Figure skating is dying, and judges can't prop it up

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by Sugar, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

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    As well as egregious flutzes which Hughes would have got penalised for as well, today.

    We also had Yukina Ota win Junior World Championships not having rotated a single triple jump. :scream: :wall:

    Nobody, really. That's exactly the problem. ISU is run by people who are completely out of touch with the world today and who don't seem to hire anybody to do the PR work. As long as you give casual viewers drama, they won't care about the scoring system much.
     
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  2. Seerek

    Seerek Well-Known Member

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    That's an interesting example where factored placements allowed a skater (Victoria Volchkova) to retain a medal despite not placing top 3 in the Free Skate, though the gap between the 3rd (Gusmeroli) and 4th place (Volchkova) freeskates was possibly wide enough that a points-based total format would have allowed Gusmeroli to overtake Volchkova for bronze overall.
     
  3. Mathman

    Mathman Active Member

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    I like Brennan's point. 6.0 was soap opera. IJS is an accountant's convention.

    To the great unwashed masses, soap operas are more fun.

    The ISU has made its choice and now must live with the consequences.
     
  4. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

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    I think she has a point about skating dying in the US although I don't buy her premise: I remember the casual fan being just as confused about the the 6.0 system (and how it was awarded) as what we have now. I think the system is a bit more fair now. It was shocking to see such a small venue with empty seats during this competition. And I too saw the competition because Latvia carried it. That it wasn't on a US network especially since we are a year from the Olympics says a lot about the state of this sport here. That Canada couldn't sell out a 7000 seat arena astounds me.
     
  5. equatorial

    equatorial Well-Known Member

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    The author must be a casual fan ;) First, it is stated that O'Connor/Millns won the bronze in 1976 while being the only couple to threaten the monopoly of the Soviet "theatrical" style. Then the 1980s controversy is described as "upbeat" style of R/S vs. "sedate, traditional Soviet style". The funniest thing is that both times it was Linichuk/Karponosov :lol:
    Also, loved that "a gangster and his molt" typo re the Duchesnays OSP in 1988 :rofl:
     
  6. Mafke

    Mafke New Member

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    That's part of the problem, but not the whole problem. There could be ways that IJS could be made more relevant (and interesting) to audiences but they all involve things that ISU doesn't want to do because they'll expose the judigng to too much scrutiny.

    The two big flaws for me are levels (I really, really, hate levels) and PCs which are almost half the score and don't make any sense to me.

    I'll still say it ; 2002 destroyed the (very fragile!) faith the audience had in judging and IJS does _nothing_ to restore that faith. It's a little bit like if the Tour de France responded to riders doping by vowing to make it harder to administer drug tests.
     
  7. Taso

    Taso Well-Known Member

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    Well I know for myself that I've literally only watched Kostner's performances from this years Worlds - no one else at all. At all. Pre-CoP that would have never happened...
     
  8. munow

    munow New Member

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    That is no one else's fault but yours.
     
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  9. equatorial

    equatorial Well-Known Member

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    It's not ISU's fault that the current crop of skaters is unable to produce any drama ;) The closest we've got to a full-scale drama recently was the Zoueva-Shpilband split. Coaches are more drama-worthy these days than skaters. Coaches were good at overdrama too in the golden years of 6.0. The Three Wicked Witches of the Soviet ice dancing aka Tchaikovskaia, Tarasova and Dubova have never been surpassed :D But skaters never failed to deliver either.
     
  10. purple skates

    purple skates Shadow dancing

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    Some of that was the price tag. I would have loved to go and catch an event or two (I'm a few hours drive from London), but not for $150-$200 each! I can't believe that any casual fan would have gone at all, unless they got their tickets through a corporate sponsorship.

    Regarding US tv coverage, Universal Sports did have good coverage, especially compared to the ESPN days. It's unfortunate that Universal isn't available to most people. Plus, at least on Direct TV, it's channel number is so high (in the 600's) that it is unlikely that people who pay for the sports pack and are surfing manage to get that far before they find something else to watch. ESPN, on the other hand, is in the low 200's on Direct TV, so it was far easier to stop there if you are channel surfing. In other words, the casual fan didn't have a good chance to find it this year.
     
  11. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

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    Lots of people are saying that evolution isn't true either. That doesn't mean they are right. People have a right to their opinions but people saying things doesn't make them true even lots of people are saying things even them saying them over and over and over.

    IMO skating isn't dying AT ALL. Skating is alive and well. It's not alive and well in the US on network TV. But US network tv isn't the be all and end all of the universe. It's alive and well in rinks all over the US and in Japan and China and Russia and other countries. It's alive and well on TV in those other countries. It's alive and well on the internet which is the be all and end of all the universe these days and into the future. Heck, Latvia showed the entire World championships LIVE as they happened. How many skating skaters does Latvia have? :D But obviously they thought someone would be interested enough in the event to do that.

    There is no evidence to support this statement. Ratings went down under 6.0. They didn't go down only when IJS was introduced. They were already going down. Since IJS was introduced, we have no idea if they would have gone back up but I doubt it.

    They went back up in other countries where the new scoring system was embraced and fans were educated in it and the commentators didn't whine about it for almost a decade later as if it was still an upstart that was going to go away if they closed their eyes and held their breath. So I bet they would have gone back up in the US too under different circumstances. But we don't know so it's all supposition.

    No, most old people have trouble. People cling to the past and hate change mostly. I think this is part of why team sports are popular in the US. You can root for the same team for years and year and year. Yes, the players change but it's still the Buffalo Bills! But figure skating isn't like that. New stars have to be created. Which means older fans sometimes lose interest because they can't shift gears.

    Then they whine about how it's skating's fault and how much better it was in the old days -- the old days they complain bitterly about at the time. ;)
     
  12. manleywoman

    manleywoman podcast mistress

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    Well said BR!!

    And I am one of those that think the decline of fans was inevitable as the internet and new media have given people more options. THe overall pool has been diluted. Does that mean we shouldn't stop being frustrated that skating isn't shown on major networks? No, not at all. And yes I agree that IJS can be frustrating. But I am more frustrated by the fact that the major networks keep hiring commentators who can't explain it at all to the public.
     
  13. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

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    I would also like to point out that we live in a time when Monday Night Football is no longer shown on Network TV. Monday Night Football! A staple of my childhood! When it moved to cable, people acted like the world was ending. American football still seems pretty popular though and still makes buckets of money. They survived in this new era of the internet and 1000 cable channels yet nothing's on and skating will too if it plays it's cards right (which so far, amazingly enough to me at least, it has).
     
  14. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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    I'm hearing a lot of people saying how mythical casual fans react to stuff in skating. How about some real experiences here?

    I'll give you one anecdote. I loved skating in the 80s. Used to go to all the World Pros events at the Capital Center. I quit watching skating around 1990 because I was SICK TO DEATH of all the controversies over judging; all the US commentators moaning about every time a Soviet Block skater won that it wasn't fair. I didn't watch skating all through the 90s, Michelle Kwan or not. And soap opera stories did not draw me back in.

    What drew me back in was loving to watch actual figure skating. Its both beautiful and exciting. If figure skating can't sell itself to people as beautiful and exciting, it won't matter what judging system there is or how its tweaked or who understands it and who doesn't.

    Either people enjoy watching figure skating or people don't.

    A similiar situation though not a sport is opera. I love opera. There's no way on earth I can get my friends who don't like it to watch it. Figure skating is the same. If its not interesting to you, you aren't going to watch.

    Now are there more people who might like it out there? Sure! So how do you get them? By endless virtual fist-fights over results and endless discussions of judging? Or by promoting what is great about figure skating?
     
  15. Mathman

    Mathman Active Member

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    Entering the competition it was a foregone conclusion that regardless of the skating the four eastern bloc judges (Poland, China, Czech Republic, and Ukraine) would vote for Oksana, and the four western bloc judges (U.S.A., Canada, Great Britain , and Japan) would vote for Kerrigan.

    The only vote that was is doubt was Hoffmann's. Even though Hoffmann represented East Germany, he was known as a conscientious and independent judge who did not always toe the cold war line. So it really was Hoffmann's vote that decided the issue.
     
  16. Icehog

    Icehog New Member

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    I have been at competitions that were said to be a sell-out and there were empty seats. Months before the event you can buy all-event ticket packages which allow entry to **all** the events. Single event tickets go on sale much later. I have often wondered if fans buy the all-event tickets to get the best seat selection, knowing full well they will not be using all the tickets. Too bad there wasn't a way to turn in those tickets for resale by the organization. Perhaps there is and I am not aware of it; someone correct me if I am wrong. Scalping (reselling, usually outside the doors and at a higher price than the purchase price..... well, that's something else again.
    Perhaps this event was a sell-out and it just didn't show on TV.
     
  17. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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    Hey Taso, remember when Andrey had that graemlin for you of the ship going down? :rollin:
     
  18. Rex

    Rex Well-Known Member

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    Tell that to Amber Corwin. Under the old system, she was constantly dinged for her underrotated jumps.
     
  19. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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    How do you know she was?
     
  20. escaflowne9282

    escaflowne9282 Well-Known Member

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    Heh, not quite true. Marina Sania of RUS , and Vladislav Petschukov of UKR gave interviews on ABC during worlds that season explaining their ordinals. Jiasheng Yang of China gave a detailed interview on Chinese television doing the same thing during worlds that season. What's more is during the review meeting after the freeskate, Ron Pfenning reportedly started arguing with the judges he didn't agree with and demanded their explainations.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2013
  21. Yazmeen

    Yazmeen Well-Known Member

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    Yes, skating had ratings going through the roof after Tonya/Nancy, and it brought in more "casual" fans. But aside from any judging controversies, figure skating also shot itself in the foot by capitalizing on this new interest with a ridiculous amount of cheesy "competitions" and skating shows where the skaters who appeared kept doing the same program over and over (even Nancy said it didn't matter how you skated, you still got paid). Remember "Too Hot to Skate?" and it's ilk? Meanwhile, Dick Button's amazing Landover pro competition died. Add in 2002, and the shiny surface on skating was really getting tarnished.

    And I think the lack of a Kwan or Cohen in the US has hurt skating in the US; whether we like it or nor, casual fans in the US tend to ID the sport by its lady skaters. Lysacek (and I'm a fan) would have likely faded into near complete obscurity after Vancouver if it weren't for DWTS considering how few skating shows are available anymore, and with the loss of COI and SOI diminishing every year. I personally find skating very exciting right now mostly because I don't have any huge favorites aside from D/W in dance. It's great to watch a competition and just want the best skater that day to win instead of always pulling for a favorite. But that doesn't always work with casual fans, and well, we didn't get to see Worlds on TV anyway... Don't know what the solution is, but skating needs a kickstart here in the US.
     
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  22. Sylvia

    Sylvia On to GP & U.S. Sectionals!

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    From another Reuters article:
    ETA: In light of the above, it's not hard to figure out why USA Today is writing articles on Tracie Gracie Gold such as this one: http://www.usatoday.com/story/sport...old-usa-figure-skating-next-big-star/1994885/
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2013
  23. escaflowne9282

    escaflowne9282 Well-Known Member

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    Tracie Gold- :rofl: Has she done anything since Growing Pains?
     
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  24. Asli

    Asli Well-Known Member

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    I totally agree! Aspects of the judging system can be discussed and improved - or even overturned - but the violence with which the whole sport and community are attacked by some journalists only does harm to the sport in general! :(


    Absolutely! I will not watch boxing or golf no matter how these are marketed, so why should I be surprised that fans of those sports aren't interested in figure skating?


    For someone in the arena or watching the broadcast, in what way is the IJC more difficult to understand than the 6.0 system? :confused:

    With the IJC, the skater with the highest mark wins. The casual viewer will think that this is the sum of the marks of the judges - which is correct as the general idea. You hardly need to be an accountant to understand that.

    With the 6.0 system, you saw a line of marks and placements such as: 112213132. The casual viewer could not for the life of him understand the result unless he sees the ordinals for the other skaters - and generally not even then.

    In both cases most viewers understand the placement of the skater only when it is displayed. In neither case does the casual viewer understand how the judges actually calculate their marks. However with the IJS, at least the fans who are able to read the judges' score sheet can understand the details of the elements, which was not the case with the 6.0 system.
     
  25. Rock2

    Rock2 Well-Known Member

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    What brings in the casual fan is human interest stories and star power which many have pointed out. There is none of this in the US whereas Asada, Tak, Plushy, Kim bring this in spades further east.

    What 6.0 was able to do was incubate stars but often times at the expense of fair judging. In the 60s through the turn of the century you had some combination of the most compelling and good skaters rising to the top and were held there to help drive the marketing machine with the most marketable skaters. I don't want to get into naming names to divert the conversation, but there were many Olympic medalists who were not the best skaters and/or did not perform nearly the best to win their medals. But this incubation of star power filled the seats in both amateur and pro arenas. That's what DWTS and other 'competitions' like Miss Universe do; reward the most marketable entries among the decent ones. Drives ratings and interest, but...

    By devising a scoring system that rewards more technical and basic skating ability you end up with some compelling skaters stuck in the second tier (Joubert, Abbott, Cohen, etc). This will forever make fans crazy and likely won't ever be fixed to the satisfaction of all. So posts and articles like these definitely have truth but will forever be a difficult reality for the future of skating. There are definite tweaks to be made, but we all need to understand that this is where the sport is and needs to be if it wants to stay Olympic eligible. I'll stop just short of saying "get used to it" because I think we should continue to challenge the system and application thereof.
     
  26. Taso

    Taso Well-Known Member

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    Fault? I'm not ashamed of my actions in any way - my skating viewing experience of the past decade, and earlier performances I viewed this season, has informed me that, no, I'm not that interested in watching anyone else right now. And aren't we are talking about loss of viewership here? My taste (developed through my own processes and watching and participating in skating in prior decades) isn't reflected in the vast majority of current skating (skaters process influenced by ISU and IOC changes). Hence skating has largely lost my viewership. It's my choice not to watch, but the fact that I'm not inspired to bother whereupon I used to be very much so is the skating factor.
     
  27. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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    What?! I don't get that at all! How does that work?!

    :saint:
     
  28. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

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    I find the sensitivity over most criticisms of IJS and its impact on the sport to be quite interesting.

    Although both systems don't make much sense for casual viewers, I think what made 6.0 easier on-the-surface and more fun to argue about was that it was absolute measure of perfection that viewers could compare to a skater's actual score. Even if someone knew NOTHING about the sport they would say "well...I would've given her a 5.8/5.8 instead of that 5.6/5.7."

    I think casual viewers who only watch during the Olympics would be better serviced if television stations would tell the viewers (before the routine and during the Kiss and Cry) a skater's base value for TES and the average PCS they had been scoring for that routine all season. Just giving a viewer a reference point to compare their score to would go a long way to engage viewers. They should also remind viewers how much mistakes such as popping and underrotations and falls actually count rather than give vague "oh, that looks underrotated...he'll be hurt there." NBC should also stop simply putting PCS as one score and give the breakdown just like almost every other television company in the world.

    Commentators and those in charge of the broadcast need to find ways for the audience to participate. If anything, COP has much more potential for that. They should tell viewers to print out a scoring sheet before a competition (like print out how many a viewer will need depending on how many skaters they show on the actual broadcast) with an element value guide, and they can mark the routines in real time and see how it matches up with the judges, etc.
     
  29. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    Listening to the 'water cooler' talk around work today, it sounds like Figure Skating is a lot like basketball. The person/team with the most points wins. But the judges judge totally unfairly, and apparently so do the referees. Every call the refs make is wrong- they are totally favoring the other team!

    There has been as much wuzrobbing about our University's team in the office today as there is about Ten and V/M (well maybe not them) on FSU.
     
  30. Jammers

    Jammers Well-Known Member

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    Figure skating can't contend here in the US against crap like Keeping up with the Kardashians and other reality tv shows. Our culture wants drama and controversy figure skating it too refined to keep people's attention. We Americans have the attention span of a flea.