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  1. #1

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    Skating Lessons Podcast: Chuck Foster (former USFSA President)

    This is a fascinating program where Dave and Jenny interview a man who has been involved in more than his share of skating history and judging decisions, the former USFSA head and veteran judge Chuck Foster.

    On the Other Side of the Boards: An Interview with Chuck Foster

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    I'm looking forward to second part on Thursday. I hope he talks some about his time as USFSA President as well as his thoughts on IJS.

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    Part 2 is up! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXt48cOThng

    I agree with Chuck that we're missing Dick Button. He's a national treasure! Yes, I know he is older and his health may be a bit diminished but NBC could surely use him in a studio like setting where he could share his thoughts on the skating.

    I also agree with many of Chuck's thoughts on the IJS and how it has helped contribute to the decline in the sport's popularity in the United States.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FSfan107 View Post
    Part 2 is up! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXt48cOThng

    I agree with Chuck that we're missing Dick Button. He's a national treasure! Yes, I know he is older and his health may be a bit diminished but NBC could surely use him in a studio like setting where he could share his thoughts on the skating.

    I also agree with many of Chuck's thoughts on the IJS and how it has helped contribute to the decline in the sport's popularity in the United States.
    Chuck was 100% right, the IJS had a very large part in the demise of skating's popularity in the USA, I was impressed by how well he spoke of Tonya Harding after all the headaches she caused the federation.

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    I didn't love the first part of this interview---I hated the way he brushed over the Fratianne question, because I mean seriously this is one of the most debated results in history and he was the freakin' U.S. judge on the panel and he has never publicly cried fowl about the result which just seems a bit cowardly to me to be honest---but I really loved the second part and felt he was much more forthcoming about things and seemed like a very likable guy. Still, for someone who was in a lot of places and wielded a lot of power (despite his protests to the contrary) he sure didn't see a lot or know a lot .

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    I also liked the interview but I don't think he was always honest. I don't necessarily think he was always involved in some of the things they asked about but his denials that certain things never happened didn't seem sincere. I think he is still very much thinking and acting as a representative of USFSA and his answers reflected that.

    Jenny, David - Push back with more questions. I would LOVE to hear what they think about these interviews. I know they don't want to offend their guests but it would be great for them to let us know, some day, who they think was being honest and who they think was full of it. lol
    -Brian
    "Michelle would never be caught with sausage grease staining her Vera Wang." - rfisher

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigB08822 View Post
    I also liked the interview but I don't think he was always honest. I don't necessarily think he was always involved in some of the things they asked about but his denials that certain things never happened didn't seem sincere. I think he is still very much thinking and acting as a representative of USFSA and his answers reflected that.

    Jenny, David - Push back with more questions. I would LOVE to hear what they think about these interviews. I know they don't want to offend their guests but it would be great for them to let us know, some day, who they think was being honest and who they think was full of it. lol
    ITA with all of the above. I really wish Jenny and Dave would've pushed him a bit, but then I thought maybe that's not what they want the show to be about. I do feel that they tend to treat their guests with kid gloves a little too often, I'm assuming in part because their guests are usually celebrities in the skating community and I guess it's human nature. Dave has long been like this on his blog where he'll have no problem tearing an athlete apart until he gets to know them personally, and then all of the sudden they can do no wrong. Understandable, definitely, but lacking a bit in journalistic integrity.

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    He sounded a little impatient with conspiracy and collusion theories. He seemed to feel that bureaucratic inertia and lack of a united front by USFSA was the problem with promoting US skaters and skating.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maximillian View Post
    I didn't love the first part of this interview---I hated the way he brushed over the Fratianne question, because I mean seriously this is one of the most debated results in history and he was the freakin' U.S. judge on the panel and he has never publicly cried fowl about the result which just seems a bit cowardly to me to be honest---but I really loved the second part and felt he was much more forthcoming about things and seemed like a very likable guy. Still, for someone who was in a lot of places and wielded a lot of power (despite his protests to the contrary) he sure didn't see a lot or know a lot .
    You don't get to be head of a profitable "non-profit" like the USFSA by having loose lips. In terms of his years, he hasn't been gone that long from the reins of power. I think his level of candor was reasonable. I liked his curmudgeonly manner.

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    I think this was the best interview in terms of interviewing style of Dave and Jenny. But I found myself fast forwarding through parts. I did enjoy the last 1/4 of the interview more than the first 3/4 with the discussion of improving the system.

    I think we all can agree that IJS hasn't helped skating ratings in addition to a lack of a skating star. But I do think it should be mentioned that we live in a different time with many different options for television viewing. I just think the decline was bound to happen (what goes up must come down from the boom of the 90's). I am at how far down it has come.

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    I dunno why everyone hates IJS. I love it, and I understand the results (most of the time) much better than before, with 6.0. And it's not true there is no artistry now...There have been fantastic programs under IJS and I think there are more well rounded and better packaged skaters than before. A "complete" skater is rewarded more under the new scoring system

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    My issue with IJS is that the programs mostly seem like a collection of elements rather than a cohesive program. Yes there are those that can rise above and deliver that stunning piece of choreography, but that seems few and far between. I don't think it's all bad though and I think it has helped skaters strive to be well rounded. I just wish for more revisions to the system to discourage cookie cutter choreography/elements and to promote a balanced program (rather than front or back loading).

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    Quote Originally Posted by robinhood View Post
    I dunno why everyone hates IJS. I love it, and I understand the results (most of the time) much better than before, with 6.0. And it's not true there is no artistry now...There have been fantastic programs under IJS and I think there are more well rounded and better packaged skaters than before. A "complete" skater is rewarded more under the new scoring system
    When IJS came along I loved it, I really felt that skating needed something to shake it up and the judges needed to be accountable. That being said, I think the two points that Chuck hit in his interviews are the two primary problems with the system and which are making skating an incredibly unpopular sport to watch: 1. the layout of the programs are too similar and don't allow for signature elements and personal style---the IJS is really a wonderful example of how a collection of parts do not make a whole. Under 6.0 the very best programs were a cohesive, singular piece that moved the viewer on a larger scale (think of Kwan's great programs, Curry, Lynn etc. we remember "Lyra Angelica" or "Don Quixote" or "Afternoon of the Faun"). Under 6.0 the judges were grading the forest through the trees, under IJS the judges are grading each individual trees. I won't say there isn't merit to this, however it makes for very similar programs which leave no overall impression on the audience. As was pointed out by someone during the interview (or at some point somewhere) skating's appeal---like most sports today---is found in its entertainment value. So while the programs under 6.0 were perhaps simpler (certainly Kwan's famous COE spiral is less difficult than a L4 Footwork sequence, but I can tell you what I'd rather watch) they drew the audience in, in a way they don't anymore. I think the results (that it television ratings, empty arenas) speak for themselves (I, personally gave up my icenetwork membership).

    2. The whole anonymous judging thing just seems underhanded and has not made the sport any less corrupt (I don't know if it's made it anymore corrupt, but there are still just as many questionable results under IJS as there were under 6.0).

    I'll get off my soapbox now.

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    ^^ ITA with Maximillian, and I also think that the fantastic programs we have seen under IJS are due to great choreography and music meeting an excellent performance by a skater. Too often, even in great performances today we see one too many distracting spin revolutions and footwork sequences. In general, IMHO, great programs under the current scoring system are achieved in spite of IJS, not because of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maximillian View Post
    I didn't love the first part of this interview---I hated the way he brushed over the Fratianne question, because I mean seriously this is one of the most debated results in history and he was the freakin' U.S. judge on the panel and he has never publicly cried fowl about the result which just seems a bit cowardly to me to be honest---but I really loved the second part and felt he was much more forthcoming about things and seemed like a very likable guy. Still, for someone who was in a lot of places and wielded a lot of power (despite his protests to the contrary) he sure didn't see a lot or know a lot .
    Debated amongst who? From what I understand in Europe the situation isn't debatable at all. Annette is far better at figures and welll Denise Bielman had an amazing free skate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bek View Post
    Debated amongst who? .
    hmm... Two us people interview in English the former head of the usfsa about when he was the us judge at a comp in the us where a us coach and us skater felt so "wuz robbed" they keep bringing it up in the us press years and years later... Yeah, I gonna guess max meant it was hotly debated in Russia.

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    Good to bash the IJS created mutant butt spin for levels. The butt spin may nit be totally IJS but the whole thing of the butt spin is emblematic of the way aesthetically ugly things have become almost uniform for points and also how levels make things like spins and step sequences so long it's like "time for butt spin variation!!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by bek View Post
    Debated amongst who? From what I understand in Europe the situation isn't debatable at all. Annette is far better at figures and welll Denise Bielman had an amazing free skate.
    Is this your first day on a figure skating forum ever in your life? Because I can guarantee you, having been on FS message boards for over a decade (not just this one), this has been a hotly contested result for quite some time. And I do believe that Fratianne being better than Bielmann in figures and better than Poetzsch in FS pretty much makes up for either of their superiority in their respective areas of expertise. Remember it was an OVERALL result.

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    IJS is painful. Patrick, Daisuke, Carolina, etc would have been brilliant under any system. Spins are overly convoluted with a million changes of position and awkward variations that aren't natural for everyone. Like Biellmans... it used to be that only those who could do them did. Now everyone has to do them for a level four, so we get the ugliest biellmans ever. Something everyone seemed to like, the 8 revolutions feature, has now been reduced to one instance per program.

    Footwork has nothing to do with the music any more now that you have to count changes of direction, number of turns and steps, and have to have constant upper body movement- forget whether those movements make sense choreographically, as long as you look like you're having a seizure you'll get the points.

    Transitions are the same. Now transitions are being stuck in everywhere, regardless of whether it's appropriate for the music or program. I'm not even going to get into the ridiculous idea of a "choreographed step sequence." It's like you're saying "ok, here's the section for choreography. Judge that." Shouldn't there be choreography oh I don't know... throughout the whole program?

    I think it's laughable that the whole problem was never the system, but the corrupt judges. So we decided to change the judging system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by triple_toe View Post
    IJS is painful. Patrick, Daisuke, Carolina, etc would have been brilliant under any system. Spins are overly convoluted with a million changes of position and awkward variations that aren't natural for everyone. Like Biellmans... it used to be that only those who could do them did. Now everyone has to do them for a level four, so we get the ugliest biellmans ever. Something everyone seemed to like, the 8 revolutions feature, has now been reduced to one instance per program.

    Footwork has nothing to do with the music any more now that you have to count changes of direction, number of turns and steps, and have to have constant upper body movement- forget whether those movements make sense choreographically, as long as you look like you're having a seizure you'll get the points.

    Transitions are the same. Now transitions are being stuck in everywhere, regardless of whether it's appropriate for the music or program. I'm not even going to get into the ridiculous idea of a "choreographed step sequence." It's like you're saying "ok, here's the section for choreography. Judge that." Shouldn't there be choreography oh I don't know... throughout the whole program?

    I think it's laughable that the whole problem was never the system, but the corrupt judges. So we decided to change the judging system.

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