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  1. #1

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    What is the point of figure skating as sport?

    Imagine that you're given the task of introducing the sport of figure skating to a group of people who are interested in sports but know nothing about figure skating.

    How would you describe in a couple of sentences what the athletes are trying to achieve, what's being evaluated, and how?

    (For the "how," for brevity choose either 6.0 or IJS. You can write two separate explanations if you like. )

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    because it beautiful to watch and its one of the sports when you see jumps you feel like flying, lol

    FS is subjective sports but so is gymnastics etc.

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    Acrobatics (jumps, spins)/special skills (footwork) on ice where the point is to make it look like dance.
    The Junior Grand Prix: Where skaters who "come out of nowhere" come from.

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    Skating is a unique blend of physics, strength, agility, balance, and art. The first four are mostly assessed in a technical score that, as of yet, has no real upper limit; and the art, along with other skills on the blade that use agility and balance, make up the program components score. Usually, the skater who best combines both technical and components will win.
    Haunting the Princess of Pink since 20/07/11...

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    well, first, such persons might want to know why it is called "figure" skating. And I would guess they would have some expectation that figures are a part of it. I guess I would tell them it is athletic solo dance on ice, involving jumps and spins and footwork.

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    In french, it's called "patinage artistique" (artistic skating). I'd say it can live without music. It's not dance on ice, it's a technical sport before being an artistic sport.

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    If I am talking to people that don't view FS as a sport, I would focus on the athleticism- the speed, power, jumps in particular, and spins too, to explain this. Describe how the blade works against the ice, and the physics of it. Then describe hockey players, except that they don't have to land a jump on one foot, and they don't have to use edges to the extent a figure skater has to. On top of that, figure skaters take a huge risk in not wearing helmets and other protective equipment.

    Once they are convinced that there may be athletic merit to FS, I would go into where the presentation (don't use the word artistry or artistic) part comes in, how it is judged, and the role of musical interpretation- the kind of precision needed in performing the very difficult athletic tasks to match the music. The finer parts make it even more difficult to execute the athletic moves.

    The thing that hurts FS the most in being accepted as a sport are the costumes. We all love those, and would hate to see everyone skate in a black leotard, but others cannot see how a costume can enhance the skating program and performance. Unless there is a question about the costumes, I would not even mention those, except that the tight fitting clothes make it easier to do the rotations and look nice while doing it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by briancoogaert View Post
    In french, it's called "patinage artistique" (artistic skating).
    The intention of this term is often misunderstood. Figure skating, as in compulsory figure skating, was called artistic skating in romance languages because skaters would make artistic tracing in the ice. It had nothing to do with making one's body appear pretty above the ice or performing acrobatics skills above the ice. Compulsory figures used to be the "sport" part of the competition, while Freeskating was the victory lap.
    Last edited by bardtoob; 04-09-2012 at 08:44 PM.

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    Continuous flow across the ice is what makes figure skating unique. This is achieved by skating on the edge of the blade rather than the flat. A deep knee bend is required to maintain your balance on the edge of your blade. The deeper the knee bend, the deeper the edge.

    Skate blades are also curved or "rockered" from front to back, which produces the curved lobes that skaters trace on the ice when doing their turns.

    Deep edges and continuous flow are what separate a great skater from a mediocre one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bardtoob View Post
    Figure skating, as in compulsory figure skating, was called artistic skating in romance languages because skaters would make artistic tracing in the ice. It had nothing to do with making one's body appear pretty above the ice.
    Except that the "artistic" tracing on the ice as shown in your second link was never part of the ISU championships and was only competed at one Olympics and some smaller nonchampionship events around the turn of the 20th century.

    The compulsory figures, as shown at the bottom of your first link, are not exactly artistic.

    However I can't speak to the intention of francophone figure skaters of a century or more ago.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    Except that the "artistic" tracing on the ice as shown in your second link was never part of the ISU championships and was only competed at one Olympics and some smaller nonchampionship events around the turn of the 20th century.

    The compulsory figures, as shown at the bottom of your first link, are not exactly artistic.

    However I can't speak to the intention of francophone figure skaters of a century or more ago.
    People skated before there were competitions, so the name of the activity was not named for what was done in competition.
    Last edited by bardtoob; 04-09-2012 at 09:03 PM.

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    My try:

    Figure skating is based on using the whole body to control the edges of a blade around in curves moving across the ice. Most of the skills involve different ways of transitioning from one edge to another or converting the curving motion of the edges into rotation on the ice (spins) or in the air (rotational jumps). Skaters are rewarded for demonstrating difficulty and variety of different skills linked together into a single performance (program) and for the quality with which they execute these skills. The programs are set to music and skaters are rewarded for demonstrating enough mastery of the technical skills to vary the timing of the moves in subtle ways to match the music.

    I could expand further as appropriate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    The compulsory figures, as shown at the bottom of your first link, are not exactly artistic.
    Sacre bleu! I have to say au contraire mon ami.

    A well-skated figure is a beautiful thing to watch.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jU9Hy1upUr0

    Not 'artistic' in the traditional sense but a very aesthetic experience.

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    While here, at this page

    http://winter-olympic-memories.com/h...figure_msp.htm

    Look at the figure at the bottom right (by the bronze medalist)

    Are those what I think they are? That is loops with threes and brackets at the tip of the loops?

    They look so cool.

    You could call the loop-threes 'hearts' (for obvious reasons)

    What could you call the loop-brackets? spades (like the cards) maybe?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mafke View Post
    Sacre bleu! I have to say au contraire mon ami.

    A well-skated figure is a beautiful thing to watch.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jU9Hy1upUr0

    Not 'artistic' in the traditional sense but a very aesthetic experience.
    You should show them this, also:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SscrUDzeDcs

    Masterful balance and concentration.
    As much effort as any jumps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    Imagine that you're given the task of introducing the sport of figure skating to a group of people who are interested in sports but know nothing about figure skating.

    How would you describe in a couple of sentences what the athletes are trying to achieve, what's being evaluated, and how?

    (For the "how," for brevity choose either 6.0 or IJS. You can write two separate explanations if you like. )
    A Figure Skater must performer as if running a 4 minute mile while navigating over the high hurdle course and must look like Nuryev

    .
    Morry Stillwell

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    Quote Originally Posted by briancoogaert View Post
    I'd say it can live without music. It's not dance on ice, it's a technical sport before being an artistic sport.
    I agree!

    I'm very unique in the fact I like trainings more than competitions - and you often see people train to other people's musics, or train single elements to random music/non-competition music, which benefit that music in the same way a bus ride does.

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    Figure skating is mainly an athletic pursuit that has two essential components:

    It's first about what you can do with a blade: jump, spin, turn, push, lean and move...all adeptly with speed, control and efficiency of energy

    It's second about what you do with your entire body: precise, sincere, unique, varied, complex and interesting movement that is seamlessly woven together and with specific interpretation of the chosen music.

    That's all I got

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    A single figure skater is an all-round gymnast, speed skater and ice-carver roll into one.
    It is a sport which demands stamina, agility, balance, strength, precision, focus with a touch Baryshnikov/Fonteyn.
    The speed and footwork across ice, the spins, the jumps, the intricacy and weaving of all these componenst into ONE makes this complex sport more exciting but certainly no less very demanding on the athlete.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    The thing that hurts FS the most in being accepted as a sport are the costumes. We all love those, and would hate to see everyone skate in a black leotard, but others cannot see how a costume can enhance the skating program and performance.
    I think costumes are only part of the reason why some people don't consider Figure Skating a sport. Figure Skating also involves dancing and acting. Neither are considered a sport (you won't see ballet at the Olympics, although you can argue it is also athletic). I have heard people describe Figure Skating as just dancing while wearing skates. With Gymnastics, they stand in front of the apparatus and then do their thing. Except for the floor exercise and Rythmics, there isn't dancing or acting involved. If the artistic portion of Figure Skating were removed, it would better resemble what people consider a sport...but would also be very boring.


    Regardless of whether people consider Figure Skating a sport or not, it does appear to be popular at the Winter Olympics (judging by ticket prices). At Vancouver 2010, the most expensive tickets were for mens hockey, followed by womens hockey and figure skating. However, I guess that depends on the country hosting the Olympics.
    Last edited by rvi5; 04-11-2012 at 01:15 PM.

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