Monday, November 28, 2016

Signs of the Apocalypse

At the beginning of November, I anticipated that very soon I'd be too (happily) distracted to focus even the teensiest bit on the figure skating Grand Prix and its Orwellian mind-fuckery. Because:

November 7, 2016

But instead:

So now:

Me for the past three weeks. Me until 2100.

When this poor shmoe verklempt-ed over his lost Austria,
it was poignant, but he had options. Clamber over
those hills into Switzerland, emigrate to Vermont, USA,
and he and his robust wife and gazillion kids can establish
a successful ski resort in Stowe AND form a famous family
choral group for hire.

Who plays the role of Vermont in today's scenario?
Any volunteers?

Then, this past Sunday, this. Damn near as shocking as approximately 10PM November 8, 2016 (excuse the inappropriate):


Who flipped the script, and why? Yes, Papadakis/Cizeron didn't have their best outing, but they still exuded hair, tan, arms, waviness and fluttering. The implied wind machine enhancing their every performance was on blast. These attributes are worth a ton in PCs and GOE.

Virtue and Moir had gorgeous skates, but have been royally hosed in the past after equally gorgeous skates. What is up? Which of the Moir/Virtue offspring have been handed over to the ISU to provide DNA for its down low cloning program? Was it that last one? The Kaitlyn Lawes era one? Was that the spare?

One might speculate they're doing the optics the sport wants, which is to start the season as you intend to finish the season. Don't leave room for growth. Nail that formula, and repeat til the medal ceremony at Worlds. Yet that doesn't explain how Chock & Bates "won" the fd at Skate Canada (SKATE CANADA). Yes, VM had a stumble. But yes, CB have stopped skating 10 seconds before the end of a free dance in the past, and still defeated the Shibs. So the stumble doesn't explain how CB won the Skate Canada fd but VM were allowed to crush the reigning "World Champions" at NHK.


I'm so embarrassed for Scott's hair:

But we all know how it is:

The beard. The decolletage. Attributes
that make him the best male ice dancer
in the world today. (a/k/a Fake Hot. 
Sorry to see Scott enabling. But that's
how the game is played.)
And, the Shibs are skating a whole lot closer together in hold this season than last season, and I loved last season:

Yes. Very romantic. But after three kids and 20 years,
IMO they owe Science. Get themselves checked out
and publish a study.

Moir's skating skills are ok.


Come on. No contest. That's Piper Gilles-level
edge depth Guillaume's throwing down out there.

No diss to Piper. Her lean is actually a bit better.

P&C's body lines are completely jacked up. I don't see why he's considered better than his partner. She's nothing to write home about, but he lacks power, he's frequently on his flats, he does a lot of scrambling steps, he's bent at the waist, and he doesn't engage his core any more than she does. The latter would not be an issue if they got into the ice, but they don't.


Later I'm going to gif one of their lifts. I think it's true - Papadakis has no balance.

[ETA: Linking canadablue's blog here. tech analysis PC Fudging. Boy, does "PC fudging" sum up this Olympic cycle to a tee. The blog is a must-read and see for anyone looking to challenge the baseless assertions made for Papadakis & Cizeron's skating on the skating forums (or on youtube).]


  1. Cizeron looks a bit... off to me. I don't find him physically attractive--his head looks the same width as his neck, and his neck is also a bit long. But that may be my personal preference talking. I watched their NHK FD, and I think I can sort of see what his fans admire in terms of body movement (not necessarily skating skills).

    I am a little bored with P/C's FDs, though. I think they should have changed it up a little; this season and the past 2 seasons feel like variations on a theme. Haven't yet proven if they can be versatile.

    Skating back-to-back with V/M unfortunately highlights the fact that P/C's unison are not as good as the Canadians'. Papadakis should really ramp up her efforts to catch up to her partner's skills. Also, *extend*.

    I am still waiting for the other shoe to drop for V/M. The battering they took in the lead-up to Sochi has me suspicious of their good fortune at NHK. On the other hand, it is a bit amusing to observe how much the P/C uber-fans are *pressed* at V/M's return (and deserved win at this GP). There are also some D/W fans upset; it seems to me they can't bear the thought that V/M might surpass their team's records/medals. D/W comeback not really likely at this stage--if Scott is to be believed, Charlie shot down that line of thinking.

    1. I just finished scrolling through FSU and Goldenskate, and the claims made for Cizeron's skating skills (he's better than Moir, but Tessa is better than Gabi, goes the opinionating) are insane. Neither one uses their core when they skate. He's better than she is but he is not first rate.

      Cizeron has very narrow shoulders that slope downward, a wide, long neck and small head. That's why I say fake hot. It's like Justin Baldoni on "Jane the Virgin". Just crush it in the gym and otherwise stay unbelievably skinny, and you'll have a "hot" body, but structurally we are not looking at ideal proportions.

      In addition to somewhat shallow edges relative to what is claimed about his skating skills, he and his partner skate far apart with their knees constantly bent/crooked. They're a couple of little Meryl Davis's out there.

      P/C's unison is mediocre by any measure, not simply compared to VM. And their speed is pedestrian.

    2. Not only were P/C glaringly bad compared to V/M, but they were glaringly bad compared to the entire field at NHK. Hawayek/Baker, who skated just before P/C, were outstanding; Baker, for me, is almost Scott Moir-esque in terms of his skating skills (Alex Shibutani is pretty damn good too).

      They both suck, but agreed, Gabriella is the weaker link. And like Meryl Davis, she is completely incapable of holding up her free leg; in every single one of their "lifts", he has to hold up her free leg. They are pathetic.

    3. They were awful. Ask them to do anything but glide slowly around the ice bent at the waist while occasionally executing a pallid solitary twizzle with a bent knee and they fall apart. The short dance was an embarrassment.

    4. It's really rather presumptuous of many ice dance fans to crown P/C as the best ever ice dance team, or that they're revolutionary, when not even a quad has fully passed. Jumping the gun, over-hyping, the emperor's new clothes kind of drivel. They would really rather downplay how great V/M are than admit P/C are not as good as people make out to be. They body-shame Tessa for not being thin enough for their tastes, and claim that Tessa was more 'skater' than 'dancer'. Reaallyy.

    5. I get the appeal though I'm not the majority. He's like the best looking skater now so they say. So skating skills be damned. They want to make audience watch ice dance for the eye candy. His partner is noticably the weaker skater. I can't help but watch her legs the entire time. Yikes! Even Capellini has better legs extension and skating over all. I've been shaking my head past two seasons...

    6. He's a parody of a good-looking skater. You could lift him as is and put him in Blades of Glory. Beyond contrived. I don't think he's the best looking skater. I think he's packaged ultra cheesy, right down to the emoting. BUT, there is no question this somewhat tacky presentation appears to have a lot of fan appeal, at least on skating forums. His fans even bend over backwards to elevate Tessa (SHE's the reason VM succeed, because Scott's skills aren't close to Guillame's.). Tessa is, of course, near perfection, but good God. I've been downloading video to cut up into gifs so we can take a look at that one, and in the meantime, just check out canadablue's blog to see how poorly he compares to the other ice dance men.

      There ARE people on the skating forums who point out that P/C have gotten a free ride the past two years, who have noticed that P/C fans will point to Gabriella or to Tessa's superiority - ANYTHING - rather than recognize that Guillame's getting points from both fans and judges for his body type, and not his carriage, and certainly not his skating. There was one poster who asserted Guillame's carriage was faultless - long neck, settled shoulders, open chest. Yes, and broken ankle line (his body line does not follow the angle of his blade), sloppy feet, crooked knees, does not engage his core when he uses his lower body and moves his arms. Etc. The extension on both of them is for shit (for his fans, amplitude and extension are not the same thing).

      It actually does take me back to the days when all the fans LOVED Scott Moir. Since at the time Scott looked about thirteen, I never understood it, but maybe it had to do with his charm, his confidence, and how he appeared accessible. But in any event, HE was considered perfection, while Tessa got the blame for any mishap, and was considered not quite on his level. It's so strange, because without question it is the female skaters that attract people to skating, but the FANDOM is all about the men.

    7. As usual, there are people who say they're a dancer, or dance-educated, or they know a dancer, and Papadakis/Cizeron are far and away the best ice dancers, as dancers, in existence. First of all, that's crap. Secondly, I invite all of them to visit ballet discussion dance forums, where the participants - every one of them a dancer or dance-informed - routinely rip each other to shreds when they can't agree. Experience can't make you perceptive. And there are plenty of professional dancers with glaring faults (check out the discussions on Missy Copeland some time - people can't even agree on what sort of body type she's got).

  2. OC so with you on this post! apocalypse for sure.

    what do you think about VMs programs as compared to their last?

    1. I hate talking about programs because that's a skating forum thing. Obsessing over programs, "expression", all the waist-up stuff. And music cuts. Emoting. I have opinions about that stuff, but all of that is and should be secondary, no matter how much the sport contradicts itself at every competition by promoting the idea that an appeal to the audience's aesthetic preferences wins the day in ice dance, as long as you don't fall down.

      That said, I enjoy the short more than the fd if I've got the sound on; when the sound is off I'm still processing the fd. I also think if they came into 2016 with any of their fd's of recent past, and the political winds had adjusted as they apparently have now that they've bowed down to DL's training center, any of their fds from pretty much 2011 onwards could handle anything any of the other teams have on offer.

      Forget VM, the Shibs crush P/C, as do at least half a dozen other teams. This fluttery anemic emo shit that P/C do (which extends right down to the fluttery edges of their blades) is shit. The SD was sloppy beyond belief, as is anything they do that attempts actual rhythm, control of the blade, unison, blade security, tempo changes, etc.

      Re VM's short program, I like this:

      Entrance to the curve lift. The slight beat she takes before stepping into it. The depth of his edges and how deep his position and how secure it is. He is doing no compensating when she steps in and rotates into her pose. He is perfectly and equally balanced over both blades.

      Guilliame is on his flats through most of the tempo transitions and they are both constantly bent at the waist, which is not the same thing as having deep, soft knees.

    2. I understand that you're coming from the point of aesthetics and emotion, and I agree with that, but generally speaking it can be problematic to say that "programs" don't matter, because they do in terms of the scores a team should receive for the content and difficulty, and I think often times that's what people (not FSU, goodness, but elsewhere) mean when discussing the topic.

      Not sure I'm following what you're meaning about their 2011-2014 FDs. That if they came in with programs like those programs they wouldn't be penalized for them even though that standard is against the current FD trends? Or that no one is showing equal material to what they did last quad? The latter definitely seems obvious to me - the average difficulty of what teams are doing has decreased, and V/M had the most difficult stuff back when close holds and intricacy were more in vogue.

      V/M's FD has some wonderfully constructed elements, and their skating quality and other innate abilities provide enough of a buffer that it's not like the Shibs should outscore them or anything because of programs, but man I really, really miss V/M's prior level of close skating.

    3. What I mean is I agree with you that the FD (and the short) has some wonderfully constructed elements that only they have the skills to execute. BUT.

      When I refer to 2011-2014, I mean I don't believe their new programs require still more from them than they've challenged themselves with in the past. That's what they used to do. "You ain't seen nothing yet." That was the mandate they brought to every new season, and they weren't kidding.

      That's not happening here. These programs, and the skating, are well within their wheelhouse, which still puts them far ahead of everybody else, BUT. They're pandering. It's safe "for them". That's the game now.

    4. V/M are absolutely capable of more, of pushing the envelope. Scheming federations (including their own) championed D/W's false narrative. So I don't doubt that V/M are playing more nicely this time (i.e. 'safe' FD).

      Slightly OT, but I hope their SD next year is worthy of their old Latin program.

    5. Frankly I can't wait till next season's SD. Just another point of getting P/C do something out of their comfort zone, and hell ya, for comparison and versatility by other couples. Their current SD is still lyrical with a somewhat passable swing thrown in. I think almost every couple did a great job in attempting the Hip Hop, Blues, Swing rhythm. I had hoped V/M's SD had more kiss ass, hit hard Hip Hop elements. Their current FD is the tried-true formula set by ISU. Only because they couldn't stomach V/M's past superior FDs Carmen and Seasons. Whatevs...Hope for a real kiss ass FD routine from V/M next season.

    6. I thought P/C's short was a hot mess. They looked frantic and in way over their heads. I think it's a bit difficult to hit some styles really hard using ice as the medium. The rhythms, yes, the actual technique, not so much with a rigid foot and a blade/ice.

      If the FD is per ISU formula, maybe because it's the formula that protects subpar skaters the best. P/C are one trick ponies and Dubreil/Lauzon aren't as adept as Marina Zoueva when it comes to using music highlights to amplify a relatively impoverished movement repertoire nor nearly as clever in creating the impression that a set of obvious deficiencies are features/virtues. Hell, Zoueva made Jessica Dube look dynamic at one point. If Dubreil Lauzon were more adroit, P/C ubers would believe that P/C had done three different free dances in the past three seasons. As it stands, even their staunchest fans recognize they've done the same program to practically the same music.

    7. 1:45 here, thanks for the clarification OC, and I absolutely agree they're unfortunately playing it safe.


    Just bumping this for anyone interested.


  4. Thank you for that link. It's terrific. I'm unsettled that VM were scored well at the NHK, and crushed P/C, even though P/C shouldn't have been near the podium, let alone in second. In the current blog post linked in your comment, you lament that VM actually have to compete against the likes of P/C and G/P, have to pretend to be challenged by them.

    To my mind, that's perfectly in tune with a zeitgeist in which Hillary Clinton had to debate a giant, decaying apricot spewing rancid cheeto dust - and the decaying apricot WON. So why not just understand that as the template governing everything in the world today, right down to ice dancing.

    As you note in the examples you use in your post, P/C are very sloppy with their free feet. They are even worse now. The NHK was a train wreck, and still their fans think if the skating order had been different, or if a few visible errors hadn't occurred, P/C would have won. Yet everything about their essential skating is subpar. No team goes from 13th in the world to World Champions in a matter of months. Skating commentators were trying to figure out their place in the middle of the pack prior to 2014-2015. This is all about the training center, and the package that allows fans to deceive themselves. Even though the packaging couldn't be cheesier. There's not a lot of great skating to distract, though. Maybe that's the appeal.

    1. My pleasure :)

      I think that's a very apt analogy. Elsewhere I've phrased it that G/P, Ch/Ba and P/C aren't worthy of even having that discussion, of them versus V/M, take place. It's not that I won't cover those matchups at all, but my focus is on the other teams damaged by those three in significant part because it disgusts me too much to deal with this happening to V/M again. And I certainly don't believe at this point that V/M winning NHK means the sport is doing a huge U turn. Something's up.


    2. Some speculated that the something's up was the absent of an influential US Tech Controller, but who knows. 2014 wasn't the work of one country's Federation - it was collusion. The rise of P/C was also collusion.

      I usually visit skating forums to catch up on results but I'm continually put off by the willful ignorance. Nobody in their right mind can look at P/C and consider that's decent skating. There's what you refer to as "muddy feet" thanks to sloppy free foot placement - hell, they barely get that free foot off the ice unless they are sticking it straight out (usually him) for a filler twizzle. They're slow and they slow down even further when they change direction. The choreography is a lot of demi-plié squats in second position (mostly from him), and broken-doll single twizzles (mostly from him). She's a rag doll, but I don't think her actual skating/stroking is markedly inferior to his. She just can't hold herself up or balance herself.

    3. thanks for the Hillary love OC, my heart is broken!

  5. I have no idea what's up with VM winning NHK but I'm still confident that one way or another we will get an American Gold Medalist in ice dance at the Olympics. NBC paid big bucks for Olympics coverage and it doesn't look like they're going to get a Ladies or Men's winner. So this GP season they've started (brief) network coverage of Ice Dance again--which meant for NHK we got a no-commentary VM FD.

    Early on it seemed like CB was the favored couple, but the Shibs have been getting some love since their Worlds medal. How thrilling it will be for one (or both!) of them to triumph over VM and PC.

    I agree it has to involve more than Shawn Restatt, but he seems to be part of it. CB's FD win at SkateCanada was entirely due to levels called by the technical panel; VM won looking solely at the judges' GOE scores.

    I will very happily be proved wrong. Who knows--maybe Gracie and Ashley and Nathan will catch fire again.

  6. I had hoped to leave a longer comment tonight, but that's going to have to wait. In the meanwhile, among the butthurt over VM's win and breaking a couple of DW's illegitimate world records is Jacqui White.

    Also, PC should maybe consider consulting Little Moir #1 to get advice on how to be a mature big girl and not act like a preschooler when you don't get your way.

    1. Hahaha, stay pressed, Jacqui, you're absolutely hysterical. Posting that tweet actually proves that you're more than a little bothered.

      P/C were winning the last 2 seasons with D/W tactics. D/W are not likely to return today, not for anything less than gold. Unfortunately for them, even if they stage a comeback this late in the game, the French (and many US teams, too) wouldn't stand for it. They already colluded with you to gift your undeserving team with Sochi gold, they're not gonna tolerate a threat to P/C (especially when the French have no medal contenders in the other disciplines).

      Years from now, history will favor V/M with the more illustrious, versatile legacy and longevity, compared to D/W's ill-gotten triumphs. So, keep on staying pressed, Ms. White.

    2. Even if V/M eventually ends with a silver (nooo) or (heaven forbid) bronze in Korea, they will still have probably trumped D/W's achievements by then. Wouldn't *that* be a thorn forever in the D/W ubers' sides. Which is why the lot of them are upset and keep bringing up 'V/M shouldn't have gotten that score, they're not at the level of D/W in Sochi' and whiny complaints in a similar vein.

    3. D/W fans want their precious couple to stay relevant. I get Jacqui's point. It's the whole base value bring higher now and such. Point is they still want to convince everyone that D/W are the best because medals say so. At least I can say v/m's medals won with programs accompanied by great skating skills.

    4. "Because medals say so" is like "Britney Spears is a good singer because she got signed to a label". Or maybe a more apt analogy would be "this actress is the best because she won an Oscar".

      I understand about the higher base value. But I feel like Jacqui didn't need to comment on it. She knows it, skating fans know it; unfortunately for her, general public doesn't. If she was truly unruffled, she would have let it pass (and be "above it all"), or only said something if asked directly. But of course she couldn't let it be, right? V/M are still a threat to her and her dear D/W.

    5. She's defensive because she knows, and Charlie knows, that DW didn't earn that gold medal with their skating. Charlie can't even properly talk about the win. He was asked his feelings about when he finished his skate - did he think he'd done enough to win - and he totally dodged it. Jacque knows the fix was in.

    6. P.S. - it occurs to me that the inflated scores for P/C only point out that D/W's scores were equally risable.

  7. I absolutely cannot stand Meryl. I can't believe someone like her even made it to the ranks of US ice dance.

    1. When she was on DWTs a couple of years ago, I watched all of her "dances" and all of the clip packages. Every single deficiency she has on ice, she had on the floor. She cannot hold her own body in space. She cannot transition from one thing to another. I have asked a bunch of people about this, none of them experts. Several note her Uncanny Valley qualities. The most interesting take was from someone who explained to me that you can be super ripped and yet not strong. And, in fact, it's not uncommon if you have very low body fat. The size of Meryl's head and the size of her joints indicate her body type is unnatural. Yes, many athletes are at a lower weight than would be natural if they weren't athletes, but it is a healthy weight for an athlete. Meryl was something else. I think her weight allowed the judges to fudge a lot of stuff that would have been difficult to overlook if she were a healthier weight. One would be their lifts.

    2. It is not only difficult to watch Meryl Davis on the ice, it is equally difficult to watch her off the ice, or listen to her awful voice. This must be what it was like watching a freak show. Are people fascinated by this quality? Freak shows used to have great popularity too.

  8. Hardly surprising. At least at NHK, V/M skate clean. Well as clean as it could get. But it's still a point of contention from uber P/C fans. Reality came crashing down. And I blame the judging for P/C prior to NHK in trying to set the narrative for this season. Remember their first outing at French Masters (after V/M's first outing at ACI)? Their SD scored a whopping 80! V/M's scores stayed conservative in both comps they were in. Reasonable, I say. (At NHK they crept up only by 2 pts for clean SD). But all uber P/C fans were going nuts! Oh no, it's the FD that's the problem. Why? The narrative is set that v/m's SD appealed more. Whereas P/C's FD appealed more. Never mind, it's skating skills and execution counted. No, no it has to be so. The excuses begin. P/c didn't skate clean. And yes arguably their skating technique again overlooked. But it's set already. Mark my words. Once p/c skate clean on both programs, they will be crowned gold over V/M.

    1. P/C fans are feeling threatened, but I think a lot of V/M fans are waiting for the rest of the season to play out. GPF and Worlds will be telling.

    2. The P/C fans are feeling especially threatened because they know their team is shit and is being upheld by politics. C/L are better than P/C, for crying out loud, let alone V/M.

    3. Well, the scoring P/C have received until NHK were right out of the Davis White playbook. Score the other teams "fairly", so they cannot complain, but grossly inflate the scores of an inferior team so as to place them above everyone else.

    4. One poster pointed out that P/C didn't skate much worse than they usually skate (remember their twizzles were completely out of synch the first time they "won" Worlds, and were feeble in every other respect besides). It's just that compared to VM it's really difficult to sustain the popular fantasy about Papadakis & Cizeron's capabilities. Virtue and Moir are obviously leagues better.

      It was an interesting competition because three teams were apples to apples. Hawayek/Baker, Virtue/Moir and Papadakis/Cizeron FD's all had lyrical, unspooling-the-thread, weaving-a-spell programs set to (mostly) classical style music. So, watching Hawayek/Baker, everything about their skating was cleaner, faster, the choreography was more complex and required stronger skating skills and interdependency than anything attempted by P/C, connecting moves and elements had greater difficulty. I did see two stumbles - one from him in the twizzles, and one from her when she missed a connection. In both cases they recovered quickly. All I could think was - seriously? P/C skate after this and score higher in program components?

      It's also pretty obvious that P/C skate with no connection whatsoever. He is always turned away from her and emo-ing towards the crowd. He'll pick her up (arm's length) and set her down when it's time for a direction change. He does plié squats til you never want to see another one (so does she), and when he reaches the end of the rink he'll swing his leg in front of him and do a lacklustre twizzle.

      And then came Virtue Moir and it was like the grown-ups skating after the kiddie show

    5. I love V/M. I really do. But what bugged me was the open endorsement for P/C by V/M themselves while they were out of competition. Remembering all those guest commentator spots they did are just cringe worthy. Guess they know what's being pushed and since they know personally that they're coming back, they don't want to rock the boat. Sad that they had to toe the line...or else...

    6. V/M didn't go to Montreal on a wing and a prayer. They struck some kind of deal in advance, because I strongly suspect DL are NOT their coaches. They did the NHK promos from the Cricket Club, where David Wilson is based. Part of the deal is validating P/C.

      How many years has it been since Scott Moir praised the code of points, talked about how now ice dancers were scored for how they actually skated instead of via reputation and politics? Remember how he used to say that constantly in the run-up to 2010. Nobody talks about politics anymore because the stench of it is everywhere. They can't even throw their customary shade at the Russians because they and everybody else are also in it up to their necks. Scott and Tessa became collaborators a long time back. They threw the one person least responsible for their Sochi outcome - Marina - under the bus, and embraced their own Fed, which had sold them out.

    7. "But what bugged me was the open endorsement for P/C by V/M themselves while they were out of competition."

      I think the open endorsement of P/C by V/M while they have been back competing bothers even me more, haha! Hopefully now that they've beat them they can drop the sickening "we're just honoured to even be in the same sentence, we have so much work to do to even begin to compare with them!" crap.

    8. I really wonder what will happen at grand prix bc i'm seeing vm shibs P/c as the podium. poor weaver and poje get screwed again.

    9. They can't drop it as long as they're at the same training center. Part of the deal is to advance Dubreil/Lauzon as ice dance coaches. Ergo, Virtue and Moir can't call out the bullshit that is Papadakis/Cizeron.

      Mind you, they also couldn't call out the bullshit that was Davis White, because nobody could. The entire sport and everything adjacent colluded on that one.

      I'm seeing the same podium as you, 1:47pm. Unless VM don't complete their programs, there is no way to justify a P/C win. What Davis White did "looked" different from V/M, so people were allowed to say "Davis White has the technical edge" even though they were winning on bogus PCs. To a casual observer, P/C are doing the same thing as VM, and VM are doing it better. And by that I mean P/C don't appear to be athletic, they're not doing "effective" lifts that create the impression of athleticism and risk, they're doing tepid, wimpy lifts. They're doing graceful arms. So they're working the same "graceful" stuff as VM without appearing to offer anything that VM are not. Also, you have to be blind not to see they look like juniors when they're in the same comp as VM.

      The Shibs got the second highest short dance score, I read (didn't check). I think VM are more than overdue for the GPF title they've earned multiple times in the past but denied, and fingers crossed P/C are pushed down to third. Maybe now that VM are with DL, P/C are redundant to the agenda for that training center and by 2018 they'll be in the same boat as Cappellini and Lanotte.

    10. I wouldn't be too optimistic about Shibs placing 2nd, or even feel sure about 3rd. Their SD score actually ranks 9th in Grand Prix scores (outscored by V/M twice, P/C twice, Ch/Ba twice, B/S once and W/P once.) For FD scores, they have the 3rd and 5th highest, with V/M having 1st and 6th, P/C 2nd and 8th, Ch/Ba 4th and B/S 7th.

      I'd love to agree with your theory that V/M will win most things from now on because of training in Canada, so hopefully I'm wrong, but I think your theory doesn't quite account for two things.
      Is Europe really OK with a North American team winning for a 3rd Olympics- why should they go along with a US-Canadian deal involving D/W and Canadian training centres instead of expecting a turn of their own after playing along for 2 quads already? And second, if USFSA has Canada's back in return for the D/W gold, why did Rettstatt do his best to get Ch/Ba and G/P ahead of V/M at SC - he's gone rogue?

    11. Just a note re: the NHK promo of V/M - that was filmed last fall when they were doing commentator things, a few weeks before that video of them working with Wilson and Marie-France on "What's Love" and before they said they were moving to Montreal. (That's why Scott's hair is so much better, lol.)

    12. Thanks for the clarification, 12:58PM. But still, I suspect David Wilson is the choreographer, I suspect they use at large technical specialists they've trusted in the past, and at the most DL themselves are a third eye.

  9. I suspect that an agreement to elevate a Canadian training center, run by Canadians, to the apparent premiere figure skating club in the world for ice dance factored into the bargain delivering Sochi gold to Davis White. Skate Canada was mortified that its top ice dancers were leaving Canadian rinks for Detroit (just over the damn border), and not to just one Michigan training center, but several. And to be trained by freaking RUSSIANS. Marina, Krylova, Shpilband. Insupportable.

    Carol Lane was training in Canada, but lacked the cred a couple of former Canadian ice dance champions appeared to possess. DL were the more plausible choices to abruptly emerge as THE place to develop World Champions in ice dance. There was precedent - it happened authentically with Brian Orser and singles skaters.

    So Davis White get Sochi gold. In return for playing along, the following season Canada suddenly has premiere ice dance training center in the world. After only a few months at Gadbois Centre, a couple of wimpy-skating French ice dancers suddenly acquire brilliance without changing a thing about their skating. They jump from 13th place to World champions in a single season, and the following year they repeat!

    So leapfrogging Papadakis/Cizeron to the head of the class was the French Fed's piece of the pie. France got two World Championships in ice dance out of it to make up for years of runner-upmanship with Péchalat Bourzat.

    Now perhaps P/C are scheduled to make way for Virtue and Moir. Canada will pretend that a Canadian training center rescued Virtue and Moir from the downward spiral they'd been in post 2010 at Canton, and Skate Canada gets to brag that it got Virtue Moir back on top.

    I'm also curious if Skate Canada approached Virtue Moir after 2010 Worlds, to see if they'd be open to relocating their training base to Canada. If they were not, was Canada all that invested in continuing to support a team developed by Russians in the USA?

    1. Anonymous 11:50am are you in the know within context of blogger's speculation and therefore, confirming it as a fact because it's true? Or just agreeing to his/her conjured point?

    2. Just watched hawayker and baker and they are excellent! Took a VM lift! Close skates and food edges and speed - light years ahead of PC

    3. SC gave G/P 80.04 at Challenge today (presumably G/P entered to show how they're such hard workers). I don't think it's only Rettstat who is interested in bringing V/M down, and I think it's unlikely that V/M are being backed by SC any more than last quad.

    4. If I'm not mistaken, H/B were using that curve lift first, although they later took V/M's beautiful rotational exit from it.

    5. H/B's program and their skating is just beautiful. IMO they just need mileage - not the program per se, but as skaters, to really get that level of skating into their muscle memory. The contrast between H/B's bladework, speed, degree of intricacy and P/C's was stark. I also love their naturalism. P/C make me seasick.

      I took yet another look at Papadakis/Cizeron's 2014 Worlds free skate, where they finished in 13th place. Not only has absolutely nothing changed in their skating, but I would say that the 2014 program was more complex and Gabriella's skating was stronger, a bit faster, and they skated closer together.

      Where GP are concerned, first, it's just Challenge. Second, there is the appearance of flux in the sport. Weaver & Poje got thrown under the bus. Chock & Bates' upward trajectory was abruptly halted mid season last season as someone somewhere gave the green light to award the Shibs the scores they've actually earned. Obviously Gilles Poirier want to be capitalize on some of this, and perhaps SC is prepping to make them its #2.

      Between Chock & Bates and Gilles & Poirier, I prefer GP. I'm not making claims for GP as great ice dancers. Chock & Bates are extremely uncomfortable for me to watch. No air ever gets into their skating. The building could explode. They also take massive steps.

      Gilles & Poirier spent a couple of years pretending they were the peppiest, happiest, funnest duo on skates, BUT they've relaxed that bullshit and appear to format their program themes around Piper's acting ability, as she's fairly versatile and really commits. I can't tell if she's developed as a skater, or if she's just extremely fit. She is much fitter than in the early days of G&P, and that fitness helps sell her skating - she's got a strong core, good balance, can maintain that stillness and strength in space. They finished behind Chock & Bates at Skate Canada but as last year showed, things can change midseason.

    6. G/P nearly outscored V/M in the FD at SC. Yes Rettstatt was there, but it was shocking that V/M didn't receive enough of a buffer from judges when for years SA and SC have been political statements and safely delivered to the top team. Now this score at a competition run by SC. And V/M have a history of being screwed at their own Nats. I agree that at this point it's more about making sure G/P pass W/P, but I don't think these signals should be handwaved as irrelevant to V/M's situation either.

      I was going to ask if you've actually watched G/P's disco, then remembered that you have a screencap in your post, so I guess your mileage varies. To me, this SD is as much as ever selling themselves as the goofy quirky funnest-ever kids. Their PR still has plenty from that angle as well.

      I definitely agree that G/P are better than C/B. I also think Piper's skating has improved. But that doesn't begin to justify the gigantic scores, or the upward movement past W/P and others and towards V/M we're seeing, or the fact that P/I's career is basically over because of that. I'm not saying you're trying to justify it, I realize you're not, but I find it hard to give G/P any credit for improvement or for not being the worst out there, when the way they are rewarded these days is actually even more out of step with reality than it was when they were worse. And I think while improvement and certain attributes that help Piper are there, G/P still have a huge problem with true difficulty and Paul having to cover for her. Their FD is smart but there are loads of choreographed timeouts for her.

    7. There is no way I can argue for optimism, so you have me there. My only point is, SC has always overreached with Gilles Poirier, and is pushing harder now. I do think this has more to do with Weaver & Poje than Virtue Moir in terms of Canadian placements, and to do with trying to capitalize on Chock & Bates' demotion, despite the fact that C&B finished ahead of GP at SC (Shawn Retstatt effect).

      My comments about GP are contextual and graded on a curve. A couple of years ago, I had similar remarks about Bobrova Soloviev. At the time, they were a mess. They skated in different zip codes. Their posture/alignment was freakish. But however crazy and out of control they were, it was all at blade level, so compared with other skaters who were being rewarded, I couldn't hate on them too much.

      What G&P are doing is very basic skating that they are selling with her fitness/acting ability. It's not much, but it's better than Chock & Bates' crap. I'd be fine seeing them move up a slot if it meant the start of a C&B slide.

    8. Just adding this - anyone who understands figure skating even on the most elementary basis can see that Papadakis & Cizeron are a scam. Yet for the past couple of seasons, Scott and Tessa have extolled them. Scott and Tessa understand what good skating is, and they understand as well as the rest of us that P&C are crap. But they stick to the narrative anyway. It's not "mind reading" to observe that Scott and Tessa are contradicting everything they've said about themselves for the past eight years, and everything they've shown themselves to be on the ice, with their choices about training, aesthetic, programs.

    9. "What G&P are doing is very basic skating that they are selling with her fitness/acting ability. It's not much, but it's better than Chock & Bates' crap. I'd be fine seeing them move up a slot if it meant the start of a C&B slide."

      I see where you're coming from, but when they are already several slots higher than they should be and will also likely be passing W/P (if no one else) in this scenario, I can't see it as something relatively benign. They shouldn't be in the position they're in to start with, and even if moving upwards is fine relative to C/B, it's really bad relative to several other teams so I don't see it as a net positive.

      On a related note, I also think we should resist the inclination to get nihlistic about scoring standards. Yes, things are so out of whack that it's easy to talk about teams relative to each other, but a mediocre team getting huge scores they don't deserve is still an actual problem in itself. And while much of that can be explained by an overall trend of laughably huge inflation, G/P are still benefiting from that a lot more than most (eg. they saw a 25 point increase in Grand Prix total score in a single year).

      "But however crazy and out of control they were, it was all at blade level, so compared with other skaters who were being rewarded, I couldn't hate on them too much."

      I'm confused by this... did you mean to say these problems were all *not* at blade level?

      Now that you mention B/S, I'd say that in some ways G/P actually have the opposite problem - they look more put together and polished than they actually are in their, or her, skating.

      Interesting point about the change in what V/M are saying.

    10. Just for the record, here are some links from the last couple of seasons of how G/P still use personality as their calling card. (And if they've backed off that at all, I would guess it's because they're insistent that they belong on the Olympic podium and therefore need to claim they have technical attributes in addition to their special funness.)

      The last link has to do with an incredibly bizarre tasteless ex they did last spring.

      Not sure if you heard that the ISU plans to make their partial step sequence from their SD last season into an official compulsory pattern. I guess the Shibs' was a snooze.
      Here's the pre-Worlds version of that program that was mostly baroque music and very weird.
      Info at the end of this communication:

      The head of the tech committee responsible for that decision, who is frequently the technical controller at main events, gave commentary on Polish TV that P/C are superior to V/M and suggested that G/P perhaps should have won the FD.

      And generally G/P are receiving a media push that reminds me of 2013 when Piper was being pushed for citizenship (a Canadian Press story that ran in newspapers across the country, lots of social media focus from SC and SC's buddies, etc.)

      I happened to notice that Barb M liked this tweet:

      And Piper remains as subtle as ever:

    11. Weaver and poje have become be natalie pechalat team in order to justify all the nonsense.

    12. 11:26 "I'm confused by this... did you mean to say these problems were all *not* at blade level?"

      I mean B&S at the time were not using the same non-skating workarounds other teams were using - Davis White, Coombs Buckland, Chock Bates, in my opinion and based on my limited viewing of B&S skating. They didn't avoid skating, they blasted through their programs with wildly out of control skating (meaning their blades did nutso things - popped off the ice, kicked up miles of snow, made incredible amounts of noises, skidded at times when the skater didn't expect it, etc.) As gonzo as that skate may have been, I preferred it to the cynical non-skating packaging we get from so many other teams.

      Let me amend my Gilles & Poirier point of view to this - between the G&P and Chock & Bates, I hate G&P less. However much perk they are shoveling in their public relations, it doesn't exist on the ice to the overwhelming extent it did when they first teamed up.

      Skate Canada has a massive love for Gilles & Poirier, no doubt, and I think that's because G&P kiss ass 24/7 on social media, in public, etc. VM are more about talking up whomever they are working with at the time - whatever dance coach, choreographer, etc. They're not constantly kissing the feet or doing mutual backscratching with individuals from their Fed.

      The only Skate Canadian official I ever felt Virtue Moir had any actual affinity for was Mike Slipchuk, and even then, who knows.

      TBC below.

    13. 10:46 - yes, I think there was no room for them in the various agendas at play, so Weaver & Poje got thrown under the bus. Angela Krylova sold out for nothing (remember when she called Tessa fat)?

      Continuing from my comment above:

      This next bit is pure speculation on my part and goes like this:

      Virtue and Moir have to cooperate with Skate Canada - Scott's family does business with Skate Canada and is part of Skate Canada. I'm sure there are individuals in SC with whom they have warm or warmish relations on a personal level.

      However, throughout most of their career Scott and Tessa knew how good they were, didn't hide that they knew how good they were, and were clear that they respected their own opinion of their skating more than anyone else's opinion of their skating, including the judges. Implicit in nearly everything Scott said was that they understood more about it than the judges and various Federations did. Before they were completely oppressed/suppressed in the cycle leading up to the 2014 Olympic cycle, Scott would challenge some of the protocols. VM were very nice people, very polite people, but they respected nobody's opinion as much as they respected their own and that of their coaches at Canton (and, IMO, correctly so), and Skate Canada knew this. SC was thrilled to have ice dance gold medalists, but on a personal level, Virtue and Moir didn't do a whole lot to ego stroke and kiss people's asses, and I wonder how many perks they kicked towards their Federation. (The Virtues, after all, have $$$.)

      Scott is, of course, long since fully aware the protocols are a political tool and there is no point in challenging them.

      To continue the digression (which is going to wrap back around to Gilles & Poirier)

      I think all of Scott and Tessa's comments immediately after Sochi were theatre. For example, Tessa says it was only after the 2013 GPF (which they won on the ice, but were denied the gold medal) that they began to get a bird's eye view of where they were. *I* believe the bird's eye view they got was knowing they blew Davis White off the ice and yet were not allowed to win. They understood then they were truly fucked - they were no longer playing out their old narrative of losing or closely contesting every battle before being allowed to decisively win the war. They didn't say this though. They said they went to their coaches and asked how come they lost levels here, key points there. THAT I think was theatre. They knew why they lost levels, key points and GOE. They were fucked before they ever hit the ice. Nothing to do with their coaches, with their actual levels, or actual key points. Their skating was no longer their trump card. You're the best? Hey, if we don't admit it, what can you do about it really? How do you like me now, Scott and Tessa?

      TBC below.

    14. So, in the run up to 2010, Virtue and Moir held most of the cards vis a vis their Federation. They knew how good they were, they also understood more about skating than most of their Fed had forgotten, and all they owed their Fed was that gold medal. For all the love, respect, blah blah blah blah, and for all the endearing politeness Virtue and Moir carry themselves with when they're in public, on a rubber meets the road level I truly wonder if some of Skate Canada officialdom doesn't think they're arrogant and "better than." They are both extremely smart, extremely strong-minded, wills of iron.

      Piper & Paul, OTOH, have kissed ass nonstop since they first got together. Figure skating is an unabashed pork barrel operation these days. Bringing the best skating to the table isn't worth what it was worth in 2010. That said, Scott and Tessa have made Gadbois Center their official training center, so even though G&P will continue to get inflated scores, I believe they are never going to stand on the podium above Virtue Moir in the same competition while skating on Canadian ice, however insultingly close the scores may become.

      P.S. - Challenge wasn't on youtube when I checked, but I watched G&P's sd from Skate Canada. It is, quite literally, half the size of VM's. It's like a juniors program.

    15. If you can't find uploads of just G/P's skates, here are the full event videos on Dailymotion. Their FD (for which they received 116.24 points!) is at 25:31 here:

      And SD is at 28:07 here:

      Skating before them in each are Soucisse/Firus, Canada's next big pushed team. Together they've gained about 20+ points over what they scored in their last partnerships last season, which either means being the weak links in those pairings means they're magic together, or training at Gadbois after P/O's retirement (and being an alternative to P/I after the splits/retirements of several other Canadian teams) confers a special bump.

    16. Soucisse/Firus - no comment. Gilles/Poirier - tired, sloppy, slower than at Skate Canada. Canadian record for the short? Okey doke.

      Thanks for the links.

    17. I see your point, OC, and I sure hope you're right that they won't actually pass V/M.

      Apparently their overall score was a record too

      And apparently their programs are so well executed now that it's going to be a real challenge figuring out what more they can work on between competitions:

      And another point to add, expanding on what 2:31 mentioned, is how much the increased propping of G/P has damaged the Canadian field. Last summer, five very promising senior teams split, all of whom I think were better overall than G/P, and while a lot of people put that off to V/M returning (less assignment opportunities in the fall, no longer any chance to beat the continual sacrificial lamb P/I and gain a worlds spot), the actual problem was that it was G/P who had clogged up assignment spaces for years and who were being pushed as the rightful heirs in 2018-19 so that teams had no reason to think they'd be treated fairly once V/M and W/P retire. A Canadian field should easily be able to flourish with a team like V/M coming back at the top, because if things were fair, there's always the future. Teams can be inspired, even if they had to wait, because they know the system's working as it should. But when a team like G/P are devouring so many resources, and likely for a long time to come, I can see how many teams decided there wasn't a point.

      Now it's not only G/P, there's also the Gadbois push. (Which of course doesn't include P/I even though P/I train there.) P/I not getting to Worlds last year was half about P/O. It should have been P/I and one of the promising split teams (or perhaps two, give one 4CC and one Worlds) going with W/P. And Shane Firus correctly figured his fortunes would improve enough at Gadbois that forming a new team was worth it. ((The other 9/10 skaters of the teams that were promising are not competing this season.) Here he is in his much superior partnership. THIS. This could have been future of Canadian ice dance.

      And we also have Gadbois team Lajoie/Lagha winning the junior title at Challenge by 20 points when even placing them in first would be pushing it. But the fact that G/P have become so high profile internationally and so firmly entrenched as part of the Canadian top 3 is hard to match in terms of its effect on other teams, I think. Their standing has become so normalized that it's hard to keep in mind how blatantly wrong it is that they were ever placed back ahead of P/I. I don't think P/I have made the best choices for themselves lately, but their basic skating is strong enough they should never have had to deal with G/P blocking their way again. They should have been up against W/P. G/P getting so quickly put back so far ahead of them sent a huge message, and I think paved the way for P/O (and probably S/F this season, P/O also split last summer) to catch them. Perhaps even purposefully to make P/I less of a threat to G/P, who knows.

    18. 4:14 PM, this:
      "And another point to add, expanding on what 2:31 mentioned, is how much the increased propping of G/P has damaged the Canadian field"

      and this:

      "But when a team like G/P are devouring so many resources, and likely for a long time to come, I can see how many teams decided there wasn't a point."

      Thanks for this, and thank you very much for sharing your observations and analysis. The above really hits home.

      It's been considered before that P/I were underscored so they wouldn't block G/P. I agree they haven't always made the best choices for themselves, but when they decided to play ball and go to Gadbois themselves and nothing changed, it's not really on them anymore.

      Not only have P/I been oppressed and suppressed, so too, have, obviously, Weaver & Poje. The suspicion is, of course, that the skating skills of both teams are an inconvenicne and a distraction. It also occurs to me that Virtue and Moir's programs have been constructed so that, however brilliant the skating, the skating can be beside the point for those so inclined. They're showcasing the package the sport demands. Fans can believe the package is what wins. That enables lesser skaters who also deliver the package. This way, it's less disruptive to the sport's political agenda when fans think that Virtue and Moir are winning again because they "recaptured the magic."

      I do recall that G/P got a lot of opportunities other skaters didn't get - for example, early on, they skated at the TEB gala despite finishing out of the top four. Obviously that was Skate Canada quid pro quo-ing with the French Fed.

    19. No problem!

      "I do recall that G/P got a lot of opportunities other skaters didn't get - for example, early on, they skated at the TEB gala despite finishing out of the top four. Obviously that was Skate Canada quid pro quo-ing with the French Fed."

      Actually it was even worse - they finished 6th and yet skated *instead* of the team that finished 4th (Hubbell/Donohue) and - this is the best part - got to perform two numbers.

    20. Christ, I forgot that Hubbell/Donohue were kicked aside. Poirier did a whole "false modesty" tweet about how they were asked because "of how our programs were received."

    21. Great analysis of the G/P debacle. I wouldn't want to be on an up and coming team right now, what IS the point with shit like such being propped up as world class skating? That Instagram clip Piper posted (link above in comments) does a wonderful job of highlighting her terrible skating. All she has going for her is blonde hair and a partner who is very talented at propping her up. It is an embarrassment they would ever pass W/P and P/I. I just don't get it.

  10. What do you guys think about the lovey dovey pictures of she and Scott that Tessa is instagraming and tweeting with the clear lack of a sham bf or gf? Is she slipping in what she is posting or are they on a path to come clean?

  11. Two thoughts. One - it's just Tessa being Tessa - she's always liked to throw out bait, toy with the fans, then shut them down. In Virtue and Moir's interview w/The Skating Lesson, Tessa didn't waste any time throwing 'separate ways' in there, so she's still on thought police patrol.

    Second, I imagine Tessa is out to remind fans that Papadakis/Cizeron aren't the only beautiful and hot ice dancers anymore. P&C's fandom is all about swooning over Guillame. The more O face he gives, the more they love it although his O face always comes off more onanistic to me - he's getting off on himself and on what he imagines is his impact on the audience. I think Tessa might be doing a bit of "Hey, remember THIS? Remember how mesmerized you were by the intimacy, the chemistry? Here's a few things to help you remember."

    All this stuff just makes it clear, IMO, that they will do ANYTHING this time to get the GPF, World and Olympic gold they deserve and have always deserved. Before they were very, "We will do it our way." This time Scott is growing his hair out and emo-ing with it. No doubt he feels ridiculous, and IMO it certainly is ridiculous, and beneath him, but he doesn't care, any more than Charlie White cared that he had to keep his hair blonde. Apart from the fact that Scott and Tessa are excellent skaters and Davis White were non-skaters, VM are going the DW route - packaging themselves as others tell them to package themselves, and not according to their own taste/aesthetic.

    1. Contrary to how you feel, I see it differently. I think the hairdo actually suits their routines this year. Just like I don't see how this current hair style would suit for 2014 to Olympics season. Maybe Scott actually truly like his hairdo. As a matter a fact, each of their seasons he's got various hairdos that fit that season's routines.

      Again, your opinion is centred on too much of assumptions on what these two skaters are thinking or doing. Unless, of course, your privy to their inner personal thoughts, movements and inner social circle. I wish them luck and best this season. And winning (whatever comps they are in) because they are deserving of it ...

    2. I see it as you do, 1:42.

      Scott's hair is just fine this season. VM's skating is excellent as usual. The style is beside the point, if this is what the judges are rewarding.

      VM didn't want to be at Canton anymore. So?

      I agree with the basic premises on this blog -- Tessa and Scott are married and have children and Tessa and Scott are the best ice dancers this sport has ever seen but they've been robbed by the ISU's corruption -- however, the assumptions about Scott and Tessa's inner thoughts and motives that are purely speculative.

    3. 6.04 Tessa and Scott are not married with kids. It's beyond my understanding people believe this crap. They are also not the best ever.

    4. They're married with kids AND the best ever. You're welcome to make the case for any other team you think is better, based upon the standards and criteria for superior skating and how the code of points claims to evaluate it.

      To the two posters above - I am not making assumptions, I am speculating based upon how Scott and Tessa have changed. Dubreil Lauzon and P&C are neither, respectively, fabulous coaches/choreographers or fabulous skaters, but Scott and Tessa are at that training center. Scott was always a huge proponent of the code of points because he asserted that finally there was a scoring system in place that awarded what was skated, not politics, not reputation. He hasn't said that in years - he knows better. Scott has always asserted himself and Tessa as the best in the world, he has always said they like to do things their way and they don't care what other people think, including what other people in the sport think.

      They have completely changed their tune, and yes, that includes Scott's hair. I am speculating as to why. It is fine to disagree, what isn't fine is to attempt to shut down that sort of speculation or observation. Not that I see that happening here, but people have tried it.

  12. 6:04. You "know" they're not married how?

    1. I'm not 6:04 but I think anyone with half a brain can figure out they aren't married and definitely aren't hiding half a hockey team of children.

    2. 10:59 Trust me, it's pointless to argue. Even the anonymous who only commented about hairdo and call out on the assumption about V/M's motives, somehow fans of this blog can't resist adding on that "they are married and with three (now) kids" statement. It's been an "I know because someone who knows (of them) says so and I know but you don't, so trust me on this" game for years now. Don't even ask me who this someone is because I'm definitely not privy to that either. Apparently there seem to be whole ton of them here saying it's true. If it were there's a ton of ppl in V/M circle including the birthing staff to keep it all a secret. Hey, probably they'll say it's a home birth and ppl at birth registry has to keep it a secret too. Hell, thinking about it this is a secret that one can make $$$$$ if exposed, don't you think?

    3. How can people be so naive? And it's hilarious that it's so important for the author of this blog that T&S have 3 kids. One is not enough for her? The marriage wouldn't be perfect with one? lol

  13. 1. No strawmen.
    2. No using the blog comments section to have a third party conversation about how ridiculous you find the blog.

    1. I have a hard time imagining Tessa and Scott with kids but I do think they have at least one kid, longshot two. I saw a couple photos of Tessa where she looked obviously and totally pregnant summer-ish 2010. There was a newsstory about her shins giving her trouble that fall and Marina had suggested taking the competitive year off (2011) to recover. But Tessa wouldn't hear of it and came back with that brilliant hot Latin number in the golden/yellow dress (I felt they should have won world's 2011). I think she had been recovering from childbirth that fall. Anyway, at the end of the short at GPF I thought I heard Scott say "Hi Ilderton, hi Kiki" and thought Tessa rubbed his back quickly to admonish him. Is Kiki his daughter? Anyway, it doesn't matter to me what their family status is, and I hate the politics, lies and nastiness behind the scenes. But I sure am glad they are back competing. Best ice dancers ever.

    2. Apparently Kiki is his friend, and actually he died shortly before nhk this year

    3. "Cakey". It's his friend Cale Ferguson who died and whom he shouted out in the Kiss'n'Cry after saying hi to everyone in Ilderton. Cale Ferguson's nicknames among his friends included "Cakeboy" and I guess derivatives of that. Scott also seemed to name check him after another Ilderton shout out in the FD kiss'n'cry - he looked up and said "My boy."

  14. Tessa and Scott's long program was exquisite. Their music and skating often transcends me to a different place. Simply beautiful. They are the only ice dancers who can make me feel that way, and I have been watching figure skating since 1984.

    1. I've been watching some decent long and short programs by other ice dancers, and even when well executed, Scott and Tessa's skating is leagues above. The sheer power, the size of the glide, the silence of the blades, the matching lines, the close bladework.

      Even the Sam Smith part of the LP doesn't bug me (much). The power and size of the skating elevate the inanity of the vocals.

    2. Agreed that V/M's skating very much elevates this program, but honestly I am getting tired of the breathless reactions of many V/M fans to the pure emotional artistic masterpiece they think this FD is. They cry over *emotion* just as much as P/C fans. (Well, that's in part because they often are the same fans. It's cute how this group keeps insisting that P/C are the clear #2, talking about how this time at least V/M are facing a "worthy" opponent.) Anyways, it's not new that fans care more about the performance chemistry than anything else, but at least it used to be true that the programs were great art in addition to V/M's skating. (But you know, poor V/M, being stuck under Marina all those years. She wouldn't let them angst.)

      Not trying to lump you in with that group if you don't fit there, 5:47 pm. Just when a lot of fans talk about how exquisite this program is, they actually do mean the emo choreo by Dubreuil and Wilson and the latching theme.

    3. Anonymous 11:44pm I don't get your post. It's like a backhanded compliment. Aren't skaters in general expected to "sell" their routines to the judges? And aren't these "theatrics" considered a part of artistic interpretation to the choreography (along with the skating skills) ALL ice dance skaters have to display? It isn't just team V/M who's doing this as far as I could see. By why the fixation on them alone?

      It seems like more like a source of frustration to some of the posters here. Or maybe the real reason behind this isn't just a petty annoyance of type of emo-ing of their present and past routines, but rather it's being that some feel deeply cheated by V/M being dishonest or not open with their real personal life to the public. Am I right? Btw, it doesn't matter if any of V/M 's routines are choreographed by Marina/Shilpband or DL/Wilson, in fact if another coach were to craft a routine using their personal touch and happens to be a "lyrical or romantic" feel routine, it will be always V/M being dishonest about their true feelings and such ... Not even really focusing on the fact that well, WHEN the program sells well to the judges, the skaters win ... It's a mindset for ALL skaters in all disciplines. Just that V/M is just better at it than most ...

    4. 7:25AM, I believe by theatrics, 11:44PM means the theatrics on the part of the fans. There are a lot of fallacies in your own comments, including this "WHEN the program sells well to the judges, the skaters win..." not if the skating content isn't there, it doesn't or shouldn't.

      P/C didn't go through a two season winning streak because they sold their programs. They skated no differently in 2015 than they skated in 2014, yet in 2014 they were in 13th place and in 2015 they got first place, despite "selling it" exactly the same way.

      The skating forums are full of emo bullshit. I think it's absolutely fine to gush and swoon over skaters but it hurts the sport when fans reinforce the idea that this stuff has anything to do with the scoring. As usual on skating forums, programs are discussed more than the skating, and when the "program" is discussed, it is music, music cuts, the perceived acting ability of the skaters and the entertainment value of the program as assessed by the fan in question. And oh yes, the feels.

      On some skating forums there were comments like "Wow, I didn't think VM could get back up to this level after Skate Canada!" That's ignorant. VM at Skate Canada, errors and glitches included, were already miles past everybody else skating, including Chock & Bates who "won" the free dance. It was obvious watching VM skate show programs that they remained the best in the world. On skating forums, there is also the belief that if P/C hadn't made errors, the scores would have been closer, because the teams are closer in ability than the scores showed. This was an opinion offered even by VM fans. The two teams aren't even in the same universe of ability. If P/C had skated absolutely perfectly VM should still (MINIMALLY) clear them by 10 points (since we must accept the ISU has decided P/C is a world podium team). When I was reading the Goldenskate live event forums, and P/C made a few stumbles in the short, some said "The door is open for VM to squeak thru." Are you KIDDING me?

      Some of these fans believe that with their current fd, they are finally skating the way they skated in 2010, as if since 2010 VM regressed, instead of placing themselves in a league of their own, unreachable by any other ice dance team alive.

      I have no problem with swooning over the feels. I have no problem with admiring a team that skates with conviction, or gives the audience an emotional response. I do have an issue with any fan pretending that the theatrical impact, as they subjectively experience it, should be any barometer whatsoever on the scoring or who deserves to win.

    5. In fairness to these fans, it must be said that every commentator in the sport makes sure fans remain confused about why won team wins over another. Skaters make sure fans remain confused as well.

      There's the TES counter in the upper corner of the television broadcasts implying that technique counts for something, but then again, superior technique isn't really explained. There are times when a commentator will get into it a little bit, talking about a silent blades or matching body lines or speed, but they'll mash that up with garbage about momentum, "magic" and whether or not the program is convincing. They constantly purvey crap to the audience, so the audience can't be blamed for thinking this stuff legitimately factors into the scoring. Although what criteria the judges are using to assess the degree of "magic" or "momentum" is never explained, and where that shows up in the protocols we're never told. IOW, the sport promotes ignorance -energetically promotes ignorance, with just a few bits of technical mumbo jumbo to make fans believe they're watching a sport that has some kind of objective technical criteria.

      Tanith Belbin is one of the biggest bullshit shovelers out there, and recently Johnny Weir joined in. One of Weir's more recent what the fuckeries was his statement that for years Maia Shibutani skated like an imitation Meryl Davis but now has come into her own, found her own identity on the ice. She skated like an imitation Meryl Davis? In the first place, what the hell is he talking about? She did not. In the second place, even if she had, whatever he means by that, what different does it make? If, in terms of my on ice persona, I skate like an absolute clone of somebody else but the content is there and I execute brilliantly, there are no points deducted for skating like somebody else. But the sport commentators are constantly pushing shit like this. Oh, she isn't skating like her own thing - she's imitating so and so. Yes, and why is that a problem? Why should the judges factor that in - is it in the skating rulebook?

      Then there's Tanith who, last season, could not shut up about the Shibutanis finally finding the vehicle that suited them. There are progams that work and programs that don't, and by "work" I mean a program that works well is a nice experience for the audience. The audience can just sit back and enjoy it. But if a program doesn't work well or appear to suit the skaters, it should be a minor concern, because the calibre of skating is what matters. We NEVER hear that. The conversation about skating both among fans and those in the sport, and how a sport is actually scored have nothing to do with each other, and that is on purpose. That's why we never see the video angle the judges see when they score.

      I mentioned it in a previous post, but, the absolute classic example of intentional cognitive dissonance the sport encourages is Davis White/Virtue Moir. Let's set aside that Davis White were fake skaters, and look at the score sheet. There, we see TES was close, and Davis White won on PCs (naturally, because their true PCs are the absolute worst, and VM's are the best. That's how we roll in today's dystopian universe.). What though, do all the sportswriters say? They say that Virtue and Moir have exquisite skating skills and refinement DW lack, but DW rocks them on technique. Alrighty then.

      Tracy Wilson put that one out last time I checked in with her, at Skate Canada.

      So long way around to say, we can't blame these fans. People who want to evaluate the skating according to the standards and criteria for excellent skating are in the wilderness alone. Fans who evaluate it according to how they feel about the skaters, how much they like the music, the style, the program - they're in an echo chamber with the sport itself reinforcing every fallacy.

    6. Yes, my criticism was more about the fans than V/M. Fans think this FD is ~so beautiful~ because of the acting and choreographed angst. It's not that they don't appreciate the skating to some extent too, but a lot of fans keep harping on the emotion of it as if that's what puts it over the top for them. Which I don't get at all, because I find the vehicle actually distracting and the insane level of execution is what saves it from being typical Gadbois fare. I don't think this is great art. But that doesn't really matter, for the same reason I think V/M fans are missing the point by caring about it being (to them) great art. It's about the skating.

      So I guess you could say I have two issues. One, I have a very different subjective experience and question the taste of people who think this is sublime packaging. I think what they're doing is ridiculous and cheesy, and that the artistry they've displayed in the past is of higher quality. But I am more frustrated by how any of that is framed as the reason V/M are worthy, because it's not. If the Shibs and V/M swapped skating skills, the Shibs would not be any less deserving of points than V/M. I think most of these V/M fans would disagree with that, but it's the truth.

      " And aren't these "theatrics" considered a part of artistic interpretation to the choreography (along with the skating skills) ALL ice dance skaters have to display? It isn't just team V/M who's doing this as far as I could see. By why the fixation on them alone? "

      This is actually a good example of what I'm talking about. Yes there is a very small amount of score allotted to what you could call "acting" - look it up, the performance category is mostly NOT about that - but it's routinely overstated in importance by fans, misinterpreted to justify romantic dynamics over other valid interpretations, and certainly wrongly used as a justification for teams like P/C winning. I'm not blaming V/M for projecting well or having good performance chemistry. But I do think that as much as fans enjoy it, it isn't actually of much value, and to pretend that it carries a lot of weight and is why V/M deserve huge points is problematic.

      " Or maybe the real reason behind this isn't just a petty annoyance of type of emo-ing of their present and past routines, but rather it's being that some feel deeply cheated by V/M being dishonest or not open with their real personal life to the public. "

      As mentioned above, I don't think their past programs, aside from a couple of galas, were emo. In fact, I think their artistry in the past was far more classy and nuanced. (In the FD, that is, I think Prince is great and more like their old programs in that way - the charisma is there, but it's not sold as the central point.) I know that a lot of the people who don't like V/M find their whole romantic presentation annoying, but that's not where I'm coming from at all. I'm a huge fan of them, and I loved their presentation in previous FDs.

      And I couldn't care less about their personal lives at this point, I'm sick to death of the topic.

      "Not even really focusing on the fact that well, WHEN the program sells well to the judges, the skaters win ... "

      OC already covered this, but this is exactly the bullshit that I'm talking about. Good teams lose, and bad teams win, and it has squat to do with acting. It's corruption. And when good teams happen to win, it's not their acting that makes those results correct.

    7. "There are times when a commentator will get into it a little bit, talking about a silent blades or matching body lines or speed, but they'll mash that up with garbage about momentum, "magic" and whether or not the program is convincing. "

      Or they'll get into technique while talking about teams with crap technique. The Eurosport guys love to get specific about how amazing Ch/Ba's edges are. Tracy also does this with G/P.

      "People who want to evaluate the skating according to the standards and criteria for excellent skating are in the wilderness alone. "

      In many ways this is true, but I hold V/M fans to a higher standard. They actually read things like this blog. They take the discussion of people who do care about standards when it is useful for them. They used it improperly defend P/C while V/M were gone. They'll throw technical things out here and there about why V/M are better, but P/C are still very, very good. But overall they appear to believe V/M's emotional performances are what makes them really special. Put another way, it seems like these fans use technical explanations to justify why their emotional reactions are more valid than the emotional reactions of fans of other teams, rather than really caring about the technical arguments in the first place.

    8. Well, I don't hold Virtue Moir fans to a higher standard. A small number - some of those who participate on this blog among them - care enough to understand skating, and therefore, understand why VM are the best ever by miles. The rest of the VM fans believe VM are the best because for a long time the sport agreed that they were, because they don't like Davis White for charisma, body type and chemistry reasons, and because they had so much chemistry. Otherwise, my experience in the years this blog has been around is that the majority of VM fans still participating in on line discussion prefer VM because they don't like the other teams, because they feel the chemistry, etc. etc. Remember the reality show Tessa and Scott did happened for a reason - it wasn't because their fans were so astute about ice dance.

    9. Yeah, I think you nailed it. I don't mean that V/M fans actually meet that higher standard, haha. It just pisses me off that they co-opt the technical discussion as a way to justify their fan preferences. They expose themselves to the discussion in the first place, and so I naively expect a bit more of them than the fans who never leave the skating board environments. But as a friend of mine phrased it recently, they "lucked out" by falling for the team that actually is the best. No wonder they like reading technical discussions. D/W and anti-V/M P/C fans would do the same if it favoured their favourites.

    10. I am 5:47. To 11:40. When I refer to Tessa and Scott's program as exquisite, I am not talking about emo choreo. I can call BS on emo choreo a mile away. What Tessa and Scott do is live and breathe their program with every pore of their being, with absolute artistic brilliance and technical perfection. Their skating transports me to a higher place. I often feel I have witnessed something magical. It makes me want to be a better person. Perhaps that sounds corny. I am just glad there are such beautiful skaters as these still out there skating. The only other skaters, pairs skaters, who have had the same effect on me was Gordeeva/Grinkov. Also exquisite, for all the same reasons. They are two couples who also seem genuinely in love and convey that on the ice.

  15. I like V/M, but V/M ubers are so hilarious. According to them V/M can make 10 mistakes, but they are still miiiiiles ahead of others, they are sooooooo good. And all the things they write about D/W are also hilarous. You don't need to like them, you can think they are inferious skaters, but all those "fake skaters", "they shouldn't be even in top 20", and so on, means V/M ubers will never be treated seriously. And they think they know ice dancing lol.

  16. 11:48, no matter how many lols you throw into your comment, you are spouting bullshit. Provide specific examples of why VM aren't miles ahead of the others (take a VM program, the elements and overall skating, and describe why they are good but not leagues ahead of other skaters, and cite the skaters who come close or are almost as good as VM). So the same thing with Davis White. If your claim is Davis White aren't fake skaters - take a DW program, its elements, how those elements were skated, and describe how they're legit.

    By the way, this work has been done by someone else here (not me), with great specificity, showing vis a vis element-to-element, blade-to-blade program comparisons how and why VM are just that much better than everybody else.

    Do the same and keep your lols away from here unless you're willing to back it up.

    1. You must be naive if you think I will be discussing such things. It's not worth my time. You are the person who don't accept any argumets, there's no point to discuss anything with you. What I have noticed YOU'RE ALWAYS RIGHT. I only want to say that I'm sorry for V&M that they have fans like you.

    2. Oycanada, while you can compare current skaters in such a way you suggested, you can't compare V&M to past skaters, since the requirements were different and the elements were different in the past. But actually in the past there wer skaters who had much bigger impact on ice dance and its development than V&M.

    3. 3:32pm, Virtue and Moir IMO are the best ice dancers ever. That's a different thing than influential or "impact." For example, Torvill and Dean brought contemporary movement to what had been a discipline that used a mostly ballroom vocabulary, and were highly influential in that respect. They were also excellent skaters but I don't think they were better skaters/ice dancers than Virtue Moir in terms of skill.

  17. Backing up a claim about skating is easy - all of the skating exists on video. You've got nothing. Don't come back here with this.