Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Marina thoughts. Plus - pregnancy: do your research

Long post. When it comes to the Marina section, this may be one of those posts where my thoughts are imperfectly worked out and get sorted later in the comments section, or via editing, as my perspective becomes better organized.

On the pregnancy front, it seems to me that those who insist Tessa shows no sign of pregnancy must know that plenty of women don't show mid-way, or even most of the way. It's just that these fans have made up in their own heads that Tessa Virtue is not one of those women. A lot of comments section discussion works off stuff that only exists in people's heads. They decide something or other is not possible for the version of Tessa they, personally, have invented, and they see no reason why what they've made up shouldn't be treated as valid. I see this mentality reoccur constantly in the comments, although of course it doesn't describe everybody.

Alternatively, another reason some people might fixate on the idea that all pregnant women project a balloon shape is that's the only sort of pregnant woman these fans believe they've ever personally seen. When they've crossed paths with women who carry differently, they failed to perceive that she was pregnant, and continue believing pregnant women all look the same. As with much of this mindset, if they don't see it, it doesn't exist.

Yahoo:


Image linked by participant in comments section (thanks):

I like the above image as it's easy to see this woman is pregnant (relation of her abdomen to her pelvis, for one) but in addition to carrying small, she's got a pronounced s curve in her back that can trick the eye into thinking it's simply her posture. Due to her proportions/contour/how she's carrying it would be a cinch for her to dress as if she's not at all pregnant. She could stand differently and look even less pregnant. Tuck her butt under and she'd even be flat, you might say, because that pregnancy slope isn't just mild, it's a continuous plane - it doesn't abruptly jut forward. Look at this lady. I bet she doesn't even have the abs of an Olympic gold medalist in ice dance.

I was going to post a bunch more photos but they're all the same. If you've decided the Tessa Virtue that you've made up in your head is a woman who, if pregnant, would show stereotypically (even though there's actually no such thing as typical) a million pictures won't make that worldview shift.

*****

I was debating posting my thoughts about Marina, as I think the discussion has, at times, gotten down to disagreeing on first principles. When that happens, you just have to agree to disagree; you're not going to change someone's mind on the fundamentals. This post is not an attempt to change minds, but to express my own views, even though I'll reference contrary views. My views start here:

I think Marina/Canton remains the best training center for Tessa and Scott, and Marina the best choreographer for the team. I have thoughts about the political influences that may direct where VM train, if they do continue, and will mention that when the post reaches that point. But to start, I refer to this latest article from icenetwork.com:

icenetwork article on Marina, Canton and current teams

I think the key is fluidity and collaboration in the process of building a program. Here are excerpts that highlight why I think this is the best training center for Tessa and Scott:

"This is actually really different for me. Nikoli did all the work by himself," he said. "I think it's really great. Every coach can see one piece of program from [his or her] own view, and everyone wants to give you the best. When you skate in competition, everybody has different tastes, and I think our coaches have the same [goal] but different tastes. If you want to be a good skater, you have to feed on these different [viewpoints]."

Since her days with G&G, Marina has been a collaborative coach/choreographer, and yet some fans have decided, and, having decided, insist, that she refuses to allow outside influences, despite that fact that collaboration and proactively bringing in outside influences has been the hallmark of her training process since she became a choreographer. She encourages her skaters to do the same. To the extent Scott and Tessa are self-determined and draw upon outside resources, they are modeling Marina, not working against her or despite her. IMO they're not outliers in her program, but represent the fullest expression of Marina's style of working -  a style that can only be completely fulfilled by skaters possessing the talent, and the smarts about their talent, that Scott and Tessa possess. Everything known about Marina points to a person who gives her skaters all the tools, all the resources, to be used and understood by the skaters themselves as full collaborators/participants, responsible for themselves, and self-reliant. Of course, the more ability a skater or pair of skaters has, the better this works. Of course the skater has to be receptive.

There is so much "say the opposite" in figure skating and figure skating discussion. The fan meme that maintains Marina does the opposite of what she actually does is just part of the pattern. In that meme, Marina is too easily threatened and Virtue and Moir went to Swan against her wishes. No, this is not the position of every person who is not a Marina fan, but this is the song sung by many who have disliked her for years. This particular criticism is something they've made up, all contrary evidence dismissed. I guess mentioning this may appear to be argumentative/trying to convince, but it's more me acknowledging that, when I highlight Marina's collaborative process, there are fans who inexplicably assert that she doesn't collaborate, or only collaborates when there's no choice.

ETA - To address something I read in the comments section below the previous post: it was mentioned that D/L (think it was them) and Jeffrey Buttle don't have that much experience choreographing ice dance. To which someone else retorted, "JMB and Swan didn't either, and that turned out pretty well!"

I have to ask myself:
Is this person comparing floor dance specialists/choreographers to ice dance/figure skating coaches/choreographers as if it's the same job? If that's the case, Virtue and Moir's horizons broaden. They won't need to train at another rink. They can just get choreo/coaching from Derek Hough. What more would they need?

I get frustrated when the "ice" part of ice dance is minimized by some fans (again, not all fans, and not all fans who aren't Marina fans).

Marina is changing music for the free dance. We tried already a few different styles. That is the way she works. Every day she speaks about it a little bit different, maybe she found another idea. We have all of the elements for the free dance: lifts, spin, footwork."

That's called process.

Marina is thinking like a professor; she knows what she is doing.

I love the thinking like a professor.

When was the last time somebody invented a new turn, new step? When ice dance fans look for innovation, what do they mean? For me, Marina works better with rhythm and music than any coach around. This is subjective, but I think a lot of people aren't musical, or aren't in touch with rhythm. That is where, for my money, Marina is absolutely brilliant. Just compare her to Igor. Igor is a musical washout, as far as I'm concerned. That's why his choreography, even though he steals and reworks and repurposes like everybody, seems so clunky. There are other choreographers/coaches who put together really nice programs, but IMO they don't use rhythm as well, aren't as insightful about tension and release, anticipation/propulsion, counter motion, etc., either (by insightful I mean, what parts of the music to use when you want this to occur, and where to place it in the program).

That was something I started understanding when I originally began watching Dancing with the Stars. I saw successful singers who couldn't hear or feel music/rhythm when trying to dance. And conversely, there were contestants with almost no range of motion (like 66 year old George Hamilton in 2006) but wonderful rhythm, who were able to put it across. Anyhow, I think that's the biggest obstacle to some people appreciating Marina - the ones who don't hear/feel how she's put it together with the music. Even her work-for-hire (like her blues program for Dube/Wolfe) uses the music with movement so much better than similarly put together programs, to energize the skaters and the audience.

The musicality in Seasons didn't appear as accessible to some as Carmen, but I love this wonderful post from fan forum:

http://www.fanforum.com/74168395-post211.html

In my favorite part of this post, the author describes what she/he understood about Seasons prior to the point where her sensibility was finally affected by Seasons (an event that occurred in a later performance). Bolded parts are mine:

I was hearing the nuances in the music that Tessa and Scott play within choreographically - nuances which aren't always rhythmic but are sometimes beautifully subtle alterations in pitch. I also felt like I had a decent grasp on what they were trying to do - and project - from a movement standpoint. But as far as the overall texture of the program was concerned - that overarching sensibility it's supposed to stir - it wasn't there for me like it was with so many of their past programs (and this season's SD). And I thought, "eh, that's all right. If it's not there for you, it's not there. Doesn't change the fact that it's a gorgeous, intricate, conceptual program that is gold medal-worthy" (and of course, the skaters performing the program are feeling and connecting to it), which is what matters.

I said I'd mention potential political factors that might influence where VM train if they come back, and with that in mind, let's remember it was the ISU that "recommended" Scott and Tessa return to the lyrical/romantic free dance style for Sochi. Scott and Tessa reported this after Worlds 2013; it was a message they'd obviously received even prior to Worlds. Sure, VM could ignore the suggestions and reap the consequences. Predictably, the ISU, the media and the commentariat turned around and used the lyrical free dance to promote a false narrative that Virtue and Moir hadn't grown.* Still and despite, Virtue and Moir have owned Seasons. They've described every piece of it as hand-crafted. It's their program. Considering some of the views expressed by those who aren't fans of Seasons and maintain it contributed to their defeat in Sochi, I haven't fully worked out the paradox that what Virtue and Moir do well, they do well despite Marina or not much credit to Marina, yet somehow Marina foisted the meh Seasons upon these independent and self-determined skaters and convinced them to love it. How does that skew with the narrative that asserts Virtue and Moir developed independently from any contribution of Marina's, that via talent and the skating skills they brought with them to Canton, they developed naturally into Virtue and Moir, and would have done so anywhere. They achieved despite Marina. Were Virtue and Moir not aware of this? Did Marina somehow deceive them into believing she made a significant contribution to their success? A manipulation that culminated with Virtue and Moir not just skating Seasons at the Olympics, but re-asserting their love for this program after they lost?

What's the proposition? That if they'd only been to another coach, that coach would have been able to show them the error of their thinking/aesthetic, change them from being the sorts of skaters who embraced a Seasons? I look at the fact that the ISU directed Virtue and Moir to go lyrical, so neither coach nor skaters had free reign, but I also see that even after the Olympic competition had concluded and Virtue and Moir were spit-balling about Marina's split loyalties, they put their arms around that program and bear-hugged it. If they're as independent and self-created as some maintain, then they independently and self-determinedly - and perhaps coincidentally, but I think not  - share Marina's taste/aesthetic/musical sensibility and are as responsible for the choices made in that program as Marina.

Maybe they're not actually that independent, but are Marina's creatures (in that case, Marina has to receive credit). Do they need a different environment to show them what they don't understand about impactful, innovative lyrical programs? At what point did they become blind to the fact that Marina really hasn't done much for them; they did most of it themselves combined with their foundation training in Kitchener. Did they just not realize all these years? IOW, I just don't see how some of these concepts about VM and Marina all fit together.

It's much easier to see "growth" in a program like Carmen. Carmen has already been discussed on the blog, but I want to highlight now, that, in terms of ice dance politics, it was user-friendly, in your face. Even observers who couldn't appreciate the particulars of it as a skating skills/choreographic-embed tour de force** like nothing before or since, could plainly observe that it was powerful, dynamic and athletic. Virtue and Moir's on ice personas and the story they were telling were utterly bold and dramatic; the growth was built into the story and choreography. The actual skating growth (power, speed, edgework, control) was still there and more in Seasons but the package was back to seamless and "looks easy", which was perhaps the reason the ISU wanted this style. A style where you might have to actually rewind to process how extraordinary a particular section was. A better vehicle for the ISU to pull off the heist and for the media to ignore what was actually going down.

Tessa and Scott are very tough, very smart, and have, thanks in no small part to an environment that thoroughly understood them, become experts themselves, whereas with DW, I think of them more as vessels who dutifully do their part while it's up to everybody else to figure out how to re-package their limited skill set. If Tessa and Scott were in a training center that had a narrower pyramid, and the inevitable conflict ensued (they're intense, and challenge/conflict is part of their process), it would be them vis a vis the coach over whatever the issue was, and would another coach's environment be fluid enough to work around it or discover a solution on the same terms employed by Virtue and Moir? How many influences would be available to work towards a synthesis, crack the puzzle or challenge? I believe one of the reasons Scott and Tessa stayed with Marina as long as they did - among many - is they respect her as being as smart as they are, and smart in the same ways as they are about skating. Would they be able to work the same way in another training center, given their accurate estimation of their own skating smarts and given their particular musical sensibility? At the same time, at Canton, success is also about a way of working that creates the greatest opportunity for solutions, and it seems to me that Marina prefers a process with many voices, and then a synthesis develops. Somebody has to recognize when a solution has been achieved, and that's Marina's job (along with the skaters). I believe she's demonstrated the smarts to recognize a better idea, concept or solution even if it's someone else's. As have Scott and Tessa.

This link is has the cheesiest title in the world but the article is relevant:

https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140727120648-65635652-the-surprising-skill-successful-people-have-in-common-and-how-to-cultivate-it

Here's the key piece from the article, that relates particularly to Marina. I'm sure other training centers collaborate to a point, but apparently it's not the hallmark, or the skaters that go to Arctic Edge wouldn't be going there, in part, for the collaborative environment. It would be commonplace:

"If you love clawing your way up social pyramids, by all means, hang on to this view of reality. But if you're into things like, oh, I don't know, happy relationships and enjoyable work, you might want to note that many highly functional human systems are less like pyramids than like calm seas: Roles are as fluid as water, and the hierarchy of personal worth is flat, with every person valued equally. In systems like these, each person leads in situations where he or she is most capable, but just as willingly follows in others."

IMO it doesn't just make for a happy environment, but also a more productive, successful environment. Of course, for the "streaming" approach to work, the environment needs to be populated with people who know what they're doing, and it seems to me Marina consciously, proactively makes sure that happens. Sometimes the person in charge is the only one who really knows what they're doing, and that's why the pyramid, but I suspect as often, the person hires per the pyramid, and screens out threats to their authority. I think the "flat" environment is absolutely the best environment for Scott and Tessa. They challenge/disagree a lot as part of their process, and you need a fluid system to accommodate that and keep working productively towards the same ends. Whereas I think DW don't use the system in the same way. To me, they appear to be a group project the coaching team tinkers with each season without much input from DW, which is not the system's best application. However, the USFSA and the families seem to be okay with using it in that way.

How many other training centers have the same diversity of personnel as Canton? Some in the comments section say VM's success with Canton is due to VM. I believe that Canton helped them BECOME VM. In a critical phase of their careers (end of juniors into seniors) the part of their career where they were maturing, working in Canton helped them become self-reliant, and by that I mean the real architects of their skating. It's what all good teachers hope to accomplish with their students, no matter what discipline. I don't think a training center exists just as a shopping center for choreography. Marina and Canton are a key reason Virtue and Moir were able to fulfill themselves as Virtue and Moir, discover their own process as Virtue and Moir. It didn't occur despite Canton, it occurred because Canton facilitated it. It's not a formula for every skater to become Virtue and Moir, clearly, but it's an excellent formula for skaters with talent, maturity and intelligence. Whatever the equivalent of emotional intelligence is when you're skating-wise and dance-wise, Virtue and Moir have it, and Canton is where it reached its fullest expression. I think, basically, that Canton's is a system that's going to work best for the legitimate best, so it might not be one size fits all, but it fits VM. And I also think it takes a talent to work that way, and however talented some other coaches may be, that particular talent isn't common.

When I look back at, for example, Michelle Kwan's split with Frank Carroll, he said she started saying to him "I don't need you to tell me how to do it, I know" or whatever, and he started thinking, well, I'm still the coach. Carroll's very talented, but I also believe when you have someone like Kwan, who at that point had been skating about fifteen years, you do need to start collaborating more, being a team, opening up the process. With her, I, personally, think she had a lot of ambivalence about the Olympics that undermined her game (and boy did it show), so there may have been more going on with her resistance to her coach than her growing independence, but a component of the thing is that when you have talents like Scott and Tessa, who have as deep an understanding of figure skating as Marina, you need an inclusive model, and sometimes you even need to be oppositional so they can work it out/understand it for themselves, have something to push back against while they do so. That something they're pushing back against needs to be something they respect, something as strong, smart and tough as they are.

I said I was going to mention political factors that might influence where they train if they come back. It's occurred to me, as it would anyone, that if Scott and Tessa wanted to continue on, they'd first need to test the waters with their Fed and the ISU. Is the game still rigged against them? An opt-out for the ISU would be if Scott and Tessa were encouraged to go to another training center. This helps the ISU save face. It would be a bit awkward if Scott and Tessa remained in Canton and in the run-up to the next Olympics started getting the explosive scores they ought to have been getting in this past quad. How come they didn't get these scores before? If they change camps, then the improved scores could be credited to a change in their coaching environment. One look at what VM did on the ice while training in Canton would show that up as a lie, but as we all know, nobody actually acknowledges what VM do on the ice. Only the narrative matters. The change coaching narrative would cover ISU ass and allow it to give VM the scores it deserved. Skate Canada has been up David Dore's ass since Sochi;  I'm sure he and they have good communication and Skate Canada would be able to share his input with VM.
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*Virtue and Moir, of course, had grown, exponentially, but that aside, "grown" is irrelevant. What's relevant is "better than DW." The ISU and those who talk and write about it spent most of the past quad promoting fallacies about its own sport.
**It wasn't brilliant because it used modern dance choreography for Carmen, it was brilliant because in every inch of that program Scott and Tessa used superior skating skills to deliver that choreography. It was the embed that makes that program historical. Who did the skating skills part? Who solved those challenges? Not Jennifer Swan - she's not a skater although she's a wonderful choreographer. It's a reciprocal process. The choreographer has to find moves that work on the ice after after acquiring an understanding about skating, the coach and the skaters have to find ways of using skating technique to execute choreography while abiding by, let's not forget, some pretty severe requirements/restrictions inherent both in the act of figure skating and in the rules about what ice dance programs contain.

322 comments:

  1. For me what rang alarm bells was Scott saying that Marina was very attached to her Seasons choreography and was resistant to making changes. She eventually agreed to some but it took some pushing from them. And for me, while the first half of Seasons was OK (not to my taste but not a bad program) the second half was a mess and needed a lot of work. It's her job as coach/choreographer (with VM's help of course) to evolve the programs and make the necessary corrections. Seasons was scoring lower than Scheherazade and not generating a lot of buzz, even simply for strategic reasons making some changes could only have helped by making it look like they were working hard on improving their program. Every comp I expected this would be the one where we'd see a revamped program and it took until nationals to see some very small changes.

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    1. Seasons' scoring lower than Scheherazade had nothing to do with it's skating content, which was brilliant and totally within the guidelines of COP. It was all political, all to set-up the fix in Sochi. Shez was a garbage, non-skated, non-danced program that should have never made it out of US nationals.

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    2. "Seasons was scoring lower than Scheherazade and not generating a lot of buzz, even simply for strategic reasons making some changes could only have helped by making it look like they were working hard on improving their program."

      Not sure what this means? If you mean icenetwork wasn't treating it as the second coming of Bolero, well...yeah. That's how icenetwork rolls, especially when it came to V/M's programs versus D/W's. After all, the USFSA and American media had the media narrative by the balls.

      As for "making it look like they were working hard on improving their program," they WERE working hard and it was evident in their growth during each comp, even though they were also making mistakes during their performances. V/M did nothing different in terms of their process of program growth than they did in years past from what I could tell. There were evident changes/tweaks to the program each time they went out there, which was par for the course for them (and also how it's supposed to work, at that).

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    3. 2:46 again- Every program shouldn't be treated the same way, some come out mostly fully formed and only need a few minor tweaks, others need major adjustments along the way. IMO Seasons was the latter. Scriabin is a very difficult composer to skate to, choreography is going to be an extra challenge. I thought what we saw at Finlandia was only a first draft that would be improved upon but it never was. That isn't necessarily all on Marina of course but she's the one listed under choreographer and is the one who ultimately take the praise or blame for the end result.

      I meant buzz in the skating world. Icenetwork and other media are part of it but it's more than that. It's easy to dismiss message boards but they aren't disconnected from the skating world, they're part of it. When a program is almost universally panned by both VM fans and neutrals, chances are the same kind of chatter is going on at a deeper level (practically everyone reads FSU after all). Then there's television commentators from various European countries who generally were a lot more complimentary of DW's program. Meanwhile Tracy Wilson barely had anything good to say about it, same thing with Kurt and co at the Olympics. All of that adds up to buzz (or lack thereof). The program with the most buzz isn't always going to be scored first but it certainly helps (Carment is a weird scenario in that it had a lot of buzz at first and then it petered out).

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    4. I don't agree that Seasons never improved. I thought it grew exponentially all season long. What threw some fans off, I think, was that V/M made some uncharacteristic mistakes during a few of their performances. But I don't believe those mistakes got in the way of the growth of the program. They were in the moment setbacks more than anything.

      As for buzz, a lot of V/M fans (mistakenly) panned Funny Face throughout the season as well, and that program was incredible. Lo and behold when V/M won Worlds with it, most of the fans who had complained about it suddenly changed their tune.

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    5. The skating improved but the choreography didn't and there's only so far they could go with what they had. That's my opinion anyway.

      I must have been reading different threads than you were because I don't remember many fans changing their tune. My reading is that Funny Face was by far the least popular VM FD before Seasons came and took that title.

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    6. The uncharacteristic early season mistakes probably didn't help the narrative very much, but then again, there's probably nothing that could have helped the narrative.

      In the past, senior B's and the GP series were seen as a place to try out the programs and where it was ok to make a few mistakes while road testing and honing the programs for the latter part of the season when championship time rolled around. This was yet another aspect of ice dance that got rewritten in order to push DW. Because DW were scored as if they were skating clean even though they weren't, it became not ok for VM to make mistakes.

      For whatever reason, the mistakes that VM did make in competition last fall did seem to be more frequent than in past seasons, but I attribute that to the pressure of likely knowing they needed to be perfect and putting that kind of pressure on one's self usually tends to more mistakes and not less.

      Of course, the big elephant in the room is that while VM did make actual mistakes, DW were praised for not making mistakes when they weren't actually skating or dancing at all. There's an inherent difference in making a mistake when you're actually doing something and having technique so inferior that you aren't actually doing it at all. And while VM did make mistakes and it was right for them to take appropriate scoring hits, the fact that DW were plain deficient in everything was outright ignored.

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    7. 7:12 2:46 again- "Every program shouldn't be treated the same way, some come out mostly fully formed and only need a few minor tweaks, others need major adjustments along the way. IMO Seasons was the latter. Scriabin is a very difficult composer to skate to, choreography is going to be an extra challenge. " And VM's history shows this is the way they like to work. This is their choice. They want to grow the program. They want the challenge. There's more to be discovered with challenging music, however the challenge exists in a particular program, and at the end of the day, more to be achieved when it is accomplished. Everything about every single free dance Scott and Tessa have ever done demonstrate that this is a CHOICE, not an obstacle. This is how they want their season to play out.

      As for buzz, Davis White were slated for gold. You write about the buzz as if it's ground up, driven by people's honest opinions about the programs. It was top down. VM fans had already, if they had any sense, been demoralized by what happened to Carmen. Carmen had INCREDIBLE buzz and was low scored to beat the band and even the commentators started poor mouthing it.

      The narrative drove the so-called "buzz" about the two programs. The narrative driving DW to gold. VM could have come out with a program more accessible, dramatic and an obvious (as opposed to discerning) tour de force than Carmen and the buzz would have been the same. The sport is shameless. The sport had no problem giving Carmen bad buzz. IOW, I disagree with your apparent opinion that the issue of buzz grew from the program on up. It was ISU on down. As for message boards, VM fans have been crying chicken little since forever and a day, and message board buzz and skating talk is generally not sophisticated. "Buzz" is bullshit. Not only was it artificial with Seasons vis a vis Schez, but the "buzz" idea once again leapfrogs over the actual skating. The actual skating was a slam dunk and the reason it wasn't scored as a slam dunk has nothing to do with the program. If it were Son of Carmen it would have gotten the same scores.

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    8. Great post anon at 8:09 pm. I think every once in a while we have to remember that it wasn't that VM weren't scored appropriately for the majority of this quad. It was the blatant overscoring of DW in both the technical and pcs scores.
      And in 2014 - DW regressed after each competition and yet their scores kept going up...the icing on the cake was the GPF...
      And honestly I have said this before - if DW had been better the team - I would totally accept the results and still would have been happy for VM. But the blatant corruption from numerous factions was just unbearable and for who - a team like DW that when you deconstruct their skating is well...the emperor has no clothes...and there is absolutely no excuses for the judging panels or the technical specialists - let alone the journalists or commentators (waving to Kurt Browning).
      Yes we can discuss the FD and we should for 2013-2014, but hell VM should have had at least a 2-3 margin over the field with that SD...

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    9. Fans spent months lamenting the Funny Face FD, claiming it was "juniorish," could not win a World title, and Zoueva had screwed them in favor of Die Fledermaus.. Then V/M did win and oops, those fans decided maybe that program had been worthy of winning all along.

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    10. I don't understand what's meant by the skating improved but the choreography didn't. That doesn't make sense given how V/M's programs are constructed. The choreography is driven from the blade up through the body, not the other way around.

      What was the problem with the choreography? I thought it was a masterful display of V/M's power (including the ability to gain and alter speed in an instant with complete control), skating skills, musicality, and movement abilities.

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    11. "The skating improved but the choreography didn't and there's only so far they could go with what they had. That's my opinion anyway." 8:01 it might be your opinion but it is not Virtue and Moir's opinion, nor is it the opinion of anyone skating knowledgeable who looks at that program and measures it against CoP and how this sport is meant to be scored. To coin a phrase, it ticked all the boxes.

      Even as Virtue Moir addressed the supposed issue of Marina's loyalties, they restated their absolute love for that program, called it "hand-crafted", every inch of that program reflecting what they wanted. They're skaters/they're dancers, so we can't pretend they meant they loved only one piece of the program (the skating) and were disappointed in the other (the choreo). They were explicit about their connection to the choreo and reaffirmed their belief in that program after Sochi. There is no reason they shouldn't have reaffirmed their belief in that program - they blew DW out of the water twice with that program. They blew DW out of the water at the GPF and the Olympics as emphatically as any performance of Carmen destroyed Notre Dame.

      Ergo, that is THEIR program. It's not "Marina's program". That is really the point of this post. Some fans try to separate out Marina/the programs from Virtue and Moir, refusing to acknowledge that these are the programs Virtue and Moir want, and further, refusing to acknowledge that VM KNOW what they want. Virtue and Moir couldn't have been more emphatic about Seasons after Sochi.

      That Virtue and Moir WANT these programs is only validated, ironically, by one of the arguments supposedly against Marina, the argument that says they're independent/self-created, outliers, and not true representatives of Marina's abilities. If that's the case, then we have to accept that they love Seasons, and WANT the process of digging into that music as the season progresses. This process reflects who they are, how they work, what they want from the sport. It's their choices. It's not a handicap that they've decided to live with, a cross they've borne because it comes with the territory at Canton. We all know damn well they're not shy about their skating, no matter what act they put on in "Tessa and Scott."

      Despite how they put themselves across in their reality show, these are incredibly confident, strong-minded, powerful personalities when it comes to their skating. They know how good they are. If they didn't love Seasons, if this wasn't the process they themselves chose, they wouldn't have taken it to Sochi. Pretty much every time a new season begins, Scott emphasizes that the free dance is intentionally created so they have a journey bringing it to perfection/fulfilling. Considering these are the most brilliant ice dancers on the planet, obviously that journey requires that substantial challenges be built into the music and the choreography to which Scott and Tessa address themselves as the season progresses. They don't want to start the season with "We got this." The reasons appear obvious - the entire point of selecting complex music or programs with these sorts of challenges is the expectations of greatness they have of themselves. That's a cheesy way to put it, but at least it makes the point. There's a direct correlation between the challenges built into the choreography and what they want to achieve at the end of the season. They succeeded brilliantly in 2014 both at the GPF and in Sochi. Brilliantly.

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    12. I'd like to point out that the post above launched with some pregnancy stuff and the rest of the post was skating stuff, and lo, the comments section is talking about the skating stuff. AGAIN. I just always like to observe how well VM's p.r. zeroes in on what fans REALLY care about. Of course fans will chew over relationship stuff, pregnancy, sham and other bullshit, because what choice to VM fans have? That's what they put out there. But what VM fans REALLY care about is the skating, if only they had the fucking opportunity to show it.

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    13. 8:57: "I don't understand what's meant by the skating improved but the choreography didn't. That doesn't make sense given how V/M's programs are constructed. The choreography is driven from the blade up through the body, not the other way around."

      Thanks. Yes. A lot of people treat choreography as something pasted onto the skating (or lack of skating, as with DW). Sometimes it is. With VM it's not. As you say, the choreography is driven from the blade up through the body. As the skating grows, the choreography is fulfilled.

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    14. 8:09 again

      " I think every once in a while we have to remember that it wasn't that VM weren't scored appropriately for the majority of this quad. It was the blatant overscoring of DW in both the technical and pcs scores."

      I think in a lot of discussions, this very important facet of what happened is ignored. I often see the argument that VM were underscored. That makes it into that DW's scores were fine, VM's just should have been higher. Which, in comparison to DW, hell yes VM's should have been higher. However, the real problem was not the scores VM were getting. It was the scores that DW were getting. Internationally, I felt like VM pretty much always ended up getting the score that they deserved for whatever they put on the ice that day. Even that 73 for their sd at worlds 2013 was a very good score in and of itself. The real problem was that DW were being given astronomical scores--scores higher than what VM were earning--when they were skating nowhere near that level because they weren't really skating at all. No matter how well or not well VM skated on a particular day or whether or not VM were even present at the same competition as DW, we can see from what DW did on the ice that they should not have been earning all of these level 3's and 4's and getting 10's for PCS. They shouldn't even be getting 7's (or even 6's or 5's in some cases).

      The only times in the last quad that I truly felt VM weren't given a score they really deserved for what they put out on the ice pretty much all came at Canadian nationals.

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    15. If people disagree that the Sochi result was corrupt, I don't think there's an argument that can be asserted here that will convince them. But clearly, when one looks at not just the skating, but the fact that everyone sang from the same playbook, we know that the stuff we got from the commentators was marching orders, not their actual opinion. It was corrupt, it was systemic, it had everybody in line, including VM's own Federation.

      Delete
    16. "As the skating grows, the choreography is fulfilled."

      Yes. That's a perfectly worded explanation.

      Delete
    17. "Thanks. Yes. A lot of people treat choreography as something pasted onto the skating (or lack of skating, as with DW). Sometimes it is. With VM it's not. As you say, the choreography is driven from the blade up through the body."

      This is very apparent throughout all of V/M's programs but in particular, watch Tessa's arms and hands in Funny Face or their "Check to Cheek" SD from this season. The positioning and finish is exquisite, but she's not doing any of that independently from the bladework. She's using the bladework to propel that energy and control up through the body and out through her limbs and facial expression. Scott can do the same thing extremely well, but Tessa is in a class by herself. It's all connected. The choreography and refinements are not separate from the blades working into and moving across the ice.

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    18. Of course you can improve existing choreography by skating it better but you can also improve it by making some changes, surely noone is going to dispute that. My point is that VM brought that choreography about as far as it was going to go and it was still a poor program (the Scriabin part at least).

      I don't have time right now to write my no doubt very long explanation but one issue I had was the transition from one piece of music from the other. There is no real musical or even thematic link between the two pieces except for their Russian origin so there needs to be a real progression of the choreography from one piece to the other in order for it to work as a unified whole. Instead, they come to a complete stop, wait for the music to change then Tessa moves an arm to signal the start of part 2. Contrast that with Pink Floyd where both the music and the choreography slowly melted into the other. Now I understand that thematically it's supposed to symbolise the appearance of trouble but it makes for such a dramatic break that it's like watching two completely unrelated programs one after the other (and the first one is markedly better). Especially watching it live it was really jarring and honestly they lost me in the second half, where suddenly you had these jerky-looking movements matched with a music that was anything but and that's nearly impossible to skate to.

      I'm all for difficulty but if you find you're unable to come even close to matching the character and nuance of the music maybe you should try something else, especially in an Olympic year. VM are such incredibly musical skaters but even at the end of the season when skating to Scriabin it almost appeared like they had less musicality than DW. Perhaps that could have been remedied with better choreography, perhaps they needed to rework the program with different music. All of their efforts, and this program will be mostly remembered as a complete dud that cost them any chance at Olympic gold (nevermind that they should have won anyway). I know it has its defenders and it's completely valid to think it's a great program but at some point if a program has a really hard time connecting with even diehard sophisticated fans, it's hard to call it a success (I really don't think winning would have changed much, it didn't for Funny Face, I honestly don't know where that comes from).

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    19. "VM are such incredibly musical skaters but even at the end of the season when skating to Scriabin it almost appeared like they had less musicality than DW. "

      Appeared to whom? What on earth is the basis for that statement?

      I disagree with you that there was a consensus about Seasons. I also disagree that it will be remembered as a complete dud considering its "impact", as that seems to be a major component of your criteria, at both the GPF and the Olympics.

      Furthermore, if you do believe it's a dud, then the people you take issue with are Virtue and Moir, who love every single bit of the program, restated this after the Olympics in unmistakeable, emphatic terms, and not Marina.

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    20. How in the world are flaws in a program only due to VM with Marina having zero responsibility? Good God, listen to yourself, the defensiveness wrds to Marina is incredible.

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    21. Anon 7:46: Please defend D/W's BS programs that are nothing but showcases for fundamentally flawed skating and non-existent dancing. Anybody harping about V/M's early season mistakes is missing the point entirely; the point is how D/W got awarded monster scores for cheated skating and non-dancing and got hustled to an undeserved gold medal in Sochi.

      Not only were they leapfrogged over V/M, they were overmarked over other teams such as the Shibs and P/B who skated and danced their programs with integrity.

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    22. I don't have an opinion re:Marina at this time, nor do I want to defend one. But I will say, and this is my subjective opinion only, that I agree with 10:59 about disliking Seasons and the reasons that person put forth. Especially the transitions/second half. I actually really enjoyed the first half. That, of course, doesn't have any bearing on how it should have been scored, nor do I place blame on anyone for that. VM and Marina loved it - great, but I disagree with them and am okay with that. I love most things they do, but not all. As I said, just my subjective opinion.

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    23. This post, and subsequent comments, are not about persuading people to ENJOY a program they don't enjoy. This post IS saying a program you personally don't enjoy doesn't equal a dud program, and that the personal response any particular fan has to Seasons or any other program is not relevant to an argument about whether Marina was a good coach for Virtue and Moir in this past quad.

      7:56 pm, it's not defensiveness, it's LOGIC. First of all, I reject your description of the so-called "flaws" in Seasons. Of course it's not everybody's cup of tea; no program is. However, it is indisputable that it ticked all the boxes that are actually in CoP and it is indisputable that both at the GPF and at the Olympics VM blew Davis White out of the water not only in the eyes of the skating knowledgeable but in the opinion of most casual observers watching. Even DW fans were somewhat taken aback at the GPF outcome if you review what was said at the time.

      The entire point of emphasizing that Seasons reflects what VM themselves want is to address the fan perspective that VM need to save themselves from Marina. That means they've been her victims. That means they somehow didn't know she was giving them a crap Olympic free dance, or knew, but were powerless to go in a different direction. It was too late. To support this point of view, these fans are clearly saying that Virtue and Moir are doing sham-like levels of lying when, after the Olympics, they went out of their way to describe how much they loved this program, how it was everything they wanted. I believe them because they ended up skating it exactly as they must have envisioned skating it when it was created, and that utterly validated the original decision to use this program.

      Where do Virtue and Moir fit into your Marina-bashing worldview? THAT is my primary question in this post. Let's hear it. What version of Virtue and Moir ended up stuck at Canton, in a coaching environment that spelled their doom, but they didn't realize it or felt trapped by it. Please let me know how Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, two of the smartest and toughest and most ambitious ice dancers ever, were simultaneously unaware they were screwed or felt they couldn't get out.

      My point is not to absolve Marina from responsibility; she doesn't need absolution. My point is really a question - where do these aggressive critics of Marina imagine VM fit into the picture? The post raises these questions. Did VM just not realize they would/could become "VM" anywhere, and that Canton wasn't actually making a meaningful contribution to their development as skaters, and in the meantime was handicapping them with subpar programs? Tell me. Did VM simply not understand this? You keep harping on Marina. Despite my outlining why I LIKE Marina in this post, the real point is how VM. If you can get off Marina for five seconds, PLEASE let me know how you think Virtue and Moir viewed the situation in this past quad, why they stayed in it, and why they re-affirmed their love for Seasons after Sochi. Get off Marina if you possibly can, and deal with Virtue and Moir - or your version of them.

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    24. I ask because Carmelengo and Krylova were just across town. VM could have relocated anywhere. Lots of coaches would love to have had them. Half the time during the past quad, every time Christopher Dean spoke about Virtue and Moir, it came off as if he were pitching himself to them. Why didn't they go to him or someone else? You must know them well - you must know Virtue and Moir weren't aware that they could have developed into Virtue and Moir anywhere, and were deceived into thinking Canton was the right place for their development as skaters (politics aside), OR they realized it and stayed. I believe YOU are behaving in an impatient and defensive way because you don't want to sustain a discussion, you just want to rule it closed. Although I described why *I* prefer Marina, the angle of the post and these comments is addressed to people who leave VM out of the equation, or can't explain why Virtue and Moir didn't realize all of this about Marina, all these things fans can see. Again, politics aside, my question is about Marina as coach, choreographer and facilitator of Virtue and Moir's development into the skaters they are today. Why didn't Virtue and Moir realize she was mediocre? If they did realize, why did they stay?

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    25. 7:46, I think the point of OC's reply (as I read it) was, if someone is arguing that the choreography in Seasons was less than impressive in parts, and claims that's because Zoueva refused to compromise until V/M forced her to after some kind of tense showdown, that doesn't make sense. The onus for any (perceived) remaining flaws in the program has to be put mostly on V/M, not Zoueva, because V/M claimed when they went to her after GPF and told her they didn't feel the program was finished and wanted to change some things, Zoueva did what they asked of her. After they performed the program in Sochi, they raved about how much they loved it. If they hadn't loved the final product and felt the choreography wasn't exactly what THEY wanted, V/M would have changed it further. If they were angry at their coach, they had every opportunity to throw her under the bus for giving them less than optimum choreography. The opportunity was there. They certainly had no problem claiming they were hurt by her not going with them to Nationals or marching in the opening ceremonies at their side. So why not say they weren't happy with the FD choreography? Why praise Zoueva for it like they did, asserting more than once that they know and love how much she throws herself into their creative construction process?

      It's because they WERE happy with the choreography and the program.

      (In my opinion the program was not flawed in any way, for the record. I loved it.)

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    26. Thank you, 2:58. Yes. So my question is - for those who claim Marina gave Virtue and Moir a dud with Seasons, how do they regard Virtue and Moir vis a vis Seasons?

      Virtue and Moir were lying after Sochi when they embraced the program?
      Virtue and Moir - probably the smartest, toughest, most skating savvy ice dancers in the sport - didn't REALIZE it was a dud program?

      What?

      The theory that they were trapped and went along with it doesn't match up with what they said about the program after Sochi. Even more importantly, it doesn't match up with how they SKATED the program at the GPF and the Olympics. They skated it brilliantly, and, as has already been said, even many DW fans and casual observers knew they blew DW out of the water (that note is for those who complain the program didn't "look" like a winner even if they skated it like one. It damn straight looked like a winner to everyone with eyes at the GPF and the Olympics).

      I am not in this post/comments dealing with the whole debate about politics, what was said to the media about DW or VM. I'm talking program and choreography. A lot of people bitching about Marina point to Seasons and say she screwed Virtue and Moir with that program and better choreography exists at other training centers.

      However, Virtue and Moir have said they loved the program. My question is, where does that fit in?

      There's also those who've said Virtue and Moir would have become Virtue and Moir anywhere, and it's not really to Marina's credit - why didn't Virtue and Moir REALIZE this? Why did they stay where they were, if they could have become VM anywhere?

      As I think is clear enough, in talking about Marina, I'm asking people to account for Virtue and Moir's choices about Marina.

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    27. ^It may well be that some people think Virtue and Moir were wrong about Seasons, and were wrong about Canton being the best place for them to develop their skating. I'm not hiding behind Virtue and Moir, encouraging the conclusion that because they embraced Canton, and Marina's choreography, that proves Canton, and Marina's choreography, was the best for them. I'm simply saying they were partners with Marina. If people still feel she was mediocre and gave them uninspired choreography in 2014, then I want to know what role these people think Virtue and Moir played in the situation. Are they people who simply didn't realize that Canton wasn't all that as a training center, people who are wrong about the merits of Seasons? Did they realize Canton wasn't so great and Seasons wasn't so great, but stayed in Canton anyway? If so, why?

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    28. And finally, for those who point to Marina, it appears to me that despite all the evidence, they subscribe to the Svengali model of coaching. Virtue and Moir are mere vessels receiving what Marina gives them. They don't understand that it's not the best. They don't understand that anything she can give them, or has given them, they can get from another training center, and receive better choreography into the bargain. The other training center will create a Virtue and Moir according to that choreographer's vision, and it will be better than Marina's.

      What *I* say is that Virtue and Moir reflect Virtue and Moir's vision. Why not say "I wish Virtue and Moir had different taste in choreography and music." "I wish Virtue and Moir didn't insist on developing programs they can only master by season's end." Instead, these people pretend this is all Marina, and if Virtue and Moir move to a different training center, they'll immediately become skaters molded in the vision of that other training center. *I* say they are molded in their own vision, like it or not.

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    29. To be fair, there have been some people saying they disliked some of VM's choreography choices without slamming Marina. But you still make a very good point.

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  2. I like how you pointed out that part of V/M's process of producing/growing programs (at Arctic Edge) includes challenge/conflict which then, as everyone works through it together, results in a synthesis. That speaks to how they've spoken about their training environment over the years, as well as to how they (most likely truthfully) talked about going to Zoueva after GPF and saying "there has to be more," or "we need to do this" or "it's time to change that" or whatever.

    That is the ideal type of creative relationship in those kinds of circumstances, IMO. It's not necessarily a negative, though it seems a lot of fans perceive it as such. Which actually - when I go back and watch/listen to V/M's remarks after their silver medal in Sochi - their comments do not come across as them lambasting their coach for "abandoning them" or "refusing to compromise" as some have taken to interpreting them. There seemed to be some frustration in their words, but it's never been quite clear to me who their frustration was ultimately with. It's assumed it's because Zoueva refused to compromise on principal, but since we don't know what they were being told by judges all season long I wouldn't posit a guess one way or another.

    A coach that fosters independence in skaters who can handle it, and V/M are certainly those skaters, does not shirk from conflict, and according to V/M, when they went to Zoueva and told her that something needed to change with their FD, she readily worked with them to make that happen. That's not the actions of coach/choreographer who is setting out to hold a team back, either for nefarious reasons or because of pride. That's the mark of a coach/choreographer who, together with that team, operates in a truly collaborative fashion.

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  3. This is not related to the post - though it is certainly a great one - but I just wanted to note that Ms. Lawes seems to be feeling exceptionally perky this week (she tweeted the following, this morning:"Going to be such a fun week! SO happy! Must get organized!") which seems like some kind of oblique (all-grown-up!) version of the traditional faux girlfriend's "Scott is home!" tweet. It feels like she's paving the way to drop some sham...I wonder if the" #bbq" or "#funinthesun" she mentions will include the recently repatriated Mr. Moir. What a giant surprise that would be.
    Sigh. I know many have agreed on how disheartening it is to see that they're really going to go ahead with the sham again...but I can't help but be disappointed all over again every time they move forward with this one.

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    1. Anon at 3:39 pm - well enthusiasm seems to be key with Scott's girlfriends n'est-ce pas? If I had to guess, one of Tessa's BFFs has indicated on her instagram that she is going to have a girls weekend at a chalet...I'm guessing Tessa will make the trek...and Scott may perhaps enjoy a camping trip with Lawes...but the exclamation points after the tweets are killer...poor Scott barely has time to spend with his buddies or with his nieces...and Ms. Lawes didn't she just start training again - lol...go easy on the bbq and the smores...cuz you know - curlers are the elite of the elite when it comes down to strength and cardiovascular endurance.....insert sarcasm...and the timing of the tweets are killer...

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    2. It's GROSS to think of Tessa probably expecting another baby with Scott while he's planning some kind of sham rendezvous with the curler.

      Look at this entry (and so many other entries and comments on this blog). Fans love talking about the skating. They're interested in the skating. But VM are even now, as we speak, getting ready to spit in fans' faces and serve up another revolting helping of sham.

      Did anyone say patterns?

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  4. "At the same time, it's not about the talent of a given individual, but the process that creates the greatest opportunity for solutions, IMO, and it seems to me that Marina prefers a process with many voices, and then a synthesis develops. Moreover, somebody has to recognize when they've reached a solution, and that's her job (along with the skaters), and that's something most of the participants also recognize when it happens. I believe she's demonstrated the smarts to recognize a better idea, concept or solution even if it's someone else's. As have Scott and Tessa."

    I think that's very visible in their body of work at Arctic Edge, and also think it's worth pointing out that just because someone is a truly collaborative creator (and Zoueva is surely one of those individuals) does not mean they lack the spine to come out and finally say "the program is locked. Leave it alone." Zoueva obviously has that ability, and it's not necessarily a negative. That's where the creative conflict comes in: when it's V/M's turn to say "no. It's not there yet, we're going to keep going." They work through it, and come out the other side with a solution. That's how truly creative collaborations work. It's not a bad thing.

    Thanks for linking to that linkedin article, it puts several of the thoughts I've had about that kind of process into very succinct language. Much appreciated.

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  5. i loved seasons except for the fact that but for the first lift, the other lifts did not compare to Carmen, funny face, and included a lift from '06 which is inexcusable. idk if she is pregnant but I'm a woman, I've known dozens of women who have been pregnant and by 6months even the most fit skinny etc have some sort of bump. Tessa has no bump, she's just put on 5 pounds in my opinion.

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    1. She DOES have a bump. It's very visible in some of the photographs that have been posted here. It's not huge right now, but it's there. I also agree with the people who immediately zeroed in on how she sat down during that press conference. That was a pretty dead giveaway.

      Also, inexcusable? Really? You don't even know why the lift was included. V/M don't just throw old stuff in their programs. They never have. All of those lifts were very specific to the choreography and the story.

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    2. 6:06. A fit, elite athlete who normally has super-well-defined abs does not lose the abs' definition nor start looking bigger with just 5 lbs. Are you kidding? The change in Tessa's body is much more than "putting on 5 lbs." It's a fundamental change of shape in an athlete who is maintaining her conditioning and is still extremely fit.

      Tessa can fake a story of a month off while stuffing her face with sugar and wine all she wants, her body does not show the puffy weight of pigging out on junk food. She did NOT spend any time in the last two months away from an athlete's regimen. She is toned, fit and strong.

      In other words, one of the first things she did on twitter was lie.

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    3. Carmen has three-four lifts that blew everyone away. seasons had the first and last maybe. I loved that program as much as all their programs and it should have won everything. but the lifts were disappointing given the standards set by VM in Carmen and funny face. funny face remains undervalued by fans, with funny face their improvement from Mahler was established, just amazing.

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    4. If you look at the image of the woman in the post, you really can't NOT notice that Tessa has the same thing going on.

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    5. If you look at Jessica Dube, Jessica Dube has packed on quite a few pounds since she retired as a pairs skater. We can see that in video from Battle of the Blades. However, her abs remain pretty tight. Despite HER weight gain, she's more concave than Tessa at this point. Those skater abs don't give it up because you gain a few. Other parts of Dube's body show weight gain, but her abs are holding strong and are the tightest part of her body.

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    6. 6:31 - lies are the point of Tessa being on twitter.

      I have to say, I was curious as well if twitter were some way to counterprogram how overboard Scott and Tessa went in their reality show, portraying Tessa as a neurotic, pathetic, wound-too-tight, paranoid loser. Going on twitter shows some extroversion, humor and confidence. But so far, her tweets have been Sham Central. Here's a picture - look, in a bedroom by myself! Good'by my friends - see how Scott and I are MILES apart at mealtime. Hey, check me out in this bikini - how can I be pregnant?!! But, if you think I might be a LITTLE pregnant, have I mentioned I've been stuffing myself with wine and pastries for a month and haven't been near a gym? Oh wow, the ground crew thumbs upped me when I flashed them - my body must be rockin. They'd show a pregnant lady more deference, don't you think? Oh, here I am, home again! Kaitlyn, you take it from here!

      And Kaitlyn does. Not a DAY went by. It's like a relay.

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    7. Is that picture supposed to be her bedroom? 'Cause it doesn't look like a single girls' room. The other picture does much more. The contrast especially caught my eye.

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    8. what lift from '06? there was no elements from '06 in any of v/m's programs. also i don't see whats important about the way she sits in that video?

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    9. 9:48 im certain thats a hotel room

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    10. 9:51, yeah, that was my initial thought as well, but she looks like she's wearing what she was on the trip home, and it doesn't look like any of the hotels they stayed at recently. Don't know if we've ever seen their room in London? Maybe it's just an old picture from a different tour. Don't know.

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    11. The picture on the right I'm sure is a hotel room. The one on the left looks more personal, it could actually be someone's bedroom.

      These pics could be from anywhere, hotel or friend's room, and from anytime. Cannot conclude a single thing from them.

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    12. We can't conclude a single thing from anything from Tessa's twitter, except that it has a sham agenda.

      Delete
    13. I assumed the picture with Tessa in it was taken in her bedroom. The room looks very stark, but also very Tessa-esque, with the black and white comforter. It's not the same room featured in the Chatelaine spread but that could have easily been a guest bedroom.

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    14. It looks like a hotel room to me.

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    15. Don't know if it actually is their bedroom or not. I agree it looks like a hotel room, (maybe they were inspired by their travels?) However, I could definitely see it being within their m.o. to actually post a picture of their bedroom on a public forum, just to get kicks out of the fact that they did.
      If it is supposed to be her bedroom, then it's definitely not what you would expect a bedroom to look like for a single 20-something girl. Especially contrasted with the other pic, which does. The other room is more what I would expect from "public" Tessa.

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    16. "Especially contrasted with the other pic, which does [look like for single 20-something girl]."

      I assume you mean the one with Kaitlyn? I agree, but I also find that bizarre, because I thought she and Andrew were a couple and living together?

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    17. Kaitlyn and Andrew are a platonic couple living together. Didn't you know that? It was explained in detail in this post: http://dubemoir.blogspot.ca/2011/12/its-law-in-canada.html

      Delete
    18. "but I also find that bizarre, because I thought she and Andrew were a couple and living together?"
      I thought so too, but maybe they still have their own bedrooms within the house?

      Delete
  6. Has anybody seen a close up picture of Tessa's hairline lately ? If she is pregnant she certainly wouldn't continue to dye her hair because it could be harmful to the baby. By now her light hair should be showing again.
    I haven't seen any high quality pictures of her lately, that's why I'm asking.

    And if I remember correctly you could see her hair growing out in some pictures of 2010.

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    1. http://www.babycenter.com/404_is-it-safe-to-color-my-hair-during-pregnancy_3273.bc

      "The limited evidence that's available suggests that it's probably safe to dye your hair during pregnancy. The Organization of Teratology Information Services (OTIS), which provides information on potential reproductive risks, says that animal studies are reassuring and that there are no reports of hair dye causing changes in human pregnancies, despite the fact that many women have colored their hair during pregnancy. OTIS also points out that very little of the chemicals in hair dye is actually absorbed into your system."

      Just google dyeing hair during pregnancy. Hair dyes, particularly those used in salons, are not as harsh as they used to be and most seem to think it's fine to dye hair during pregnancy, particularly the second and third trimesters.

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    2. Certain chemicals (like hair dye, certain painkillers, anesthesia, etc.) are only harmful in the first trimester and at the end of pregnancy. The second trimester is the safest time for some of these things. Tessa's hairline was indeed showing lighter hair (see the photos of her toin-coss at the local soccer game in London, right before their Charity Golf). By the day of the Charity Golf she had dyed her hair again.

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    3. There's always henna. I'm no expert, but I've also always had the impression bleaching your hair is more problematic than going darker. Although when I googled, apparently even that gets the green light from a lot of doctors.

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    4. Hair color used to be a concern in pregnancy, but it's not discouraged anymore.

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  7. jw why are people so obsessed with tessa's body?

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    1. Because tessa is pregnant of scott's baby

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  8. I believe the commentators world wide were either bribed or threatened to talk down VM and here is why :

    Hendryk Schamberger, former ice dancer and commentator for German Eurosport, is usually one of the most educated and outspoken commentators who has a great co-host who won't let him get away with PC answers.
    He always calls out flaws, even when he adores the skaters ( like Savchenko/Szolkowy ).
    When he saw Carmen for the first time he was nearly speechless and called it the most difficult program he had ever seen. He said VM were always on top of the field but with this program they have left the other teams far behind.
    He hated DW's NDDP, called them out for their lack of transitions, basic choreography, stale performance and said VM will beat them easily at worlds.
    At worlds 2013 he even argued that VM should have won the SD despite the twizzle error.
    But then he had a sudden change of mind during the FD and called DW superior and complained about VM's lack of emotion ( wtf ? ). He said they look like a computer program ( after he spent the whole season telling everybody about VM's superior artistry, connection and Scott's acting talent - things he never attributed to DW ) and that DW skate as one while VM are two individuals who just happen to skate with each other.

    After he saw DW at Skate America his first words were : " Davis and White will become Olympic champions. "
    At Skate Canada he insisted WP had surpassed VM and claimed VM only won due to reputation. He went on and on about how VM have declined and now they aren't only competing against DW anymore.

    Due to Eurosport not getting the Olympics I don't know what he had to say about that but at worlds he was back to his usual self as if the past season never happened.

    I don't believe this was a coincident. Especially because the same happened all around the world and sometimes he'd say the exact same things, word for word, as Nicky Slater.

    Just my two cents.




    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks very much, 3:35. It's just disgusting. These people want to keep their jobs, want to retain access, don't want to rock the boat, and they got on board. It's the cosa nostra of sports. More than FIFA. FIFA gets a lot of dirt done off the field, but the match victories are determined on the field of play. Skating is corrupt at every step from the top down.

      Delete
    2. 3:35, now that I think about it, It was also what the icenetwork ballroom dancer said when he compared Carmen to Notre Dame. A decision was made to completely ignore the actual skating in Carmen because the actual skating in Carmen - the everything in Carmen - crushed Notre Dame. Suddenly skating wasn't about skating anymore, up was down, hot was cold, it was a script written by George Orwell. But everybody was saying the same thing. It came from somewhere, not out of the air. It wasn't some collective unconscious conclusion. It has a specific source and was disseminated in a concrete way.

      Delete
    3. Great post 3:35AM.
      Isn't it interesting how the more one examines the whole thing - DW's crap skating, the commentating, the media, the judging - the corruption only becomes more visible. It's disgusting and disheartening.

      Something that takes my breath away is that the ISU managed to push through its agenda IN SPITE of the presence of the greatest ice dance team of all time. Unbelievable.

      The only reason they couldn't crush VM completely and deny them a spot on the podium was because they're too good. If the ISU could have, IMO they would have kept VM off the podium altogether.

      Delete
    4. oh but havent you heard, thats not enough proof!

      Delete
    5. That they fucking DARED to claim Carmen was ordinary and rote and going through the motions is disgusting. Disgusting. There should be a bottom line for some people, but apparently there's not.

      Delete
    6. 4:31 -- Really, that they dared to claim that *anything* put out by DW was superior to *anything* from VM is beyond disgusting. A pox on the ISU.

      Delete
    7. I am just watching So You think you can dance and Tara Lipinski is a guest judge and she actually has the words extension and lines in her vocabulary. She can recognize what good dancing is. VM have the best lines and extension in the skating world presently...so again it just proves there is a script to be followed by the ISU etc...and really its disheartening...and I doubt that the sport will be clean this year...bullshit...

      Delete
  9. i never really believed this blog until Lawes became the "new" girlfriend. to me that's proof of the sham the nonsense etc. Cassandra got her boost to local modeling from the sham so it's obvious what she got out of it. I hope VM get their PR together and claim their position, dominance, and save this sport. I never believed people would work together for this sham and someone would crack. but, look at DW winning. If ever there was a sham requiring a lot of support it's DW. DW winning gold and being regarded as good skaters is the biggest sham ever. Seasons was the second coming of belero but the press, VM's PR idiocy didn't allow it. I watch Mahler and then seasons back-to-back and marvel at how much more amazingly difficult fast powerful and interesting seasons is. it's remarkable.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Interesting comment anon at 3:35 am. Yes the corruption and bribing had a very wide net and a similar trend continued with Meryl Davis on the show Dancing with the Stars.
    I also think that having Worlds 2013 in London, Ontario was detrimental to VM. Basically by giving it to Skate Canada - Skate Western Ontario and indirectly the Moirs - this was their payday.
    I am not saying that London, Ontario shouldn't have held it but it shouldn't have held it while VM were competing. Don't get me wrong - where an event is held should not impact the scoring etc but this is the ISU we are talking about...and Speedy and David Dore...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good point about worlds, 4:45 AM.

      Delete
    2. 4:15 am, yes, absolutely, if ever there was a sham/conspiracy, it's DW's trajectory to gold, and yet in 2012-2013 it was clear this conspiracy had ramped up, gone international, and everybody in the sport in every corner had been brought on board. This was concerted, overt. It's not some unconscious Emperor's New Clothes. It was consciously done. Nobody's cracked. They're all still inside the sport and apparently believe staying inside the sport depends upon cooperating with shady shit like this.

      If one considers the incentives NOT to blow up Scott and Tessa's situation on the internet, it's pretty easy to see how it can happen. Just pretend they're not married. Just ignore shit that's right under our nose. Don't acknowledge. As with DW, not acknowledging is the key to the whole thing.

      The stupidity and lack of plausibility in the sham is fun to mock, but it doesn't threaten them in the least. I don't believe they're shamming to convince anybody or conceal her pregnancy. They're shamming to stay in the spotlight and keep people's attention, including the people who know/suspect they're shamming (which at this point is far more people on the internet than currently admit it).

      Delete
    3. 4:15
      Brilliant comparison between the sham of DW as icedance champions and VM as platonic friends. I had never thought about it in these terms. It helps put into perspective how it's been possible for Tessa and Scott to hide in plain sight all these years.

      Delete
  11. And let's not forget Skate Canada and the Chan factor....

    ReplyDelete
  12. https://twitter.com/tessavirtue/status/497058974991384576/photo/1

    Everyone, don't forget that Tessa is eating lots of chocolate these days!

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    Replies
    1. rme. lindt is tessa and scott's SPONSOR who were at the event giving out chocolate (like they did at SOI) so ofc she's going to be talking about them its her JOB.

      Delete
    2. The irony never stops with these people. Kaitlyn Lawes retweets an Anastasia Bucsis video with the exhortation "Live with passion and be authentic." This is a retweet from Miss Sham Virtue Moir 2014. It's all just sloganeering to them (not necessarily Bucsis, but Lawe's retweet is garbage under the circumstances, and considering what we know she's gearing up to tweet).

      Delete
    3. Lindt and pbchocolatemilk (a Kaitlyn Lawes sponsor) are hardly the only offenders, but the way twitter has become a platform for incessant sponsor shout-outs is exhausting/grating, IMO. Few were as ridiculous with it as Meryl Charlie and Kelloggs, in part because the way they had to work in their cereal/bar shout outs became ridiculously contrived. But in general, I wonder how effective it is to constantly blast twitter followers with mini-commercials, or if it's actually alienating.

      Delete
    4. For myself, twitter mini-commercials are alienating. I love Tessa Virtue but a twitter plug for Lindt chocolate makes me roll my eyes. It does not inspire a single desire to go buy chocolate.

      Delete
    5. Me neither. Twitter at least masquerades as direct interaction, so it's off-putting to have celebs use it to push product/hashtags. EVERYBODY is overkill - the deal must involve a "x" number of tweets but to me it looks set up to backfire. After a short period of time you never want to see the brand name again. I still feel snakebit around Kelloggs and if I ever had Lindt, which I don't, I'm sure it would be the same.

      BTW, scrolling through Kaitlyn Lawes' twitter to see how often the ex showed up in her tweets I came upon this https://twitter.com/LKLawes/media which appears to show she's had the heart pendant since long before this sham was launched. So "phew" to that.

      Delete
    6. ^^FWIW, DJ posted a photo of him and KL as his profile pic on FB on 16 June - he changed it the same day though. Still, that's only 7 weeks ago.

      Delete
    7. Thanks for that necklace link OC. Here's a link to just a picture of KL with the necklace (in 2013). http://oi60.tinypic.com/15yz1bq.jpg

      I wouldn't be surprised if these people did think they were going to pass this off as the usual Scott-symbol. I'm not buying that Kaitlyn was never before in the habit of wearing something like this but now all of a sudden she decides she must wear it all the time? Really? Yeah right.

      Now this has been seen, I guess Scott will have to plunk down the money for a "real" sham necklace. It does have to be a key necklace, otherwise how will we know for sure it's to represent his undying love? hahahahaha

      Delete
    8. anon @ 2:34PM
      I noticed that as well back when it happened and was curious what was going on there. Don't know if he's been involved in the shamming realm long enough to make it on purpose or an oops. Definitely made me speculate they were in fact still together though.

      "I wouldn't be surprised if these people did think they were going to pass this off as the usual Scott-symbol."
      I had the same thought that regardless if it's supposed to be from him or just an old necklace she had, it will be touted as a symbol of love from him either way... if she's had it that long, it's probably from DJ, ha.

      Delete
    9. "I noticed that as well back when it happened and was curious what was going on there. Don't know if he's been involved in the shamming realm long enough to make it on purpose or an oops. Definitely made me speculate they were in fact still together though."

      Count me in as someone else who also noticed the pictures on DJ's facebook. In fact, he posted two, not just one, with him and Lawes in that same period of time. They were both from 1-2 years ago but why post them in the first place? Yep - interesting speculations.

      Delete
    10. 9:46-1:49 - I have occasionally wondered if a part of the motivation behind joining twitter was because of the sponsors wanting more direct shout-outs from VM, instead of just appearing at events. Of course, the opportunity to sham is icing on the cake...

      Delete
    11. I don't believe there's ever such thing as an "oops" in this sham. The hide and seek is intentional. Certainly, things have surfaced on social media that make Scott and Tessa (and the sham) look worse than maybe they intended, or maybe fans caught onto how insensitive and prick-ish some of the social media games were, more than Moirville intended. Much of the time they behaved like the sort of people who made fun of some poor soul directly to their face, knowing it was all going over that poor person's head. When people started catching on that Moirville was nasty, I think THAT may have taken them aback, but they got over it. But what's on social media as far as content is never an accident.

      Ryan Semple was positioned as Tessa's love interest well prior to the reality show. Where the hell was he on the reality show with all of her chirruping about meeting a Frenchman, finding a boyfriend, not being able to be her best self in a relationship prior to Sochi, blah blah blah. Reality show is over and here he comes again. Hell, around the time of Sochi she was touting tinder. With that app, she can pick up somebody who's just a few yards away if he's interested. But now Ryan's back as if he never left.

      Delete
    12. 10:07, when Lindt asked about Scott, the same thing occurred to me. For athletes, the sponsor game is personal appearances and twitter. With Virtue and Moir, they made the personal appearances but the twitter shout outs had to come via a third party. They may have been persuaded that wasn't good enough anymore.

      Delete
    13. "But now Ryan's back as if he never left."

      Is he really? I know they threw out a tweet implying couplehood in Monaco but other than that, we're sure he's really back as Tessa's official bf?

      Delete
    14. I think the only thing "official" was the tweet, but it's become the new narrative of the fans, so most likely it will come into play. I believe there's already been a few anons "confirming" that they're back together, or that they've heard both VM are seeing others. Either way, it's pretty much accepted as fact now in the fan base as far as I've seen.

      I am surprised she waited this long to follow both of them, but everything has an agenda, so I'm sure there's some reasoning. One would think following them at exactly the same time a month after the fact, when also announcing Scott's involvement, would be a little obvious. However, they don't seem to care much for subtlety, so I really shouldn't be surprised about these things.

      Also, fwiw, it appears Jordan now has a new Twitter as well.

      Delete
    15. "...when Lindt asked about Scott, the same thing occurred to me. For athletes, the sponsor game is personal appearances and twitter. With Virtue and Moir, they made the personal appearances but the twitter shout outs had to come via a third party. They may have been persuaded that wasn't good enough anymore."

      OC, do you think that them joining Twitter was all highly "recommended" by PR/SC/whomever, or that it was suggested as more of a good idea and they decided to go for it, using it as dual purpose?
      At first I thought it was just another one of their brilliant ideas for the relational shamming, but it's obvious now (and per KL) that these are being used as a promotion platform. That makes me think it wasn't primarily directed by them in the first place, but if they have to do it, then they might as well get mileage out of it. Furthermore, how far back does this go? i.e. if they knew when they decided to launch sham gf 3.0 they were going to join and use it as such, and then found someone willing to play this game with them.

      Delete
    16. I don't know, but when I look at Lawes' tweets, it's clear she's spending most of her time on twitter plugging her sponsors. The non-plugs are just there to create the upbeat personality all sponsors want plugging their brand, give the sense that this person steering us towards pbchocolate milk is friendly, hard-working, good sense of humor, etc. etc. All the athletes/minor celebs who do heavy duty sponsor shout-outs on twitter have the same twitter personality. If you look them over, they're all sort of generic, even Tessa's. It's very difficult to work with sponsors and not be on twitter.

      Delete
  13. Its her job to mention lindt. Get over it.

    Btw..stunning tweets of herself in the white dress too. Looking thin and beautiful as ever...lol!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. according to FSU she is FAT! LOL http://www.fsuniverse.net/forum/showthread.php?88644-Best-ice-dance-team-in-history&p=4302731&viewfull=1#post4302731

      Delete
    2. She didn't look very big to me.

      https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BuYbfLyCIAAmdmE.jpg

      https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BuYZhbWCYAEK0jA.jpg

      https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BuYlMAIIcAAgNd4.jpg

      https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BuXXoCJIAAEeKR4.jpg

      Though she always seems a bit hunched and the dress wrinkles a lot.

      Delete
    3. Don't come here and tell people to get over it, 3:10. And don't troll/bait.

      Delete
    4. She doesn't look "big" but she certainly looks pregnant a la the last time she was pregnant, and that dress lines up with how she's carrying.

      Delete
    5. that fsu thread is garbage LMAO just a bunch of dw ubers getting pissed af bc some1 had the audacity to reveal that d/w's wins were corrupt LOL

      Delete
    6. ^how redundant

      Delete
    7. "and that dress lines up with how she's carrying."

      That's a great dress for her to wear because it flares out where she needs it to and is floaty. Looks comfortable. The vertical zipper line down the middle gives the illusion of streamlining. I only saw one picture of her from the side (that she herself posted-note taken), and since she's conveniently propped her leg up, you wouldn't really be able to tell anything accurately, especially since the dress bunches up a bit. Although, it still to me looks like it's not all dress under there and different than she looked in it last month.
      The wrinkles are there because she was most likely sitting for a long period of time at the match, so it's hard to judge from that... since she does seem to be showing more when she bends forwards, there may be a similar effect of hangover (don't know what else to call it?) when she sits, which may in turn cause the dress to bunch up higher above that area. But, I think of all the things that point to her being pregnant, this is far less consequential.
      Anyway, if you compare how she looked just a few days ago, that dress pretty much hides what she has going on anyways.

      Delete
    8. 4:28 The only time anyone calls Tessa fat is when trying to validate Davis White's wins. Like Evgeni Platov in this interview.

      http://www.sports.ru/others/figure-skating/157824363.html

      Translation:
      DAVIS WHITE AND AND ILINYKH KATSALAPOV HAVE THE BEST TWIZZLES

      Two-time Olympic champion Evgeny Platov evaluated the results in ice dancing team tournament in Sochi 2014.

      "I think the result was quite objective. Davis and White look in their dances as if floating above the ice, without touching it. Technique is not the only important thing. If you look at the second mark, the Americans have a lot of "tens." I like Virtue and Moir as well, but Tessa's too heavy. And it creates a certain dissonance.

      All the elements that perform Davis and White, you can not even split the partners. Their skating is perceived as a whole. Maybe the edges in the step sequences are not deep enough, but all the elements are very clean. Very good lifts.

      Who among today's dancers does the most difficult element better - the twizzles?

      - Davis / White and Lena Il'inykh / Nikita Katsalapov. If they do twizzle accurately and at their own speed, no other team can compare to them. The speed of all the others is much lower, "- quoted Platov" Sport-Express ".


      It's interesting that he described D/W's skating as if they're floating above the ice because Tarasova used the same words to describe V/M's skating in Sochi.

      Delete
    9. July:
      https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BsekWqmCAAA2rJJ.jpg

      https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BsdUK1YCIAA6ZH8.jpg

      Aug:
      https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BuYbfLyCIAAmdmE.jpg

      https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BuYlMAIIcAAgNd4.jpg

      That dress looks like it shrunk, lol.

      Delete
    10. Wow, it almost looks like a different dress.

      Delete
    11. Funny, now that she's back on the ice and in the gym, shouldn't she be losing all those extra wine and pastry pounds? (Her arms and legs look the same though, possibly even thinner).
      Oh, I know, it's just all that chocolate she was privy to yesterday...

      Delete
    12. 5:45. Don't you know Tessa has *always* struggled with her weight. Why, it's even said she gains weight every single off-season!

      There's absolutely no photograph or video evidence of this anywhere - and Tessa in the public eye since a teenager - but apparently those lies about her weight are so much easier to accept and believe than the thought she might be pregnant. As if that were some kind of great insult. But saying she's prone to getting fat - that's not insulting to an elite athlete.

      Now, I will say that photo and video evidence shows Scott would be the one to struggle in this area. Unlike Tessa, he seems to gain weight easily and every off-season. Not much, he's obviously still in great shape. There's also his family - siblings, parents, aunts and uncles - who seem to have this tendency. I personally think it's more to do with their alcohol consumption. But eh - they don't care, so who cares. They want to indulge in something that easily leads to putting on weight, that's up to them. BUT - the same cannot be said of Tessa. Girl does not seem to overindulge in alcohol nor put on extra weight every year (except when pregnant).

      Delete
    13. It's just so hard to combat the weight gain thing when she's hiding her pregnancy. Right now people on FSU are "debating" her being fat and I'm kinda cringing knowing how big she is in all the new photos being posted daily in the VM thread. I know that in some of these peabrains' small minds, they will see those pics and the mental process will go something like this. Tessa looks fat here > She really does gain weight so easily > No wonder she needed to take a break that one time > All of her struggling must make it hard for Scott to lift her > Causing all those mistakes > They really were sluggish > DW were so much lighter and better > DW truly overtook them in skating skills this quad.

      It's SO frustrating knowing it's SO not true but we can't defend it by saying "Tessa is pregnant in that photo" cause then we get labelled the cray-cray ones...

      I guess if VM don't care, why should I?

      Delete
    14. "I guess if VM don't care, why should I?"

      IKR. And yet I do become infuriated at the idiocy of the DW fans on FSU. They take every opportunity to badmouth VM. What I hate so much is the way it ends up reflecting on the skating, as if they really weren't as good as they are. The pro-DW and anti-VM narratives are very strong in figure skating fandom in general right now. I keep hoping it comes crashing down soon.

      Oh, but what is Moirville's plan to push back against this huge wave of lies about VM's skating? Nothing. But they do look to have big plans for more sham activity. Obedient little piggys to their PR set in place eons ago by what has to be the most incompetent marketing/PR team on the planet. (*Rolleyes*)

      Delete
    15. I know. I'm losing hope that VM will come back. I feel like there's something fishy in this newfound friendship with Kaitlyn. WP's new interview is talking about how they're ready to be #1 in Canada now. They are skating to classical music in the FD (rumored to be Romeo & Juliet).

      Something about it feels like it's setting the stage for "they can't come back because they just couldn't do that to their good friends WP."

      And as quickly as Slipchuk did an about face on VM staying, I think if WP win GPF, he'll change his mind just as swiftly.

      Why do VM always have to borrow from the stupidest fan narratives? Why don't they ever borrow the narrative where they change their PR, get wise to the game, and start kicking ass? :(

      Delete
    16. "Why do VM always have to borrow from the stupidest fan narratives? Why don't they ever borrow the narrative where they change their PR, get wise to the game, and start kicking ass? :("

      Because that would mean being truly and genuinely *real*?

      The idea terrifies them. Better to continue with the grotesque sham maneuverings instead of being real. Really real. Not that moronic VM-version of "really real" they scripted into a reality show.

      Delete
    17. "Now, I will say that photo and video evidence shows Scott would be the one to struggle in this area. Unlike Tessa, he seems to gain weight easily and every off-season. Not much, he's obviously still in great shape."

      Scott deliberately gains weight every off season. It's not fat -- it's muscle. He builds all summer long, and then burns it during the season. Usually by the very end of the season, he's very thin. Then he goes through it again. This was all explained in an interview with Maria Mountain once.

      When you are an athlete as elite as Tessa or Scott, every single calorie you eat all year is accounted for. Even the beers you binge on occasionally. When you only see those pictures, it looks out of control, but it isn't. It is all factored in. If these two have truly retired, then maybe things are finally different now, but I'm not sure that they have really retired.

      Delete
    18. "I'm losing hope that VM will come back. I feel like there's something fishy in this newfound friendship with Kaitlyn."

      I think they've always been friends, but I agree there's definitely something up. Not sure what... I do feel like they want to stay, but maybe they've been told they won't have support if they do. I don't know what the point is of continuing the sham if they're retiring though?

      "Why do VM always have to borrow from the stupidest fan narratives? Why don't they ever borrow the narrative where they change their PR, get wise to the game, and start kicking ass?"

      Yes. If they are going to stick around, what they did for the last Quad clearly didn't work for them, so one would think they would look into doing something different. Maybe that's what they think they're trying to do with this whole social media/"partnership" with other Olympians thing. I really can't see it changing anything, and it just drags them deeper and deeper.

      Delete
    19. Yeah, I do think the friendship with WP is legit, but I don't get why it's all of a sudden being slammed down our throats so much. Coordinating matching photographs in their own homes? Weird. I'm actually at a point where I HOPE it's sham and nothing to do with VM's skating.

      I just find it weird that this would be happening at the same time VM are indicating they are still deciding whether to come back (they need to register for Nationals sometime next month) and while WP are releasing their pre-season "ready to challenge for tops in the World" articles. I mean it just doesn't seem like the greatest time to remind everyone what great friends you are (thus making it seem like you're stealing something from your friends if you stay in).

      Delete
  14. Scott also looks big compared to how he usually is. I wonder if he's pregnant as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Scott is looking like summer Scott. He gets bigger in the shoulders, bigger in the neck (I guess his upper back gains muscle), bigger in the arms. His waist and his abs remain thin.

      Delete
    2. OC 12:27
      Which means in spite of getting bigger in some places, during the off-seasons Scott is still staying in shape. Working out and keeping himself healthy, as an athlete should.

      Tessa may have been the one to tweet about her gym-laziness and junk-food binge (lies) but it's also implied that Scott took the same month off to do nothing but eat, drink and stay out of the gym. It's hilarious really their own bodies give them away ("bigger" for different reasons and certainly still gym-rats during the summer).

      Delete
    3. 5:44 - I've also noticed that sometimes Scott stands with his posture just slightly swaybacked, making his stomach look bigger when really it's just pushed forward. Though I agree about his upper body gaining mass, per his summer normal.

      Delete
    4. I agree. Scott's body is following the same pattern it follows every summer. I think the video is still on youtube where Maria Mountain talks about this process and why they do it.

      One of the biggest giveaways that VM have not been eschewing the gym is their arms. These are two people who are as fit now as they have been every summer for years now.

      I don't know what they deal is with WP, but it's important to remember that VM go way back with Andrew as they trained together under Paul Macintosh when they were all kids and WP are hiding behind their own platonic passion narrative (albeit they keep it at a denial instead of the nasty lengths VM have gone to).

      I personally think that the odds of VM returning are pretty good. I think odds are pretty good that it'll even be for the latter part of the 14-15 season. One of their biggest tricks is to use skating to try to fool people about Tessa being pregnant. If they're back for nationals, there will be many, many idiots out there declaring that there's no way Tessa could have been pregnant and then competed at nationals so soon.

      Delete
    5. Google Skate Canada's high performance camp 2009. End of summer. There's Summer Scott. Bull necked (so big, his head looks tinier) big arms, big across the trapezoids and delts. By the season's end, waif. That's been the regimen for years and years.

      Delete
  15. A point I keep meaning to make, is that the pregnant woman pictured in the post is also purposefully arching her back to stick her abdomen out for the photo. If she were standing up straight, there would be no bump. She would simply just look "flat" from her chest down to her pants. Hmmm, where have I heard that before?
    Again, Tessa is not naturally flat. This picture was from the previous blog post comments.
    http://i792.photobucket.com/albums/yy210/DaerX/abs-2.jpg
    Now, this may have been taken before LM, so not sure if her abs rebounded in quite the same way prior to this time, but she definitely did still have the concavity to her abdomen and ab definition as recent as the start of the SOI tour. Yet, many of the pictures and video from AOI show her looking just like that girl, (and some of the others linked in the previous post), as well as how she looked last time. I can attest to the FACT that many women (most of them not elite athletes/body builders, etc), do not show until the second or sometimes third trimester. I will also argue that she actually *is* showing already.

    Furthermore, her overall movement is just slightly altered when she's pregnant. I'm not sure it's really something that can be explained... When I watch her compete or in shows, there's a certain style and way about her. Just little nuances and carriage and fluidity. Then you watch her during ATS (2010), or now, and it's different. Even though her body may not look traditionally pregnant, it is something that catches your eye when you watch her because more space is taken up than usual. And it's not just her. It's her in relation to him... the proportions deviate, whether they are facing each other, or lined up side by side. (There's also probably some subconscious awareness of how he lifts and carries her-but that feels like some sort of complicated analysis I'm too tired for, atm.) I feel it's the most noticeable when she turns. That's always when I'm sitting there playing devil's advocate or only semi paying attention, and then she twizzles or spins... all the sudden it's like, Wait, back that up! Even then you can't really "catch" it to show the difference, it's just something that's readily apparent every time. Maybe it has to do with the fact she has to maintain a certain posture to balance properly, that makes it more evident.

    Kind of an aside, but while I'm on the topic already, I might as well throw it in here. I watched the finale video from Taipei, and she's doing the same thing as in the other finale video I saw... constantly messing and fidgeting with the bottom of her shirt and actually PULLING UP the waistband of her pants at one point. (She hides in the back of the group a lot too, fwiw). This is the same girl that launched Twitter with a bikini pic a very short time ago, so why are we so self-conscious about showing a little tiny sliver of belly all the sudden?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. http://s792.photobucket.com/user/DaerX/media/abs-2.jpg.html is a screencap from them warming up for the FD in Vancouver. Definitely pre-Little Moir.

      Delete
    2. And she was obviously dramatically under her normal weight in Vancouver. Try again.

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    3. What is her "normal weight" 10:15pm? Please link. And please link to late summer 2011, late summer 2012, and late summer 2013 showing summer/fall 2010 weight and summer/fall 2014 weight, particularly her torso and hips.

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    4. Tessa has wide, straight shoulders. I bet if you measured them vis a vis her hips, they would be outside the "normal" differential variation for shoulders versus hips even in women whose shoulders are naturally wider than their hips. She also has prominent ribs, and then is dramatically slim, even hollow, past her ribs, and at her waist and abs. When she carries, as with the woman above (and that woman isn't an outlier - plenty of women carry like that, you just don't know they're pregnant if you don't know them) that hollow fills out. She becomes wide and flat. She doesn't project past her waistband and she doesn't project past her ribs until very late, but she fills out dramatically.

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  16. This is really interesting, AnonymousAugust 6, 2014 at 3:35 AM. I didn't know Schamberger did that--disgusting.
    "I believe the commentators world wide were either bribed or threatened to talk down VM and here is why :

    Hendryk Schamberger, former ice dancer and commentator for German Eurosport, is usually one of the most educated and outspoken commentators who has a great co-host who won't let him get away with PC answers.
    He always calls out flaws, even when he adores the skaters ( like Savchenko/Szolkowy ).
    When he saw Carmen for the first time he was nearly speechless and called it the most difficult program he had ever seen. He said VM were always on top of the field but with this program they have left the other teams far behind.
    He hated DW's NDDP, called them out for their lack of transitions, basic choreography, stale performance and said VM will beat them easily at worlds.
    At worlds 2013 he even argued that VM should have won the SD despite the twizzle error.
    But then he had a sudden change of mind during the FD and called DW superior and complained about VM's lack of emotion ( wtf ? ). He said they look like a computer program ( after he spent the whole season telling everybody about VM's superior artistry, connection and Scott's acting talent - things he never attributed to DW ) and that DW skate as one while VM are two individuals who just happen to skate with each other.

    After he saw DW at Skate America his first words were : " Davis and White will become Olympic champions. "
    At Skate Canada he insisted WP had surpassed VM and claimed VM only won due to reputation. He went on and on about how VM have declined and now they aren't only competing against DW anymore.

    Due to Eurosport not getting the Olympics I don't know what he had to say about that but at worlds he was back to his usual self as if the past season never happened.

    I don't believe this was a coincident. Especially because the same happened all around the world and sometimes he'd say the exact same things, word for word, as Nicky Slater.

    Just my two cents."

    It really does follow a script. I also noticed how similarly some commentators were speaking about VM with respect to DW but I wasn't sure if I was just reading too much into it. Something I also think about is the omnipresence of DW's moms. I mean, how much pressure will you feel to speak favorably of a team if you have such personal interaction with their mothers? I can imagine the moms+PR team coming up with a certain set of attributes they want to emphasize, getting someone with credibility (dancers, ice dancers, etc.) to say they possess those attributes, and then having the moms repeat these things to everyone. And if the moms are schmoozing with officials, commentators, and other skaters and are constantly putting out that script, even if in subtle ways, when it comes time to speak about DW or judge them, the right associations have been made. They want to say or think nice things about DW's skating and they have been instructed on how to do that.

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  17. I can't remember which event it was at, but the Bristish Eurosport guys also said, point blank, that DW would be Olympic Champions.

    The thing about putting DW on top is that it wasn't just your run-of-the-mill figure skating and ice dance corruption. In the past, if a team was held up, it was usually a one-night only thing, it was usually a team that legitimately earned a spot on the podium, albeit not as high as the one they were gifted, or near the podium, and the OGM was sacred.

    It was tough living it in real time, but it's even more chilling to go back and look at things again.

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    1. Nicky Slater's commentary has always been inane, but last season, he was insufferable. It was all about costuming, magic, acting, breathing, and other non-skated bullshit. He went so far to compare Charlie White to a "ballet guy".

      Kurt Browning and co. were no better...these people have zero credibility after last season and the shameful run-up to last season.

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    2. What annoys me even more is the lengths some of these people went to to discredit Grishuk&Platov, who, yes, were overmarked at times, but who were an amazing team. And then they praise DW to the skies?

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    3. 5:35 AM - what has become clear is that it's only okay to critique Russian skaters. The entire international skating community piles on if there's anything debatable in a Russian win. Europe, Asia, North America. It's a farce. It's a charade. These people know skating. This is the role Russia has been assigned. It appears to me that when, once in awhile, a "questionable" Russian victory occurs, the skating world gets to pretend it gives a fuck about corruption. Everybody makes a big show of it, and then the corruption in the rest of the sport goes unchallenged. It's a charade, the whole thing. I'm sure Russia knows it as well. Russia never seems too fussed when this happens.

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    4. Browning and his spouse showed their ass not just last season, but during DWTs. His wife is a ballerina, and she's on twitter promoting bastardized ballroom bullshit because it's Meryl.

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    5. ^ one thing i've learned from watching tv shows like sytycd is that most ballerinas know jackshit about ballroom. they're two completely different dance styles.

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    6. but oc havent you heard! d/w are going to save FS in the US! since interest has been waning for years apparently.

      also isn't kurt going to be in like one of the disson shows? that like abc is airing?

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    7. I must not have heard that d/w are going to save FS in the U.S. I was distracted by reports of huge sections of unsold seats when they toured with SOI.

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  18. Tessa can't gain any weight because she is olympic super athlete.OK gain weight = pregnancy. LOL I like these blog.

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  19. "The real problem was that DW were being given astronomical scores--scores higher than what VM were earning--when they were skating nowhere near that level because they weren't really skating at all. No matter how well or not well VM skated on a particular day or whether or not VM were even present at the same competition as DW, we can see from what DW did on the ice that they should not have been earning all of these level 3's and 4's and getting 10's for PCS. They shouldn't even be getting 7's (or even 6's or 5's in some cases). "

    Absolutely. DW, while good, are nowhere near PB, or even IK or BS. All of those teams have good edges, which can't be said for DW. They are also better dancers (in the case of PB and BS, much much better dancers). DW are the only top team that has to hop so much to gain or keep their speed. I am not sure if anyone has done this yet, but it would be nice to see a video of just the hops and jumps--it might highlight how much they rely on these things. And there are so many times when Meryl just looks like dead weight, not only in the lifts but in other places in the program. You can tell she is not carrying her own weight as soon as she gets out of simpler positions.

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    1. They leap a lot, wide step, and do a TON of pushing - Charlie will PUSH Meryl or yank her into a glide and then he'll generally scurry after her. Meryl does a ton of rocking her torso up and down. If you look at Schez a ton of it is just pulling the other person past them and sending them across the ice.

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    2. I don't understand how in one breath you (5:47) can say DW are "good" but then go on to list some bad things about their skating.

      DW completely learned, or better said, were taught by Igor and Marina, to camouflage the mountain of deficiencies in their skating. OC and others here have shown how their focus on going as fast as they could, rushing through all their elements, tricked the eye to think something was happening when in fact nothing was happening at all. Even good junior ice dancers have better lift-technique, lines, edges, core strength, musicality (and etc, etc, etc) than DW.

      To be fair, I also used to think DW were very good skaters, just not as good as VM. I think a lot of what happens is the commentators say it's all good and wonderful, the judges give the huge scores, and so as a spectator I (many fans/the public) only saw the fast skating--surely that means *good skating*, right?. Once OC and other places on the internet started breaking down DW's skating, looking closely at the rulebook, wow, I felt so defrauded.

      For a long while I kept looking for surely something "great" in DW's skating that merited some of the adulation? And my answer is no. The more I look the worse it is. And the more and more angry I am at what went down from the moment DW came into the senior ranks. This is a figure-skating hoax of unequaled proportions in the history of this sport.

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    3. 7:23 - back when the blog started I took for granted that DW were legitimately number 2, even though on some level I was aware there was something different about them compared to the other teams. I did notice that they didn't have close hold, that when one compared the lifts in Phantom to the lifts in Mahler, the Phantom lifts were two-footed and had many more points of assist/contact, particularly when exiting and entering the lift. In Bollywood I noticed they skated it far apart, side by side, or front to back, but not in any sort of close hold or close bladework. That noted, I figured they probably had good skating skills.

      It was only after 2012, I believe that I started wondering how they'd actually grown from 2009. Their scores had grown, but I wasn't clear how their skating had grown. They were doing the elements the same way, same twizzles, same sort of lifts. The blog started asking how come their scores were growing and growing while their skating was in the same place it was when they had been getting lower scores. And how were they able to remain competitive with, let alone surpass, Virtue and Moir while skating a la 2009 while Virtue and Moir had been ahead of them in 2009 and had acquired tons more speed, power and complexity since then. That was the first question. How did a stand still team manage to grow its scores and pass a team that began as better than they were, and continued to get even better?

      I didn't expect to find no "there, there", and to me it remains absolutely PERFECT that the program with the most spectacular absence of "There" was Die Fleudermaus, the program that the skating community pretended to whine about having been robbed in 2012, the program Tarasova praised and even Paul MacIntosh praised. That program was absolute CRAP. They ran around the ice on two feet and waved to the crowd. That skating vacuum was only topped with "Giselle".

      I didn't know that I'd find this when I started actually looking at their skating. I thought I'd find a team that had been strong - albeit second best - in 2009, stagnated, and been pushed ahead. I didn't realize I'd find a team that had been pushed ahead all along, despite not doing it on the ice.

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    4. When one looks back at the corruption that pushed DW to victory, it IS chilling, but one wonders if it's not a bizarre, unpleasant sort of karma in a way.

      http://www.canoe.ca/2002GamesFigureSkatingArchive/feb13_lon-sun.html

      That links to an article called "London skaters shaken" over B&S's victory over Sale & Pelletier (prior to the OOC awarding S&P a "shut up and go away" "second" gold medal).

      Scott was only fourteen at the time, but when you read the article bear in mind this is the same guy who, eight years later, conspicuously wobbled in the twizzles at Worlds 2010, but said this is why you train, so that even when they're imperfect, they're still Level 4 (they were actually given Level 3 in that performance). This is a guy who, with a somewhat tight jaw, talked about the complexity in Chan (and by implication, his and Tessa's) figure skating. He knows damn well why B&S's skating was better than S&P's, even with Sikhaurlidze's wobble.

      I don't know if it's "karma" or chickens home to roost. For all the whinging in Canada, the ones who extracted a "second" gold from the OOC were American. The media, and the influential (if inane and idiotic) high profile American skaters like Scott Hamilton (and Canadians like Sandra Bezic).

      Then the same sort of American consortium turned around and used the exact same tactics, only this time pre-emptively, AGAINST Canadians. I don't know if VM recognize that. If they do, they certainly can't admit it, because again, only Russia is corrupt. What's gross is I don't think they even MEAN it (that only Russia is corrupt).

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    5. I do get the impression that in just about every sport, the sport itself no longer matters. It's just grist for the branding game. Everything just feeds that machine.

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    6. I've checked out DW's skating prior to DW settling on the formula that allowed the ISU to award them victories they hadn't earned on the ice. They could skate in straight lines with perfectly legit stroking and edges, and did a lot more actual skating back then. They had trouble with multi-directional skating and trouble with transitions, particularly working with each other. They couldn't do something at the same time without a balance check or re-set. You'd see segments of legit skating and then something would break at the transition. As they evolved their programs contained less and less legit skating, so that when the time came to enter an element they weren't skating into it. They were already planted into the ice or being held up by the other person.

      Let's compare them, for example, with Paul Islam (who always worked in close hold, and in and out of hold, much MUCH better than DW). Even as a new, developing team, Paul Islam would be very strong in segments, and then one of them - usually Alex - would trip or stumble, usually on a transition involving a turn or twizzle (not necessarily THE twizzles). They were so smooth the stumbles and trips really stood out. The difference is, her stumbles and trips were down to her needing to get deeper into the ice, particularly because the skating she was doing wasn't simple. There wasn't any issue coordinating herself in and out of hold with Mitch. Still, and until this past season, the impression would be "lovely, lovely lovely - doh!" "Lovely, strong, nice - oh! that's too bad."
      Alex, of course, was able to fix this not by employing "work arounds", but by developing her skating, and she and Mitch are now able to deliver a seamless program using real skating and dancing.

      If DW had been forced to remain a legit team, they'd never have gotten anywhere. They'd have been a team that were strong and stable skating a medium distance apart in straight lines and then it would be the same thing - oops. Uh oh. Too bad.

      One difference is that Alex just needed to develop her edges in certain areas, mostly because of the level of complexity/difficulty in the choreography. She did it.

      I have staked out the position that for whatever reason, Meryl can't. She can't fix those in-betweens. Something is going on with that woman. DWTS just put it in neon. What she was unable to do on DWTs and what she's unable to do in the transitions/entrances/exits on the ice are related but I don't know the underlying issue. There is one, and IMO it's somehow unfixable.

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    7. Applause to you! I love Scott, but his admiration for Sale and Pelletier have always frustrated me. Maybe he was too young, and then he did not rethink what happened in Salt Lake City. It's funny that Salé and Pelletier did not deserve to win, but began to cry. Tessa and Scott deserved to win, but kept silent. Fourteen-Scott was clearly under the influence of misguided adults.

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    8. "Fourteen-Scott was clearly under the influence of misguided adults."

      Whatever Scott's misguided influence re. Sale/Pelletier, at least he and Tessa grew into a team that never acts entitled and never offers excuses for any glitches except to say they will work harder. Bravo.

      However, they very evidently received the most horribly misguided information/advise when it comes to marketing themselves. Why could they not outgrow *that* horrific advice? But no, their shams and marketing games have remained at the infantile and clownish level, even as they have become grown-ups in all other areas.

      Now they're both going to be on twitter? Please no. I can't stand the thought of their mocking lies ramping up now on their very own accounts instead of remaining on other people's sites. Is this the new game plan? No more relying on the backdoor approach, now they themselves will dish things out?

      After that reality show I never thought VM could be any worse with their sham, but apparently I am going to be proved wrong.

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    9. "Fourteen-Scott was clearly under the influence of misguided adults."

      14? He still says that Sale/Pelletier were the clear winners, like in this pretty recent interview.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFqpX3Oa3Fk&list=UUrYc9k2D_vQr93e9Lg-fpeQ

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    10. "I don't know if it's "karma" or chickens home to roost. For all the whinging in Canada, the ones who extracted a "second" gold from the OOC were American. The media, and the influential (if inane and idiotic) high profile American skaters like Scott Hamilton (and Canadians like Sandra Bezic).

      Then the same sort of American consortium turned around and used the exact same tactics, only this time pre-emptively, AGAINST Canadians. I don't know if VM recognize that. If they do, they certainly can't admit it, because again, only Russia is corrupt. What's gross is I don't think they even MEAN it (that only Russia is corrupt)."

      This is interesting if karma does exist i hope it comes back and bites d/w in the ass HAAAAAAAARD.

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    11. If that's karma, what was done to VM the past 5 years was extremely disproportionate to Scott's sin of preferring Sale/Pelletier.

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    12. ^^ and by that i mean, i hope they are remembered as S/P are remembered, as whining their way to the top (with help from others ofc rmr that reuters article?) and as piggybacking off of v/m's successes. i hope when time passes, people will rmr and go "wow v/m were so much better how the hell did they lose to d/w? they are obviously not equal!" instead of just passively accepting d/w's win bc v/m already have a gold medal, as people are doing now.

      personally i think tessa and scott knew they were going to get screwed. scott's silence throughout the last two years in comparison to the 2011-2012 season was DEAFENING.

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    13. ^hope d/w are remembered just like s/p are remembered*** (sry should've specified)

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    14. In the case of S/P vs B/S, S/P were a very good team, but not a great team like B/S. At least S/P didn't cheat their skating like D/W, and although their programs were empty, at least their basic skating and elements were legit.

      Nothing about D/W's skating was legit. It was all cheated. They were a team that should have never even made it out of their own Nationals, with the deep talent pool that exists in the US. That's why hustling D/W over the last few season, culminating in the daylight robbery that happened in Sochi, was so brazen.

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    15. fwiw, as i canadian, i noticed that in comparison to slc, how horribly reported the sochi skating scandal was over here. it was as if the canadian media and feds and everything were trying so hard to repress those exposing the truth abt d/w. if thats not a sign of corruption at its core, i dont know what is.

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    16. 10:29 - I don't mean it was karma or chickens come home to roost for Virtue and Moir specifically. Canada made a HUGE stink about S&P but it would have been fruitless without the American media, following the charge led by Scott Hamilton and Sandra Bezic. The entire S&P second gold only happened because the OOC wanted to get mainstream American media off its back. It's not often that figure skating gets that kind of coverage. The mainstream media was following Hamilton/Bezic/NBC, and supplementing it with quotes from the Canadian Fed, and, as usual, none of the coverage dealt directly with the skating, because, then as now, nobody covering skating knows anything about it, not what's on the ice, nor how it's meant to be scored.

      My feelings about it were that, as in 2001 Worlds, it had been widely understood that as long as they were clean, S&P were going to win gold in Salt Lake. Although everybody pretended it was merit, the "fix" was as in with them as it was later with D/W. Then it didn't happen and I think that's why the uproar, really. That was the subtext. "We had a deal!!!!"

      Anyhow, the main point is the American media got it done for S&P. They seized control of the story and railroaded the second gold. Then the exact same tactics were applied AGAINST a Canadian team, in favor of an American team.

      It's not a perfect chickens-come-home-to-roost; I'm just saying the American media giveth to Canada, and the American media taketh away.

      Of course, in Sochi, Skate Canada was helping the American Media take it away. And helped out at its nationals.

      I, also, think VM thought they were getting screwed, but possibly hoped against hope that they'd outskate DW so resoundingly they'd have to win. And they did, and still weren't allowed to win. When I step back and look at the feedback along the way, I also wonder if VM didn't decide to take the criticism as a challenge or as the ISU putting them through hoops, and that if they met every challenge and jumped through every hoop, when it counted, they'd get what they deserved. Didn't work out that way, but that could account for why they went back and tried to tweak Seasons despite its brilliance at the GPF. They were getting their chains jerked by the ISU, trying to take it as on the level and do what the ISU wanted so as to get the gold in the end.

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    17. i also find it interesting that people (such as canadians) are so keen to go about how slc was rigged or how bourne and kraatz were robbed yadda yadda yadda but are so silent when it comes to tessa and scott. why? is it because v/m didn't lose to ~EVILLE~ russians?

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    18. ^Actually, it's closer to the truth to say "play the ISU's game", not "do what the ISU wanted." Just go along with the power tripping and the narrative, pretend it's legit, and after doing so, get what they deserved when it counted. I think by the GPF it was pretty clear that wasn't going to happen, but it's difficult to go into an Olympics knowing that, so it's possible VM just tried to believe ISU was playing the game down to the wire.

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    19. Biggest eyeroll ever to Bourne and Kraatz were robbed.

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    20. "Biggest eyeroll ever to Bourne and Kraatz were robbed."

      Absolutely. They are pleasant-to-look-at skaters and they didn't engage in the OTT abstract crap that was popular in their day, but they were definitely not at the highest elite level. They were overmarked at times and IMO deserved NOT to be on the Olympic podium. That time, the ISU got it right. I would argue they didn't deserve 4th or 5th either. But I'll let bygones be bygones.

      VM is a different situation altogether. The best, most deserving ice dance team ever in the history of the sport got screwed. In their case it was nothing to do with subjective likes or dislikes. They're the best, period.

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    21. " They are pleasant-to-look-at skaters and they didn't engage in the OTT abstract crap that was popular in their day, but they were definitely not at the highest elite level."

      Until they needed it to win, which was galling in and of itself. They literally said in the 90s that "the Russians" (meaning G&P and K&O, two of the teams with the greatest technique of all time) were just histrionics and hand waving. What B&K presented as an FD in 2003 was like a bad parody of Russian ice dancing with hydroblading thrown in. The "World Skating Federation" led by Dick Button with help from Drobiazko & Vanagas (who somehow were honorary Canadians despite her being Russian, forgiving their many technical flaws) in conjunction with that SkateFAIR group run by some of the current FSUers, was literally protesting outside the arena the night of the FD. Politically, there was no way B&K were losing that World title. Too bad it was not V&M who became the first World champions for NA. Unlike B&K, their skating actually stands up to the great Russian ice dance tradition.

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    22. Well, Drobiazko is Russian, but Vanagas is Lithuanian and they represented Lithuania...maybe that made a difference. D&V were also made out to be victims of bad judging but she had some real deficiencies in her technique. I think teams like Denkova/Staviski and Delobel/Schoenfelder were the real victims of bad judging.

      The coverage of Nagano and then SLC was terrible here. Neither BK nor SP deserved to be beating the Russian teams ahead of them and I wish more commentators and skaters in Canada and the US would have educated the skating audience as to why that was, especially given that the teams winning, GP, KO, and BS, are some of the greatest skaters of all time. And I was actually a big fan of both BK and SP; doesn't mean I didn't see the flaws in their skating or programs or how they measured up to other teams. It is infuriating to think that the Canadian media and skating personalities went out of their way to push this 'the Canadians were robbed!' stuff in those cases in which superior skating is what actually won out, and now, when a Canadian team is legitimately robbed, they are falling all over themselves to justify the result and shoo away any criticism of it. They were very dismissive of the L'Equipe article on CBC, and were showering DW with undeserved compliments while calling out other skaters (so it wasn't just some 'Canadians being polite' thing). For instance, Kurt said that when you take on a ballet you have to show those balletic qualities and Elena didn't cut it for him (he specifically cited her arm movements). For those who don't know, Kurt's wife is a principal dancer for a major Canadian ballet company, so he is definitely very familiar with ballet. Well Ilinykh is a fucking Pavlova compared to Davis. If he is going to look critically at IK's program (which he should), how can he just gloss over the many GLARING deficiencies in DW's programs and overall skating? DW took on a ballet--that is, they didn't only take on the music but they attempted to show actual balletic movement and failed. This needs to be discussed by people within the ice dance world. As a longtime fan of ballet it made me sad to hear people describing Meryl and Charlie as ballet dancers. It showed a lack of appreciation for what real ballet dancers do. It takes extensive training and a natural gift to be able to do what they do and to pretend that DW came anywhere close to doing that is, quite frankly, insulting.
      One of the VM fans (i think it was mchenning or something like that?) did a great post where they broke down some ballet technique and positions and called Meryl out for her failure to actually bring anything close to that technique to the ice (of course, this fan was subsequently jumped on).

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    23. That is just so depressing. And it's one of those things where, again, if you take DW out of it completely, some of the judging/commentary does make sense. There were truly a lot of technical critiques that could be made about IK's FD - how open it was, how far apart they skated - but the SAME THINGS were present in DW's FD, PLUS their edges suck while IK's were great.

      I remember the Team SD commentary on NBCSN being very glaring. Weir and Lipinski were in rare form. Everything was a big joke. It was all about how much they liked the music and how pretty the dresses were. No technical comments. Suddenly Bobrova Soloviev took to the ice and they were all knowledgeable about technique. They called out (rightfully), the diamond shape that BS make when skating in hold, and how they generate speed by frantic movement and very little holds or transitions. All true. But suddenly all that knowledge went out the window again when it was DW's turn to skate. Of course, with VM, they had the twizzle mistake to harp on (to his credit, Weir raved about VM in the individual event, and even said they were robbed in the SD - but he didn't go nearly far enough nor call out DW's bad technique).

      I remember reading one of those "figure skating mystery" books by Alina Adams. Now, it was clearly a fictional book, but Adams has worked as a producer for ABC, NBC, and ESPN skating coverage, so she knows the deal. And she had these two characters, figure skating commentators, that I thought were plays on Dick Button & Peggy Fleming. There was a Russian skater on the ice and she described how when the mics were off, the commentators talked about how she truly had the best edges and skating technique in the competition, but as soon as they went on air, they trashed her in every respect. I never doubted that Adams was drawing on real life examples in that scene, although I couldn't figure out if that was supposed to be Slutskaya or Butyrskaya.

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    24. the reason Canadian skating and its connections are dismissing the idea that Sochi was corrupt is they outright helped facilitate the corruption. That became obvious at their own Nationals. They actively supported DW's gold. Slipchuk went AWOl after GPF. He knew what was up.

      The ISU is an organization that is actually people. It's not a bunch of computers. It's people who have jobs/positions. Same with all of the Feds. Nobody magically, independently of everyone else, decided DW deserved gold. DW so blatantly DON'T do it, there was no way all of these educated officials, judges, skaters, etc. were seduced or persuaded into believing DW deserved the scores on merit. David Dore is VP of the ISU; he's a figure skater, this could not have happened without him orchestrating it. It could not have happened without Skate Canada's cooperation, so who are we talking about? Benoit Lavoie for sure, and then everyone under him who didn't just keep their mouths shut, but actively worked to undermine VM at Skate Canada.

      The people who got this done have NAMES. Logic tells us who those names are, unless we think there are mystery people who did this for four years without Skate Canada and David Dore and others noticing and objecting. Of course Skate Canada didn't object, look at how they treated Virtue and Moir at Canadians. They HELPED. With those scores, with their insistence that we respect Davis White and shut up, with their restatements of faith in the judging and the scoring, and their silence after Virtue Moir were outright robbed. I suspect the ISU kept fucking with Virtue and Moir each season (oops, not that lift, nope, change this, oh looky here, you didn't get the level) in hopes they'd be distracted, frustrated and unsettled the entire season and make mistakes, particularly considering the level of difficulty in their programs. And they also wanted them to take out the showcase moves that, on eye appeal alone, persuade the media and casual fans that VM are the best.

      Mistakes should never cause them to lose to DW, but that would persuade the media and casual viewers that things were legit.

      Anyway, I do not hesitate to say that David Dore, Benoit Lavoie are major players in the corruption and everybody fell in line. The evidence on the ice points to it. We have to believe they were all blind for four years in order to let them off the hook. It's definitely not a bunch of random judges swapping favors for four years. The narrative was systemic throughout the sport, from the comment booth to the Federations' web pages to the rationales recited by other coaches and skaters.

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    25. 12:45 - I don't think you can expect commentators to ever criticize skaters from their country, no matter what they think privately they are expected to support the home team. Of course the Canadian commentators never got the memo, of all the different braodcast teams they're the only ones who had very little good to say about "their" skaters' performances (listening to Kurt in Sochi, you got the idea we should cheer for V/M because they're cool Canadians who did great in Vancouver, not because they're actually skating great NOW).

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    26. "I remember reading one of those "figure skating mystery" books by Alina Adams. Now, it was clearly a fictional book, but Adams has worked as a producer for ABC, NBC, and ESPN skating coverage, so she knows the deal. And she had these two characters, figure skating commentators, that I thought were plays on Dick Button & Peggy Fleming. There was a Russian skater on the ice and she described how when the mics were off, the commentators talked about how she truly had the best edges and skating technique in the competition, but as soon as they went on air, they trashed her in every respect."

      12:45, thanks for that. Figure skating is a racket. The fans are dupes.

      If I were to guess, they meant Slute. She had wonderful edges - lots of power and flow. Not much run-out on her combination jumps, but a fabulous spiral as far as the run of blade.

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    27. 1:20PM, but you wouldn't expect figure skating commentators from around the world to fall all over inferior skaters from someone else's country at the expense of the best skaters in the world from someone else's country. This is what we got. International sports commentators falling over Davis White, who weren't even from their country.

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    28. 10:20 AM - except he didn't state it as a fact that s/p deserved to win that they had the best performance, he stated it as an opinion.

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    29. 12:45 PM btw i dnt recall johnny saying v/m were robbed in the sd. i do recall however, that he said they should've scored 80 points

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    30. I think it might have been before the FD warmup. He said they didn't get as much as they deserved. He couldn't be explicit of course. Terry Gannon kept hinting at Kokko's tweets. I got the sense he wanted to talk about the controversy. I think he knows ice dance a lot better than he lets on. He kind of scoffed at DW's "perfect scores" at Nationals and he once said that the first ice dance he ever saw was a pro routine by TD, and he quickly realized not all ice dance was like that.

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    31. 12:31, figure skating is the only sport that comes to mind where, in the promotion of figure skating, everyone in the sport works proactively to discourage fans from understanding the sport. What technical stuff that does get discussed is mashed up with fallacies, so as with every single thing in this sport, the only "information" the fans every get is bastardized, apparently intentionally. And even the bastardized info is situational. It applies to "this" team but doesn't matter for "that" skater. It's inconsistent and hypocritical. God is it hypocritical about what should matter or not matter in a given competition, and even though "experts" go back and forth about what should matter, half of THAT stuff is irrelevant and nowhere in the rulebook.

      I, too, suspect Terry Gannon knows more than he lets on. About the actual skating. He didn't used to, but he's been covering it a long time and at times it appears as if some stuff has actually penetrated and he can actually see.

      There's a visitor to the comments section that has "explained" that figure skating doesn't WANT to be any more popular. I was just about to say something about how the way figure skating promotes itself and screws with fans isn't the way to regrow its popularity, but I remembered how this participant always said that's not really what figure skating wants - it just pretends. That makes sense. Certainly every single move figure skating makes ensures it will remain a niche enterprise.

      Personally, I get sick and tired of fans being blamed for every fucking thing. Fans are figure skating's excuse for figure skating's own preoccupations. This blog is ground zero for probably one of the biggest pieces of "personal life" information there is, and what are fans falling over themselves trying to talk about? Skating. The sport. What's actually going on on the ice. Of course the blog talks a lot about the sham, personalities, etc., but as I said in another comment, that's the stuff that the sport and Scott and Tessa shovel out by the bucketload, pretending it's what fans want, and pretending it's the only thing that interests fans about figure skating, when the reality is fans are deliberately starved of real information about the skating. The sport is a big circle jerk and we're the eternal scapegoat. People like P.J. Kwong make me tired. She only wants to talk about skating when fans are interested in other stuff - as soon as fans want to talk about skating she runs away or tries to shut it down, or tells fans they can find skating information in a piece of insulting self-dealing patronizing fantasy like "Tessa and Scott."

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    32. While we all know that David Dore, Benoit Lavoie, Shawn Rettstatt and a much larger cast of characters colluded to get Davis and White a gold they didn't earn, when I look at the mindset inside figure skating and the entitlement and resentment that often creates a toxic personality cocktail among its participants, I think about the possibility of bribery. And I think if bribery did go down, it wasn't "Make sure these kids win." but " make sure these kids aren't cheated out of what they've earned by paying dues, working hard, kissing ass, being good soldiers, investing hundreds and thousands of dollars into the sport, and being inoffensive in interviews and personal appearances" (although as Sochi got closer, Davis White got very wobbly on that last one, what with "Detroit grit" and calling discrimination against gays a "political" issue). There is a LOT of we've earned it because we put in the time in figure skating. And I guess, because we put in the money.

      You know, one thing. The Shibs have put in a ton of money into the sport as well, and they also got royally fucked over this past quad, after 2010-2011. I wonder if their parents just put in the money without believing that the money entitles them to throw their weight around and express their expectations.

      Anyway, if bribery was involved, I picture it being presented that way. Let's make sure mere superior skating doesn't rob our kids of what they've earned. I tend to think, though, it was more a combination of "Play ball or pay the consequences" for most people at the level of judging and skating media (people in the comment booth) and political favor trading and quid pro quo on a Federation/official/ISU level.

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    33. "You know, one thing. The Shibs have put in a ton of money into the sport as well, and they also got royally fucked over this past quad, after 2010-2011. I wonder if their parents just put in the money without believing that the money entitles them to throw their weight around and express their expectations."

      I've been thinking a lot about wealth and the role it may or may not play in ice dance results. I'm not talking a situation like the Virtue family where every penny spent to develop VM's talent was worth it an infinite amount of times over. I'm thinking about some of these situations where you have an average or mediocre skater who comes from an insanely wealthy family, but seems to be getting hyped and pushed beyond what they're really doing on the ice or will ever be capable of doing on the ice. With rare exceptions, elite skaters do come from families where the means are there to be able to come up with the money to stay in and keep skating. It's a privilege in that not everyone has the means to make it work, even if it's a struggle at times to make it work. Still, within skating, there is a sort of class distinction with the haves and the have nots. I'm thinking the kids that skate, still drive a super fancy car, still wear designer clothes, still go on a fancy expensive two week vacation every year compared to the ones driving the beat up old family car, shopping the sale racks, and not taking off the Caribbean or some exotic location every year. These are the ones with Davis and White or Piper Gilles-esqe backgrounds but who lack the talent and skill of other teams. These teams seem to be getting a lot of attention.

      Then, you have some teams, The Shibs being a perfect example, who also come from wealth, but like you said, their parents don't seem to think that putting in the money entitles them to be able to throw their weight around and express expectations.

      I'm still ruminating on my thoughts, so my ideas are quite fully formed yet.

      All of the families at elite level are putting in the money and the skaters putting in the time, but there seems to be this one subset where there seems to an effort to play the time and money card to push a skater or team to the top because talent alone isn't going to get them there. It succeeded with DW and I fear it's going to succeed with other teams too.

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    34. We've all seen that many skater families/parents are plastered all over their adult "child's" careers. Not just behind the scenes lending support, but in the spotlight. The Moirs, Charlie White's mom, etc. Even when the parents aren't as visible, they pop up in moment's of duress (such as Dylan Moscovitch's mom lamenting the "premature" ending of MTM on facebook and a friend of Moore-Towers bitch biting her back).

      I could have missed it, but I've never seen the Shibs' parents. I think he's tweeted a photo of his grandma. He's mentioned his parents, such as when they were touring a museum with him and Maia. His parents don't seem to be putting themselves out there, basking in the success of their kids. Charlie has said that his and Meryl's parents (moms, actually) go to all the international competitions and how it's a reward of sorts for all they've put in. So it's not "we're going to lend support" but we're going to enjoy see our kids be "famous" and bask in the scene. But again, I don't hear or see the Shibs parents, and the Shibs are all over social media, and manage to convey that they come from a supportive, loving family, with the occasional tweets of childhood photos, etc. It's really a marked contrast.

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    35. Piper Gilles certainly got hyped beyond belief. Sure, she was paired with what many fans believe is Skate Canada's teacher's pet, Paul Poirier, but it was overkill. She got express tracked to Canadian citizenship after whining her head off, and when she and Paul failed to qualify for the team, turned around and paraded her love for her new country by boycotting the opening ceremonies and rooting on the American ice dance team. It was a fabulous display, and I'm sure won't deter Skate Canada from kissing her ass in the coming season one bit, and from Paul and Piper getting inflated scores internationally as well.

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    36. And come to think of it, did the "moms" (White's and Davis's) also take themselves to L.A. and watch every single DWTS? It appears they wanted the perks as much for themselves as anything else. I recall some fluff feature (perhaps a moms commercial) where one of Davis or White's moms was recalling a competition in Lake Placid, and how she got so excited because that's where the Olympics had been held. I could see these people getting to where it's "I want to see my kids on top of the Olympic podium getting the gold medal!" You know, I've put in the time, I deserve that thrill/experience.

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    37. I don't think we have ever seen Mr. and Mrs. Shibutani. At the very least, I have no clue what they look like. Despite not knowing what they look like, it's obvious that they've raised an amazing set of kids and that's all I really need to know.

      I'm not looking forward to inflated marks for GP this fall, especially since I fear that it'll be accompanied by a couple of far better teams likely being underscored because they're both the odd man out with their respective skating federations.

      While on a quest to locate something else awhile back, I came across a document with ideas on stories that could be done about US skaters last season. http://www.usfsa.org/content/2013-14%20season%20story%20ideas.pdf

      Page 11 is the one of interest.

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    38. Oh, thank you for that, 9:50! Fascinating on so many levels. It exposes a lot about USFS politics.

      Look at how long Gracie Gold's bio is even though there's nothing of substance there. Her only title is a US junior title but they list several more minor accomplishments, and even a long of hobbies. She juggles - quite well! It's almost a non sequitur that it goes on to say "sponsored by Nike and Pandora" (I guess it's more understandable once you see a photo of her).

      Then look at Mirai Nagasu's: a US champion and Olympian. One sentence! No list of her other accomplishment and GP medals. No narrative that she was the second youngest US champion in history, struggled the next season, and got back on the team just in time for the Olympics in 2010.

      A quick look on wikipedia tells me that she is a first-generation American, her mom suffered from cancer, and that she speaks Japanese. Similar factoids were mentioned about many other skaters.

      It's very clear from that document that Nagasu was never making that Olympic team.

      On to the men. Love the long list of hetero-credentials for Max Aaron (at least they did mention Weir's husband).

      Love Evan Lysacek's bio. Basically the entire thing is a list of made up credentials, including his OGM. That bio is a master class in how to seem important, because you got a bunch of distinctions SAYING how important and charitable and talented and intelligent you are, without displaying those qualities. Ms. Davis is following this example closely. I can't imagine how bloated DW's bios would be if God forbid they stayed for 2018. Well, at least Lysacek's second place on DWTS and a few of his US national medals were earned.

      Look at Zhang/Bartholomay's bio. 2013 US bronze medalists. That's it! The entire thing! Apparently neither of these kids has any education, history, parentage, previous partnerships or single careers, has never had an injury, hardship or any other competition result! They must have been hatched from a pod in January 2013, won a bronze medal at the US Nationals, and immediately went into hibernation until the next nationals.

      Compare that to the long blather of Denney/Coughlin's bio (which of course, as US champions, I would expect to be longer), and it's clear who was supposed to be on the team! Oh, I'm so happy Z/B got to go by the skin of their teeth. If USFS hadn't already used the "body of work" stuff on Wagner I'm sure D/C would have been given the Olympic spot.

      The D/W stuff, OMG, too funny! The MOMs get their own paragraph. No idea why on earth Meryl's living arrangements and condo merited such long entries. And of course, the dyslexia. Talk about trying hard to make it seem like you've overcome an obstacle, even though everything preceding it might as well have said "rich rich rich rich rich."

      And since this is for the media covering the games, of course no mention of Charlie's longtime girlfriend Tanith or Meryl's "boyfriend" Fedor. I caught that it said she "plans to" minor in Italian. I thought DW fans had insisted for years she majors in it and is already fluent, haha.

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    39. 8:13 and 9:50 - THANKS, 9:50, for this document. I've just started reading it and came back over here to say, motherfucker, Mirai Nagasu was never making that team. They embellish and hype up everyone else's credentials; she's dismissed with one terse sentence.

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  20. Tessa admitted that they are committing a crime with Scott;) He will join twitter soon.

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    1. #partnerincrime may be one of the most accurate descriptions of this situation.
      I bet she's just the warm-up act. Let the ridiculous shamming commence!
      #lookout, is right...

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  21. Here we go!
    www.twitter.com/tessavirtue

    She also conveniently (finally) started following both KLawes and Ryan *in succession* when she got on to post this, for anyone who had any doubts about the purpose of them on Twitter before now.

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    Replies
    1. #partnerincrime may be one of the most accurate descriptions of this situation.
      I bet she's just the warm-up act. Let the ridiculous shamming commence!
      #lookout is right...

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    2. Thats cute I wish theyll send hearts each other & post selfies in their beds

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  22. Is anyone else finding those polls on FSU hilarious? I mean, these DW fans aren't even trying to hide their crazy (I feel bad for the reasonable ones on that board). I think VM fans should just leave that thread alone and allow these DW fans to further demonstrate how shitty they really are. I think I only realized how fucked up they were when they bashed Amy Purdy for her disability.

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    1. I agree with you. This is a case where the VM fans could just leave them alone and let them hang themselves with their crazy stupidity.

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    2. They constantly, constantly point fingers. They can never make the case for their own favorite.

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    3. "I agree with you. This is a case where the VM fans could just leave them alone and let them hang themselves with their crazy stupidity."

      ^^This.

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    4. Most VM fans left that board a long time ago. That should be fairly obvious.

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    5. "They constantly, constantly point fingers. They can never make the case for their own favorite."

      Totally. But what irks the most is when non-DW ubers life VIETgrlTerifa and BlueRidge post about how crazy and aggressive VM ubers are (maybe because it's the cool thing to do on that board?) while staying mum about the crazy shit DW ubers pull on that board.
      If you look at the majority of VM ubers on that board, at least from what I have seen, they aren't at all crazy or aggressive, they just like to go into detail about why they love VM's skating and why they thought they should have won. Isn't that something FS message boards should encourage?

      "Most VM fans left that board a long time ago. That should be fairly obvious."

      I noticed that. A lot of the regulars no longer post there, which sucks because they used to post really interesting stuff about ice dancing and other ice dance teams too. This is what happens when the mods act like dicks and let one group, like that really hostile group of DW ubers, run the board.

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  23. ...waits impatiently for the analysis of the shoe/puzzle tweet.....

    This should be entertaining

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    1. 5:06. Oh, bug off. This is the only public place where we can rationally discuss these things. You think it's dumb, good bye. Your trolling doesn't change anyone's mind. You just reinforce the fact that you have nothing of substance with which to logically and intelligently discredit this blog so all you have are infantile bullying tactics. Why don't you go create your own place where you can post idiotic posts to your heart's content.

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    2. people come here and want to talk about figure skating and corruption and stuff like the discussion that happened above. not trivial shit like shoes.

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    3. Gotta love the people who detest this blog yet follow it so passionately and even bother to post here.
      Either they're masochists or lead very depressing lives with not much else going on.

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  24. From the last show, in Taipei.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeuT2gCYpn4

    I can count multiple times where she looks just like that picture displayed up top, in particular 1:40, when she arches her back in a similar fashion.
    0:44-0:45 is also very helpful, as is anytime she bends forward.

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  25. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Un0XeCHWoA

    Has Max Trankov suggested they stop shamming? Maybe not, he looks very amused by it all.

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    1. Isn't Tessa saying there that Max keeps asking if she and Scott love each other? If so, that's her way of claiming Max has no idea they're married, even though the two teams hung out together in China. Maks keeps asking us the deal!

      The deal is it's so very hard to put a label on their relationship, which is married parents. Oh wait.

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    2. I would be highly surprised if anyone on that tour doesn't know the truth, (save possibly some of the younger kids that joined for one stop), especially Mr. Close-friends-for-a-decade-spending-time-together-constantly-on-tour-Trankov.

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    3. Of course Trankov knows. But look how smoothly Tessa worked it. "Maks has been asking us!" She's an operator and a gaslighter.

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    4. This whole thing makes me so angry. Tessa knew that the fans would get excited over hearing that Max wants to know when they're getting together. Tumblr fans are now speculating over what could have possibly happened in China to make Max think they should be together. It must have been something so fantastic! Meanwhile, Tessa follows Kaitlyn Lawes and Ryan Semple on Twitter and drops the hint that Scott will soon join her there. The fans then proceed to get excited over the cuteness that is sure to come. There is no way that this ends well.

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    5. Wow, how stupid can people be? If she's just followed her "boyfriend" and his "girlfriend" the tweets are obviously not going to be filled with her flirting with Scott.

      And, just, again, LOL! Who does what they're doing? Have any other skaters signed up for twitter, and then started hinting, and then announced, that their partner would sign up "soon"? And this, after guest tweeting for the Olympian day? Don't most people, I don't know, just sign up and start tweeting?

      It's kind of like how when Scott gets a girlfriend, we first get hints by really chaste photos of them sitting together, then time goes by and we might get a little kiss, a beach photo, then groping... as if a month went by between each photo, as if they had never kissed or had sex until the relationship had been appropriately laid out for us on social media.

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    6. Considering that it's perfectly appropriate for Scott to be kissing Tessa and essentially groping each other while they're dating others, I doubt anyone would have a problem with them doing a bit of platonic flirting on Twitter.

      It's too bad that Kaitlyn isn't Quebecois. Scott can't return to the tried and true Je t'aime. It doesn't count if you say it in French. I don't think he ever managed to choke out an "I love you" to Cassandra on the show.

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    7. 8:19, I don't think that was Tessa's agenda. She was basically conscripting Maks into the lie promotion. Here's a guy who has known Scott and Tessa for over ten years, who, along with Tatiana, has been hanging out with them in China, and he's asking them if they love each other. IOW, Maks doesn't know nothing about any marriage, and wouldn't he know? It was just gaslighting about how even someone close to them knows they're not married.

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    8. What kind of person asks his friends every day if they're going to get together? It's not remotely believable but I wouldn't be surprised if Trankov did this as a joke and Tessa couldn't resist using it for her agenda.

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    9. Do they get a head up on these press questions before hand, or do you think they just knew that question was an inevitability? I know they are used to answering with lies, but Max didn't seem surprised with the lie she told about him. I know English isn't his first language, yet by involving him in that way I would think would be confusing if he wasn't alerted ahead time. Or maybe it was just a case of, hey, when we get asked THE question, this what I'm gonna say about you, ok?

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