Quote Originally Posted by Dyan View Post
In trying to keep my post from being overly long some things I posted came across differently than I meant them to.

First off, I do not think that D&W's success is only due to politiking. I meant that I believed that was part of it but definitely not all. I do like D&W but I suppose my issue is (I've seen this elsewhere and it fits) they are good but not THAT good. I realize that part of the job of NBC's commentators is to get the viewers revved up but some of Dick Button's comments at U.S. Nationals were a tad over the top.

I do see D&W as legitimate medal contenders but even with RUS and FRA D&S's being question marks I still don't see them as a gold medal couple. Now if we reversed the programs from this season and last I might be inclined to agree.

IMO D&W have many of the same issues that B&A used to get trashed for yet they don't seem to get the same criticism for it. D&W's skating unlike B&A's wasn't interrupted by a coaching change and having that coach rebuild their technique from scratch. D&W's programs are also (like most of the other dancers) choreographed to maximize their strengths and play to the crowds. I've been trying to follow up and read the rules closely so I suppose I can't complain about the who skating skills issue. In theory I still feel that the judges apparently feeling that D&W's skating skills are superior even to those of V&M is questionable yet going by the way the marks are being interpreted and applied this season then by the rule they are whether I fully understand or not.

I also feel that D&W because they are more popular and an American couple won't have their marks questioned the way other couples might. I'm thinking of DomShabs and even F&S and Delobel/Schoenfelder future marks have been questioned. D&W do have a great OD but if they weren't the young American team would so many people be seeing their FD as some sort of artistic statement? I'm getting off track again.

Actually it was D&W's marks against V&M that makes me think that D&W are partially being given a boost rather than D&W vs B&A.

As for Linichuk, even though I've always enjoyed icedancing I dislike the fact that there has to be any discussion regarding politicks at all. The teams should skate and the judges should mark what was skated according only to the rules. However that isn't always what happens. This year Natalia seems to be placing all her attentions on Domnina/Shabalin. Natalia did want to train B&A but she probably had no way of knowing that shortly after B&A finally agreed to be trained by her and Gennady the Russian Federation would send Oksana and Max.

I do think that having three of the top five teams injured helped B&A last season but IMHO it also helped D&W to build the reputation they have now. Without the injuries to Isabelle, Maxim and Tessa it's possible that neither B&A or D&W would have won their GP events and even though Samsom and Delilah was a beautiful FD I don't believe D&W would have beaten a healthy V&M, or the two D&S teams. I admit being pleasantly surprised by B&A's success at worlds last year and they way they were skating. Pre worlds I felt that B&A would finish anywhere from 3rd to possibly 5th. I'm not just defending B&A this season because I like them; if I didn't feel the skating was there (as during last years GP season) I would be more than willing to say so.

As for the speed issue, this is one area where B&A's choice of FD may have hurt them. I feel that both V&M's and B&A's FD's are more slower paced dances and the interpretation of those dances would be off if both teams went flying down the ice at full speed. It reminds me a little bit of Michelle Kwan's Lyra Angelica program and why I still feel she skated well enough to win the gold in 1998. Another well, lyrical and slower paced program that (again IMO) would have looked wrong if skated wide open. It is possible to have great coverage of the ice surface without looking frenetic.

I know it's commonly thought that only the Russian and French federations do the majority of politiking but I feel that all the federations do this and USFS is doing so this year as well. This is the first time an American team has a real shot at winning a gold medal and when B&A's marks ended up being so low this season I believe USFS decided to throw all their support behind D&W.

I don't think I'm really addressing everything that well. I hope I've clarified some of the things I posted earlier.
USFS is fairly new to ice dance politicking, actually. In the past they would trade off any ice dance team to get a used copy of Blades magazine and a 6.0 for one of the ladies. Ice dance was often not even on TV here! And in fact, we have had a number of undergraded teams. I am still annoyed at the undergrading of Blumberg and Siebert in the 1984 Olympics Not to mention Punsalan and Swallow, from time to time. And Wynne & Druar's Charleston OSP and tap dance, their last competitive season. (well on W&D, I am kind of partisan...)

In any given year, in dance and pairs, the big politcking IMO goes on in the creation of the yearly additions to the rules. The last 2 years, these rule updates have been 30 pages each. They are, of course, voted on. However the head of the rules committee is Gorshkov. There is nothing in those rules changes that the Russian fed is not OK with, IMO. While number 2 and number 3 Russian skaters have often been undergraded (as have the number 2 & 3 skaters of other feds), I don't recall any Russia number 1 team who suffered from severe undergrading.

The success of D&W is due to the fact that the current rules favor them. Part of that is due to the fact that rules and penalties emphasizing balletic character, toe point and extension, would not favor DomShabs or K&N either. K&N have too big a size mismatch, and Max's knee has impaired their ability to do these things. So D&W's main weakness is not particularly penalized these days.

D&W have wonderful spins, both for speed, difficulty of entry, and ability to keep timing and express character during them, rather than just doing the spins. B&A's are good, but not special.

On the step sequences, speed rules, and deep edges. D&W have both. B&A are slower.

On the lifts, everybody in the top 10 these days gets level 4, so actually greater difficulty in lifts is only rewarded via GOE. This helps B&A, but they have decided to do acrobatic lifts like V&M and D&W and they don't do them very smoothly yet. They may well by Olympics, but they haven't so far this year. Both V&M and D&W have complex, smooth lifts.

And so D&W have had the tech mark over B&A for some time now.

Sooner or later, the chickens come home to roost, and this year they did at US Nationals, particularly as D&W really brought a good Golden Waltz CD, comparable to B&A's, and although one could argue a couple tenth's one way or the other, I would agree with the judges and give the CD to D&W. That was supposed to be B&A's strength, so it was all downhill for B&A from there.

By the way, Dick Button gave the OD to B&A over D&W (opposite of the judges), so I don't quite see why you are picking him out as a B&A hater?