Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Autumn Classic International
Sept. 29 – Oct. 1
Montreal, QC

* * *

Happy end of August from Future Cruise Ship Jessica:

Present day Jessica has found a bf, maybe:

It's no "He's my boyfriend and he's the best!"
but OTOH, his every pore isn't recoiling in palpable aversion.

Maybe she's en route to being this happy again.
I intended to mention Tessa and model Winnie Harlow's "My Beauty My Say" teaser clip in the last post, but I was struck into a stupor. When I came to, I'd already hit "publish," and it was mid-August. This initiative from Unilver for Dove is part of Dove's ongoing promotional outreach to real women with real bodies, who would like to for once buy an empathetic line of cleansers. Model Winnie Harlow is an unusual spin on this - she's not one of the "real-sized" women Dove showcases in their underwear (No objections, just saying that's Dove's hallmark), but she has vitiglio. I was interested in what she'd say.

The clip I saw was only a teaser, but featured Harlow saying this: "Gigi Hadid

 and Kendall Jenner

are my inspirations! People say they're not real supermodels but they ARE real supermodels! They totally are!"

Paraphrasing.  I couldn't get my eyes back to the front part of my sockets in time to watch it again before I conked out.

Seeing as both Hadid and Jenner are each worth millions, the distinction between working as a supermodel/being paid as one, yet not being a "real" supermodel that agitates Winnie Harlow eludes me, as I think it might elude most adults. Hadid comes from TV personality stock and Jenner has reality show DNA - is that equivalent to vitiglio in the fashion industry, putting the three models in the same boat? Tessa offered sympathetic noises, but no enlightenment.

I read that in the full-length video, Tessa disclosed, predictably, that some called her fat, and she tossed in that she was asked why she didn't dye her hair blonde. I call bullshit on the second - she's stealing it from that time Tanith Belbin went brunette, and rumor had it was instructed to re-bleach immediately. The fat stuff was part of the repellent package of corruption and distortion depriving Virtue Moir of Sochi gold, which they never called out, and still enable. So bullshit on that, too.

At this point, I would move Tessa Virtue away from the "inspirational" line of product promotion and position her in the "aspirational" sector, defined in wikipedia as things or experiences "a large segment of its exposure audience wishes to own, but for economic reasons cannot." Tessa's already there. Calling Tessa's stuff "inspirational" just makes things confusing, as in the Harlow clip. Tessa's world is: "Post a #StandUpTall video for #TeamCanada, like I'm doing by this private jet!" That's aspirational.

Showcasing normcore fashion on
private aircraft.
ETA: am watching Virtue and Moir's "season opening press conference" (https://www.facebook.com/lfpress/) and as the video starts, the reality show has obviously been mentioned:

Scott and Tessa, going out of their way
to make fans feel foolish since 2008.
"Our 'reality' show? You watched?
What a waste of time!"
Tessa gets fight or flight face, Scott's jaw tightens, and eye contact disappears. Scott mumbles. Everybody chuckles. Someone says they actually liked the reality show. Scott, eye contactlessly: "Better you than me, I didn't watch any of it." This is so them. They will hype something to the skies, badger fans to spend their money or time, then throw whatever it is under the bus without a qualm. I await the day they get a contract with Toblerone and tell us how Lindt chocolate actually sucked. Granted, if they'd continued to embrace the reality show, it would've been just as bad, but they made this.

P.S. I wish the interview didn't have so much low talking, murmuring, and uncomfortable shifting, because when a reporter says Scott and Tessa can never leave again, "we know where you live and we'll come after you" it sounds as if Scott says "that's what Tessa told me, that's why we came back" in a not totally kidding tone of voice. At some point, when they are out of the game for good, access will not be an issue for the skating media, and the rules may change.


  1. "It's no "He's my boyfriend and he's the best!"
    but OTOH, his every pore isn't recoiling in palpable aversion."

    This made me laugh. I know you have only been around sporadically, OC, but in case you missed it, in the ice dance sham, Zach Donohue is shamming with Olivia Smart now. It was introduced the same way basically every sham gf/bf in both shams has been introduced, but then quickly escalated to Mexico 2016 is the new Dominican 2009.

    Have a sample:

    There's more on their instagram and twitter accounts. Because they're training mates, it allows for sham to be broadcast basically constantly and Zach's pores are not recoiling in papable aversion, he's grossly OTT and Scott would have shot himself if he'd had to say these types of things about Jessica, but otherwise, the VM and HD shams are literally the exact very same now.

    It's TBD if HD pull what VM did during the FD at 4CC 2011 during the upcoming US Classic in SLC, but I'm hoping that Madison has borrowed the fiesta table runner dress from her buddy Tessa.

    1. "In the ice dance sham" should be "in the other ice dance sham."

    2. I'm going to check this out! But Donohue/Smart have a long way to go to compete with a married couple w/three kids who pretend they're platonic and sign up for a reality show. I just saw VM's recent interview and will update this post, because the reality show comes up at the very beginning.

    3. I don't have time now, but tonight I'll lay everything out for you.

      Smart is Jess Dube to Zach's Scott in this, but Madison and Zach have covered an impressive amount of ground for a sham that's still relatively young. In a little less than two years, they have gone from public and non-shamming to VM's shamming married parent status circa 4CC 2011.

    4. Yes that looks pretty shammy. Note to all shamming ice dancers - don't show us your armpits.

      I must say there's a (relative) level of taste and lack of try hard there that's easier to take than the nonstop self-congratulation and ridicule that accompanied every Dube Moir sham sting.

    5. I also wonder why they're doing it, since they're mid-ish level ice dancers, not superstars. Do they think if they sham like superstars, it will help them become one? Who are they keeping at bay? I don't see any signs they're marketing their fake status, as Virtue and Moir did. Although for Virtue and Moir, that bit was an evolution. The original pretext, which they themselves may have believed, was privacy. And a way to keep their thousands of London/Ilderton nearest and dearest feeling involved, but at arms' length. Do Hubbell Donohue have those circumstances?

      As to the OTT, what I've seen is typical instagram b.s. Everybody calls everybody else "Angel", "this beauty", blah blah. It's gushing, but also generic.

    6. HD haven't had anything to say about this season yet, but particularly in the first part of the season, they marketed their fake status hard. There was an article in Skating magazine last fall that was basically nothing but an elaborate marketing piece for their fake status and how they have very separate and different lives off ice. Their social scene interview at us nationals 2016 was cringeworthy. Instead of the usual light fluff, the whole thing was selling their fake narrative. They're also being used in the current pitch from TSL about the upcoming trip to Montreal. We'll see what they do with that.

      They have also fanbaited, several times leading fans to think everything was just rumor in the beginning or, at times last season, that they had reconciled.

      Their families have been Moirvilleing it up too.

      HD are not superstars yet, but they have been working their way up, and my suspicion is that USFS has plans for them during the next quad.

      I wish I knew why they decided to do this. Their family and friends never came across as overbearing or overinvolved. They were publicly a couple for 3 years, something they've tried to retcon. They aren't yet superstar level. They have lost fans and interest of a lot of people since this started. It's the worst possible way anyone could have chosen to market them.

    7. That should be first part of last season.

    8. Just to add a couple things to the discussion.

      YMMV, but I actually find this sham in some ways grosser than V/M's.

      1. Zach's mom is a singer in a born-again Evangelical duet that travels around trying to convert people, and yet is up to her neck in this sham. On Facebook, the parents have been EXTREMELY involved. The hypocrisy boggles.
      http://www.heartsongsingersforchrist.com/#!biography/c1enr - His mom is the backup singer, Dee Eggert (nee Willis). The Moirs have done a lot of lying and Scott wears a cross, but they weren't thumping people on the forehead with Bibles either. (Metaphorically speaking, I have no evidence that this duet literally does that, haha.)

      2. Perhaps it's true that everything on Instagram is OTT, but I think the original poster's point is that it's gross *because* Zach is a married father. Scott at least was unable to appear anything but repulsed by having to sham. Also Olivia is a lot younger than Zach and they've even played that angle up, the supposed sexiness of dating an older man, etc.

      3. Let's not forget that this started with Adria and Madi shamming, and that Olivia/Zach is just part 2. The retroactive messy breakup story (they now say they broke up in 2013, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary) has been a aggressive part of their PR narrative, and adds a particularly weird flavour to this sham. With V/M, naive fans can keep hoping that ~someday~ things will happen. With H/D, the story is much more screwy. The Madi/Adria stage kept fluctuating between Stalker Heartbroken #PoorZach and Madi/Adria/Zach/(Luis Fenero?) appearing like a polyamorous trio or quad. And now Zach/Olivia is much more tasteless, for my money, in the character and frequency of content. Moirville would drop normal-on-the-surface sham at specific times. With Zach/Olivia, every day is Gross Sham Day. It may not have the same level of bait-and-sting interaction with fans, but that well could be that there are so few fans that even care about them still. It seems like everyone slowly backed away last season at how weird things appeared, with H/D still practically making out at the end of skates while she was aggressively sharing her supposed new romance with the Spaniard(s), complete with a sham dog. And you realize Olivia is Adria's new partner, right? They've chosen for Madi to be off-screen during the pregnancy, but I half expect Adria/Madi will be on full blast again this season, in which case the two couples will be gross as a unit. Won't that be adorable?

      4. This isn't worse than V/M necessarily, but it's similar. H/D have repeatedly tied their "story" to their skating programs - their "Slip" ex was about a messy breakup, their "Hallelujah" SD was about the beginning of their partnership (when they were together), their angel-themed FD was also about a tortured love story. They unveiled their upcoming SD theme with a video of them slow dancing on a balcony with Madi. Their upcoming FD theme is "Love Medley". They hit the "LOVE! but also we broke up! aren't we cool and European about this!" theme over and over again.

      5. As the last poster reiterated, they are now married parents of one, so they may only need time in order to catchup to V/M.

    9. If they did an exhibition to their pretend personal story, that's so obnoxious. Music stars stoke that crap in their fans all the time, but figure skating pretended to want to be taken seriously as a sport for years, but it is up to its neck in this kind of dreck.

      The Evangelical piece is not that surprising. I'll tip my biases here, and certainly not paint everyone with the same brush, but a "professional Christian" is more likely to be seeking cultural influence, status, political power and money than to spread the messages in the bible (which are always cherry picked and grotesquely misinterpreted anyway). That's another way to manipulate fans - evangelicals don't get much positive press, so for someone with a higher profile to appeal directly to them, it's validating.

      It's been obvious since Sochi that Scott and Tessa are all about "safety in numbers." Everybody is culpable, nobody can rat them out or look down on them, at least inside their bubble.

    10. I agree with everything you said, 4:42. They have a girl who turned 19 on April 1 shamming with a man who turned 25 in January and who is a married father. In addition to Zach's mom's, his aunt also loves to speak loudly about religion and has a blog. HD were the subject of one of her entries. http://www.4everhis.com/2016/03/come-dance-with-me.html?m=1

      I also agree with the sentiment that what HD may need to catch up to VM with shamming is just time.

      This is the Skating magazine piece from last Fall. http://content.yudu.com/web/y5b2/0A1uvwc/Nov.2015.SKATING/flash/resources/index.htm?referrerUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fcontent.yudu.com%2Fweb%2Fy5b2%2F0A1uvwc%2FNov.2015.SKATING%2Findex.html When touting the article on their website, they had this nonsense to say: "In an extensive interview with Troy Schwindt, Madi and Zach talked candidly about their challenges in the previous two seasons and their rationale in looking to refresh their skating and their perspective by relocating their training base to Montréal. Madi and Zach also discussed, with refreshing maturity, how they have maintained a strong, productive, and mutually supportive relationship both on and off the ice."

      This is the Social Scene piece from US Nationals 2016. http://web.icenetwork.com/video/v539936183 Michael Buckley is a long-time friend of theirs. Keep in mind that while Madi was mouthing about their being cute girls in Montreal and about her fake boyfriend that she was sitting their pregnant with her and Zach's first child.

      Little Moir and Baby Donohue are going to have so much fun trading notes one day.

    11. The launch and early part of HD's sham was chronicled in comments on a blog post here last Fall. The discussion starts here if you would like to take a look back at it. http://dubemoir.blogspot.com/2015/11/november-30.html?showComment=1449557160079#c2405261503089228152

      In early August 2014, right before HD switched agents and then subsequently succumbed to shamming and right after what would have been HD's third dating anniversary, they did an appearance at a Relay for Life event in Michigan. In the photos, Madi was wearing a gorgeous ring on her left ring finger that looked a lot like an engagement ring. We expected an engagement announcement to come eventually rather than the sham that came instead.

      When the Skating article came out last fall, there was that brilliantly absurd quote from Zach that I wouldn't be shocked if Tessa Virtue herself had written it for them about how Madi was his whole world and how they were like family." We took that as the signal that at some point, they had married. We're family is to them the same thing that we're not dating is to VM. There was also a QA in the summer of 2015 on their website where Madi mentioned she wanted to be a mother. We all decided to prepare ourselves for HD to repeat in the 2018-2019 season what VM had done in 2010-2011. We imagined that they'd claim that Madi had suffered a recurrence of her hip injury and that USFS would release 25 articles about her bravery and how it definitely wasn't anything else.

      Shortly before Christmas, right after the GPF, Madison posted this photo on her instagram. https://www.instagram.com/p/_ToUkahdm0/?taken-by=splashmadison. There's a comment about "we miss you." It was a late weekend night, and we joked that forget Fall 2018, maybe Madi was already pregnant. We laughed as we imagined a scenario where Madi was skating in her second trimester at worlds. It was funny. It was a way to let off some steam over watching another ice dance sham and after another skating event were the results were not right.

      Then things started to happen.

    12. Three days after Christmas, Zach's mom publicly posted this photo on facebook. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153894094633413&set=pcb.10153894094883413&type=3&theater

      We were puzzled by Madison's oversized outerwear choice. We commented on how long her roots looked. She had been liking photos of babies on instagram. In early January, Madison posted a collage of photos and one item appeared to be a baby hat. https://www.instagram.com/p/BAF_3Rnhdle/?taken-by=splashmadison

      Nationals came. Madi didn't look much different physically, but we noticed how she held something in front of her in the K&Cs and how she seemed to have something tied around her waist. There was also a photo on Zach's instagram account that he later deleted where she had her legs propped up as if to drain swelling. After the gala, we speculated if her blue dress maybe looked a little snug.

      Then, 4CC came and it was starting to get obvious. The workout pants that looked like they didn't quite fit right, the puffy face, the turtlenecks, and the continued use of that hideous outer garment.


      Worlds came and Madi was rocking the oversized jackets like this one:

      At this point, it was a game like it is with Tessa. It was the differences between her normal figure and how she was looking. A small baby bump was obvious a few times as they skated their SD. You could notice her belly button popping out in this fan video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cl7afvSFlvw That she is thicker than normal is noticeable here: https://youtu.be/LHJZ7luN8Ik?t=378

    13. After worlds, Madi was scarce and Zach and Olivia were launched.

      There are some gems, such as an alleged skydiving trip. I love the obvious, especially if you're familiar with how Madi normally looks, protuberance in the second photo.


      This is a still from this video of Madi posted of herself playing tennis. https://www.instagram.com/p/BGHj43Ehdgw/

      Front-to-back, she's a lot thicker than usual.

      These are stills from one of the videos Madison posted teasing their SD music. Baby bump is clearly visible.


      These are from the US Dance Camp at the end of June.



      From Grassroots to Champions Camp in late June into early July.


      Carefully posed, in a giant coat, from the front: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1196848980337263&set=a.1196846690337492.1073741829.100000365180575&type=3&theater

      After they returned from the two camps, HD were at home for a good 3 1/2 weeks, then they were in Japan for The Ice for a couple of weeks, home for a about 8 days, and then left for Champs Camp. We originally thought the baby was going to be born sometime this month. They skated at a show in Lake Placid in July, where she looked less pregnant than she had at the camps. Then, she looked sort of pregnant still in some of the images from Japan, but not in others. We're still waiting on video of their performances there. In photos from Champs Camp, she appears to be more her normal. They are supposed to skate in SLC in a couple of weeks, but maybe they'll skate a minute of their FD and call it a day. The biggest gap they had for the baby to be born was the July gap, but I'm not willing to commit to that.

      This is not an exhaustive list of images either, and particularly the earlier you go in the pregnancy, it is a situation exactly the same as Tessa. Madi has to be compared to herself. She did have more of a typical bump later on than Tessa has ever had, but I still don't think she was as large as a lot of non-elite athlete mothers can become.

    14. You guys are nuts.

    15. Well, I did scroll through the relevant instagrams and I just recommend doing what many VM fans have done - accepting/recognizing who your faves are (in the public realm) while maintaining your support for the qualities you admire and WHILE calling out it, because I think it's important that fans not consent to be treated like shit and played for fools. Over the years, it's been extremely clear that the obsession over a skaters' personal lives is driven by the skaters themselves, not the fans. I recently re-read a 2 and a half year old string on this blog - all the reality show recaps. The comments section dealt with the reality show, but was also constantly derailed by those who wanted to talk about the skating.

      For some reason, the skaters themselves, the shamming skaters, don't really want to talk skating. It seems to me that despite the fact that David Dore shuffled off to his maker, that is a top down edict. Instead we talk about nebulous magical relationshippy vague bullshit like "new levels."

      That said, skating parents can be the fucking worst.

      It also appears that the idea of shamming has expanded to become part of figure skating culture. "Everybody does it." And that's convenient. There's certainly safety in numbers. Also, the more people who are doing it, the less wrong it is. Isn't that how it works?

      Looking through the instagrams, the so-called skating community is certainly up to its neck in enabling it.

    16. Speaking of the relevant instagrams, they're having a sham drop this morning. Sometimes, there's sham during the week, but you can count on new sham from them every weekend.



      The first is eye-roll inducing. The second is special with 25-year-old married father Zach flashing his underwear on a skateboard.

      HD had a small fandom that's gotten smaller as this sham has progressed. If you're an HD fan who knows they're shamming, you're also a VM fan who knows they're shamming. Going through this again, it's all just a little bit of history repeated. It's hard to find any qualities to admire in HD anymore. They have the talent to be one of the very best of the teams not named VM, but they completely sold out their skating too when they moved to Gadbois. Dubreil and Lauzon do not have the skills as coaches or choreographers to develop HD's talent to full potential. Although they're not shamming, thank God, the same can be said about DL not having the ability to develop PI to full potential either. VM never sold out their skating. From what we've seen of their SD so far, even being in Montreal, they haven't sold out their skating. Off-topic for this comment, but at this point, I have some suspicions about the actual creative origins of this SD.

      I agree wholeheartedly when you say it's important to fans not to consent to being treated like shit and played for fools. What few remaining HD fans there are, aside from those of us who know VM sham and were thus able to see straight through HD, seem to buy and embrace the sham. It's the usual suspects kind of crowd. It's frustrating. I feel bad that those fans are getting played, but at the same time, I think even if they had all 7 entire mountain ranges of evidence laid out in front of them, they still wouldn't see through it. Skating fandom has been well-trained in willful blindness.

      Before they started shamming, HD did talk a lot about their skating. That they were an off-ice couple would be mentioned in passing, but the bulk of their interview talk was their skating. I think there are a lot of people in ice dance who compete without really understanding skating and what they're doing. HD are not in that group. They understand ice dance on a technical level. It's another reason it's been so disheartening to see them sham and sell out. They know better.

    17. I think with a second sham happening, it does signal that shamming is an accepted part of figure skating culture. So many in skating are eager to participate in this, the same way that skaters have participated in VM's sham. I'd always assumed when it was just VM that there were probably a lot of skaters who didn't approve, but kept their mouths shut because of the culture and the ones that were helping out were doing it as a favor to VM. Now, I suspect that it's probably only a handful of skaters who disapprove and everyone else is happy to help out with a hoax on the fans. I also think it probably does make it easier to justify with more people doing it. Before, it was just a VM thing. Now, HD are doing it. Eventually, we'll see more shamming teams. In 4 or 5 years, will all teams who are also off-ice couples have their own sham running?

      I've spent some time watching and observing how other sports, including other judged sports like gymnastics and diving, relate to their fans. In no other sport are the fans treated the way skating fans are treated. Fans are treated as capable of understanding technique and scoring. People explain what is happening in the field of play. They don't talk down to those watching and they don't ignore the field of play to hand wave and talk about magic or pretend that things are just to complex to understand.

      Journalist Lynn Rutherford has played the same role in the HD sham that we've seen much of the skating press in Canada play in that sham. She's been willing to inject and promote the lies in HD pieces. She's also an active participant on FSU. When the Skating article came out last fall and people were questioning the only dated for 18 months fib because their is the whole mountain of evidence out there in contradiction to that because that's what happens when you try to retcon your life when shamming, she chimed in with this line about how sometimes you forget or don't know how long you dated someone. How insulting to the fans is that?

    18. Recently, she posted this in a discussion about Ryan Lochte going on DWTS.

      "If it's Lochte, I can't wait. He's an attractive, in-shape guy the female pros will probably fight over. He's also a poor communicator who took a drunk pee behind a gas station and used the words "armed robbery" when he should have said "armed extortion." A perfect storm of a blabbing mom and on-the-spot (and insufferably pleased with himself) Billy Bush, combined with a lousy decision by a USOC official, jolted him into "overexaggerating" a story he was still too drunk to properly discuss. DWTS has featured domestic abusers, drunk drivers, a person who left the scene of a car accident, a politician who misused federal agencies, etc. Not everyone in the world is smart, but almost everyone has made mistakes. Lochte made a whopper of one and paid dearly for it."


      The point here isn't Lochte. It's that her comment sheds light on how the skating community itself views the fans. She reduces women down to fighting over a hot man and ignoring his seriously bad behavior. The majority of skating fans are female and gay men. If she thinks the female professional dancers are going to fight after Lochte just because of looks, then she thinks similarly shallow things about the largely female and gay male skating fandom. Basically, skating fans get treated the way they do because of what sex and gender they are. If it was reversed, and skating fandom was mostly heterosexual men, then I'd bet there would be no shamming and the commentary and press coverage of skating would be a lot different. I think skating as an institution views and treats their fans in an insulting and degrading way. There are very few people in skating who aren't like that, with the Shibs being at the top of that very short list.

      For the record, the female pros fought over Lochte so hard they had to bring back their most hard-ass female pro who's been off for several seasons to wrangle him, and she's already talking about what an incapable dancer he is and the season doesn't begin for another week+.

    19. I think VM must be thrilled about sham proliferation. As I said, if a lot of people are doing it, then scamming fans and playing them for fools must be okay. I don't see the same degree of malice in the HD sham, although it is pretty gross, that also has to go to the taste level of the participants. I don't like using jargon all that much, but it comes in handy - Olivia Smart seems pretty basic in her social media presention; the whole thing from filters to poses to commments. It's also clever to show an image of just one of them and pretend it's been taken by or observed in person by the other.

      As to the skating, I would bet ANY amount of money that DL aren't actually coaching and choreographing Virtue Moir. David Wilson is smart enough to work with them, and his musicality is first rate. As to the rest, they're publicizing DL while making sure there are better eyeballs on what they're doing - that's a guarantee.

      Oh Christ re Lochte. I had hoped that DWTs had ditched the idea after Rio, although of COURSE they didn't. I stopped w/DWTs a few years ago when it became 100% manufactured instead of maybe 50/50. When you said "hard-ass female pro" I thought "Oh please not Cheryl Burke" (my longterm favorite) but of course it's her.

      You are absolutely right. Skating fans are treated as they are because of gender. And ALSO due to age. There are young women who follow skating, but the skaters themselves, and I'm sure the officials, perceive the demographic as middle-aged women. There is nothing lower, and that's why they're treated like trash. You CAN'T treat middle-aged women disrespectfully. There's nothing to respect!

      That's the mindset. Did you hear of Michelle Obama's quote at the US Democratic convention "When they go low - we go high?" Figure skating is "They go low, we go lower. Fans won't know the difference, and going lower makes us feel better about the embarrassment of our fanbase. You don't want us to take them seriously do you? Look at them. Listen to them!"

      Years back, the blog took on a sampling of sports with male fans. The whole face-painting, beer can hurling, loutish lot. And you know figure skating would trade every single fan it currently has for those fans.

    20. Lynn Rutherford is a sellout and a liar. That's how professional "journalists" ply their trade, that's who gets hired. I think there will be a gradual change, as this trend has hit what I HOPE is its peak (actually a nadir) but not in time to have any impact on skating.

    21. Speaking of the female fan base and how it's treated - Tessa Virtue re-tweeted a blog by a male Olympian who objected to the sexist treatment of many of Canada's female medalists. He discussed how the media trivializes female Olympians, pointed out the headlines obsessing over their looks and not their achievement, and noted how even male athletes are prone to mansplaining how a female athlete who is on social media a lot is probably not dedicated (this was said about a female GOLD MEDALIST). Social media is not seen as an issue with male athletes who are on social media 24/7.
      Tessa thought this was a thoughtful piece. It also ties in with her #mybeautymysay promotional partnership with Dove.

      But it was Tessa Virtue who, in the reality show, played into and hyped up every stereotype about female athletes, particularly figure skaters. Neurotic, not really into her sport (she constantly talked about life after figure skating), disparaging her athletic talent on and off the ice (she was embarrassed by her skill at golf). She was deferential to her male partner and constantly analyzing him while he talked about himself. She was a mess, took the blame for everything on and off the ice, and never for a second made out as if she enjoyed skating, was truly competitive, and wanted to win. She came across as if she were x-ing off the days until she could move on.

      Here's a thought, just for figure skating, and just for Tessa. If, as a female athlete, you believe you deserve to be taken seriously and treated with respect, try treating your female fans with respect. Tessa is as responsible for the trivializing of female athletes as anybody currently writing about sport or competing.

  2. A video from the new programming just came out. Will you write anything about it? They seem strong and fast.

    1. I will. I have no doubt they're strong and fast. They were outskating the entire eligible field of ice dancers when they were just doing shows. It was obvious that for whatever reason (prior to announcing their return) that they were staying in competitive condition, both athletically and with skating skills.

      My dilemma is, do I have the stomach to go through a season where they're lowballed, where the sport pretends they are actually challenged by other ice dancers or any other appalling narrative, and where the current "world champions" outscore them in their Grand Prix events, and color commentators tell us what Virtue Moir need to do to win over Papadakis and Cizeron? And we get a load of made up shit elevating P&C and poor mouthing VM?

      Common sense tells us Virtue Moir got a solid gold guarantee before went to Montreal, but common sense has never been their strong suit. So that's my issue. I was prepared for Davis White, but I'm still not reconciled to it. I can't watch Sochi video. I don't know if I have a way to talk my way through what may happen this season. But I will watch the video.

    2. I am getting ready to watch the video, which I presume is of their Prince short, but first am finishing their comeback press conference. Motherfucker. "Training alongside them is the dynamic young French pair Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron.

      Virtue described the talent of Papadakis and Cizeron, both 21, as "absolutely phenomenal." Moir echoed that praise.

      "They’re pushing the sport," he said. "We really pride ourselves on trying to do things different but they are taking the sport to a new level and I think it’s going to be a challenge for us to even compete against them in the next couple of years.""

      Right Scott. Name one way they've pushed the sport, except further into the sewer. Glad to see you so fully embracing the scam.

      The BEST case scenario here is fans are going to have to suffer the pretense that P&C and VM are close in ability and VM have to play fucking catch-up, until finally they're allowed to gasp across the finish line first, as in the run-up to (and including) Vancouver. The worst is that gosh, they're just happy to be second at their age.

      I thought it was telling that Scott didn't have anything specific to say about why they went to D&L but he did mention how they line up with being Canadian. I'll bet. Their Federation threw them under the bus and then backed it up half a dozen times between Vancouver and Sochi - no longer gave a shit about them because they trained with a Russian based in Detroit (remember the fawning over Gilles Poirier all because they trained in Scarborough)? If SC has to destroy ice dance (or lets say, dance on its grave) it's going to get a Canadian dance champion trained in Canada.

    3. Saw the practice video - it was no less than you'd expect. While they seemed to be mostly place-marking, they had speed and strength. I don't get much of a sense of the sd as a whole at this point, but at the same time, most ice dance fans obsess over programs, and I don't. It's the skating, not the fucking program, that's meant to be judged.

    4. https://twitter.com/ScottMoir/status/771171206166904832

      Well, get ready for Sexy!Angsty!Ballad! program version #73 for the FD. At least it used to be just their exhibitions.

    5. They must not care about winning at all.

    6. GoldenSkate shared a couple more clips. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Tp-O3fiXKA&feature=youtu.be and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WIwXtR6nTI

      It makes me sick to think that once again skating is going to pretend that VM are anything but the very best by a vast gulf.

      I hate that they're having to play this stupid game again. That they have to pretend that another less-than team is as good as or better. To say otherwise would probably be even more lethal though. I think no one wants to rock the boat in fear that making a few waves will result in being shot completely out of the water.

    7. I have been cruising around fsu and the VM thread has tension between P&C fans who claim P&C's skating skills are every bit on par. With VM claiming the same thing, fans are the only ones getting screwed.

      I hate to bitch about program music because it's basically irrelevant. If it has the required rhythms, the performance hits the tech requirements and ss are the best by miles, that's all that matters. That said, the FD music. BLECH. Just remember it doesn't matter. Music doesn't signal - we dont' want to win. Did "Carmen" signal they don't want to win? Carmen CRUSHED Notre Dame and filled the fans with excitement, and what happened? The judges pretended it was subpar, and VM pretended the fans disliked it.

      That said, I also hate that they have to pretend that another less-than team is as good or better.

    8. Blech is right.

      I think if anything this choice signals that they DO want to win. It's the same kind of sappy dreck that has made Gadbois so celebrated. They've insisted multiple times now that they just love what D/L do with their teams artistically.

      I would like to say it's as cynical as their choice to praise P/C, but that doesn't explain why they've gravitated to a similar style for gala programs so many times.

      Still, if V/M were to choose a strategic kind of program right now, this is it. The problem is that the ISU has never let them play by the same rules. And I'm doubtful there's really anything they can do to avoid a repeat of last quad anyways.

    9. Yes, the Virtue Moir rules. A double standard. They're judged against themselves. I did see the Marie France interview that featured an overhead of pieces of the Prince short, and there it is - using every inch of the ice, powerful, huge blade run, blades close together. Initially the choice of a Prince medley bugged me - I love Virtue and Moir's skating, but I think every skater on the planet has skated to "Kiss" either competitively or in a show, and as I don't think figure skating judges are brain trusts (setting aside the corruption) I thought this choice might give judges and excuse to dismiss VM. However, as a music medley, it's more effective than I at first thought.

      I'd love to know what David Dore did before he shuffled off this mortal coil. Did he order up Davis White's Olympic gold in exchange for the rise of the Montreal training center later? There is no question that P&C's elevation is down to where they train, and nothing else. For whatever reason, Brian Orser training Olympic and World champions is not enough for Skate Canada.


  3. Come on, OC. Scott knows they will lose. They have absolutely no chance of winning against P/C, and he already knows it. I wouldn't be surprised if SC openly told him that when they decided to come back. That's why he's saying that it will be a challenge to compete against them, that they aren't focused on medals, etc. I do believe it when he says that they are in it for different reasons this time -- there's no way to do the kinds of programs they want to do on a show budget. And you know what? I don't care about the scores/medals anymore either. They don't need to win gold to prove how good they are. That much is evident in the legacy the already have -- the way so many skaters admire them and try to copy what they've done. Judged sports are bullshit, but the art and quality are what last, anyway.

    1. I'm not there. It's a sport. These are the best. I don't care how Scott and Tessa feel about it, I care how I do. I can't and don't edit out the fact that the competition part is bogus, and Virtue and Moir have decided to collaborate. It's degrading. It's not for their sake that it matters. It matters for my own, and anyone else who wants to support ice dance.

    2. If V/M actually tried to revolt against the system, I bet it would turn out a lot like the Bernie Sanders campaign. It's not easy to buck a system this entrenched.

    3. The competition hasn't started yet. How can you say who deserves to win without seeing programs during particular competitions? You don't know what errors teams will make, etc. Let's wait and see what will happen during the season. There's no point to moan now.

    4. Because no one is on V/M's level with basic skating. You can't tell ahead of time what any team's exact score should be, or which team will skate better if it's a close matchup. But V/M's skill puts them on a level no other team is currently at. The PCS score they would deserve even at the lower end of their range gives a buffer. It also means it's likely their elements will be superb barring a major mistake. Therefore if V/M make a major mistake or two, the odds are very likely they'd still deserve to win. Of course it's not an absolute because at a certain point majorly flubbing too many elements makes it mathematically impossible for a buffer to protect a team. But the likelihood is very high they will deserve to win every competition they enter. P/C are mediocre in every sense of the word. The Shibs are the best candidate to deserve to beat V/M if the latter had a really rough day, but it's not likely. It's what people do in all sorts of different discussions online, in their jobs, in making personal choices - assuming scenarios based on the likelihood that it'll be the case.

    5. I think 4:41 pm is wrong. When it comes to pure, basic skating, P/C is on another level, higher than V/M. I have seen both teams live, and P/C's basic skating is unbelievable. The can go from standstill to top speed almost immediately, and maintain that throughout the program, without any hopping, pushing, or other nonsense you saw from teams like D/W. This is pure mastery of the blade -- there is no way to fake what P/C are doing. They are very young, so obviously they lack the experience V/M have, but when it comes to just basic bladework, I would give the edge to P/C.

    6. 7:23 am again. Wanted to add, at Worlds, P/C's pattern in the SD was so, so much bigger than any other team's pattern. It was like there was no friction to slow them down, so they could glide and make the pattern as large as they wanted. I've never seen anything like it.

    7. 7:23, then you don't know anything about pure, basic skating. They lack power, speed and stability. They don't use their entire bodies when they skate, and they don't vary their movements. They skate in a deep knee crouch and wave their arms, and they use very little of the rink.

    8. This was even mentioned by Kurt Browning, and he just threw up his hands when they won with "Well, they're magic."

    9. And I've seen their twizzles, which is one place stability ought to show.

    10. And, finally, all that says to me is 7:23 doesn't know what they are looking at when they look at Virtue Moir.

      Question though, for PC fans, that is not about PC's impoverished use of movement (all the arm movements use the shoulders and neck only - good GOD is the chin-lift histrionic - not the core, angsty looks, and squats), blades that are much further apart than Virtue and Moir's, simple arms' length holds, and lack of power. If PC's skating skills are as exquisite as claimed, why were they 13th in 2014? No previews for the 2015 season predicted them as World Champions - nobody was reporting an extraordinary, unprecedented development in skating skills (VM themselves were 7th in their first World Championships). What happened in 2015? They made a nearly impossible leap in skating skills, or they were finally recognized for extraordinary skating skills the sport had been unwilling to validate until then? And in what way are their skating skills stronger than, for two - Virtue and Moir's, and The Shibs (there are more, but start there).

    11. OC's point here is a good one. An analogy - as a P/I fan, I can say if a miracle occurred and they started collecting some international medals like they have deserved, there'd be a long trail of complaints from us, backed up with evidence, that they are an excellent team that TPTB have continually refused to recognize. I haven't come across a single comment that claimed P/C were outstanding before the scores told people they were.

      (Fun fact: P/I were demoted to special 13th in 2015 after finishing top 10 in 2014! Somehow that placement didn't result in winning the 2016 Worlds, but instead in SC sending a team that had pretty much the textbook definition of immature skating skills to Worlds instead of them!)

    12. A team that couldn't even qualify for the FD.

      At the Autumn Classic in 2014, PC scored 59.74 in the SD and 90.46 in the FD. They were third in the SD at CoC with 62.12, but then were given a 98 in the FD. It was up, up, and away after that.

      I think PC were the beneficiaries of a huge political perfect storm. SC, for some reason, seems to be hell bent on having an ice dance champion coached in Canada. VM merely being the greatest ice dance team of all time was not enough for that skating fed. After VM's win in Vancouver and DW's elevation and undeserved gifting in 2014, I think someone decided it was time for the OGM to return to Europe or Russia in 2018. This is obviously not how it is supposed to work, but this is ice dance. I think with the bronze medal in Sochi, IK were meant to be the anointed team this quad. Then they split.

      In Fall 2014, BS were out with his knee injury. IZ sort of got a bit of push, but were new. SK were not good. MK were injury prone and only a fair team. The ranks weren't any deeper outside of Russia. Coombes and Buckland are terrible. CL might have been a hope, but one of them had health issues that fall, and they were weak at CoC. So, PC were elevated. If they hadn't been at the training center that SC seems damned and determined to have, if IK hadn't split, if BS and CL hadn't had health and injury issues, then this might have all turned out differently. PC were picked and elevated to play a part in a storyline the ISU had already crafted for this quad after their original intended stars fell apart. They are a team that happened to be in the right place at the right time when several political agendas intersected.

    13. http://judgingtheisu.blogspot.ca/2016/09/tech-analysis-pc-fudging-ravensburger.html

      P/C's technique is crap. It doesn't begin to touch the Shibs' let alone V/M's, and is below that of a sizable handful of other teams as well.


  4. On a VM-sham related note, most of the private English-speaking schools in Montreal seemed to start back last week and the Montreal English-Language school system started today. Little Moir is now Kindergartner Moir.

    1. There's three little Moirs now.

    2. I know VM have been busy since Sochi. ;)

      My aim was not a headcount of VM's kids, but a comment on the amount of time that has passed while VM continue to sham. Starting school is a landmark milestone event in a child's life. Kindergartner Moir is the kid with whom the child-hiding aspect of shamming began. Six years ago, when Tessa was pregnant with this child, did anyone think that they'd still be at this as that child went off to school? She is a big kid now and a big sister. She has started her formal education. This sham still goes on, without any signs of stopping.

    3. Well, one of the things Scott muttered during the awkward exchange about the reality show is that it was "as real as it's going to get, probably." When Kaitlyn Lawes entered the picture, it seemed very convenient to hook up with a woman who was aiming towards 2018, as that committed them to sham until yet another Olympics. At the time I hadn't noticed Tessa's obvious third pregnancy, nor did I expect them to return, as the judging situation hadn't changed (ask the Shibs. Ask a bunch of skaters suddenly trying to pretend to "challenge" a thirteenth-rate team gifted the World Championship two years running). But, so far, with the arrival of LM3, they haven't produced nor introduced a new sham partner. That's a step forward. I have no expectations that it will stay that way. I also haven't seen a ton of "not a couple" stuff, but then I haven't been looking, and there was the tweeting back and forth the other night ending with Scott saying "See you tomorrow."

  5. "Post a #StandUpTall video for #TeamCanada, like I'm doing by this private jet!"

    Just FYI, that's not a private jet. That's an Air Canada symbol on the plane. They have lots of those tiny planes that you board and de-board right on the runway. Just an observation :)

    1. I know. It's still a lifestyle comment. Her lifestyle includes running around in normcore at the moment (basic adidas (she's signed with them) and the de rigeur bland white trainers and mom jeans). If that were the only piece of it, I wouldn't use it, but the entire summer has been extremely upmarket, but in a "isn't everyone?" way. That's why I think she should be aspirational and kick this inspirational shit to the curb.