Monday, November 30, 2015

November 30

I've watched more skating this past weekend and the weekend before than the previous eight months combined, caught up with everything pairs and ice dance in the Grand Prix series, and enjoyed some of it, because of

Alex Shibutani's hair,
Skate Canada 2015

which takes its place alongside

Tessa Virtue's 2007-2008 
Skate Canada CD skirt
as a non-skating facet of a skating program that, to me, is worth at least an extra level of GOE in the element in which it occurs.

(Re-watch that cd, performed a few years before VM got close to their prime, and see the hair's-breadth's distance between their skate blades in hold and changing hold. In that screen cap above, Scott has stepped BACK from Tessa. That distance is now the conventional separation between teams skating "closely" in hold. There are teams competing whose feet and bodies are markedly closer together compared to the the rest - Hubbell Donohue, the Shibs - but nobody approaches VM. They're extraordinary, but even if you're not them, it's not impossible to skate your patterns and your steps and be in hold with your feet decently close together, so you look like ice dancers and not middle-schoolers being put through an introductory Canskate drill. The ISU doesn't give a shit, though. Skaters that work on that aspect anyway, and skate well, will probably be rewarded with higher TES, while the team that can fit a picnic table between them will get bloated pcs.).


Shibutanis. I love this. It's not a program highlight. It's part of a
small series of directional changes. It's just a grace note.

I don't know why the ISU abruptly decided to green light scores for the Shibutanis that almost reflect how much better they skate than almost anybody else, after the ISU spent four straight years punishing them for something - I think it's the TES mark they got over DW that time - with the stench of futility.

I'd like to imagine the parental Shibutanis, from whom the public never ever hears a peep, parents whom I fantasize were at least partially responsible for telling Maia and Alex: "No way are either of you appearing in that W Network Tessa and Scott tire fire," finally took their bank account and slugged a few ISU people around the head with it, without letting any actual $$ fall into the pockets of any officials.

Because it's the Shibs, and I love their skating, I can be happy that their actual skating was recognized, instead of my remaining uncaring because giving good scores to good skating has become as meaningless as giving good scores to crap. It's arbitrary, and always will register that way, because of Sochi.

Skate Canada juiced the scores for Weaver & Poje at Skate Canada, although probably not as much as they'd have preferred. I like Weaver & Poje compared to Gilles & Poirier, Chock & Bates, and last year's "World Champions", but not in comparison to evenly matched ice dancers with fluid power and speed who move with their entire bodies, who have wonderful unison, and matchless musicality.

I'm still curious as to how Skate Canada was brought on board to sell out Virtue and Moir in the post-Vancouver quad, and were convinced to set DW up for Sochi even before that. I don't know if it's a good or bad sign for their Worlds prospects that, OTOH, nobody thinks throwing Weaver & Poje under a bus is worth anything in trade. Kaitlyn Weaver is notably stiff-backed and short-stepped in comparison to the Shibs, she and Andrew Poje were creaky with their new program. The Shibs outskated Weaver & Poje, using more of the rink than anyone else, with the longest, most powerful run of blade anywhere this season, so of course they received higher TES, but lower pcs than a clunky W&P. Figure skating loves to make sense.