piecing together what happened to carmen

i've been creating this new blog series for a while now. a few weeks ago, i decided that i needed to reread how carmen was received at its debut because, though it went out with a whimper at worlds, i could have sworn people declared that it was epic. my blog has a pretty comprehesive archive of tessa and scott articles at skate canada, so i poured through that section, first just curious. but after i finished reading, i sat up, put my hair into a bun to take it off my face and started copying, translating, analyzing and writing ... piecing together the reaction to carment's debut, which really was epic.

when i was done, five hours later, i became inspired to do the same for every competition. yes, every single competition this season. i was relatively obsessed with figuring out how carmen was initially received in the press, and by extension, in the figure skating community, and how that narrative changed over the season. it's a fascinating story, one that'll make you proud and sad ... but it's worth it to read each post.

skate canada

the debut of carmen
marina's comments on carmen at skate canada

rostelecom cup

carmen's reception in russia
marina's comments on carmen at rostelecom cup

grand prix final

in defence of carmen at the gpf (includes marina's comments)


carmen vulnerable at nationals


carmen cramping at 4cc


indifference to carmen's loss at worlds
marina's comments on tessa and scott losing worlds
my commentary on the free dance articles

make no mistake about it, carmen was highly respected in the figure skating world. senior skaters, olympic champions, seasoned commentators, professional photographers, coaching legends, dance experts ... they stood in awe of carmen and tessa and scott for pulling it off. if they were on the ice practising when tessa and scott did a runthrough, they stopped to stare. they stood by the boards, overwhelmed with emotions as they saw the choreography unfold. they lept to their feet when scott fell on tessa, destroyed, to give a standing ovation. but something went wrong. the initial praise was forced to get defensive halfway through the season before that voice became strangely quiet by the end. but as the season finished, the narrative against carmen took off until you could only hear those voices. even their coach marina zueva, who started with the season positively glowing about her students and widly optimistic about what carmen could achieve, ended the season not really caring about carmen's losses.

i was going to write about the marks separately, but i realized that i appreciated the juxtaposition. it's fascinating to literally see tarasova, a skating legend, declare the cup of russian carmen phenomenal and then see it earn such a relatively low score. i began to feel, though, when i started to think about the scores, that these low marks stung not just because carmen always scored lower than notre dame de paris, but because it never even reached tessa and scott's normal scoring range. think about it, carmen never even earned these two a personal best even though it was their best program to date.

the reception of carmen is as complex as the program. it was scandalous, really -- and not just because of where scott placed his hand on tessa's thigh. and though i have many quotes recorded here, the drama goes far beyond that ... but if you know the real story of carmen, the rebellion, the danger, the betrayal, the passion, the fine line it walked between morality and immortality, then you almost begin to feel like what went down this season was kind of fitting. no polite responses here. but before we judge whether it was worth it, i almost feel like we have to see how the olympic season is going to go down because you just know that all of this was because of that. we'll also have to see how it affects tessa and scott, their confidence, their vision and their goals during their last season.


heartfelt thank you to my russian translators: alexandra, quiqie, pani and tabhka. alexandra, especially, was so sweet and accomodating when i sent her request after request. she translated most of the marina articles. thanks also to all the fans who found and posted these articles at various forums. thank you again to lucía and laura, tessa and scott fans from spain, for teaching us about carmen during the off-season.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The time you've taken and are taking piecing all these information together, I wish it will not be vein--that just maybe some influential somebody out there might take notice. In the mean time thanks again.