Monica Friedlander: "International Skating Union Now Officially a Dictatorship"

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by Maofan7, Jun 30, 2012.

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Should Cinquanta Stand Down And Make Way For A New President?

Poll closed Jul 31, 2012.
  1. Yes

    151 vote(s)
    82.1%
  2. No

    13 vote(s)
    7.1%
  3. Don't Know/No Opinion On The Matter/Unsure

    20 vote(s)
    10.9%
  1. julieann

    julieann Well-Known Member

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    I agree. I think they need to get rid of the kiss & cry and allow the competition to flow better and only show the complete scores if they are available, not just the total, but what would be shown on the protocol. In gymnastics they don't wait until the score is ready they move on. Now fans see that skaters got a 195 verses a 201 but at least they can see a difference. I like the idea of having more interactive on the internet too.
  2. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    What kind of bothers me with many of the anti-IJS articles coming out is they only seem to focus on the elite level of the sport, and even then it is not an insider's view, it is only from whatever barrow they want to push.

    I would really like some of these journalists to head to a regular figure session or club competition and chat to some of the younger kids who are skating under this system and get their thoughts about it.
  3. Cherub721

    Cherub721 YEAH!

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    I like that idea. I also find it helpful when they flash the skater's season's best score at the beginning and also tell us what number they need to beat to get into first - that way, the audience can at least figure out if that number is feasible for that skater.

    Posting the full protocol information on the screen would be a turn off for many viewers, IMO. What the broadcasters might do, in controversial cases or for all the medalists in each competition, would be to break out the scores in smaller categories - X points for spins, X for jumps, X for footwork and spirals, and then the breakdown for each PCS. That would sufficiently demonstrate what qualities helped the skater win.

    Another thing that could be improved in the US would be explaining when a skater placed high overall but actually lost placements in the free. The British Eurosport commentators always do a good job of saying "A is into first overall, but B is first on the night." I think the audience could accept and understand that the score is cumulative. What annoys the audience is when someone clearly has a poor skate and then goes right into first place without explanation that they are like 4th in the free.
  4. Coco

    Coco Well-Known Member

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    Yes, it kills me that they show each individual PCS mark, even though they've never been adequately defined for a US audience AND they are barely >.5 from each other.

    Yet they never show "jumps," "spins," or "steps" as lump sums. That would make all the difference in the world, imo.
  5. julieann

    julieann Well-Known Member

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    So you think the audience would hate seeing the protocols on the screen where they can clearly see a skater got a level 1 vs a level 4 that is worth more or someone did a double instead of a triple? I think they care about understanding what skaters got what scores than some people worrying about the anonymity of the judges.
  6. Cherub721

    Cherub721 YEAH!

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    Yes, I think some audience members would be turned off by that much information. If skater A's first spin was level 3 with positive GOE, second spin level 4 with negative GOE, and third spin level 3 with negative GOE, while skater B's first spin was level 4 with 0 GOE, second spin level 3 with positive GOE, and third spin was level 2 with positive GOE, then who spun better? It's too much information for a lot of people to absorb in the limited time that the broadcast has. A lot of people already complain that the new system is too technical and too complicated, and that would be an irritant for them.

    The goal, IMO, is to get people enough information to allow them to understand the result, while allowing for the fact that people watch figure skating for entertainment and not to analyze details. For those who do love to analyze, the information is available online. I also think NBC's Olympic game for Vancouver (allowing viewers to live judge online) was a great teaching tool for interested parties.
  7. bmcg

    bmcg Well-Known Member

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    I spent the last few days watching US Olympic trials. I watch gymnastics every four years so I don't understand the scoring system and I don't know enough (or anything really) about the sport to recognize on my own what elements they are performing or what their base values are. Yet I enjoyed watching the gymnastics competition this week and while the numbers that came up meant nothing to me I just trusted the commentators when they pointed out mistakes/deductions (which was enough to tell me it wasn't their best) and when they pointed out the more difficult routine. *IF* I want to understand it beyond a casual fan level then I will research a bit more into it. But I don't, I'm satisfied with what I saw and the explanations that were given and just enjoyed and marvelled at the talent and skill of the gymnasts I watched.

    I don't think casual fans of figure skating are turned off by IJS. I think it's people who are a bit more into the sport and watch it in non-Olympic years. Casual fans don't need an instant printout of detailed scoring. They just need a decent educated commentator to say "while the crowd seems to have enjoyed that performance more I should point out that the other program had a much higher degree of difficulty, more complicated choreography and their command of the blade is second to none". It's a sport and there are rules in sports.
  8. julieann

    julieann Well-Known Member

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    You must not watch much professional sports.

    Some may watch skating for "entertainment" value but we can't forget it's still a sport. We can't just rely on the drivel that the so-called commentators give during the skate and during the repay. Half the time they are aren't even talking about what they are watching. It doesn't have to be as complex as you described, remember you're not comparing skater A to skater B, just informing them why skater A may have received the score they got.
  9. iggie

    iggie New Member

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    the isu pdfs for scores are complicated to read. i had to turn here to ask for helping figuring out what it means. once you know what to look for and what everything means, it's fine but it's not something that makes immediate sense to someone new. the scoring at the 2010 olympics, however, was brilliant. it was clear, easy to understand and useful.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2012
  10. spikydurian

    spikydurian New Member

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    That's me too. :D
  11. berthesghost

    berthesghost Well-Known Member

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    Is that how it works? An editor calls a writer into the office any says : "Lois, I need you to do another anti-IJS article. Take Jimmy and get some pictures, and don't come back until you get some anti-cop quotes from famous skaters!" :lol:
  12. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    In gymnastics there are three-five other events happening at the same time, and each individual routine is a lot shorter than anything if figure skating. The judges still judge in the moment, just as figure skating judges do. Kiss and cry takes as long as it takes for the judges to come up with their scores. It's not like the extra 10 seconds of hugging before the next skater is called to the ice will make that much of a difference. Even if it's not live, 10 seconds of kiss and cry is not going make or break the viewership.



    I think this is really critical in the FS/FD. It's not like figure skating is the only sport to have cumulative scoring. "X is coming in with a 10-point deficit/lead" is an important message, and "Highest score in the FD, but not enough to make up for SD score" isn't that much more difficult than saying, "X is in 4th place, which means that if A beats B, and B beats C, then X can win a medal if X beats them all, but if X only beats B..." or "X has the highest marks so far, but A beat B and B beat C, so X goes from first to third."
  13. Mathman

    Mathman New Member

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    As much as I feel nostalgic about the good old days, that is the killer argument in favor of the CoP that ends debate. 99.99999 per cent of skaters are not Patrick Chan or Daisuke Takahashi. The great majority, in fact, are children. What did parents tell their disappoint kids after a beginner's competition under ordinals? Sorry, Suzy, the judges thought you weren't as good as Juanita. Now they can say, yay, you got positive GOE on your layback spin -- see. all that hard work paid off. Next year we can go to work on your double loop and shoot for a thirty-point program.

    Again, what would solve all problems would be a return of professional competitions, where the entertainment values could come to the fore. In the 1960s and 70s amateurs tried to win championships so they could sign on with the big ice shows. Janet Lynn became the highest-paid woman athlete in the world when she signed with Ice Follies in 1973. Dick Button created the World Professional Championship just to cash in on her popularity.
  14. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    Considering that in almost every country, skating is entirely subsidized by skaters and their families at least to the junior elite levels and usually throughout the skaters' careers, and without parents willing to spend thousands at the lowest levels, there would be skating in China only. All the marketing and pro tours in the world wouldn't be worth a fig, because there wouldn't be any skaters, unless the delusional parents are happy.
  15. overedge

    overedge Well-Known Member

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    I agree with you that it is a lot easier now for kids to understand why they got the marks they did. However IME kids also get very frustrated with the levels that are called especially now when they can look at very good video and see when the calling is inconsistent. They also get frustrated e.g. when they see other kids doing Biellman-type spirals, and usually not well either, and getting more points, when they can only do lower-rated spirals but do them very nicely.

    I think CoP has just replaced one set of frustrations with another.
  16. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    Show me some articles written by journalists in favour of IJS.
  17. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    Because three emails to Nancy Kerrigan, Johnny Weir, and Brian Boitano are so hard to write. At least with Janet Lynn, you have to track her down.
  18. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Well-Known Member

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    Here are a couple of earlier articles by Monica Friedlander on the subject, the first of which is:

    Artistic Heart of Skating Torn Out, Skaters Say. This one reads:-

    The second article is:

    Rewarding Failure Diminshes Figure Skating As A Sport. This one reads:-

    Last edited: Jul 3, 2012
  19. Mathman

    Mathman New Member

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    All journalistic articles are against whatever they are writing about. No one would read an editorial on any subject that says, "everything is peachy -- aren't we the lucky ones." ;)
  20. spikydurian

    spikydurian New Member

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    According to a Morgan poll on 'image of professions in 2010' in Australia, journalists are one of the lesser respected professions at 11% with politicians at 16%. Nurses, school teachers, doctors, engineers etc. belong to the 'highly respected professions' at 75%-85%.
    Maybe we shouldn't take Friedlander's article seriously? Or perhaps the perception in North America is different? :p
  21. berthesghost

    berthesghost Well-Known Member

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    I don't think these types of articles are written about judging systems. They're not "anti-IJS" articles so much as they are "what happened to skating? It was über popular and now it's in the crapper" articles and cop just keeps coming up as a reason why fans left in droves. Had skating become more popular, believe me, there'd be plenty of pro-IJS articles.
  22. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

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    :rofl:

    As if!

    I don't think either Kerrigan or Wylie would say that the "slightest misstep" was what cost them the Olympic gold. Kerrigan would probably attribute her loss to the nefarious 6.0 judging system, which allowed Baiul to win with a Free Skate with what would be much lower base value under CoP. And Wylie would probably say that Petrenko had his missteps to but had the better skate on the night.

    Oh, and a 6.0 wasn't the standard for "perfection" after the end of Total Points. Rather, it was the highest possible mark, often given out simply because it was better than something that had already received a 5.9.

    :COP:

    That said, I did vote yes in the poll.

    Stand down, Speedy!

    :mitchell:
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2012
  23. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    You make a really good point. It is much easier to latch onto something that goes with the current controversy than to actually do some indepth anaylsis.
  24. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

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    Anything written by PJ Kwong is pro-IJS in the sense that is pro-FS. She's involved in the sport and loves it, and she is the kind of commentator that breathes life into FS, rather than death - like Friedlander or Bianchetti. Those two may believe that FS is dying, but they appear very eager to put the last nail in the coffin.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2012
  25. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    Totally agree. Yeah for PJ.
  26. allezfred

    allezfred Prick Admin Staff Member

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    Urmanov? :confused:
  27. spikydurian

    spikydurian New Member

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    Count me in! I enjoy her as a fs commentator as I (a casual viewer) find that I learn so much from her. She points out the little things a skater does which contribute to losing or gaining points and examples of excellence. Kurt Browning is another commentator I enjoy listening to.
  28. Mathman

    Mathman New Member

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    Good point indeed. A decade ago figure skating was popular. Now it isn't. What changed?

    I think it is possible to like and support figure skating but also to have reservations about the ISU's current scoring system.
  29. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

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    Fixed.

    Kinda like scoring under 6.0, no? :p
  30. attyfan

    attyfan Well-Known Member

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    I think it is a little sad that the dispute over the judging system overshadows some genuine concerns about the ISU. IMO, it doesn't say a lot for the ISU's interest in figure skating if the chief alternative to extending $peedy's reign was electing the French guy connected to the SLC scandal. However, this problem is something separate and distinct from the merits (or lack thereof) of the IJS vs. 6.0 debate.
  31. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

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    And not just PJ. I would say it's generally true that since the introduction of IJS Canadian commentaters (Tracy Wilson, Kurt, etc) have gone out of their way to support and explain the system, while US commentators generally hated it, didn't understand it, didn't do their homework, and generally trashed it. Way to attract people to the sport! Ever since the introduction of IJS I watched everything on Cdn TV and almost everything on US TV. It is only in more recent times that US TV has started using commentators who understood the system and could explain effectively. The first few years the anti-IJS commentary on US TV was dire (think Scott Hamilton and Dick Button). Talk about turning off casual viewers, and even more committed viewers. Sorry if this sounds like an anti US rant. It is not intended as that at all. It's just that I was very much aware during the first several years of IJS, as I flipped back and forth between Cdn and US coverage, of how anti IJS the US commentators were. And it would make me so angry since I think it was part of their job to nurture viewers, not just to the sport, but to the network that was paying their salaries. And that it was part of their job to learn and explain the new system.

    Another thing is I think, due to the past cheating, there is still a pretty cemented view in the general public that the results are fixed and nobody wants to watch a sport where the results are fixed. And that changing the judging system was just to allow the judges to get away with more cheating without being caught. I don't know why I think this, and I could be way off the mark, but I also think this general view is held more in the US than Canada.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2012
  32. minignome

    minignome New Member

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    Agree. The few times that US has mentioned the judging system all they say is "it's complicated".

    I really don't see what would be so dang hard about getting the skaters planned list of elements, and figuring out the base value of the program. Then for at least the Technical score, you could have an idea of how the skater did compared to what they planned to do. Then if the score given is significantly lower than the base, it could be explained as -- they had planned 7 triples, they only did 5, the landing on one of them was wonky, so had a negative grade of execution, blah, blah, blah. This would also give the viewer an idea ahead of time whose program is more difficult. Thus, if they skate about the same, the more difficult program is likely to win (at least the technical). Or you could figure out if skater A's base score is 10 points higher than skater B's then it makes sense that skater A could have a few mistakes and still come out ahead.
  33. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    I really like your analysis here and it makes a lot of sense. I think the issues of declining interest in skating always seems to come back to the US and then that is the benchmark for the sport overall. Doesn't matter about countries like Japan where it always seems to be very popular, no matter what. Many of the pros seem to be heading to Asia where there appears to be a lot of shows. Also I would ask what is the perception in Europe.

    I think you are pretty smack bang on the mark. The perception out there was the introduction of IJS was to fix the problem of cheating. I don't think people consider that maybe it was time for a change in the way the sport was judged. Scandals like SLC were just the catalyst and reason for bringing in something else. And people also tend to look on reactive behaviour negatively rather than positively.

    However I will never change my belief that it doesn't matter what system you introduce, you will never please everyone and many people will find something to complain about.
  34. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    I think the issue is that no matter how popular skating is in Russia or Europe or Asia, the TV networks aren't throwing the $$$ to the ISU like the US networks did in the financial heyday.
  35. Mathman

    Mathman New Member

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    I wonder if the big figure skating boom in Japan has just about run its course.
  36. kittyjake5

    kittyjake5 Well-Known Member

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    I would not blame the US commentators for the delcine in FS in the US, yes maybe they do not explain the system to the audience but if they did can we really say that FS would become popular again.

    I am curious about the Japanese or Russian commentators. Two countries where figure skating is very popular, especially, Japan. Do their commentators explain the judging system to the audience? If they do, is that what the sport is so popular? I don't think so. Maybe our Russian and Japanese speaking members can weigh in and let us know what the commentators comment on during competition in their countries.

    My point is IMO commentating about the judging system is not going to make the sport popular in the US or any other country. Also a lot of folks tune in for the entertainment aspect only of the skating and don't listen to what is being said by the commentators other than who will be skating next.
  37. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

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    My feeling is that US commentators like Scott & Co. do not help FS by repeating over and over and over that the "new judging system" (it's not "new" anymore! it's practically a decade old!) is so arcane and byzantine and mysterious, only a PhD in Math could figure it out, etc. That's BS and they need to stop perpetuating that myth. When we watched the Olympics, I told my tween nieces what great, good, and okay scores were likely to be. They got it, although I did have to do some explaining why some clean performance which they enjoyed earned fewer points than others which they liked less.
    Lanna and (deleted member) like this.
  38. professordeb

    professordeb Well-Known Member

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    Commenting by the judges may not make a sport more popular but I believe it sure can turn off the casual viewer. When you make next to no effort to explain why one skater got better marks than the other, when you use "how it made me feel" as criteria you are, IMO, being lazy. Some viewers want to understand why Skater A with two falls beat Skater B with no falls. Back in the 6.0 days, announcers at least sometimes attempted to explain why A beat B -- at least on the U.S. channel that I watched back in the day. Now, it's too haaaaaaaarrrrrd and complicated to explain, apparently. Really, I mean really? Do the US broadcasting stations really think so little of viewers that they believe they can't educate & entertain? Sesame Street anyone?

    Count me in as one Canadian who prefers to watch figure skating on Canadian stations where they have people doing the announcing who take time and effort to explain the system. Visual person that I am, explaining things with the written word doesn't always cut it for me so when someone like Tracy or Kurt of PJ take the time to explain the difference between a level 4 footwork and a level 3 with video, not only do I appreciate such but it makes me a slightly more knowledgeable viewer. It also makes me less like to cry "wuzrobbed" unlike back in the 6.0 days when I felt "wuzrobbed" any time my favourite didn't win. :lol:

    This "writer" has an axe to grind, I get that, but saying there was scandal in 2012 World Championship? Really? She lost any credibility she might have garnered from me at the beginning of her piece by going off on a tangent -- essentially whining that she didn't like who won and using the criteria of what "wowed" the audience as the barometer on which someone should win. If that were to always be the case, then a lot of winners even back in 6.0 days would be giving back their gold medals.
    Lanna and (deleted member) like this.
  39. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

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    I'd just like to clarify, and should have said it in my first post - I don't think the negative TV commentary in the US is to blame for the decline of popularity in the US. I do think it is a significant contributing factor. Other factors probably include - cheating judges as I already mentioned, greatly fragmented media/entertainment market, economy (far fewer $ to spend on entertainment coupled by low cost entertainment to be found on the net/video games etc), and it's just not what young people are interested in. At least that's the impression I get. They're interested in the net, texting, Facebook, video games, hanging out, etc etc. There's nothing wrong with that, but figure skating must seem so arcane to them. I could be way off the mark here. I'm "older", shall we say :lol: so what do I know.
  40. judiz

    judiz Well-Known Member

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    Maybe if the scoring system in skating was more like the scoring system in gymnastics, the gymnast starts out with a set score based on difficulty of routine. Judges then deduct for mistakes and elements not performed correctly, no extra GOE to confuse people.