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  1. #1

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    What does the United States need to do to overcome its Figure Skating slump?

    American figure skating is probably going through its worst period since the 1961 air disaster. I think the fundamental problem for the USFSA is the loss of TV money, which has meant that there is far less money to invest.

    In order to turn things around, I think the USFSA needs to be far more proactive in terms of promoting skating to up the TV money. It needs that money back. Furthermore, it needs to go out and actually find the raw talent and link it up with the top coaches. It can no longer just sit back and wait for it to turn up as in years gone by

    Nevertheless, there is hope. Gracie Gold is a major star in the making and I think that the USFSA should seize the moment as it were, and start promoting her big time. Gracie is to the current slump, what Peggy Fleming was to overcoming the post 61 air disaster back in the 1960's. She has the potential to attract a lot of TV interest and new fans. Davis & White will of course also be around for a few years yet, and still have the potential to win the Olympic gold medal in 2014.
    Last edited by Maofan7; 04-01-2012 at 01:06 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maofan7 View Post
    Nevertheless, there is hope. Gracie Gold is a major star in the making and I think that the USFSA should seize the moment as it were, and start promoting her big time.
    If there's one thing the USFSA shouldn't do, it's that: taking an untested junior who had a couple good competitions and hold them up as The Next Big Thing.
    The Junior Grand Prix: Where skaters who "come out of nowhere" come from.

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    Oh goodie, this annual thread again, right on time

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    1 Get their elite skaters out to more competitions, so they will get experience in all ice conditions and schedules
    2. Make sure the elite skaters learn competition specific techniques
    3. Monitor and assure promising skaters, and current skaters on the GP level are getting 1 and 2 above.
    IT seems our elite skaters train, train, train.....but are lacking the skills they need to compete well.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanna View Post
    If there's one thing the USFSA shouldn't do, it's that: taking an untested junior who had a couple good competitions and hold them up as The Next Big Thing.
    Sport only survives by generating money to invest. The biggest source of money is the TV sports market, a market in which figure skating has lost a lot of ground in recent years. The only way in which the USFSA can recover that lost ground is by promoting its biggest stars. Its no good wrapping them in cotton wool, thereby allowing the decline in U.S. figure skating to continue. Its a ruthless world out there, and the only way figure skating is going to survive is through aggressive promotion of what it has to offer.

    All NBC are giving Worlds is 3 hours on Sunday. At the rate things are going, will they be showing it at all next year? The USFSA have simply got to reverse the decline somehow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maofan7 View Post
    Sport only survives by generating money to invest. The biggest source of money is the TV sports market, a market in which figure skating has lost a lot of ground in recent years. The only way in which the USFSA can recover that lost ground is by promoting its biggest stars. Its no good wrapping them in cotton wool, thereby allowing the decline in U.S. figure skating to continue. Its a ruthless world out there, and the only way figure skating is going to survive is through aggressive promotion of what it has to offer.
    Gracie Gold is not a star. Gracie Gold is a junior who had a good season. If you paid attention in the last Olympic cycle, you would have seen this over and over again: junior does well, junior gets promoted (remember all the Mirai and Caroline hype? Remember Caroline getting to skate in the exhibition when she was second in juniors?), and then junior goes senior, hits normal snags in progressing, etc, and then the kid gets TORN TO PIECES. Repeat ad nauseum.

    The US doesn't have a star, and it's not going to make one by repeating the same old shit that doesn't work.
    The Junior Grand Prix: Where skaters who "come out of nowhere" come from.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanna View Post
    Gracie Gold is not a star. Gracie Gold is a junior who had a good season.......The US doesn't have a star, and it's not going to make one by repeating the same old shit that doesn't work.
    It will be interesting to see how she does next season. I think that you will find that she does a lot better than you are obviously expecting her to do.

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    Gracie isn't some 14 year old wunderkind like Mirai or Caroline were. She's going to be 17 this year has already gone through a ton of crap to get where she is and plus can actually jump unlike Caroline who had the most horrible technique and Mirai who can't control her nerves and has questionable work habits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanna View Post
    Gracie Gold is not a star. Gracie Gold is a junior who had a good season. If you paid attention in the last Olympic cycle, you would have seen this over and over again: junior does well, junior gets promoted (remember all the Mirai and Caroline hype? Remember Caroline getting to skate in the exhibition when she was second in juniors?), and then junior goes senior, hits normal snags in progressing, etc, and then the kid gets TORN TO PIECES. Repeat ad nauseum.
    Repeat ad nauseum with a slight hitch...

    In that same Olympic cycle you had two extremely successful junior skaters transition to senior and eventually win Olympic Gold and Silver.

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    I think the U.S women are going in the right direction with a blooming Wagner and Gold their big hopefuls.

    The men will take awhile to get back up there. Bringing back dinosaur Evan is no solution, and Abbott doesnt have the mental toughness or jumping firepower needed.

    The pairs have a long way to go, but post 2014 the field could be weak so who knows.

    The dance are better than ever.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mayra View Post
    Repeat ad nauseum with a slight hitch...

    In that same Olympic cycle you had two extremely successful junior skaters transition to senior and eventually win Olympic Gold and Silver.
    Yes, but they weren't American.

    They also began the cycle before that Olympic cycle, but I agree it overlapped. Hey, for a long time, we had a streak of JW ladies champs qualifying for the SGPF in their first senior season. But it runs into the problem of senior crowding. People move out of juniors, but they don't in juniors. So there is the simple mathematical fact that most great juniors will not do as well in seniors because there just isn't room. And then you add in other factors, such as injury, skill progression, headcasiness, etc.

    And let's not forget that Mao and Yuna weren't winning everything in sight in that cycle as it stands, and each had their own struggles to deal with. And then Joanne Rochette won the Olympic bronze, so... give awesome juniors time to develop is probably my point here.
    The Junior Grand Prix: Where skaters who "come out of nowhere" come from.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maofan7 View Post
    Sport only survives by generating money to invest. The biggest source of money is the TV sports market, a market in which figure skating has lost a lot of ground in recent years. The only way in which the USFSA can recover that lost ground is by promoting its biggest stars.
    It's never going to recover all of that lost ground. We're just a different country, culturally, and I'm happy about that. The fanbase who made it popular in different eras weren't really teaditional sports fans, anyway. I'll take women's increased participation in sports that aren't traditionally considered "feminine", and in sports fandom in general, over going back to the Peggy Fleming era, or even the Michelle Kwan era. Are people forgetting that back at the height of the skating boom, Junior Worlds was the freaking Lifetime channel? No thanks to that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanna View Post
    Gracie Gold is not a star. Gracie Gold is a junior who had a good season. If you paid attention in the last Olympic cycle, you would have seen this over and over again: junior does well, junior gets promoted (remember all the Mirai and Caroline hype? Remember Caroline getting to skate in the exhibition when she was second in juniors?), and then junior goes senior, hits normal snags in progressing, etc, and then the kid gets TORN TO PIECES. Repeat ad nauseum.

    The US doesn't have a star, and it's not going to make one by repeating the same old shit that doesn't work.
    I agree with all of the above except the last sentence. Ashley Wagner is the clear US #1, and she is a star. She was third in today's FS at the World championships, and likely would have been second if she skated in the final group (higher PCS). She was close to the bronze medal, too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenna View Post
    I agree with all of the above except the last sentence. Ashley Wagner is the clear US #1, and she is a star. She was third in today's FS at the World championships, and likely would have been second if she skated in the final group (higher PCS). She was close to the bronze medal, too.
    Being US number 1 does not make you a star. It makes you the top ranked US lady.

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    Didn't Michelle Kwan carry the US for years? Without her there would have been some funk, despite Sarah Hughes' gold medal. We were never big stars in dance or pairs. It was women. We do have the reigning Olympic gold medalist in men's figure skating, we had world champions in ice dance and ice dance silver medalists two Olympics in a row. The US program isn't in a funk. It was only super hot for a pretty short period and television oversaturated the market.

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    If you only consider the age-eligible senior ladies, Russia's field isn't as strong as US's. I mean, Leonova & Makarova are their two best, with Polina K and Polina S distant 3rd and 4th, plus who next? Sofiya Buryukova and Polina A. And that's just about *it* for their age eligible skaters. And yet they manage to get three ladies spots two years in a row!

    In comparison, U.S. is spoiled with riches: besides Wagner and Czisny, there are Caroline Z, Agnes Zawadzki, Mirai Nagasu, Rachael Flatt, Christina Gao, Vanessa Lam, Gracie Gold, Yasmin Siraj, Samantha Cesario, Angela Wang, Leah Keiser. On their good days, all these girls can easily score 150+, which would've placed at least 7th at WC, and which combined with Ashley's 4th would've gotten the US 13 spots.

    People may think the Russian federation is harsh with the way they wait until last minute to decide assignments to JGP's and WC's and other major events, and constantly replacing skaters in the last moment. Well, that's what you have to do when you are no longer the dominant skating federation. The leaner the times, the more you have to constantly monitor all the skaters, and send the most prepared one and be flexible about major assignments. The inflexible and outdated assignment procedure USFSA follows is no longer adequate in the current environment, when there is a lot more competition from Asian countries than in the old days (Europe still being about the same).

  17. #17

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    delete please
    Last edited by bek; 04-01-2012 at 01:36 AM.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Subway View Post
    Didn't Michelle Kwan carry the US for years? Without her there would have been some funk, despite Sarah Hughes' gold medal. We were never big stars in dance or pairs. It was women. We do have the reigning Olympic gold medalist in men's figure skating, we had world champions in ice dance and ice dance silver medalists two Olympics in a row. The US program isn't in a funk. It was only super hot for a pretty short period and television oversaturated the market.
    Because placing 3 girls in the top 4 at the Olympics and leaving a girl who was 5 at Worlds the year before at home isn't a sign of great depth? Even the Japanese have never had THAT kind of placement. The US would have had 3 spots for 98 Olympics, and 2002 Olympics without Kwan. Needless to say having an Olympic team with 2 World Champions and a former world medalist in 98 isn't a sign of a ridiculous amounts of depth.

    Michelle helped the US a lot sure, but to say she carried them when at times she wasn't even the top US lady at worlds or the Olympics is a bit ridiculous to me.

    The US has far more ladies titles than any other nation. Until this recent Olympics, the US ladies hadn't gone without an Olympic medal, since the Olympics right after the plane crash. Michelle was part of a legacy, she wasn't the only one holding it up.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Subway View Post
    Didn't Michelle Kwan carry the US for years? Without her there would have been some funk, despite Sarah Hughes' gold medal.
    What year did they switch from having 1-3 = 3 spots, 4-10 = 2 spots....to the Under 13= 3 spots, 14-28= 2 spots system?

    I'm not sure we'd have a *funk* without Michelle. If one were to erase her from the results- you'd have:

    94 Worlds: Nicole DNQ, Elaine Zayak (how was she in 94?)
    95 Worlds: Nicole Bobek and Tonia Kwiatkowski (Nicole bronze)
    96 - Tonia, Tara, Sydne Vogel (Tonia 8, Tara 15, but Sydne could've managed something good)
    97- Tara, Nicole, Angela (Tara 1st, Nicole 13th, Angela could've done fine)
    98- (Tara and Nicole pulled out), Tonia (6th), Angela would've gotten more notice so she'd presumably have been in the country, Amber Corwin
    99- Angela 12th, Sarah 7th, Erin Pearl (NNN too young)
    00- Sasha, Sarah, Angela -great team!
    01- Sarah, Angela, Jenny Kirk- very good team!
    02- Sasha, Jenny (WD), Ann Patrice McD- good team
    03- Sarah, Sasha, Ann Patrice McD- great team
    04- Sasha, Jenny, Amber- ok this might've been iffy
    05- Sasha, Kimmie, Jenny- good team

    Angela and Ann Patrice could've had very different careers.....
    Last edited by haribobo; 04-01-2012 at 01:49 AM.

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    I'll echo what others have said and say that the USFS needs to start monitoring its skaters after Nationals. They just have to. While Champ's Camp seems good in theory, what a skater looks like in August doesn't mean crap about how they'll look in March.

    The USFS needs to adopt a "readiness clause" of some sort that states all athletes heading to Worlds will be evaluated at their home rink by USFS officials and a panel of judges, where they will skate both their SP and FS. However, something like this needs to be in the rulebook so everyone involved (coaches, athletes, officials) know what the selection process is before they compete at Nationals.

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