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  1. #41
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    There is mounds of emotion in skating today. Has anyone watched...like..ANY Russian skater? (Ok maybe not Gachinski). Or any chinese pair? Kostner? Phaneuf? Weir? Bradley? MT/M. There's tons of emotion out there. Witt's angle on emotion was distinctly hers because she 'interacted' with the audience more...which is very easy to do when you are not moving...

    Random point: Thomas was slow as molasses and so boring to watch. Give me Kadavy any day.

    Ok, back to skating. Skating is a sport first and foremost and so CoP was invented to grant more points for athleticism and athletic achievement. PCS is less about performance ability -- that's show skating -- and is more about looking at your program outside of the elements and rewarding your ability in skating skills and moving with difficulty and conviction. Some room for showmanship in the marks but not much. This is why you have some skaters with less showmanship than others win titles.

    When I'm around people new to watching skating and they hunger to understand the 'artistic' marks I tell them this "if you are seeing something about the program that is artistic in your mind ask yourself if it's hard to do. Standing in one spot smiling at the audience isn't hard from a skills perspective. Edging around and keeping your feet and body active is hard. So it gets more points, even if it's comparatively boring to you". Then they get it.

    So skating has taken some hits in appeal because of CoP, but I support the direction because I personally prefer Olympic Eligible figure skating to be a sport. Just my HO. I'll leave you with two more points.

    1. Skaters are painting themselves into a corner artistically. The system isn't doing it. Skaters are scared to try new things. Choreographers complain about it all the time. Look at Stephanie Rosenthal in 2006 US Nats. Where are the skaters who tried more of this and got hammered in marks undeservedly?

    2. Before you push to make skating more "artistic" don't forget that's what show skating is all about...and that sh*t's not filling the seats anymore either.

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rock2 View Post
    There is mounds of emotion in skating today. Has anyone watched...like..ANY Russian skater? (Ok maybe not Gachinski). Or any chinese pair? Kostner? Phaneuf? Weir? Bradley? MT/M. There's tons of emotion out there. Witt's angle on emotion was distinctly hers because she 'interacted' with the audience more...which is very easy to do when you are not moving...

    Random point: Thomas was slow as molasses and so boring to watch. Give me Kadavy any day.

    Ok, back to skating. Skating is a sport first and foremost and so CoP was invented to grant more points for athleticism and athletic achievement. PCS is less about performance ability -- that's show skating -- and is more about looking at your program outside of the elements and rewarding your ability in skating skills and moving with difficulty and conviction. Some room for showmanship in the marks but not much. This is why you have some skaters with less showmanship than others win titles.

    When I'm around people new to watching skating and they hunger to understand the 'artistic' marks I tell them this "if you are seeing something about the program that is artistic in your mind ask yourself if it's hard to do. Standing in one spot smiling at the audience isn't hard from a skills perspective. Edging around and keeping your feet and body active is hard. So it gets more points, even if it's comparatively boring to you". Then they get it.

    So skating has taken some hits in appeal because of CoP, but I support the direction because I personally prefer Olympic Eligible figure skating to be a sport. Just my HO. I'll leave you with two more points.

    1. Skaters are painting themselves into a corner artistically. The system isn't doing it. Skaters are scared to try new things. Choreographers complain about it all the time. Look at Stephanie Rosenthal in 2006 US Nats. Where are the skaters who tried more of this and got hammered in marks undeservedly?

    2. Before you push to make skating more "artistic" don't forget that's what show skating is all about...and that sh*t's not filling the seats anymore either.
    This.

    PS Still love Witt and she definitely "owns" West Side Story, Carmen, and her 84 SP folk music. But she's looking at the past with blinders, just like today, there are skaters who 'emoted'...and those who definitely didn't.

  3. #43

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    Slightly off-topic ... but has Katarina Witt ever been married or had any children? I've kind of lost track of her over the years.

    And, I tend to agree with her to a large extent. There are parts of the new judging system that I think are very good for skating .... others, not so much. It DOES tend to make the skaters so busy concentrating on accummulating points that, sometimes, there's no time left to express much emotion. JMO

  4. #44
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    I liked Katarina, but prefer the artistry of Buttle, a CoP genius. As others have noted, Katarina did a lot of posing...I mean, I liked her and felt she definitely had a star quality about her...but to me that is no match to what Buttle can do.

    I am also not convinced that 6.0 era skating would do any better in the ratings right now than CoP skating.

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    I don't find "old" programs from the 90's and before being more artistic than today's programs.
    I actually find a lot of programs from the 80's and 90's very boring and artistically uninteresting. And I find some today's programs very nice/fun to watch, orignal and artistic.

  6. #46

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    I'm willing to grant that there may have been a peak of accessible artistry in the 1990s/early 2000s . . . and I would include Witt's 1994 programs among them.

    But not in the 1980s. Coherent artistic programs were rare at the time, especially outside of ice dance. Witt may have been one of the stronger artists of the mid-late 80s ladies' skating, but that's not saying much. I'd take her 1994 programs over 1988 artistically, even if she was past her athletic peak.

    She stood out in 1988 because she was part of a trend that was just beginning and has reached fuller fruition now than it had 20+ years ago.

  7. #47

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    He does not know why the women have not advanced as quickly as the other disciplines. Perhaps, he suggested, they are still building the skills necessary to do the difficult footwork and other elements that were not emphasized in the past.

    from , William Thompson, chief executive officer of Skate Canada and a former judge under both systems,
    I completely agree with this. The two best disciplines to watch are Men's and Dance. That's were the competitiveness is at its finest, imo.

    The ladies are boring. They have for too long segmented and encouraged the ladies into being little princesses who look pretty on the ice but weren't suppose to be that technically sound. The ladies were suppose to spin, emote via choreography and do spirals. So many of the ladies had bad technique on the jumps and can't handle or channel their nerves to save their lives. Why, I believe they aren't teaching or encouraging the competitve side of the sport. They are not pushing them as athletes. To think as athletes and want to beat the snot of the next skater.

    Case in point, Alissa Cziny. I was watching my DVR'ed 2011 US Figure skating championships(Yes, I had not deleted it as I wanted to record it to my dvd recorder). Scott Hamilton speaking of Alissa said, "She's beautiful, graceful what more can you want in a ladies champion".Do we really see Alissa's personality when she skates? Does she skate with abandonment like we saw from Hanyu with the technical prowess for Hanyu at CoC? Now Alissa had a great FS technically, but he didn't mention her technique in jumps, it was about the "package".

    This is one of the problems with ladies figure skating. 90% of the skaters use the same pretty, tired overused music. Very few want to step outside of the box. Is this being "mandated" by the ISU or is it an issue with coaches? Coaches are stuck in yesterday's ideas of what a "ladies" skater should skate to? An outdated ideal of feminity?

    The few exceptions:

    Why is Kostner one of the few who uses complex classical and jazz music to create interesting choregraphy?

    Suzuki is using joyful and uplifting classical music and her choreo. reflects that.

    Ashley Wagner FS is excellent in its choreography(we all know how she took a regular spiral and make it the "wow" factor in her FS(black swan). Yet her skating style is "aggressive" which is frowned upon in ladies skating.

    Alena Leonova, say who you will about her skills and programs. One thing they are not, they aren't boring. Her "perk" combined with the ballsy choreography is interesting to watch. At least for me.

    Take the bad side, Mirai N. Mirai's programs seem pitiful to me this season. They don't highlight her personality at all. She seems bored or uninspired by them and it reflects in her skating.
    Last edited by topaz; 11-08-2011 at 06:00 AM.
    "“My bronze feels like gold,” said the bronze medalist Carolina Kostner

  8. #48
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    I will concede one thing. Because of CoP we do lose the very cool concept programs that are never forgotten...such as Carmen and Bolero...or others not quite as remembered as Valse Triste by Rahkamo/Kokko in 1993. These programs really pulled audiences in and certainly made an impression on us more knowledgeable fans. We don't see those anymore because they aren't difficult enough. There's no room for Nikodinov's gorgeous layback in one position. Not enough points. Less can never be more under CoP.

    But, out with the old, in with the new. I look at Baiul's Swan Lake short in 1994 as a real classic...and with just a few tweaks would be VERY CoP friendly....and timeless. So I have hope.

  9. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by topaz View Post
    The ladies are boring. They have for too long segmented and encouraged the ladies into being little princesses who look pretty on the ice but weren't suppose to be that technically sound.
    Well, they are supposed to be technically sound but since comparatively few women (vs. men) can do fully rotated triple jumps consistently and with ease and correct lutz takeoffs, the winner will more often be someone who is good in non-jump technical areas and good presentation. Of course when a skater comes along who can do the jumps, she gets rewarded for it. Whether that translates into a gold medal depends on more than just jumps though.

    This is one of the problems with ladies figure skating. 90% of the skaters use the same pretty, tired overused music. Very few want to step outside of the box. Is this being "mandated" by the ISU or is it an issue with coaches? Coaches are stuck in yesterday's ideas of what a "ladies" skater should skate to? An outdated ideal of feminity?
    It's certainly not being mandated by the ISU -- you won't find it anywhere in the rules.

    There may be some judges who are stuck in yesterday's ideas of femininity and score accordingly or advise skaters in that direction when asked.

    And/or there may be coaches who think that's what judges expect but their expectations of the judges' expectations may be out of date, on average.

    My guess is that a lot of skaters choose pretty, tired music because it's relaxing for them to skate to. Music with sharp contrasts is more demanding to skate to, which makes it harder for the skaters to land their jumps successfully.

    But the skaters who do choose more dynamic music and do skate to it successfully should be rewarded for doing so. As you point out, Kostner often is.

  10. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    Well, they are supposed to be technically sound but since comparatively few women (vs. men) can do fully rotated triple jumps consistently and with ease and correct lutz takeoffs, the winner will more often be someone who is good in non-jump technical areas and good presentation. Of course when a skater comes along who can do the jumps, she gets rewarded for it. Whether that translates into a gold medal depends on more than just jumps though.



    It's certainly not being mandated by the ISU -- you won't find it anywhere in the rules.

    There may be some judges who are stuck in yesterday's ideas of femininity and score accordingly or advise skaters in that direction when asked.

    And/or there may be coaches who think that's what judges expect but their expectations of the judges' expectations may be out of date, on average.

    My guess is that a lot of skaters choose pretty, tired music because it's relaxing for them to skate to. Music with sharp contrasts is more demanding to skate to, which makes it harder for the skaters to land their jumps successfully.

    But the skaters who do choose more dynamic music and do skate to it successfully should be rewarded for doing so. As you point out, Kostner often is.
    Well, maybe the skaters who or their coaches choose pretty, tired and overused music because both parties feel the music is more ladylike and feminine. Aggressive, different or non traditional classic music is not scene as feminine. Skating has historically been a conservative sport and it not changing to times.

    Coaches and Judges are still packaging the ladies and thinking in ideals from the fifties, sixities and seventies. I wonder what is average of a judge or coach?

    I'm not saying we have to see Navka style dresses on the ladies but the fact that 99% of the ladies were their hair is bun could go a long way with the sport literally letting it hair down.

    In regards to challenging a skater with music, that's the coaches job. The skater has to grow as a person and skater. Doing things are relaxing or easier does not fuel a person's growth as an athlete.

    Billy Jean King has a quote and a book called "Pressure is a privilege". Pressure gives the opportunity to gain confidence, to push yourself as an athlete and to grow from the experience.
    Last edited by topaz; 11-08-2011 at 05:59 AM.
    "“My bronze feels like gold,” said the bronze medalist Carolina Kostner

  11. #51

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    In the last Olympics, the top 3 ladies did not have a pwetty princess program amongst them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by topaz View Post
    Well, maybe the skaters who or their coaches choose pretty, tired and overused music because both parties feel the music is more ladylike and feminine. Aggressive, different or non traditional classic music is not scene as feminine. Skating has historically been a conservative sport and it not changing to times.

    Coaches and Judges are still packaging the ladies and thinking in ideals from the fifties, sixities and seventies.
    I wonder what is average of a judge or coach?
    Average age?
    At international level specifically?

    Many coaches start as soon as they stop competing themselves, or while they are still competing. Or else they go to college or (for women) raise young children first. How long it takes to get a student who's good enough to compete internationally partly depends on luck and partly on the level of coaching skill. Once they get one, more will come.

    Judges tend to be older because in most cases it's a hobby, not a source of income, so they need to establish their real careers first and then have the time to travel. And then it takes time to work one's way up to international level.

    But some judges are former competitors who went into judging during or soon after higher education and moved up quickly thanks to ambition and intelligence . . . or lack of competition in a small country with few judges. But in a country with lots of potential judges like the US, it still takes a while to get an international appointment even for the sharpest and most ambitious.

    So it varies. At an international level you're a lot more likely to see coaches in their 30s than judges in that age range.

    In regards to challenging a skater with music, that's the coaches job. The skater has to grow as a person and skater. Doing things are relaxing or easier does not fuel a person's growth as an athlete.
    Very true. But if the choices are landing more jumps now, scaling back jump content to push forward in other technical content and artistry, or challenging oneself now in hopes of eventually developing the skill to do both difficult jumps and difficult choreography, many may choose the safer course with the more immediate rewards.

    Also don't forget that many female elite competitors are still in their mid-teens and still learning about what's out there. The elite men tend to be older. The women who are more ambitious artistically tend to be older. With some exceptions of course.

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    Quote Originally Posted by manhn View Post
    In the last Olympics, the top 3 ladies did not have a pwetty princess program amongst them.
    But how many of the other ladies did?
    "“My bronze feels like gold,” said the bronze medalist Carolina Kostner

  14. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    Average age?
    At international level specifically?

    My mistake I was referring to age.

    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post

    Very true. But if the choices are landing more jumps now, scaling back jump content to push forward in other technical content and artistry, or challenging oneself now in hopes of eventually developing the skill to do both difficult jumps and difficult choreography, many may choose the safer course with the more immediate rewards.

    Also don't forget that many female elite competitors are still in their mid-teens and still learning about what's out there. The elite men tend to be older. The women who are more ambitious artistically tend to be older. With some exceptions of course.
    I understand and get what your saying, but I think the following generation of ladies skaters are ready for the maturity that comes with taking risks artistically. Risks artistically does not necessarily mean coming or skating to "serious" music.

    Also, I wonder what input the skater has with many coaches as to why type of music they want to skate too. I wonder how many skaters get off ice training in developing musicality. How many skaters play an instrument? I can only recall Bebe Liang as an skater who played an instrument. Maybe coaches should incorporate their student into listening to other types of instrumental music other than classic. Listening to Jazz music would be a great tool into helping the skaters with musicality.
    "“My bronze feels like gold,” said the bronze medalist Carolina Kostner

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    Quote Originally Posted by manhn View Post
    In the last Olympics, the top 3 ladies did not have a pwetty princess program amongst them.
    Quote Originally Posted by topaz View Post
    But how many of the other ladies did?
    Well, let's see, in descending order: Mirai's interpretation wasn't very mature, but the programs weren't pretty princess stuff. Ando and Lepisto didn't do pretty princess programs, IMO. I don't know how you'd characterize Flatt's. Suzuki and Leonova, certainly not. I'll admit I don't remember much of Makarova's skating that season. And that rounds out the fairly non-princessy Olympic top ten.

    I'm actually enjoying ladies and pairs far more than dance and men's. Dance has become too predictable and I don't really enjoy what the system rewards. And men's skating is currently dominated by a skater whose style does not work for me at all, which kind of takes the fun out of it. But the top pairs are fantastic, there are some good programs this year - and ladies may not be the highest technical level, but it's unpredictable and surprisingly diverse in terms of style and music choices, and I'm happy to see so many ladies sticking with the sport well into their twenties, and becoming more mature, interesting skaters.

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    I sort of think the pretty princess thing is sort of a myth. Yeah, the U.S. was plagued by a generation of baby-ballerinas from 1999-on, but I think that's sort of dying out. Really, the only one I can truly think of that fit the description of a pretty princess was a young Caroline Zhang, and we know how she was received by the fans and how she was surpassed by her peers later on.

    I agree that ladies skaters may potentially suffer scrutiny to package themselves in a certain way, and that may effect the way they choose to package themselves and how they skate, but look at the successful figure skaters in the past few years. Yu Na Kim, Mao Asada, Miki Ando, Joannie Rochette, Carolina Kostner, Leonova, Akiko Suzuki, Yukari Nakano, Mirai Nagasu (of the old), Laura Lepisto, etc. I actually think there's a lot of variety there since the only top skater that I think could fit the definition at the moment is Alissa Czisny, but at her age, I think her style is her own and it's one that she enjoys rather than one being pushed upon her. One can't say she's not doing it well. It might not be for everyone, but her reception for last year's routines were pretty high as is her SP this season (at least compared to her LP which, IMO, needs work). The only problem is that, ladies skating is still in transition and many are more worried about making sure their jumps are fully ratified and not suffering edge calls on top of getting good levels on spins, footwork, etc. Because of those factors, a lot of the moves they are doing to ensure the highest score potential looks laborious and unnatural for many.

    I am pretty sure that it will get better once the new generation of young female skaters come onto the scene as they grew up with the COP and their teams know what is rewarded and punished when developing the skaters.

    I always had a question regarding those who criticize ladies figure skaters as being boring pretty princesses. Where is the line drawn between cookie-cutter pretty princess program and a skater who is attempting a lyrical style and pays attention to body line and movement and so happens to have good spins/spirals? Is it the jumps and speed or is just based on the way the skater chooses to look ala bun vs. pony tail/short hair style?
    Last edited by VIETgrlTerifa; 11-08-2011 at 08:19 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by neptune View Post
    Katarina wants to know where all the emotion has gone? Maybe the same place as all the flowers.
    I was waiting for that

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    Quote Originally Posted by topaz View Post
    This is one of the problems with ladies figure skating. 90% of the skaters use the same pretty, tired overused music. Very few want to step outside of the box. Is this being "mandated" by the ISU or is it an issue with coaches? Coaches are stuck in yesterday's ideas of what a "ladies" skater should skate to? An outdated ideal of feminity?
    Ladies are still pretty much held to an outdated ideal of femininity. They still don't have the freedom to be powerful and athletic, like men do.

    Ladies are allowed to wear pants now, but very few dare. Perky is acceptable, but not powerful. Why can't a woman skate to 1492, or taiko drums, or martial arts music, or Gladiator (there were female gladiatix, although they were rare)? Or a war theme - women have certainly wielded arms and fought in wars/revolution. Because they are not encouraged to. Because it is not seen as acceptable. There is a whole host of powerful programs and female characters available to female skaters, but they aren't allowed to explore them.

    SLutskaya is one of the few who managed to skate with a powerful style. As a result, people said she skated like a truck driver. Mao tried something powerful with Bells, and got slammed for it. And Mao's triple axel didn't get the recognition it deserved. It wasn't seen as setting the bar higher for the ladies, as the quads were for men. It was seen more as an oddity - not something that really mattered to the field.

    And an excellent example I can think of is Yoshie Onda, such an energetic jumping bean with the capacity for power. She was sent to Jose Chouniard (sp?) to be reinvented and Jose dressed her in pink and put pink pigtails in her hair. She was miserable and that was the end of Yoshie.

    Quote Originally Posted by VIETgrlTerifa
    I sort of think the pretty princess thing is sort of a myth. Yeah, the U.S. was plagued by a generation of baby-ballerinas from 1999-on, but I think that's sort of dying out. Really, the only one I can truly think of that fit the description of a pretty princess was a young Caroline Zhang, and we know how she was received by the fans and how she was surpassed by her peers later on.
    A lot of ladies don't fit the description, but still try to meet the standard feminine ideal.


    I agree that ladies skaters may potentially suffer scrutiny to package themselves in a certain way, and that may effect the way they choose to package themselves and how they skate, but look at the successful figure skaters in the past few years. Yu Na Kim, Mao Asada, Miki Ando, Joannie Rochette, Carolina Kostner, Leonova, Akiko Suzuki, Yukari Nakano, Mirai Nagasu (of the old), Laura Lepisto, etc. I actually think there's a lot of variety there since the only top skater that I think could fit the definition at the moment is Alissa Czisny, but at her age, I think her style is her own and it's one that she enjoys rather than one being pushed upon her. One can't say she's not doing it well.
    Allisa does fit the mold naturally and do it well. But all the other you've mentioned still more or less fit the mold. Nagasu doesn't do so comfortably IMO, nor Rochette. Rochette was a powerful skater with the capacity to do powerful athletic programs, but she didn't take risks and packaged very cleverly, to her advantage. And Yunah is a total ice princess.

    Kostner is the most interesting of the bunch IMO but even she tends to play it safe and skates to lots of tinkly piano music - generic ladies programs. I loved it when she took on 'Riders in a Storm', though, much as I loved Fumie's Pink Panther (skated in smoking hot pants). I'd like to see more programs like that.

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    I do understand and also desire women to take more risks musically and not be so boxed in to a certain look, and I do get what people are saying about women being pressured to look a certain way. However, you do have to admit that Slutskaya's and Onda's skating had some valid criticisms that may have touched upon an outdated view of femininity but was also about the basic elements of skating. Speaking of Onda, I disliked what Chouniard did to Onda and I actually liked her best when she was with Audrey Weisiger. She made improvements with her presentation and projection, but was closer to her style than wearing pink and having pig tails.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hnpneIqq2s

    That said, I don't think a lot of Onda's posture and bodyline criticisms were unwarranted or necessarily deep-seated in misogyny. I just think that sometimes people overly criticize ladies skating when they're trying to actually pay attention to important things like line and posture. It is possible to have freedom and abandon, and still keep those things in mind. You see it in dance all the time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Japanfan View Post
    Ladies are still pretty much held to an outdated ideal of femininity. They still don't have the freedom to be powerful and athletic, like men do.

    Ladies are allowed to wear pants now, but very few dare. Perky is acceptable, but not powerful. Why can't a woman skate to 1492, or taiko drums, or martial arts music, or Gladiator (there were female gladiatix, although they were rare)? Or a war theme - women have certainly wielded arms and fought in wars/revolution. Because they are not encouraged to. Because it is not seen as acceptable. There is a whole host of powerful programs and female characters available to female skaters, but they aren't allowed to explore them.
    I wouldn't say that they aren't allowed, but rather that they aren't encouraged.

    Could Yuna Kim, with her powerful skating, have aimed more to be a female James Bond than a flirtatious Bond girl?

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