Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Skate Talk

I’ve had the flu, which has caused a delay in following up the previous post. Even now I'm sort of dragging myself across the keyboard, but if I don't force myself to get going, I'll end up malingering straight through the Canadian Championships.

Once my eyes stopped glazing over every time I looked at the computer screen, I tried to start in on the next post, which became this post, a post I’d intended to be about Meryl Davis, or more precisely, to be about how people inside the sport talk about Meryl Davis when they, like Angelika Krylova, are interviewed. I'm stuck now thinking about how people talk about and analyze skating, skaters, competitions, and wondering how fans are supposed to look at and analyze skating and competitions in what is, IMO, a newly flagrantly oppressive system (even for figure skating, it's still newly oppressive in ways it hasn't been before), that has demonstrated itself in fine form so far this season. I think a Rubicon has been crossed.

The only one who is sort of talking about it is Richard Gauthier, Duhamel and Radford's coach, and I don't even know if he knows he's talking about it. I'll elaborate later.

I’d been stuck on that Angelika Krylova interview, the one where she claimed Virtue Moir, specifically, Tessa, got fat and lazy after Worlds 2012, while Meryl Davis, a woman with no discernible ice dance or figure skating ability, Angelika Krylova reminded us, willed herself to the top. This is Krylova’s framework for Meryl, not mine.

As always happens, Tessa immediately became the topic of debate and discussion on skating forums, while, despite Krylova’s praise, nobody really wanted to touch Meryl except when her supporters affirmed once more how they admired the ability of a woman with no talent whatsoever to persevere until she had an Olympic gold medal at home. It’s much easier to talk about fat versus muscle development, weight distribution, Scott’s knees and Virtue and Moir’s arrogance, and, of course and eternally MUSIC SELECTION AND STYLE (which is all that matters in a program) then to really get into the specifics about how a woman like Meryl, with, we must be reminded, no talent or skill, got a gold medal at the Olympics. People say they admire that she did it, and kind of leave it at that.

It's difficult to think of any other figure skater where THE key narrative element to their success arc begins by reminding us  - emphasizing -  their utter lack of talent and apparent lack of anything else to bring to the table (and there’s a world of fan insecurity in that “or anything else” because those inside the sport always imply Meryl started with nothing but sheer will). Meryl’s lack of ability appears essential to the storyline. The subtext ends up reading: “What she did was amazing for a woman who can’t skate or dance and hasn't much charisma either!”*

Well, yeah. And that’s where we are, really. That’s the story. If Meryl had been presented as an extremely talented woman, a brilliant figure skater and wonderful dancer who was number two in the world until the even more brilliant and talented number one (Tessa) got fat and lazy,
 and Meryl was able to take over, it doesn’t seem as if anybody in the sport had confidence it would sell, not to the public, not even to her own fans or the credulous media. So the narrative seems to be – “Let me remind you again – this girl had NOTHING going for her, but she kept at it anyway, and then they won! Meantime the spoiled girl who had EVERYTHING got complacent and sat around stuffing her face! Who deserves to win, huh?"

Meryl always does need a little help even with her own story. There has to be a negative Tessa story to help grease the wheels AND Meryl needs to be graded on a curve. It's always compensation when it comes to her.

And that seems to work okay, logical implications be damned. Meryl Davis – she sucked, but didn’t let that stop her!

(I don't know if it's Tessa extraordinary talent or Meryl's lack of it that makes pushing Tessa down a requirement, that if we're not told Carmen proved how lazy and fat Tessa was, we'd never believe even the ferociously willpowered Meryl Davis could ever surpass her. The narrative arc of Meryl's zealous drive to the top doesn't work unless we're simultaneously told Tessa Virtue pigged out and became a sloth. Just amazing. Selling Meryl as a legit champion - this is what it takes.)

These are the storylines we’ve got in this sport, now, Meryl’s story is at the top, and furthermore, and no matter what wonderful skating may randomly display itself, stories are all we've got. The skating part is gone. Meryl's story will always and forever demonstrate overcompensation (a woman who can't do anything has to be flipped and presented as someone who can do everything), and I think we're in for a lot of that all around. It's deadening.

I believe, and believed last year, that with what happened to Virtue and Moir at the Grand Prix Final and in Sochi, there's no going back. It's impossible for the sport to ever return to an athletic/skating skills narrative even when/if at times that narrative might be attractive to the ISU. I do see some period-of-adjustment awkwardness this season as some seasoned skating observers reverse engineer/adjust to the new order, like: "Oh wait, Papadakis and Cizeron are GOOD? How was I supposed to know – all I had to go by was the skating. Why didn't you tell me before I submitted my competition preview!"

Before, the sport was corrupt but I don’t think the corruption was “officially” institutionalized. With Virtue and Moir, that happened. It was an unprecedented step across the line and there’s no going back without official acknowledgement it was done, and that will never ever happen. We'll continue to get dumb fuck agenda’d analysis like Krylova’s*, and I believe what happened to Virtue and Moir has had, and will continue to have, an incredibly oppressive effect on those who participate in skating and those who are fans of figure skating. Bottom line, I think what happened to Virtue and Moir had the effect of making skaters and those few knowledgeable fans who exist KNOW they’re powerless. The one power skaters did have was the belief that if they listened to feedback and looked at the protocol sheet and adjusted their skating in response, they could alter their results. If they now know this is a charade, that the exercise is futile before it’s even undertaken, where does that leave the skaters, where does that leave the public?


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*As I said before, my suspicion is this was a desperation, kiss ass ploy, because she's fearful Weaver & Poje are slated to be Cappellini'd and Lanotte'd next season.

330 comments:

  1. Interesting post OC. I agree that the Krylova statement about Tessa confirmed that integrity is out the window and that she is willing to play the game. Not only does she support the ISU's judging about DW but she is basically saying that hard work and determination is more important than talent and indirectly that WP have worked very hard to get where they are.
    Long term (over the next 2 years) I can't see WP staying in the top 3 - they will get dumped inch by inch. And I think they have reached their ceiling. And with Patrick Chan coming back next year - Skate Canada's focus and political expenditure goes back to him...there are other teams that will go senior next year both in pairs and ice-dance that have more potential long-term...
    And in a way - it's interesting to see Kaitlyn Weaver being everyone's bestie on social media, including recently Tanith Belbin...gotta keep the IMG family happy...it's a bit much...again I think one of the few skaters that comes across as somehow authentic is Joannie Rochette...
    Although Canadian nationals in ice dance will be interesting - I think US nationals will be much more telling in where ice dance will be heading...in terms of Hawayek/Baker and Alredge/Eaton...
    Lastly can I just give a shout-out to Ben Agosto who provided a lovely photo on twitter with Scott and Patrick in Japan and them hanging out...taking a hip-hop class no less...its refreshing to see someone act like an adult...rather than the high school cliquish behaviour demonstrated by others....in a way I am glad that VM are doing Art on Ice - it should be a great show.....with a great cast....

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    1. It's so hard to read your posts...why don't you use sentences like a normal person...it's where you use a period to end a thought...and periods are just one dot, not three or four....unless of course you don't want your posts to be read in the first place.....

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    2. It's always all Meryl as well. Charlie may as well not exist. Nobody inside the sport dares compare Charlie and Scott to suggest Charlie deserved it more. It's always the women. The implication is Scott's brilliance was weighed down by Tessa the chocolate-stuffed human anchor. Meantime, this is Carmen we're talking about. Krylova is disgusting, and moreover, I don't think this is going to pay off. The "we work hard narrative" is something an already chosen team (such as Chock Bates) starts saying, very piously, once they already know it's in the bag. It's not a way to BECOME chosen. Weaver & Poje's results this year so far come off as strictly housekeeping that will be over and done next season, and Krylova just sold out Kaitlyn Weaver's teammate and the greatest female ice dancer ever to compete in a futile attempt to buck pre-determined narratives for next season.

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    3. I don't agree that Skate Canada's focus will go to Patrick. Skate Canada's focus will remain on the self-interest of its directors, where it has always been, and I suspect SC may have given up the ghost on Patrick. He pretty much had Sochi gold in the bag, but the choices he made running up to the Olympics derailed that pursuit. Yazuru handed it to him in the long and he couldn't deliver, and he couldn't deliver because IMO he wasn't properly prepared. He has all the talent on the planet but he's like the Michelle Kwan of men's figure skating - takes himself out of the game somehow when it comes to the Olympics.

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    4. 6:15 - this post wanted to emphasize that integrity went out the window with the suppression of VM and forcing DW to gold, and the sport simply can't say, okay, now that that's over, we'll have integrity again. It's permanently out the window until what happened in 2014 is acknowledged. We all know people play the game, that skating is corrupt, that ISU ON THE ICE is the equivalent of the Cosa Nostra (other sports organizations are corrupt off the field of play, the ISU is blatantly corrupt on the field of play. In your face with it.). The larger point is it can't pick and choose. It can't be - well, we rigged it with Davis White, but now back to our regularly scheduled programming where the podium placements are roughly on merit, and where we can actually talk about the real (not pretend) relationship of what happened on the ice to the score sheet. Even if this season hadn't played out, so far, the way it has, confirming that the ISU is committed to in-your-face predetermined placements, I don't think it would have been possible to go back this year. The question of Virtue and Moir is the elephant in the room.

      Furthermore, in the past, everybody pretended that it was the Russians/Eastern bloc countries that were corrupt. That pretense helped cover some shadiness in the west, and the media covering the sport (U.S. media mostly) loved to enable that. Now "western" and North American skating can't possibly BE more corrupt, and the narratives employed to justify some of the outcomes are painfully oppressive and depressing. Virtue and Moir are the greatest ice dancers of all time, and the ISU tossed them overboard for Davis White, and sold it with the Meryl Davis storyline. You can't "get better" from something like that.

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  2. what happened to cappelini and lanotte? yes agred re: this post. to give DW a gold, the whole sport had to basically die.

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    1. They BOMBED at COC and dropped out of TEB to reconfigure their programs (IMO the FD got worse). In all probability they would be lucky to get bronze at Euro's and as the defending WC's you can bet they are not going to podium at Worlds.

      to give DW a gold, the whole sport had to basically die.
      ^^ over exaggerate much? The sport is not dead. We still have a ton of amazing teams competing, though they may not all be your taste, the sport is certainly thriving. D/W are retired and even if they were to come back they would be pushed out by the younger teams.

      Also, It's clear W/P are a placeholder, their skating was never that great for their age and their lifts are boring. But they get a pass for their age, "stature" and silver WC. I don't think the ISU is willing to anoint the new #1 just yet but I think that will go to P/C depending on how they develop.

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    2. Depending on how they develop? They're already getting placements and scores beyond where they're at, I don't see any reason to think the ISU is waiting to see growth from them.

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    3. "over exaggerate much? The sport is not dead. We still have a ton of amazing teams competing, though they may not all be your taste, the sport is certainly thriving. D/W are retired and even if they were to come back they would be pushed out by the younger teams. "

      @7:27 the sport is not thriving because the 'amazing teams competing' have no impact on the outcome. This is not a sport. This is a pageant. That's the point of the post. What's the difference if amazing teams compete (who do you think these teams are, btw, I'm curious) if their amazing figure skating impacts the results/protocols not at all? What's the point of being amazing? This isn't show skating, it's a sport, but the sport part is gone.

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    4. IOW, @7:27, my point is that the existence of "amazing teams" is immaterial. What do fans do with the existence of "amazing teams" knowing that results have an only coincidental relationship to performance/execution? Accept that it's a pageant/spectacle? A lot of what fans enjoy about the sport is speculating on who will win, how they'll perform, what reason training efforts will produce when it's competition time, how the programs will develop. All of that is pretty much crap, and it's not just in dance. It doesn't matter what the skaters do, or how amazing they are. My question is, how does that impact the skaters and how does that impact fans?

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    5. thank you OC. I'm the sport is dead commentator. The sport is dead bc great teams are moving on. PB, VM soon the Shibs. If the DW shenanigans did not ruin the sport, and the ridiculous scoring of the russians to get bronze at Sochi, we would have VM and PB still in there and the Shibs getting their due. I've been an ice dance fan for 3 decades. In the past you had teams competing for a decade after juniors. Teams are moving on much faster bc of ISU idiots and DW nonsense. the campaign for american/DW gold de-legitimatized the sport through at least the next olympics.

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    6. The sport is dead not because great teams are moving on, but because it doesn't matter if you're a great team, or the best team ever to take the ice. It doesn't matter.

      The campaign for American/DW gold did delegitimize the sport @7:54, and I guess the salient point of this post is this (quoting myself): "IOW, @7:27, my point is that the existence of "amazing teams" is immaterial. What do fans do with the existence of "amazing teams" knowing that results have an only coincidental relationship to performance/execution? A lot of what fans enjoy about the sport is speculating on who will win, how they'll perform, what targeted training efforts will produce when it's competition time, how the programs will develop. All of that is pretty much crap, and it's not just in dance. It doesn't matter what the skaters do, or how amazing they are. My question is, how does that impact the skaters and how does that impact fans?"

      While it's difficult to sit at the computer when your eyes are bleary with flu, it's also difficult to think about this sport when there's no point in thinking about it *as a sport*. What are the national championships but a rubber stamp? In the past, the national championships were a rubber stamp for those who had more or less proved themselves on the ice. Now the championships are a rubber stamp for the placements that were pre-determined before this season began, and ratified during the Grand Prix and the GPF. For example, Paul Islam have revamped their free dance. Is there any point, apart from pure aesthetic curiosity and fan interest, in seeing what they did? It certainly will have no impact on how they're scored. The post is saying this creates an oppressive atmosphere. Even those who are trying to sell the fake narratives show the strain.

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    7. "The post is saying this creates an oppressive atmosphere. Even those who are trying to sell the fake narratives show the strain."

      This is a good way to put it. There's a tiredness about this season as a whole. I'd like to think things will be corrected somewhere down the road (not in terms of admitting the past, but just going forward more honestly). But I suppose this could also be a time of growing pains, and everyone will settle into the new regime after a while.

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    8. yes OC's last two posts sums it up, and ISU has become like a corrupt govt- only likeminded people will want to join them- so the damage is done. I don't see a good outcome.

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    9. I believe the public knows the difference between good skating and bad skating. That can get muddled at times when somebody puts on a good or perceived more exciting "performance" than another team or individual, but doesn't actually skate better. But this season (and during the entire DW versus VM travesty) we're way past something like Mirai Nagasu versus Rachel Flatt in 2010 (although I'd have to look and see if Flatt actually executed better, I know Mirai got URs). We're past weighing values between and among the best in the game. The people we're told are the best, are wonderfully musical, have terrific edges, etc. - often don't have anything like, and furthermore, we're often told somebody just delivered an exciting performance when it was a clunky performance delivered by excited skaters.

      The skaters being pushed are not the best skaters, and there are better skaters on the ice with them getting pushed down. It's been said, and I believe it, that the sport itself doesn't really want to be popular, it wants to be insular and elite, but I agree, the damage is done and I also believe the sport will realize this but it will be too late.

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    10. I mentioned Richard Gauthier in this post (Duhamel and Radford's coach), and here's what I meant. He recently gave what I thought was a terrific interview, but an interview reinforcing how figure skating is narrative, not sport. It's incredibly troubling to me that journalists take this for granted, never following up the logical implications of statements which explain how what actually happens on the ice in a given competition doesn't really impact the outcome. For example, Gauthier said once you lose pcs, it's very difficult to get them back. WTF is he talking about? You get them back by demonstrating superior skating skill. But we all know it doesn't matter. Just as, once the judges start throwing high pcs at you (such as DW's ridiculous, absurd GOEs and pcs for for minimal ice coverage, rocking blades, out of synch twizzles and continual clutching and two-footing and skating at arms' length) - you're going to get high pcs no matter what you put on the ice.

      He also said that once Duhamel Radford perform the quad throw twice, they're considered to "have" the quad throw. But in a sport, you "have" the quad throw when you execute the quad throw, and you don't have it when you don't. In figure skating, you "have" the quad throw when you execute it twice, and then it appears to me that Gauthier leaves unsaid that you're going to get credit or be held up after that even if it doesn't come off. And the interviewers is all, yep, makes sense.

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  3. Anon at 6:50 pm - regarding CL - when you go from World Champions to not making the GP Finals - it's a sign that the ISU has decided to dump you...look I'm not saying that a team should be held up either but you cannot tell me that Anna Cappellini is a worse skater than Madison Chock, Piper Gilles or even Gabriela Papadakis...

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    1. CL had a disaster first gp and withdrew from their second... so they never had a chance of making it to the final. But I do agree there's been a shift and CL are most likely out of the running now. I think Europeans will solidify it one way or the other.

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    2. Anon here at 7:13 pm - I agree that there are talented teams in the ranks and WP are a placeholder...I wouldn't be surprised that over the next two years - we won't have a clear dominant team like DW due to the $$$$ factor. I think we would be naive to think that DWs families didn't throw $$$ around and are still throwing $$$ money around.... in the end unless there is no accountability in judging and these overinflated scores continue in ice dance - it's going to take a bit of time before things get better...

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    3. There are talented teams in the ranks, but these are the very teams that are getting screwed over politically and in narrative. These are the teams who will not be able to triumph, no matter how well they skate.

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    4. We saw in the Grand Prix final that the judges have no problem holding up skaters that underperform. We saw it in pairs (not that DR didn't deserve to win, but after reading about their long program I was shocked at the absence of skating and the stand-still execution of their big tricks, not to mention the sbs lutz didn't happen) , we saw it in dance. Chock and Bates blew the last seven seconds of one of their programs - fell down and walked around, and it had no impact on the placements whatsoever despite a fantastic performance from the Shibs. Cappellini and Lanotte were gleefully thrown overboard. *This* team can struggle and the judges throw a net under them. *That* team struggles and they're kicked off a cliff, without their being a significant difference in the abilities of the teams in question.

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    5. Exactly, 7:23. It was killing me this season when Marina Zoueva talked about what the Shibs needed to do - it had depressing echoes of Virtue and Moir responding to the trip wires the ISU set for THEM. I think the Shibs were demoralized at the GPF because they realized it was futile - they're not allowed to advance. The work they put in doesn't matter, a superior performance doesn't matter.

      7:48pm - it's not going to take a bit of time to get better. It's not going to get better. The sport isn't changing how it runs itself, it is a corrupt as the mafia and unless it changes, and that means the personnel and the mindset, as well as those who cover the sport actually knowing something about the damn sport - NOTHING will change. Not now, not twenty years from now. No going back. The ISU made this decision and that's what we're left with.

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    6. " *This* team can struggle and the judges throw a net under them. *That* team struggles and they're kicked off a cliff, without their being a significant difference in the abilities of the teams in question."

      This way this team is treated compared to that team is one of the most perplexing aspects of ice dance right now. You're right that we'll see one team get thrown off a cliff while another of comparable ability gets a net. We see things like how Paul Poirier's ankle injury is being used as an asset in the GP narrative, but Madison Hubbell's hip injury is being held against HD in their narrative, much how Tessa's leg problems were used narratively against VM. We'll see situations where having a parent in the sport helps one team, but it's held against another. I know we will never have the answer to this, but how does one team get chosen and not another? What goes into that?

      As a fan, this new way of things is heartbreaking and demoralizing. I can't imagine how it must be for the skaters who aren't chosen, especially those with the talent to make it to the top or be at the top of ice dance already if the judging was fair. What do you do when you're already better, but then you train harder to get even better and it gets you nowhere? What do you do when you get that skating alone isn't going to be enough, and so you try up your ante off the ice too, and that also has no effect? In the past, there was always the possibility that even if things weren't in your favor politically, if you were talented enough and worked hard enough, you'd be able to have some impact or influence on your destiny. That's not the case right now and will probably never be the case again.

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    7. I totally agree and have lost interest in ice dance. I will not be spending my money on Stars on Ice or anything else due to the bs seen last year (and before). I wish our ice dance teams the best but know this is futile in a world where G/P is being propped up by Skate Canada. That and the travesty of the Shibs makes me want to vomit.

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    8. The Shibs are so clearly heartbroken I simply can't bear to watch them at Nationals. What happened at the GPF was so egregious. They're a classic example of it simply not mattering what they do. How dare the sport have tripped itself up that one time and allowed the Shibs to beat DW in TES. The Shibs have paid for that ever since.

      @3pm: "What do you do when you're already better, but then you train harder to get even better and it gets you nowhere? What do you do when you get that skating alone isn't going to be enough, and so you try up your ante off the ice too, and that also has no effect? In the past, there was always the possibility that even if things weren't in your favor politically, if you were talented enough and worked hard enough, you'd be able to have some impact or influence on your destiny. That's not the case right now and will probably never be the case again."

      This is exactly what the current post is talking about. What is the impact on the sport, the public, the skaters? I believe the sport's contempt for the public (and for the skaters) is so unalloyed it believes the skaters can suck it and the public doesn't know the difference, doesn't recognize the new Narrative Only order. But the public does feel the difference, and as I've said before, even those who are trafficking in lies betray that they know they're trafficking in lies, because the lies require illogical (i.e., wait a second, what they're saying is happening down there on the ice isn't actually happening) and often meanspirited rationales to support them. Scratch these narratives, and you find hostility and a chip on the shoulder. Everything screams lack of conviction, from the comment booth to the cloying pieties from the chosen like Chock and Bates and the silence of those who are screwed over. I think even the public and to some extent the media, which has never been that informed about skating, notices.

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    9. Krylova is an example of somebody trying to up the ante off the ice and it was a degrading and pathetic read that I doubt will pay off. This is a woman with a reputation as a class act as a coach and a human being; it was shameful and embarrassing.

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  4. I agree with this post re Meryl except her fans do think she's talented - that she's a world class skater and dancer (and her dwts win just confirms that to them). I'm not sure if these are new fans and may not be as knowledgeable about skating, but her fans do see legitimate talent from her.

    After the VM Ivey talk I saw one Meryl fan on tumblr say Tessa was insecure because Tessa was always the weaker member in her partnership and Meryl never was. Yeah.

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    1. of course she is a talented and word class skater! she looks like a disney princess duh

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    2. Her fans can never get specific, but I wasn't really talking about what the fans say. I was wondering what Meryl Davis fans think when people inside the sport, like Krylova, talk about Davis and White's win. The story always starts with the girl had no dance talent and no skating skill, and somehow, by sheer force of WILL, it ended with someone hanging an Olympic gold medal around her neck. That is just amazing. She must have the willpower of somebody from Greek Mythology. The way her story is framed, willpower can transform you and permit you to defeat the most brilliant ice dancer/figure skater ever to take the ice. The other less talented skaters in this sport simply must lack Meryl's willpower. The other implication is that she was EXCEPTIONALLY untalented, so it took even MORE will, not just regular willpower.

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    3. Davis White fans don't give a shit about Charlie. They will throw him overboard every chance they get. They even complained when he started off scoring well on DWTs.

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    4. Meryl fans come up with excuses. Their reasoning for why VM out performed them consistently for years is that ice dance wasn't DW's number one priority until their senior debut or a little after. Charlie played hockey and an instrument, Meryl did other stuff too. VM only had ice dance apparently, that's all they did ever. They didn't even go to a real school, they just trained all the time. They also see VM's natural talent as an unfair advantage, like they didn't train like hell to use that natural talent to its ability. But then DW worked really really hard and they overtook VM, naturally. Because DW are the only Olympic skaters to work hard. And of course Meryl had vision issues! and nothing came naturally to them! but they worked really hard and got talented, finally.

      You know I've never seen VM fans use Tessa's injury as an excuse. It's only, think about how even better they could have been (pre-second surgery).

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    5. The hubris of the work ethic meme is just outrageous. Who had the work ethic? Virtue and Moir, a pair of Olympic champions who transformed their skating over the subsequent Olympic quad to the point where their stroking power and control, their skating skills, their technical and athletic difficulty, are likely to be unmatched in our lifetimes? Or the Davis White team that wore (shallow and ragged) grooves into the ice, many of these grooves two-footed, skating the same program the exact same way over a six year period? Who had the work ethic? Maybe Davis and White are praised for the absolutely mind-numbing ability to do the exact same thing so many years in a row.

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    6. Not to mention what Tessa accomplished after struggling with CES issues from 2007 through 2010. She transforms her body, recruits new muscles, and has power to match Scott's and here comes Carmen. This is the woman Krylova portrays as a self-indulgent lazy slob.

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    7. I'm the commentator that keeps writing about the incredible stupidity of VM's publicity team and "strategy". Other than on this blog how often have VM or their team discussed: "what Tessa accomplished after struggling with CES issues from 2007 through 2010. She transforms her body, recruits new muscles, and has power to match Scott's and here comes Carmen."

      they tried a little during carmen but even during carmen all they kept trying to accomplish was to have tessa become some sort of "vixen" -not powerful strong skater.

      It just drives me crazy. how the greatest ice dancing team of all time kept talking about their "connection" and hardly about their skating. GRRRR

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    8. you totally missed the point of vm's carmen. tessa and scott's carmen isn't about a temptress vixen who seduces this innocent man like every single carmen out there, that romanticizes don jose's plight as a tragedy - no tessa and scott's carmen is about a power struggle between man and a woman. tessa and scott's carmen instead highlights how abusive and fucked carmen/don jose's relationship is and how much of an asshole don jose is.
      IIRC i think the reason why tessa and scott decided to do a modern carmen is because they wanted to show how 140 year old opera is still relevant today.

      only meryl stans who like to schlick over meryl's overwrought and overdone fds in which meryl plays a damsel in distress reduce tessa's carmen to a temptress, vixen, whore.

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    9. to simplify, its only meryl stans who reduce tessa's carmen to a trope that is harmful towards woman - that of the temptress (god i remember the cray meryl stans spewing misogynistic slurs at tessa over at fsu) because meryl can only effectively play a trope that is harmful towards woman - that of the damsel in distress.

      what tessa is doing as carmen was much more complex.

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    10. You missed the point of 8:13's post, binker. It was not about what V/M's actual Carmen program represented, but about V/M's PR during it. All Tessa could talk about was how much it hurt for people to think she was actually Carmen, or something. They never sold their skating in that program with their PR, not once.

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    11. 1:15. Exactly. Tessa and Scott's PR is never about the skating. It's maddening.

      For the sake of argument, say the reason is they themselves don't want to sound prideful about their skating. It's their Federation that should have been selling their skating, and they should have recruited all sorts of media to praise to the skies how superior they are, what Tessa accomplished in spite of her condition, etc. SC is so stupidly incompetent and corrupt.

      VM managed to get the whole world of skating media and fans to focus on relationship and connection instead of on their skating. Relationship and connection could be fine but only in the context of a team's outstanding skating that *through the best technique and power and speed in the world* manages to convey the elusive qualities of "connection."

      I don't think VM are that incompetent. This is the PR they want. They would prefer to lose a medal than have competent management. With Skate Canada's blessing, no less.


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    12. "For the sake of argument, say the reason is they themselves don't want to sound prideful about their skating. It's their Federation that should have been selling their skating, and they should have recruited all sorts of media to praise to the skies how superior they are, what Tessa accomplished in spite of her condition, etc. SC is so stupidly incompetent and corrupt. "

      Let's not forget that Skate Canada has to have utterly colluded with the forces that gave Davis White the gold. Skate Canada had no interest in promoting Virtue and Moir's skating - the fix was in and Skate Canada had helped fix it - HAD to have - look at what they did, and most emphatically, didn't do, in the past quad. Skate Canada was too busy favor trading, too busy promoting Davis and White's eventual Olympic win, downgrading Virtue and Moir's scores at Canadians in order to validate what would happen internationally (hey, their own Fed thinks they're not getting the levels, don't deserve really high pcs, not even when their own Skate Canada knows the USFSA is going to blow up the arena with Davis White's scores).

      That doesn't take away from Virtue and Moir's own pr, which not only ignored their incredible skating (Marina's statement that it could get 200 points, along with Tracy Wilson's early praise, were factors that quieted as the season wore on. Maybe both were late getting the memo) but as ever was full of whining about shit they made up about the public. I guess that's a skating tradition.

      Delete
    13. were you even following what tessa and scott said in regards to their fd because never have they stated or portrayed carmen as a vixen or even insinuated for that matter. the media made it look like tessa was hurt about how the public attacked her portrayal of carmen but never did she ever say or even insinuated that carmen was a vixen - in fact what she said was quite the opposite actually. being hurt because people call you a whore because of your portrayal does not equal vixen. it was more reactionary to those who completely ripped the fd apart

      Delete
    14. Reactionary to what people who ripped the free dance apart? There was a post on this at the time Tessa complained, screen capping discussions about Carmen that took place on every single discussion and fan forum on the web, including the private facebook group dedicated to Virtue and Moir. Every single discussion was over the moon about Carmen. Carmen was a HUGELY popular program. Fans were beyond excited. It's only when it started getting low balled at competitions that Davis White fans started saying it was "vulgar". I simply don't believe that Tessa was sincerely hurt by or addressing strategic, inaccurate propoganda from a bunch of online DW fans because why stop at Carmen? She may as well whine about everything they say, they never stop going after her.

      Virtue and Moir, in talking about some nonexistent negative reaction to Carmen, were targeting their own fans, and what they said was lies. Their own fans not only didn't "confuse" Tessa with some hussy stereotype of Carmen, they utterly understood the interpretation as performance and were excited beyond belief at the level of skating and how it represented a complete throwdown for Tessa, who demonstrated once and for all her genius ("from the gods" said Tarasova) for ice dance and for skating. Carmen threw the "fragile" Tessa, the "Juniorish" Tessa bullshit out the window so Davis White fans regrouped and went for vulgar, as ever not only completely mischaracterizing the performance, but avoiding the skating.

      Delete
    15. Here 3:59PM - start here.

      http://dubemoir.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-guy-who-lies-says-we-dont-have-clue.html

      This is the blog post first reacting to Scott and Tessa's lies about how the fans reacted to Carmen. Scott sets up straw men issues (his lies about fans) and then puffs out his chest about how ignorant are those lies. You'd think the entire VM fandom didn't exist to kiss their ass.

      If you care to follow the link and read the post, read about five subsequent posts, all screen-capping and addressing the VM fan discussion about Carmen. There's one post in there about Cassandra Hilborn (Scott's fake girlfriend of that era), but if you skip past it there's 4-5 posts about Scott and Tessa's manufactured issue with fans and Carmen. Nowhere in there do they discuss the technical difficulty, the unprecedented welding of choreography and program requirements. It's all wah wah wah, 1) the program has confused our fans into thinking Tessa's a slut and 2) our fans don't know shit.

      See the twofer? First, set up their own fans as reactionaries who don't understand Scott and Tessa as skaters. After setting them up, wax insulting about the fans.

      Scott and Tessa will find a way to insult fans even if they have to lie about fans to get it done. What am I saying "even if they." That's their go to.

      Delete
    16. 3:07 PM - you were looking in all the wrong places though even though carmen was popular and well liked among their fans but there was still a vocal minority that said absolute horrendous and immature things about the fd and would gang up on anyone who praised it and try to silence them. and for the record, people did call tessa a whore case in point: http://i.imgur.com/tdXwGP4.png

      Delete
    17. I agree that VM's PR for Carmen was idiotic and should have focused on the skating. SC should have been putting out that PR and they didn't, but VM certainly didn't help. Swan did a great interview near worlds but it was too little too late.

      Carmen got a ton of hate on GS though. Every competition thread is primarily criticism for every aspect of the program. Fanforum was very complimentary and supportive though. Tessa's comments could be referring to general skating fans (not huge vm fans) not liking it, which seems apparent when you look at those threads.

      Just for fun: http://www.goldenskate.com/forum/showthread.php?38456-Skate-Canada-2012-Ice-Dance-Free-Dance-(1-40-PST-4-40EST)/page4

      http://www.goldenskate.com/forum/showthread.php?38701-2012-Cup-of-Russia-Free-Dance/page7

      http://www.goldenskate.com/forum/showthread.php?39134-2012-GPF-Free-Dance-FD/page3

      Includes discussions of Tessa's heavy skating, trying to call their lifts illegal, program gets called vulgar many times.

      Delete
    18. Yes, but that was Davis White fan bullshit, or fans with agenda. That was not who Scott and Tessa were talking about - they pretended their own fans confused Tessa and Carmen. That stuff on goldenskate was panic. These were not who Tessa was talking about - she and Scott know the fan games from the other side, they are nothing new. Before she was vulgar as Carmen she was boring and juniorish in Funny Face. They're not talking about the usual Davis White fan nonsense.

      Delete
    19. Again, Scott and Tessa were not reacting to freaking DAVIS WHITE fans or people threatened by Scott and Tessa. They pretended their own fans confused Tessa with Carmen and were only comfortable with their lyrical/romantic side.

      The sources you're pointing to is nothing but the fan crap that existed EVERY year, finding something to bash in every Virtue and Moir program, because they resented and were terrified of Virtue and Moir. Carmen had nothing to do with it cause they bashed Funny Face the year before for opposite reasons, and Mahler the year before that. These criticisms from people who ALWAYS criticize VM aren't relevant. There was no Carmen-specific confusion between Tessa and Carmen from their own fans, or from non-agenda'd skating observers. The links you provide are all agenda.

      Delete
    20. With regards to the larger point, it doesn't really matter IMO whether V/M were talking about their own fans or skating fans in general. They still decided to latch on to that criticism (whether real or not, depending on the group) instead of talking about the skating. Even if theoretically speaking they wanted to tell off skating fans at large, fine, but that should have been a minor point in a well executed PR campaign to talk up the difficulty of the program itself.

      Delete
  5. https://twitter.com/Meryl_Davis/status/557728347405692929

    This tweet seems on point, haha.

    ReplyDelete
  6. OC, I am glad that you are feeling better, and thank you for this post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. :) It's a given, whenever I write "and the next post up will be" - chances are I'm then off the grid for a stretch of time. I'll have to remember not to write that anymore.

      Delete
  7. P/I's new FD from the practice stream today.
    http://youtu.be/Mii7kmqFL_s

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    Replies
    1. Thanks. I was confused for a second then I realized it's the same music as Seguin/Bilodeau (junior pairs team competing as seniors in Canadian Nationals). I've watched S&B's free a whole bunch of times, so I was having some cognitive dissonance.

      If P/I are scored lower than Paradis Ouellette it will be sick-making.

      Fingers crossed Iliushechkina Moscovitch deliver, because that soap opera (vis a vis MTM V. 2) is the main draw for me at Canadians this year, albeit if they execute they'll be the best true pair in the competition, with the best skating skills, and I also enjoy their programs.

      Delete
    2. ^P.S. Actually, not true, Seguin/Bilodeau are also a true pair with real skating skills.

      Delete
    3. Actually, P/I previously used the music in an ex choreographed by Jeff Buttle (his first ice dance program, as a matter of fact). While they've retained a handful of the movements, it naturally has had more substance added to it, but the reports are conflicting as to whether the new material was choreographed by Jeff, Kelly Johnson or a combination of both.

      Really looking forward to seeing I/M and S/B too!

      Delete
    4. Thanks for the clarification 12:44PM. I hadn't realized P/I had used it in an exhibition, and, furthermore, when their music started I didn't immediately remember Seguin and Bilodeau had used it, just that I had listened to it a great deal while watching someone's skating program, so it was confusing. I'd watched Seguin and Bilodeau's beautiful long program a lot trying to figure out things like speed and lifts. Thankfully, although both teams have a fluid unison and work closely together (not to mention one team is pairs and the other dance), P/I always have, for me, a sort of edgy/abstract element to their skating that doesn't remind me of anyone else, and they don't seem like copycats here.

      Delete
    5. Well put, OC. The scoring was nauseating nonsense as usual, but thankfully P/I live to skate another day this season.

      Delete
  8. I really enjoy their skating-Thx for sharing

    ReplyDelete
  9. Will Tessa and Scott follow the habitual patterns?

    Their attendance at Canadians, photos with fans, twitter banter -- all it puts me in mind of is to be expecting some *major* shamming very soon.

    It would be so nice if they stopped the expected patterns. I won't be holding my breath.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish there were old age software - I'd love to do a post showing them in their golden years, still trying to get a rise, to speak, our of fans in their exhibition programs or whatever interviews their representation or buddies can get for them after they're long retired. Only then it's like creepy, dehydrated versions of themselves - dessicated and ghoulish. I hope to God Tessa's presentation of her supposed perfectionist self on social media and the reality show is every bit as fabricated as their loves lives, because the social media imaging makes one imagine a frozen-faced, cheek-implanted, puffy lipped Tessa in decades to come as she and Scott continue to play charades. Scott's harder to picture - maybe he'll have completed the transformation from an apparently naturally candid soul instinctively mortified and repelled by his own lies and manipulations to a permanently belligerent, defiant-against-nothing, sour cynic. All our fault, of course.

      Delete
    2. "All our fault, of course."

      *Of course* it's all our fault. We stupid fans who deserve to be duped.

      Delete
    3. In the "blue shoe" pic, the image shrinks Tessa's hips to the width of a knee. I wonder if this is the new normal, or if by spring she'll actually put out photos of how she actually looks.

      Delete
    4. That's Tessa's thigh and part of her butt. Her left foot and lower body are facing the ice and she has her upper body twisted toward the camera. You can't even see her hips.

      Delete
  10. Hey OC, did you know you're famous now?

    "Critics aren’t uncommon in a sport that enjoys a large and vocal fan base. Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, darlings of the Vancouver Games, were the subject of a spiteful blog dedicated to everything anti-Virtue and Moir."

    I guess no part of V/M is skating then ;) Geez.

    And also some interesting insight into D/R's attitude here. Yikes.

    http://www.sportsnet.ca/more/canadian-pair-duhamel-radford-silencing-critics/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 12:49
      How typical of the media that enables all things VM. If they took the time to read they would see that this blog and commenters adore VM's skating. All I've seen around here is the belief that VM are the best icedancers ever and that they've been royally screwed over.

      Hatred? That's just a copout in order not to address what is said here.

      Delete
    2. Exactly. What is anti about this blog except anti the hoax Virtue and Moir perpetuate? I think "haters" is a ridiculous concept, but even if one doesn't think so, I think the ones lying, manipulating and humiliating would be the haters. It is typical of accuracy in media, however.

      The implication is that the blog is also anti their skating, which is hilarious. I don't think sportsnet read it.

      Delete
    3. The other point is the headline - "Silencing the critics." Nothing is more of an anathema to most of the media "community" than the idea that people outside it have a voice and don't kiss celebrity ass. To them, no criticism is legit if it comes from the public.

      Delete
    4. OC 2:25
      Right? Some ridiculous hater blog is not "real" media. Why bother mentioning it? It's telling that the reporter felt the need to bring it up in order to declare it illegitimate. It feels a whole lot like this place has some people scared.

      Delete
    5. but oc isnt the only hater blog there. remember diq anon?

      Delete
    6. Sites like diq anon come and go and rarely last. This blog has been around since the beginning of 2011 with no signs of going away. It's disingenuous to say that reporter was not referring to this blog.

      I'd like to see anyone who considers themselves legit media talk about this blog intelligently, having read it and understood what is being said. Dismissing it as nothing more than a hate blog shows their stupidity. Repeating a description they've probably heard without bothering to verify it for themselves. They call themselves journalists? What a joke.

      Delete
    7. Look at this:
      https://twitter.com/virtuemoir2010/status/559013746614730753

      Figure skating is the most absurd culture. Here is yet another example of a culture that doesn't accept criticism. This doesn't happen in any other sport. SPORT. Aren't the athletes and the judging all subject to examination and discussion?

      It's mind-boggling how attempts to talk about irregularities are unacceptable if they don't follow along with the current ISU script.

      @2:20 AM (below):
      What gall for Charlie White to be talking about inflated scores. How dare he.

      Oh, but we're supposed to keep our opinions to ourselves if we disagree with anything.

      Delete
    8. The whining about Russians from DR is hilarious. Wagner said similar stuff recently. The idea seems to be that training in Russia is an absolute paradise and that's the only reason the Russian skaters do better. They delude themselves into thinking that if only they had that, they would be winning everything. Ask Lubov what she thinks about that. She's doing fine with a partner who was not "trained in the exact same style."

      Of course some of the fans are just as bad. It's all "Megan, you go girl, you don't have to be a ballerina" but then they're happy to take Lubov and praise her gorgeous lines. It's exactly like VM and DW. Commentators praise VM one minute, and honestly seem to understand what makes them great, but then DW come out and you praise them even though they do none of what you just said made VM good.

      Delete
    9. I thought at first DR's complaining about criticism was a one-off, but no, it's a memo. It's their current p.r.

      Their pairing is unconventional looking, but it's self-serving to focus on the cosmetic criticisms and pretend the skating criticisms don't exist. I was appalled at the Grand Prix performance. It's going to be terrible if that represents the highest level of pairs skating until the next Olympics.

      oc

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    10. I've always liked Eric but cannot stand Megan's attitude. This complaining about criticism PR just makes me dislike her more. How about you show us instead of whining about it? I do hope they do well but they are going to have to up their game if they want to be the best pair in the world. Comparing themselves to the Russians and throwing shade at invisible haters isn't the way to do it.

      Delete
    11. The Worlds immediately following an Olympics, and the Worlds following an Olympic year have often featured skaters and teams that don't cut the mustard in the year that counts, the Olympic year. It can be a thanks-for-playing championship, often featuring less than truly world class gold medalists.

      Delete
  11. Charlie White is doing commentary for US nats and he really dared to praise the judges for not inflating the scores and that they know how to judge correctly.
    Every time I think he can't get more obnoxious he pulls some shit like this. Guess he forgot his own inflated scores.

    The Shibs got huge crow response, much more than CB and are currently in second place.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Shibs are mathematically still in contention for the title at this point.

      The team that really got screwed over last night was Hubbell and Donohue. Over the course of the season so far, they've transformed their SD into something quite special and last night's performance was exquisite. They should be very proud of themselves, and I hate that the shadow of the judging and politics at present has to hang over a fantastic skate like that.

      Delete
    2. Listening to Charlie White's commentary was hilarious because you realize he knows what goes into an exquisite ice dance program, he was just never capable of actually doing any of it.

      Delete
    3. I can almost give Charlie a pass. That's a USFS talking point - inflate the scores, but say they're NOT inflated, so that everyone thinks that's what they deserve to be getting internationally.

      Yeah, just like Scmieca/Knierem would score just about the same as DR in a pairs SP. Heh.

      7:08, I agree. On the US Nationals preview show, Tanith gave a scripted narrative preview, which specifically mentioned the Shibs medalling at both of their GPs, but not that HD had done the same or that HB medalled at all. Tanith said that the Shibs SD has been well-received, and "should keep it close going into the free program." My first thought was "thanks Tanith for spoiling that they plan to score HD so far behind that there is no way they can contend for silver." And of course that's exactly what happened, because media guides were already printed up that say it's a battle for gold between CB and Shibs (which we all know CB will win which is all kinds of frong too cause they should not be on the podium at all). There was nothing HD could have done to be in the mix.

      On that same show, both Weir and Lipinski felt the real battle should be between the Shibs and HD (for silver, although I think it should be for gold).

      At least Aldridge Eaton are losing ground... two placements from last year already.

      Delete
    4. 11:03, Charlie's stint on Dancing with the Stars, as imperfect as it was, exposed him as fully aware his and Meryl's Davis White schtick was bullshit. He knew better.

      Of course the Shibs should be vying with HD for gold. Chock and Bates have no business anywhere near the top of the podium; I still can't believe their scores, or how we're supposed to believe what they do resembles in any way what good skaters are actually supposed to do.

      oc

      Delete
    5. Did anyone else catch Tanith Belbin, over on NBC, saying something about how Hubbell and Donohue had to prove that they deserved to be on the podium this season? I literally let out an enormous laugh.

      Delete
    6. Good for you to be able to laugh instead of cry or become nauseated.

      oc

      Delete
    7. It was just so blatantly ridiculous, especially coming from Tanith Belbin of all people, that yes, it was either laugh or cry or throw up.

      Delete
    8. That was an incredibly bitchy comment from Tanith.

      I also rolled my eyes when she said something about the "Shibs coach making changes".... isn't she on that coaching staff, and her fiance too?

      Delete
    9. Re: Charlie's comment, it sounded to me more like he was acknowledging that inflation happens, but that it was because judges were fond of them and they wanted to push teams to do better or something ridiculous like that.

      Tanith has reached a new level of bitchy this season, the way she's turned on teams like H/D and P/I.

      Delete
    10. A poster from one of the skating groups I belong to wrote THIS after the Free Dance re: the Shibs (warning! Do not eat or drink while reading this comment---you may vomit) "I love the Shibs. Wish they could have won. They are so cute. She reminds me of Meryl Davis because she looks effortless on ice. Just glides."

      Delete
    11. "Did anyone else catch Tanith Belbin, over on NBC, saying something about how Hubbell and Donohue had to prove that they deserved to be on the podium this season? I literally let out an enormous laugh."

      Not that HD haven't proven themselves over and over again, how are they supposed to prove themselves when they're denied the opportunity and not allowed to do so? The bigger problem is that the us perpetually has at least one spot on their team tied up with a team that shouldn't be making the trip. In 12-13, they came into nationals after finishing second in the FD at TEB, defeating CL, and missing a medal by fractions. Despite skating better than DW and CB, they were denied trips to 4CC and Worlds that they earned on the ice. Last season, they lost time to Madison's concussion, and then couldn't train because of her hip. They still outskated DW and CB at nationals and were deprived of a trip to the Olympics. They had to pass up the spot to worlds after DW decided not to go so Madison could have her surgery earlier to be ready for this season. HD start off this season with a set of goals that they accomplished on the ice even though they had a late start to preparation and weren't able to train fully until up in the fall. Goal one was to make the GPF. On the ice they did this, but the spot was stolen from them by GP. They wanted to finish top 2 at nationals, and despite the shaky FD, they did that on the ice. However, they were lowballed in the SD, the only team not just not get a significant boost from their international scores in the fall, but the only team to score below them. They did get the worlds spot, but the 4CC spot was given to HB. HB are a good, young team and the line up for both 4CC and Worlds should have been Shibs, HD, and HB. CB are the monkey wrench that doesn't belong. HD needed the additional outing as preparation for worlds though, especially with their later start because of the surgery. Sending HB to 4CC is basically the kill shot for HD's career. I think the only reason they got sent to worlds is because the USFSA wants to make sure they get buried there to justify the narratives for next season. It's not HB that don't deserve a spot, it's CB. It's just very frustrating and sad that HD are always without fail the team that gets screwed over because of USFSA politics. The Shibs may not get everything they deserve, but at least no one is trying to deny them opportunities to attend events. HB will have the opportunities too. It's just HD's that have to be sacrified. They have been denied opportunity and they are being denied a future in this sport and there is not a thing they can do about it. To me, that situation is even more unfair in ways that teams who have gotten at least some of what they've earned.

      I'm not sure if it's because HD didn't skate together as juniors and have buzz from that, or if they don't have the right coaches politically, or what the exact reason is. They're not a chosen team though, even within their own country, and so tptb feel it's ok to ruin their career.

      Delete
    12. I really would like to know why it was decided that C&B should be DW Part II. Just show up and you win. Even fall down and you win. Why them?

      Delete
    13. I've posted this before, but the average scores for the Shibs and HD on the 2013 GP were several points higher than CB's average. At nationals, CB received double the inflation that HD and the Shibs received.

      Someone said to me last night that how the chosen teams get chosen is the rosetta stone to all of this. At present, there is no rhyme or reason to though. "This team" vs "that team".

      Delete
    14. I don't think it's random at all. The simplest explanation is they showed loyalty to Igor in 2012, and USFS owes Igor for whatever went down. He didn't get to be a part of that first US dance "gold." (choke) Igor is very powerful in US dance. He's been a part of all the substandard ice dancers to make it to the top in the US: BA, DW, and now CB.

      Besides that, I think they were being groomed for something when Samuelson was dropped for him to skate with Chock for no apparent reason. When someone drops a superior partner for an inferior one, you except them to go down in rankings, not shoot up. See: Gilles/Porier. I even count Denney/Coughlin in pairs as part of this. USFS tried so desperately hard to make them happen. Katsalapov is trying to do this in Russia, but he's been cockblocked so far. Of course, the presumption is that one only does this in concert with the federation and having their full support before the deed is done, which I don't think was the case in the IK split, so that was his mistake.

      Delete
    15. Interesting 4:16PM. It never crossed my mind that Evan ditching Emily for Madison had anything behind it but Evan's own decision but I also believe that the USFSA is involved in who is rewarded and who isn't, performance be damned (just look at that media guide to its skating roster for reinforcement of this impression). I realize Igor was behind BA, DW and now CB, but so was Marina. It's not as if BA were prominant in an era when some other, more worthy US ice dance team went begging for recognition (that I'm aware). The Shibs were clearly thrown on the pyre for DW, and we all know what's up with CB, but the why of it - why do they owe him specifically? If they do "owe" him, it seems to me it might be for no other reason than he'll say and do anything to keep himself in political favor, even more overtly and enthusiastically than other US coaches (look at him specifically touting Shawn Rettstatt after Rettstatt was simply mentioned on FSU and here). The USFSA might see a toady of his calibre as valuable.

      Delete
    16. ETA, and I guess I'm not looking at Igor's pre-Marina career, which included Jamie Silverstein, the USFSA's great ice dance hope for awhile there. He didn't strike international gold (so to speak) until aligning with Marina, but his history with the USFSA goes back further than that and he's certainly not any sort of wild card. He'll play ball and then some.

      Delete
    17. H/B have been sent to Four Continents instead of H/D. Does anyone else think this is USFS sending a message about who will now be the US #2 team next year?

      Delete
    18. I don't think it is a message about who will be US #2 next year, but I do think it's a crystal clear message to HD that they're done. They did get the worlds assignment, but it's basically a big "fuck you" to them from the USFSA without the 4CC assignment to go with it. They were screwed out of a spot for worlds in 2013. They were screwed out of an Olympic spot last year. They had to give up the spot that opened up at worlds last year when DW didn't go because Madison needed to have surgery. They were screwed out of a trip to the GPF this fall. They should have been second at Skate Canada and 1st at TEB. Instead, they were third at both. Now, they're being sent into worlds as not just the US #3 team, but a weak #3. It's a message from USFS to the judges to gut their levels and lowball their GOE and PCS. Also, with the way that SD spots are being assigned at worlds this year, HD needed the rankings points to try to get as high as possible. Not having the points is going to put them at a disadvantage against even the second tier European teams.

      HD's international seasons best is a few tenths of a point higher than the Shibs this season. It's 20 points higher than HB's international seasons best. It should have been Shibs and HD duking it out for the title, but if not that, duking it out for second. In the preview show for us nationals, Tanith is suddenly presenting it as HD and HB will do battle for bronze. She spoiled the script.

      HD were not at their best in the FD, but they were on fire in the SD and should have been the team with a score only fractions of a point different from the Shibs. Instead, they were massively lowballed and scored just above HB, whose score was perfectly appropriate for what they presented in the SD. HD should have had a massive lead over them going into the FD. I actually have to wonder if it was the being lowballed that led to Madison struggling in the FD.

      I have a hard time believing that if the positions had been reversed that HD would have been sent to 4CC; HB would have ended up with both spots. I honestly feel like the only reason HD are being sent to worlds at all is so they can be dumped there scorewise, no matter what kind of performances they turned in. I also honestly believe they can and will turn in performances that would have put them in the top 5 if the judging were fair.

      I understand that the real problem here is CB. There are a lot of these good teams that don't get everything they deserve, but at least they get some of it and the opportunities to at least compete at 4CC and Worlds. It seems unfair that HD alone are going to have their career entirely shortchanged because of this. They're just as talented and deserving of trips to 4CC, Worlds. They're just not going to get those opportunities. I wish they had the option to skate for another country, but even if the did, the USFSA probably wouldn't release them to do so just to be even more unfair to them.

      I think after the end of this season, HD are going to have to choose between sinking three more years of time and money into something that is not going to be allowed to pay off for them (and them alone) or cut their losses with skating and move on with life.

      Delete
    19. 9:22 again.

      It would be different if HD had made the decision like Ashley Wagner did that they wanted to pass on the spot to concentrate on preparing for worlds, or we'd seen another 4th place finisher in a discipline that the us has three spots for worlds for also be sent to 4CC while the 3rd place finisher was kept home. HD were the only team to get the third spot for worlds who also didn't get the 4CC spot.

      4CC is a smaller event. HB will probably place higher and score higher than HD at worlds. It helps set up the narrative for HD to be dumped next season.

      Delete
    20. OC at 3:18. Yes, Igor has been the cornerstone of US ice dance for a long time, for better or worse (I think worse). He also coached PS and LT in the 90s. Almost every US champion of the past twenty years has been coached by him, except for a couple of years that LT were with Zhulin (but I think all of them since 1995 were trained by him at one point prior to moving on to other coaches). Marina joined him in 2001.

      Given all of that, it's a HUGE deal for him not have been officially on the coaching team that gave the US its first Olympic gold. Sure, most people know he used to coach DW, but it's not part of his official record as a gold medal that he coached. And of course, it's not small thing: everything USFS has done for the past four years, maybe eight, has been to lay the groundwork for this medal, the ONLY individual medal the US got at the Olympics.

      "I realize Igor was behind BA, DW and now CB, but so was Marina."

      Yes, and Marina got a reward for that. Got to sit in the K&C when they got a gold medal. Igor was ejected from the rink two years before. We don't know exactly why, but he had to scramble to find new accommodations on short notice. Things that he was counting on for his career disappeared. A top team leaving can always happen, but losing your top 3 teams (including VM), your job, and your rink space is kind of unheard of.

      There were rumors that Marina's legal bills were paid by USFS. I don't know if that's true and I don't remember where that rumor came from. I'm not sure the lawsuit was against Marina specifically or just the think. But what we know for a fact, per Sports Illustrated, is that DW were deposed in that matter and DW said that they were asked whom they wanted to stay and they wanted Igor out. So DW were a part of whatever happened, and DW = USFS. They are synonymous. Everything USFS has done the past four years is in furtherance of their gold medal, they had no one else to pimp. What Marina's part in it, if any, is not so clear. It's a fact that DW, and therefore USFS, had a part in taking Igor out. A big move like that could not happen without USFS being in on it.

      Given that, I don't think it's random that Igor's team is the one that gets pimped now. Igor didn't get a US Olympic gold, so now Igor gets US champions for the next 5-6 years to make up for that. Maybe a gold in 2018, God forbid. That explains to me why Igor's CB is currently ahead of Marina's Shibs in the US right now (doesn't really explain Marina's international teams performances, however).

      I think whoever was the top Igor team was going to win this Nationals, but as I alluded to with the Emily thing, there could have been more factors at play, and Igor's being a team player and ass kisser as OC discussed also. Really, we only know the tip of the ice berg when it comes to this stuff. There's definitely an intent to all of it, we just won't always know what that is.... it's not random, though, when a clearly inferior team is winning and there aren't technical reasons to support that. (It's probably not random when a quality team wins either...). Shonda Rhimes should write a show about ice dancing politics.

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  12. Lubov and Dylan in second place with a fantastic skate...MTM v2 down in 4th. Karma!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DP2464EMF4

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    1. Very happy, hope they hold themselves together to keep the place. It's gone past karma. Kirsten fucked up in her choice of partner. I don't know what she was thinking. Was she thinking, well, Dylan taught her - she could teach Michael? Problem there - Marinaro has actually been a pairs skater longer than Kirsten has skated pairs, and Kirsten's own basic skating, as well as how she carries herself on the ice and in elements, has degraded from last season. They were more or less clean in the short, and neither Seguin Bilodeau nor Lubov Dylan were perfect, yet both teams are ahead of MTM v.2 That's down to superior speed, unison, power - just much higher quality skating from S&B and I/M, with MTM v.2 maybe needing to up the difficulty as well (as the original MTM ought to have done - and perhaps Kirsten considered, rather than switch partners). Her entire strategy just looks bizarre at this point. The first order of business should be getting a partner who is an excellent skater. That certainly led Dylan's priorities when he had to partner hunt.

      oc

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    2. Kirsten seems to be very happy with her partner, at least from what I saw backstage during the LP. Besides Canada is not swimming in a sea of outstanding male pair partners. Maybe Michael was the best available for her, whatever case at least they have shown improvement which is a good sign for their development. Now that they have the rest of the season off, lets pray they work on their elements.

      And not that I'm a huge fan of theirs but I'm actually surprised they finished 4th overall. S/B did not have a strong LP and I thought they were out of their element a little bit given the fact that the material was new to them (the new lift and death spiral were not good).

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    3. Kirsten looks miserable IMO.

      MTM2 had the cleaner program. That doesn't mean they had the superior skate.

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    4. Kirsten has appeared strained all season and I don't blame her. I wouldn't trust Marinaro on the ice. Her motto in life is to look happy whenever she's in public (show happiness, maybe), and that includes behind the scenes. Not that I distrust your impression, it's just that happiness is something she insists upon; it's her face to the world as much as her nature.

      IMO the problem is Michael. If Canada isn't swimming in great male pairs skaters, perhaps she ought to have stayed with the great male partner she had, and upped her game, then dealt with 2018-2022 when the time came, looked around then, as Aliona Salvencho did (yeah, I know, release issues, and I think her partner has his own drawbacks as a skater). We can see now that Dylan can up his own game in a very short time. Kirsten, and I LOVED original MTM - still had work to do. Had she done it, she and Dylan might have had the edge on DR. It seemed at least some people in skating would have been happy to help that along, considering the mixed feelings about DR.

      Not that I'm complaining. Love I/M.

      MTM came very close to the top during their run together, and the reason DR owned them was every season DR upped the ante in difficulty. I am absolutely no fan of *how* DR up the ante - I think the technique is suspect, but the essential point is they take the ice, both of them obviously conditioned to within an inch of their lives, doing stuff they can't even do yet (how long did it take before that 3 jump sequence was anything like consistent). They milked every point there is. Only last season did Moore Towers show up having clearly worked on herself physically - the new stretch through her back and hips, the lighter way she carried herself in elements while being deeper into the ice. That's gone this season. Having a new partner doesn't mean you shouldn't come out having done absolutely everything to set yourself up to deliver the best that's possible, and physically, she didn't. She backslid.

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    5. Just to settle back into my armchair shrink's chair here a second, I think Kirsten completely misread the tea leaves from last season and made a catastrophic (for her career) decision. The narrative from her friends is she and Dylan hit the wall. Were never going to get on that World podium, were never going to be No. 1 in Canada. Not only do I think that's a complete misreading of where MTM were at the end of 2014, it takes a lot of hubris for someone who has only been skating senior pairs since 2009 to decide her partner must be the anchor holding her back.

      As I see the narrative, starting with Weir and Lipinski, the conversation in the so-called skating community was getting a little louder about how MTM were the better team, the more legit pairs team. They outscored DR in the long, and not for the first time. I think after 2014 the sport, in terms of narrative, and narrative we know translates to protocols plenty of times, the tide was turning in MTM's favor, World podium or no World podium.

      If that's the case, then what MTM do to encourage this is show up for 2015 having upped their own game. Add some difficulty. Have Kirsten show up looking like a kick ass athlete and skating like one, throughout the program, mentally and physically, in all the in-betweens as well as the elements. Tighten up so the rotations are tight. (and get the twist up). These are all within reach.

      So I think her narrative/interpretation (as shared by her friends on skating forums) was wrong, and her solution to this false narrative was puzzling. How about improving - did that occur to her as an option?

      Moore Towers often goes in and out of focus in a given skate too, including at the Olympics. These are Kirsten issues, and they're gonna stick with her no matter who her partner may be. When I look back at the very beginning of MTM v.1, I am so struck by Kirsten's incredible intensity, even though the team wasn't clean and had a lot to work on. That intensity is missing and appears to create this in-and-out habit on the ice - commit to this part, hedge on this next part, be very careful here - everything that may be going through her mind comes out her body and can repress her skating. Meagan's an open book but when you read her all I'm seeing is "get this get this get this." Her mind is on the job - even when excited. IMO Kirsten also needs to be in the same condition as the other top pair girls. She sometimes moves and rotates like dead weight. I never thought I'd compare her to Jessica Dube, but there are similarities. Maintenance type physical conditioning, low center of gravity allowing her to land stuff most skaters couldn't land. Jessica would look miserable and Kirsten smiles but they both start closing up their bodies during a skate.

      Jessica had better stroking.


      Also compare Moore Towers to Lubov Dylan who completely screwed the jumps in the long, and no matter what they were thinking, you couldn't see it in their bodies as they recovered and went after the rest of the program with the same gorgeous speed, power and completion of every move they made. They had their minds on their job, or were able to skate like it.

      And that's just Kirsten's issues, which if she'd worked on them while with Dylan, might have taken her even further last season, carrying through to even better results this season, instead of DR running away with the game, as they are now.

      SB didn't have a strong lp but together show themselves as higher quality skaters than MTM v.2 show themselves now.

      I agree MTM v.2 had the cleaner program but not the superior skate. There's a chasm in the caliber of skating, and that's why they were fourth. I don't see an improvement in the basic skating since the start of the season. This competition they hit their jumps, their throws, all the elements were there, but not done well, and when they're not doing elements, their shaky skating is on display. The second mark has to be killing them, or should be.

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    6. I want to add one more thing to this topic here, after reading some Canadian pairs discussion on fsuniverse. As ever, there are those on fsuniverse who consider any sort of criticism "bashing" and who are always ready to declare a subject "done" and ready to "move on" because they don't like the subject. Kirsten's dumping Dylan is one of those subjects. Some members of fsu just want to wrap the whole situation up in a bow, put pretty labels on it, and nobody can say anything further. Hey, all the teams hugged before the long program - that means we shouldn't talk about it anymore! I don't get these people. They're of the "as long as the skaters are happy or pretend to be happy, there's nothing else to discuss!" Jesus, what a sport.

      One of these remarks said that Dylan and Lubov were one of those rare "magical" pairs who clicked immediately, as if their partnership is pure serendipitous chemistry.

      That is bullshit. Dylan, unlike Kirsten, was willing to make changes to his skating, his training, his choreography, his approach to his job on and off the ice. Kirsten wanted to stay the same and switch out her partner, the one thing that required no change from her. Considering that IMO, she was the one who needed to develop before MTM could land on that podium at worlds and ahead of DR at home, her decision REALLY struck skating observers, and that's one reason discussion of it persists. Hey Kirsten - a lot of the problem was you, your conditioning, how you carried yourself on the ice, which impacted the freaking GOEs. YOU. And you were just inches from getting there, everybody knew it. Instead of going for it, BOOM - bye Dylan. That's why people can't get over the stupid, and don't buy the "2 Olympics" crap.

      Okay, I digressed. But Lubov and Dylan weren't some serendipitious magical thing. Dylan approached, on facebook, a talented skater who had fallen off the planet. He took the risk of partnering with somebody who had been off the competitive scene for over two years, a Russian that the Russian Fed was reluctant to release. He dug into his own pocket and got her over here. Yes, they had the non-magical fundamentals of both being huge talents with the same goals and the same attitude towards training and competition. That's extremely important, but they're not the only team to have that. I don't think Duhamel Radford strike anybody, least of all me, as magical, but they're the same thing - were willing to make changes in themselves, their training, their circumstances, evaluating and adjusting as needed during every point in the process while remaining fully committed.

      Just listening to the Lubov/Dylan Skating Lesson interview, the components of their off-ice training leaves no stone unturned, everything is targeted to maximum performance from biofeedback to cardio vascular testing/training designed to facilitate optimum cardio vascular fitness for what they're doing. Lubov is a rare pairs talent, but that rare talent didn't carry her to the top the last time she was on the competitive scene. This time she is in circumstances that, it's hoped, WILL carry her far, and that's because she and her partner have consciously set up those circumstances, thought through what they're doing and what they need. It's not magical.

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  13. So glad to see Dylan doing so well with his new partner. Good for him and hope to see them at Worlds!

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  14. As always, Canada Blue nails it:

    "Icenetwork wonders if this is a new C&B era of ice dance. It's more like those dictatorships where someone dies and a relative takes over."


    https://twitter.com/canadablues/status/559213124130451456

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    1. Good lord if that comment doesn't nail it. Figure skating as an organization has always been an oligarchy, but now the skaters have joined in the fun. One set of puppet dictators replaced by another at the top of the podium.

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  15. So, so, so happy for Lubov and Dylan, they are the one bright spot in this otherwise depressing season, and I don't even care for pairs. They didn't have a clean freeskate, but the quality of what they did was so evident; I absolutely love her positions in lifts, and her lines are exquisite. The transition going into the death spiral is just amazing.

    Congrats, I/M v2! I see many great things in their future.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFvzS5aHQyY

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    1. That's what carries them through - the essential quality of everything they do, the power and speed, the ice coverage. The jumps were a mess but they finished strongly, and with the spectacular throw loop happening at the climax of the music and then the flow into the death spiral, the crowd had the opportunity to go crazy for them, which they've wanted all along.

      Stipulating that Michael Marinaro's skating skills remain, to my eyes, absolutely miserable, it's interesting to me that Seguin Bilodeau beat MTM v. 2 only by tenths of a point in each phase of the competition. This is something that could easily have gone the other way, but didn't. It appears to me Skate Canada wanted this podium and unless MTM 2 steps up its game, they may be thrown under the bus in Canada, which surely wasn't Kirsten's intention when she left her former partnership. Last spring, pairs looked like DR and MTM, and that's it. When Kirsten left Dylan, IM were formed and then she was released to compete, and Seguin Bilodeau had a fantastic season with fantastic consistency, leaving SC with three high quality pairs and Kirsten sort of a fourth wheel. Next season I hope they rethink the whole quirky Mark Pillay approach and do something about Marinaro's costuming (hate to emphasize things like that, but oh well), his costumes only seem to emphasize his awkwardness.

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    2. P.S. - the whole dynamic with Kirsten's decision, some fan reaction, the push back from some of her friends on line, and the type of pushback they used, made me remember how much of this sport rejects itself as a sport in favor of emphasizing histrionics, as noted upthread with Virtue Moir and Carmen. Kirsten herself once said if you're happy and appear to be having fun on the ice, it may produce a positive reaction in the judges even if you've made a mistake. This is something we don't often hear about, say, tennis. So Kirsten, an athlete, made a decision to change partners. Some fans questioned the decision. Some of Kirsten's friends pushed back with - it's her business and only her business - while taking pains to tell us how happy she is. Well if it's her business and only her business (which it isn't), who cares how happy she is?

      It's really a matter of some skaters and the people around them wanting the soap opera/histronic emphasis in the figure skating as long as they like the storyline, but if the storyline isn't flattering, here comes the chip on the shoulder, the whining and, most of all, the attempt to control conversation. But it doesn't and shouldn't work like that. If it's okay to talk about what a great relationship a couple of skaters seem to have, what smart decisions they've made, blah blah, then it's just as legit to put it in reverse and wonder why a partnership hit the rocks and question whether a decision was smart or it wasn't.

      So mostly what situations like Kirsten's end up doing is reinforcing the impression that figure skating is full of entitled brats. That goes for the community around the skater as much as the skaters themselves.

      Also upthread, the conversation about Virtue Moir's p.r. during Carmen, and p.r. in general. Virtue and Moir are huge liars about the reality of their personal lives; they've marketed these lies, I, for one, believe that withdrawing from the 4CC's in 2011 was part of those lies (although apart from it being related to the sham as a whole, I don't believe that it was harmful in a particular way. In an overall way, making deception routine in the sport, maybe). Is it really surprising that figure skating has gotten more and more comfortable, particularly in the west, with making the whole thing a huge lie. Sports is part of the entertainment complex, that's all it really is. Scott and Tessa's off ice life is just entertainment, so who cares if it's all lies. It's acting, ha ha ha. Not such a big jump to decide on the ice is only entertainment as well, so who cares if it's all lies. I used to feel that they believed if the skating had integrity, it didn't matter if they lacked it in other areas. Of course, part of that was made possible by the fact that they were able to skate with integrity and still win. They became frustrated when they weren't able to skate with integrity and win, despite being the best by many fathoms, but that's what's become of this sport and I believe despite them being the best ice dancers who've ever competed, they helped figure skating down this road.

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    3. "I believe despite them being the best ice dancers who've ever competed, they helped figure skating down this road."

      It's not a reality that a lot of people can bring themselves to admit, but VM's off-ice games did play a part in getting ice dance to this awful place it's in today.

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    4. Anon 3:49pm: I don't have an opinion on V/M's off-ice lives, but regardless, if they were/are being somehow "punished" for their off-ice behaviour, that just reinforces that ice dance really isn't a sport at all and should be kicked out of the Olympics.

      And assuming for a second that V/M are being punished for their off-ice behaviour, what are teams like the Shibs, P/I and Hu/Do being "punished" for?

      There are other sports where the athletes are assholes and in some cases, are in engaged in criminal activity off the field of play (the NFL comes to mind), and it has no impact on the outcome on the field of play. Not so in figure skating, especially ice dance.

      As OC has said many times, this all goes back to the ignorance of the media to question outcomes on the field of play.

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    5. I believe that Virtue and Moir took advantage of the elitest, insular, celebrity-fixated, self-referential, parochial figure skating culture to sell their HUGE lies. For God's sake, directors of a federally supported sports organization spent much of their work day playing manipulative games with the public so as to set them up to believe Scott Moir was with Jessica Dube. They outright STAGED lies at competitions, dropped them into social media, dropped them into Skate Canada newsletters. It was very convenient for Virtue and Moir to benefit from this culture. But skating culture doesn't limit itself to lies about off ice - defensive lies, lies of omission, are barely defensible but these were outright, proactive hoaxes and scams reeking of contempt for the public whose tax dollars help support the entire organization. That contempt is obviously still there today. Scott and Tessa didn't appear to have any scruples when it came to Skate Canada getting its hands dirty with their personal business and manipulations. I think Skate Canada turning around and selling Virtue and Moir down the river was certainly something Scott and Tessa enabled. You can't say oh thanks for being corrupt when it helps us but gee, why is it working against us now? I imagine to Scott and Tessa the off-ice corruption didn't count - it was all about integrity on the ice - that on-ice integrity (meaning, how they skated, not stuff like intending to, and then actually withdrawing, at the 4CCs) appeared to be something Scott and Tessa thought made them untouchable. But clearly, it didn't. Skate Canada had no more compunction in screwing them over than it did fucking with the public. I think Scott and Tessa thought they were above the public (shit how obvious can it be - we're the eternal scapegoat) and would never be hoisted by their own petard, but they were, and fairly ruthlessly.

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    6. If Rosie DiManno is anything to go by, the mainstream media is noticing that the "public" in the form of social media, isn't altogether buying the messages we get from the mainstream media about figure skating and figure skaters. Therefore, Rosie DiManno, in her recent output, just referred to public opinion on the web as a "river of vomit."

      She should know.

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    7. Of course, as 4:33 notes, the antics of all of these self-important drama queens behind the scenes and on the ice should have no influence on the sport itself. The sport should have informed, meaningful oversight and accountability in the media, and it has neither.

      I do get a lot of food for thought in the comments section. Some months back I was bitching about the obvious laziness of those who cover figure skating, how people like DiManno and Steve Milton can write about it for decades without bothering to learn an inside edge from a toe pick. These led to embarrassingly stunted, half-baked, derivitive fulminations from Milton after Sochi, where he'd undercut his own argument every other paragraph.

      After I expressed this frustration for about the hundredth time in this blog's existence, somebody in the comments section pointed out that this is the sort of media creature figure skating WANTS, and any informed "figure skating journalist" would find themselves out in the cold. Once that was mentioned, it became obvious. The sorts of people who have a regular figure skating byline have it for a reason.

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    8. I was 3:49 yesterday. OC's comment at 2:37 today gets to the core of what I really meant. The same system that enabled VM's sham is the same system that enables the current judging mess. VM gamed that system for their own benefit with the sham. It also, as OC puts it, led to them being hoisted by their own petard on the judging side of things.

      We saw the corruption amping up in both sides of things over the last quad. VM and DW are not skating, but the corruption is still there, it's just now affecting other skaters who do not deserve it. The Shibs, PI, and HD have certainly not done anything off the ice the way VM to warrant punishment, although I do wonder if HD ran over someone's puppy since their skating career is apparently being put out to pasture by the USFSA.

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    9. "OC's comment at 2:37 today gets to the core of what I really meant. The same system that enabled VM's sham is the same system that enables the current judging mess. VM gamed that system for their own benefit with the sham. It also, as OC puts it, led to them being hoisted by their own petard on the judging side of things."

      ^^This.

      I don't think Tessa and Scott see any connection between their own gaming of the system and what happened to them this last quad. I agree it's essentially the same thing and they're connected. Imo the reason they haven't made the connection is that those enabling their gaming are still too busy fawning all over VM, plus VM themselves are still feeling smugly entitled to their gaming of the PR system.

      I'm sick of their games but there are plenty of fans willing to declare everything VM do as the most wonderful, bestest thing in the whole wide world. Well, all these idiot fans have another opportunity to squeal with delight tomorrow, when VM are reportedly giving a speech centered around the theme of their honesty and sincerity. Their entitlement in the scope of their lies and hoaxing is astounding.

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    10. Holy shit are you kidding me? They're delivering a speech about integrity and honesty?

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    11. Well, the advertising for it says the evolution of their brand is the result of "prioritizing inherent values and character" aligning with corporate partners who share those values, staying true to yourselves, and that the essence of a brand can't be artificially manufactured, but built on a foundation of who you really are."

      Most of that is true about Tessa and Scott. Just need to ask them what those values are, what their priorities are, the essence of their character, and who they really are.

      It's also so bogus. Branding has become obsessed with "authenticity" - wonder why. Lots of personalities and brands, particularly among athletes, are all about the authenticity these days. Seems to me the read among the public is many of these people are liars. Trying to make marketing more authentic is like trying to make water less wet. I think Tessa and Scott *are* being authentic - they're liars. The public is just officially in the dark about what constitutes their values and the essence of their character.

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    12. I must say the incredible sanctimony they've acquired in the past couple of years is a wonderful look on them.

      Like most marketing efforts, they don't really try to define the characteristics they pretend to embody. It's like saying a product is full of "natural goodness" and all the weasel words products that are loaded with crap use to get around saying what's really in them.

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  16. I don't agree that corruption and "chosen ones" are a new thing, it's been happening for years.

    My take: The difference is that the change in scoring systems has opened up an opportunity for teams that would have struggled to make top 10 in the 6.0 era to rise to the top. The new rules have morphed ice dance into something so different that it might as well be a different discipline. You end up with confusion about what caracteristics should be rewarded, and what those caracteristics even mean. You can't truly compare DW to past 6.0 champions, it's all too different, and so "complex program" or "great skating skills" can take on a new meaning, for example. All the pro-DW definitions of great ice dance are still here and it remains to be seen if they'll have lasting power. The USFS took advantage of a system in transition and I'm not sure another such opportunity will come around anytime soon but we'll see. (and yes I know there's a rulebook but it's never going to be used as more than vague guidelines and politics is going to influence its contents anyway - what counts as a feature, what should be included in GOE criteria, it's all political)

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    1. There's validity in your viewpoint, with the exception that I don't think there's the slightest possibility that DW's ascent is down to "confusion." There was no confusion when VM won under the point system. DW, who are as opposite to them as night and day in every possible way, should not have been rewarded on par. If you reward VM under the system, you can't reward DW. Good skating/ice dance is good skating/ice dance. Furthermore there has been the issue of repressing VM (all the last minute gutting of their showcase moves) and ignoring errors - egregious errors - by DW, not to mention non-CoP basics such as speed, synchronicity and points of contact -- and the difference between skating an element and posing/two-footing through an element. And unison. Furthermore, nothing but corruption can explain what Skate Canada did to facilitate DW's rise to the top.

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    2. It's all narrative, not confusion over point system. The judges and the ISU, and the numerous ex-skaters/now-coaches who have weighed in didn't suddenly forget what good ice dance looks like between Vancouver and Sochi. They weren't suddenly confused into thinking that a team that won under Cop - Virtue and Moir - a team that had clearly only improved since Vancouver in ways that can leave no confusion - power, speed and control being the major ways - had degraded so that they were suddenly inferior to Davis White. With everybody saying the exact same things in the exact same way, sounding quite certain, not confused, and without ever directly referencing the point system in making their case. Nobody tried to make a case - it was smoke and mirrors and outright lies about what VM did on the ice.

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    3. "You end up with confusion about what caracteristics should be rewarded, and what those caracteristics even mean. "

      Why? I'm not following why this is the necessary logical endpoint of the change to the CoP system. Sure there are some things that could be more specific, but there are literally hundreds of pages of requirements, clarifications and definitions. It's not hard to understand with a little research.

      I agree that it's being used as vague guidelines at best and probably won't ever be used more accurately by TPTB. I can also see how the change in systems could cause some destabilization that people took advantage of in transition to change the course of things. I just don't see how that relates to CoP itself, because D/W have major flaws under CoP. It's not redefining things that is the problem, it's ignoring all the things that are clear as day in the criteria. V/M were the quintessential CoP team. I know some people prefer what ice dance used to be, but V/M would have been a different team under 6.0.

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    4. 3:41PM, I was going to cut and paste, and say, exactly, but what's the point of repeating your entire post. DW have major flaws under CoP, exactly. Look at CoP, look at what they do on the ice, look at their protocols, there is no way to interpret what DW did on the ice - how they executed, for one obvious aspect (forget program content for a moment, although that is a huge issue and easily exposed by anybody reading CoP) did not adhere to the GOE standards under CoP by any reasonable measure. CoP is dense, but it's not that confusing. There is one thing that requires an overhaul, and IMO, that thing is "difficulty", but that applies to all of figure skating, singles and pairs included. Don't forget DW defeated VM on fucking PCs. Skating skills. Even though the narrative, ha ha, said they were technically better (ridiculous, but just shows the narrative contortions that facilitated their victories). On the protocols, they beat VM - beat VM! - in skating skills, GOE, pcs, when they shouldn't have been beating about five other teams let alone VM. In the narrative, VM were the artists (i.e., the ones with the superior skating skills) while DW were the CoP animals.

      All lies. All corrupton. No confusion.

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    5. But COP is full of vague language and in any case it's possible to twist its words around to mean anything, really. It's impossible to judge FS in a completely mathematical manner, there's always going to be subjectivity, and that's what allows federations to create their own definitions and campaign to have them accepted.

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    6. 7:11. This is still a sport that pretends to have a detailed document describing CoP and what is and what is not acceptable icedance. Subjectivity in a judged sport must still exist within the context of its rules.

      What we've seen rewarded in DW's skating is in fact contrary to the sports' established rulebook. That is not called subjectivity. That is called corruption. Points and medals awarded based on politics, not rules nor any kind of subjectivity anchored in (integrity) the rulebook that allegedly guides the judging.

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    7. 7:11 - as 8:02 says, your descripton of CoP is inaccurate.

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    8. If there was no corruption, there would be times when the margin of error in a decision was so small that subjectivity would come into play. That is not at all what has been happening. D/W, G/P & Ch/Ba vs V/M, P/I, the Shibs & H/D - none of those are close calls where judges might weigh values differently, none of those are "oh, the math didn't quite work out".

      It's possible to twist words to mean something else in many areas outside of skating too. That doesn't mean that the people who do that, in politics for example, aren't LYING when they pretend to mean something else. The things in question don't cease to have a real meaning.

      CoP isn't perfect, but I would not call it vague at all. Also things like "skating skills" are concepts that have existed for decades. If a fed is creating their own definition, everyone in skating knows it's bullshit if it doesn't exemplify actual good skating technique.

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    9. For some reason I can't find the document on the (useless) ISU site, but I once started compiling a list of subjective words in the COP guidelines and gave up pretty quickly because the list was endless. And that was clearly subjective words like "aesthetic position", for example, lots of others were debatable (what exactly does it mean for a lift to have a flowing entry?) I also think that it's possible to use choreography to mask weaknesses or make the skaters appear better than they really are. Now, does that mean that everybody in skating thought DW had better skating skills? I doubt it, but DW and their PR provided a narrative that made the idea believable, or at least the idea that they were close enough that their superiority in other areas made them deserving winners (read that one on FSU).

      All the politics in the world couldn't take a completely terrible team and elevate them to gold, federations need something to work with. If it's decided a team deserves to win for non-skating reasons, there still needs to be some kind of skating justification given. And COP, just like statistics, can be used to argue almost anything. I don't think it's even a problem with COP itself, just that it's impossible to truly codify a discipline that's part art. As much as I love FS, even in an imaginary world with no corruption, it doesn't belong in the Olympics.

      Anyway I'm pretty sure I'm not convincing anyone on here and that's fine. I just think that the figure skating world, like the world in general, is a lot more complex than the black and white vision that's often presented here. I'll leave it at that.

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    10. I don't think it logically follows that words that are somewhat subjective, in the sense that humans will always honestly perceive things a bit differently, can then just mean *anything*. If a judge says Meryl's positions are aesthetically pleasing, that's a lie, or ignorance about dance technique at the very best, not a legitimate informed opinion.

      "I just think that the figure skating world, like the world in general, is a lot more complex than the black and white vision that's often presented here."

      And I think if we were talking about good teams duking it out, there would be a lot of grey to discuss and debate, and there would still be disagreement about judging's decisions and that would be fine. But V/M vs D/W is black and white. P/I vs G/P is black and white. Etc.

      Perhaps you're right that behind the scenes, the "good" keywords of CoP are used as justification to elevate those teams, but that's Orwellian twisting of the words to mean something that they simply do not mean. Not subjective interpretation, but corruption.

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  17. Despite their lies, I do feel terrible for VM. They probably had a long competitive career ahead of them. I lament all we could have seen as far as elements/lifts and skating as they continued. it's sad for me-I can't imagine how they feel..it's such a bitter pill to swallow

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    1. OMG, I feel sad as well. They should still be competing. They're 25 and 27 and at the peak of their powers. We're missing so much. I think even the great performances of the past quad were squashed somewhat because of ISU fuckery, making Virtue and Moir focus on pretend "issues" in their programs instead of doing what they should have been allowed to do - grow the program through the season. Despite all of this they still blew the roof off at the Grand Prix Final and the Olympics, crushing not on DW (nobody has to "crush" DW - they shouldn't even be a factor) but any previous ice dance performance by anybody, and it didn't matter. All the fuckery was exposed. Hey, it doesn't matter WHAT you do or how you skate.

      Although I'm still absolutely nauseated by the scores for the Olympic short dance.

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    2. Even though I love them, and appreciate the actual skating, their taste in show programs isn't completely my cup of tea, absent competitive programs to go along with the show skating (although I did love the show program version of their Latin short/long and what I saw of the show program version of Carmen. But it was hard to enjoy even that, knowing what had been done to VM when they competed it).

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    3. Apparently during Nationals Joannie Rochette was on TV talking about just finishing JSOI with Tessa and Scott and how they wanted to do the next Olympics and coming back in a year or two. She said they were still the best ice dance team.

      I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens.

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    4. The competitive programs is where they "really shine through" as one commentator put it. Especially the dead CD.

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    5. Another thing that bothers me is they literally trained their entire lives for this and what they love and sacrificed so much for was literally robbed from them.

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  18. One of the tumblrites posted a recap of today's talk: http://this-is-an-open-letter.tumblr.com/post/109349506348/video-above-is-a-compilation-of-what-moments-i-was

    This part was true anyway: "Then their manager talked about having Tessa and Scott as clients and how they weren’t out to try and change Tessa and Scott and their views but too make sure that any time a sponsor came on or an opportunity was presented, that Tessa and Scott wouldn’t have to sacrifice who they were just to have an opportunity."

    Three words: The Roots deal

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    1. 6:32
      I was just coming in here to comment on that particular part of the speech.

      The first thing I also thought was just that - Roots.

      Well, it's certainly apparent the Real Style Network was completely on board with the truth being something to mock and gleefully endorsing VM's sham. At TIFF they are the ones who tweeted the pic of Tessa and RS, commenting on the "lovely couple" and then making sure it was also part of the magazine article.

      I have great respect for Roots not giving in to VM on this issue. I hope all the sponsors who agree to lie with them are exposed as taking part in this hoax.

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    2. The fan girls are having a field day, I'm getting worried they'll kill themselves with their squeeing and bootlicking over everything VM do.

      And once again VM refuse to take responsibility for their actions by saying they had nothing to do with their tv show. But of course Scott wasn't lying when he told the world that the show is 100% honest, " like it or not ". How would he know if he never saw it ?

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    3. 8:58 -- Where does he get off saying they had nothing to do with the show's final product? Excuse me, Tessa and Scott's own talking heads agreed with all of the show's narratives.

      No one forced Scott to canoodle for the cameras or include Cassandra at TEB or any other number of scenes. What gall to say they requested the network *not* ask the usual relationship questions. That was the whole purpose of recruiting the local model wannabe and including her in the contracts. They wanted those "usual questions" to be front and center.

      As soon as the show was over they were wiping their hands of the 100% honest show. That's why Scott (and Moirville) got rid of Cassandra as soon as may be, as in, just in time for her to be history by the time the round of interviews and appearances after Sochi were being booked.

      Enter new GF on the stage. Show? What show?



      Delete
    4. What is this about a Roots deal?

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    5. Back in 2010 after Vancouver, V/M were given a Roots deal. It was very hyped, with lots of promotion. It was also concurrent with them being pregnant. Once it became obvious that V/M were going to continue to hide the fact they were married and would soon have a child, the Roots deal went up in smoke and was never heard about again. No one addressed the issue, but what was to be a four (?, I think) year deal simply didn't continue. Sounds like they've made sure they'll never be "punished" for their assholery again.

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    6. That's right, 4:16. It was to be a 4-year deal with Roots. The "4-years" was *very* hyped. Suddenly, before the first year was up, Roots and VM quietly parted ways. I think it was by December 2010 they were no longer on any Roots' ads nor wearing Roots' gear.

      Since when does a hyped, 4-year endorsement deal disappear after just 9 months? It's not like VM were caught in any public transgression that would be grounds to nullify the deal, or that VM were suddenly not skaters anymore. IMO the speculations that it was due to Tessa and Scott's lying -- and their intention to not stop lying -- are on point.

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    7. again, I will never understand why they would give up lucrative contracts and the fame and recognition they would receive by being honest. their stupidity is unreal. and yes OC, I am never that impressed with their exhibitions save for latin one and the carmen re-work. it's just boring and not at their level. the latin free dance was so amazing. but just in that year, comparing funny face to 2011, they improved leaps and bounds. it's just amazing how they screwed themselves re: their legacy.

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    8. 7:44
      Someone early on convinced VM that it was *imperative* they should conceal their real status off-ice in order to be safe, comfortable. They bought into it obviously without consulting with any competent professionals.

      They really did screw themselves. I think they're too arrogant and obstinate to admit to anything, that's why they stay on this trainwreck.

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    9. I've always loved their Beethoven exhibition. I also liked "Ballroom Rocks."

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    10. What did Trankov mean by this: "Our friends the Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir the Olympic champions in Vancouver and silver medalists in Sochi. When they skate, when they sit together for an interview - you think they were meant for each other. And later I can ask Scott in the dressing room `Scott, in which room is Tessa?’ `Why would I know??’ for me it’s a fairytale ruined. But every time they go on the ice the fairytale is alive again."

      Trankov has known them forever, so surely he knows they are married. Why wouldn't the fairytale be existing off-ice?

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    11. @ 5:24. Please. You really think good friends who know VM forever would spill anything to the media? They'd rat out their friends? Right.

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    12. Judging by the China video, it seems Trankov and VM have some kind of inside joke where he keeps saying they should get together. The story you quoted feels like a continuation of that.

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    13. No, I don't think that good friends would rat out friends. But what I do think is weird is why Trankov would say it in the first place. AFAIK, he doesn't get off by hoaxing the public.

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    14. It was the same with Bourzat while he was competing. IMO, it appears that Trankov and Bourzat both obviously know the score, and think it's hilarious. My guess is that they're not doing it to help the hoax, but because they enjoy giving V/M a hard time about it.

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    15. VM have plenty of friends in skating who do not sham themselves but are more than willing to enable them.

      Delete
  19. Results from Euros SD...no surprise, P/C are in first, C/L are in third.

    http://www.isuresults.com/results/ec2015/CAT004RS.HTM

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    1. I think the judges are setiing P/C up for a world title. They already got 71 points here, not far behind W/P's SD at nats, and that without national inflation. If they win here their score will go up at worlds as well.

      If PC become world champions that kinda closes the door for VM to come back. If VM compete against PC it won't be an apple vs oranges comparison anymore but apples vs apples because they are considered to have a similar style and VM will get dragged through the mud even worse than in the past quad. Then they'll claim VM are old and got beaten in their own game by a younger team. It doesn't matter that PC are inferior, it's all about feels and it doesn't help that many VM fans are already praising PC as the new VM.

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    2. I think if VM come back it'll have to be purely to challenge themselves, with the understanding that they won't be allowed to win. Their political window has passed, the ice dance world has moved on, it's somebody else's turn now.

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    3. They don't need politics writing them off, their own fans do it for them.


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    4. And now P/C are European champions.

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    5. I love how the same group who were howling with rage at W/P's scores during the GPF and Nats are now deafeningly silent. About the scores, that is. The P/C worship is as loud as ever.

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    6. Isn't that the truth, 7:07. These people were quick to fly into a rage over WP have nothing to say about the outrageous overscoring of PC during Euros. I assume that if the 4CC judges try to outpace the scores from Euros, that there will be more howling over WP's scores in a couple of weeks.

      The behavior of many VM fans this season compared to last season has made it clear that it's primarily all about the feels. These people are not fans of ice dancing. They're fans of whatever gives them the feels. If a team gives them the feels, it's a good ice dance team. If a team doesn't give them the feels, then they're not a good team.

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    7. At the GPF, every team was overscored (except the Shibutanis, of course). In at least the sd or fd, if not both. And people did mention this general over scoring of all teams, including PC. Do you not think WP were overscored at Nationals?

      I don't take silence as happiness, but indifference. I think you're creating fans to make fun of. The biggest PC fans on tumblr are also WP fans. In fact a lot of fans on tumblr seem to be fans of every team which is bizarre. That's like being both a Federer and a Nadal uber.

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    8. "I don't take silence as happiness, but indifference. I think you're creating fans to make fun of. The biggest PC fans on tumblr are also WP fans. In fact a lot of fans on tumblr seem to be fans of every team which is bizarre. That's like being both a Federer and a Nadal uber. "

      All right then, but where was the indifference about W/P? Still a double standard on display. Also tumblr was never mentioned and was not the group that I had in mind.

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    9. Oookay then, idk who you're talking about but I haven't seen many vm fans outside tumblr praising pc, not like the ott love on fsu.

      Delete
    10. But FSU *is* one place. There are V/M fans who are part of the OTT love there.

      Delete
  20. Ugh the P/C worship is ridiculous. they are excellent ice dancers but not "OMG PERFECTION!" they still have a lot to improve on and were totally over scored at the Euros. Not C/B over scored but up there.

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    1. At FSU and GS you can already find people praising them as better than VM and pretty much THE best ice dance team of all times.
      I don't know why but this annoys me even more than idiotic DW ubers.

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    2. how did P/C happen??? makes no sense to me.

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    3. Watched WP and PC and I honestly enjoyed WePo. PC seemed to still need quite a bit of work, they seemed like they needed a lot more training ...I think PC take good pictures?? My only rationale.

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    4. P/C can't do lyrical welll like VM or DL. Their mozart FD is dreadfully dull. Im certain SC contributed to the odd rise of P/C

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    5. This certainly doesn't endear PC to me. http://web.icenetwork.com/news/2015/01/30/107914490

      There is not the first word about technique or CoP. It's all about feelings and magic.

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    6. It just amazes me that all the FSU, G/S and ignorant V/M fans are fawning over this team because of their PACKAGE, a package that if V/M or any other team skated, everybody would bitch to high heaven how boring it was.

      So next year, when they come out with a different package, will everybody be fawning over them again?

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    7. @9:06 when you say their Mozart is dull (agreed!) but I just keep thinking how much the commentators were fawning all over it.

      Also laughing at GP's Paso @Nats ---Tracey Wilson has moments of truth but gets in line after. Pipers legs look like they were going to get tangled a few times and their lifts were "meh" at best

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    8. "It just amazes me that all the FSU, G/S and ignorant V/M fans are fawning over this team because of their PACKAGE, a package that if V/M or any other team skated, everybody would bitch to high heaven how boring it was."

      This one is a puzzle to me. If VM had skated that program, it would have been called dull. If PI had skated it, people would have said they were dull and trying to copy VM. If the Shibs had done that program, the boards would have said that they were siblings and therefore boring. If HD had skated it, it would have been they're boring and why can't they do something that's hot. All four of those teams are better ice dance teams than PC and all four have done lyrical programs with more complexity and nuance and no faked skating.

      Delete
    9. If VM skated to to their Mozart FD they would've made it less dull because they are more experienced, skilled etc. Also VM working/collaborating with DL? that is the real magic.

      Delete
    10. Whatever PC are doing from now on will be hailed as great simply because it's the narrative that everybody seems to have subscribed to.
      If they go back to their typical Euro trash programs they'll be called innovative and bold, if they stick to lyrical programs they'll be called the next G/G.

      Personally I find them dull and dreadful to watch. There is nothing special about their choreography or presentation. Apparently "artistic " is now defined by two skaters looking at each other as if they are in pain or completely detached from each other.
      Meh, I guess it's a step up from Meryl's psychotic OTT acting but not by much.

      I even found Paradis/Oulette's FD more inspired and emotional purely based on" feels ". But I don't see the fans going crazy over them.

      It's painful to watch a mediocre team from France getting all the attention and praises that P/B would have deserved.

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    11. This is obviously the fallout of the Russia/USA collusion SC and the french federation are obviously out for revenge by pushing their mediocre teams. Its an absolute pity VM and PB didn't have the support they deserved from their respected federations.

      Delete
    12. "Also VM working/collaborating with DL? that is the real magic."

      What I've seen of V/M's collaborations with D/L has been good, but nothing about D/L's competitive choreography has ever stood out as particularly exceptional. I know if they ever worked with them on competitive programs, V/M would be heads above other D/L coached teams based on talent alone. But they have to be working with choreographers who can give them programs that truly adhere to their transformative vision as skaters. That is a difficult task that takes a very special and transformative choreographic talent.

      It remains to be seen what V/M's exhibition to "How Will I Know" looks like in its entirety, but my guess is that Jeffrey Buttle will give them much better choreography than D/L have done. He posses the kind of intrinsic understanding of movement, rhythms, and music needed to challenge V/M. Like her or not, Zueva is that kind of choreographer for them. I think Buttle can be too. I don't see it in D/L.

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    13. Nailed it, 10:42.

      I also agree there is little evidence as of yet that D/L are stellar choreographers, 6:34.

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    14. "I even found Paradis/Oulette's FD more inspired and emotional purely based on" feels ". But I don't see the fans going crazy over them."

      You mercifully must have missed all the people who think they're amazeballs and better than P/I.

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    15. "I also agree there is little evidence as of yet that D/L are stellar choreographers, 6:34."

      As much as I like D/L, I agree with this.

      As skaters, their programs mostly looked the same.

      I don't see them being able to work with VM in such a way that stretches them to their potential, the way Marina was able to do.

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    16. I think a collaboration between Buttle and D/L could produce some interesting results. H/D's free dance last year was mostly David Wilson, with some input from D/L, so it doesn't look like they mind working with others.

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  21. Doesn't that video of the Canadian Nats medal ceremony just sum up the state of Canadian ice dance? P/I grinning and bearing it, grateful for small mercies, G/P gloating as if they'd won the gold, and Poje forgetting the 'platonic' script, only to be nudged back into line by his more politically savvy partner.

    Nice work, Skate Canada. W/P better watch their backs; they're next in line for the firing squad. Gotta clear that top spot for G/P!

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  22. I love PC and I'm honestly confused as to what you guys find lacking. I think their skating is divine.

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    1. Take away the pretty package, what about their skating is divine? I see plenty wrong with their skating skills, especially Gabriella - she is the glaringly weak link in that partnership.

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    2. This is another DW situation where nobody could explain why they would deserve to win. As long as the music is catchy or gives you feels it means their skating is divine, who cares about skating ? The ISU doesn't and neither do 90% of the fans.

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    3. You seriously think their *skating* - their actual skating, not the overall presentation that you enjoy - is divine? It's already been outlined in discussions in posts below what is lacking with their skills. If you're still confused, I don't know how to help unless you're more specific about what you think is so amazing. I don't think P/C are a bad team, but their skating needs significant work to be in "divine" territory.

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  23. https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2fiaoo_ctnsc15-senior-dance-awards-ceremony_sport

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  24. Maybe it's just a bad picture but it looks like Scott has gained more weight again since JSOI.

    https://twitter.com/ScottMoir/status/561266331333705728

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    1. looks about the same to me

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    2. This is a video from their show yesterday. http://vimeo.com/118325263

      Scott's outfit isn't very flattering but he definitely put on a lot of weight.

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    3. tessa looks amazing and the segment is cool but i dont think standing still and performing hip hop moves is that interesting

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    4. Unfortunately it's pretty much impossible to both skate and do hip hop.

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    5. Hiphop may not be a good choice for a competitive program but this is exhibition skating. It's fun.

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  25. FSU's ignorance about ice dance as what it's supposed to be as an Olympic sport is on full display: http://www.fsuniverse.net/forum/index.php?threads/which-free-dance-is-better.94782/

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    1. fsu is full of garbage. P/C's fd is only good for a sleeping aid.

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    2. 10::41
      As far as VM, fsu is all about finding ways to discredit them. This poll is the latest incarnation of that.

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    3. I love how they can acknowledge that V/M have superior skating skills, but meh, the choreography is boring and there's just something special/deeper/magical/insert useless adjective about P/C's Mozart program.

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    4. It's ridiculous the assertions those people are making about PC. Honestly they are way behind PB. What is with these people. I can't see what is spectacular about them AT.ALL. They can skate ...period. Not even beautifully

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  26. What about the latest rumour spreading over Tumblr that Mr Moir is going around telling people that he currently has no girlfriend? Is Ms Lawes' tenure as the girlfriend up already?

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    1. @9:29. Eh. As long as VM are stubbornly holding onto their fake personas, it doesn't matter which GF or BF comes and goes. They'll keep coming and going, all that changes is the face/name. *Shrug*

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