Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by DickButtonFan, Jul 2, 2010.
The first step is break the connection between olys and skating.
Exactly. There's a lot of criticism for the skaters that don't stay in through the tough times, but when there is so little return for skaters other than the Olympic gold medalists and the expenses keep going up (Who said $10,000 for a Lori Nichols program?), how can it be expected? And not only that, but the reality is that popularity fuels sponsors and sponsors fuels the existence of more competitions or developmental programs, etc, etc. May I dare to speculate that, while all of us die-hard fans might be attending the events, we are not the ones actually donating large sums of money to the sport in any other way?
just want to clarify sth, whatever comments I made earlier about sex tapes or trashy/sensationalistic/tabloidish routes to exposure for figure skating = me joking.
yes people do underestimate the athletic capabilities of figure skaters, but this thread is about making the sport more popular. and I repeat, having a separate dry technical competition comparing elements hardly makes for compelling tv. since when did skateboarding or snowboarding get top 10 tv ratings (outside of olympics for snowboarding). I think the perceived disrespect or underestimation of figure skating is a totally different issue altogether. I realize there are a minority of people and skaters who despise the artistic, musical aspects of figure skating and it wouldn't hurt to create a separate competition based on just judging technical elements, but to claim that that's the savior of figure skating's popularity is a stretch imo
gymnastics is actually more respected as a sport than figure skating is. maybe it's because they do have separate competitions to judge specific elements. but I'm not so sure that's increased their popularity. in figure skating skaters are just taking individual elements and (ideally) seamlessly incorporating them into a whole program which actually is even harder. the artistic mark actually has a lot to do with the technical mark as an artistic skater often makes technical feats look simple and flow easily with the rest of the elements. if anything I think the general audience just doesn't understand enough about what makes a good skater and what specific elements are looked at, rather they often just assume who does the prettiest program is the best. I've even read comments on other sports' forums from men who don't watch skating at all who think that whoever has the best costume has a much higher chance of winning the gold -------__________--------
most people I know even if they find figure skating cheezy or lame, still respect the skaters as athletes. the ones who don't are meathead losers anyway, why r ppl so eager to pander to them?
this is all extremely similar to an article I once read which called for getting rid of costumes and music in figure skating.
there's a line imo between just garnering more (very deserved) respect for figure skaters as athletes, and broadening skating so that it appeals more to those who only prefer the technical aspects, vs just pandering to some kind of societal construct regarding masculinity.
Interesting point. When was the last time the U.S. Ladies' champion won Worlds? 2003? How about Olympics? 1976? Let's say Sally wins Nationals and Jane comes in 2nd. Then Jane wins Worlds. Who is our best lady?
That's true. But we need a real star to do that.
I don't think we need only one lady -- e.g. in '98 with Tara and Michelle, there's no reason both can't be popular. It would be like Jill Zarin vs Bethenny Frankel . Or maybe more appropriately, like Paul and Morgan Hamm (since we were rooting for both). Or Kippie and Kerrie Strugg. Or Venus and Serena Williams. Trying to think of non-siblings. Martina Navritilova and Billie Jean King.
I live in Philadelphia PA area and hockey is wayyyyy more popular than basketball. That COULD be because the Sixers have sucked for so long but l also just think it depends on what city you live in. before the NHL strike or whatever that was, hockey was HUGE here.
It goes without saying that athletic integrity should be there though I doubt we have the integrity there 100% (I guess it is a matter of definition and opinion). There is a gap between popular aesthetics (music, dance, attire/costumes, etc.) and the status quo of figure skating. Somebody should be able to figure out how to creatively apply the popular aesthetics to figure skating if the priority is to be popular.
Yeah, it definitely depends on the state in which you live, but I meant more on a national level. I read that the finals of the NHL nationally averaged a 7 share, while the NBA averaged a 10.9. That's not so huge a difference though and I'm sure a figure skating world championship would kill for those ratings.
Actually I made a mistake. It was 1992, not 1976, that the U.S. ladies' champion last won the Olympics.
Yes, but what do Tara and Michelle have in common? They were both U.S. champion and World champion. That last happened in 2003 with Michelle.
Kimmie was World champion first, then U.S. champion in 2007. The less than stellar performances at 2007 Nationals has led to speculation that the USFSA wanted Kimmie to defend her World title as U.S. champion, and shaved a few points here and there. ( Of course, this is just speculation. )
If true, I don't know why the USFSA thinks ISU judges care about a National championship. Evan was not National champ when he won Worlds, nor when he won the Olympics. Neither Tara nor Sarah were National champ when they won their Olympic titles.
Back on topic; I think the next time a U.S. lady wins Nationals, then Worlds or Olympics, this will be an excellent start to making the sport more popular again. As to why casual U.S. fans are primarily interested in the ladies; let's save that discussion for another thread.
This topic again, well...money for one and another big scandal might do the trick.
I think that TV inaccessibility is a huge problem. I know that this means there must be the perceived public interest in order to get the sponsors on board, but it just becomes like a vicious circle. No TV sponsorship/no interest.
Just take SOI in the US, for example. At the height of the skating popularity, All of the SOI program was shown on TV, and at a popular viewing time. Sometimes it would even be repeated several times on cable. Now they show, what, about 45 minutes, and most of it is in documentary form of past programs? And stuck in a weird time slot, with absolutely No hype.
Granted, SOI is about professional skating, not the ISU competitions. But really, the general public doesn't know the difference. They just need to have skating be more in-your-face, if you will, and this will generate more interest.
Yes, often figure skating is preceived as "unfair" and I think that is the big issue that alienates the most casual spectators, (myself included). I was recently rewatched the Ladies Skating from the 2006 Olympic Games and, (in the short program), Dick Button just hammered one skater even going so far as to comment that it would be "...more helpful if she went to the rink and not only trained, but thought about it a little bit, too." (Then added that he hoped he wasn't being "unkind.") Mind you this skater landed 3lutz-2toe (which Dick commented that she telegraphed.) She also landed 3flip. (Which Peggy admitted was NOT 2 footed when she saw the slow-mo clip after the preformance.) This skater did not fall. She did not trip. I guess her greatest "flaw" was skating competitively for 12 years and having the gall to attend 4 Olympics. Point in fact: She was old. (And in their opinion, she had not "improved.") http://<object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/c9Jyl6dXaiM&hl=en_US&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/c9Jyl6dXaiM&hl=en_US&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>
... Now, on to Sasha in the long program.... http://<object width="640" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/Kh3iW4I39DI&hl=en_US&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/Kh3iW4I39DI&hl=en_US&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="640" height="385"></embed></object>
Fell out of both opening jumps (flip and lutz), but (to her credit) did not give up on the program, (respect her for it), and did a highly artistic verson of Romeo and Juliet. Dick Button chirpped that he would gladly "take the 2 mistakes" in return for the beautiful artistry..... Right there. THIS is what we don't "understand" (or I would argue some of us understand, but don't agree with.) This is why the audience gets turned off. In a sporting event, there really should not be much (if any) "artistic component." That is more appropriate to a dancing event than to a sporting event. Yes, sure, deep edges and all that..... But why is this aspect of the sport given more credit than being able to actually stand up on your feet? Because 90+ years ago people started out doing circles on a patch of ice? Well, those people could do nice circles, but they certainly couldn't stand up after completing 3 rotations in the air. I mean, we do triples and quads now. Things change. You want a sport with circles on ice. Add it. Put patch back in. Lots and lots of pretty edges and no spectators (except other patch skaters. Fact is no one else will watch it because it is boring.) That is the "problem" with figure skating. It makes no sense to the audience. In fact, sometimes it makes the audience angry because it can be preceived as unfair, (and in my opinion, this is a just perception.) The audience becomes disgusted and turns off the sport.
A technical event would make a lot more sense to a lot of spectators..... And seem less "unfair" ..... At least to those of us who don't know what we are looking at. (Which, I would argue, is the majority of your spectators.)
Is that why figure skating garners the highest ratings of any Winter Olympic sport in the U.S.?
Yes, figure skating needs to do something in order to have sustainable popularity in the years between the Olympics, but the problem with figure skating is that it's not what you call an inclusive sport. It's incredibly expensive to keep up with, and not every area of the U.S. has an ice rink available. I think those factors actually hinder skating's popularity much more so than any perceived notion that it's unfair or biased or doesn't take the athletic aspects seriously enough.
When I watched this past Olympics with a bunch of casual Olympics viewers, their no. 1 complaint was that the skaters didn't seem to interpret the music anymore and they were just doing a bunch of moves. They wanted to go back to the 6.0 system, not because they thought the system was better, but because they simply enjoyed watching the routines under 6.0 more and they liked being able to follow how the scoring system works. I'm not saying we need to revert back to 6.0, but somebody somewhere has to better explain the scoring system and the networks and even the ISU needs to make the scoring a lot more transparent so people know exactly how a skater scored that way.
Honestly, Firefly123, if people took your suggestions and only had competitions with jumps and spins and nothing else, then you'd really see figure skating lose any sort of fan base. BTW, they dropped figures already so I don't know what you're complaining about. Of course they still expect skaters to have some sort of MITF and moves in-between the elements, which isn't very convenient for your adult skating career.
I always assumed that the point of being somewhat lenient where falls were concerned was to keep from discouraging skaters from trying more difficult jumps.
If fans would buy tickets to skating events in their areas & fill the arenas once again it might begin to generate interest in the sport. Money always talks!
1. This isn't about me (so I would thank you not to go there).
2. My point is that the artistic elements of this so called "sport" make it more of an "art" (like dance) and that is what (understandably) turns a lot of spectators off of it. (Especially when it is included in the Olympics. In fact, after the recent Olympics there were many threads on skating AND non-skating boards questioning whether or not it should even BE considered a sport.)
3. This "artistic element" (or MITF or whatever you want to term it) confuses many spectators who preceive the scoring system as unfair because of it.
4. And, honestly, for those of you would think so highly of the artistic side, I'm not sure why you even want to be considered athletes. Seriously, isn't it an insult to you? Most ballerinas would be highly insulted if you called them "great athletes." They consider themselves "artists" not athletes even though we all understand what they do takes an incredible amount of atheletic ability. Not sure why skaters even want to be considered both when dancers seem insulted by the comparison.
That is my point. This is what confuses the spectators. They see a skater fall and then see them get higher points than someone who stands up. This makes no sense to most spectators and they preceive it to be unfair. Then they get angry. Then they tune out.
What makes you think that dancers don't consider themselves to be athletes?
Perhaps. IMO skating has been having a major identity crisis for a decade or so. In the '60's in the USA, skating was very much portrayed as a sport that was of interest to educated, White adults. There was an intense core audience, many of whom also appreciated Ballet, opera, Classical Music, etc. We had Harvard educated Dick Button dispensing commentary while wearing a tux, on the top at least. There was an understanding that while it was a sport, it was a very complex sport. Scoring wasn't always good, and many times was very corrupt. Still, it was understood that there were so many things that go into great skating that are hard to measure objectively. Usually, somehow, despite the scoring system, the right people came out on top of the podium.
After the Nancy/Tonya years, the USA seemed to lose any sense of direction. It just seemed to want to keep the numbers up and the money rolling in. It has lost any sense of identity. I think that it is fine to become less elite, but not when that means giving up most of what the sport was all about. It was really pathetic a few years ago when we copied the format of a very low class show like American Idol. Could anything have been more cheesey that that panel pretending to be like the Idol udges? I had to stop going to Stars on Ice a few years ago after two years of having to leave the show in literal physical pain because the music was so bad. The comments I heard from others leaving the shows echoed my experience. The touring shows have alienated their core audience but have not yet found a new core audience.
Have known several ballerinas over the years. Granted, this may only apply to the dancers I know/knew.... But, as far as I can tell, most are not interested in being considered athletes or getting ballet included in the Olympics as a sport. Most consider themselves artists. Like I said, this is based primarily upon my own experience.
Firefly123, just because you cannot do MITF doesn't mean that everyone else around you thinks the artistic aspect of the sport is bollocks (and in fact they are totally unrelated). In fact the vast majority of the most highly-regarded figure skaters in history were wonderful performers and the reason they were so popular was because they drew the viewer in through their emotions. Not because they could land a triple lutz. Which you would know if you got your head out of your arse for three seconds and thought of anyone else but you, which you clearly don't do.
Then why does it get such high TV ratings during the Olympics?
This is not a "fact". If you can find a thread here about "skating isn't a sport", please link to it.
You are the one who is confused. MITF (Moves in the Field) is not an "artistic element" . It's a test system with patterns of moves showing edge control/quality, among other things. Artistry is not part of it.
And these mysterious "many" spectators may think the judging system is unfair because of the way it evaluates artistry or edge quality/control. But I would guess that the ones who aren't you don't think the system is unfair just because it evaluates those things....they probably think it's unfair because of the *way* it evaluates those things.
Actually, your intentions are quite transparent.
There will always be threads on it. The truth is not everybody is going to get it. The same way many Americans don't get soccer. The reason why winter sports (like the X-Games, Skiing, Triathlon) don't get many viewers. If people don't understand it, they don't watch.
You'll always find people who don't get whatever subject it is, especially on the internet. However, no matter how loud they want to scream, the truth is that figure skating is in no danger of being out of the Olympics (barring some incredible scandal, but the EVERY sport sport has a scandal in the Olympics nowadays. If it isn't judging scandals, it's drug scandals. If it isn't drug scandals, it's participation ones, etc.). Also the high ratings figure skating enjoyed (the Ice Dance Finals, for example, I heard won the ratings fight in its time slot) prove that people are still interested in figure skating and tuning in during the Olympics.
In order to gain more fans, you don't go the opposite direction from your already established fan-base. You try to expand upon that same base and try to get those who would be already interested in it. You don't take basketball, and try to make it more popular by adding tackling to attract the NFL crowd.
What you want is to retool this entire sport just so you can make it out to be what you, and a bunch of people who wouldn't be interested in this sport anyway, would respect. At the risk of sounding blunt, but those people don't matter much because they won't watch, no matter how much you try to change it. They've already made up their mind about it. The people you need to get are those who are open-minded about it.
It may confuse "many spectators" including you, but figure skating is still a popular sport. More so than those sports that seem more athletic and "objective" from both the Summer and Winter games. What many skating fans are mad about is that it's not as popular was it was post-Whack but that's because of many other factors, not because the sport focuses on the "artistic" aspect.
That's because despite the fact that figure skaters are required to pay attention to body line, detail, musical interpretation, MITF, and the audience/judges, they are athletes and many of them get into this sport because it is such an odd mixture. Jumps and spins are highly important in the scoring system. Just because they aren't the only aspect in a figure skating routine doesn't mean they don't play an important role.
BTW, many dancers do say dancing is both an art and a sport, but the reason why do it is because they want to perform a piece or choreography for artistic merits. Figure skaters actually have competitions and win medals, so that's why they're focused on the calling it a sport and being considered athletes. One could argue it's an institutional thing. Plus, being in the Olympics, helps support that perception.
I think it's very telling that it took a phenomenon like the Nancy Kerrigan incident to revitalize skating's fan base. Some activities just don't have big followings b/c they are geared towards niche audiences, like classical music, boxing, or soap operas. I also think skating is headed in the wrong direction with the current system. I used to be a big figure skating fan. I still watch every now and then, but these days I really could care less about the results and don't feel much interest in the competitors. I think it's a mix of the scoring system asking too much and the lack of big-name local talent in places other than Asia.
Why do you want to make this about me? This is not about me. YOU are making it about me so you can personally attack me. Which is interesting, (especially given how nasty you seem to be) ....However, back to the point. I would thank you to leave off of personal attacks and address the issues I brought up which (despite your personal opinion of me) have merit and are relevant.
As for "highly regarded" well, that is a matter of opinion. It depends on what you like...
Um... Sorry. Was never "dawn in" by Pluskenko's 2006 Godfather. Were you? But that quad and 3axel. Nice. And Elvis Stojyko. Not all that artistic... But near the top because of jumps. Bonaly. Not on the top but very close. All due to her tech ability. I could go on....
1. We need a female American superstar--on the level of Yu Na Kim. Skating may be hugely popular elsewhere, but the US market is the biggest. The USFSA needs to seek out talent, and provide financial support.
2. Speedy needs to go--and there should be a separate federation for figure skating.
3. The judging system needs to be easier to understand. Go back to 6.0 for the second mark.
4. Make the free skate free--no three second holds for spirals, pretzel spins or counting the revolutions. No extra points for Biellman spins.
5. Get a major network (not cable) to carry US Nationals and Worlds, at least. I liked the way it was done when ABC had the rights--more was shown on ESPN for the uber-fans with the main part of the competition in prime-time on ABC. Whenever possible, show the competition live in prime time (obviously not always possible with international events). Taped broadcasts will garner more interest from casual fans than live in the middle of the night or during the day.
6. Get better commentators. Peggy, Terry and Dick were the best. If Dick can no longer commentate, Peter Carruthers, Terry and Peggy would be better than Scott and Sandra.
Of these suggestions, I think No. 1 is the most important.
If this is true then why are you worried about it loosing popularity. Maybe they are watching to laugh. Or just from a sense of patriatsm to see if the USA will win. There could be a lot of reasons....
Have fun. Don't have time to cite each individual board.
Well, Elvis agrees with me. But then, he doesn't count.
Yeah, but who are the super stars of the sport? The ones who can jump, and capture the audience with their performance quality. Plushenko, though I don't personally get him, has a lot of fans because of his charisma and his jump quality.
Kwan was the biggest American figure skater during her competitive days and it was a mix of her consistent jumping ability and her ability to set the arena on fire with her musical interpretation.
Katarina Witt, for all of her theatrics, is still a big name for people who remember skating in the 80s. Kristi Yamaguchi was way more popular as a pro when she developed her artistic side.
Kurt Browning, a household name because of his danceability. Scott Hamilton? Popular because he was able to entertain the audience?
Why did Sale/Pelletier capture the audience in SLC? Not just because they were "clean" but they were able to interpret that dreck Love Story and make people think of Ryan O'Neal and Ali MacGraw. Likewise, Berezhnaya and Sikharulidze are popular with the skating fans because they were able to combine very difficult choreography with classical Russian style.
Gordeeva/Grinkov? They were the Pairs team that captured casual audiences because of their connection with one another.
You think any of those people would be as big if all they did around the rink was jump and spin? You'd be off your rocker to think that.
Oh, look, I can google too!
Guess what, figure skating has it's defenders too.
As for Elvis, one can argue because he himself, like somebody who is taking this stance, focused on the aspects of the sport he felt most comfortable with, he would advocate that the sport go in a direction that would have benefited him when he was competing.
For every Elvis, you can find many other skaters who feel otherwise.
As for your reasons why people watch figure skating during the Olympics, that's all supposition. The fact is people watch it more than any other sport that is showcased in the U.S. You can't throw it all away based on guesses you can come up with without any real evidence to support it.
Skating is as popular as many niche sports can be. What people (skating fans) want is to have figure skating enjoy the popularity it had after the Whack. The problem is that many things happened in society to change it. Cable/satellite television has many more channels to compete for interest. The internet happened and people find other things to occupy themselves with, there was an over-saturation of fluffy events/competition that were done to, guess what, expand our audience and all it did was isolate the core audience and failed to attract viewers who wouldn't be interested any way.
How early (what age/level) should financial support be provided? Who would decide if a young skater is "talented enough" to deserve the money and how many youngsters should be identified for such support?
OK. Everyone. Calm down. I am just saying that I do believe that the reasons "casual spectators" do not want to watch figure skating and/or mock it are for the reasons I cited and that, personally (even though I skate), I feel the same way. If you think there is no problem and that the sport is doing fine then.....great. But why start this thread in the first place?.....And, btw, I don't appreciate the personal attacks.
You have some unpopular opinions about skating. People are going to disagree with you. You need to separate "personal attacks" from the vast majority of people on here disagreeing with you. No one's attacking you. If you can't take the heat here, stay out of the kitchen. It just seems like there are so many parts of skating you don't like......pretty much everything except jumping. YOu hate artistry, you hate the costumes, you HATE MITF. We've read your previous threads about your own skating....so yeah, your intentions are pretty transparent. You can say they're not, but you're not fooling anyone.
Okay, but your initial post makes it seem that you're arguing that it's mainly or even exclusively the "artistic" considerations that account for skaters being able to fall but still finish ahead of those who don't.
And your intentions (both you personally, Stormy and plural, collective) are also quite transparent. You know very well the difference between an opinion and a personal attack, so don't even try that one. And, yes, I can stand the heat.... So don't worry about it.
Well, it would have to be, right? I mean unless they completed higher technical elements.....
Everyone is being calm. You're the one who had the dramatically bold emphatics in your first post. And no one is attacking you, they're responding to your posts, here and elsewhere on the board. Considering they all say basically the same thing, that's pretty fair.
In my case, I was using your personal experiences and defiance of the basics of figure skating as a reason why you personally want to change the sport so much or feel that the sport is ultimately flawed because it isn't what you want it to be.
I wasn't attacking your character, but feel that you cannot separate your personal experiences from your personal opinions on figure skating. We call have a reason why we take the stance we do. I find that to be a valid point.
Firely123, do you not consider gymnastics a "sport", and gymnasts as "athletes"?
I am sorry to disagree with you, but yes they are. This discussion is about skating in general. It is not about my skating or my strengths/weaknesses. And many of the attacks are personal in nature and they are nasty. And you know it....
I am telling you what I have observed and what I believe. You are entitled to disagree (without personally attacking me.) That is fair. I do think that the artistic component turns off a lot of the general public from figure skating. That is my own opinion. Yes, it is based in my own preferences, but it is also a valid opinion. If you have a different opinion, then fine. I'm sure it may be based on your own preferences and observations. That is life.
The days of sparkly vampires are numbered.
Honestly, I don't understand why skating can't be more popular in the US. They have an olympic gold medalist again, who appears to be, by any means, not what the casual haterz of this sport think when they hear "men's figure skating". Tall and handsome dude, popular with many women (and I'm sure men too ) and still no visible sign of a rising interest.
Yes I do. And I think it would be great for figure skating to copy the model. There is only one artistic event (the floor exercise) which is incorporated into the score. The beam, valut and parallel bars do not use music and are judged on a tech component.
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