indifference to carmen's loss at worlds

the 401 season, a term coined by scott because many major championships occured in cities along the 401 highway in ontario, ended in london and tessa and scott skated their last carmen. again, it lost. in public, no one questioned it. no one challenged it. journalists found the easiest ways to address what happened, which is to fall back into safe areas, cliched points or faint praise. but near the end of this post, you'll read the russian press. and there's a huge difference. you'll find quotes from fellow figure skaters and former ice dance world champions who clearly state that carmen should have won.

the canadian press wrote about the rivalry. "theirs is a rivalry that stretches back more than a decade, way back to a bench-clearing hockey brawl when they were kids. canada's tessa virtue and scott moir have been duking it out with americans meryl davis and charlie white in ice dance ever since, with the two trading titles since the vancouver olympics. this round went to davis and white, who captured gold at the world figure skating championships saturday, playing spoiler to hometown heroes virtue and moir."

the toronto star journalist, who is notably not rosie dimanni, talked strategy for next year. "'we just have to do ‘us’ a little more,' [scott] said. 'i think we showed that very well in carmen just in a different way.' though bold carmen will be gone, he warned they won’t be returning to the youthful innocence shown in the program that won them the 2010 olympic gold in vancouver. 'we’re not going to go back to the classic virtue-moir that everyone wants either because we’re older and more mature. i think we’ll have something special for you next year.'"

kerry only hinted at the politiking against carmen when she mentioned a quote from scott that no one else did: "i think there’s a lot of figure skating people that weren’t really on our level maybe, and didn’t agree with it at all." but didn't igor tell us that back in skate canada when he gave this russian interview? the judges told him that they preferred anna and luca's carmen over tessa and scott's in every single way. obviously, they couldn't mark the italian carmen higher, but they did lowball the canadian carmen vis-a-vis notre dame de paris. they lowballed this program against even regular tessa and scott free dances. think about, carmen never earned tessa and scott a personal best. even this simple and personal accomplishment was denied to them. .

the globe and mail quoted scott assessing the strategy of carmen. "we pushed ourselves with some tricky elements this year -- everything we did was new." he also had to do a little backtracking and apologizing for certain short dance comments, "sometimes get a little fired up in the media, but it’s never meant to discredit charlie and meryl – they are amazing skaters. know that they have their attributes that are strong and we’re both pushing the sport." which comment? the one where he said that he doesn't care about the judges, just the reaction of the audience.

their hometown paper, the london free press, took the feel-good, hometown angle. "if they could, tessa virtue and scott moir would've changed one thing about the world figure skating championships. the hometown heroes would have switched the national anthem at saturday's ice dance medal ceremony from the star spangled banner to o canada. they didn't win, but london did, in the minds of the globe-trotting skaters whose seventh career worlds will always be their most memorable. 'we never could have imagined a hometown world championships,' virtue, the 23-year-old londoner, said. 'london is on the world stage and it has handled it gracefully. we felt the excitement (ahead of last week) building. it's what everybody has been talking about. 'the skating crowd is phenomenal. there are no more knowledgeable fans.'"

the national post said that they weren't good enough to win, though they had a memorable performance. people were disappointed, but the whole event was pretty spectacular. this article also mentioned what a thrill it was for the skaters to skate in front of such a large crowd.

reuters did the rivalry angle, the hometown angle and the season's best angle.

usa today did the rivalry angle, but noted that meryl and charlie are dominating recently. "though virtue and moir grew up near the arena, the place belonged to davis and white on this day."

icenetwork had the headline: "case closed. davis, white dump rivals for the crown". it took the rivalry angle, but the article also made it clear that it wasn't much of a rivalry recently because meryl and charlie have dominated all season. to rub salt in the wounds, carmen's reception was simply reduced to its controversy. it had scott bowing down to the greatness of meryl and charlie: "we take our hats off to them".... it was as smug as i had expected it to be.

phil hersh actually wrote about ice dance, which is shocking in itself. i mean, he has no respect for ice dance. it's not a sport to him, but he wanted to chime in and point out that the americans dominated. "davis and white built a commanding margin over defending world champions virtue and moir with a world record score in the short dance. they also won the free dance, set to the hunchback of notre dame, with consummate control and enough elan to impress without risking their lead. their total score, 189.56, was a world record and beat the canadians by 4.52, a substantial difference given how skilled both teams are at making a seamless whole of a schizophrenic event. " focused on two ideas, season's best and strong skate.

pj kwong continued to be consistent with this refrain: "virtue and moir's carmen program was never received as well as many, including me, would have liked. i honestly can't explain what was lacking, because for me it's a program that will be remembered for a very long time. that's not a knock on the quality of davis and white's skating, which is superb. it's simply that, for me, carmen is an outstanding performance piece." then she grabs the hymnal and starts reading, "outstanding or not, what wins competitions is the ability to perform excellent elements with speed and flow, which davis and white did in spades."

alena leonova, a russian skater, wrote on her blog that “i was impressed with tessa virtue and scott moir’s carmen. in general, i've always been impressed by meryl davis and charlie white, but this time the canadians were just amazing. they skated their program with big speed and with great power. i was even a little sad for them that they didnt won at least the free program over americans." (translation by pani)

alexander zhulin, the 1993 world champion and the 1994 olympic silver medalist in ice dance with maya usova, gave an interview where he talked about the results. here is the translation by quiqie and the original russian.

question: do you think that at this championships, the placements of the american and the canadian teams were fair?
zhulin: i'm already tired of repeating that i always preferred the canadians, because virtue and moir are some kind of refinement. completely different way of presenting the dance. i don't belittle the merits of the american duo, but davis and white are more of athletes, and virtue and moir are more of artists. i always prefer artists. i repeat once again, not to diminish anything, any key point, any second, davis and white are an amazing, brilliant team, they do everything great and with ease, but virtue and moir are virtue and moir. i simply love them.
question: the canadians lose to the americans not for the first time this season. why?
zhulin: i don't know. i am not a judge. it must mean that we don't see the full picture.

maxim staviski, a two-time world champion in ice dance with albena denkova, thought so too in this interview.

question: as for gold and silver whose performance do you like more? zhulin named tessa and scott's more artistic team, and davis and white stronger technically.
maxim: i agree. they both now have to keep up with technical side after they left igor, because igor gives a very good technical base. i love tessa and scott's program, carmen, so much that i can not even compare them to the davis and white free dance. although they both ride just in different directions. there are programs which are difficult to compare.

question: okay, but whom would you put on first place?
maxim: still, scott and tessa with carmen.

for marina's thoughts, click here.

notes on the score

carmen limped through the season with second rate marks. people had expected it to eventually earn massive scores but at its peak during worlds, carmen only earned 111.17. that's lower than the marks funny face received at last season's grand prix final (112.33), canadian championship (111.61) and 4cc (111.24).

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