2013 worlds - short dance articles

i spent all weekend with my dark eyes looking pensive, wondering what i was going to do with my blog for worlds. i know people come here to get the news and the short dance happened thursday. it's tuesday and no article post has gone up yet. well, i've decided to do something different this time. i don't know if you've noticed, but i usually never say anything. i link to all the substantive articles i can find and move on. they tell the story of the competition. but this time, what happened thursday was simply too much and after the reviewing the published articles, i didn't want their narrative on my blog, unchallenged. no, for the first time with this blog, i'm going to comment on these articles and what went down.

publications, from the london free press to the canadian press, all claimed that tessa and scott were behind by over three points. true. 3.25 to be exact. then they made claims like "second place virtue and moir pin their hopes on carmen" and "winning a world title at home before thousands of adoring hometown fans just became a lot trickier for tessa and scott" . . . and this gem, "there is a way tessa and scott can win this thing. a third world title saturday on home ice at budweiser gardens is still within reach even after giving united states champions meryl and charlie a 3.25-point head start." when i read those last set of claims, i literally purse my lips and run my hands through my curly hair, trying to calm down.

as i sat down on thursday to watch the live cbc stream, i saw the twizzles go awry. no, no one fell and two of the three twizzles were fine, but my hope for a flawless short dance was gone. i saw tessa beam at the end of the skate and reach for scott to give him a hug, joy radiating about them, out of breath joy. at that point, there was some hope that the deficit made by the twizzles could be made up in two nights, during the free dance. there is a score for twizzles, but that's simply one element. there are also levels and grades of execution for the four other elements and the pcs points, taking into consideration separate things like skating skills, transitions, performance, choreography, interpretation and timing. a strong argument could be made that the other parts of the short dance were absolutely worth high 9s, 10s and +3 goe's -- okay, fine. after the drama that figure skating endures when flawed skates place first, even when they are better all around, i figured they'd be second, but not by much.

then they sat down and saw their marks. the smile that had been on her face grew wry and his, tense. in the moment, on thursday, it felt like her eyes filled with tears when she looked down. his face, on rewatching it tonight, looked solemn with a knowing nod. the life was sucked out of the arena . . . as the camera drew back, you would have thought they'd muted the crowd. tessa and scott, they knew. i knew. the london crowd knew. journalists knew too. it was over.

so instead of linking you to articles that claim, "if the canadian ice dancers want to overcome the deficit and repeat as world champs, they know their free dance to carmen on saturday must be top-notch", i'll just tell you why it was over . . . in ice dance, leads are won and lost with fractions of a point. in mens, you can get a nine point lead in the short and lose the long by 20. it's similar to pairs where tatiana and maxim won the short by around two points and the free by almost 18. yuna also threw it down in ladies, with her 14 point free. such scoring potential is not possible in ice dance between the top tier teams. the scores do not fluctuate that radically. even lower ranked teams in the same tier do not suddenly get separated by 10 points in the free. closely ranked teams stay closely ranked. tessa and scott were not going to come up with a 10-point free dance victory. or 4. it just wasn't going to happen because this is ice dance.

what's also left unsaid by every single article is that nothing the olypmic champions did on the ice that night deserved to have them lose that badly. or stated another way, meryl and charlie did not perform so well that they deserved the ice dance equivalent of a 20-point lead. 20. 3.25. 10. insert whatever number you need to "get" to get that it was impossible for tessa and scott to now win the competition, no matter how they skate the free. it was over. though the twizzles are the lighting rod, the judges lowballed everything tessa and scott did. they gave meryl and charlie an insurmountable lead . . . cue the coronation on saturday for the american champions on london ice.

so, no, i'm not going to link to articles that tried to ease the shock, the silent one that the throbbed in the cold budweiser gardens. i'm not going to lend a sense of legitimacy to a consorted effort to spin how damning those marks were and make them seem less devastating and outrageous. imagine if all the canadian sports pages ran with stories like this one, which systematically explained how this should not have happened. imagine how different the mood on saturday would have been? imagine the indignation, the sense of outrage, the scandal . . .

you don't have to rack your imagination too hard, really. a year ago at nationals, tracy wilson was absolutely indignant with how the judges were marking tessa and scott and brought it up every moment she could. even though they won, you could tell tracy was furious with how the judges were systematically diminishing the asbolute mastery that tessa and scott demonstrate on the ice because the scores were far too low. on saturday, after reading from the current hymnal, she smiled and joined the refrain, telling us that these marks were a-okay. instead of giving a voice of reason to the shock, these articles, the official commentary from so-called experts, preemptively shut the complaints down and wrote the most insincere narrative to describe what happened.


here are the free dance articles


Anonymous said...

Excellent post. The sad part is indeed what is NOT said. Not only does V/M lose out but also the rest of the dance field as well. The only hope I have is that the Olympics are in Sochi and if there is one crowd that knows ice dance it is the Russians. Perhaps former Russian and European champions will start chyming in on what ice dance should be about. And perhaps the conversation should turn into - what do D/W do in ice dance that is significantly better than V/M and all other teams to be basically unbeatable and provide video analysis. Perhaps I am being optomistic but I don't think the Russians want a scandal in ice dance in Sochi - so I think if Zhulin and Krylova want their teams to have a shot at the podium - they need to start slowly digging into D/W. And don't underestimate the Russian pride of Zhulin and Krylova and others Russian greats...

iggie said...

i don't necessarily feel like all is lost when it comes to next season. the pr push for d/w never actually went there and by there i mean saying that d/w must win the olympics. the push was for them to get THIS worlds. they demanded THIS worlds and were relentless. so we'll see. maybe some people will start speaking up behind the scenes, now that certain people have that second world gold for d/w out of their systems.

Anonymous said...

Misha I feel your pain (and Tessa and Scott's too). Nothing they're doing is being rewarded, it's ridiculous. And don't get me started on the difference in scores in the SD. Whatever the judges are smoking it must be good. I will never forget the look on Tessa and Scott's face when the scores for the SD came up. It completely crushed me! It's such bullcrap. And now even fans can't voice their opinions and give an in-depth analysis on why T/S are the best team out there or we get branded as haters. I'm so frustrated.

Anonymous said...

" instead of giving a voice of reason to the shock, these articles, the official commentary from so-called experts, preemptively shut the complaints down and wrote the most insincere narrative to describe what happened."

THIS. Great post, thanks for adding your words to the conversation, so much needs to be said and so few are stepping up.

Anonymous said...

I'm still in tears over both of your entries. You've managed to put a lot of what I'm feeling--a lot of what so many of us are feeling--into words.

I have watched a lot of ice dance over the years, and in no way should the mistakes in the SD have been fatal. They were relatively minor, really. D/W have made errors like Scott's on the footwork a million times without a ding to their levels or GOE. Like so many of the sloppy mistakes they make, it goes unnoticed. V/M get hammered if even a stray hair is out of place. As for the twizzle error, the other two sets were perfect, and it's not like a twizzle error in the OD/SD has knocked a team out in the past. We saw B/K have the exact same error in their OD twizzles in 2003 on the way to their world title. We saw the same error from DomShabs in 2009. But, what really gets me most of all is that the overall quality of what V/M do is so vastly superior to D/W that they should have been easily able to absorb the things that weren't quite perfect. Easily.

Like the rest of you, just as I'm still seething mad over the judging and what has happened in the past several years in this discipline that was once by far my favorite of them all, I'm seething angry and sad over the fact that no one in the position to come to V/M's defense over this has. Everyone rolled over. If D/W were Russian or European, and nothing else at all different, the press, the federations--everyone--would be roaring with anger still. There would be countless articles, outcry in the commentary given, and the feds would be throwing a fit. Instead, no one said a thing because D/W are American. The fact that D/W are American doesn't make this any less wrong. The fact of the matter is that they were once again given a title they didn't deserve or earn with their actual skating.

"instead of giving a voice of reason to the shock, these articles, the official commentary from so-called experts, preemptively shut the complaints down and wrote the most insincere narrative to describe what happened."

This really does sum it all up. No one--not even the Canadian press, SC, or people who know better like Tracy Wilson--are speaking up at all. The ONLY person who there at all who's even hinted that the judging wasn't right was Sasha Zhulin.

I would like to think that behind closed doors, other coaches--like Zhulin and Krylova-- and officials are raging mad and angry, ready to put up a good fight for their sport and their discipline. I don't have a lot of faith in that happening though.

Next season will be be my last as an ice dance follower. At this point, I will see V/M and France's P/B through to the end, but then I'm done. I simply cannot continue to be a fan of something that is this corrupt.

Anonymous said...

D/W were overscored in the short and the free. something is definitely rotten in the sport of ice dance.