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View Full Version : In 7 minutes, how will you convince a non-fan of FS to start appreciating it?



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Vash01
01-03-2013, 07:28 PM
I am not kidding. I have to give a 5-7 minute speech on Figure Skating appreciation in my Toastmasters club. I expect that most of them don't know much about figure skating, and some of them watch once every 4 years, and can't tell a lutz from a loop. Usually there are 1 or 2 exceptions in the audience, but even they don't come close to my friends on fsu.

The real purpose of the speech (from Toastmasters perspective) is to demo something, and FS is a great topic for that. In ulterior motive is to 'convert' some in the audience into potential figure skating fans.

My plan is to start with the upcoming Olympics in 2014 (quite possibly most of them don't know about this), then talk about what to look for (based on my taste, of course :lol:), demonstrate some edges and a couple of jumps, while wearing sneakers on a floor. I will carry my skates along to show them how narrow the edges are, purpose of the toe pick, etc.

Since the time is so short, I cannot realistically spend more than 1-1:30 min on visuals using a PC & screen. So I plan on showing just a couple of clips- one of a couple of jumps, and one or two of actual skaters (my favorites, naturally :)), so they have something better than me to look at.

My goal is to get at least some of them interested in watching more FS (it does take viewing practice to really appreciate it), and may be someone would even want to join fsu!:)

I am not going to cover the IJS because I gave a speech about it (compared it with 6.0) last year, to a different audience. It is complex enough to make a separate speech out of, but for me the task is to make my speech about FS interesting and get others interested in it.

So here is the challenge. How will YOU convert these non-fans into at least people that can appreciate figure skating?

Aceon6
01-03-2013, 07:37 PM
My I suggest slo motion video of a good quad or triple axel, followed by 8-10 wipe outs all set to Flight of the Bumble Bee.

The reason to watch is when it's done well, it's incredible. When not done all so well, it's still interesting. Think skiing or auto racing.

maatTheViking
01-03-2013, 07:45 PM
good luck! I have heard many great things about toastmasters, sounds awesome

I can't tell a loop from a lutz either :P, but it doesn't prevent me from appreciating skating.

I would focus on the blend of athleticism and art - to me that is FS main draw. To me, the fact that you CAN jump off a tiny edge and turn around in the air 3 or 4 times AND at the same time you are expected to emote the feel of the program to the audience - this is more exciting than which edge the jump was started on (at least until you get more involved in watching).

I think personally for casual fans, even though ladies is the traditional showcase, maybe focus on the men and the pairs, as the tricks are bigger and bolder.

Since you are focusing on Sochi, a different route would be to focus on Plushenko - I am not sure if you are a fan or not, and while his artistry is debatable, his longevity and twice comeback and home olympics make for a powerful story.

I do think the right approach is to look forward, rather than backwards on the history in that short amount of time

UMBS Go Blue
01-03-2013, 07:48 PM
Boob tassels! Sequined illusion fabric! Wardrobe malfunctions! Wedgies! Lots of healthy derrieres! :saint: :inavoid:

cbd1235
01-03-2013, 07:55 PM
This will be of no help to you....

But if I had to convert someone to a fan, I would probably show them a video of a Michelle Kwan long program circa 2003-2004 Nationals :P.

Doesn't really work for your specific situation, but good luck :)

Vash01
01-03-2013, 07:59 PM
good luck! I have heard many great things about toastmasters, sounds awesome

I can't tell a loop from a lutz either :P, but it doesn't prevent me from appreciating skating.

I would focus on the blend of athleticism and art - to me that is FS main draw. To me, the fact that you CAN jump off a tiny edge and turn around in the air 3 or 4 times AND at the same time you are expected to emote the feel of the program to the audience - this is more exciting than which edge the jump was started on (at least until you get more involved in watching).

I think personally for casual fans, even though ladies is the traditional showcase, maybe focus on the men and the pairs, as the tricks are bigger and bolder.

Since you are focusing on Sochi, a different route would be to focus on Plushenko - I am not sure if you are a fan or not, and while his artistry is debatable, his longevity and twice comeback and home olympics make for a powerful story.

I do think the right approach is to look forward, rather than backwards on the history in that short amount of time

That's a great suggestion- to mention the blend of athleticism and artistry. Most people can easily see the artistry, but very few know how athletic you have to be, to be a top quality figure skater.

I am a huge fan of Plushenko, and IMO his artistry is not debatable at all. He owns the ice; no one has presence like him. In 2002 I 'converted' one of my coworkers into a FS fan, and she is one of the biggest fans of Plushy. For this speech, I may mention his name, how old and injured he is, and still competing. In Toastmasters they love inspirational stories.

briancoogaert
01-03-2013, 08:12 PM
No speech, just Gordeeva&Grinkov 1994 Olympics LP or Exhibition to Reverie. :swoon:

giselle23
01-03-2013, 08:13 PM
This will be of no help to you....

But if I had to convert someone to a fan, I would probably show them a video of a Michelle Kwan long program circa 2003-2004 Nationals :P.

Doesn't really work for your specific situation, but good luck :)

You could do a short video with Michelle's footwork section to the end of her 2004 Nationals long program and the last minute or so from Shen and Zhao's Turandot from 2003 Worlds. ON the latter, you could explain how Shen was injured and didn't even think she could compete. Figure skating takes courage and heart.

Zemgirl
01-03-2013, 08:23 PM
Contrary to popular belief, not everyone immediately falls under the spell of Michelle Kwan. A Michelle Kwan program would not have converted me to skating fandom. :shuffle:

I'd probably emphasize the athleticism and the risks involved in skating; AceOn6 was in the right direction with that, I think. The difficulty with emphasizing the uniqueness of a sport that blends athleticism and art is that a lot of people can't get past the pageantry aspects of it, and dismiss the difficulty as a result. So I'd be careful with showing anything that is primarily artistic.

Another possibility would be to show one of the famous on-ice accidents and how the skaters involved were able to return and perform beautifully. Everyone likes a good comeback...

Vash01
01-03-2013, 08:40 PM
Contrary to popular belief, not everyone immediately falls under the spell of Michelle Kwan. A Michelle Kwan program would not have converted me to skating fandom. :shuffle:

I'd probably emphasize the athleticism and the risks involved in skating; AceOn6 was in the right direction with that, I think. The difficulty with emphasizing the uniqueness of a sport that blends athleticism and art is that a lot of people can't get past the pageantry aspects of it, and dismiss the difficulty as a result. So I'd be careful with showing anything that is primarily artistic.

Another possibility would be to show one of the famous on-ice accidents and how the skaters involved were able to return and perform beautifully. Everyone likes a good comeback...

T&M- the video is easily available. Her fall was scary (actually I used the story in one of my speeches a few years ago). My video time is going to be very limited; I will see how much I can fit in.

I agree about MK, even though I am a fan.

I believe it was MaatTheViking, and not AceOn6 that showed that direction (blend of sport and art). I appreciated inputs from both; just wanted to make sure the credit went to the right poster. :)

Alixana
01-03-2013, 08:44 PM
Re: the athletic angle .. I seem to remember an article somewhere that listed calculated how many kms various skaters skated during their LP. I think one LP was between 5-6 km. Power, endurance and artistry on a 1-2 mm blade?

Zemgirl
01-03-2013, 08:45 PM
T&M- the video is easily available. Her fall was scary (actually I used the story in one of my speeches a few years ago).
I thought of them, or Dube/Davison. Or the Zhangs in Torino; I still don't know how she got through that LP.


I believe it was MaatTheViking, and not AceOn6 that showed that direction (blend of sport and art).
I was referring to Aceon6's suggestion of showing skating elements done well and contrasting that with ones done badly (falls, specifically). I thought that was one possible idea.

lala
01-03-2013, 08:59 PM
good luck! I have heard many great things about toastmasters, sounds awesome

I can't tell a loop from a lutz either :P, but it doesn't prevent me from appreciating skating.

I would focus on the blend of athleticism and art - to me that is FS main draw. To me, the fact that you CAN jump off a tiny edge and turn around in the air 3 or 4 times AND at the same time you are expected to emote the feel of the program to the audience - this is more exciting than which edge the jump was started on (at least until you get more involved in watching).

I think personally for casual fans, even though ladies is the traditional showcase, maybe focus on the men and the pairs, as the tricks are bigger and bolder.

Since you are focusing on Sochi, a different route would be to focus on Plushenko - I am not sure if you are a fan or not, and while his artistry is debatable, his longevity and twice comeback and home olympics make for a powerful story.

I do think the right approach is to look forward, rather than backwards on the history in that short amount of time
My friend! I must answer to you!

At the age of 16, Plushenko was the youngest male skater to ever receive a perfect score of 6.0. He received a total of seventy five 6.0s before the new Code of Points judging system was introduced, most of them were presentation marks!
And these are facts, not individual opinion

Do you think Michelle Kwan isn't artistry? Plushenko has more 6.0 like Kwan. He has innate artistry! I recommend you began to watch Plushy's programs on Youtube since 1998... maybe you will be surprised..

spikydurian
01-03-2013, 09:33 PM
Depends on the likes of your target audience. If they are largely female and like performance arts, showing them vids which emphasize the artistic aspects may impressed them. However, they are largely male and lean to male sports, vids emphasizing the technical difficulties and aspects may be better choice. Maybe, best to bring them to live competitions. :D
All the best in your speech, Vash01.

giselle23
01-03-2013, 10:05 PM
Re: the athletic angle .. I seem to remember an article somewhere that listed calculated how many kms various skaters skated during their LP. I think one LP was between 5-6 km. Power, endurance and artistry on a 1-2 mm blade?

How about one of Kurt Browning's amazing footwork sequences?