solid ice

Weaver, Poje hope the 'road less travelled' leads them to world podium

HELSINKI — Canada’s Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje arrived at last year’s world figure skating championships armed with the No. 1 ranking and two seasons of rock-solid results.

But the ice dancers stumbled to a gutting fifth place in Boston that left them wondering and searching. It was a pursuit of something better that eventually took them all the way to Moscow.

Weaver and Poje, who have spent almost half of the season training in Russia, have their eyes on the podium at this week’s world championships, and talked about the necessity for a complete overhaul.

“I think that when you make a change you have to believe in yourself, believe in the new environment. You can’t tiptoe into change. You have to go full-force,” Weaver said.

“This season, gosh, we’ve experienced so many things in such a short amount of time. We’ve… had to delve very deep inside to find what we needed, to learn about ourselves, to embrace this change and have the bravery and the courage to go out on a limb and take the road less travelled.”

That limb included leaving their home in Detroit last summer and moving to New Jersey. They split their training time between there and Novogorsk — “which is like the Mississauga of Moscow,” Weaver said — under new coach Nikolai Morozov.

“We had success but things were getting a little stale in a sense," Poje explained of the trans-Atlantic move. "We were starting to lose our passion in a sense and we really wanted to find ourselves again. We felt like we needed to have a fresh outlook and a fresh voice.”

They spent the past three weeks training in Moscow, which had the added benefit of a short 90-minute flight to Helsinki.

They live at an international training centre in Russia that houses athletes in 32 different sports. The elite facility features a dining hall, a rehabilitation centre with Finnish saunas and physiotherapy, and a rink that’s open 24 hours a day.

“We can see the rink from our window,” Poje said.

They receive some government funding, but are picking up the tab for a big chunk of their living and training expenses.

“It’s a challenge,” Poje said. “But it’s two years to the Games — well, it was (two years) when we made the decision, one year now — and we wanted to go all in. We know that when it comes to those kinds of things we have to make those sacrifices now because we don’t want to have any feelings of regret in the future.”

The two say they enjoy living in Russia. Weaver, who was born in Houston and became a Canadian citizen in 2009, has been learning to speak Russian the past few years, based purely on personal interest.

“We both enjoy learning about different people’s cultures,” she said. “Being in Moscow for that long amount of time it gives us a chance to really explore the city and explore the people, just find the pockets that we really enjoy. We found some great places, really get a sense of who Russians are and really understand a little bit more about their culture instead of just the competition… A lot of times we travel to all these places and we’re there for one day. You don’t really get a sense of the place.”

The skaters from Waterloo, Ont., long skated in the shadow of Canada’s Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. When Virtue and Moir took a two-year hiatus after Sochi, Weaver and Poje stepped up to capture world silver in 2014 and bronze in 2015. Last year’s worlds had all the makings of gold, but it wasn’t to be.

They have to contend with a jam-packed field this season that includes Virtue and Moir. Since their comeback, Virtue and Moir have set a torrid pace, winning every competition they’ve entered and setting world-record scores in the short dance and overall points.

But Weaver and Poje are buoyed by all the changes they’ve made this season.

“Our career is one of many ups and downs. It hasn’t stopped yet,” Weaver said. “We feel like … now we’re back at a point where we feel very comfortable and confident and content with where we’re at right now.”

“We're very glad with all the experiences that we’ve had this season,” Poje added. “It’s been up and down but it’s been good for us because it’s shown us what we need, what we don’t need, what we want. We know where we feel right in our training and in our competitions and in ourselves. We needed to go through those kinds of experiences now so that we felt good going into the future.”

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Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press

Poor Yurio can’t catch a break, even over long distance video calls (Viktor you act oblivious but we all know otherwise)

i love how 99% of the official yuri on ice art is yuuri sleeping, all of them eating or going to the beach in victor’s barbie corvette and chilling in the hot springs and like 1% ice skating

i have been in america lately and tried its Various cuisine’s here is my review

wendys

  • what i had: four for $4 burger and lemonade.
  • what i thought: this is the same as mcdonalds but there is a smiling girl! the guy who invented wendys was called somethng else so who is wendy. Food apparaition?
  • rating: 3/5. food was boring but mysterious girl warmed my heart

cook out

  • what i had: hot dog and shake
  • what i thought: holy shit. also milkshakes in america are like, solid ice cream. i was expecting nesquik
  • rating: 5/5. the hot dog was nauseating but cost a dollar and the cashier liked toys

steak n shake

  • what i had: you can only have burgers and shakes from this restaurant so thats what i got baby!! when in roam!! hasta la vista!!
  • what i thought: siri didnt know how to get there so we got lost on the highway at 1am. WOOPS!!! thats the american life
  • rating: 4/5. tasted like i was dying, but pleasantly

cracker barrel

  • what i had: friday fish fry up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • what i thought: there was lots of old people in this restaurant. the waitress avoided me because my nails were painted. this is a well documented phenomneom but biscuits are definitely something different in this country than my country
  • rating: 2/5. scary torture cabin

costco

  • what i had: piza slice
  • what i thought: i know this isnt technicaly a restaurant but drinks were 50 cents so it gets an honorable mention. there was a crate of mayonnaise but i didnt try that.
  • rating: ???/5. costcos most precious secrets are lost to us all
50 Asks
  1. What was your favorite 90s show?
  2. What is the last song you played?
  3. What is one character you feel particularly tied to?
  4. Last time you got a portrait taken by a photographer?
  5. How do you keep yourself organized, if you do?
  6. You’re in a bad mood. How do you choose to deal with it?
  7. You can marry one fictional character. Who?
  8. If you weren’t born in this era, which do you think you should have been born in?
  9. Coffee, tea, or water?
  10. Name one weird gift you’d like to be given.
  11. One thing that always creeps you out?
  12. What is your Starbucks order?
  13. Are you more like your mom or your dad?
  14. Does the toilet paper roll belong with paper coming from the top or the bottom?
  15. You get to meet one author of your choosing (dead or alive) and ask them all your unanswered questions about their book. Who do you talk to?
  16. Do all disasters have an up side? Or is that foolish thinking?
  17. What is your favorite rainy day album?
  18. Do you tan easily?
  19. Do/did you ever pass notes to your friends in school?
  20. You are going to be isolated with one person for a week straight. Who is with you?
  21. What is your feel good movie?
  22. If you had to dye your hair, what color would you choose?
  23. What is something you are proud of?
  24. Tell me a story about you.
  25. Name a lesson you have learned from a fictional character.
  26. Any recurring dreams?
  27. If you could take a long roadtrip anywhere, where would you go?
  28. What was the first concert/show you attended?
  29. Best sing-along-dance-alone-in-your-room songs?
  30. Weirdest phase you went through as a kid
  31. Pro- or anti-sleeping with socks?
  32. Are you still in touch with your first best friend?
  33. The moment when you realized you loved _____ (music, sports, etc)
  34. Jelly or jam?
  35. Have you ever learned to knit or crochet?
  36. Tell the story of your first love
  37. A book you would recommend to anyone who would listen
  38. A movie you would recommend to anyone who would listen
  39. Are you good at keeping plants alive?
  40. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of?
  41. Something you’ll admit to the internet but not people irl
  42. You’re in a tattoo parlor about to get inked. What are you getting done?
  43. What are you like when you are really really tired?
  44. Do you prefer taking notes on paper or online
  45. Are you a leg jiggler?
  46. What makes a song /good/ in your opinion?
  47. How many drafts do you have on your blog(s)?
  48. Are you an old soul or young soul?
  49. Frosted cupcakes or unfrosted cupcakes?
  50. What do you think your mid-life crisis will be about?

I might be completly wrong in this and yall have free pass to come scrub it in my face when YOI ends, but like…. I don’t think the whole point of the show is having an antagonist?

Yes, compared to what we know of almost every character (and the writers put some effort in telling why they skate, what are their motivations and a little bit of everyone’s past), Viktor can seem a little… Off? Because the writers don’t dwell as much on his thoughts, and there’s very little we know about him (except he likes surprising people and he’s bored of winning at this point).

(I mean, look at this smile. It looks really fucking fake, even for someone thats 24/7 cheery af like Viktor.)

And while this might seem a bit iffy, considering we’re already halfway to the end of the show, I kind of just want to point out that Yuri on Ice is, mainly, about Yuuri (duh, Heloisa, you say, but hold on a second). And Yuuri’s development is really tightly walking together with Viktor’s. Through those episodes, it’s clear that Yuuri has a lot of talent and skill. He is perfectly capable of suceeding (as shown by the perfect copy of Viktor’s routine that won him another gold), except for the fact that he’s insecure and a very anxious person. He still pretty much anxious, even by episode 6, when he is able to perform Eros perfectly, as shown by the fact that he is freaking out about being first place. But I think that this is where Viktor comes through: Yuuri is dealing with his feelings way better this time. He is opening up to someone, which we all know he’s very wary of doing. He doesn’t like showing weakness, don’t like people thinking less of him. But he feels safe when Viktor is listening (the beach scene anyone?). And that’s really important! This is a really nice example of a healthy relationship.

(This is actually the most pure scene is the story of media, fight me on this.)

So, back to my point. Until now, he have been following closely Yuuri’s story, since his failure at the Grand Prix (that wrecked him) and his decision to get back up, to try ice skating, to go “well, I really love this thing, and so I’m going to keep trying, even if my body hurts and I’m tired and upset still”. When Viktor shows up, this resolve strenghtens, and Viktor puts him back on intensive training. Not only that, but Viktor urges him to be more confident and sure of himself. Viktor makes himself available to Yuuri, pushing ever so slightly until Yuuri is able to come to him and talk about what he’s feeling. But! There’s one more thing. It’s not only Yuuri that’s benefiting from it.

(Compare this man’s joy in this pic to the first one. I mean… Yuuri isn’t even close to winning the Grand Prix yet, but Viktor is more happy at his routine – this is before the scores came out – than when he won the gold medal for the 500th time.)

Some speculations have surfaced about Viktor being a very lonely person, which might or might not be true. But well. He was a child prodigy, reached fame at a very young age, and has been in the spotlight ever since, grew under it, every move hyperanalysed to exhaustion. As charming and extroverted as the guy is, that must be tiring. Which probably had a huge impact on his decision to just drop his career and go “well, look at this kid performing my routine better than I did. It would be a shame if I didn’t fly to Japan to coach him”. While we aren’t 100% sure of his full motivations (except Viktor does say that Yuuri creates music when he performs, and that sounds pretty much enough of a motivation, considering that Viktor wants to surprise and be surprised and wants passion, most of all) and past and wishes, etc, etc. What we have of Viktor right now is his development very strongly intertwined with Yuuri’s.

And, I mean… Viktor looks absolutely thrilled with Yuuri. Even more than Yuuri himself because, even when he’s building his confidence, Yuuri is still aware that a) people aren’t taking him that seriously just yet, b) everyone wants Viktor back to performing and c) most think Viktor is wasting his time. So, honestly, tha fact that Yuuri basically raises the middle finger (although, yes, metaphorically) with his performance to every single one of these people, because he doesn’t care how much they cry out, he did fucking stole Viktor. Deal with it, he says. So it’s safe to assume Viktor is more than slightly encouraging Yuuri to think like that.

Would all of this be necessary if Viktor was only doing this because he wants to create a new competitor worth of his time (when, I don’t know, Yurio seems strong enough to steal Viktor of his first place without so much extra care)? Would all this endless flirting and touching and intimacy be necessary to build up Yuuri’s confidence? Would Viktor actually say Yuuri to seduce him just to, you know, build His Straight Friend confidence? Would Viktor do all of this just to get more attention, when the reactions of everyone of their closeness isn’t even of shock at this point? Like, Phichit posts a picture of Viktor half naked all over Yuuri on the internet and the worries are “will people think I’m fooling around before competition?” and not that he’s fooling around with Viktor instead? Besides some embarassed reactions like Minami watching them hug, the whole affectionate thingy isn’t really a surprise anymore. Sure, photographers took a lot of pictures of Viktor and Yuuri hugging during the Chugoku, Shikoku, and Kyushu Championship but, as showed on episode 6, Viktor is all over Yuuri any chance he’s got.

On live television, also… Just like Yuuri’s love confession (also, I super recommend reading this post on Yuuri’s speech. Just read all of OP’s posts because great analysis! And great translations!).

So, anyway, my point is that, if Viktor is doing this for pure and only his personal gain, he takes his objectives really fucking overboard and should get some sort of acting prize.

And my other point is that, if the show ends up making Viktor some sort of evil-only self-absorbed selfish douchebag, it won’t be a plot twist, it will be bad writing and very misleading (and I’m not only saying this because of the past episodes: both the open and ending of the anime are very upbeating; the tone of the anime and its writing are overall light, even when dealing with hard issues; etc).

Also can we just drop the whole narrative of same sex/gender relationships always having heavy drama, because it’s really getting tiring at this point. The drama is the Grand Prix, it’s all these fucking skaters trying their best and falling and getting up again, it’s the literal depression Yuuri went through and is trying to get out of with the help of Viktor and everyone else. That’s enough drama, don’t yall think?

There is very little funnier to me than people who think Otabek and Yurio as a ship is pedophilia. Do they honestly think kids in high school don’t date??? Or that a little over two years is a huge age gap??? Is this their first sports anime??? Completely discounting the fact that 18 as a legal adult is not remotely universal, if a seventeen and fifteen year old are dating and the seventeen year old has a birthday do they really think it’s pedophilia now??? It’s so nonsensical it’s funny.

Two hundred three years, forty-one nights filled with the threat of screaming darkness. Two hundred three years, forty-two mornings where if he fell asleep, he would have awaken covered in sweat so thick it felt as if his body was covered in blood, her blood. So many mornings where the echoes would still scream at his heart reminding him of his failure.

He awoke at dawn warm, rested and holding a small scared hand to his chest. Two hundred three years, forty-two days he had been drowning in darkness, his heart encased in solid ice. Fifteen days ago his darkness didn’t seem as dark as he learned of her darkness. He had no idea what this was, but one thing was certain, she had chased his eternal nightmare away. He had no idea what was left of the boy he had once been. Because that was what he was then, a boy, and two hundred years had passed.

He walked the familiar hall leading towards the kitchen to assemble a breakfast tray for Aelin, it was then that the realization that she had come so close, too close to burnout. He had almost failed her, but he did not, his magic pulled against every push of hers. Their magic sung a song so old that he was sure he knew what it meant. That would just be another thing for them to figure out as they crawled from the darkness that surrounded their beings.

Last night he meant every word, he had every intention of procuring a cot. This morning he knew that her soul was made of fire and that fire kept the darkness that always crept in at bay. If he allowed it she could melt his icy heart. Maybe a cot would not be the answer that either of them needed.