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  1. #1
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    Interview with Michal Březina: it's the golden age of the quadruple jump

    Pingu and I had the chance to interview Michal Březina at Euros in Zagreb. He is a very nice guy besides being a talented skater. He says there's no "plan B" in case the first quadruple in the free goes wrong, but he also admits that he just had to add a single jump right after the second quad to avoid losing points (yet he didn't)

    (big big thanks to TAHbKA for her late night suggestions for the interview!)

    here's the link to the interview:
    http://www.artonice.it/?q=en/node/13541
    CaroFan™

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    So is he basically telling Evan to think about staying home?

    ...These Championships have been the hardest Europeans of at least the last five years. In the whole competition there were so many quads landed. I don't want to sound mean, but I think that if anyone wants to come back now, it's going to be really hard for them unless they have a quad, it's impossible to win without it. Now we are in the same era that there was before the Olympics in Salt Lake City, where everyone was jumping quads and you didn't have a chance to win a medal unless you had that jump, I think the next Olympic Games will be exactly like the ones in Salt Lake City, in terms of jump content. It's going to be so much harder than the Olympics in Vancouver. That's what makes the skating right now so interesting, because you never know who can win, everybody has the potential for it. If you skate a clean program, the result is going to be pretty close and that's what makes skating more exciting.

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    yes, basically
    CaroFan™

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    Great interview! So true about going back to slc jump standard. Vancouver saw such a wretched display of ultraconservatism in skating that it was just a disgrace. The Olympic champion and his coach presenting some topsy turvy world where men could be complete skaters without quads. The whole thing was a disgrace of athletic regression! I mean brezIna was playing that game and going quadless but he is growing as a skater now and improving. Fernandez was there too and he was vey dumb within that system at that Olympics because he did a quad attempt and it was mistake there but not now! He was really smart long term!

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    A fall on a 4toe is now worth more than a clean 3lutz. Well done, everyone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziggy View Post
    A fall on a 4toe is now worth more than a clean 3lutz. Well done, everyone.
    The cycle goes:

    Buttle gets too many points for a fallen 4toe at Turin -> people yell -> [point changes, GOE changes] -> people yell -> a fall on a 4toe is still worth more than a 3lutz.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marco View Post
    The cycle goes:

    Buttle gets too many points for a fallen 4toe at Turin -> people yell -> [point changes, GOE changes] -> people yell -> a fall on a 4toe is still worth more than a 3lutz.
    Exactly. Which is why changes should be done after careful consideration and analysis and not because of mob mentality.

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    But now people know that if you don't score quads high with falls they wont be done. 4 clean rotations with a fall must be scored higher than a lutz. It must be. If its not then you go from 10 worlds in a row and three olympics in a row with quads to quads vanishing, Not being done. People who can do them don't do them. Make excuses for not doing them! More quads were done in the SP at worlds 2012 than done in FS in VAncouver. That is not just about doing quads it is about athletic maximum. One medalist did quads in vancouver. Now everyone in the top 10 can do quads in the SP and LP! Not just a bunch of people stopping at 3 rotations because of being afraid of a brutal scoring penalties against quads but now doing 4. Pushing themselves. I'm sorry but not pushing for the sake of clean program or skating smart is worthless.

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    Yes Ziggy, if you look back, the way the sport progressed technically was to reward athletes for attempting the difficulty. When nobody else was doing a 4T-3T, it was right that they rewarded Stojko for doing his even when it was not perfect. As caseyedwards says, there is no alternative. This 2006-2012 cycle proves it. Almost all of IJS depends on value judgments. There is no perfect, value free system. Every decision about scoring is going to be about what is of greatest value and not always what is the best technically. It is right that the system be designed to work with the nature of the athlete-- to bring out his potential. This seems to be the way to get as many skaters into the quad game as possible.
    Last edited by TheIronLady; 03-08-2013 at 05:22 AM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by caseyedwards View Post
    4 clean rotations with a fall must be scored higher than a lutz. It must be.
    No. I want to see quality over quantity.

    I don't care whatsoever how many quads were attempted or not attempted in Vancouver, Salt Lake City or Sarajevo. I just want to see good quality of skating.

    And given skaters usually do crossovers for full length of the rink if not more in order to set-up for a quad...

    Brezina is actually a perfect example of this. His FS set-up with two quads at the start was: stroking all the way around the rink into one quad and then stroking all the way around the rink again into another quad.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheIronLady View Post
    Yes Ziggy, if you look back, the way the sport progressed technically was to reward athletes for attempting the difficulty.
    Performing jumps off complex entries, unusual set-ups and blending them seamlessly into the program is extremely difficult. So is maintaining speed without resorting to lots of cross-overs and progressives.

    This is the kind of difficulty I would like to see. Not the one that Brezina showed us in the example, above.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheIronLady View Post
    This seems to be the way to get as many skaters into the quad game as possible.
    Because we don't have enough injuries in skating as it is.
    Last edited by Ziggy; 03-08-2013 at 10:00 AM.

  11. #11
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    I like the system the way it is. I agree, if a fall on a rotated quad is not worth more than a lutz, than anyone who does not have a rock solid quad won't try one, and forget about trying 2 or 3. In the SP, the number of men going for it would drop from about half to like a very select few. The system now pushes skaters to keep working on the quad and rewards them for mastering the jump. Plus, how else are you supposed to get a jump consistent in your arsenal if you never do it in competition? We saw at Junior Worlds about half a dozen guys, maybe more, who could deliver a FS with content that Lysacek won his Olympic Gold with and Buttle won his World Title with, is that what you want to see in the sport? I like to see all these guys go for it. Maybe there are a lot of falls, but there's a lot of incentive to go after the quads now and I really do think putting quads in your program changes the dynamic and how you train it.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziggy View Post
    Exactly. Which is why changes should be done after careful consideration and analysis and not because of mob mentality.
    You mean like how COP was originally implemented?

    For the most part though Ziggy, I agree with you I'd rather see quality over quantity. The problem is what you said - a fall on a quad is worth more than a clean lutz. Interestingly, under 6.0 and we saw a lot of clean quads and the most rewarded were the ones done within clean PROGRAMS.

    What's missing in COP is the reward for a clean program and resulting excitement of seeing one -- not just for its own sake but also because you knew it would mean something important in terms of placement relative to potential.

    Just for kicks I went back 10 years and looked at the jumps and results from the men's SP in Washington DC. Sure, a lot of these guys did many crossovers, easier spins and easier footwork than today, but the edge-of-your seat excitement surrounding the question: "will he hit his jumps?" is gone because standing up the jumps meant so much. Then overall program, spins, footwork, musicality were the cherry on top. Now it's a mechanical exercise to "tick the boxes to get my base values" and for most skaters it's coming across that way. If Fernandez or Hanyu put on displays like Klimkin and Lambiel did in 2003, would they drop so far? Probably not, held up by base values and PCS.

    But we sure are back to the same level of quad attempts in the 1999-2006 era!

    red = fall
    orange = deductible mistake like hand down or step out

    --------------------------
    Every man in the top 6 had a clean quad and the top 4 were the ones with clean programs:

    1. Plushenko 4t/3t, 3a, 3z
    2. Goebel 4s/3t, 3a, 3f
    3. Honda 4t*/2t, 3a, 3flutz (*notes said he "hung on" to the 4t but no errors, assume just a quality issue)
    4. Li 4t/3t, 3a, 3r
    5. Weiss 4t/3t, 3a, 3z (and boy do I remember agony of the moment when he fell on his easiest jump after nailing the quad and axel)
    6. Joubert 4t/3t, 3a (step out), 3f

    Honda was an overall better skater than Li so I get the Honda over Li decision even if Honda's quad wasn't seamless and he only did at 2t on the combo.
    Weiss had a really incredible program and was overall a more complete skater than Joubert so the decision made sense too even though Weiss fell while Joubert only stepped out.

    --------------------------
    Below this, a mistake on the quad knocked you into the 7-12 range:

    7. Davydov 3a/3t, 3z, 2a
    8. Buttle 4t/3t, 3a, 3flutz (stepped out of quad and extra turns before 3t)
    9. Jahnke 3z/3t, 3a, 3f
    10. Sandhu 4t/3t, 3a, 3flutz (basically same mistake as Buttle - two footed quad, step out and turns)
    11. Timchenko 3a/3t, 3z, 2a
    12. Jeannette 3a/2t, 3z, 2a

    Davydov seemed too high on paper but he had Kostner like edge quality and speed.
    Jahnke was the one placement I recall being really controversial especially vis a vis Sandhu, but Jahnke had brilliant edging, COP quality spin features and choreographically detailed programs.

    --------------------------
    Below this, a clean quad but otherwise shoddy jumping display or a missed quad dumps you to the 13-18 range:

    13. Klimkin 4t/3t, 3a,3f
    14. Dinev 3f, 3a/2t, 2a
    15. Skorniakov 3a/3t, 3z, 2a (he wasn't a great skater, but this was the best he can do and boy was he happy! )
    16. Lambiel 3a, 4t, 3z (and boy was he upset )
    17. Chiper 3a/3t, 3z, 2a
    18. Zhang 3a, 4t, 3z -no combo

    No one below 18th attempted a quad except Zoltan Toth, who botched it, then doubled another jump and wasn't a high quality skater overall.

    --------------------------
    --------------------------

    In the free skates we had as many quad attempts as we just saw at Euros among the top 6, with almost all the top guys except Weiss trying two. The three on the podium were the three who were clean or virtually clean, and the top two the cleanest with both quads clean:

    1. Plushenko - 4t/3t/2t, 4t
    2. Goebel - 4s/3t, 4t
    Both made a small mistake on an easier jump but were otherwise clean (if you can call a mistake on Plushenko's 3a-half loop-3f an easier jump...)

    3. Honda - 4t w/step out, 4t
    Overall stood up everything else clean but was tight

    4. Li - 4t/3t, 4s
    Doubled a lot of stuff and never had a lutz

    5. Weiss - 4t w/step out
    No clean triple axel

    6. Joubert - 4t x 2 clean, but neither in combo
    Otherwise messy and doubled a bunch of stuff

    Below these top six there were 7 quad attempts, 5 resulting in falls, 1 with a mistake and one clean (Min Zhang, who fell on a second attempt)

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by BreakfastClub View Post

    What's missing in COP is the reward for a clean program and resulting excitement of seeing one -- not just for its own sake but also because you knew it would mean something important in terms of placement relative to potential.
    Maybe I am imagining that judges reward skaters with higher P/E for a clean program without falls or disruptions. Is this a realistic thought or merely wishful?

  14. #14
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    The significant increase in quad attempts came when the ISU changed the rule to reduce the base value of an < under-rotated jump by 70% instead of downgrading it by one revolution.
    "'Is this new BMW-designed sled the ultimate sledding machine for Langdon and Holcomb?' Leigh Diffey asked before the pair cruised to victory. I don’t know, but I know that sled is the ultimate Olympic Games product placement.." -- Jen Chaney

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheIronLady View Post
    Maybe I am imagining that judges reward skaters with higher P/E for a clean program without falls or disruptions. Is this a realistic thought or merely wishful?
    Denis Ten scored higher P/E for a program with five falls than a program with three in the 10/11 season. Not the only example.

    Sure, a lot of these guys did many crossovers, easier spins and easier footwork than today, but the edge-of-your seat excitement surrounding the question: "will he hit his jumps?" is gone because standing up the jumps meant so much. Then overall program, spins, footwork, musicality were the cherry on top
    Literally every aspect outside of the jumps merely becomes the "Cherry on top?" Really? And that's desirable?

    That said, if you had gone back one year, you'd find a fall on quad/no combo ranking a skater 4th in the Olympic SP.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheIronLady View Post
    So is he basically telling Evan to think about staying home?
    I thought it was about Pluschenko....

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    Quote Originally Posted by TAHbKA View Post
    I thought it was about Pluschenko....
    Yes, but if he stays at home, what would have happened with the haters? Their life would be empty..

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    First of all the FS is a competitive sport! In which elements have the most risk? Of course, the jumps, the difficult jumps are the most risky.. What does the audience want to see? Competition and excitement. The ladies can do 3L combo, and men have to do the same jumps? That is a joke. If you see the other sports: gymnastic, snowboard, but even in the synchronized swimming or rythmic gymnastics need the difficult elements to the victory. Plus many other things, of course, like in FS. Every sport needs to improve, and I don't think between 2006-2010 was the good change. You never forget, "faster, higher, stronger" in FS too. If anybody doesn't like it, go to the shows.
    Last edited by lala; 03-10-2013 at 07:57 PM.

  19. #19

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    Yet in North America at least, figure skating interest by the general public has gone down. It might be going gangbusters in Japan and other countries, but I read a lot on this board about how TV doesn't cover what it used to, and I see lots of empty seats when I watch You Tube vids. Many believe that the complexity of COP for the general public and the busy, generic programs it produces has harmed the sport's popularity. I am not particularly espousing this view, but it's definitely out there. You can tell me to just go to shows to see artistic skating, but there aren't very many of those around any more either, in this country. Or not as many. I believe the health of competitive skating and show skating are definitely linked. Now, I love me a good quad fest - it's exciting and no doubt the sport needs to continue its push for more extreme athleticism, though it seems at a very high cost injury-wise. Without the same emphasis on elements other than jumps, it ceases to be figure skating as we have known it, and I'm not sure the change is totally good for the sport.

    I'm also curious....as far as risk, aren't many non-jump elements of pairs skating even riskier? I hold my breath whenever I watch pairs, terrified by the apparant danger. But pairs skating-for all the athletic difficulty, doesn't seem to have gotten more popular...in fact, it seems to have declined in number of participants I see on the list of competition entries.

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