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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frau Muller View Post
    Brennan is still giddy from having thrown rice at The Kween.

    There is a great, consistent U.S. lady skater out there and her name is Ashley Wagner.

    ITA, but Brennan's comments apparently go beyond sentimental giddiness over Kween's coming of age, and veer toward a lack of understanding of the cyclical nature of the sport and the vast transitional changes the sport is undergoing. The sports media has always only paid surface, sound-bite lip service to their coverage of figure skating. They don't seem to understand what it takes to be a contender, much less a consistent champion in figure skating these days. Nor, have they probably ever truly understood. They are apparently even blind to some of the harder lessons that Kwan's journey in the sport provided. Not unlike the reported attitudes of some coaches, the media apparently expect U.S. ladies champions to perform like "automatons" and always be in the medals, preferably gold.

    It never fails to fascinate re how much Michelle Kwan’s reign at the top of the sport spoiled everyone, especially those who hardly appreciated her at the time and were always looking for someone else to beat her. And those who claim they found Kwan “boring” likely still don’t understand the significance and complicated relevance of her impact on the sport. In any case, I don’t completely agree with the cries of “chaos” in U.S. ladies’ figure skating.

    It does seem like Kwan’s wedding has left some in the press and perhaps among TBTB pining once again for the ready-made drama and storylines that MK always provided. It seems that while Ashley Wagner was winning gold medals at two GP events, perhaps Phil, Christine, and others were holding their breath thinking that, “Our new U.S. ladies star is on track for gold in Sochi.” Then when Ashley had a slight mishap in her fp at the Grand Prix Final, but still managed to win silver, seemingly it wasn’t enough for the journalists and bigwigs waiting with bated breath. Will nothing but gold suffice?

    And too, perhaps some fs observers in the media have become worried that Yu Na’s stellar athleticism in her dutiful comeback, not to mention the somewhat over-hyped but solid potential seen in the phoenix-like rise of a different North American skater possibly threatens the prospects of their hoped for “U.S. golden girl in Sochi” headlines. They also seem to be relegating Gracie Gold (at least at this point) to the “afterthought” bin. They are missing all the unheralded stories, as well as the underlying back story and ongoing journey of the “Almost Girl,” turned “Nike Girl.”

    Go Ashley, Go Mirai, Don't Give Up Caroline, Go Ross, Go Jeremy, Go Marissa and Simon! Go all U.S. figure skating athletes! Fans who do care, who do understand and who do appreciate all of you, are still watching. Your sincere fans know you can turn “chaos” (and Phil Hersh's "undue enthusiasm") into personal victory and triumphant glory whether or not gold or podium placements factor into the equation. It is the journey and the effort that count. If medals were and are the only goal and the only satisfaction, what’s the point in ever lacing up, or in spending so much time and money training so hard? Medals are and have always been simply “icing on the cake.” It is taking part in the process and being centered and fully aware during the hard-fought struggle in the arena that makes personal victories and grand triumphs so sweet.
    Last edited by aftershocks; 01-25-2013 at 10:43 PM.

  2. #42
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    This kind of article shows up so often and it's getting ridiculous. No there won't be another dominant skater because the sport has changed. At least with 6.0 a Kwan could come in with empty programs yet still get 6.0s for presentation because she skated with her heart. I still love that phrase because it is an underhanded criticism to all the other skaters that they skate with no heart.

    The sport is too hard these days.

  3. #43
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    The problem is that any sport needs make changes in order to move from a quaint little niche to a mainstream television force. As evidenced by the fact that people are still blaming COP for the down-turn in skating's popularity, figure skating purists are stubborn to accept change.

    Having a mainstream star representing the sport to the masses the way Kwan did would be helpful, but I think that getting the sport back to the point where it enjoys mainstream popularity will take a lot more changes. I'm not entirely sure what the answer is.

  4. #44
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    Especially since the sport never enjoyed mainstream popularity. So it's not getting back to where it was but getting to a point it's never been.

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by martian_girl View Post
    The problem is that any sport needs make changes in order to move from a quaint little niche to a mainstream television force. As evidenced by the fact that people are still blaming COP for the down-turn in skating's popularity, figure skating purists are stubborn to accept change.

    Having a mainstream star representing the sport to the masses the way Kwan did would be helpful, but I think that getting the sport back to the point where it enjoys mainstream popularity will take a lot more changes. I'm not entirely sure what the answer is.
    Also, the sport itself and it's sponsors and leaders have this strange idea that this should be a 'sport' where the star has to win all the time. And if they don't, then trouble is in the air. The leaders want a conservative status quo and any threat to that is regarded as trouble. I can't think of another sport like it. Take the Australian Open this week, some new players emerged and it was seen as a GOOD thing. Serena can't win everything, nor can Federer. I think it makes a sport more exciting to have several contenders and not just a tried and true Kwan who always seemed to win if only she'd stay vertical. But figure skating is a strange sport, what can you say?

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacMadame View Post
    Especially since the sport never enjoyed mainstream popularity. So it's not getting back to where it was but getting to a point it's never been.
    How about back to a point where you didn't need a credit card to watch most competitions? Or to when there weren't so many empty seats during the National Championships?

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by martian_girl View Post
    How about back to a point where you didn't need a credit card to watch most competitions? Or to when there weren't so many empty seats during the National Championships?
    I finally got sick of paying the outrageous prices for tickets. Whether Nationals, Skate America, etc. It just seemed so out of touch that tickets would be so overpriced that on televised competitions you see literally only like 10% capacity, and they wouldn't let those with the cheaper seats to move down for television purposes. I think all those competitions with all those sponsor-reserved empty seats that were televised created a subliminal message to viewers at home, like "If no one else is watching this, why am I?"

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by martian_girl View Post
    How about back to a point where you didn't need a credit card to watch most competitions?
    You mean back in the days when we got a few hours of tv (if we were lucky) shown weeks after the event happened?

    Or to when there weren't so many empty seats during the National Championships?
    Nationals sells out most years at least for the premier events.

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    It's not that someone has to win all the time, but they have to have the perception of dominance. Kwan certainly didn't win all the time, but she was a big name because she was dominant and came back from competition with some major hardware despite some people's bitter opinion about whether she deserved the results she's received.

    If you don't have someone who can get the results, then another way for a sport to capture attention for itself is through a huge personality like Johnny Weir.

    However, I think many people don't realize that figure skating in itself just doesn't lend itself to mainstream markets in the U.S. and is just destined to be a niche sport. However, it will survive because it has a surge of popularity in the Olympics and the online subscription allows fans to continue to watch the sport. Figure skating is lucky to have a prime spot in the Olympics television coverage as a way to advertise the sport for new viewers who may become loyal fans after the Olympics (even if it's a very small percentage of the actual Olympic viewership) coupled with a passionate cult fan-base who like to spend all their time online debating the same competition (some from 40 years ago or more) results over and over again.

    Here are inherent things within the sport that may be the reason why it just has not captured the public's attention the way we wish it would in the U.S.:

    It's elitist/classist - people need money or major sponsorships in order to just participate. It being a winter sport certainly doesn't help it's accessibility for most people in the country. In the U.S., it's seen as a sport that only white people and Asians are good at. There are many sports that are also has a public perception of being dominated by one race (like basketball and track or swimming), but for some reason this is a major problem for winter sports since they usually are so costly and because they are only exposed to a small percentage of the U.S. population. I remember watching Bryant Gumbel on HBO essentially laughing at the idea that the Winter Olympics truly represented the best in the world since only a small part of the world was even able to participate. I don't agree with him, but you can't ignore that people may feel that way.

    It feels like a pageant - with all PR training, packaging, and make-up. Especially since the ladies field tends to have under-aged girls placing in the top spots, it may make people think they're watching Toddlers and Tiaras on ice.

    Lack of connection with the public I know European fans take pride in all their "realness" of their athletes, but that won't go over as well with American viewers in terms of big PR marketing. However, people also don't like people being fake, and I think USFS skaters don't seem as real or approachable. This is improving now, however, with the social media that's out there and youtube videos the Shibutanis are doing. I hope the USFS continues to encourage this.

    It's too much like dance - in that people don't think of dance as a sport but as a performance and many can't really tell why one skater scores better than another skater except with major mistakes. Also, the costumes and emphasis on art just make people scoff and laugh at our beloved sport. We love it, but it makes the public-at-large dismiss it as a niche sport that only appeals to housewives and gay people. There is certainly nothing wrong with a sport that finally appeals to people outside the stereotypical jock types, but don't expect it win mass ratings either. Of course, this is all a product of traditional gender roles that are prevalent, where people may be too afraid to exhibit interest in things that may venture outside what is "acceptable."

    It's sexist - This is a major problem with this sport. We still call it "ladies" (which I personally love) which has a condescending tone about it. We expect them to look good while doing extremely difficult physical activity. However, the difficult things about the sport that should be rewarded are the things that may be perpetuate this image problem. Skaters should pay attention to posture, line, carriage, finishing off moves, execution, etc. while doing their routines. However, when we see an 18 year-old girl with great make-up, perfectly straight and white teeth, with her hair neat and clean, with a pretty dress...people who don't really know the sport will dismiss it as a sport that must not be that difficult.

    I'm not saying I agree with any of the above myself because I am a skating fan posting on FSU, but you can't deny that the sport itself really is just "different".
    Last edited by VIETgrlTerifa; 01-25-2013 at 11:12 PM.

  10. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheIronLady View Post
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports...-star/1862815/

    ....
    I would like the USFSA to concentrate foremost on maintaining excellence in the sport. Secondly, they need younger people who are business savvy ...
    Two from the skating world who come to mind are Paul Wylie and Dan Hollander.

  11. #51
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    I find Brennan's account to be backward looking
    Back in the glory days of the 90's, Christine Brennan was selling books and writing articles. I imagine she made a comfortable living doing something she enjoyed. She's as likely to regain what she had then as I am to see Babes in Toyland in concert. They aren't ever getting back together, and 6.0 is dead and buried.

    I will gladly give her a seat in my time machine if I ever get around to making it.

  12. #52
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    Imho, if getting new fans means "reality tv" - give it to them. It doesn't have to be dirty reality tv. It could be done "right". Feature the top 3-5 senior skaters at sectionals. Yeah it might scream a little "American Idol-ish" but educate the audience at the same time - here are the requirements let's see how they do. Jazz it up a little. If you feature more skaters, you are able to have viewers increase the odds of bonding with one or two.

    Stop the longer interviews with skaters who aren't even competing at the event. Give more skaters air time. Make it young and fun.

  13. #53

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    Last year a carpool member who doesn't follow skating asked me how "Nancy Kwan" and "that pretty girl with the ears that stick out" (Sasha Cohen) did at nationals.
    When I'm old, I don't want them to say of me, "She's so charming." I want them to say, "Be careful, I think she's armed."
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  14. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by aftershocks View Post
    ITA, but Brennan's comments apparently go beyond sentimental giddiness over Kween's coming of age, and veer toward a lack of understanding of the cyclical nature of the sport and the vast transitional changes the sport is undergoing. The sports media has always only paid surface, sound-bite lip service to their coverage of figure skating. They don't seem to understand what it takes to be a contender, much less a consistent champion in figure skating these days. Nor, have they probably ever truly understood. They are apparently even blind to some of the harder lessons that Kwan's journey in the sport provided. Not unlike the reported attitudes of some coaches, the media apparently expect U.S. ladies champions to perform like "automatons" and always be in the medals, preferably gold.

    It never fails to fascinate re how much Michelle Kwan’s reign at the top of the sport spoiled everyone, especially those who hardly appreciated her at the time and were always looking for someone else to beat her. And those who claim they found Kwan “boring” likely still don’t understand the significance and complicated relevance of her impact on the sport. In any case, I don’t completely agree with the cries of “chaos” in U.S. ladies’ figure skating.

    It does seem like Kwan’s wedding has left some in the press and perhaps among TBTB pining once again for the ready-made drama and storylines that MK always provided. It seems that while Ashley Wagner was winning gold medals at two GP events, perhaps Phil, Christine, and others were holding their breath thinking that, “Our new U.S. ladies star is on track for gold in Sochi.” Then when Ashley had a slight mishap in her fp at the Grand Prix Final, but still managed to win silver, seemingly it wasn’t enough for the journalists and bigwigs waiting with bated breath. Will nothing but gold suffice?

    And too, perhaps some fs observers in the media have become worried that Yu Na’s stellar athleticism in her dutiful comeback, not to mention the somewhat over-hyped but solid potential seen in the phoenix-like rise of a different North American skater possibly threatens the prospects of their hoped for “U.S. golden girl in Sochi” headlines. They also seem to be relegating Gracie Gold (at least at this point) to the “afterthought” bin. They are missing all the unheralded stories, as well as the underlying back story and ongoing journey of the “Almost Girl,” turned “Nike Girl.”

    Go Ashley, Go Mirai, Don't Give Up Caroline, Go Ross, Go Jeremy, Go Marissa and Simon! Go all U.S. figure skating athletes! Fans who do care, who do understand and who do appreciate all of you, are still watching. Your sincere fans know you can turn “chaos” (and Phil Hersh's "undue enthusiasm") into personal victory and triumphant glory whether or not gold or podium placements factor into the equation. It is the journey and the effort that count. If medals were and are the only goal and the only satisfaction, what’s the point in ever lacing up, or in spending so much time and money training so hard? Medals are and have always been simply “icing on the cake.” It is taking part in the process and being centered and fully aware during the hard-fought struggle in the arena that makes personal victories and grand triumphs so sweet.
    Articulate and accurate. Well said!

  15. #55
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    I'm surprised casual figure skating fans don't think Mao Asada, Miki Ando, and YuNa Kim are really Michelle Kwan still skating with the US winning everything, given the number of people who exclaimed, "It's Michelle Kwan!" when Shizuka Arakawa was skating at the last Champions on Ice show I saw, and those who still think Kwan and Kristi Yamaguchi are the same person. ("Did she dump the hockey player to marry the guy in Washington?")

    The casual fan can barely distinguish between an Axel and a Lutz, let alone distinguish between a Lutz and a Flutz, so giving credit for flawed take-offs and edges at US Nationals is not pushing casual fans to play online poker instead. I would guess that many thought Sasha Cohen should have won every title out there, even though her Lutz had never met an inside edge in its life.
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    This has been one interesting read and thanks to the contributers for all of the opinions. I guess I'm not as worried as I should be: Seeing more champions coming from Asia suggests to me that the sport is growing and that is a positive. I agree that these things are cyclical and to the let the chips fall where they may in competition.

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    Interesting thread

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    I'd just like to say that the judging last night for the ladies short program was as objective and strict as any competition I have ever seen. There were some posts above saying that they have "fixed results" in the past. That may or may not be true but the scores from last night were as fair as they come. And every UR was firmly acknowledged and scored fairly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aliceanne View Post
    Christine Brennan isn't a mouthpiece for USFSA. USFSA took away her press credentials for their events at one time. I don't know if she ever got them back.
    If you read the afterword to The Inside Edge, you will see that her credentials were restored a few months after they were taken away. And that was in 1996.
    We live in an ageist society where everything is based on youth, but I hated being 18. I don't like teenagers any more now than I did then. I'm 49 now and there is no way that I'd go back to my teens and 20s - even if I knew what I know now, I don't want to go through all that again. I found it a very difficult time. - Buzz Osborne of the Melvins

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    Quote Originally Posted by aftershocks View Post
    Brennan's comments
    Brennan has very few "comments" in the article. Her introduction is stating facts, like what happened around when Kwan retired, that a lot of the general public probably couldn't name a major US ladies skater right now, and that there has been a lot of turnover among the US ladies' champions. The majority of the "comments" in the article are quotes from other people, and maybe they would be the appropriate target for your rebuttals.
    We live in an ageist society where everything is based on youth, but I hated being 18. I don't like teenagers any more now than I did then. I'm 49 now and there is no way that I'd go back to my teens and 20s - even if I knew what I know now, I don't want to go through all that again. I found it a very difficult time. - Buzz Osborne of the Melvins

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