PDA

View Full Version : What should the ISU do to resurrect Figure Skating in the US and Europe?



Pages : 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 [9] 10 11

minignome
04-01-2011, 07:55 PM
How does this work in gymnastics?

How do you see it working in figure skating?

Do you mean detailed planned program sheets before and detailed protocols afterward?

Or just the total base mark for the planned elements and the actual technical elements score, based on the tech panel's calls and the judges' GOEs for what the skater actually performed?

Is "they" the ISU or the TV networks?

I don't know all the gory details, but in gymnastics, you will often here the announcer talk about the base value of a routine (especially in vault, where it's easiest to calculate). Same thing with other judged sports -- diving, moguls, freestyle gives you the degree of difficulty.

For figure skating, here's an example in the short program:

Skater A has planned: 3 Axel, 3 Loop, 3 Lutz + 3 toe, Level 4 spin, Level 3 footwork, Level 3 spin -- base value = x (assuming no +/- for GOE)

Skater B has planned: 3 Axel, 4 toe, 3 Lutz + 3 toe, Level 4 spin, Level 4 footwork, level 3 spin -- base value = y.

Before each skater competes, the TV announcers could give the base technical score.

Rock2
04-01-2011, 07:57 PM
I think I have to point out one thing that I, myself, seem to lose track of.

This is an amateur sport. It's not pro.

So, I'm trying to think of how many amateur sports have the size of audience that skating has. I'd be curious to know what kind of ratings and income other prime olympic sports generate: gymnastics, skiing, track, swimming....

I know skating has had a bigger heyday but is where we are all that bad...and if so, can we back to mainstream without another schlocky 'whack heard around the world'?

Rock2
04-01-2011, 08:13 PM
I don't know all the gory details, but in gymnastics, you will often here the announcer talk about the base value of a routine (especially in vault, where it's easiest to calculate). Same thing with other judged sports -- diving, moguls, freestyle gives you the degree of difficulty.

For figure skating, here's an example in the short program:

Skater A has planned: 3 Axel, 3 Loop, 3 Lutz + 3 toe, Level 4 spin, Level 3 footwork, Level 3 spin -- base value = x (assuming no +/- for GOE)

Skater B has planned: 3 Axel, 4 toe, 3 Lutz + 3 toe, Level 4 spin, Level 4 footwork, level 3 spin -- base value = y.

Before each skater competes, the TV announcers could give the base technical score.

This has been done before.

I think maybe Nagano? Can't remember. Was done more at the end of the performance. Listed the jumps and showed which and how many of each were completed.

Also when CoP first came out, at GP events the planned technical was posted both on TV and in the arena. Then, the PCS were read out one at a time. That lasted only one year...maybe two.

Check the super that comes up at the 0:16 mark here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLKQksVdcLI

Then, listen to the score read out at the 4:20 mark here. They read out each PCS you can kinda hear in the background. Tried, at least in Canada, then abandoned. Not sure why.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-utNekU6AU&feature=related

loulou
04-01-2011, 11:35 PM
I'm not so sure that in gymnastics the expected difficulties are all that important.

The gymnast lists them, as an indication.
Then he/she gets a D score (Difficulty) for what he/she actually completes (indication paper doesn't matter one bit), and an E score (Execution) where deductions are taken for any form break, posture mistake, fall, etc. that the gymnast does.

Eventual ties are allowed at Europeans and Worlds, but not at the Olympics, where score are broken down until the tie is resolved.

-- In 2008 Olympics Nastia Liukin and He Kexin tied on bars. Kexin won after the score were broken twice.

-- In 2007 Worlds Shanshan Li and Nistor tied for silver on beam, and Ferrari and Nistor tied for bronze in the AA.

gkelly
04-02-2011, 01:32 AM
You can easily give the planned technical element score and the actual earned technical element score.

But that only tells half the story. Often the program components scores end up being the deciding factor.

What they could do is list planned TES, earned TES, PCS, and Total Segment Score, and only after giving all that information announce the standings, especially in long programs.

Under both scoring systems there has been a tendency in long programs to announce overall results and not the long program-only results. When a skater who bombs the long program stays ahead of a skater with a better long because of a big lead (factored placements in 6.0 or total scores in IJS), that can be very confusing unless the audience members already have an in-depth understanding of the scoring system in place.

So taking a little more time to make the announcements more self-explanatory would be helpful.

Susan M
04-02-2011, 05:31 AM
If they want to control all of figure skating at an international level, maintain credibility as an Olympic sport, and also reach out to new audiences, they could offer more variety of formats. Continue to offer world championships and Olympic events in singles and pairs freeskating and ice dancing more or less as they currently exist, and also offer world championships in Extreme Skating
I think you have hit the target here in the concept of ISU cultivating or encouraging events outside their conventional formats. I don't think, though, that Extreme skating is the answer. That Top Jump thing they held a few years ago was truly awful, just indescribably bogus.

What they do need is a forum for stars to continue to participate in events patterned after the old pro-style competitions after they are done with their GP-Nationals-Worlds careers. IMO, the ISU committed a colossal error in their campaign to eliminate any pro (post-eligible) skating events and market, because, as it turned out, those were the folks maintaining the popularity of skating as a whole in the US. Skaters here get to be stars by their Olympic exposure, because that is the only time huge numbers of Americans are watching skating on TV. In decades past, many of those stars stopped competing in ISU events after their Olympic glory, but continued to be highly visible in pro skating events. In the early 1990s, the World Pro Championships got higher TV ratings in the US than the ISU World Championships.

They may not have been making money for the ISU directly, but all of skating (including the ISU) was benefiting from the popularity of pro skating indirectly. They were carrying the bulk of the load in terms of keeping skating popular and in the public consciousness. The popularity of skating in the US pretty much crashed when there no longer was a forum for popular skaters to continue competing once they wearied of eligible competition. Yes, those pro events were sometimes pretty cheesy, but some of them were taken fairly seriously, and either way, they were often pretty entertaining. Viktor Petrenko's career high water mark for clean triple jumps came in one of these, for example. I know some of my all time favorite skating performances came at World Pros or Challenge of Champions.

Back in the mid 90s when Speedy was grinding his teeth because more people tuned in to watch Brian B and Kristi Y at WOrld Pros than for any of his events, he saw pro skating as the enemy, and was determined to stamp it out. What he failed to understand was the "rising tide raises all boats" concept. Skating would be getting more media and public attention today, for example, if there were pro events where Lysacek, Weir, Plushenko, and Lambiel were participating. Anything that raises interest in the sport in general is good for the ISU as well.

Bottom line - The ISU would be well served to loosen up their eligibility rules and to encourage (or even facilitate) alternate competitions using whatever rules the organizers want to invoke.

gkelly
04-02-2011, 01:14 PM
I think you have hit the target here in the concept of ISU cultivating or encouraging events outside their conventional formats. I don't think, though, that Extreme skating is the answer. That Top Jump thing they held a few years ago was truly awful, just indescribably bogus.

What they do need is a forum for stars to continue to participate in events patterned after the old pro-style competitions after they are done with their GP-Nationals-Worlds careers.
<snip>
Bottom line - The ISU would be well served to loosen up their eligibility rules and to encourage (or even facilitate) alternate competitions using whatever rules the organizers want to invoke.

Loosening eligibility rules was my second suggestion for the ISU, if they don't want to control all skating but do want to benefit indirectly from the interest generated by other promoters' projects. So I think we're on the same page there.

We've seen in the past that other promoters tend to be focused on packaging skaters with name recognition (elite medalists or, recently, celebrities in other fields learning to skate with experienced partners), or occasionally skaters with enough entertainment value despite lack of eligible hardware that they can make a name for themselves through participation in these pro events.

There doesn't need to be any coherence between one event and the next, or even consistent judging standards within a single event, if it's even formatted as a competition. The whole point is to attract audiences and make money -- the attraction is recognizable names and performers with charisma, choreography, and (for the sake of alliteration), costumes. :)

That will appeal to an additional chunk of the potential skating audience who have little interest in the fine points of skating technique but just want an aesthetic, entertaining show to watch, with the added excitement of big tricks and winners and losers.

But it does nothing to attract the potential audience who hates the music and costumes and the fact that anything other than the tricks count. In fact it will only further drive them away and convince them that skating is show business and not sport. And it doesn't open up the sport to more participants.

So what I'm suggesting for the ISU if they do want to develop a larger market share for their own products is to expand their range of products a wider variety that would appeal to a wider variety of potential audiences.

*The existing well-balanced events that already have Olympic status and clear entry paths for developing young skaters, and already have product recognition with audiences even if they have lost track of the latest skaters or even missed out on the scoring system change

*A new set of competitions designed to appeal to more macho sports fans, who might or might not learn enough about the techniques to come to appreciate the sporting aspects of the well-balanced competitions but who will never ever take seriously or want anything to do with an event where they perceive "artistry" or entertainment value to be more important than athletic content -- And I think I have suggestions for how to make these events less "bogus" than Top Jump was. Still, they won't appeal to the fans who are in it for the artistry and entertainment.

It would also likely bring more participants like Firefly123 and hockey skaters or inliners who would be happy to challenge themselves with skating tricks if they never had to get near a sequin.

*A different new set of competitions that is designed to appeal to the more art/entertainment fans but that would be structured to include and attract participants based on their ability to use skating skills for artistic purposes rather than on previous fame.

Why did the ISU "open" or "interpretive" pro-am competitions of the late 1990s die? Did the ISU only use them as a means to harm non-ISU pro skating and then discontinue them once they had served that purpose? I suspect it was also because they were also only using them as a cash product capitalizing on a few skaters' name recognition and not as a coherent sport. Pro skaters were not always enthusiastic because the format with regulation short programs put them at a disadvantage against current competitors. The current competitors liked them for the prize money but they were a distraction from training for GP and championship events, and not all the participants were necessarily interested in artistry.

Any event that relies on cashing in on the name recognition of existing stars but doesn't have the means to develop new stars is doomed to be short-lived, as we saw this was.

So what I'm suggesting for a better ISU version of these events would be a separate competition track that would appeal to audiences who like the pro skating or pro-am/interpretive format but that would be self-sustaining.

Offer a world championship, and skaters who are better at or more interested in the artistic than the athletic side of skating, or who have grown older and developed artistically while some of their athleticism has waned, will choose this track rather than the well-balanced track, or will switch over as they get older.

I would suggest the following events within this track:

*Men's singles, women's singles, and mixed couple events that allow and give TES points for a limited number of big tricks (extra elements not scored but not penalized), and primarily judged on PCS, which could be boiled down to Skating Techniques, Choreography/Interpretation, and Performance

*Singles and couple (same or mixed-sex) events, not segregated by sex, in which big tricks don't count at all, some kinds of tricks are not allowed, and only PCS are scored

This should attract enough former elite well-balanced competitors to serve the same purpose as pro or pro-am events and also allow young skaters to choose this path instead of the well-balanced path and reach the top and earn world medals and fans if they're good enough.

But the sports purists will hate it, which is why I don't think it would ever be accepted in the Olympics.

Susan M
04-02-2011, 05:35 PM
*Men's singles, women's singles, and mixed couple events that allow and give TES points for a limited number of big tricks (extra elements not scored but not penalized), and primarily judged on PCS, which could be boiled down to Skating Techniques, Choreography/Interpretation, and Performance
Well, they already have this event for mixed couples. It's called ice dancing.

julieann
04-02-2011, 07:32 PM
I don't know all the gory details, but in gymnastics, you will often here the announcer talk about the base value of a routine (especially in vault, where it's easiest to calculate). Same thing with other judged sports -- diving, moguls, freestyle gives you the degree of difficulty.

For figure skating, here's an example in the short program:

Skater A has planned: 3 Axel, 3 Loop, 3 Lutz + 3 toe, Level 4 spin, Level 3 footwork, Level 3 spin -- base value = x (assuming no +/- for GOE)

Skater B has planned: 3 Axel, 4 toe, 3 Lutz + 3 toe, Level 4 spin, Level 4 footwork, level 3 spin -- base value = y.

Before each skater competes, the TV announcers could give the base technical score.

You are assuming what skaters are going to get credit for before they even skate. Just because what the choreographers and skaters have planned out at the beginning of the skate does not mean that is what they are given credit for on the score sheet.

Short Program Choreography for Pairs:
3T
3LoTh
3LzTw3
BiDs4
FCCoSp4
SlSt4
5ALi4

What they actually got credit for:

3T
3LoTh
3LzTw2
BiDs2
FCCoSp3
SlSt2
5ALi4

The pair may have gone into the competition planning to execute the program one way and got credit for something less. That makes a huge impact on their score and has perplexed many a skater in the kiss and cry and until they see the protocols most have no idea what they happened, they just know they score the was lower then what hey expected they just don't know why.

Scoring in gymnastics/diving vs skating is a whole different nut and the two should not be compared.

Made4Dancin
04-03-2011, 07:26 AM
Back in the mid 90s when Speedy was grinding his teeth because more people tuned in to watch Brian B and Kristi Y at World Pros than for any of his events, he saw pro skating as the enemy, and was determined to stamp it out.
I wasn't paying close attention to figure skating then. What did he do to get rid of it? I had just assumed it became unpopular, lost ratings, etc. and naturally declined on it's own.

Susan M
04-03-2011, 08:48 AM
Just because what the choreographers and skaters have planned out at the beginning of the skate does not mean that is what they are given credit for on the score sheet.
I don't think people would have any difficulty with the concept of planned base values vs actual scores. We already see it on vault in gymnastics. A vault may have a start value of 9.9, but the gymnast is likely to get something more like 9.7. I have heard diving commentators use degree of difficulty in a similar way, talking in terms of the maximum points possible for a given dive.

I think we have already heard this done a little bit in skating, when the commentators compare base values of planned jump content.

loulou
04-03-2011, 11:20 AM
I don't think people would have any difficulty with the concept of planned base values vs actual scores. We already see it on vault in gymnastics.

We see that on every event in gymnastics, actually.



A vault may have a start value of 9.9, but the gymnast is likely to get something more like 9.7.

:eek:

Vault start value 9.9? That would be spiderman.

Made4Dancin
04-03-2011, 05:51 PM
Actually gymnastics scores are more like old figure skating scores in that you have a top value and have to come down. That's why it used to be understandable. If someone got a 6.0 you knew they were perfect. If they got a 5.7 and you remembered that they messed up a little that score would make sense to you even if you were a new fan. So would big mistakes and a 5.4. And if you thought someone was perfect and they got a 5.7 you'd be WTFing. But now if one guy messes up a lot and he gets a score of 166.84 (falls) and another guy doesn't seem to mess up at all (maybe takes off on all the wrong edges or doesn't do a required element, or some other stuff normal people wouldn't recognize) and gets a 164.32, most fans have no idea what that means and therefore it seems unfair. Because technically you're starting at zero and every single element has a set of points that add up and up to a huge number after two programs. No normal person will ever memorize all the base values of every possible element and no one can calculate them all quickly in their head even if they did and there was no such thing as GOEs. Any ###.## score is really meaningless until you see the protocols. The only people they have any meaning for are the skaters, coaches, officials, and superfans who have an idea of what number the skaters should get if they do it perfectly. When they don't get the expected number, whether it's their fault or not, everyone has to refer to the score sheet.

How is that ever going to be accessible to the average fan and how is that ever going to be easily converted to TV consumption? Could you imagine a graphic taking up the whole screen with the protocols on it? You'd need a really big TV and at least five minutes to read it after every skate. lol The way it is now if you're not a superfan with the protocols in front of you, the scores make no sense. In order to be able to enjoy figure skating as a competition you'd need to be able to trust that the judges know what they are doing and that the scores they give are accurate and fair. If people were able to trust the judging and one skater got 184.52 and the next guy got 178.65, maybe they'd accept that those people should be first and second without having to know all the gory details. But how many people, superfan or not, trust the judging? So if the scoring isn't accessible, or obviously fair, how can most people take the sport seriously?

FigureSpins
04-03-2011, 05:55 PM
Back in the mid 90s when Speedy was grinding his teeth because more people tuned in to watch Brian B and Kristi Y at WOrld Pros than for any of his events, he saw pro skating as the enemy, and was determined to stamp it out. What he failed to understand was the "rising tide raises all boats" concept. Skating would be getting more media and public attention today, for example, if there were pro events where Lysacek, Weir, Plushenko, and Lambiel were participating. Anything that raises interest in the sport in general is good for the ISU as well.



I wasn't paying close attention to figure skating then. What did he do to get rid of it? I had just assumed it became unpopular, lost ratings, etc. and naturally declined on it's own.

I think the introduction of the Grand Prix circuit of televised competitions was the method, correct Susan M? I do have to say some of the Pro competitions were just as cheesy as exciting, imo.

gkelly
04-04-2011, 12:53 AM
Actually gymnastics scores are more like old figure skating scores in that you have a top value and have to come down. That's why it used to be understandable. If someone got a 6.0 you knew they were perfect. If they got a 5.7 and you remembered that they messed up a little that score would make sense to you even if you were a new fan. So would big mistakes and a 5.4. And if you thought someone was perfect and they got a 5.7 you'd be WTFing.

And yet, that happened all the time under 6.0, because of skate order for skaters who were capable of earning 5.9s or 6.0s, and because of lower difficulty or subtle technical errors that casual viewers would never notice without someone knowledgeable about skating technique, rules, and judging standards to point them out. Sometimes commentators did, sometimes they didn't think it was important enough to mention, and sometimes (not being trained judges) they didn't notice the problem themselves.

Not only did programs without visible errors often earn 5.7s, but even more programs that look "clean" to a casual viewer might earn 5.2s or 4.7s or lower, because the skater just didn't have the difficulty or especially the skating quality to deserve scores comparable to the world medalists. Often those skaters also had visible errors or issues that were obvious enough to the commentators to be worth mentioning, but not always.

Of course, most of those performances were never shown on US TV, but occasionally they were for American skaters or skaters who had human interest stories. And, of course, on coverage of Nationals.

So fans who believed that everybody started with a perfect score of 6.0 and only lost points by making mistakes were not accurately understanding the judging system of the time. Commentators who explained it that way were taking a shortcut, knowing they were mostly going to be show top skaters.