I think there's a combination of a few factors.
1. In the past there were a handful of exceptionally mentally tough skaters who could rise to the occasion and skate a clean program with almost all the jumps. I put Kwan, Stojko, Plushy, Yags and a few others on that list. I will agree there are fewer mentally tight skaters now.
2. How we perceive 'consistency'. I think we're thinking of falls mostly. I think there are more falls now because skaters are really going for elements now that maybe they might not have under 6.0 because clean/safe was more important back then, to a degree.
3. CoP. I do think CoP makes a difference. a) Under 6.0 many skaters built in long rest stops and had tons of breathing room between elements. Count the record number of crosscuts and absence of transitions in a program like Petrenko's. Under 6.0 you can rest and regroup. A very good CoP program doesn't have a moment of peace. b) I don't skate, but something tells me I have no idea how exhausting CoP footwork and spins and transitions are. I think it's much tougher to even make it through a program which is why most skaters make choices, such as not doing a quad and making program more complex or vice versa. c) this system is a big mind game. Under 6.0 you could flutz or underotate and 9 out of 10 times you get full credit. I can't imagine what goes through the minds of someone like Nagasu or Ando, knowing going into a jump that judges are just waiting to downgrade their jumps, etc.
I think with a system now that expects perfection technically to get points and pushes you to perform beyond your limits the days of consistent clean skates will continue to be rare. I turn to show skating if I want to see that.
It's only because of the technical panel that underrotated jumps get penalised (only if they rotation is more than 1/4 short, of course).
What it actually is, and how to measure it in a way that is accepted by a majority of the fans and skaters ...that doesn't exist.
Only opinions exist of what it means to be "consistent".
Is a skater who is on the podium/completes jumps/(fill in the blank) 70% of the time consistent? How about 61.8%.....or 53.764957%?
Where is the line crossed when they earn the title "inconsistent?
And over what period of time?
COP may have led to higher-performing skaters, but is it possible that it's also led to a legion of even more discerning, critical fans?
A skater's personal story and the inspirational/emotional impact of their performance means more to this fan than arbitrary measures of "consistency".
Last edited by geod2; 02-06-2011 at 03:29 AM.
Have *so many* top skaters ever been THIS inconsistent?
When I really think about, during every Olympic Quad at which I have seriously looked, there were always two skaters/pairs that were OGM/World Championship contenders, a dark horse solidly in 3rd, and two top-5ers that were bronze medal hopefuls. That means that there were only 5 skaters/pairs per discipline that really had any shot at a medal.
Well, under the IJS there are a lot more skaters with the status of TOP SKATER because there is a lot more chance that they will be rewarded well at the competitions where they actually skate well rather than the competitions after they skate well so long as they continue to skate well. This basically creates more room at the top because more skaters have a chance at getting 1st Place at a major competition because now they do not have to perform the best at two competitions in a row to get 1st Place at the second.
Last edited by bardtoob; 02-06-2011 at 09:24 PM.
When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.
The ISU has had to put in measures over the last little while to promote and reward the difficulty and athleticism of the sport and not let it come to theatrics and the more intangible elements.
The problem first arose when dance almost lost Olympic status because of the ill-defined technical elements and the focus on theatrics like we saw in late 80s and early 90s. Salt Lake City was the icing on the cake where the Olympic governing body mandated that this sport turn to more objective and transparent marking systems.
So now there isn't much of a mark for "emotion" although it factors in a little. Even PCS is very technical as there are more 'countable' things such as using all your edges and turns, using every beat or note of music and adding in transitions of field and other moves.
Skating is now more of a sport...much to the chagrin of those who really just want to be moved or entertained by the performance.
I know it's not about the jumps. Yes, the programs are still bland. And boring. Because there's NOT enough expressiveness and what expressiveness there is is completely fake. Case in point, Lysacek's Olympic LP. Cold fish central. That was the blandest, most boring program I have ever seen.
The bigger part of my point is, the programs ALL LOOK THE SAME. There's no individuality anymore.
I do agree that some of the code whoring that goes on (and I totally understand why the skaters do this, to accumulate points) can lead to generic elements (Biellman spin, dance lifts pulling your head to your foot... or the other way round) but there are some who can code whore and still put out incredibly emotional performances (Buttle, Alissa C, Takahashi, Rochette Abbott, etc.). Gone are the days when a skater only has to work on jumps and spins, so much of the training time now is spent on so many other aspects of a routine.
This is why strong basics taught from the earliest age are important. The hard part is trying to get kids to work on these as jumps and spins are more exciting when your younger.
I guess the hard thing for a lot of people to accept is why God would allow me to go running through their yards, yelling and spinning around.
-> "Code whoring",
-> Inspiration/expression/musicality (words to that effect),
It seems like top skaters can achieve 2 out of 3, but it's really rare (and maybe it always has been) to be strong in all three areas....
If that's true, then consistency would be my personal lowest priority of the three, with a balance of the first two being the ideal.
But my priorities aren't necessarily right...it's just those are the skaters I enjoy watching the most.
... others would disagree.
Last edited by geod2; 02-07-2011 at 06:20 AM.
I'm not sure it is necessarily the skaters who are inconsistent or whether they are showing that they are in fact human therefore prone to the frailty of humanity. Under IJS every part of the performance is scrutinised and marked on the performance given on that day and that day alone. Certainly the video replay has impacted as well, under rotation on a bad day never used to impact greatly on the overall score under 6.0 whereas now it can't be overlooked.
It comes back to personal opinion which gets raised time and time again- is a well exacuted triple a better asset in a program then a cheated quad(most are) with an ugly landing. Why shouldn't a well centred spin with elegant postions be worth as much as a jump.
I agree that the over use of arms is often distracting and often detracts from the preformance but it comes down to how well these movements fit with the music and the rest of the program.
I guess we could always do figure skating competitions almost diving/aerial skiing style- 3 jumps, 3 spins and a step sequence marked on degree of difficulty and exection. it would cut down on the time its takes for competitions and training time because basic skating skills wouldn't matter at all. We could even leave out the step sequence because they get boring and repititious.
Bull. I'll have you know that of the 80-100 programs downloaded onto my computer, maybe 3 or 4 are IJS programs. Don't you dare call me ignorant because I happen to love those Russian men. I've had it up to the back teeth. Not all Plushenko fans are stupid, you know.
No, I never liked Kulik's Olympic program - but his Romeo and Juliet and Aladdin LPs were stunning. You ever want to see transitions, watch Aladdin. His Ina Bauer in particular was beautiful, especially in the leadup to his 3Lz or 3A. If ever there was a skater who I reckon would be perfectly suited to the COP conversion if he came back...Kulik would be the one. But of course, he would be highly uncommon, as he never had any trouble with his 3A or his 4T, the shock!
I get really irritated when people have a go at Plushenko for being "emotionless" in Torino. Hello, it was The Godfather! His character was a mafia boss. Mafia bosses are supposed to be emotionless!
I have watched dozens of 6.0 programs, from Yagudin's Gladiator to Gordeeva and Grinkov's Olympic winning performances. And I still, and maybe always will, prefer the 6.0 program styles. Yagudin's footwork might not even be level 1 under IJS, but it was always fun, unusual and distinctive. Nowadays everyone does the same thing in slightly different combinations. You only ever get to see a skater's personality in exhibition shows, unless they go off-wall like Weir and Plushenko. I'm not saying that Plushenko's Vancouver LP was great. It's crap. I hate Tango Amore. Love the music, hate the program, want to kick the choreographer. It's cheesy, it didn't do enough, and it was thin. But it was also passionate and fun. And that was something I didn't see a lot of that night.