Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by Sylvia, Jun 27, 2012.
Well maybe the ISU didn't but the judges probably will now.
As I see it, (and I am really sorry that you will not like it), this is a competition. This should be for the best in the world. I do understand how much it means for you to represent your country at Worlds, and I do appreciate how much effort you have put in it. Saying that, I would still rather watch only 6 US skaters, 6 Japanese skaters and 6 Russian skaters (that's just an example) if they were the best in the world, rather than watching 1-3 from each country when some of the skaters sometimes clearly don't have the ability (yet) to land the jumps/do the difficult spins/don't have the presentation etc. I know that some people believe that sport should be 'inclusive' and prefer watching 1-3 skaters from each country rather than the best in the world, but other people (myself included) would prefer seeing the boundaries of the sport pushed to maximum. And the way to do it is in my view allow the best of the best compete against each other without looking at their country of origin. I think it is wrong if some athletes consider the nationals in their country more difficult than World championship. That should not happen.
Also, you wrote about the effort you made, tears, blood and sweat; I am really sorry that the skating conditions in the UK are not better and that there is not much support from NISA, but other skaters from the poorer countries made it too. You mentioned Verner - I am pretty sure that he was not funded by his skating federation either until he started having results. The conditions in the Czech Republic are actually much worse than in the UK (and I know that for sure. Most rinks close over the summer, and ice hockey always gets priority on the ice at most rinks). It is definitely harder than if you lived in the USA, Canada, or Russia, but this is sport. Unfortunately, sport doesn't reward the effort. It rewards the performance, the results. It is not about how hard you tried, but whether you delivered. I know it is harsh.
We are writing about world championship. If the sport would like to survive, it has to open the doors not slamming it shut. It's the ratings that matters. I am not sure what ISU had in mind, but if this is only resolution to the qualification rounds elimination, than its purely though trough.
That may be the way to go, but the current cost-slashing solution is to have neither all of the best in the world regardless of country nor much inclusion.
I think we need to look at those minimums with an eye on the wording about moving the standard up or down as needed to yield the desired number of entrants. Looking at Worlds, for example, there are 30 slots for the ladies singles. If fewer than 30 have met the standard, I read the ISU communication as saying they will lower it to allow the next highest scores in. Conversely, if too many skaters meet the qualifying minimums, the ISU raises the number, so the qualifiers drop out starting with the lowest qualifying score. Think what a mess that would be. A skater goes along all season thinking they have a qualifying score only to learn a couple weeks before the event that the standard has been raised. My guess is they set the standards so high in the first place to make sure this last scenario does not happen.
I know, I don't agree with those ridiculously high qualifying scores either. My post was reaction on ice_sk8r's post. It seemed to me that ice_sk8r's post suggested that some skaters should be sent to Worlds because they put a lot of effort into the sport and because the skating conditions in their countries are not as good. This is sport and things like effort and conditions in your country are not counted. Life is not fair. Where would we draw the line? For example, if a skater is injured and misses 3 months of training, should they reward the skater at the following competition extra 5-10 points to make up for the lost training to make it more fair?
Just to clarify, I'm totally for a minimum technical score, I just don't think it should be so astronomical that only a select few countries can achieve it. In order to compete at Worlds I think the score should be attainable with a short program based on requirements, 2 triples, a 2A and level 2/3 spins. A long program should have about 4-5 triples to be acceptable for World level not 8. Of course some of you may disagree with this but that's my opinion.
I don't like the fact that components aren't being factored into it either, it's showing people that skating is all about the elements. There are some skaters I'd much rather watch just skating around and performing without any jumps but I guess now a lot of skaters will be packing their programs with technical difficulty to get the scores. I'm praying the scores for worlds get lowered sooner, rather than later!
Your criteria would be higher than mine
I think if there was an ISU-controlled equivalent of a technical panel for PCS, they would be.
The conditions in the Czech Republic are better than in the UK. There's a huge number of ice rinks (as a result of ice hockey being so popular) and not all of them close for the summer. Also training figure skating is very expensive in the UK and it's much much cheaper in the Czech Republic. Czech athletes receive very limited funding but believe it or not more than the British ones.
And if we applied everything you said, we should just close figure skating down in the vast majority of the countries. ISU governs an Olympic, amateur sport and not professional sport, though. It shouldn't be all about the money.
Yes, that's what it should be like IMO.
I would be fine if the SP minimum score was 2axel, 3toe/2toe, 3salchow and spins and steps at least Lv1 (given there's levels 0-4 now) all performed to GOE 0.
And FS score was two 3toes, two 3salchows, two 2axels and all non jump elements at least Lv1 all performed to GOE 0.
Maybe raise it a little for the men.
Having said that, I'd be even happier if they just made the federations pay their teams' expenses and went back to the previous minimum scores to ensure maximum participation.
I agree with this. But I do understand it's nearly impossible to take them into consideration as playing with the PCS mark is much easier than TES. However, by having such a high TES standard, it is sort of sending a message that you need to have a very high level of technical difficulty. This can easily end up in programs with no choreography and interpretation as well as weakened basic skating because everyone is just focusing on getting the TES score.
So even though it would be hard to set a minimum PCS standard for skaters, the ridiculously high TES minimum (for Worlds) already emphasizes that it's the technical difficulty that counts. A lower TES minimum would allow more room for focusing on PCS.
That would be a fair request and I think the most should agree with this. To put it so hight is just unfair as the competitions standard at B-level isn't comparable to GP level.
Besides, have you noticed, or has ISU, that Kiira Korpi didn't met the worlds FS minimum in TES winning silver medal at Euros last year?
I understand it is difficult to have some PCS requirement, so a minimum TES is the way to do it. But common ...
I know the Euros - 4CC minimum is lower and I'm OK with it. You could put it a few points higher for worlds if necessary, say 2 or 3 points higher for example, but not more.
I love to see a lot of skaters and enjoy the days at competition when I manage to go, and when not I'm lowing to see so many skaters as possible on TV. Some skaters are really beautiful to see, besides they have only fewer jumps. It's figure skating not jumping competition
I don't think you are right. Trust me, I used to live there for 25 years, and I can compare with the UK because I am living here now. The majority of rinks in the Czech Republic is closed in the summer. Not all of them, but most of them do. In the UK most of them remains open all year round.
It is extremely difficult to get ice in the Czech Republic, because hockey is considered to have higher priority. As a result, there is not enough training ice, getting 1:1 is not as frequent, you mostly learn in group. In the UK, you mostly have 1:1, in group you only learn the completely basic course Learn to skate.
And the price, yes, in the Czech republic it is cheaper, but at the same time, they earn much less. So If you are comparing it for someone who earns in the UK and skate in the Czech Republic, it would appear extremely cheap, but if you look at it from the perspective of an average Czech salary, it is not as cheap as you think.
There is a reason why every Czech skater who gets more successful (Verner, Brezina) trained in Obertsdorf.
And I never said that British athlete gets some amount of funding. What I said was, the Czech athletes are not getting it (until he/she gets to the complete top) and if some Czech skaters could make it (Verner, Brezina), athletes from the poorer countries obviously have a chance. Yes, they have it harder, but in any competition in any sport the athletes will never start on the same level. One will always be richer, other one perhaps more talented, other will be from country who is more supportive...
Yes, I would agree with that. But then again some will argue that it is so expensive that it keeps the people from poorer countries out...so it is not very inclusive solution either.
Seriously? Are you talking about a senior man doing only 2 triples and 2A in the SP and 4-5 triples in the FS? Or did you mean ladies? I don't think I would bother to buy a ticket to go watching that! Even junior ladies are now doing seven triples FS now, and they have shorter program.
The question is, does the sport exist for the participants or for the spectators?
I hope we could all agree that the majority of figure skating is for the athletes.
At a certain point -- and IMO that point should be where the skaters are earning more money from skating than they are spending on training -- the spectators' needs may become more important than the skaters'.
The ISU is in the business of governing an international sport with participants from novice level up to the very best in the world.
They can earn more money from outside if, as part of their mission, they produce an entertainment product that appeals to general audiences who are only interested in seeing the best in the world. Such events will be easier to sell tickets to and to sell broadcast rights for.
(Broadcast rights for countries who have some good but not great participants is another wrinkle)
There are different levels of international competition that the ISU sanctions or holds its own events in. Obviously not every skater who is good enough to merit competing internationally is good enough to merit competing at Worlds.
So where do they draw the line for each kind of competition. How do they draw the lines?
One set of lines is drawn based on age, similar to racing sports (which the ISU also governs on ice).
Another set of lines is drawn based on nationality, with skaters representing national federations that are entitled to send a maximum number of skaters to various events. This has long meant that just being old enough and good enough to compete with the best doesn't guarantee participation, when federations have to choose among too many good-enough skaters.
A third set of lines is drawn based on skill level, as reflected by different requirements for the programs at novice, junior, senior level. Minimum technical scores is another new way of measuring the minimum skill level needed to be eligible for some high-profile international events -- the ones where paying audiences and networks expect to have a say.
Should that line be drawn so high that even some skaters who could be considered among the best in the world don't make the cut? Should it be drawn low enough that anyone who is a credible senior-level skater is qualified by skill level for senior events and then they have to fight it out among others at about the same level for spots in the final round at Worlds? That tension seems to be going back and forth as a result of the expense of providing for large numbers of entrants and their attendant national teams.
Obviously it's hard to balance all the competing needs and expenses/income streams.
I hope they can find a way to work it out so that the maximum number of amateur athletes who have demonstrated worthiness of competing at junior or senior level get to participate in the most prestigious events at those respective levels.
Well it will be interesting to see if Australia is represented at worlds and Junior Worlds in the future. I fear for the sport in this country.
For our skaters to attend any ISU event in an effort to gain the score we have to travel across the world at huge expense even if our skaters can meet the required score at an ISU event, for most it's a decision on should you train O/S or should you attend a comp.
If this is going to be enforced then give us some comps that we can attend with out the requirement of taking out a second mortgage.
This is a case of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.
I assume you are talking ladies here. I didn't run the numbers for the free skate, but the standard you propose for the SP is actually higher than the value needed for Europeans and 4CC under the new rule (20 pts). Using the two easiest triples and base values (no + or - GOE), your suggestion would become a SP TES of 21.9 (all level 2) to 24 (all Level 3).
The problem, from the ISU's POV, is that standard would leave too many qualifiers for Worlds. How would you propose to get the field down to 30 without going back to using qualifying rounds?
There is no question that the challenge of posting qualifying scores is much bigger for countries not in Europe. (Until recently, all the ISU sanctioned Senior B events were there.) IMO, the ISU needs to address this disparity in opportunity, maybe by helping smaller federations with travel or by underwriting the cost of hosting more Senior B events outside of Europe.
It seems to be getting better for UK skaters.
I'm sure that these aren't the only possibilities, but two are:
After Euros/4C's or a Senior B that is finished by the end of February, they could make the TES cut-off the Top 30 combined TES for SP/SD and FS/FD, not counting scores where there are more participants from a country than that country has spots. For example, if Japan has three spots and seven skaters in the Top 30, they'd go down at least another four. If a country doesn't have enough qualifying skaters for the number of spots, the spot could go back into the pool, and they could go down the list for the next highest combined score. Or they could create a minimum in advance, and if there aren't enough, fill from the next highest on the list where there are spots available until they get the number of spots. Practically speaking, this is the same as lowering the minimum later in the season.
Alternately, they could also assign a mid-winter Senior B as a qualifier for the skaters who didn't meet the higher minimum, like they do Nebelhorn for Olympics, and take as many that they need to get to 30. It would guarantee a solid field with enough competitors from enough nations to the Senior B.
I think, if the athletes would do their sport only for the pleasure of doing sport, the sport would exist for the participants. But because the athletes do the sport as their full time job, the sport becomes for the spectators. As you rightly said, athletes needs to earn more than they pay for the training. The ISU is not paying them. Someone needs to pay them. In skating often the family funds their child's training. However, to have major competitions the money come from the spectators. If people wouldn't watch skating, there would probably be no world championships. If there were not spectators, there would not be need for paying for right to broadcast the event so that would mean even less income generated by the sport. So there must be some balance in making the sport attractive to spectators. So I think at the elite level I would say that the sport exist for the spectators, not for the participants.
And what do the spectators want to see? Of course I want to see the top level skaters, but I also love going to preliminary rounds to see up and coming skaters or just awesome voidy ones who maybe don't have the tech content of other skaters, but are still entertaining to watch. The dance QR at Euros & men QR at worlds had some of my favourite performances that I saw all season. And finally, as a spectator, I do also like to see at an event like Worlds someone representing my country. I don't expect them to always produce stellar performances, I'm not going to moan that for the nth year running we only have 1 for Worlds, but it's always enjoyable for me, even if it's just in the qualifying round, to be able to cheer on someone representing GB & to feel that we as a country are part of this sport. And what's more, having those skaters there doesn't detract in any way from the performances the top skaters produce, and doesn't make the event any less of a spectacle.
What morqet said.
Some of the most interesting and entertaining performances come from skaters with a low technical content.
Radeva's crows and Vassileva's "Devdas" is where it's at.
As I read it, what you describe is precisely what the new ISU procedure calls for. If too few skaters meet the qualifying standard, the plan is to move the number down to achieve the desired field size. I really think people are way too hung up over the minimums, because I suspect we will in fact see skaters at Worlds from the 1-skater countries who do not reach the standard.
I see a real appeal to this approach. If they were willing to hold a qualifying event to fill out the field, they really wouldn't need the whole concept of qualifying standards at all. They key question is whether such as event would pay for itself. The ISU don't like doing anything that costs them money.
Maybe so, but they are not the ones who sell tickets or attract TV viewers. I think that and maintaining enough credibility to not get kicked out of the Olympics are mostly what the ISU cares about. Qualifying standards sound sporty and make skating seem to be run more like the "real sports" and less like the traditional gentleman's club it used to be.
By ISU here, I guess we need to realize that these are decisions made collectively by the member federations. I have never understood why so many times, proposals are passed by the ISU Congress (very often by voice votes) even though they work to the detriment of the majority of federations. Any know how this works? Do all federations get the same number of votes?
Have you noticed how many empty seats there were at the qualifying rounds? I am not saying that they are not worth watching; sometimes I go and watch local skating competition (=much much lower standard) and some of the performances are worth of watching too. But someone has to separate what is world championship standard and what isn't. The reality is, if at worlds there were competing only skaters of the level of qualifying rounds, people are not going to pay £700 (the sum we paid for an all event ticket in Nice). Seeing a skater from your country is nice, but the best of the best are the ones that sell the tickets.
At Euros in Sheffield, everyone I spoke to who was a casual viewer, i.e people who had only come because the event was in their area, not the hardcore who'd go pretty much anywhere in Europe, all wanted to know who the GB skaters were, what chances they had, and got most excited about seeing them skate. Plushenko wasn't a draw for them, that wasn't the hook that got them to buy tickets. Maybe the "big names" are the draw for people who already follow the sport, but the ISU needs to be able to attract in new spectators, and when it comes to events like Euros, Worlds and the Olympics, the best way to do this is to have a broad range of countries competing, so people have something to easily draw them into the sport.
I fully agree. I love to see skaters from all the possible countries, and especially some less known skater that surprise me. My first competition was not far from home at Nationals to cheer for the known athletes and got me to more competitions as I noticed such a difference from watching TV. To increase the popularity of the sport the own national champion is really important.
I hope we will have worlds with at least 30 skaters and not with less I could watch much more if possible
The difference may be in price of the tickets. The tickets for the Europeans are usually cheaper than the tickets for the Worlds. The Europeans in Sheffield, all event ticket cost about £170, which means that any new spectators (people who had only come because the event was in their area) may want to come and watch it. But the ticket at Worlds is usually more expensive and it is not as frequent that people who are not interested in skating (= people who just live nearby) would want to pay £700 to come and watch skating. I have been to about 3 Worlds and 3 Europeans. The ticket for Worlds is always more expensive and the audience is mostly from real figure skating fans, not from new spectators.
I totally disagree. The jump content you laid out isn't world-class technical content. I've seen girls land that level of technical content at my local club competition. I don't see any reason why a male skater with no 3A and only 4-5 triples in the long program should be allowed to compete at the World Championships. A skater with that technical content isn't competitive at that level.
I know I'm in the minority, but I like the higher minimum technical scores for Worlds and 4CCs/Euros this season. I think they will lead to better, more competitive competitions. At the world championship level, I want to see the best skaters in the world compete. I'd rather see the ISU ease the restrictions on the number of competitors per country than the minimum technical scores.
I agree with Selene. Even top junior girls have better technical content than ice_sk8r suggested. Surely senior men should do better than that? And if they don't, do they deserve to attend world championships?
Again, we are talking about an amateur, Olympic sport and not professional sport here.
The point is not only watching the best of the best but also promoting and developing figure skating world-wide. Which will not happen if skaters from many countries can't even compete at major events.
Read this thread and you will find more than one.
I am sure you are aware, the term 'amateur' is slightly misleading in figure skating. Amateur means that the skaters are not paid (although they can win price money). However, Amateur sport in figure skating is actually higher level than the professional. Amateur means that you are on your way to the top of your career; you compete and do the most difficult routines you can manage in order to gain as many points as possible. Professional figure skating is that you do shows; usually you have already peaked with your career and now you are taking it easy (relatively easy). You don't compete any more on a serious level (I know, there are a few competitions for professional figure skaters, but the difficulty level is lower than amateur competition) and in the shows any triple jumps is good enough (for ladies sometimes just double axel is good enough). Most professional male skaters don't need to have quads and full set of triples, don't need any technically difficult program.
So if we are talking about amateur competition, I would expect certain level of skills. As you said, Ziggy, it is Olympic sport after all!
The level that the ISU is requiring to qualify for its own championships is far higher than than was required to qualify for the last Winter Olympic Games and quite possibly higher than will be required in order to compete at the next one. I can't think of another Olympic sport that does this. At last year's Artistic Gymnastics Championships, for example, there were 328 women and 376 men. Yet the ISU seems to think that having even a quarter as many competitors (30 men, 30 women, 20 pairs, and 24 ice dance couples) is too much!
For what it's worth, the lowest-scoring man to make it out of Preliminaries at this year's Worlds didn't do any triple axels or triple loops, and his TES was 57.99. He also skated "clean," with no negative GOE. What was so bad about letting him compete in the Short Program?
But they don't do it as a full-time job to earn money and please the paying customers. For most of them, they pay for their own training, and their own participation in qualifying events leading up to the big events, for the privilege of competing in those big events.
The most successful skaters earn enough prize money to cover their expenses. Hardly any do.
For about the last 20 years skaters are allowed to earn money for endorsements, coaching, appearing in shows, etc. -- so it's possible to make a living and fund one's training by cashing in on their success in the sport while still participating in the sport. In that sense, they could be considered professional skaters.
But most of that money does not come from the sport itself. The ISU is not paying most of the athletes. The ticket sales and broadcast rights sales are not paying salaries to all the competitors who entertain the ticket buyers and broadcast viewers.
Lots of sports that aren't spectator-friendly have world championships. Competitors want to compete. They best competitors want to compete to become the best in the world and prove themselves against the other best skaters. The not-there-yet skaters want to participate to work their way up to becoming among the best, or just for the honor of participating at the highest level they qualify for.
I'm not an expert on how any other sports structure their world championships. I think there is a lot of variation, with some having more of a professional orientation than skating and some more amateur, some attracting more spectators and some less.
Since the ISU also governs speedskating, that may be the best comparison. What kinds of ticket sales and broadcast contracts do speedskating championships attract? What kind of money can speedskaters make from entering and placing well at competitions?
If it's less than figure skating in its non-peak years, does that mean that there's no reason for speedskating to hold world championships?
World championships in figure skating existed before there was music, when freeskating counted for only a small part of the results compared to circle tracing and then for half and more of the results. Some eras and some formats have been more fan friendly than others. The skaters paid their own way. If all the fans suddenly stayed home and all the broadcast contracts suddenly dried up completely in the modern era, it might go back to being even more of a rich person's sport (but probably not with the earlier insistance on strict amateurism).
There might be a way to encourage both participation with appeal to local audiences who want to see hometown representatives and an elite product for general audiences who want to see the best. But that would probably involve qualifying rounds and federations paying their own way for skaters and officials until they qualify for a final round.
Well, amateurism just means that you don't get paid. Although there is prize money now, so some skaters do get paid some amounts for competing.
There are many levels of amateur competition. Everyone's trying to do the most difficulty they can to gain as many points as possible, but only for the most talented with the best training conditions (which costs money) is that best the highest level in the world.
Most amateur skaters are not good enough to compete at Worlds. Most are not senior level.
No, beginners entered in a local beginner competition are amateurs.
What you really mean here, I think, is if we're talking about world championship competition we would expect a certain level of skills. I agree. But what is that certain level? How do we define it? How high do we define it compared to the entire pool of amateur competitors who claim to be senior level?
How should we/the ISU define "senior level" or "world class (=worthy to compete at Worlds)"?
Minimum technical scores are one way to do so.
For me personally, I think that the cutoffs should be something that's reasonable to expect of anyone who claims to be an international-caliber senior-level competitor. The current cutoffs for Euros/4Cs look reasonable to me in that regard.
I also think there should be some way to give credit for better basic skating skills -- if not also the performance aspects. The way program components are awarded is more subjective and thus more variable across panels and more subject to manipulation than the element scores. So I understand why they weren't included in the qualifying criteria. But I'd like to see them at least include the Skating Skills score in calculating the minimums, requiring an average of at least 4.5 or 5.0 for that one component.
With those minimums, with or without any PCS included, we'd end up with a larger pool of Worlds-worthy skaters than there is room for at Worlds. I think that is appropriate.
That means there need to be other competitions to decide which of the worthy world-class senior-level skaters earn the privilege of competing at the world championships each year.
Limits on number of entries per country and the national championships in countries who have more worthy skaters than they have slots is part of that process.
Qualifying rounds at the Worlds venue has been another way of doing it. Using Euros/4Cs as qualifiers or adding a separate Worlds qualifier competition at least a week before in another location are other ways to do it.
What I don't like is (arbitrarily) defining a technical standard that many otherwise worthy skaters might not earn in any given year, especially skaters who earn higher placements on the strength of their basic skating skills, non-element technical content (transitions), and other components.
gkelly, I think you are missing the point. For the skating championship to take place, the organisers needs to ensure that they sell the tickets and TV rights. I understand what you are saying that "Lots of sports that aren't spectator-friendly have world championships", but I don't believe that it would happen in skating if people didn't want to watch it. It would be too expensive to have Worlds, at least in the form it is now (= organisers paying hotels and travel for the skaters). It would be far too expensive. It is expensive even with tickets being sold out, so imagine how expensive it would be without this income. No matter if you like it or not, having championships is dependent on audience.
Alternatively, they would have to completely change the format of the competition, for example the participants would pay all their expenses, but then you are going to achieve that skaters from poorer countries may not be able to afford to attend. So there won't be a barrier based on skater's skills, but barrier based on their purse. Not sure if that will be any better, because mostly the same skaters would be left out.
Skaters from Europe would be seriously disadvantaged. Have you ever noticed how generously they score at 4CC in comparison with Europeans? You can't compare results from two competition, especially not from those two competition.
Yes, that part is true.
If there were suddenly zero spectators and zero broadcast rights sales for any figure skating competition, then the skaters would have to pay to hold a championships.
If the ISU canceled all figure skating championships and refused to host one, then the ISU would no longer be serving the function that it has served since 1896. The figure skaters and federations who want to have a championship and can afford to host one would leave the organization that had ceased to organize and would start a new organization at their own expense.
There would be world championships. Skaters and federations without financial resources would not be able to afford to participate.
The new organization would probably try to sell tickets and broadcast rights. They might do better or worse than the ISU does now.
They might change the format in some ways to make it easier to attract those income sources.
But either way, whoever is in charge, world championships would be the last thing to go. Junior internationals including Jr. Worlds, and maybe Four Continents, would be canceled before Worlds would be discontinued.
Nonchampionships international events hosted by federations might continue depending on which hosts can still afford to do so without money coming in from outside the skating world. They would have to charge entry fees to the participants.
ISU wouldn't need to cancel all figure skating championships or refuse to host one. If there were suddenly zero spectators and zero broadcast rights sales, it may be too expensive for most countries to volunteer to have the championships. I think ISU would soon run out of countries willing to host it, and then it would slowly die out. What happens if no country comes forward? Can ISU order someone to host it?
And you are assuming that there would be a new organisation, "The new organization would probably try to sell tickets and broadcast rights. " You forgot that in our scenario, there are no people willing to watch skating, so even if there was a new organisation, this organization would not be able to sell the tickets and sell the TV rights, so we are at the same starting point - no country willing to host it because the richer countries would host one or two, but the poorer countries wouldn't be able to afford it and sooner or later you would run out of those countries who can host it.
And if they charge entry fee, it will be even less skaters who can attend the championships, because those skaters will be paying travelling fee, hotel expenses, entry fee, in top of their coaches fees and training expenses...
Never fear. The ISU will just stage Worlds on a frozen pond near Lausanne.
What it would look like
Separate names with a comma.