|My sympathies, but the real crime was in ice dancing.|
Here's Beverly Smith's article:
Beverly Smith fails to get down to business
In my preliminary post efforts, I kept circling, but not nailing down, what really bugs about Smith's article, apart from the fact that this is the sole knowledgeable legit media figure skating writer who has called out Davis White's skating, and yet her article on the ISU vote is a waste of time. It never gets to the heart of the actual problem with anonymous judging. Then, I got it. She's disingenuous.
Smith employs a bunch of rhetorical questions such as - why would such and such a country vote for anonymous judging? Do they think this or that? Do they perceive the situation thus and such instead of thither and yon? It's hard to comprehend, bemoans Smith.
Spare me. Smith is a smart woman. She knows that voting itself is political. The USFSA can cover itself in sanctimony while voting "No" to anonymous judging now that Meryl and Charlie have won an ice dance gold medal thanks to anonymous judging. That's political. That's voting theatre. Same with Korea calling out the ISU then rushing to safety by voting to keep anonymous judging.
Smith's questions show a reluctance to acknowledge that figure skating is as corrupt as it is, and, more disappointing from Smith, as corrupt outside of Russia as it is. Her perspective appears to be that figure skating has wandered down a path that leads people to perceive that it's untrustworthy, and anonymous judging reinforces that unfortunate perception. Even though, and apart from Russia, of course, figure skating is totally trustworthy, because Smith never gets around to saying it's not. Surely if figure skating weren't on the up and up, she'd be able to produce a few non-Russian examples of dubious results. She's not saying, after all, that the ISU's inability to keep Russia on the straight and narrow is the problem with figure skating today. She's saying anonymity is.
All of which makes me wonder why she bothered writing her eulogy for the Sochi ice dance outcome. That's where a set of imposter American ice dancers were handed a gold medal over the Canadian team that actually won the event.
As the Olympic figure skating competition got underway, Smith observed that Davis and White were constantly scored higher than Virtue and Moir despite core deficiencies in Davis and White's skating, deficiencies that violate the standards and criteria set down in CoP. However, the reason this situation came to pass is apparently a big mystery. Smith never asked the basic journalistic questions of who, what, when, where, why.
Was Russia behind it? I don't think Smith believes that. Then who is behind it? How did it happen? A bunch of well-meaning judges, technical specialists, referees, and Federations honestly assessed Meryl and Charlie's wide-stepping, slow, posing, two-footed, blade-flatting jungle-gymnastics as meeting CoP criteria better than Virtue and Moir? Not possible. Amateurs can see Meryl and Charlie blatantly flout CoP. Did Smith think it was purely coincidence, or the fault of Marina/Virtue Moir that every single season, at the last possible second, a key, showcase element/component in Virtue and Moir's programs had the rug pulled out from under it by the nebulous ISU grapevine?
This scoring could not be done without the blessing of David Dore nor without deals and influence peddling by the USFSA. Nor without the cooperation of Skate Canada. The Wizard of Oz didn't give Davis White unearned scores and unearned wins over the past quad. It was people. Powerful people in the ISU, USFSA and Skate Canada.
I'm over the "Bad Russia" narrative. Smith disappoints when she pretends amazement that Russia voted to abolish anonymous judging. Russia has benefitted from anonymous judging more than anyone, she seems to imply. If that's her belief, why did she ever bother lamenting the Sochi ice dance results, and Meryl and Charlie's Grand Prix final victories? Who does she think got that done? Russia? A bunch of well-meaning judges? If everybody but Russia is well-meaning, then what's the difference if judging is anonymous or not? Everybody's acting in good faith regardless!
Smith is challenged to distinguish between actual issues and perceived issues. The whole sport is. The whole sport weasels out of core issues by talking about perception, and dodging reality. The sport can't be trusted But why not? Just because the judging is anonymous and there's no accountability, it can't be trusted? Are there results in recent times that suggest anonymous judging enables unfair results? if so, how about mentioning a non-Russian example? If Russia is the seat of corruption, why not call for the ISU to police the Russian Fed, instead of calling for an end to anonymous judging?
People don't trust figure skating because it's not trustworthy. It's perceived as corrupt because it is corrupt. The cure for that is for the sport to conduct itself with integrity. Until that happens, everybody, including Smith, is going in circles.