Skate Canada 2022 Olympics selection criteria

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VGThuy

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Good point

I think I was trying to concede a little to the other perspectives

Basically I feel like:

1)SC made the right decision and based on their stated criteria it should have been clear Nationals was only one factor.

2) W/M should have known their chances were slim at best, especially if they didn't win and/or put up big numbers.

3) There's way too many assumptions being made by people in several areas.

4) SC has many issues, definitely their communication needs to be fixed.

5) Vanessa is the one being targeted and put under the spot light because SHE is the one who made the comment heard by several people, not because of the colour of her skin. SC's problems with racism and POC are not the issue in this case.

6) Emotions are running high and affecting people's opinions and judgements.

7) SC should have addressed the situation a little earlier then they did in terms of explaining their criteria.

8) It's very unfortunate that skaters and alumni can't address what and where there may be legitimate concerns with SC without there seeming to be repercussions etc. However, instagrams etc, could have been taken down because they heard the whole story which wasn't as nefarious as they originally thought.
I think this is a very reasonable take on the whole situation.
 

screech

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One thing colouring most peoples' perspective on the decision is the criticism over the way Radford ended things with Duhamel (and her repeated public comments on the situation). What he did definitely sucked, however, is it any worse than having try-outs with other partners before telling your current partner you're leaving him because he can only do one more Olympic cycle and you want to do two? Partnerships break up all the time, and often are done horribly. It's valid to be disappointed in how he ended things with Duhamel, but the vilification of the new partnership due to this (which for many is the only reason they hate J/R) is way over the top IMO.

I do think at the very least, if the weren't sending W/M to Beijing, that they'd have given them Worlds (like the US is doing for ilia Malinin).
 

sap5

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5) Vanessa is the one being targeted and put under the spot light because SHE is the one who made the comment heard by several people, not because of the colour of her skin. SC's problems with racism and POC are not the issue in this case.
While I agree with most of this list, I'm not 100% sure about the bolded statement. I really do wonder if so many skaters would have been so willing to run to media and social media so fast with their statements and likes if Vanessa were white. I know the gut reaction of most fans on this board is probably that racism has nothing to do with this, but there's just something here that has seemed so excessive from the very start.
 
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sap5

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I think Morgan Cipres is the major factor in why Vanessa and the partnership have been treated differently than, say, Eric and Luba would be...
What do we know about what Vanessa knew and when she knew it? And what she did/didn't do, in that whole matter? I'm not up to speed on it, so I'm looking for clarification.
 
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screech

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well she continued to skate in shows with him after the allegations were known for a start, which is a massive insult to survivors everywhere.
It's definitely an insult to survivors, however getting out of contracts is an entire issue on its own. She may have had obligations there that she could not get out of. And while I personally definitely think he's guilty of the accusations, she could have been acting of the mindset 'innocent until proven guilty,' which paired with contractual obligations, doesn't make things as easy to act on.
 

angi

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What do we know about what Vanessa knew and when she knew it? And what she did/didn't do, in that whole matter? I'm not up to speed on it, so I'm looking for clarification.
There's absolutely no possible way that Cipres knew about the situation at the rink, the coaches knew and actively tried to cover it up, and others at the rink were hearing strong rumors about it and Vanessa simply knew nothing until after it became public. It's just not a plausible story in any way, shape, or form. By all accounts, she became aware of it prior to the 2018 Olympics when it blew up at the rink and still kept a seemingly close partnership with him for a full season after. It's clear now that the time off they took in 2019/20 was due to the Safe Sport investigation on the matter and Cipres not being able to risk flying internationally due to legal issues that might arise (he now can't even enter the US or he will be arrested). And even after the allegations came out she kept touring with him and kept contact with him for a long time. She never once commented on the situation or showed any kind of support for those who were abused and only commented about it after the Canadian media asked to comment on it months after she teamed up with Eric and even then all she did was deny knowing anything about it which of course most didn't believe.
Still, this is only relevant to why she is criticized on the Cipres issues and has nothing to do with the criticism of Skate Canada's selection of J/R.
 

VGThuy

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While I agree with most of this list, I'm not 100% sure about the bolded statement. I really do wonder if so many skaters would have been so willing to run to media and social media so fast with their statements and likes if Vanessa were white. I know the gut reaction of most fans on this board is probably that racism has nothing to do with this, but there's just something here that has seemed so excessive from the very start.
Probably. I do agree that racism is extremely prevalent and plays roles in how people act and react to things, even subconsciously at times. However, I think a lot of skaters were willing to run to the media or speak publicly on behalf of W/M because of the situation in of itself (exacerbated with Evelyn hearing what she heard and what ended up happening to her and Trent with the team selection), and because of all the brouhaha that happened with how Eric handled the "break up" with Meagan, and the distaste people had for that already. I'm not ready to paint and accuse all these skaters of holding up their pitchforks to go after a skater due to the color of her skin without more information.
 

Bournekraatzfan

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What is unfortunate in all of this is that Vanessa has been saddled with the burden of proof while her white counterpart was given the benefit of doubt.

I wouldn't be surprised if Vanessa feels isolated and excluded from the Canadian skating community after all this. And those Canadian skaters, in particular Megan and Tessa, should be ashamed of themselves for causing the drama and allowing it to go into tailspin.

I admired both woman prior to this. Not anymore.
This story just gets worse and worse. Prominent skaters suggest that Skate Canada has done something hugely unfair, Duhamel points to an article where Vanessa supposedly says something that suggests that SC picked J/R before the selection window was closed...and now it's possible that Vanessa never said such a thing? Is there any actual proof that SC made their selection in violation of the rules? If not, among the many things that have gone wrong here, it looks like a group of SC members tried to make more of the public turn against J/R, and that looks gross.
I'm confused...I thought only Meagan Duhamel, Kaitlyn Weaver, and Liz Manley said something substantive? And wasn't Liz's post about SC not supporting a young team? Did she or anyone else actually allege that SC violated their rules? I read her post (now deleted) and I thought she just disagreed with the selection and perhaps the way the selection criteria had been applied. She pointed out that they had worked hard for years to win a spot at the Olympics and that they were passed over for a team that was only 5 months old and questioned why "we continue to do this to young, deserving athletes" and some well-known Canadian skaters liked it...seems rather innocuous to me?

Excidra, I appreciate the fact that Vanessa, as a Black woman, is more likely to be villified and cast as the aggressor, especially in an interaction with a white woman, but like angi and overedge have pointed out, many of the negative feelings towards her at least have something to do with how she handled the situation of her former partner and his alleged abuse of a minor (skating with him after the SafeSport investigation launched, then posting in support of him on her instagram--I am not saying she knew anything about the abuse as it was occurring). Yes internal biases are still at play and race (gendered) is too important a signifier to ever be dismissed, but I do think that criticism here is warranted (the form that criticism takes is something we should be attentive to). Vanessa's response to the situation with Cipres is a separate issue from the selection process, but yes, it might influence how some of us are interpreting the reported locker room incident. It was this incident that led to (further) speculation about how the selection process went down. FWIW, I am reserving judgment on this because I don't know what happened (not saying Walsh or Purkiss lied, just that we don't know how accurately they heard and recalled the details of what Vanessa said and that what they've said tells us nothing about her motivation for saying what she said--Vanessa could have been talking into a cell phone or to herself as others have suggested) and I know that my feelings about the Cipres situation make me more likely to believe something negative about her. I also agree with how SC applied the selection criteria in this case, even though I wanted WM to get the Olympic spot.
 

sap5

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Probably. I do agree that racism is extremely prevalent and plays roles in how people act and react to things, even subconsciously at times. However, I think a lot of skaters were willing to run to the media or speak publicly on behalf of W/M because of the situation in of itself (exacerbated with Evelyn hearing what she heard and what ended up happening to her and Trent with the team selection), and because of all the brouhaha that happened with how Eric handled the "break up" with Meagan, and the distaste people had for that already. I'm not ready to paint and accuse all these skaters of holding up their pitchforks to go after a skater due to the color of her skin without more information.
There are always people who disagree with team selection. What struck me is that so many went out publicly very quickly with the suggestion that there was more to this (Kaitlyn's comments that there is more than what is on IG, Meagan asking us to read Rosie's article, etc). On it's face, it seems that people took what Evelyn heard Vanessa say, and immediately jumped to the conclusion that Vanessa (and Eric) made a shady deal with SC and violated the rules. This, despite the fact that so many of these skaters personally know the difficulties of dealing with rumors and misinterpretations of things that are seen and heard. If #BLM and similar protests have taught us anything, it's that society at large tends to makes immediate negative conclusions about black people. That's what got me wondering.
 

litenkyckling

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There are always people who disagree with team selection. What struck me is that so many went out publicly very quickly with the suggestion that there was more to this (Kaitlyn's comments that there is more than what is on IG, Meagan asking us to read Rosie's article, etc). On it's face, it seems that people took what Evelyn heard Vanessa say, and immediately jumped to the conclusion that Vanessa (and Eric) made a shady deal with SC and violated the rules. This, despite the fact that so many of these skaters personally know the difficulties of dealing with rumors and misinterpretations of things that are seen and heard. If #BLM and similar protests have taught us anything, it's that society at large tends to makes immediate negative conclusions about black people. That's what got me wondering.
I do understand where you're coming from, and I'm not denying that Vanessa has faced racism within the sport and that it will always play a part in the way she experiences the sport and the way that she is treated - however in this case, I genuinely do not believe that this is why people have reacted the way that they have. Whether you agree with her past discretions re: Cipres or not, it will always taint the way that people view her character. The same goes for Aljona. In a sport with so much hidden abuse, you can see why athletes both current and retired would take issue with it.

However, I would argue that Eric is actually the biggest issue here. Do you think that any of his former Skate Canada team members and friends trust him anymore? I doubt it. I think a lot of them think that he is shady and that he was in a very powerful position when he re-entered the competitive arena. Is it believable that he only came back because he was guaranteed a spot to the Olympics? Yes, I believe it is.

So I think that the mistrust comes from places: 1) People don't want to support someone who didn't publicly address issues of abuse in the sport. It may be incredibly difficult to do, but unfortuately, we don't live in world where all people are good and you have to take difficult actions sometimes. 2) People feel like Eric used his power to get what he wanted and it looks like greed when snake your clients and your business partner on the global stage.

I think this all feeds into a wider discussion where people are sick and tired of people in this sport who don't treat people well or turn a blind eye to it having all of the power and praise. At the end of the day, the world truly feels like a terrible place just now and people ultimately want to root for good people.
 

Vera Costa

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Honestly, there's a teenager in Florida who deserves my thoughts more a grown woman who decided to tacitly support a pedophile who abused said teenager. I feel like this isn't being given enough weight. Vanessa went to the 2018 Olympics knowing that Cipres had abuse allegations against him. At least for her own career, she had no issues skating with him and continued to do so a year after. If I want to be charitable (I don't) and say that somehow Vanessa was blindsided and only found out about the charges after it became public, and that she had legal or contractual agreements to keep, she still continued touring with him, was supporting him online (making posts, blocking people who were supporting the victim). She's had no issues publicly interacting with him despite all that had happened. She and Cipres retired in 2020 and she still had nothing. She kept silent until this season when her response was that she wasn't aware and that it had nothing to do with her. She'd have been better off saying nothing IMO.

Listen, I cannot imagine the crap Vanessa has had to put up with as a black skater. But in this situation, I can't bring myself to sympathize with her. A child was abused and intimidated to keep silent by her coaches and she decided her career was worth at least one little girl.

We've all had a front seat to how Eric handled the beginning of his partnership with Vanessa. I'm over men in figure skating treating their partners badly. Also, Eric is in a position of power. He's an Olympic medalist and a veteran skater. He was elected to the ISU Athletes Commission. He was doing choreo for W/M. He was in the know.

Despite the extensive baggage, Skate Canada went all out for them on the PR front. They went all in to support a pair that could be a possible PR nightmare and who had no international or domestic experience together over MTM and/or W/M. Then comes Nationals, and J/R withdraw after the Short in what looks like a ploy to avoid doing badly in the Long. If I were an athlete, and I knew all of the above and Evelyn Walsh came and told me that Vanessa said in front of her that their (R/J) spot was secure, I'd believe Evelyn.

Eric and Kaitlyn Weaver were supposedly close, I'm assuming if she wanted to verify, she'd have just given him a call and asked. I could be wrong but I think she was one of the skaters who congratulated them when the pairing was first announced. Actually, I'm assuming that most of these skaters involved could have just given Eric a call. We can only assume how those hypothetical calls went.
 

puglover

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I am reading here that SC did make a recent public statement regarding this selection. I am unable to find it. If they chose to say anything at all, where I think their fault would be is if anyone of authority representing SC spoke to J/R or their team prior to Canadians and especially prior to them withdrawing from the free skate, and gave them any indication as to what that would mean to the selection process. If J/R were encouraged or counselled to withdraw as their selection was a given - I say dirty pool. Skate Canada has been very outspoken on the national stage about "the fix is in" "reputation judging" and at times come across as a bit of a whining poor sport. We have watched video of judges colluding at big events and heard of taped conversations where judges were told what ultimately should be the order before said skate. I realize this was not about judging but is not too far removed. That is what I think they should set straight, if they have not already, and if any member of their board has given assurances out of place, they should be reprimanded.
 

NorthernDancers

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I think the issues most folks have with the team selections can be summarized as follows:

1. A perception that J/R were given a spot long before the competing was done. Since J/R were announced as a team, SC has been putting out a lot of press and promoting them like crazy. It's as if SC assumed that because J/R in other partnerships were high level, they would magically automatically be superstars. J/R not living up to all the hype was not on their radar. Vanessa's comments seem to underscore the perception.

2. Athletes generally don't look kindly on fellow competitors who have a sense of superiority and entitlement. Both J/R have made comments that sound very entitled. Combine that with #1 above and folks will not be happy. Not skating the long because an Olympic spot is already secured is awfully entitled behavior. Not skating for safety reasons is the right decision if a team is not well and not ready, for safety reasons. Not sure if people trust that reason.

3. As the table earlier in the thread shows, the decision on who to select is not straight forward. None of the top teams in Canada had a good Fall. None of the top teams in Canada will win a medal at the Olympics. MT/M have as good an opportunity as J/R in bringing a bronze in the TE, and both could miss. The TE could be skated by 1 pair team, not split. The only thing J/R can claim is that they had the highest marks out of 3 under performing teams a few months ago. One could easily make the argument that W/M are in better health and are on a better trajectory. If J/R are too sick to compete the long at Canadians, how will they be in top form in a couple of weeks? If J/R had competed at Canadians, they would have finished behind W/M.

4. SC has a big problem in pairs. There were only 7 teams, not even enough for 2 flights. Junior is pretty much the same sorry state. MT/M will likely retire after this season. J/R will likely not stick around. So then we are down to 5 teams at senior in Canada. If any team needs extra attention and support it's W/M. Given all of the points above, perhaps it makes a lot of sense to send W/M to the Olympics to get experience and then send J/R to Worlds to secure future spots.

Parachuting and pushing a team that is around for 1 season and 1 purpose, and not putting the effort to develop the next generation of pairs, and doing so even when the parachuted team has not lived up to its billing, is not a great message for developing teams. I've not been a huge fan of W/M, but I'm getting there. They certainly deserve more from SC.
 

Janef

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One thing colouring most peoples' perspective on the decision is the criticism over the way Radford ended things with Duhamel (and her repeated public comments on the situation). What he did definitely sucked, however, is it any worse than having try-outs with other partners before telling your current partner you're leaving him because he can only do one more Olympic cycle and you want to do two? Partnerships break up all the time, and often are done horribly. It's valid to be disappointed in how he ended things with Duhamel, but the vilification of the new partnership due to this (which for many is the only reason they hate J/R) is way over the top IMO.

I do think at the very least, if the weren't sending W/M to Beijing, that they'd have given them Worlds (like the US is doing for ilia Malinin).
I recall shae Lynn Bourne feeling shafted when her partnership ended but as time went on she realized that victor did her a favour, it set her free. Maybe Megan will come to realize the same in time.
 

Japanfan

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Vanessa once said in an interview that she had not experienced racism in FS. Sorry I don't have a source, but I remember it clearly.

Remember, racism tends to go up when the numbers of the people subjected to racism go up.
 

overedge

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I think we all agree there seems to have an organizational problem within SC and it does show. It used to be a much sharper organization. I don’t know where and why it drifted but we can feel it. (I know less funding sure doesn’t help but having a clear vision would help).
As for EDI, it would be rather silly to be against it. I know where the issue came first and they had to address it publicly. Anyhow, the country clubs across Canada are not facing the same issues than the urban clubs. How do we help these little clubs raising competent and great skaters? I dream of a system where we would help any talented skater reaching their full potential. I guess I am a dreamer… 😌😉🙃

I don't think anyone is against EDI. But personally I would like to see Skate Canada do something more substantive toward it than change the names of steps, and hold workshops. Both of those are important, but a meaningful appeal/complaint system for athletes and participants to use, with meaningful penalties for offenders at all levels of SC, would also accomplish a lot toward making the sport more inclusive.
 

overedge

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Probably. I do agree that racism is extremely prevalent and plays roles in how people act and react to things, even subconsciously at times. However, I think a lot of skaters were willing to run to the media or speak publicly on behalf of W/M because of the situation in of itself (exacerbated with Evelyn hearing what she heard and what ended up happening to her and Trent with the team selection), and because of all the brouhaha that happened with how Eric handled the "break up" with Meagan, and the distaste people had for that already. I'm not ready to paint and accuse all these skaters of holding up their pitchforks to go after a skater due to the color of her skin without more information.

IMO part of the reason why other skaters reacted so strongly is that SC has a long history of playing favourites and "pushing" particular skaters/teams, sometimes at the expense of supporting other skaters/teams with equal or more potential. Someone upthread mentioned that the current situation may have been what "broke the camel's back", and that skaters that have seen this happen before are tired of seeing it and decided to speak out.
 

manhn

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Are there are other skating federations that don’t push favourites? If Canadian skaters don’t like this aspect of the sport generally, then fine, move on with your life. But, I mean, didn’t the country south of us do virtually the same thing in the very same discipline?
 

overedge

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Are there are other skating federations that don’t push favourites? If Canadian skaters don’t like this aspect of the sport generally, then fine, move on with your life. But, I mean, didn’t the country south of us do virtually the same thing in the very same discipline?

The Mexican skating federation seems to be firmly behind Donovan Carrillo ;) Maybe the federations that don't have many skaters to begin with are just grateful to have a skater, or skaters, that can compete at the elite level.

I don't want to speak for the skaters that are POed, and I agree that most federations push some skaters over others. I don't know for sure but I get the impression that within SC the push is sometimes because of who the skater knows, or who they're connected with, or which section/club they're from, or who their coach is, or because they or their parents or friends are better at playing skating politicks. Not because they're the most talented skater or the skater with the most potential.
 

kwanfan1818

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Are there are other skating federations that don’t push favourites? If Canadian skaters don’t like this aspect of the sport generally, then fine, move on with your life. But, I mean, didn’t the country south of us do virtually the same thing in the very same discipline?
I would argue, no. For several reasons, the first being that there are some excellent young Pairs in the US behind the top three most experienced teams/skaters. Secondly, K/F are not a team that got together in an Olympic season: they were 7th at Worlds last year, having competed as much as they could in 2020-21. Then, by the selection criteria, they were in a group of their own, the highest of all of the US Pairs, and the criteria explicitly allow for a successful petition as one of the Nationals criteria. (They still would have been in Group 3 had they not petitioned successfully or if they skated and placed 6th or lower, based on the "OR" clause allowing them to use their international scores instead of Nationals, which is not in the Skate Canada criteria.) Finally, they couldn't skate, because Frazier tested positive for cv: K/F didn't start the competition and then withdraw after placing 4th in the SP.
 
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Cherub721

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There are always people who disagree with team selection. What struck me is that so many went out publicly very quickly with the suggestion that there was more to this (Kaitlyn's comments that there is more than what is on IG, Meagan asking us to read Rosie's article, etc). On it's face, it seems that people took what Evelyn heard Vanessa say, and immediately jumped to the conclusion that Vanessa (and Eric) made a shady deal with SC and violated the rules.

I think a lot of it is that many of us were speculating about this already, so then when a rumor comes out that Vanessa said the spot was secure, people are going to buy into that, plus it's the type of backstage soap opera stuff that skating fans just love. Much earlier in this thread (before the Vanessa article), I posted a quote from Eric where he said they withdrew so they could skate at their best in 3 weeks at the Olympics - implicitly suggesting that they withdrew knowing they were going to be there. Then you add Vanessa's statement and the baggage both Eric and Vanessa carry from previous partnerships that has been simmering all season, and it's going to be grist for the mill. I bet if Mirai made similar claims about Ashley or a Russian dancer made similar claims about Diana Davis, the threads would have been just as lit.
 
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