What should the ISU do to resurrect Figure Skating in the US and Europe?

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by Maofan7, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. WhatsUpDoc

    WhatsUpDoc New Member

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    Celebrity endorsement is a magic bullet, but it is a tough catch-22. Celebrities don't want to be associated with something seen as lame else they become lame by association. But an A-List Musician, Actor or Comedian would really help things out. Lady Gaga coming to the 2010 Olympic Gala if Weir was in it, was a prime example of a major lost opportunity. Regardless of what you change in the Ice shows or competitions, you still have to get people in the door. Hyping the sport as tough, although true, is a no-sale. Acceptance of this reality, is holding things back and making things worse.
  2. Judy

    Judy New Member

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    No to going back to the 6.0 and we'd be back to the deals and judges cheating. No thanks.

    I enjoy the new point system and find it far more interesting then what it was previous. I don't think either system would change anyone's mind if they didn't consider it a sport before.

    The U.S. needs a U.S. woman star again. All of their sections do. Right now they have a star with Kim and ice dancing has gotten more exciting because the V&M and D&W battle has made the once boring ice dance very exciting!

    Except for the Nancy Kerrigan era I don't think figure skating was ever that high profile compared to other U.S. sports and I don't think it ever will be. I'm ok with that since I'm Canadian and get to watch my tv coverage :)
  3. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

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    It may be that something in the future will grab the imagination of the American public the same way that Peggy Fleming or Dorothy Hamill or Michelle Kwan did, or the way that Tonya Harding did, and that interest in the sport will rise in the US again. That would be great.

    But I don't think you can manufacture that kind of interest. I would hate to see the sport abandon its own values in an effort to gain US audiences, especially in demographic groups that have never been especially interested in figure skating for its own sake.

    What if the audience just doesn't get interested after all but skaters are left with a sport that devalues skating skills in favor of entertainment value?
  4. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    I think having American dancers at the top of the game have made ice dancing more exciting, but really- I think the changes to ice dancing have made it more exciting. The free dances resemble NOTHING like what they used to- it's much more acrobatic now (and I'd say athletic...)

    I'm for using vocals, and glad that lower levels are allowed to in the US, because it makes it more accessible to skaters- hopefully that will funnel more skaters up the rank because they won't be bored skating to the same stuff year after year. I don't know how it would work internationally though, because if someone comes to Skate America with Finnish music, for example, will the audience connect to it at all?

    This is only marginally related, but a local club had it's largest attendence in years at their ice show- I think a lot of the success can be attributed to them using live singers for many of the numbers, included a very well known Broadway star (as well as two formerly local Broadway singers, and a few of the skaters, when they weren't skating, sang as well). We're in Iowa, so I imagine it wasn't easy for them to bring him in, but it definetly sold tickets. (I think some attribution also goes to a club skater who moved away performed, and everyone was excited to see him after he had gotten back from Junior Worlds- but I know it was the Broadway "name" who made me drive all the way up there)

    To make it related- maybe Gala's could do the same... I bet more people would go to Skate America if they knew that 1/4 of the gala music was being sung live, by people who you recognize the name of.
  5. Rex

    Rex Well-Known Member

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    Oh yes, please?@!!!

    Personally, I think nude competitions would be a real ratings winner.
  6. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

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    Either that or Yun-a should run off with Charlie Sheen ;)
  7. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

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    The ISU doesn't need to do anything; it's up to the national federations, coaches, and skaters to draw the audiences.

    All the U.S. needs for figure skating to become more popular as a spectator sport is for there to be one charismatic, homegrown female singles skater who is a reliable contender for an Olympic Gold Medal and at least one worthy rival. That rival doesn't have to be an American.

    It's happened before: Debi Thomas and Katarina Witt, Kristi Yamaguchi and Midori Ito, Michelle Kwan and Chen Lu/Tara Lipinski/Maria Butyrskaya/Irina Slutskaya).

    Mirai Nagasu is very close to being just what U.S. figure skating needs. I think that if she wins Nationals again, she will be a huge media star, and then finding a worthy rival probably won't be very difficult at all.
  8. Rex

    Rex Well-Known Member

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    :lol:
  9. Judy

    Judy New Member

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    Here's an interesting article from awhile ago but it makes a lot of sense especially the impact the judging scandal had on figure skating. It personally took me a long time to come back to skating because it had totally turned me off. This is from a Canadian perspective but talks about the Americans too. I think the guy is right about perhaps the next generation will come come back to figure skating.

    http://www.canada.com/topics/sports/story.html?id=f7cfeca2-7990-4acd-a754-3e2240f33805&k=57091
  10. duane

    duane New Member

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    I wonder how much Michelle Kwan has to do with the interest decline in the US? For years it seemed as if the biggest rivalry in figure skating was Michelle fans vs Michelle nonfans! With her absence, the object of this rivalry is gone, one side has no one to root for, while the other has no one to root against! ;)
  11. Triple Butz

    Triple Butz Well-Known Member

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    You don't think there are deals and cheating now? I have been recently youtubing a lot of videos from the 80's and 90's and while I have a pretty firm grasp on the new system, I have to say I found it to be a huge relief to watch long programs where the spirals are woven into choreography, most of the jumps are done without combos and have smooth gliding BOE landings, and spins that showcase one position without twisting, turning, and rocking back and forth on different edges. I would love to see the level 1 layback come back into style. Skaters in that era focused on what they could do best and created programs that showcased what they were good at. There is a real lack of creativity in skating today. As soon as one skater finds a way to achieve level 4, every skater down the list copies it. It started with Slutskaya in 2004 and hasn't changed much since.

    Remember the crazy moves of Ilia Klimkin? The only person who comes close to that kind of originality today is Shawn Sawyer, and he's basically sacrificing points by doing so.
  12. Judy

    Judy New Member

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    Actually no I find the skating and choreography much more interesting I think largely because the skater/dancers have to improve all their basic skating skills. Dance is more exciting because we now see movement instead of the predictable boringness of taking your turn to win.

    And no I think it's much harder to cheat.
  13. Jenna

    Jenna Well-Known Member

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    Come on, you don't think it was much easier to "cheat" under the old 6.0 system of scoring? It is still possible now, and I'm not denying it's existence, but it is much more difficult to pull off a LaGougne now.
  14. Proustable

    Proustable New Member

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    Can you post links to some of these programs? I've been watching a few on youtube as well, and all I can think is "thank God for COP." Am I watching the wrong ones?
  15. Judy

    Judy New Member

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    No I don't actually because I see the skaters especially in ice dance getting marked pretty fairly. It'll never be perfect but it's much better than it was.

    I also think that the previous type of skating was boring .. skater would jump, spin, jump .. this choreography I find much more interesting.
  16. kiskacat

    kiskacat New Member

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    Simple fire the president and every old corrupt judge , which is most of them lol.
    Get some new judges, who have no bias because their country has no skaters
    And stop killing the skaters with these rediculous elements. and let it be ART again!!!
    And get rid of the whole ISU Comettee , They are all old tired hags!!! Lol
  17. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

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    To a large degree it's a matter of taste. E.g., some fans preferred Boitano and some preferred Orser. Baiul or Kerrigan. Browning or Stojko. Kwan or Lipinski or Cohen.

    In the recent era, Lysacek or Weir. Czisny or Wagner. Nagasu or Flatt. Oda or Kozuka. Joubert or Amodio.

    Not because of nationality or off-ice personality, although obviously those influence preferences as well, but because of skating style. There are different kinds of difficulty, different kinds of excellence, that different skaters can excel at. Sometimes the judging system seems to favor some types over others, but within the rules and their training history, skaters can only work with what their body types allow.
  18. Triple Butz

    Triple Butz Well-Known Member

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8oj8aPvzR8&feature=related So many interesting moves that would not even count as elements in CoP

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buQXBXmjumU Huge, clean jumps on all correct edges with complete rotation, speed and total freedom. She definitely wasn't thinking about "rules."

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGsMDXLyXxs Elegant, classic positions in spins and MITF that we never see today.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-oqwopZta8 choreography from start to finish. Spirals and MITF that last as long as the music requires them to, not the rulebook.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbshs-xTORs&feature=related Unique style and movement, steps that actually MOVE across the ice.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=polwvMNVgFU Beautiful program, and that second 3axel represents everything that is great about sports and the Olympic spirit. I can't imagine the games without that second 3A, and under CoP it would not have happened.
  19. Proustable

    Proustable New Member

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    Thank you for the list, triple butz. Looks like I have a seminar at Youtube University to attend!
  20. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

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    Good ideas.

    Skaters also all look the same size on TV. I remember seeing a young Nicole Bobek and Michelle Kwan in exhibition. What a difference it made. Nicole was comparable to the men in the speed and height of her jumps (unfortunately she landed every other one on her butt). Michelle was technically perfect but at 13 she looked 8 and was practically invisible in a medium sized arena. At Nationals with camera close-ups you couldn't see a big difference between them.
  21. miki88

    miki88 New Member

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    Well, I think it would help very much if the US had stars like MK, Cohen in the future. There's a lack of strong personalities that will attract audiences attention. There's Johnny Weir, but unfortunately his priority is no longer skating.
  22. attyfan

    attyfan Well-Known Member

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    Do you think another whack would help? If so, who should get whacked? who should do the whacking? (if it is $peedy who should be whacked .... "the line forms on the right ..."
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2011
  23. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

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    I have to defend poor Todd. I've seen him 3 times in local exhibitions (1994-2006) and he always brings his A game (triple axel et al). I'll admit he's not much on tv, but especially up close he's impressive physically and smiles like he's enjoying every minute of it. He never comes unprepared or with a technically watered-down number and the crowd responds.
  24. Judy

    Judy New Member

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    Oh I don't think that Weir has the star power or the appeal. For America it's all about their women stars. Every other discipline is 2nd rate for them. They need to have another Michelle Kwan-like star.
  25. loulou

    loulou Well-Known Member

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    You need good coaches and rinks, and you need them to be affordable.
    The routines should be more appealing and results more audience friendly.

    1) Coaches. I've seen far too many jokes that the ISU credites as coaches. Please, make a better selection. Have better schools. A coach status cannot be reward for having been a stinky skater 15 years. Investing in coaches is more important than investing in athlets.

    2) Rinks. If you have to travel 3 hours a day for practices, and you have to wake up at 5, it's not going to be popular.

    3) Affordable. Money needs to be drained and smartly re-invested. It's going to be a hard process to start, but good management would be what gets this going.

    4) Audience friendly and appealing. I understand current rules were supposedly made to avoid cheating. There's no rule in the world that can't be played. - What sometimes we see is an environment that can't stand cheaters and points at them. Which is effective. Figure skating needs a lot of cleaning up: fairness can't really be forced on people, but a fair environment can be created through education. So start teaching officials, coaches and skaters why fairness is their own interest, even when it doesn't look like so.


    That's no easy business. But, even more than skills, it would require honesty, honest intentions. Pushing agendas here and there must stop.

    Why is that honesty doesn't pop up into my mind whenever I read Cinquanta?
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2011
  26. mmscfdcsu

    mmscfdcsu Skating Pairs with Drew

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    They will flock to a male star if the star gives them a good show for the money. Brian Boitano carried COI for a very long time. His power, technique and willingness to try all kinds of music made him very popular. Brian was all for giving the audience its moneys worth. Johnny is still too immature. He is all about Johnny just thinking about skating to what he wants such as MY Way, the Lady GaGa stuff and Russian elevator music. As he matures he should learn that it is supposed to be about the audience not his constant need to make a personal statement. YMMV
  27. paskatefan

    paskatefan Well-Known Member

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    Thank you! Todd "flies" on the ice, and to fully appreciate him, you've got to see him in person. Of course it is so hard to photograph him while he's skating. Our pictures come out blurry when he's in motion.
  28. CynicElle

    CynicElle Well-Known Member

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    I have to stick up for him too ... I just saw him in SOI a few weeks ago and was very pleasantly surprised by what a performer he's become. There was a time when I would have thought sticking Todd and Kurt in a number together would be horribly unfair to Todd, but I thought he kept up with Kurt really well in that clown number this season. Not that I think he's *the* personality that's going to turn skating's popularity around, but he's fun to watch now.
  29. RubyLaRhumba

    RubyLaRhumba New Member

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    Agreed, on all points!
  30. mmscfdcsu

    mmscfdcsu Skating Pairs with Drew

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    NO, NO and NO to vocals. That only leads to programs with really bad music and the skaters trying to get some silly message across. What we need is more skaters with training in music and dance who can actually use the music to enhance the skating. Vocals would just lead to more boring skating to songs like "Imagine" which is some of the most boring music on the planet. And no teenie bopper music allowed. The Christina, Gaga, Justin etc. needs to stay on Nickelodeon Network.
  31. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

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    Christina, Gaga, and Justin are definitely not shown on Nickelodeon and never could be without some massive censoring.
  32. l'etoile

    l'etoile New Member

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    I don't know many stuffs and detailed rules or anything, but as a figure skating fan, that should not be happening. omg.
  33. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

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    I'd like to see some of the skating moms go at. That would make a top rated reality show.
  34. flutzilla1

    flutzilla1 Well-Known Member

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    I think something that would help immediately would be for USFS to make a better attempt to spread out its major events (Nationals and Skate America) throughout the various areas/regions of the US. Having the 3 of the most recent 4 big USFS events in two adjoining states (and the next two just in one state!) is really not helping. I am not sure why the old method of moving Nationals to each section every year (so it was in each one every 3 years) was discarded, as it was a lot fairer to both fans and skaters. I think seeing events like Nationals and Skate America live makes a much bigger impression and helps to build long-term fans better than the strategy they seem to be following now, which is relying solely on broadcasting the comp into people's homes and hoping enough people will take the time to watch them on TV. Devoted fans of skating find it hard to justify the expense of a thousands-of-miles-away trip to Nationals or SA, so I don't see how it could be reasonable to expect that a casual fan will choose this option very often either.

    That said, the whole bidding process should probably also be overhauled. If clubs/interclub councils could suggest areas instead of having to submit bidding packets first, putting USFS HQ at the helm to then chose an area in advance and then do the bulk of the bigger logistical planning, it would be a lot easier to get more of the clubs to help get volunteers together, as most clubs are working just to avoid declining membership as it is, and many do not have the manpower to even run a club competition, much less take on the very complicated and work-intensive bidding process. Having these events nearby would also help build local club numbers back up. I saw that the local rinks' USFS Learn to Skate table at the FanFest in Greensboro was doing brisk business -- I bet they saw a huge increase in kids signing up for learn to skate directly as a result of them getting to check out the competition first-hand.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2011
    PeterG and (deleted member) like this.
  35. FigureSpins

    FigureSpins New Member

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    Evan's been a boon to FS in the US, although the Ladies are always preferred more by our populace. Still, young skaters know his name, Flatt and Yu-Na. Non-fans know only Evan, although Bradley's very popular in my neck of the woods lately.

    Personally, I think the quad is overrated - it adds nothing to the programs artistically and most people can't tell the difference without Scott squealing and cheering. To me, it's a circus trick, although I respect the difficulty of doing one.

    I do think a separate "Technical Elements" spin and jump competition would help figure skating to grow by appealing to a broader audience. That would be a more appropriate place for the Quad to be truly appreciated.

    People who blow off figure skating because they're ignorant, homophobic, costume-haters or just not interested in the artistic side of skating, would probably find a strength and speed event focused on jumps and spins intriguing. It would build respect for the difficulty of the sport and educate the general public.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2011
  36. SkateFan66

    SkateFan66 Active Member

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    I agree 100%! I saw Todd in SOI in 2010, the Caesar's Tribute, and SOI 2011 and he was fantastic. He skates with great speed, and he still has fantastic spins and jumps.
  37. ks777

    ks777 Well-Known Member

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    1. Allow current music with vocal
    2. Allow Backflip
    3. bring in some famous singers during the zamboni time
    4. Allow jeans or whatever the skaters want to wear
    5. no more those feminine costumes on guys, no tight pants on guys allowed
  38. falling_dance

    falling_dance The Scarlet Unlettered

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    :shuffle:
  39. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

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    How about allowing all these in the exhibitions? ;) Casual audiences who care more about this stuff than skating technique won't know the difference.

    4 is already allowed -- the costume rules are not as strict as you think.
    5 will not be forced on skaters -- the costume rules are not as strict as you want.
  40. Triple Butz

    Triple Butz Well-Known Member

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    Right, because current popular pop singers don't ever wear form fitting tight clothes...:shuffle:

    Do people really think pop vocals will make a difference in skating popularity? I don't. Classical music was just as "old fashioned" in the 80's and 90's as it is today, and skating was still popular. As much as I hate fluff pieces, I think the US needs to do more. We just need people to feel more connected and invested in our skaters.