2021 Autumn Classic: Pairs Free Skate | Page 11 | Golden Skate

2021 Autumn Classic: Pairs Free Skate

BlissfulSynergy

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Sep 1, 2020
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Olympics
and with Kana & Dai Japan could win Olympic Team Event
Japan will definitely vie for medals in the Olympic Team Event. But with the Russians so strong in pairs, ladies, and ice dance (and not too bad in the men's discipline, if Kolyada performs as well as he can), I doubt that Japan is going to win the Olympic Team Event. Kana & Dai have yet to prove how well they will be able to compete against top-rated ice dance teams. Kana & Dai are entertaining to watch, and I enjoy their programs, but let's see how things transpire as the season progresses.

This is definitely a win by Miura/Kihara that is worth celebrating by Japanese fans, and by the Japanese federation. It's a first step in a long journey to building a strong pairs discipline.
 

rain

Record Breaker
Joined
Jul 29, 2003
A few random thoughts on the pairs FS. First off, the early season showed in all the of the multitude of jump errors. I think more jumps were fallen on or popped than were landed, by a long way.

Deana Stellato has the most perfect posture ever. Her back, neck, arms, shoulders are all textbook perfect. It's really beautiful to look at and adds an elegance to their skating. The death spiral variation may be difficult, but it sure isn't pretty.

Vanessa James struggled to get her feet under her on the jumps. Definitely something to work on. I'm really impressed with the beautiful lines this team creates and how elegant they are. But they need to figure out her jumps. I'll give them a few more competition before being really worried about it.

Ashley Cain-Gribble also struggled terribly with the jumps in her performance, but it looked at the end like she could hardly breath due to her recent COVID infection, so I think we can probably chalk it up to that. And I really hope she is OK.

Miura/Kihara are promising for Japan. This team is still really rough around the edges, but being able to land elements is a good start. I really dislike their LP music though. I think something more joyful might suit them better.

Overall, I rather dislike what COP has brought to lifts. So many inelegant positions and needless and clunky changes of position and awkward entrances and exits. A lot of the aesthetics have been lost.
 

RatedPG

On the Ice
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Aug 21, 2018
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Canada
I think this solidifies the Olympic team event with Russia in gold, America for silver and Japan for bronze. With this pairs team, I think Japan is really close to USA.
 

anonymoose_au

Insert weird opinion here
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Okay I can only root for two teams in this group (no offense to Deanna Stellato but her partner... yes I still have beef with him I'll probably have beef with him until forever)
I'm curious now...what did he do? 😳
 

skylark

Gazing at a Glorious Great Lakes sunset
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Aug 12, 2014
A few random thoughts on the pairs FS. First off, the early season showed in all the of the multitude of jump errors. I think more jumps were fallen on or popped than were landed, by a long way.

Deana Stellato has the most perfect posture ever. Her back, neck, arms, shoulders are all textbook perfect. It's really beautiful to look at and adds an elegance to their skating. The death spiral variation may be difficult, but it sure isn't pretty.

Vanessa James struggled to get her feet under her on the jumps. Definitely something to work on. I'm really impressed with the beautiful lines this team creates and how elegant they are. But they need to figure out her jumps. I'll give them a few more competition before being really worried about it.

Ashley Cain-Gribble also struggled terribly with the jumps in her performance, but it looked at the end like she could hardly breath due to her recent COVID infection, so I think we can probably chalk it up to that. And I really hope she is OK.

Miura/Kihara are promising for Japan. This team is still really rough around the edges, but being able to land elements is a good start. I really dislike their LP music though. I think something more joyful might suit them better.

Overall, I rather dislike what COP has brought to lifts. So many inelegant positions and needless and clunky changes of position and awkward entrances and exits. A lot of the aesthetics have been lost.
I love your whole post. I like your choices of emphasis and language. But I can't help wanting to comment on your last paragraph. COP has greatly damaged the beauty and fluidity of so many lifts.

This is a main reason I'm so entranced with the new pair of Chelsea Liu and Danny O'Shea. Their lifts are difficult, complex and kind of stunning to watch without sacrificing beauty and fluidity. They depend a lot on Chelsea's amazing flexibility, though. And there have been discussions from fans more knowledgeable than I am about whether such a degree of flexibility can slightly have a cost in strength and ability to land jumps. The lifts are only one reason for my liking L/O so much though. They've created a whole new way of being on the ice in pairs, with their connection and the fluidity in all their movements, and the way they share their connection with spectators.

I also really love Stellato/Deschamps' lifts.
 

4everchan

Observer
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Mar 7, 2015
I also really love Stellato/Deschamps' lifts.
Meagan explained though that Stellato/Deschamps lifts are much tougher and they go the hard road to get their levels... So, I don't think it's COP that is entirely to blame when it comes to lift that are perhaps less flowing to reach level 4... there are other options to reach the levels but require creativity and competence, as shown by Stellato/Deschamps.... I would say that teams have to play up their strengths, and if for some team, getting level 4 lifts goes with using flexibility or acrobatic exits etc... then they have to make those choices. As Meagan implied, there are ways to get level 4 that are easier to achieve but perhaps not as interesting to look at.... and that's why Stellato/Deschamps stand out.. they are going through it with an approach that will grant them levels with acrobatic and difficult moves. What I am trying to say is that other teams could opt to do such things... same with Stellato-Deschamps's death spiral... How often do we see that position??? Again, Meagan explained that it's a great way to get the full base value for that element. COP is not responsible for all the evil in figure skating, it allows teams to cater to their own strength... The issue is that many teams will follow the same tested recipe to get high levels other than being creative or considering the impact of the element in the choreography. So the issue resides within the skaters... not the rules. YMMV
 

TontoK

Hot Tonto
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I don't get it: they were supposed to be the "artistic" pair, and Eric is a musician himself... and they choose Harry Styles? I would expect something experimental, like Papadakis and Cizeron's "Find me" or just anything original, really.
We're thinking along the same lines.

I didn't like the program. Of course, there's going to be a loss of energy and projection in a program with so many errors... but I don't think I'd like it any better if it were skated perfectly. It was bland. Unmemorable.

The errors might be dismissed as a "bad day" or "early season jitters." But that program is a deliberate choice.
 

Skater Boy

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Joined
Feb 24, 2012
The Japanese are really taking advantage of training in Canada. And they look like they could win a bronze medal come olympics. They really are coming along nicely and it looks better for Japan they will OGB in the team event. Really solid pairs skating.
 

el henry

Fangirl of men’s spirals and split jumps
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I'm curious now...what did he do? 😳

I do not want to speak for @Ichatdelune, but Maxime committed to skate with a Korean skater (I am sorry, I am blanking on the name) in I believe, spring of 2019. The Korean skater believed they had an agreement; either Maxime did not, or he broke the agreement.

Either way, three or four weeks later he is pairing with Deanna. And here they are now.
 

CherylDee

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We're thinking along the same lines.

I didn't like the program. Of course, there's going to be a loss of energy and projection in a program with so many errors... but I don't think I'd like it any better if it were skated perfectly. It was bland. Unmemorable.

The errors might be dismissed as a "bad day" or "early season jitters." But that program is a deliberate choice.
Agreed about the Harry Styles music, as I would have also liked to have seen a more artistic program similar to Green/Parson's free dance. But as far as "V" not finding her legs, to me it's 2017 all over again when V&M beat M/E at ACI for the very same reason R/R beat V/E.

It was the beginning of the 2018 Olympic season and Meagan fell on nearly everything, pretty much the same as James. Then Meagan & Eric went on to win Olympic Bronze. So as stated, it's early and ice is slippery. I can easily see this as a positive omen, either way.

But gosh I wished they'd chosen one of Eric's classical compositions as a swan song.
 

BlissfulSynergy

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Olympics
Vanessa James struggled to get her feet under her on the jumps. Definitely something to work on. I'm really impressed with the beautiful lines this team creates and how elegant they are. But they need to figure out her jumps.
So, Eric had a problem on his sp sbs jump at the Quebec competition. Are you including his 'struggle' in your concerns? You should check Vanessa's career. She is not known to fall so many times in one program. Vanessa and Morgan were absolutely boffo consistent on their jumps. They knew they had to be perfect to get anything from the judges. I never even saw Morgan fall ever until their nerve-wracking problems in the sp at 2019 Worlds (after a layoff of two months, plus judges sending the message with their huge sp scores for S/H and T/M that J/C weren't being looked at as favorites despite to that point having won every comp they entered that season -- also remember S/H had not competed that season aside from a less than stellar showing at 4CCs, plus J/C had beaten the favored T/M twice in head-to-heads that season). Let's also recall that Vanessa had a collision in the sp warm-up at 2019 Worlds with Della Monica/Guarise which further rattled her to the point where neither she nor Morgan were on their game in the sp. IMO, the judges really didn't care whether J/C were on the podium or not to cap off their winning season. The judges notoriously always massaged and managed J/C's scores.

Now, IMO, it is not about Vanessa necessarily having a problem landing jumps. They are partners, and it isn't always the person landing the throw who is responsible for falling on the landing. Of course, the sbs jumps are each individual partners' responsibility, but they still must jump in unison, which can lead to problems with rushing, etc. To me, Vanessa's entry into the one of the sbs jumps was on too tight an angle. With Cipres, especially over their last three seasons, they were both usually spot on with the jumps. Just a couple of times, Vanessa doubled a triple, but she never fell on jumps in those last seasons, until their problems in the sp at 2019 Worlds, which had nothing to do with a lack of ability to land jumps! Neither does Vanessa's problems at AC have anything to do with a lack of ability to land jumps. The usual TSL slight that "Vanessa doesn't have good skating skills," is so loaded and coded. Believe me that this type of unfounded criticism and dismissive slights are what Vanessa has had to deal with her entire career. That's what makes her career achievements so amazing and praiseworthy! She always greets adversity with a smile.

For J/R, It's about nerves and feeling some pressure, while being very new partners. I think J/R are very brave for jumping into the competitive fray like this during an Olympic season. They initially had hoped to partner and do shows together. Competing again was only an outside possibility. I think Skate Canada was very supportive of seeing them compete, because overall it's a win-win for SC. J/R coming together has added to a lot of buzz for Canadian pairs, which wasn't there before, let's be honest. Plus, the J/R partnership has surely lit a fire under KMT/MM and W/M to be even more competitive, which isn't a bad thing for SC. On the outside chance that J/R can overcome the nerves and the problems of learning about each other under competition pressure, to perform well enough to attend the Olympics and perhaps Worlds with KMT/MM with top eight results, that could garner Canadian pairs three spots, which frankly they don't need with KMT/MM planning to retire, and this reportedly being a one and done season for J/R. It is the U.S. pairs discipline which definitely needs three pairs spots, with the depth they have in senior pairs.

So let's not get it twisted about Vanessa actually having any technical problems to work on in her landing jumps. The main issue for J/R is figuring out dealing with the nerves, expectations and overdone criticism and negativity coming from certain quarters. It must not have been too pleasant for J/R knowing that the very vocally oppositional, Meagan Duhamel, would be in the power position of commentating and critiquing their performance. Meagan said something about Vanessa 'popping jumps when she gets nervous.' As I recall, it is from an earlier Meagan critique that I had formed and thus voiced that impression myself about Vanessa. However, the real deal is that every skater can have problems on jumps when they feel nervous! I wonder what Meagan's tendencies were when she got nervous?! Every skater can end up stiffening up, or simply not feeling their legs underneath them in nerve-wracking pressure situations. Even when you are used to experiencing nerves on occasion, some situations are unusual and unexpected. You can think you feel fine, and then you don't.

As always, we'll see what happens going forward.
 
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TontoK

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More on Vanessa and Eric:

Had it not been for the announcment hype straight on the heels of Brandon and Alexa's relatively successful debut a year ago, we'd probably view their performances as about what you'd expect for a brand new team. I think people suspected Vanessa and Eric would be a hit immediately, similar to Brandon and Alexa.

I'd say it's not Vanessa and Eric that delivered an atypical competition, but Brandon and Alexa a year ago. Pairs skaters aren't just interchangeable, and other than success with other partners, we really had no reason to expect more from Vanessa and Eric.

The real question is how quickly they'll grow and adapt from this disappointment. And only time will tell on that front.
 

rain

Record Breaker
Joined
Jul 29, 2003
So, Eric had a problem on his sp sbs jump at the Quebec competition. Are you including his 'struggle' in your concerns? You should check Vanessa's career. She is not known to fall so many times in one program. Vanessa and Morgan were absolutely boffo consistent on their jumps. They knew they had to be perfect to get anything from the judges. I never even saw Morgan fall ever until their nerve-wracking problems in the sp at 2019 Worlds (after a layoff of two months, plus judges sending the message with their huge sp scores for S/H and T/M that J/C weren't being looked at as favorites despite to that point having won every comp they entered that season -- also remember S/H had not competed that season aside from a less than stellar showing at 4CCs, plus J/C had beaten the favored T/M twice in head-to-heads that season). Let's also recall that Vanessa had a collision in the sp warm-up at 2019 Worlds with Della Monica/Guarise which further rattled her to the point where neither she nor Morgan were on their game in the sp. IMO, the judges really didn't care whether J/C were on the podium or not to cap off their winning season. The judges notoriously always massaged and managed J/C's scores.

Now, IMO, it is not about Vanessa necessarily having a problem landing jumps. They are partners, and it isn't always the person landing the throw who is responsible for falling on the landing. Of course, the sbs jumps are each individual partners' responsibility, but they still must jump in unison, which can lead to problems with rushing, etc. To me, Vanessa's entry into the one of the sbs jumps was on too tight an angle. With Cipres, especially over their last three seasons, they were both usually spot on with the jumps. Just a couple of times, Vanessa doubled a triple, but she never fell on jumps in those last seasons, until their problems in the sp at 2019 Worlds, which had nothing to do with a lack of ability to land jumps! Neither does Vanessa's problems at AC have anything to do with a lack of ability to land jumps. The usual TSL slight that "Vanessa doesn't have good skating skills," is so loaded and coded. Believe me that this type of unfounded criticism and dismissive slights are what Vanessa has had to deal with her entire career. That's what makes her career achievements so amazing and praiseworthy! She always greets adversity with a smile.

For J/R, It's about nerves and feeling some pressure, while being very new partners. I think J/R are very brave for jumping into the competitive fray like this during an Olympic season. They initially had hoped to partner and do shows together. Competing again was only an outside possibility. I think Skate Canada was very supportive of seeing them compete, because overall it's a win-win for SC. J/R coming together has added to a lot of buzz for Canadian pairs, which wasn't there before, let's be honest. Plus, the J/R partnership has surely lit a fire under KMT/MM and W/M to be even more competitive, which isn't a bad thing for SC. On the outside chance that J/R can overcome the nerves and the problems of learning about each other under competition pressure, to perform well enough to attend the Olympics and perhaps Worlds with KMT/MM with top eight results, that could garner Canadian pairs three spots, which frankly they don't need with KMT/MM planning to retire, and this reportedly being a one and done season for J/R. It is the U.S. pairs discipline which definitely needs three pairs spots, with the depth they have in senior pairs.

So let's not get it twisted about Vanessa actually having any technical problems to work on in her landing jumps. The main issue for J/R is figuring out dealing with the nerves, expectations and overdone criticism and negativity coming from certain quarters. It must not have been too pleasant for J/R knowing that the very vocally oppositional, Meagan Duhamel, would be in the power position of commentating and critiquing their performance. Meagan said something about Vanessa 'popping jumps when she gets nervous.' As I recall, it is from an earlier Meagan critique that I had formed and thus voice that impression myself about Vanessa. However, the real deal is that every skater can have problems on jumps when they feel nervous! I wonder what Meagan's tendencies were when she got nervous?! Every skater can end up stiffening up, or simply not feeling their legs underneath them in nerve-wracking pressure situations. Even when you are used to experiencing nerves on occasion, some situations are unusual and unexpected. You can think you feel fine, and then you don't.

As always, we'll see what happens going forward.

OK, so here goes. Vanessa fell on every single one of her side by side jumps at this competition. That is a problem they will have to figure out if they hope to compete at a high level this season. Whether it's a problem she's having, or a timing issue between them, the result here is the same. I meant nothing more and nothing less than that rather obvious statement. I made absolutely no mention of her history of jumping, her previous partnership or her skating skills. Objectively, the jumps at this comp weren't there. Chill.
 

BlissfulSynergy

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OK, so here goes. Vanessa fell on every single one of her side by side jumps at this competition. That is a problem they will have to figure out if they hope to compete at a high level this season. Whether it's a problem she's having, or a timing issue between them, the result here is the same. I meant nothing more and nothing less than that rather obvious statement. I made absolutely no mention of her history of jumping, her previous partnership or her skating skills. Objectively, the jumps at this comp weren't there. Chill.
Obviously, the jumps weren't there for Vanessa at AC, so Eric and Vanessa both will have to regroup. They are partners. Again, it's extremely rare to see this many jump errors from Vanessa in one program. It's a new partnership, the nerves were there, and they have to figure it out. It's not an inability for her to land the jumps, quite clearly. Whether it's nerves or getting back into the swing of competing a tech intensive fp, it's up to them and their coaches to figure it out. I also feel they need to rethink the fp music. Distractingly ironic for the lyrics to be on cue crooning about "falling again, falling again"! Whoa.
 

4everchan

Observer
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Mar 7, 2015
Obviously, the jumps weren't there for Vanessa at AC, so Eric and Vanessa both will have to regroup. They are partners. Again, it's extremely rare to see this many jump errors from Vanessa in one program. It's a new partnership, the nerves were there, and they have to figure it out. It's not an inability for her to land the jumps, quite clearly. Whether it's nerves or getting back into the swing of competing a tech intensive fp, it's up to them and their coaches to figure it out. I also feel they need to rethink the fp music. Distractingly ironic for the lyrics to be on cue crooning about "falling again, falling again"! Whoa.
well again... i defer to meagan who did say that Vanessa, when nervous, tends to tighten up in jumps...so let's blame nerves of the first international competition here. With her former partner, it's only the last couple years that they started to be confident and steady... it took them a while to achieve that. I remember the glares and stares in the kiss and cry moments almost more than their successes. Will this partnership manage to ease her anxiety early enough to accomplish stable jumps and the rewards that comes with it? We will have to wait and see... so I agree with @rain here : it is a concern. Nobody can tell for sure when she will manage to loosen up. The salchow in the SP was extremely off...
 

BlissfulSynergy

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Olympics
well again... i defer to meagan who did say that Vanessa, when nervous, tends to tighten up in jumps...so let's blame nerves of the first international competition here. With her former partner, it's only the last couple years that they started to be confident and steady... it took them a while to achieve that. I remember the glares and stares in the kiss and cry moments almost more than their successes. Will this partnership manage to ease her anxiety early enough to accomplish stable jumps and the rewards that comes with it? We will have to wait and see... so I agree with @rain here : it is a concern. Nobody can tell for sure when she will manage to loosen up. The salchow in the SP was extremely off...
Yeah, okay. If that's what you remember more, it's because that's what you choose to remember. Let's not overdo it regarding Cipres and Vanessa in the kiss n' cry. I've never seen a lot of glares and stares from Vanessa in the kiss 'n cry. I've seen more accepting shrugs, along with smiles and expressions of gratitude. Yes, Cipres was/is immature, and he didn't handle the ups-and-downs as well as Vanessa. Yes, there was that famous kiss n' cry incident when Cipres was pitching a fit, and Vanessa finally had to point her finger at him and tell him off. A lot of people thought that would end in a partnership break-up. But no. Vanessa is someone who never backs down from a challenge. Her career is self-made, and she deserves much more respect than she's been receiving from some fans and observers, including from Meagan as a commentator and as a former competitor, and briefly as a training partner of J/C.

Vanessa didn't give up. She telephoned John Zimmerman, and one of his conditions before taking her and Cipres on was having them work on their relationship on and off the ice. J/C had received training help from different quarters over the years, even spending some time in Russia trying to perfect their 3-twist, and learning a bit of Russian technique. But they didn't feel comfortable there and subsequently returned to France, prior to heading to Florida, where obviously the rest is exciting pairs history.

For J/C's career achievements and for what they contributed to the discipline, not just in the last three years of their career either, they deserve a lot of credit and a lot of respect! You might as well take your foot off the gas concerning Vanessa's nervous jitters at AC, which led to an underwhelming performance, which btw, happens to every skater at some point (ask Dick Button). We'll see if Vanessa is able to bounce back like she normally has. This is a new partnership, and we all know partnerships take time, though they don't have much time competitively if this is truly their one and done eligible season. J/R look good together, but there's been a lot of negativity thrown their way too, which is not pleasant for anyone to have to overcome, along with the normal stresses of competition.

No matter how immature and thoughtless Cipres has been, Vanessa would not have been with him all those years if he was a monster. So let's temper the description of their interaction in the kiss 'n cry. There are more moments of gratitude and partnership intimacy between them than there was conflict:





A brief, but stirring retrospective of their career (separately as singles skaters, and together as France's #1 pair)


Notice near the end of the last video in the kiss n' cry where Morgan kisses Vanessa's shoulder, in gratitude. They went through a lot together. He knew the steadfast friend and skating partner he had in Vanessa. That's why his careless behavior has been so harmful, disappointing, and sad.
 
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4everchan

Observer
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Mar 7, 2015
Yeah, okay. If that's what you remember more, it's because that's what you choose to remember. + long post
I remember the ups and the downs. My memory doesn't tend to be selective in that sense. I am not sure what your intention was with providing such a long post with so many links. It changes nothing to what I was saying : Meagan pointed out that Vanessa gets stiff on jumps when nervous. My point is that it does usually take a while for skaters to get comfortable in any partnership (look at Dylan and Lubov, they never quite managed to find their timing for them to land jumps consistently). It seems that right now, Vanessa is struggling to get the jumps done. She seems nervous and lacking confidence. In order for them, and I certainly wish that for them, to get near the top, they will need to make sure they do not lose about 20 points over two programs. My point is "will Vanessa and Eric have time to get comfortable enough in their partnership for Vanessa to loosen up and trust her training? " There is no evidence either for or against that yet. We will find out in the next few months, but as a fan of figure skating, I believe it is pretty normal to have some concerns about that.
 

BlissfulSynergy

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@4everchan, fine if you don't like reading long posts. Some things are more complicated than soundbite posts allow. Now, you are somewhat changing the focus of what you said initially, and bringing in other skaters, most likely to show that you weren't trying to single in on and disrespect Vanessa. My point is that you specifically said, "I remember the glares and stares in the kiss and cry moments almost more than their successes." If that's the case for you, okay. I think it's too bad that's mostly what you remember. The links are to demonstrate that what you remember did not happen during the majority of J/C's career together. Like most pairs teams, there were some not so good performances, and some occasions of unhappiness in the kiss n' cry when things weren't going well. But dismissing their entire tenure together as mostly 'glares and stares,' I disagree with you. Vanessa tends to always handle adversity with an abundance of grace, and with a beautiful smile. All of the montage videos and comments posted under those videos also show how J/C built a very enthusiastic and admiring fan base over the last several years of their career.

If you aren't interested in watching the videos, that's fine. But they are evidence of the fact that J/C had a successful partnership and a good relationship over the span of their 10 year career. It wasn't all smiles and roses, but it was a partnership that endured through a lot of competition ups-and-downs. They ultimately achieved very memorable and influential success. They had a chemistry that can't be taught, along with power, speed and consistency, whether you remember their partnership that way or not.

Frankly, it seems as if some critics, including Meagan Duhamel are forgetting that Vanessa looked great in her debut with Eric at Quebec championships. It was Eric who made a fall-out error on the sbs jump in their sp. As a new pairing, it can tend to happen that one partner is calm at one event, while the other has nerves that get to them. Then the reverse can happen at the next competition. Obviously, J/R both need to figure things out. I contend that there was perhaps a bit more pressure and nerves for J/R at AC, because things are heating up and they were expected to win. Plus, they surely knew that Meagan Duhamel was commentating, and everyone knows Meagan said negative things about Eric partnering with Vanessa.

Fine, Meagan was understandably hurt, but she went overboard with the complaining on social media, and on TSL, and on Cafecito con Masha (few people know Meagan was on the latter podcast to continue her bellyaching). Meagan apparently realized that she has to be more sportsmanlike, because SC is fully supporting J/R, not to mention that Meagan's sister-in-law is coaching them. So, when Meagan was introduced on air by Kevin Reynolds at AC, she purposely took that opportunity to change her tune and to smooth things over regarding her initial hurt feelings. Still, Meagan was very critical of Vanessa, especially in her overall tone, while at the same time, Meagan made sure to heap a lot of praise on Eric.

After AC, Meagan again appeared on TSL with negative commentary directed mainly toward Vanessa. Meanwhile, Dave Lease said after the Quebec championship that, "Vanessa can't keep up with Eric." That is not an accurate statement. It's negative and disrespectful. After AC, Dave was very eager and self-satisfied in piling on further by saying that J/R's partnership "is a mistake." What an indictment, particularly at this point in the season.

The whole, "Vanessa tends to stiffen up when she gets nervous," is an overdone indictment. Everyone experiences stiffness and/or butterflies, or weak legs when they have to perform physically under pressure situations. Tendencies like this which everyone experiences are over-emphasized when commenting on performances by skaters of color. I don't think it's necessary to keep repeating this criticism against Vanessa, particularly in the tone in which it's repeated. I made the mistake of repeating this critique myself. Then I stopped and thought, Well, what happens to most skaters and to most athletes when they get nervous? Everyone experiences some physical sensations that they have to overcome. What happened to Meagan when she was nervous while competing? What were her tendencies? Let's suffice to say that everyone has a nightmare competition at some point, and that experiencing this many errors is a rarity for Vanessa. I've never seen her fall on so many elements in one competition.

Of course, J/R need to regroup and figure out how to manage going forward. And, as I said, I think they should consider changing the fp (those 'falling again' lyrics need to go). Personally, I'd look to bring in a new set of eyes (e.g., Shae Lynn Bourne, John Kerr, Sam Chouinard, or Marie France Dubreuil, if any of these choreographers are available) and put together a completely different fp, while keeping the current sp with the new music.
 
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