I’m going to try and keep this short because I’m still sick (stupid cold and flu season!) and the whole thinking thing is so hard, LOL.
I finally rewatched the SD on a better screen, and I still loved it. Watching live this morning on a phone meant also being really wracked with nerves.
Anons, I tried to see the error in the midline, and I didn’t see it. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t there - in fact at one point I thought the replay showed it, but when I went back to the original angle, it didn’t seem like an error after all, so…… anyway, sorry that I couldn’t enlighten us but to be honest, I’m not surprised. I’m not great at spotting the errors in step sequences unless they are pretty obvious and/or come with helpful key point descriptions. ;) Perhaps later I’ll try again, but even if I was to say, decide that the panel was too strict on them for it, I will say that I was surprised that they got the first key point in the rhumba, so sometimes the benefit of the doubt is in their favour too.
Obviously, the key takeaway from the midline though, is that their GOE was still through the roof for that element.
The more difficult aspect of the protocols is that the comparison between VM and PC can be very direct, as they had the same base level and lost their level on the same element, so it literally came down to GOE and PCS. The difference wasn’t huge for an overall mark, and there wasn’t one particular thing that caused the mark gap (the most significant difference was for the rhumba GOE, and I felt like there was something just a bit ‘off’ about it myself, though there was nothing particular - it’s nitpicking, really). Unfortunately, that makes it harder for VM to “improve” because rather than there being one thing, it’s just bits and pieces here and there. I guess the only real thing was, don’t lose a level, but of course PC will also try to improve their mark there. (I saw PC this morning but I haven’t gone back to watch their SD again.)
My only real ??? in the marks was the GOE of +1 on their lift - that was really an oddball, and my side-eyeing came at the (slight) loss of skating skills in PCS and the (slight) loss in transitions. I mean, obviously, to me, VM would be in first place… but for those particular things, I’m pretty annoyed.
But I have faith in VM - they certainly have the experience of being in this position and know how to handle it, and know how to just keep working at their excellence to perfect every detail… even if some of use feel they’re pretty perfect already.
And if nothing else, perfection here would be scary - better to save that for the Olympics.
Speaking from experience, and perhaps getting repetitive - focus on the good. VM were very happy when they finished skating - they knew they’d put out a great performance. To me, marks aside, it was their best outing so far. They’re really getting comfortable with the characters of the piece and getting the performance married to the technique. I also thought they hit their music absolutely perfectly this time - moments that really needed a perfect hit (T’s peekaboo around Scott at the end of the step sequence, the ending pose, etc were bang on).
And VM being happy with their skates - that is incredibly important. They can’t control the judging - only themselves. And they were smiling, huggy people at the end of that skate.