|Alex Shibutani's hair,|
Skate Canada 2015
|Tessa Virtue's 2007-2008 |
Skate Canada CD skirt
(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.
Can't not be interested in Chock & Bates not winning their Grand Prixes, and coming in behind Cappellini and Lannotte, whom I never expected would be permitted to factor again. That's almost as startling as the Shibs being allowed to get scores they've earned. I've got no time for Chock & Bates, but that was no can't be denied performance from C&L at Cup of China, and still.
The shakiest of the top teams I saw skate - of the teams that actually skate - such as the frenetic Sinitsina and Katsalapov, still did more skating in their Grand Prix competitions than Davis White were seen to execute in the entire six year run-up to Sochi. Sinitsina and Katsalapov's respective feet spent most of the program in different zip codes, but it was impressive how much skating they did, particularly how much skating SHE did, wobbly though at times it often was, or teetering on the edge. Even a team like this one, which failed to make the ISU minimum last season, are capable of skating in and out of their elements, and they did skate in and out of them. She wasn't slid onto her knees, he didn't support all of her weight while she posed an edge, she didn't glide in a basic snow plow to a halt with her hands imploring the ceiling of the arena.
Someone on Golden Skate observed that Sinitsina and Katsalapov's fd was DW-ish, and it was. There was scampering. There was arms' lengths stuff where she'd be 'pulled' past him a la the way DW executed their "direction changes," but as often as that basic move occurred with the two of them at arms' length as they initiated a transition, she'd actually skate it. He wasn't literally pulling her like a red wagon.
has her changing direction with her skating. He does a little scamper after her but it's one step, not three or four.
I've figured out what has always struck me as imperfect about Elena Ilinykh:
She's a massively wide stepper, Charlie White class, and hitches down and forward at the waist. They should play hockey together. She's a better actual skater than White is, but that goes without saying.
Can't gloat, because Iliushechina/Moscovitch are a mess, and because MTM V.2 did address their issues by changing training centers. Kirsten kills me though, because she's an Olympian in pairs, and how many tapes of Michael Marinaro did she look at before their tryout? If she had any savvy at all she'd have seen that height wasn't the problem with his partnership with Purdy. Aesthetically, Purdy Marinaro may not have been conventional, but when there were two lifts in a program, it was anybody's guess which lift would falter, and which would go up with ease. When you saw Marinaro/Purdy execute, you knew it's not height and weight. It's timing and technique. Marinaro is a strong guy, plenty strong enough to lift Kristen. What he's not is a great pairs guy.
I've also caught up with Jessica Dube and might do a small #TBwhateverdayitis post for that at some point.
If I follow her instagram correctly, she's hoping to be picked up by another cruise ship after this gig winds up in early 2016. As far as I'm able to tell, she's the highest ranking figure skater to join the cruise ship circuit, a circuit which is usually stocked with national/regional level competitors, not national champions and world medalists.
While she's waiting, fingers-crossed
Nothing says these are my dearest friends like a bare table in an empty restaurant.
Another one who isn't changing much, pr-wise: