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Posted By SkatingPj

....I usually put my fingers in my ears and yell "LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA"  but this time hands were full :)

Tracy and I had the chance to talk about Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir's withdrawal from the ISU 4 Continents' Figure Skating Championships.  I wanted to know as an elite ice dancer how did she manage competing while injured  - she never had to - and when do you as the competing athlete make "the call" to not move forward in an event. 

She offered some terrific insights: "its very difficult because as an elite athlete, you have gotten as far as you have because you don't always listen to your body. As often as not, you push through pain to accomplish what you need to.  Sometimes though you feel pain and you have to stop.  Is this the kind of pain that needs your attention and requires rest.  It's tough.  You have to be thinking about if I have to back off or do I push through?"

Tessa reported to my colleague Scott Russell at CBC that the "tightness" she feels in her left quad muscle had already started at home.  Then why go to Taipei?  I am sure I am not the only one who know what it's like to have to hold back because of injury or illness and not be able to do something you really want to do. Faced with another delay or setback, and thinking you might burst if you don't get to do your thing, you cross your fingers and convince yourself to take the chance and you bust out and do it. Finger crossing has been known to make the difference although this time maybe not so much. We've all beeen there. The great news is Tessa feels that this is simply a "bump in the road" and she and partner Scott are determined to defend their world title next month in Tokyo, Japan.  Russell said when he pressed Scott to see if there was 'wiggle room' in their resolve to compete at Worlds, Scott Moir said simply and definitively "We're going."

Tracy Wilson talks about the recovery from injury as not being an exact science.  There are so many things that go into having a full recovery line up with an athlete's competitive calendar. Will the recovery allow for an athlete to continue training in some capacity?  Is luck on thier side? How about geography and the logistics involved with getting to an event. She says it is really hard to 'read' an injury and it's response to treatment ad when it's all said and done it's part of an athlete's personal quest.  Wilson says "Ultimately it is the athlete who has to have the inner wisdom to know what to do and be able to follow that instinct." 

Hopefully the stars will align for a speedy recovery for Tessa Virtue and anybody else for that matter struggling today with illness and injury.



***why not buy Pj Kwong's book today! for details*****



Posted By SkatingPj

What HAPPENED to Tessa and Scott was the message left for me on a message board within minutes of them starting their Free Dance performance at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Taipei City, Chinese Taipei.  I don't know - yet - althought there is speculation about injury.

They started off fine in their Free Dance with a slim margin of less than one point ahead of training mates and rivals Meryl Davis and Charlie White.  A little bit of trouble on the twizzles and then they were into their rotational lift where Tessa hooks her leg around Scott's neck.  Then it was over. Once he put her down from the lift - she skated away - back to waiting coaches Marina Zueva and Igor Shpillband. A small conversation ensued and then Scott skated to the referee and they withdrew from the event.  Some are saying that they saw the skaters exchange a few words on their way to take their opening position and whether or not this is significant - we don't know.  It's funny, but I really wasn't convinced that they were going to go to this event thinking that they would need more time for Tessa to recover.  I was finally convinced when Scott's older brother texted me last weekend to confirm what time the CBC broadcast was going to take place.  I knew then that they would be going but still wondered about the risk involved - that said - once they got there it would not have occured to me that they could succumb to injury. 

Just off the phone with my CBC colleague Scott Russell who says that it's official - Tessa is Injured.  He phoned me within moments of concluding a phone call with Skate Canada's high performance director, Michael Slipchuk, who stated that tessa felt a tightness in her left quad muscle. Slipchuk goes on to say that it "is all part of the process in getting to be back on top." Strange choice of words in my mind - injury should not be part of the process.  The team had been scheduled for a press conference to take place about now (10:30am ET) and would not be appearing - presumably so that Tessa can get the necessary attention.

As disappointed as the fans are - I can only imagine how disappointed the athletes must be. When all is said and done, race horses 'gotta run' and coming  up lame is never part of the race plan.,


Posted By SkatingPj

I started off my morning with an email from one of my regular e-mail pals - or as my most senior CBC producer likes to say one of "Pj's Army".  He was talking about the Short Dance results that had emerged from the Four Continents' Championships in Taipei City.  Olympic and World champions, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir had generated a less than one point lead ahead of closest rivals from the US Meryl Davis and Charlie White, who are reigning World and Olympic  silver medallists. Both teams are worthy champions and have been close rivals for a very long time. My email pal was not upset with the result but rather the fact that one of the judges had only awarded Virtue and Moir scores in the 5 out of 10 range for their program components where the rest of the field on average were in the '8s'.  Hmmmmm.  He wondered in his note if it was possible that we would see a recurrence of the judging scandal in Salt Lake City at the 2002 Olympics - the scandal that was the impetus for the creation of this system in the first place.  Hmmmmm i thought.   I am not a person who is prone to conspiracy theories typically - although I am always interested to listen. Frankly, the amount of time, energy, work and subterfuge that so many plots need to take make it beyond my ability to comprehend. ( I tend to get bogged down in the intricacies and the details - and with my Protestant background would be a TERRIBLE co-conspirator)  So in the spirit of satisfying myself - I sent off a couple of notes.  The information that came back make me believe that there is a series of nets in place to catch the errors that get made.  The first thing is the fact that the top and bottom marks get tossed out of the equation.  The 2nd line of defense is the meeting that takes place at the conclusion of event segments - "The Round Table " where judges discuss and defend their judging in fron of the rest of the panel and the referee. The 3rd thing is, there is a computer-generated report that reports anomalies and there is the further "net" of people working for the OAC (Officials' Assessment Committee) who are on-site and are watching the same event from the same place as the panel.  If all that fails, there is also the possibility of further investigation that is directed by the ISU Home Office where there exists the real possibility of an offending official receiving an "assessment".  As far as I could read in the ISU rule book - 4 assessments could result in an official being suspended.  I know LOTS of people are bugged by the anonimity of the judges.  I'm not and I will tell you why.  Skating is a very small world with many of the people tied together (for better or worse) for their whole lives - anonimity guarantees that an official isn't  "gotcha'd" for a slight (real or imagined) that might have taken place years before.  So back the the V/M '5s" - I'm stumped. These two are amazing skaters so by my estimation, even with their guards on, they still get high 7s for components. Is there a conspiracy?  I hope not.  I think if there are shennanigans - it's a very dumb 'shennnanigator' who comes up with 5s for V/M's SD PCS - unless they like the color red - for red flag that is. I think someone needs some more time in front of skaters - my vote is human error. Regardless, it needs to be looked at and I am convinced it will be in due course. Thanks for being in touch RPL (my email fan's initials) - nothing I like better than something new to think about!.


**** Don't forget to visit to sign my book site's guestbook ****



Posted By SkatingPj

The 'SAD'- I started out wanting to highlight a very important story:  50 years ago today, February 15th, 1961 - the entire 18 member US Figure Skating Team perished in a plane crash which also took the lives of other passengers and crew and 16 American coaches, friends, officials and family members.  They were on their way to the 1961 Worlds in Prague which were ultimately cancelled as a result of the tragedy.

The 'GLAD"- I felt an enormous sense of privilege at being able to write this story for CBC's website  - the URL is:  I was able to rely on the help of a couple of Canadians, namely Debbi Wiles and Donald Jackson, both of whom are well-known to skating fans as champions in their own righ and both of whom had a personal connection to the story.  In both cases, things might have turned out differently for them had fate not intervened.  The real honour was getting the chance to interview 5-time world and 1960 Olympic champion, American Carol Heiss Jenkins.  She was recently retired at the time of the crash and opened her heart to recount the story and her memories of the people who died that day.  It gave me goosebumps to talk to her.  I heard the pain in her voice all these years later. It gives me goosebumps to write about it here.  Carol told me she wanted nothing more than for people to know and remember.  I now know and I promise, I will remember.

The 'Bad' - The 'bad' is what the kids would say today is "my Bad".  I know how lucky I am to be able to sit in my jammies and live in my head without distraction or intrusion from other people, things or events.  I get to write about what I want - and for the most part I write what I would want to read. My issue is the distraction I feel at having a piece like the one above roll around my head before I write it. When I sit down at the keyboard, I swear its' like it writes itself with very little input from me.  Kind of like a 'wedgie' or an itch in an awkward spot - I am aware of the nagging feeling that a really great piece is creating in my head until it is written. I wonder if the distraction to get it titled and done shows in what I do in the rest of my life?.  Am I walking funny? Does the partial attention I am paying to what someone is saying to me register on my face?  Then miraculously, when the "itch" is scratched I am almost giddy with the satisfaction.  In the past couple of weeks, I have had occasion to work on a number of "dream" pieces for me like this one:

On the other hand - there are the 'other ones' - either a subject or client or a situation that represents "gotta get it done" rather than "wanna get it done" writing. UGH. Those pieces are like facing the scariest pair of Spanks - tummy, thigh and body controlling panties. Double UGH!  It takes a while to muster up the courage to wrestle yourself into them - not to mention the sweat involved. When faced with a 'Spanks' piece - my bathroom is rarely cleaner from the top to bottom "avoidance" scrub it gets!  In the end though - my goal is for you to wonder - is she wearing Spanks under all that - or is that just naturally her? You're not meant to know the difference :




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