no sense. Why would the Canadian silver medalists be asked to go on an American show before the Olympic Gold medalists that are American? Everyone knew who Davis and White were after the Olympics. No one knows who Virtue and Moir are in the states except "the Canadians" D/W beat.

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    22. "What's the difference? What's the difference between keeping their private lives private over something like that and "lying"? What does any of this have to do with them blaming the fans for anything?"

      You've gotta ask yourself, why would they lie? For protection? Maybe they want to "keep their private life, private?" Okay. Lots of celebrities do that. How do they normally go about doing so? Well, they might hire publicists who are very good at keeping them out of the public eye, or redirecting the public to focus on mostly career-related stuff, etc. Then there are those who create "sham" relationships. Most of the people who do that are gay or in need of carefully crafting an image (lots of child stars from Disney (gay or straight) are set up in "fake" relationships, for instance. Not long ago, it was rumored Kaley Cuoco from the show "The Big Bang Theory" was 'dating' Henry Cavill, but it was quickly outed as being an attention-inducing stunt set up by their publicists and was dropped soon after.

      So, let's postulate V/M are only lying to "protect the privacy of their personal life." Scott has a series of fake girlfriends (first Jessica Dube, then Cassandra whatshername) who are paraded around social media. They open up instagram accounts and make them public, put up staged photos of themselves and Scott on their FBs, tweet about how much they miss him, and on and on. All of that is directed at the fans for consumption. Then it goes beyond that. V/M write a book about their "real life, their authentic selves" and also decide to do a reality show, both of which center around the fake storylines they've created. They aren't forced to do those things, they proactively go for it. That means they proactively shove their lies down the throats of more people for profit. They up the ante. Does that mesh with "we're only lying to protect ourselves?" No. It means "we're building a substantial part of our image on a load of lies and claiming this is the real us."

      Here's where blaming the fans comes in. Why would someone "lie to the public to protect their private life?" The assumption behind that is, the public is so fascinated with V/M's private life they need to create an elaborate hoax to hide it from them: the public is forcing them to do this.

      That is utter bullshit. The public isn't forcing V/M to do anything they don't want to do. They are lying because they want to do it for profit, or for something else they think is in their best business interest. Then when they meet with fans or discuss fans publicly, they go on and on about how fans are the ones who can't stop bringing up their private lives. Also bullshit. V/M are the ones who can't stop bringing it up, but they blame it on the fans. They are so bad at what they are doing, and handling it so unprofessionally, that it's resulted in a whole hell of a lot of people calling them out on it. Celebrities/athletes do not have to share their private lives with the public, but if they decide to shove fake private lives in the public's face, do it in a majorly over the top fashion and make money off it, and mock fans when they accept it as the truth because V/M have promised them they're being sincere, then yeah. Fans have a right to say "fuck that."

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    23. 12:55 PM because d/w weren't olympic gold medalists when v/m were asked?

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    24. 2:29 then why don't people just stop being their fans? If they feel so wronged, why continue to watch them and support their skating?

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    25. @12:55, you vastly underestimate VM's popularity in the US.

      @9:07, despite VM's off ice behavior, there are many of us who are, first and foremost, fans of excellent ice dancing. However they've conducted themselves with the sham off ice, on ice, it gets no better than VM's ice dancing. They are one of the greatest teams of all time, if not the greatest team of all time. Although I take issue with their off ice behavior, and I'm not willing to give it a pass, I'm also not going to let it get in the way of enjoying, appreciating, and valuing what they do on the ice.

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    26. @9:07, some fans *have* stopped watching them, but I don't think it's unreasonable for people to appreciate a team's skating but still call them out on the bullshit treatment of their fans/public. And it's not about the fans/public "feeling" wronged so much as it's about V/M ARE targeting and blaming the fans/public for their actions. Hell, I think Lance Armstrong is a manipulative, bullying asshole, but it doesn't change the fact that he's a great cyclist. Same with Tiger Woods. Their talents can't be denied, and I can appreciate those talents without supporting their other actions. V/M are the best ice dancers in the world. If they were "out" to the public, they'd still be the best.

      Mostly, I don't understand why some assume that if the fans/public are being deliberately fucked with, their publicly admonishing it isn't acceptable/makes no sense/is called CRAZY or STALKERISH. Why are V/M given a pass for their decision to treat the fans/public the way they do but the people they target are criticized for calling them on it? That's crap.

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    27. 1:28 "Why are VM given a pass for their decision to treat the fans/public the way they do but the people they target are criticized for calling them on it?"

      Same deal with the sport itself, at least if the skaters are North American. Fans of other sports can debate outcomes, calls, decisions, and it's considered good for the sport. In figure skating even Virtue and Moir's own Fed wants them to shut up. I, personally, suspect that's because Skate Canada was fully complicit in the gold medal heist, but it also goes generally to the insufferably patronizing way fans of figure skating are treated. Of COURSE fans can question results without being termed hysterical by Lynn Rutherford or disrespectful by P.J. Kwong. Who the hell are they to decide what fans are being, anyway? Of course fans can ask questions about how something actually works, the why of it, and the who, without being waved off or dismissed. I, personally, am tired of how the half-brained skating chattering class talks to fans and tries to control the narrative.

      As to Virtue and Moir, it's almost as if because they're famous, they're authorities on more than skating, and should not be questioned. As if questioning authority is wrong, even if they were authorities. I know some fans were very anxious about the subject in the past, fearing the topic would chase Virtue and Moir away from the sport and alienate them from fans, but we can see it only made them seek out fans in other ways. There are also fans who lamented the loss of the facebooks where every single photo was staged to bullshit them, but that can't be helped.

      oc

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    28. As to VM's popularity in the U.S., according to the stat counter, the vast majority of the blog's views come from Canada and the U.S. Most of the time it's almost an even split between the U.S. and Canada. There are visitor from many other countries, but Canada and U.S. are the majority.

      Many many U.S. fans preferred the Canadian ice dance team and thought the results were a joke.

      oc

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    29. "I, personally, am tired of how the half-brained skating chattering class talks to fans and tries to control the narrative."

      It's not just the likes of Rutherford or PJ Kwong talking down to the fans and calling them "disrespectful" for questioning outcomes.

      The fans themselves for the most part don't allow questioning by other fans when it involves their favorite skaters. Just look at how FSU has tried to shut down any conversation that questions DW's skating. Even the admins got involved, with heavy-handed bully tactics ("shut up or else!").

      The fans who have questioned DW's outcomes and tried to rationally analyze the skating have been called crazy and stalkerish by other fans. This culture of corruption is not only embedded in the ISU itself, it's also embedded in the way many fans relate to this so-called "sport."

      It's astounding that so many fans would prefer the corruption, as long as their favorites win, or the skaters du-jour win, instead of wanting to see accountability and fair practices in rewarding excellent skating. As for the chattering class of commentators and ex-skaters (like Rutherford, Kwong, Browning), they have shown their asses -- that they would choose to stay on the "good side" of the ISU instead of choosing integrity. Now we know we can't trust anything they say. They don't deserve any respect as commentators.

      Going back to VM's PR trainwrecks -- one of the reasons they've been able to get away with implying their fans are crazy and stalkerish is because so many places where skating fans hang out, such as FSU, calls VM fans crazies. There's no acknowledgement of the fans' appreciation of the skating itself or their interest in analyzing the skating. So we get all the garbage of VM interviews pretending the fandom revolves around whether Tessa and Scott are a couple. It all becomes a freak show and we who love the skating and appreciate everything VM bring to ice-dance are ignored -- after all, we're *crazy.*

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    30. "Many many U.S. fans preferred the Canadian ice dance team and thought the results were a joke."

      you mean many us fans that arent blinded by patriotism and actually know shit about dance thought the results were a joke

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    31. 10:54 AM what are you talking about i never see v/m imply that their fans are crazy because they analyze the skating? people on fsu yes but not v/m. v/m cannot complain about their scores nor can they complain about the event being rigged or else they will be punished because god forbid someone be honest in this corrupt sport known as figure skating. as for the interviews and articles "pretending the fandom revolves around whether tessa/scott are together" d/w have done it too - for some odd reason because everyone knows charlie is with tanith. like before this season we never say articles that are like "is so and so going out with his partner?" etc. etc.

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    32. "you mean many us fans that arent blinded by patriotism and actually know shit about dance thought the results were a joke"

      Yes, just like the Canadian fans that aren't blinded by patriotism and actually know shit about ice dance thought the results were a joke.

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    33. "10:54 AM what are you talking about i never see v/m imply that their fans are crazy because they analyze the skating?"

      That isn't what 10:54 said, read the post again.

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    34. I know a lot of US citizens who don't know about ice dance and only watch every four years who were puzzled why the Canadians didn't win and who didn't think the Americans were all that good.

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    35. 9:07, all we need is more non-skating reasons to support or not support a given skater or skating team. There is nothing difficult in supporting VM's skating and recognizing it as the best in the world and also being critical of the sham and everything around the sham. They're different things.

      oc

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  11. anyone else find it odd that marina decided to work with a skater who said tessa and scott dont dance back in vancouver? https://www.facebook.com/278550292537/photos/a.10150910768452538.526601.278550292537/10152758701877538/?type=1&stream_ref=10

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    1. Oh, good grief. You're really throwing this terribly weak line of reasoning out there and hoping it will stick?

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    2. well he did insult v/m back in vancouver

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    3. For which he later claimed to have been misquoted and apologized for the comment.

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    4. he did? i thought it was the russians who were misquoted?

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    5. do you have a source where he apologizes?

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    6. I can't find one via Google search. I remember reading it not long after he'd given the original quote, which was mistranslated or somehow taken in the wrong context, I can't remember exactly how he explained it. If I can find it, I'll post it here.

      But what is the point of your original post? Just another way to claim Marina is somehow insulting V/M, this time by hiring Scali?

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    7. no - without knowing there was a mistranslation, i found it odd because iirc he (apparently) said something along the lines of "tessa and scott don't dance" (how the hell could the english media get something like "tessa and scott don't dance" from a mistranslation?) and like IMO he might as well have insulted marina's choreography because mahler is pure dance and was created to highlight v/m's dance skills. but since this happened long ago i don't remember exactly what he (apparently) said.

      i was thinking... if he did apologize and admit it was a mistranslation that means literally no one questioned v/m's win in 2010. i remember a frantic d/w uber recently linked this misinformed article in which some pressed american complained that d/w deserved to win in 2010 and used scali's quote as proof and then they said something along the lines of "SEE EVEN V/M'S WIN WAS QUESTIONED IN 2010!!!"

      as im remembering more about what scali said... im thinking maybe the person who wrote the article deliberately misinterpreted his word to make the americans look good because if i remember correctly there also was a quote from tanith too.

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    8. IIRC, no one but a handful of American fans argued D/W should have won, and it was almost entirely out of misplaced patriotism. Even D/W said the results were the right ones. The Los Angeles Times criticized the point differential, claiming it was too big. It also got upset that the Canadian crowd cheered too loud for V/M but not as loud for D/W. It was basically all "they won because of home field advantage." Not of it had anything to do with actual breakdowns of the skating.

      Scali said "I don't agree with the system. They are not real dancers. They are very technical and don't really 'dance' on the ice." I think his complaint had more to do with his dislike of the system and the fact that V/M are "new system skaters" (as they defined themselves). Since he didn't believe the new system rewards dancing, and the judges awarded V/M the gold, therefore Scali didn't believe V/M were dancing. Canadian papers claimed it was a direct snub at V/M (and Scott was even asked about it in a press conference and side-stepped it), but I think it was just a poorly worded slam at the judging system by Scali that the press ran with.

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    9. CoP may have its problems but how can anyone say or even insinuate V/M don't dance on ice when they are the only team that purely dances?

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    10. I think his reasoning was more: the system doesn't reward dancing, it rewards technical skating (whatever he took that to mean at the time). So, per his logic, the teams who were winning in the system (in this case, V/M) aren't being rewarded for dancing, they're being rewarded for being very technical. It read more like a point he was making and using V/M as the obvious example because they were the gold medal winners.

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  12. DW ubers at FSU used this picture to call Meryl a perfect ballerina

    http://instagram.com/p/mtn6MauFxC/#

    Most certainly the next Pavlova ...

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    1. of course, a blurry motion pic where part of her body is obscured is the best they can do.

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    2. What an insult to ballerinas everywhere.

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    3. i bet she's probably not even pointing her toes.

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    4. Forget the toes - she's miles away from that type of refinement. Look at the rigidity of her torso, her flat torso, her forward head and neck, her shoulders. There's not a ballerina on this planet with an upper body that flat, closed and stiff.

      oc

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  13. Tessa is soo ooooh pregnant again

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  14. "Tessa is soo ooooh pregnant again"

    Links to pics???

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  15. OC, what do you think of Hawayek and Baker? IMO, they seem as good as VM- great edges, speed, power, and chemistry. They even did one of VM's Sochi lifts.

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  16. @5:38

    She is so pregnant, and I don't think this one is going to cooperate at all like its big sister did in terms of changes to mommy's body. Not that Little Moir didn't cause changes, but I just think this one is causing bigger ones and faster. Comparing the photos and video of Tessa that have come out of Japan to what she looked like in Sochi and what she looked like even a month ago... It's striking.

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    1. Yeah that hot pink dress definitely makes her look wider from the side, especially in photos. Tessa looks more "normal" in this photo from Maia's instagram though http://instagram.com/p/mkhgvVS7k-/

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    2. In that photo from Maia's instagram, Tessa has herself partially turned and partially hidden behind Joannie.

      It is more noticeable from the side in the pink dress though. I'd like to see what she looks like from the side in that gold costume too.

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    3. I think she looks exhausted as well - even more than she did in Sochi. Isn't it the first and last trimester you get really tired? Although, I guess it's different for everyone. Anyway, if she is - fun and games ahead. I don't think they'll get away with it this time.

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    4. Yes, it is the first trimester when you get really tired.

      While it is interesting to watch and speculate, IMO it's still way too early and all it is at this stage is speculation unless someone definitively knows, apart from mere speculations.

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    5. ^ Yep its FAR too early. Also the 1st trimester is where women are more likely to miscarry and know nothing about it

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    6. If she is pregnant, she could very well be approx 2 months along and is probably aware of it. When she was supposedly pregnant before, did anyone really have firsthand knowledge of that or was everyone just making assumptions based on her weight gain?

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    7. It is early, but even in the first trimester, especially with second, there are certain tells, and Tessa seems to have them.

      As 9:24 said, Tessa could be as far a long as 2 months, possibly even a little bit further along with the way pregnancy weeks are counted from the first day of the LMP and not the date of conception. She could be, in pregnancy 10-11 weeks, and therefore fairly close to the start of the second trimester. She is, IMO, past the point where she wouldn't know. Women who miscarry in the first trimester and not know anything about it tend to have those miscarriages before they miss their period or within a week of within when their period was due

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    8. 9:24
      I'm under the impression blogger knew from firsthand knowledge and not speculation. In the last years there have also been a few others who have posted they know from personal sources that Tessa and Scott do have a child (from a pregnancy in 2010).

      If Tessa is pregnant again I doubt she would carry like the first time where it was easy for her to hide it.

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  17. BLOGGER IS ABSOLUTELY OUT OF HER MIND; YES ITS A HER. YES THIS IS THE PLACE TO SAY THAT. CANT UNDERSTAND WHY BLOGGER HASNT BEEN SUED YET!!! SOME FUNNY SHIT POSTED HERE !! C YA

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  18. Think about it 10:31. Why do you think blogger hasn't been sued? This blog has been around for more than three years. Plenty time for VM and Co. to prove it's all lies.

    Hmmm....wonder why blogger isn't sued.
    *rolleyes*

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  19. Get over it Virtue and Moir are has beens. The only Olympic ice skating scandal is that they should've taken the bronze medal and the Russians should have been silver.

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  20. This is just rude. Meryl won for a reason- she was the best dancer and she deserved it she worked her ass off!!!

    Secondly, Meryl has dyslexia related to depth perception issues!!!! Maybe she couldn't put her feet in the ground after being flipped around like crazy because she could not see exactly where it was!!! Plus in rehearsals that could be the first time they try these crazy tricks. Id like to see the writer try them.

    Meryl is a gorgeous person inside and out and is a very talented little dancer. Sad people write stuff like this. psh.

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