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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceIceBaby View Post
    Was figure skating hugely popular in Ireland during the 6.0 era?
    Hugely popular would be overstating it, but we got/get a lot of British TV here and Witt was skating at the height of the boom in the UK, so she would be the best known female skater. So much so that people still ask me if she is competing.

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    Of course, I agree that there as many dreadfully dull skaters under 6.0 as there are under CoP, but I think what makes CoP a bit less exciting is that everyone is trying to get a level 4 element (or as many as possible), and so it tends to make so many programs look similar because so many of the elements are the same - and in both the short and long programs, and they got tossed in even if they don't seem to go well with the music or the program.
    I meant to take the high road.... but I missed the exit.

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    I always find the argument about free programs looking the same odd because the programs from the early '90's to the COP era looked pretty similar to one another in terms of elements contained - same number of jumps, spins, footwork/sprial sequences. From my perspective the programs started looking the same after the triple jump became the standard - no room for other jump elements because doing a double something could cost you in the standingds if others did just triples (double axel excluded). It's the programs of the 70's and 80's that looked different from one another because they were doing a variety of elements. I think COP is a major improvement in skating judging from 6.0 but it is not perfect and I think that is why the ISU keeps tinkering with the system but I don't think it is responsible for the programs all looking the same - I think we would see major similarity between the elements of the free programs of the 2002 Olympics but we don't have access to a list of elements attempted and how they were graded like we do with COP and I think that because of that we focus on how similar the elements are between skaters.

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    I also think that it's the well-balanced program rules that make free program templates so similar. As kwanfan1818 suggested a few posts above, it should be possible to use the standardized points for elements to allow more variation in the kinds of elements skaters choose to do and still judge them fairly, moreso than under the 6.0 with well-balanced requirements that was in effect ca. 2000-2004. Unfortunately, the ISU has not seen fit to allow such variation in free program content under IJS, but the current restrictive well-balanced program rules are not inherent in the concept of a code of points, so I have hope that someday the rules will be changed to allow and encourage more variation within the IJS structure.

    We do, of course, expect short programs to be similar in construction, and this was much more true (and much simpler and therefore IMO more boring) in the 1970s and 80s than it is now.

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    Let's see: at the 2002 Olympics Yagudin skated to "Man in the Iron Mask," Plushy to "Carmen," Geobel to "An American in Paris," Honda to "Aranjuez," and Abt to a Rachmaninoff piano concerto. For the ladies, Hughes won skating to "Daphnis and Chloe," Slutskaya skated to "Tosca," Kwan to "Schez," Cohen to "Carmen," and Suguri to "Moonlight Sonota." None of those programs seemed very similar to me... even if they did do similar jump combo.

    The fact I can even remember them a decade later, better than what skaters did two week ago in the GP says something (at least to me).
    I meant to take the high road.... but I missed the exit.

  6. #26

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    Maybe you just have a good memory for these things but I would not have been able to remember most of that - maybe Slutskaya and Yagudin but I certainly didn't remember that Plushenko skated Carmen - I don't remember who skated to what at the grand prix event in Japan either but I don't think it has to do with the programs being so similar - I just don't remember.

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    I can remember Plushy's "Carmen" so well because it was my favorite of his programs. He also skated it on Champions on Ice that year, with most of the jumps! (And everyone else was doing snoozy ballads or rock anthems. )
    I meant to take the high road.... but I missed the exit.

  8. #28

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    My goodness, the list of music for 2002 was awful.

    While the men of 2002 were better than the men of 2010, I will take the ladies of 2010--Yu Na was wayyyy better than Hughes, Mao was better than Irina, Joannie was better than Kwan (yeah, I said it!), Mirai's perky Carmen was better than Sasha's, and I preferred Laura's tango program over Suguri's.

    Also, it's weird using the relatively recent group of ladies as an example of how skating these days sucks. IMO, 2010 displayed one of the best ladies Olympics competitions in its history. The gold and silver medalists ushered in an unprecedented popularity in their respective countries. And the bronze medalist had a story that captivated people beyond the boundaries of her country.

  9. #29

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    I think what this article reflects is that Witt is getting to the age where one tends to get nostalgic and often that makes people think things were so much better before than they are now.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    . As kwanfan1818 suggested a few posts above, it should be possible to use the standardized points for elements to allow more variation in the kinds of elements skaters choose to do and still judge them fairly, moreso than under the 6.0 with well-balanced requirements that was in effect ca. 2000-2004.
    I stole that from you: I wasn't thinking broadly enough to see that possibility until you mentioned it.

    Quote Originally Posted by peibeck View Post
    I can remember Plushy's "Carmen" so well because it was my favorite of his programs. He also skated it on Champions on Ice that year, with most of the jumps! (And everyone else was doing snoozy ballads or rock anthems. )
    As programs, I only remember "Carmen" and "American in Paris," and apart from the melting move Yagudin did in his program, I remember it was well skated, but as a program, not much else, and Honda's and Abt's? Not at all, and Abt was one of my favorite skaters of that era.

    In Vancouver, I definitely remember Lysacek's skating because of its energy, and Plushenko's -- not in a good way, because he wasn't near the Plushenko I saw often in the early 2000's-2005 -- but as programs, I remember both of Takahashi's, Lambiel's, Chan's, Weir's, and Kozuka's, especially, and SP's of Ten, Ri, the guy from North Korea, who opened the competition by nailing his 3A and wuzrobbed of the final spot in the FS because he had no rep -- the story was, he learned from watching videos -- and I think it was Kovalevski who did a beautiful program presentation-wise, but got little credit for it in PCS. Then there was Abbott's FS. (I was so for Abbott during the SP, that the program itself didn't register.)

    I only saw what was televised in the US and Canada for 2002, and saw Vancouver live and then afterwards on video, but I was working in Ireland during 2001 and 2002 Europeans, and got to see every program on Eurosport, and the programs from that era, and live in 2003-5, that I remember most were by Abt, Smalun, Jeannette, Vlascenko, Lindemann in Dortmund, Lambiel, and a couple by Plushenko. It was exciting to see Joubert win his first European championship, but apart from the original Matrix, which I think suited him, I didn't think much of his programs, even back then when they were the norm.
    "The team doesn't get automatic capacity because management is mad" -- Greg Smith, agile guy

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maofan7 View Post
    New article entitled 'Figure skating now sadly lacking both Witt and imagination.' It reads:-
    So, has figure skating lost its soul as the article suggests?

    The article was commissioned to mark Katarina Witt's birthday. She is 47 today (3rd December). Happy birthday Katarina!!
    Skating's lost a great deal of freedom. The scoring system places more emphasis on being able to achieve limitless technical content than it does for balancing content with a program that compliments the music. Some skaters are well-versed and wise enough to make it work, but overall the effect is much more out of sync with the music and the art of storytelling.
    Last edited by Kwantumleap; 12-04-2012 at 04:18 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kwantumleap View Post
    Skating's lost a great deal of freedom. The scoring system places more emphasis on being able to achieve limitless technical content than it does for balancing content with a program that compliments the music. Some skaters are well-versed and wise enough to make it work, but overall the effect is much more out of sync with the music and the art of storytelling.
    This.
    "I hit him with my shoes... if he had given me the medal like I told him to, I wouldn't have had to hit him!" -- 8-year-old Rhoda Penmark in "The Bad Seed"

  13. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by manhn View Post
    My goodness, the list of music for 2002 was awful.

    While the men of 2002 were better than the men of 2010, I will take the ladies of 2010--Yu Na was wayyyy better than Hughes, Mao was better than Irina, Joannie was better than Kwan (yeah, I said it!), Mirai's perky Carmen was better than Sasha's, and I preferred Laura's tango program over Suguri's.
    Disagreed. As much as Hughes is disliked on these boards, she actually had some of the more interesting choices of music and very good/intricate choreography. Daphnis & Chloe + Vocalise >>>>> Gershwin + James Bond anyday. And I thought Slutskaya's programs were very good in 2002 as well?

  14. #34

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    Neither system is perfect, but the real problem, with 6.0 and with CoP, isn't so much the system in itself, but the fact that judges often aren't objective, don't fully understand the system, or just plain cheat!
    Why do we have CoP? Not because people looked in depth at 6.0 and decided it wasn't working, but because two federations were caught cheating, trading votes, scratching each other's backs. Which could have happened under [I]any[I] system.

    What enrages me about CoP, is what an enormous missed opportunity it is. How did the powers that be react to the cheating scandal caused by judges pressured by their federations? By increasing the opacity of the system and making judges totally anonymous, so that, presumably, if they cheated again, this time they wouldn't be caught!

    Skating is less popular now for a variety of reasons, I wouldn't dare write an exhaustive list, but CoP isn't the one reason, if it is at all. I think that skating just was much more in fashion for a while (the late 80's and 90's) than it had been before or was after, and that we always compare to this high water mark. This only applies to the "western world" of course. Apart from the fact that it is a very watchable sport even for the uninitiated, it just made great TV: pretty young people in form-fitting costumes, tons of drama, the opportunity for armchair judging and partisanship...all the stuff we love
    People get that from an endless variety of sources now. We're up to our necks in TV programmes efficiently designed to provide all of the above, not as a by-product, but as an end in itself.
    Touching the void.

  15. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    Also people tend to start threads when they're fed up with specific results happening now and take whatever they're upset about as representative of the whole current situation, painting each problem as evidence that the whole system is worthless.

    I think we see more "COP is worthless" initial posts than "COP is perfect" or "6.0 was worthless" thread-starting posts. If we suddenly went back to 6.0 rules, there would be some unpopular results and then we'd probably see more threads started expressing those frustrations.
    Quote Originally Posted by kwanfan1818
    Who is arguing that CoP is perfect, though? I think even the most vocial advocates of it, I included, have discussed the flaws directly and repeatedly.
    All the above.

    I started watching figure skating during the 6.0 era and is still watching figure skating. A good program is a good program no matter whether it's during 6.0 or COP era IMO as a casual fan. My frustration is the mentality that 'if my favourite doesn't win, it's COP fault'. It soo tiring to read this line of argument all the time so much so... one just switches off when anyone raises anti-COP arguments no matter how justified they may be. Fortunately, I enjoy watching figure skating despite the effort of some to discredit the sport for whatever reasons. I don't care about politics, I just want to watch great figure skating skills and choreography! Period.
    Prosperity makes friends, adversity tries them. – Publilius Syrus

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by l'etoile View Post
    I second that. But why is it that such articles with same theme keep pouring out? What should be noted for public eyes?
    I third it. Great post, Michi. Couldn't have said it better.

  17. #37
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    . But it’s that very approach that could make a young Katarina an also-ran if she competed now.
    I also think this statement is probably wrong. Yes, Witt's 3 triple content would not get her far today, but in her time, Witt's jump content was competitive with the top ladies. OTOH, Manley's FS content in Calgary may well have racked up enough TES to overcome her (likely) lower PCS marks.

    Still, I think the "it's all about tech today" complaints are not well founded. When folks complain about results today, they are just as likely to be complaining about skaters being propped up with PCS (Chan winning with 4 falls or Asada with only 3 triples) as we are to complain about someone's artistry being ignored.

    But I do think the basic point of the article is a good one, namely this:

    "Even the current world men’s champion, Patrick Chan, has said skating used to be more “epic”. There was a tangible individuality among the skaters, he argues, something even the uninitiated could twig. ... But now the way a routine is measured also determines the way it is performed. ... But an unfortunate by-product of that is how much of the soul has been removed. Not coincidentally, so has much of skating’s television audience."

    I would not have used the word "soul" though. I think what has been lost is good choreography. I think problem really boils down to programs simply being too busy to develop a natural ebb and flow. Browning recently observed how much busier a COP program is than programs of his era, and I think that is really the essence of the problem.

    If you look back to the skating's most popular era, the typical FS content for men was 4 spins, 2 fw, and 7 to 9 jumps in 6 or 7 jumping elements. Today, they are typically doing 11 jumps in 8 elements. The quest for Level 4 in fw means that where the two fw elements used to consume at most 40 seconds combined (often less than 30 seconds) today a single fw sequence takes longer than that. That means today, 8 jumping elements have to fit into the remaining 3.5 minutes vs 6 or 7 elements in about 4 minutes under the old systems.

    That is compounded by the COP encouraging more transitions than good skating choreo really wants and overly (and sometimes unattractively) busy jump entrances. The sheer clutter of content has led to the use of music that just drones along with no real highlights or climaxes because it is easier to skate to, hiding timing problems. So we are often left with skaters moving through way too much action with vague background music, rather than really moving to or interpreting music.

    I guess maybe soulless isn't a bad word for that after all.

  18. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Primorskaya View Post
    Why do we have CoP? Not because people looked in depth at 6.0 and decided it wasn't working, but because two federations were caught cheating, trading votes, scratching each other's backs.
    Not exactly. My understanding as that there was already a move behind the scenes to develop a more objective scoring system in the late 1990s, both because the speedskater ISU president found ordinal scoring and factored placements confusing and because of allegations of deal-making on several sides in ice dance judging ca. 1998. I don't know how many or which figure skating experts were enthusiastically on board with this move at the time. Then the back-burner project got fast-tracked after the 2002 Olympics when one judge from one federation in the Olympic pairs event confessed to being pressured to vote a certain way, but whatever deal(s) led to that pressure were just assumed, not "caught."

    Which could have happened under [I]any[I] system.
    Certainly true.

    What enrages me about CoP, is what an enormous missed opportunity it is. How did the powers that be react to the cheating scandal caused by judges pressured by their federations? By increasing the opacity of the system and making judges totally anonymous, so that, presumably, if they cheated again, this time they wouldn't be caught!
    I think it's very important to recognize that IJS and anonymous judging are two totally separate changes that happened to be introduced at approximately the same time (because they both occurred in reaction to the 1998 and especially 2002 scandals). You can have anonymous judging under 6.0 (as we did in 2003 and 2004); you can also have IJS with judges names on the officials sheet matched to the columns on the protocols (as we do on the JGP internationally and in many countries' domestic events).

    Don't blame IJS for anonymous judging, or vice versa. They're two completely separate issues.

    Skating is less popular now for a variety of reasons, I wouldn't dare write an exhaustive list, but CoP isn't the one reason, if it is at all.
    It probably is one reason, but only one of many, and only among certain populations of current, potential, or former fans. Among other populations it's irrelevant to their decisions to watch skating, or actually an improvement.

    I think that skating just was much more in fashion for a while (the late 80's and 90's) than it had been before or was after, and that we always compare to this high water mark. This only applies to the "western world" of course. Apart from the fact that it is a very watchable sport even for the uninitiated, it just made great TV: pretty young people in form-fitting costumes, tons of drama, the opportunity for armchair judging and partisanship...all the stuff we love
    People get that from an endless variety of sources now. We're up to our necks in TV programmes efficiently designed to provide all of the above, not as a by-product, but as an end in itself.
    Great points.

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by shine View Post
    Disagreed. As much as Hughes is disliked on these boards, she actually had some of the more interesting choices of music and very good/intricate choreography. Daphnis & Chloe + Vocalise >>>>> Gershwin + James Bond anyday. And I thought Slutskaya's programs were very good in 2002 as well?
    Really? Swan Lake, Turandot, Don Quixote...

    I did like her short programs more, as well as her 2003 programs...

  20. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kwantumleap View Post
    Skating's lost a great deal of freedom. The scoring system places more emphasis on being able to achieve limitless technical content than it does for balancing content with a program that compliments the music. Some skaters are well-versed and wise enough to make it work, but overall the effect is much more out of sync with the music and the art of storytelling.
    You spoke for me, as well!

    I also believe that it is the skater who gives"soul"/emotion to a program; making it more than a collection of elements.
    Some are much better at doing that than others.
    Last edited by skatesindreams; 12-04-2012 at 04:36 PM.

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