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Maofan7
11-21-2011, 07:02 PM
Very interesting recent articles from Janet Lynn and Liz Leamy on COP and the declining popularity of Figure Skating:-

Janet Lynn Article (http://www.iceskatingintnl.com/archive/features/A%20measured%20fall%20from%20freedom.htm)

Liz Leamy Article (http://www.iceskatingintnl.com/archive/features/Skating%20Fix.htm)

Janet Lynn's comments were as follows: "Figure skating has provided the world a visual picture of freedom, lifting the human spirit, at least before figure skating took a nasty debilitating tumble...Complex rules (International Judging System or IJS) that make a person's head ache, now dictate what skaters must perform. Those rules for measurement employ an equally head-splitting concoction of computations to count points earned...Earning points is the goal, not learning how to skate....The safety of growing skaters is no longer on the radar screen. If it were, skaters would not be dictated to perform contorted positions or maniacal jumping....Measurement is the new paradigm. The paradox is that qualities that historically made skating popular for skaters and audiences are not measurable. Skating to music cannot be measured. Music played during a skater’s performance has become something like elevator music; sometimes it is heard and sometimes not. Most of the time the skater’s music is not connected to anything, not even the tricks and "jumping passes" performed to tally up more points. Here is a tiny partial list of audience pleasing skating skills that cannot be measured: smiles; pointed toe; stretched leg; line of body; flowing true edges and change-of-edges; long controlled glide that looks like it floats-- to music; footwork that makes the music come alive throughout the performance; an edge or turn that "whispers" (instead of ripping or grinding), the excitement of a classic sit, change sit, change sit, change sit spin to exacting music; a long blurred spin with musical crescendo. Oh, how the immeasurable soaring delayed one revolution axel made audiences feel as if they were flying with the skater! How is the intangible joy of skating measured? The imagination to create beauty and excitement on ice is unending. Watching skating used to be interesting and relaxing. Now it is monotonous and stress filled...If the present International Judging System had been in place in the past centuries, the axel, salchow, lutz, Hamill Camel, Biellmann spin and on and on, would never have been invented...The system no longer assures knowledge, security, individuality and freedom on ice. Longevity of skating is sacrificed. Now, too often skaters never start, or soon stop, competing. Coaches don’t want to teach competitive skaters. They would rather not "deal with" the complex rules for measurement. Talented choreographers stop choreographing. It is bland at best, or boring, to choreograph for skaters who have never learned much of the skilled language on ice. Heads hurt trying to follow the dictatorial rules of measurement. Figure skating enthusiasts, are we having fun measuring yet? If measurable defines sport, then anyone who can best measure the distance between their eyebrows is performing a sport. Objective measurement is causing figure skating to fall from popular grace. The technique is wrong for enthusing skaters to keep skating, general audiences to watch, and news media to retain interest. Measured numbers tell the story. Will those that rule figure skating and are the "umbrella for the concept of skating" [iii] recover the foundations and freedom of a beautiful, exciting sport and art? Will they stop imposters from decomposing figure skating into dull, tedious, one dimensional measurement? Suggestion for regaining popularity in figure skating: Teach skaters how to skate a resplendent language on ice with necessary self-government and set them free to beautiful music. Figure skating is culture. Culture matters. Why has interest fallen in a once grand and glorious sport and art? Freedom is fragile in all its forms. Freedom springs forth from sound foundations. Foundations and freedom have been stripped from figure skating. A totalitarian system of measurement does not breed freedom on ice that lifts the human spirit."

I couldn't agree with Janet Lynn more. COP/IJS in my opinion is the biggest factor in the declining popularity of figure skating. It has basically turned a once great artform and sport into something that is a lot more monotonous. I would never say that figure skating has become boring per se, but certainly, compared with what it was pre-2002, it is a lot more tedious and overpacked with the so called 'point scoring' elements. In turn, this has mean't that a lot of the artistry has been lost - and at the end of the day, it was the artistry that was the biggest crowd puller. The horribly low attendance figures at Skate America in particular and at the grand prix events in general are a wake up call and COP needs to go. In essence, bring back the artistry and that will bring back public attention

judgejudy27
11-21-2011, 07:10 PM
COP should be kept for ice dancing and maybe pairs, and scrapped for singles IMHO. Singles skating has only gotten worse since COP was introduced, minus the magnificient 2010 Olympic ladies event but I doubt that had anything to do with COP and was merely inspite of it.

AxelAnnie
11-21-2011, 07:15 PM
Wow - she is as good at writing and expressing herself as she was at skating! I never would have found the words to express it that way........but right she is.

judgejudy27
11-21-2011, 07:31 PM
She is very smart. Everything she said is so true.

floskate
11-21-2011, 07:37 PM
I do agree with much of what Janet says but it is interesting to hear her lament the demise of the figures system; a system which she herself suffered under and which began its demise almost directly due to the perceived injustice (by fans and media) of her incomparable freeskating not being able to win gold medals.

caseyedwards
11-21-2011, 07:47 PM
Free the Free Skate!!

julieann
11-21-2011, 07:49 PM
Watching skating used to be interesting and relaxing. Now it is monotonous and stress filled

I think she is being over dramatic. :rolleyes:

I feel no more stressed watching Kim as I did Kwan nor do I find one more interesting over the other.

This:

5.7 5.7 5.8 5.9 5.7 6.0 5.7 5.8

makes no more sense than:

72.30 + 85.14 = 146.44

If people want to follow figure skating for the love of the sport they will follow make an effort to understand the the rule changes, just like in any other sport.

taf2002
11-21-2011, 07:52 PM
I do agree with much of what Janet says but it is interesting to hear her lament the demise of the figures system; a system which she herself suffered under and which began its demise almost directly due to the perceived injustice (by fans and media) of her incomparable freeskating not being able to win gold medals.

She may have not been the best at figures but I'm sure she realizes that her marvelous edges & control may not have been possible without figures. Years ago Janet often spoke of Trixie Shubert & how much in awe she & Karen Magnussen were of Trixie's figures.

IMO the problem was that they put too much weight on figures (60% during Janet's era). If it had been something like 20%, which is what used to be used for the QR, maybe figures would have survived.

It is true that Janet might have an OGM without figures. But maybe Todd Eldrege would have one if quads hadn't come along or Michelle Kwan would if there were no 3/3's. You deal with the rules at the time. Which skaters are doing now, but I agree with her that much beauty has gone out of the sport.

AragornElessar
11-21-2011, 07:59 PM
I think she is being over dramatic. :rolleyes:

I feel no more stressed watching Kim as I did Kwan nor do I find one more interesting over the other.

This:

5.7 5.7 5.8 5.9 5.7 6.0 5.7 5.8

makes no more sense than:

72.30 + 85.14 = 146.44

If people want to follow figure skating for the love of the sport they will follow make an effort to understand the the rule changes, just like in any other sport.

Actually, I understand those first marks far more easily than the "new and improved COP" ones. And before you spout it again, I *have* tried to learn the COP system, but unless you've got a Masters in Complex Math, then Good Luck to you.

Janet is not being overdramatic. She's hit the problem straight on the head and voiced so more beautifully than I think any of us could try to. I remember my Dad saying in the mid 80's that he couldn't understand why I watched skating as it all looked the same to him. As he learned as the years have gone on, it wasn't, but it sure is now.

Rarely do I pull out my tapes or discs of the last six to seven years, but I'll pull out my tapes from mid 80's to 2002 all the time. Sadly, it's to remember what a great thing skating used to be instead of what it's turned into now. :(

caseyedwards
11-21-2011, 08:06 PM
I think a lot of the time skaters were given the benefit of the doubt on jumps and it was easier to score at home because if I a jump was done you didn't have to wait for a technical panel to review it and and put a < in a protocol sheet that are rarely if ever talked about while a competition is on TV! There just is not enough time for TV to go over performances in detail. Skating on TV is treated wrong. Every time a jump is landed a score should show up on the screen! This is not 6.0 where a score was unified at the end. Someone lands a lutz "7 Points!" You can't watch other sports without a lot of time the top and bottom of the screen loaded with numbers! DUH figure skating is like that now!! CROWD THE SCREEN!

floskate
11-21-2011, 08:10 PM
She may have not been the best at figures but I'm sure she realizes that her marvelous edges & control may not have been possible without figures. Years ago Janet often spoke of Trixie Shubert & how much in awe she & Karen Magnussen were of Trixie's figures.

IMO the problem was that they put too much weight on figures (60% during Janet's era). If it had been something like 20%, which is what used to be used for the QR, maybe figures would have survived.

It is true that Janet might have an OGM without figures. But maybe Todd Eldrege would have one if quads hadn't come along or Michelle Kwan would if there were no 3/3's. You deal with the rules at the time. Which skaters are doing now, but I agree with her that much beauty has gone out of the sport.

Of course she realises it. Sorry if my post misled you but I wasn't blaming Janet in any way for the demise in figures. I've just always been struck by the irony that the decreasing of figures value in 1973 was pretty much a rule made for Janet. I totally agree that skating would be better off if figures were still part of the system. Not necessarily in championships but along the way at test level. But I understand the reasons why they are not done.

Margaret
11-21-2011, 08:16 PM
This:

5.7 5.7 5.8 5.9 5.7 6.0 5.7 5.8

makes no more sense than:

72.30 + 85.14 = 146.44


I'm always puzzled when people argue that general public understands 6.0 system better. The fact that there are less numbers doesn't make it more understandable. People are not that stupid that they don't get that one skater scored higher than another. If they don't understand why, than they sure wouldn't understand it under 6.0 either. It has always bothered me as a casual fan that there is simply no explanation in 6.0 system. The viewers are just told that skater A is first and skater B is fourth, without even knowing what the judges are looking for. Sure, not everyone understands under IJS either, but you can at least try to educate yourself. It's really not that hard to see "hey, this jump got negative GOE all over the board, there must have been something wrong" or "gee, base value of this jump is higher, it must be more complicated". I think people make COP more mathematical than it really is. It is not differential calculus or trigonometry, it is just arithmetics.
Many sports have complex rules and I very much doubt that general public has read hundreds of pages of FIFA rulebooks but this doesn't stop them learning the basics of soccer if they're interested in the sport. COP has its flaws but I very much doubt that the decline of figure skating has to do with the scoring system.

I wonder, was the demise of figures lamented the same way back in the day?

julieann
11-21-2011, 08:33 PM
I'm always puzzled when people argue that general public understands 6.0 system better. The fact that there are less numbers doesn't make it more understandable. People are not that stupid that they don't get that one skater scored higher than another. If they don't understand why, than they sure wouldn't understand it under 6.0 either. It has always bothered me as a casual fan that there is simply no explanation in 6.0 system. The viewers are just told that skater A is first and skater B is fourth, without even knowing what the judges are looking for. Sure, not everyone understands under IJS either, but you can at least try to educate yourself.
Many sports have complex rules and I very much doubt that general public has read FIFA rulebooks but this doesn't stop them learning the basics of soccer if they're interested in the sport. COP has its flaws but I very much doubt that the decline of figure skating has to do with the scoring system.

I wonder, was the demise of figures lamented the same way back in the day?

I don't think some understood the sport any more under the 6.0 then they do now. I think they knew 6.0 was better than 5.9 they just didn't know why the judges thought so. It was the same when gymnastics used the 10.00 system.

I think in most sports if you are interested in the sport, you learn the rules; athletes will always continue to push themselves to the limits of their bodies. Sports evolve, skaters need to appreciate it for what it is now.

Compared to some other sports the rules of skating are pretty easy to learn.

Triple Butz
11-21-2011, 08:38 PM
I'm always puzzled when people argue that general public understands 6.0 system better. The fact that there are less numbers doesn't make it more understandable. People are not that stupid that they don't get that one skater scored higher than another. If they don't understand why, than they sure wouldn't understand it under 6.0 either. It has always bothered me as a casual fan that there is simply no explanation in 6.0 system. The viewers are just told that skater A is first and skater B is fourth, without even knowing what the judges are looking for. Sure, not everyone understands under IJS either, but you can at least try to educate yourself. It's really not that hard to see "hey, this jump got negative GOE all over the board, there must have been something wrong" or "gee, base value of this jump is higher, it must be more complicated". I think people make COP more mathematical than it really is. It is not differential calculus or trigonometry, it is just arithmetics.
Many sports have complex rules and I very much doubt that general public has read hundreds of pages of FIFA rulebooks but this doesn't stop them learning the basics of soccer if they're interested in the sport. COP has its flaws but I very much doubt that the decline of figure skating has to do with the scoring system.

If you don't believe me, take a look at the gymnastics floor routines. Show me even one example where the gymnast tries to use the music. This is the direction that skating is headed in.
I wonder, was the demise of figures lamented the same way back in the day?

This is missing the point. Janet's argument has nothing to do with results. It's about the skating. All of the things that used to make skating special are deteriorating and it's not as beautiful to watch. If I wanted to count points and keep time, I'd watch any other stupid sport where balls fly into nets and finish lines are crossed. I realize that some people may like counting every spin position and footwork step, but I don't. I like to sit back, and take in the overall impact of a skater's creation.

Conga
11-21-2011, 08:54 PM
Unfortunately, most of her lament just adds fuel to the fire that figure skating isn't a sport, but a performance art.