View Poll Results: Would you like to see Compulsory Figures as a separate sport at worlds and Olympics?

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  • Yes, bring them back in both

    34 37.78%
  • Bring them back in world figure skating championships only

    8 8.89%
  • Bring them back in the Olympics only

    1 1.11%
  • No, they are dead. No need to bring them back as sport

    47 52.22%
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  1. #1

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    Would you like compulsory figures as an Olympic and/or world sport?

    Compulsory figures died because of the popularity of free skating, the slowness of the figures, and the tremendous amount of time it took to perfect them. They often decided the wrong winner in competitions.

    However, Compulsory figures have their merit. They require precision, concentration, use of edges- skills that all skaters could use. However, they cannot be a part of the world championships or the Olympics figure skating competitions.

    Would you like to see them brought back as a separate sport? Chances are older skaters or those who are not athletic enough or flexible enough to free skate, may do well in this area and would like the opportunity to showcase their skills.

    What do you think?

  2. #2

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    No. God no.

    I think skaters should train figures, but not compete them. We can't even get folk to watch the exciting part of the sport, who is going to watch that?

  3. #3
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    I love compulsories. But that's a fact that I wonder who will watch that !

  4. #4

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    What Andy Warhol said. Train them and even have tests in them as they are great for basics but I'd rather set my hair on fire and put it out with a hammer than watch figures. They still have it at roller worlds and it has more skaters than the free skating events, still no need to bring it back on ice though. It is a separate event on Roller, but they do have a combined medals for the people that compete in both free and figures. Once or twice you will get a skater winning figures and free, but you may get someone who places top 6 in both events that gets a medal in the combined.
    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.


  5. #5
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    I love figures but they have no place in competition now, even in their own event. But I do wish that figures were part of a standardised testing system.

  6. #6
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    I LOVED the compulsory figures & still really miss them but there is no place for them now that they have gone. Skating moves on so fast now.
    I would like to see a second division of Olympic events-for the pro skaters.
    Say a three jump maximum like they had in pro competitions of past years.
    It's a shame that after one or two Olympics we lose the best skaters & they move on to shows.
    Kristi Yamaguchi kept her skating level up to an amazing standard & could have skated in many more Olympics.

  7. #7
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    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by floskate View Post
    I love figures but they have no place in competition now, even in their own event. But I do wish that figures were part of a standardised testing system.
    ^^^
    THIS.

    I love figures too. I'm one of those freaks that actually watches them on youtube every now and again-I enjoy it. But some wonderful things of the past belong in the past. However, I still believe that skaters could only benefit by practicing them especially at the lower levels.

  8. #8
    Spin Alissa Spin!!!
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    I wouldn't mind them added to novice competitions, even as a "side event" seperate from the comp for JR's. But not SR.

  9. #9

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    I thought USFSA still had a test series for figures (although they are no longer required), no? I don't think anyone would want to watch most people compete at figures, but I Understand Scuba's figures were exhibition worthy.

    Figures certainly are challenging, but I think ice dance and moves in the field are more useful cross-training for free skaters.

  10. #10

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    USFS does indeed still have a testing system in place for figures and some judges who have been there, done that. And they're incorporating more figure-type moves into their MITF tests, but these are nowhere near as strict as figure testing in terms of retracing and such.

    I think figure events would be awesome. There *are* some here and there, just not at a high level, as far as I know.

  11. #11
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    I tend to agree that figures should be brought back to be trained, but not necessarily competed. However, if there were enough competent, high level skaters who excelled in figures as a separate discipline, then it might be worthwhile to bring back for competitions. However, I doubt that there would be enough audience interest to watch such competitions and right now there is probably a dearth of skaters who would have the skill and/ or interest to pursue the discipline competitively. Bringing back figures for training, and then concentrating on marketing the sport of fs better and fixing the horrendous judging system would make better sense to focus on right now, IMO.

    Certainly training figures is a basic foundation of the sport that TPTB erred in eliminating. Ain't that right, Patrick and fans?

  12. #12

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    I enjoy just doing figure 8's in the middle of the rink on a quiet public session. But I do think they are a fabulous training tool and more skaters should learn to do them. I think if I had skated during the time of figures I would have loved it.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  13. #13

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    Training figures takes soooooo much time.

    I do agree that having skaters do figures for edge control is a really good idea - but the difference between trainging them for skill and training them to compete is HUGE as far as time commitment goes.

    Something would have to give - in the rest of the skills as well - as there is only so much ice time and so much time in general in a skater's life.

    In addition, in a sport which has been known to have "questionable judging" the lack of spectators - particularly those with knowledge of the ins and outs of figures and the difficulty in seeing the difference in skill from afar make it a portion of competition difficult to ensure fair judging.

  14. #14

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    I wish that the ISU had simply separated figures and freeskating into separate competitive disciplines in 1990-91, when there were still lots of active skaters who had trained them to a high level and rink schedules were still planned around offering patch sessions.

    It would have continued as an obscure sport for only those who love and can afford it with little audience appeal, and also practiced by some freestyle skaters with even more money to enhance their basic skating skills. Maybe it would have lost Olympic status and faded out gradually over the past 20 years, but there would have been continuity.

    But now it would be impossible to bring back at that level. Without figures being required for freestylers, there isn't enough interest to make the dedicated ice time available, except at a few large training centers, or at facilities with studio rinks, sympathetic managers, and just a few dedicated figures enthusiasts.

    There is no standardized international testing system. Those federations (US and Canada at least) who did keep figures in their testing systems for several years into the 1990s ended up dropping them eventually as requirements for freestylers.

    The US kept them for several more years as a separate competitive discipline, and the tests are still on the books. But the interest just wasn't there.

    If USFS, or any other national federation, went back to requiring neatly traced figures with judges checking the traces on the ice, for middle and advanced levels where the skills require a lot of practice, they would lose a lot of skaters who find them too boring or too expensive to train.

    Possibly a compromise could be to have more lenient figures tests as prerequisites for competition but not for passing the moves or freestyle or pairs tests. E.g., you could have the same novice MITF test for everyone, and then skaters who wanted to enter qualifying competitions at the novice level would need to demonstrate one loop figure, one bracket figure, and one change double three, (to be randomly chosen from the four possible starting edges so skaters would have to train all of them? or of the skater's choice?), traced only twice and judged from a distance.

    But each federation would have their own requirements, so they wouldn't be standardized internationally. I'm sure many smaller federations would not require them at all.


    OR, starting at the international level, the ISU could introduce something like "school figures variation" as an optional leveled element for points to be included in (a slow section of) freeskate programs.

    These wouldn't be straight school figures -- not only including more advanced skills but also including different combinations of turns and edge changes and variations of body position could earn higher levels. And they would be performed in the middle of a program, so obviously judges aren't going to get out on the ice and check tracings. But accuracy and control as seen from a distance would be necessary for positive GOE, so it would offer an incentive for skaters to train those skills, which could also have positive effects on other areas of their skating.

  15. #15

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    These days, the technical aspects could be judged by computer.

    It would require a clean patch for each competitor (already a given, I think?) and an overhead camera attached to a computer. Not a technical challenge any more.

    We have cameras that can see the inside of your chimney from a satellite.

    This is more than possible, I'd love to see it done, so I opted for both Worlds & Olympics.

    gkelly is correct that the infrastructure for the sport is missing; however, coaches that did figures are available. In fact, a lot of today's singles coaches competed with figures at some time or another, or had students who did.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by DORISPULASKI View Post
    These days, the technical aspects could be judged by computer.

    It would require a clean patch for each competitor (already a given, I think?) and an overhead camera attached to a computer. Not a technical challenge any more.
    I hadn't even thought of that, but you are right. Plus most coaches over 30 trained figures if they started competing as a young child. I don't know how much interest there is among new skaters though. I have a friend who takes lessons in figures and he occasionally teaches me some of the exercises (makes my ankles ache). My only complaint about them is that they teach you to do things in a small area, and freeskaters need speed and coverage across the ice.

  17. #17
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    I think it would be exceedingly difficult to bring back figures to be trained- where does the ice time come from? Skaters already have to fight to get enough ice time to train MITF and Freeskating.

    I know skaters of the past had patch ice, and if it was required, rinks would bring it back (if they can afford to...with a small number of skaters on the ice, that costs rinks money)- but it would make the sport even more expensive and time demanding than it already is. Figures limit who can participate, not just by skill, but by means.

    The figures that are on MITF tests now don't require such precise tracings, so most people practice them center ice, with people often skating through their tracing. Real figures that could not work.

  18. #18

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    By the way, I'm reading the article about Tim Wood in this month's Skating magazine.

    he's developing a project called The Sports Resort . . . a planned community with about 4,000 homes and many sports, recreation and family entertainment facilities.

    *

    There are five cities interested in developing the full-scale project, and Wood hopes within five years at least two full developments will be complete.

    *

    He watches skating on television and expressed his frustrations with what he sees. He intends for The Sports Resort rink to have a figures program wthat will reintroduce young skaters to the sport's fundamentals.

    "I can't change the sport, the direction where it's going or the judging," Wood said. "What I can do is build our own facilities here and institute the things that I want to do . . . from the ground up."
    It doesn't say where those five cities are. There's a smaller version about to be built in Camarillo, CA, but it's not clear if that one will even include an ice rink.

    I guess time will tell if they really do get built. If so, they might be good places to train for people interested in figures.

  19. #19
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    Figures marking versus free skating

    It always puzzled me that figures seemed to be marked much lower than free skating. Either the level of deductions must have been much stricter, or there must have been a directive to give the impression they were a lot harder to master than free skating elements.

    If I recall correctly, even skaters in the modern era like Trixi Shuba, who was a master of compulsories, only got scores only in the low fives.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skittl1321 View Post
    I think it would be exceedingly difficult to bring back figures to be trained- where does the ice time come from? Skaters already have to fight to get enough ice time to train MITF and Freeskating.
    Yep I think this is probably the biggest factor in why they are not done anymore either.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

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