carmen vulnerable at nationals

carmen was improved by nationals. this version of carmen is actually my favourite competition carmen and second only the skate canada practice carmen. i loved it but there was something so off about the judging. many skaters, including tessa and scott, had a -1 deduction at the end of the competition. something had gone wrong and those were all mistakes. then we realized that tessa and scott had earned only a level 1 on their combination spin. problem is, they don't do a combination spin. also, though they hadn't had lift timing issues all season (they even saved the timing of even the disasterous skate canada short dance lift where tessa got stuck), suddenly the judges find two timing deductions. are those lift deductions as legitimate as the random -1's and the level 1 for a spin tessa and scott didn't do? the judging done for tessa and scott at this competition is completely suspect to me.

ifs wrote, "a fifth national title, sealed rather emphatically with a solid short and a powerful free dance. should have been reason for nothing but smiles for tessa virtue and scott moir. and yes, if you’ll pardon the pun, maybe a little happy dance. but alas, there was the matter of the ‘3.00’ that showed up in the violations column when their scores were posted on the scoreboard at the hershey centre earlier today. if you were among those puzzled ... well, virtue and moir were left scratching their heads, too. three separate one-point time deductions on lifts (later corrected to two) which gave cause for pause about the points that got away. 'we can’t have that type of score,; moir said. 'we were excited because that was an awesome skate for us." the good news is, it’s an easy fix, at least in moir’s mind. 'marina (zoueva, their coach) is going to be all over me now with a stopwatch for the next two months,' he said. 'to lose the points is disheartening but at the same time, it’s easy because we have (the mistakes) in black and white on paper.'" they hint at drama over the scores, but don't really go there.

the london free press played with metaphors but did manage to indicate that tessa and scott's were grappling with their scores.

then we have icenetwork. here, when faced with a pretty amazing skate and a few deductions, what does lois elfman put in the headline? the deductions, of course: "lift problems plague tessa and scott at nationals". then he turns the rest of the article into an interview with piper and paul ... want to hear about what's like to skate so close to home at nationals, ask paul. want to talk about what's it like without kaitlyn and andrew, ask paul. want a comment about tough skates by alex and mitch and kharis and asher, again paul. "i know how hard it is to deal with setbacks." want a comment about the next competition, 4cc? ask paul. i'm sure everyone was waiting to hear how excited piper is to go her first international competition. why position it as the exciting second head-to-head for the top two ice dancing titans? nope. no need to go there. finally, want an athlete to tell you how exciting it is to have worlds in canada? who you gonna ask? paul poirier.

these articles were problematic. two uncharacteristic time deduction controlled the narrative, not the brilliance that was the carmen free. some journalists tried to change that. pj kwong interviewed jennifer swan here. "i was so proud of them," the ballet teacher said. "i think they've done a fabulous job. they've found the rawness, the danger, the edge of carmen. they've managed to magnificently portray that -- that line between morality and immorality ... i think they really captured today on the ice."

weeks before nationals, jacquelyn thayer published the article working to highlight the modern dance in ice dance at it gave us an insight into the amount of respect tessa and scott were gaining for this program and their vision and how revolutionary carmen is. "the potential for modern dance’s development on the ice intrigues porter. 'after having a full experience of skating and dance, i think those concepts are possible on the ice, and i think right now, in 2012, people are just starting to understand the tip of the iceberg, to put those movements into the ice so you can see what a big difference it makes when they actually do utilize it.' one program that she singles out for its use of the modern vocabulary, coincidentally, is virtue and moir’s carmen: 'that’s the first piece that i’ve seen on the ice where you could see the use of momentum and body weight, and the way that stayed through their bodies and moved through the space, and then to have that release of movement using their whole body, from their arms and the way that they had a freeness about them. that’s the first time that i’ve seen those concepts really integrated and used."

tsn tried to do a fluff about carmen in skating history, to give tessa and scott's a sense of historical importance. both the videos and the article didn't seem to make much of an impact, though.

pre-national press was also a problem. tessa and scott had the chance to shape the narrative to start nationals, but instead instead of creating buzz about carmen and getting people to really see the quality of their skating, they highlighted controversy and attacked their fans. that globe and mail article was such a wasted opportunity. this pre-nationals article with icenetwork was also a problem. they spent so much time trying to salvage their short dance, which had been revamped since the grand prix final, that carmen was almost an after thought.


at nationals, they received 108.19. in a competition that's synonymous with overscoring (to the point where the scores don't officially count with the isu), tessa and scott manage to score less than they do internationally.


Anonymous said...

You know, at the time the nationals articles were coming out, it did feel like to me that V/M were attacking fans and it made no sense to talk about the controversy aspect. As I've been going back over everything though, I've come to look at it differently though. In those articles, Scott and Tessa spoke of this information about negative fan reaction and controversy filtering back to them. It seems from the time this program debuted, various factions began working to destroy it. Sure, there were a handful of the usual suspects (hardcore D/W ubers) who tried to make Carmen out to be controversial, but the V/M fans loves the program dearly.

Information (aka feedback) filters back to the skaters from their fed and the ISU. I think someone from SC or the ISU fed V/M a lot of "information" about how the fans were reacting to that program that wasn't true. Prior to nationals, they'd done a good job talking about doing all new elements, the difficulty of the program, etc. It changed at nationals though. I think someone through this at them so it would be an issues they'd feel needed to be addressed rather than stay on message with the skating.

The scoring at nationals just infuriated me. Like you pointed out, they didn't even do a combination spin! And, they'd gotten level 4 and decent GOE during the GP series.

"they spent so much time trying to salvage their short dance, which had been revamped since the grand prix final, that Carmen was almost an after thought."

This line has just given me another epiphany about the season. Another controversy that shouldn't have been was the original version of V/M's SD. People made a big deal about how the program wasn't scoring well because it didn't reflect the character of the polka throughout. Real damned interesting that this was an "issue" for V/M given that D/W's Latin SD last year was devoid of Rhumba and Latin feeling. (Yet another example of the double standards used for the two teams.) I know V/M also weren't feeling it, but I wonder if the SD scores hadn't been low-balled too if they'd have been feeling it more. So, they were forced to spend time working on the SD, taking time away from growing Carmen. The SD "controversy" was just another way to distract them and go about making sure that Carmen got beat down.

iggie said...

great point, especially about the yankee polka!