Not only is their FD choreography creative, but some of the elements are very difficult to execute--more so than the elements in the P/I FD, imo. I like P/I, but I frankly find their FD this season bland. When you compare it either with the pizzazz of G/P or the exquisite connection and emotion that the other C/K team, Hubbel and Donohue (whom I love to bits!) exhibit in their FD, P/I FD leaves me cold. Also, both G/P and H/D have suffered from injuries, which have delayed their preparation quite a bit, but both teams have, despite injuries, made huge progress from last season--so far more than P/I, imo.
Choreo does matter, and is one of the scored elements. In no way should it be the only determining factor. I really like the concept of G/P program, but I think P/I have the better overall package this year yet. And they've posted some good, consistent scores. P/I have beautifully conceived programs. Subtle, smooth as silk, clean lines, tidy feet, great connection..... G/P need some more time to develop their unison and basic skating skills together. They are making improvements, but there is no question that Paul's injury has set them behind. Their marks internationally have been underwhelming. And I'm glad, really. Judges are not being fooled by just the pizzazz and personality. They have noticed there is not a lot of substance behind it. Ice dance should not be just about tricks. And it will force G/P to not try to just hide their deficiencies as a team, but really work on them.
I think some of the backlash against G/P is for a number of reasons:
- some people really miss C/P and were not happy about the split, which means no one was going to be good enough in their minds to replace Vanessa
- there seemed to be a real sense of expectation by fans and perhaps even them that they could just step in where C/P left off, almost a campaign like atmosphere at some competitions
- the idea that Skate Canada made them "the chosen ones" whether they deserved it or not (and many felt they didn't deserve it)
- the appearance of a lack of humility and a certain crassness from the beginning of this team through the push for citizenship
- maybe even some think Canada has enough really good teams that are all pushing for a spot the Olympics, and to make a special skill exemption perhaps shouldn't apply here, and no corners should be cut
I think some of the above is true. I don't think they can do anything about those who just will never accept the end of C/P. People need to move on. I think time has proven they can't cut corners and jump in right where C/P left off. The results at Worlds last year perhaps woke up anyone at Skate Canada who was looking to make them the "chosen ones", and marks have been much more real and justified this season. (It was getting pretty ridiculous.) I also don't think they can be held responsible for what reporters say about them. Perhaps some of the comments that showed a level of expectation of achievement was about a reporter trying to sell a story, and not actually what they meant. I'm not sure what I think about the last point. I don't think Canada has any lack of really qualified teams, and G/P are not better than many of the teams vying for 3rd. It will be quite the battle at Nationals. I personally don't think both partners should have to have citizenship. It's not required for Worlds. If a team is good enough to represent at Worlds, it should be good enough for the Olympics. You choose a country between the partners, and stick with it. The partner community is really quite small, especially at the elite level. There are many factors in creating a great partnership, and to be limited to your country and expectation of citizenship for both partners just for the Olympics seems ridiculous. We live in a global community.
All I can say is that Nationals will be quite the battle for 3rd. V/M and W/P are virtual locks on 1st and 2nd. Vying for 3rd will be P/I, G/P, R/H, O/W and perhaps another team or 2 that rises to the occasion. I just hope the competition is very fair, free of bias and expectation, no pumping teams or low-balling teams artificially, and the results reflect how the teams skated on the days. And may the team that actually skates the best earn the marks and the spot. Based on results so far internationally this season, and based on level of improvement over the season, I have to think that P/I have some momentum. G/P have a good program, and if P/I make mistakes and G/P are clean, they could land in 3rd. If both P/I and G/P falter, then R/H could come up the middle. I'm not sure about O/W. I think for them to hope for another Cinderella season is too much to ask.
This is huge news for Piper & Paul. I was beginning to wonder whether they would make the citizenship deadline since I think they were only a month away from Mid-January when the time period runs out for Olympic-team qualification.
I think the competition for the 3rd Ice Dance spot is between Gilles & Poirier and Paul & Islam. They are the 2 Canadian teams with the highest marks on the GP this season after Virtue & Moir and Weaver & Poje.
It's possible that if both G&P and P&I make major mistakes that Ralph & Hill or Orford & Williams could have a shot at it, but I see that as less likely considering their lower GP scores.
Fall 2013 GP Results:
Gilles-Poirier - Highest score achieved: 144.07 (NHK Trophy)
Paul-Islam - Highest score achieved: 143.77 (Skate Canada)
Orford-Williams - Highest score achieved: 119.60 (Trophee Bompard)
Thus, as the scores above indicate, G&P and P&I have international scores this season that are some 20 points plus ahead of O&W. Ralph & Hill haven't competed on the GP this year, so it's harder to compare them, but in the past their scores have tended to be lower than G&P and P&I.
Ralph and Hill scored 146.37 to win Challenge. Because it's a national competition, and not an international competition, the scores are not really comparable, but that's better than they scored last year. It appears their FD must have been very good-it scored 90.29, the SD 56.08.
Great for them. I do love their Hitchcock, even though it's distracting how much work Piper needs to get to Paul's level in terms of skating skills and edge quality. It worked for Weaver/Poje over the years, and they are still young (I didn't realize Paul is only 22 until I checked), so this team might actually have a future ahead. Pity, because Paul/Islam is probably one of the smoothest dance teams out there, but DSC keep giving them programs that are pretty but do not stand out. I think P/I's W.E. FD is truly marvelous, the sort of performance you really enjoy but do not remember very clearly. G/P's Hitchcock is just miles more glaringly entertaining.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/citi...ater-1.2470634 This article makes it sound like G/P have it in the bag......They needn't even show up for Nat.s. If I were one of the other teams I would be livid.