short dance articles from worlds

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