Wednesday, February 13, 2013

"Carmenus Interruptus" and Other Pairs/Dance Observations from 2013 Four Continents

Some 4CC thoughts for you...

PAIRS: Simply stated, the World Team goals for the top North American pairs teams seem to break out like this:

Canada—get on the podium.
U.S.—break into the Top Six.

With no Pang/Tong (Injured? Exhausted?), no Sui/Han (Long-term injured? Long-term exhausted?), and no Takahashi/Tran (broken up), this year’s 4CC was all about Canada and the U.S. And they fell in line as you might expect: Canada 1st and 2nd; U.S. 3rd and 4th. The good news for Canada is that their one-two punch keeps getting stronger. Duhamel/Radford’s total score of 199.18 would have given them the bronze medal in last month’s European Championships, while Moore-Towers/Moscovitch’s total of 196.78 would’ve been plenty for fourth place. Even better news for Canada—maybe— is that Duhamel/Radford in particular had plenty of room for technical improvement in their free skate. So in theory, they could do even better at Worlds. But will they...? Or will M-T/Mosco get the advantage (and the medal)?

The good news for the U.S. pairs of Castelli/Shnapir and Zhang/Bartholomay is that they gained much-needed international experience and skated fairly well (in “Euros” terms they’d have ended up in the 6th/7th place range). The bad news for the U.S. is that we just do NOT have a one-two punch. And with only one of the U.S. 4CC teams headed to Worlds, while another (Denney/Coughlin) tries to heal up in time for the trip... and all other recent Worlds pair competitors from the U.S. either split up (Marley/Brubaker, Evora/Ladwig) or re-teamed and split up AGAIN (Davis/Ladwig, who parted company last week)... momentum simply continues to elude us.


Without Weaver/Poje at this event, the top skaters were all-American with a big dash of Canadian at its core. Because the rookie team of Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier is progressing quickly, but not quite that quickly, you know? (Kudos to them for finishing 5th nonetheless.)

So a battle for bronze emerged between the U.S.’s Shib Sibs and Chock/Bates... the very same teams that twizzled it out for Nationals silver a few weeks ago. With the same outcome, save for the 1-point deduction the Shibs got at Nats.

Chock/Bates: 160.42 4CC; 175.91 Nats
Shib Sibs: 159.97 4CC; 174.21 Nats

So whether skating for international judges or national ones (with traditionally higher scores all-around), it has become a virtual dead heat—with Chock/Bates getting the edge both times, and in this case, the Shib Sibs just missing out on the 4CC bronze medal for the second year in a row. Shibs devotees must be losing their minds as we head into Worlds, wondering what it could possibly take for the Sibs to feel the judicial love that was first heaped upon them two years ago. And it surely doesn’t help that, as some of you mentioned in the last post, that these two teams also represent opposite sides of the Zueva/Shpilband coaching split of last summer.

And then came a little something I’m calling CARMENUS INTERRUPTUS. If you haven’t yet seen Virtue/Moir’s FD from a few days ago, take a look at it here  ... it’s at the 2:56 mark when they seemingly missed a lift, then stopped the program altogether, then ping-ponged back and forth between their coaches and the judges a few times (well, Scott did anyway), then picked up where they left off 4 minutes later and finished the rest of the program—complete with the previously aborted lift. No, they didn’t win—Davis/White did, with another season’s best score I believe—but their silver medal-worthy performance has generated plenty of chatter just the same: Why no deduction for stopping down the program? Why was so much time allowed for them to regroup and continue? Why did they get another shot at that lift? Was it really another case of leg cramps for Virtue (as she indicated later), or did Moir screw up the lift the first time around?

Even though the deduction thing has been explained here and there (with the most recent non-deduction happening with the Shib Sibs during last fall’s GP series), I think the questions will remain for a while—at least until we see what unfolds at Worlds next month.

Personally I try to cheer on V/M as much as I can—for a D/W fan, anyway—but I can’t help but feel Moir is developing an above-the-law attitude I can neither appreciate nor relate to in any manner. And last weekend’s events only reinforced that feeling.

Men’s and Ladies commentary still to come... can you believe I haven’t yet taken a look at Kevin Reynolds’ gold-medal free skate??

1 comment:

sara.raju said...

I totally agree with you about Scott. It sometimes seems in interviews that he kind of thinks he and Tessa are entitled to win unless something REALLY bad happens.