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    Vaitsekhovskaya's article: Wrong argument (on Menshov vs Kovtun and Pluschenko)

    Arguing about Kovtun vs Menshov 2013, while we should be wondering about Pluschenko 2014 for sport-express.ru

    The Russian Figure Skating Federation announced the European Team on Thursday: the men team remains with no changes: Russia will be represented by the Olympic Champion Evgeni Pluschenko, Sergey Voronov and the 17 y.o. Maksim Kovtun.

    Let me remind you: in the end of December right after the Russian nationals were over the Federation released the list of the European participants and the internet exploded with the support campaign for Konstantin Menshov. Despite becoming 3rd in the Nationals in Sochi beaten by Pluschenko and Voronov only Menshov was not included in the team and was replaced by the young and promising Kovtun.
    The athletes protest against the decision that seemed so unfair went as far as Russian sports minister Vitalii Mutko, who demanded RFSF reconsider the team.
    The situation is unique: it happened before there were disagreement about the team it never went as far as it did this time nor was so loud. Most of the comments could be summed up: `We are not for Menshov or against Kovtun. We are for following the rules'

    Ironically, but the federation actually followed the rules naming the team. According to the rules the national champion and the silver medalist make it to the team, while the third participant is decided by the federation. Menshov lost 25.18 points to Voronov and beat Gachinski and Kovtun by 1.42 and 3.86 points. Taking Menshov's age (he will be 30 in a month or so) and the tradition sending a young and promising skater it is hardly surprising the federation preferred the younger skater, rather than a not so consistent veteran.
    To understand the federation's decision one just have to look one year forward and recall that in Sochi 2014 there will be a new medal - for the team event. Russia can send just one participant to Worlds 2013 who must bring 2 tickets to the Olympics back home. According to the ISU rules the country gets 3 spots if the athlete becomes first or second in the Worlds, two spots if he is 3rd till 10th and just one participant should the athlete finish outside the top 10. Taking Pluschenko does not plan participating the worlds the odds there will only be one Russian skater in the Olympics are high. Should that only participant be Pluschenko no one can guarantee he will be able to skate 4 clean programmes. And he would have to give his best in the team competition - Russia's odds to win it are high. Much higher than, say, in men skating.
    I reckon that's the main reason which made the RFSF to come come to make the decision they did.
    The fact the athlete who gained the most from that decision is the 17 y.o. student of Tatiana Tarasova and Elena Buyanova is not the backstage intrigues, but a coincident. Only two skaters could be considered as Menshov's replacement: Gachinski and Kovtun. Gachinski's coach Mishin was against including his student in the team - Gachinski is far from his best shape and will not be able to compete the way he should in the Europeans.
    Kovtun on the other hand is a promising dark horse. He won both of his Junior Grand Prix events, showing decent skating, performed two new (senior) programmes in the nationals. Indeed his LP was not brilliant, he only landed one quad out of two, but that is understandable: he had just 2 week to make changes in his programmes for a senior competition. No one can promise Kovtun will be able to provide in the Europeans. But there is no better way to find out.

    Three people voted against Kovtun being included in the team: Mishin, Nikolai Morozov and Viktor Kudriavtsev. It's easy to understand their motives: should Kovtun skate well in the europeans he will become a serious threat for Gachinski, who is coached by Mishin and Voronov, who is coached by Morozov, leaving the fact Morozov kicked Kovtun from his group saying he showed no promise. As for Kudriavtsev- he always considered competing in the senior competitions at a young age a wrong thing. That was the reason Ilia Kulik left Kudriavtsevs group at the age of 17 and went to the seniors Europeans in 1995, which he won, instead of the Junior Worlds.
    It's useless comparing the skaters themselves in this situations. The RFSF made a decision according to a certain strategy, which they couldn't avoid living in a country where the sports is part of the country's politics. Especially when it's about the home Olympics. I'm quite sure those who are shouting about the rules don't think about the double standards: such as letting certain skaters not participate the nationals - for example the European silver medalists Bazarova/Larionov. It happened before the leaders were allowed to skip the nationals if there was a good reason and usually it was justified. As well as allowing the federation decide on the 3rd team member.
    This is the reason there is no right or wrong answer who should had been included in the team. The one who pays gets to say the word. Only the federations with a huge number of good substitutes can afford sending the 3 national bests (such as USA) or the countries where the athletes pay for everything themselves.
    It should be mentioned Menshov's not participating the Europeans does not mean the end of the season for him. The RFSF president Alexey Gorshkov mentioned the final choice for the worlds will be made after the Europeans where Voronov and Kovtun will have a chance and the Russian Cup finals in Tver on 18-21/2, where Menshov and Gachinski will participate. All four athletes are put in a position where they have to prove being the best. The only skater who could go to the worlds with no preliminary is Pluschenko, but that's a different matter.

    Among the numerous comments on the situation the question why can't the RFSF make Pluschenko go to the worlds was raised. After all Evgeny is the current champion whose training are payed by the federation and he has to represent the county if needed. I personally don't have an answer, though this question would make much more sense than the one that everyone keep asking.
    The disadvantages for Pluschenko personally in participating the Worlds 2013 are obvious: becoming the European champion he automatically gains all the benefits for the next season; while participating the Worlds is a bit of a danger: he has a chance to loose, which is not part of the Olympic champion's plan; and, at last, Pluschenko will participate the Olympics 2014 even if he is the only Russian participant.
    On the other hand: why not? He is capable to finish top 3. Should he become first or second Russia will gain 3 spots in the Olympics and Pluschenko will be considered the savior of the motherland, which will not shine any less if he doesn't win a medal at the Olympics.
    Pluschenko himself is so used to surprise and go against all odds, that should he decide to give the men skating a fight in March that will become the main issue of the season.

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    Menshov's comment that the winning the Russian cup finals never mattered when he won it adds some background to that part of the article! The issue of euros and the Russian cup final deciding who goes to worlds is the most important because at this point everything is indicating kovtun and that certainly is no coincident at all and not really all that believable!

    Good to bring up plushenko could get 2 spots no problem but spots don't matter for him. But it could if he doesn't want to do team. The Russian federation caring about a more likely team gold than men's gold almost makes it seem they would prefer one spot just for plushenko!

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    Only two skaters could be considered as Menshov's replacement: Gachinski and Kovtun. Gachinski's coach Mishin was against including his student in the team - Gachinski is far from his best shape and will not be able to compete the way he should in the Europeans.
    Interesting because Mishin says in another article that if the Russian Federation is not willing to follow the principles of sports, they should at least send Gachinski to the Europeans as he is the only one young Russian skater who can fight for medals with the elite skaters. Whom am I supposed to believe now?

    Quote Originally Posted by caseyedwards View Post
    Good to bring up plushenko could get 2 spots no problem but spots don't matter for him. But it could if he doesn't want to do team. The Russian federation caring about a more likely team gold than men's gold almost makes it seem they would prefer one spot just for plushenko!
    Then it shouldn't matter for the Federation which skater is going to Worlds because any of Menshov, Voronov, Gachinski or Kovtun is pretty much likely to get one spot for Russia at the next Olympics, no?

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    Quote Originally Posted by VarBar View Post

    Then it shouldn't matter for the Federation which skater is going to Worlds because any of Menshov, Voronov, Gachinski or Kovtun is pretty much likely to get one spot for Russia at the next Olympics, no?
    Wouldn't Russia have one slot automatically as host country? So they could just send no one to worlds and still have one slot. One of those four is hoped to get a second, but of course, they would be fighting for their own chance to go, since the one spot is obviously already reserved for Plush.
    I am free of all prejudices. I hate everyone equally.~W. C. Fields

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    Quote Originally Posted by VarBar View Post
    Interesting because Mishin says in another article that if the Russian Federation is not willing to follow the principles of sports, they should at least send Gachinski to the Europeans as he is the only one young Russian skater who can fight for medals with the elite skaters. Whom am I supposed to believe now?
    Then it shouldn't matter for the Federation which skater is going to Worlds because any of Menshov, Voronov, Gachinski or Kovtun is pretty much likely to get one spot for Russia at the next Olympics, no?
    Conspiracy theory

    I was just thinking that in order to get plushenko to do team they almost want whoever goes to worlds this year to not get 2 spots as a way to force plushenko into the team events! So they create all this chaos and drama over euro picks and Russia cup finals to shake up whoever winds up going to worlds as plushenko is really unaffected as it is 90% likely he ain't going!!

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    Vaitsekhovskaya is an evil and bitter old woman, who knows "what other people think" - her frustration and bad thoughts, she attributes to others.
    Plushenko already has such a credit to the Russian skating, so he has the right to choose where he will compete...

    By the way, such "harangue" against Plushenko is not novelty by Vaitsekhovskaya

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kasey View Post
    Wouldn't Russia have one slot automatically as host country? So they could just send no one to worlds and still have one slot. One of those four is hoped to get a second, but of course, they would be fighting for their own chance to go, since the one spot is obviously already reserved for Plush.
    lol Yes indeed, Kasey.

    The Russian Fed might be a bit irritated that Plushenko - quote from Vaitsekhovskaya "whose training are payed by the federation" - hasn't expressed his willingness to go to the World Championships where he would easily get one more slot for his country. He could go to Worlds instead of going to the European Championships, couldn't he? Unless I'm missing something.

    Quote Originally Posted by caseyedwards View Post
    Conspiracy theory

    I was just thinking that in order to get plushenko to do team they almost want whoever goes to worlds this year to not get 2 spots as a way to force plushenko into the team events! So they create all this chaos and drama over euro picks and Russia cup finals to shake up whoever winds up going to worlds as plushenko is really unaffected as it is 90% likely he ain't going!!

    Oh I see. Well, I'm not good at conspiracy theories. But why would Plushenko have to be forced into doing the team event, wouldn't it be an honor for him to try to win a medal with Team Russia in Sochi? Team Russia could definitely battle for gold there.

    leaving the fact Morozov kicked Kovtun from his group saying he showed no promise.
    lol I didn't know that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VarBar View Post
    lol Yes indeed, Kasey.

    The Russian Fed might be a bit irritated that Plushenko - quote from Vaitsekhovskaya "whose training are payed by the federation" - hasn't expressed his willingness to go to the World Championships where he would easily get one more slot for his country. He could go to Worlds instead of going to the European Championships, couldn't he? Unless I'm missing something.
    You may be missing something!
    Considering his age and the number of injuries he has had (and especially the most recent ones), it will take him longer to recover. If he does Europeans and ends his season, he has more time to take break and then start preparing for the next season. If he does Worlds, he will have two months less to recover and prepare for the next season. I know that other skaters will have to manage to do worlds, recover and then start preparing for the next season, but one can argue that his age and his injuries may take a bit longer to recover and prepare.

    Also, loosing at worlds this year would potentially damage his reputation and that could have impact on his next season's marks. So if the Russian Federation wants great results from him at the Olympics, I think they understand that he can compete at this year's worlds only if he is really ready.

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    The federation can recommend and even insist that Plushenko do Worlds, but they cannot force him. If he's injured he'll withdraw, and I'm pretty sure he's injured enough to get a doctor to sign off on that. The only leverage the federation has is to say they will not fund him/will not enter him in any competitions next season, but then they will be screwing themselves out of a potential Olympic medal.

    I would imagine he's very interested in the team event. He wants a gold medal so why give up a second (probably better) opportunity for one? I wouldn't be too surprised, if Russia wins team gold but Plushy does not place first among the men, if he then withdraws from the individual competition. Whether it's one or two spots, I expect Russia to have a second guy at the ready for whatever happens.

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    Quote Originally Posted by plushyta View Post
    Vaitsekhovskaya is an evil and bitter old woman, who knows "what other people think" - her frustration and bad thoughts, she attributes to others.
    Plushenko already has such a credit to the Russian skating, so he has the right to choose where he will compete...

    By the way, such "harangue" against Plushenko is not novelty by Vaitsekhovskaya
    Judging by your nickname you are the least biased person around. I personally wish Pluschenko would retire already and let the other 4 guys fight among themselves.

    The only thing in this article that sounds not too plausible to me is the `coincidence' it was Kovtun who was chosen. I have a feeling Tarasova/Buyanova, or at least their name had something to do with that `coincidence'

    I have an impression the federation would sponsor just about anyone who shows any promise. The ladies field: Makarova, who doesn't want to jump, Leonova who is all over the place, Sotnikova, who is collapsing under the expectations and Tuktamysheva who is well, not clear what will become of her in a couple of months. Who should they support? None? all of them? And then there is the black horse Gosviani.
    The same with the guys: between Menshov, Voronov, Gachinski, Kovtun and the lot - all are not consistent and go figure what will happen. The only one who is stable is Pluschenko, but he doesn't want to go to the worlds and be 5th....
    Last edited by TAHbKA; 01-13-2013 at 04:42 PM.

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    First of all Plushenko said at Nationals that he *might* do Worlds depending on what shape he is in. He and everyone else knows that his chances to get two spots are better than Menshov's, Kovtun's and whoever else's, but then - and I completely agree - it doesn't matter how many spots there are, if he is ready and wants it, he'll get the possibly lone spot in Sochi anyway. Forcing him or thinking about forcing him to do Worlds is nonsense. It was not his fault that the spots were lost.
    I didn't think of the team event, though and the fact that the team event is scheduled before the individual event. A team (gold) medal should be interesting too, but I believe Plushenko's main focus is on the men's single event. Ideally, if there are two Russian men, he could do the short program and the other man the long program (which is possible in the Olympic team event). Plushenko, BTW, will be 31 in Sochi (not 33 as the Russian article said).

    The Federation is clearly looking for who is their best shot at Worlds to secure hopefully two spots as they cannot count on Plushenko going (and his reasons are completely understandable as well not to mention injury issues). So they want to test Kovtun who never has competed at Europeans or Worlds before (all others in question have). I actually think that Voronov, Menshov and Kovtun have about the same chance to make the top ten at Worlds if they skate up to their potential. Kovtun is the "new kid on the block" that the judges start to like although he is lacking a lot in components, Menshov has interesting programs and was quite consistent this year while Voronov is solid this season but the judges do not seem to like him anymore. Gachinski obviously is the most talented but right now he is a complete headcase and with the additional pressure at Worlds I'm afraid he'll be a total mess again.

    It's a tough decision to make for the Federation (who also is under pressure of the Russian Ministery of Sports that for sure would like to have two Russian men in Sochi) and I can't blame them that they want to look at all options which includes sending Kovtun to Euros to test him as a possible candidate for Worlds.

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    I know there was a lot of fuss over this decision at the time, but in general, I like the idea of sending the promising youngster over a late 20s skater who has a track record of disappointment and inconsistency, especially when the difference in their scores at Nationals is so negligible. Frankly, if the USFS selectors had the balls to pass over Abbott in favor of a 19 yo he barely outpointed, I'd be thrilled.

    <Strikeout>I think what makes this case so different is Menchov being on the World podium last year. Still, his GP results have not lived up to that level.</Strikeout> [Oops -that wasn't him. Tks to Eislauffan for the correction]

    Clearly, though, some of this is reconstructionist BS. For example, Kulik did not leave Kudriatsev over a disagreement whether to do 95 Europeans or Junior Worlds. He won both in that season (with Jr Worlds scheduled earlier in the 94-95 season) and was coached by Kudriatsev at 95 Europeans. Kulik did not leave that group until after 96 Worlds. The explanations he gave at that time had nothing to do with when to move up to seniors (since he already was senior World medalist by then). He said he made the move after concluding the disparity in training and living conditions between Russia and the US at that time would make it a lot easier to prepare for the 98 Olympics here and Kudriatsev would not make the move with him.
    Last edited by Susan M; 01-13-2013 at 10:02 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Susan M View Post
    I think what makes this case so different is Menchov being on the World podium last year. Still, his GP results have not lived up to that level.
    I think you mixed Menshov up with Gachinski. Gachinski was on the World podium in 2011 and was silver medalist at Europeans in 2012 but since then has been struggeling. It was also due to his dismal performance at Worlds 2012 that Russia got only one spot for Worlds this year.
    Menshov only competed once at Europeans, in 2011, but never at Worlds. He placed 7th at Europeans in 2011.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eislauffan View Post
    First of all Plushenko said at Nationals that he *might* do Worlds depending on what shape he is in. He and everyone else knows that his chances to get two spots are better than Menshov's, Kovtun's and whoever else's, but then - and I completely agree - it doesn't matter how many spots there are, if he is ready and wants it, he'll get the possibly lone spot in Sochi anyway. Forcing him or thinking about forcing him to do Worlds is nonsense. It was not his fault that the spots were lost.
    I didn't think of the team event, though and the fact that the team event is scheduled before the individual event. A team (gold) medal should be interesting too, but I believe Plushenko's main focus is on the men's single event. Ideally, if there are two Russian men, he could do the short program and the other man the long program (which is possible in the Olympic team event). Plushenko, BTW, will be 31 in Sochi (not 33 as the Russian article said).

    The Federation is clearly looking for who is their best shot at Worlds to secure hopefully two spots as they cannot count on Plushenko going (and his reasons are completely understandable as well not to mention injury issues). So they want to test Kovtun who never has competed at Europeans or Worlds before (all others in question have). I actually think that Voronov, Menshov and Kovtun have about the same chance to make the top ten at Worlds if they skate up to their potential. Kovtun is the "new kid on the block" that the judges start to like although he is lacking a lot in components, Menshov has interesting programs and was quite consistent this year while Voronov is solid this season but the judges do not seem to like him anymore. Gachinski obviously is the most talented but right now he is a complete headcase and with the additional pressure at Worlds I'm afraid he'll be a total mess again.

    It's a tough decision to make for the Federation (who also is under pressure of the Russian Ministery of Sports that for sure would like to have two Russian men in Sochi) and I can't blame them that they want to look at all options which includes sending Kovtun to Euros to test him as a possible candidate for Worlds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VarBar

    Oh I see. Well, I'm not good at conspiracy theories. But why would Plushenko have to be forced into doing the team event, wouldn't it be an honor for him to try to win a medal with Team Russia in Sochi? Team Russia could definitely battle for gold there.



    lol I didn't know that.
    He may not have a problem doing the team event but his talk has been more about singles and doing well there. I bet he would maybe like the option of not doing the team event though. So that's where a second man would be useful. But if plushenko is the only one because Russia only has one spot then plushenko is it.

    Voronov was at worlds 2012 too! He didn't do well and now he is so close to going to worlds again. He is healthier and stuff but everyone aside from plushenko is a huge risk and now there's slot of turmoil and drama with the men's selection.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eislauffan View Post
    It was also due to his dismal performance at Worlds 2012 that Russia got only one spot for Worlds this year.
    That would be entirely true if Gachinski were the only Russian man to compete at 2012 Worlds, but he was only partially responsible, as there were two Russian Men there who were almost equally dismal.
    "The team doesn't get automatic capacity because management is mad" -- Greg Smith, agile guy

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    I think you mixed Menshov up with Gachinski. Gachinski was on the World podium in 2011
    Oh, well, then I totally don't get what all the kerfuffle is about. The Russians have along history of using Europeans as a way to help decide who goes to Worlds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kwanfan1818 View Post
    That would be entirely true if Gachinski were the only Russian man to compete at 2012 Worlds, but he was only partially responsible, as there were two Russian Men there who were almost equally dismal.
    Voronov actually skated quite well. He hit a 4T-3T in the short (the Axel was a double only, though) and landed a 4T, two 3A (one wobbly) and five triples in the free. His spins were level 3. He basically did what he can do and I would not call his performances dismal. He had the 9th best TES, but he was only 17th in PCS if I counted correctly. Gachinski on the other hand messed up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TAHbKA View Post
    Judging by your nickname you are the least biased person around. I personally wish Pluschenko would retire already and let the other 4 guys fight among themselves....
    Really - this is my "defect" which automatically disqualifies me for an objective opinion, so my arguments are not valid?
    On the other hand, you said that you do not like because Plushenko's still here - so you're not also objective... not to mention your habit to translate only negative articles about him - but that's your choice, which again shows your bias.



    Quote Originally Posted by TAHbKA View Post
    The only thing in this article that sounds not too plausible to me is....
    In my opinion, the whole article is full of speculation and "hearsay":
    - "easy to understand motives of Mishin, Nikolai Morozov and Viktor Kudriavtsev..."
    - why Plushenko does not want to compete ... etc...

    Pulling the issue of Plushenko's participation on Worlds is her obvious attempting to exert pressure on the public, Russian skating federation, Plushy... because he is to "someone, something obliged" - this is, at least, arrogant, from someone who is just a journalist
    That decision must to made Plushenko, his team, doctors and specialists who are more familiar with his medical condition... and who can decide, what is more important to them - Worlds or the Olympics.

    --------------

    While this is a good example of an informed and objective journalist...

    Quote Originally Posted by Eislauffan View Post
    First of all Plushenko said at Nationals that he *might* do Worlds depending on what shape he is in. He and everyone else knows that his chances to get two spots are better than Menshov's, Kovtun's and whoever else's, but then - and I completely agree - it doesn't matter how many spots there are, if he is ready and wants it, he'll get the possibly lone spot in Sochi anyway. Forcing him or thinking about forcing him to do Worlds is nonsense. It was not his fault that the spots were lost.....

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    The 'just a journalist' who you called 'an evil bitter woman' is, just like your beloved Pluschenko, an Olympic champion. And yes, Eislauffan is awesome. The slight difference you chose to ignore is that Eislauffan was stating facts, while Vaitsehovskaya voices an opinion. You might disagree with her (as I often do) but calling her name does not make you sound particularly smart.

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