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Virtue & Moir Top Short Dance, Papadakis & Cizeron Experience Costume Malfunction, Canadian and French Judges Lend Their Skaters A Helping Hand

by George Rossano


(19 February)  Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir (CAN) skated an outstanding, nearly perfect program to take the lead in the Short Dance.  They skated with ease and energy before a modest audience of about 4100, in a poorly attended event.  They scored their season best.  Their 83.67 points was a World and Olympic record.

Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron (FRA), placed second, 1.74 points back in a program that did not show their usual ease of motion and fluid skating.  Papadakis suffered a costume malfunction when Cizeron broke the strap on her dress near the start of the program, and the skaters ended up more focused on keeping her top covered than presenting the program.  Their skating was stiff and cramped as a result.  Towards the end of the program a nip slip went out over the air in the live broadcast.

Madison Hubbell & Zachery Donohue (USA) and Maia & Alex Shibutani (USA) are in a virtual tie for third place, separated by 0.02 points.  The Shibsibs scored higher in components, but gave ground on the elements, including missing two of the key points in the Rhumba sequence.  They missed these elements in the Team event and you have to wonder, with all the time since then, why they were not able to find out exactly what the Technical Panel has an issue with and fixed it. Hubbell & Donohue also skated their season best

Anna Cappallini & Luca Lanotte (ITA), the 2014 World Champions, sit in fifth place, 1.16 points behind the Shibutanis.  1.10 points farther back are Ekaterina Bobrova & Dmitri Soloviev (OAR).  0.02 point behind the Russians lie Madison Chock & Evan Bates (USA) who scores their season best.

The panel included judges from Canada, France, Russia and the U.S.  The judges from Canada and France could not resist the opportunity of lending their skaters a small helping hand, and a back of the hand to their rivals.

 Canadian and French Marks Comparison

Panel Ave GoE FRA
Panel Ave Comp. FRA
Virtue & Moir 3.00 2.73 2.40   9.95 9.79 9.50
Papadakis & Cizeron 2.20 2.64 2.80   9.45 9.81 9.85

The Canadian and French judges were more subtle than the Chinese judge in the Men's Free Skate, having had company on the panel for the individual marks they gave, but the pattern is unmistakable for the totality of the 40 marks involved.

Notice that the panel as a whole saw the two couples within 0.09 of each other for average GoE, and within 0.02 of each other for average PC, while the Canadian judge scored differences of 0.80 and 0.50, and the French judge scored a difference of 0.40 and 0.35.  The two couples were nearly equivalent for the panel as a whole but not for the Canadian and French judges, who came to their own opposite results.

Another way to look at this, the Canadian judge was a high judge (*) for Virtue & Moir for every GoE and PC (total of 10), and a low judge (*) for Papadakis & Cizeron for every GoE and PC.  The reverse was true for the French Judge.  Never did their marks fall in the middle for either judge.

Attendance in the Short Dance was the strangest yet of the Games.  The day started of with about 1/3 of a full house (8200) and built to about 75% of a full house at the end of the fourth warm-up group.  But for the final group, it is estimated about 1/3 of the audience left after group 4, so that the last group skated before a half empty arena.

(*) By high judge and low judge we mean they were among the one or more judges that gave the highest mark or lowest mark.  More then one judge might give the highest or lowest score for each element or PC.

Copyright 2018 by George S. Rossano