2016 Worlds, Ice Dance

Last week I attended my third live competition and my second major one, returning to the familiar venues of the TD Garden in Boston for the 2016 World Championships.  The weather wasn’t as cold as in 2014 and I got to see a little more of the city, which has beautiful old buildings, but also so much construction and homeless people it reminded me uneasily of Montreal.  I sat during the competition in front of a handful of British women and next to two other women, one of whom I only learned on the last night was also from DC, though sadly we never really got the chance to talk.  There were probably as many Canadians as Americans in the audience, and quite a few Japanese fans, though fewer Russians.

I also went to watch some practices in the TD Garden, getting to see some ladies and some dancers practice, including our new French ice dance overlords.  Even in practice, Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron were something to see:

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Their runthrough was so far the pictures are mostly blurs; this one I took later in the practice.

During the competition, they were even more stunning.  There was something almost ethereal the way they move across the ice.  The sounds I made while watching their short in competition weren’t ones entirely proper to make in public, though the applause drowned them out.  They deserved to win and they’ll deserve to win the Olympics too provided they keep this us.

Not that they were the stars of the competition, though.  That honor definitely went to the Shibutanis.  The American skaters all got plenty of encouragement, of course, and all three teams certainly killed it, but the Shibs already had an edge when it came to crowd support, being so loved by everyone, being from Boston, having spent time being hard-done by in their scores, and now having won Nationals, and then they closed the competition out which their much-loved free dance.  It was a rousing, uplifting moment.  The crowd booed when their scores came up and left them a distant second to the French, but really, there was no shame in losing to them.

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Taking their victory lap with their silver medals.

Sadly, the Canadian support could not help Kaitlyn Weaver & Andrew Pojé when they could not get their levels.  It didn’t help that the audience was knowledgeable enough to tell when their twizzles had brought them down.  Lovely as they were, the audience reaction was subdued by anticipation of the inevitable.  But honestly, I was sadder that Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte didn’t medal.  Their free dance was kind of magical.  I thought they could’ve taken the bronze.

A disappointment competition for the Canadians all in all, scoring wise.  Everyone loved Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier except, it seems, the free dance judges, and then Elisabeth Paradis & Francois-Xavier Oulette didn’t even make the free, which was a bitter disappointment, because I’d so been looking forward to seeing their free dance.  Perhaps they should’ve sent Alexandra Paul & Mitchell Islam instead?  Of course, next year, looks like all three slots will be booked; I had a moment of worry after Weaver & Pojé finished there wouldn’t even be three, but thankfully there are.  At least I got to see Alexandra Stepanova & Ivan Bukin live, of course.  Also, Nikita Katsalapov; say what you will about him, but he is something on ice live.

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