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  1. #441

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    Quote Originally Posted by sarakimm View Post
    No, the sport is "dying" because of the fact that judges hold up or hold down skaters at all. They are supposed to be JUDGES. And the widespread knowledge, among "casual" and noncasual fans alike, that it happens routinely, is what is destroying skating. It doesn't matter which system is used as far as this goes -- there have been disgraceful examples of collusion and cheating under both systems. But when a large percentage of the public believes a sport is crooked and "fixed", they are not going to be emotionally invested in the outcome of its competitions. And the perception that the powers that be in skating are just fine with that seals the deal.
    That is just your perception. Any sport that has subjective judging based on human decision making is going to have perceptions of credibility. I think there are sports out there who are suffering a lot more with credibility issues (cycling for example). Skating is a small fish in a big pond of sport which the reality is most people couldn't care less about and are probably caring less about. Whilst judging perception is one factor, it is not the only factor which many people have put forward other ideas and theories.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  2. #442
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Willy View Post
    That is just your perception. Any sport that has subjective judging based on human decision making is going to have perceptions of credibility. I think there are sports out there who are suffering a lot more with credibility issues (cycling for example). Skating is a small fish in a big pond of sport which the reality is most people couldn't care less about and are probably caring less about. Whilst judging perception is one factor, it is not the only factor which many people have put forward other ideas and theories.
    Actually sarakimm is quite right, the perception of skating by a large portion of the public is that it is corrupt.
    Other sports have their problems, but cheating is cheating. The use of ped's in cycling has been acceptable for 80 years, the collusion, cheating and politics in figure skating have been seen as acceptable since Sonje Henie and probably before that. Which is actually worse? At least in the bike race we know the guy who went across the finish first is the winner doped or not, in figure skating it may be the entry from the strongest federation politically whether deserved or not.
    Their is a reason why Skate Canada chose a smaller venue for Worlds and not an 18000 seat arena. The hills and finishes are still lined with tens of thousands at the cycling spring classics though, so maybe not such a good comparison about the credibility of the 2 sports. Figure skating definetely has large credibility issues at the moment.

  3. #443
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    Quote Originally Posted by mumboman View Post
    Actually sarakimm is quite right, the perception of skating by a large portion of the public is that it is corrupt.
    ...
    I think this is true and has been for a long time, but was especially exacerbated by the 2002 Pairs event. This is why it perplexes me when people finger IJS in this regard. IJS may not have restored credibility, but it isn't the cause of lack of credibility.

    That said, I think the public's perception of corruption in figure skating is and has been grossly exaggerated from what problems figure skating actually has.

    I was looking for something in the bottom of my closet the other day and found a tape of 2002 Worlds so I watched that (as I failed to find what I was actually looking for which had nothing to do with skating ).

    It was interesting to see the extent that the ESPN broadcast focused on the judges. They repeatedly focused on "the Russian judge" who was sitting with his arms crossed looking formidble. It seems that IJS and the anonymity of the specific marks given has sapped from figure skating what some people found a most exciting aspect. I guess this is like the reality shows where the judges are a major part of the show.

    I think figure skating reaped the whirlwind with this focus on judging and the conspiracy theories people loved to weave.

    Now its just a sport and lacks drama. Its got to make it on the merit of the appeal of what is on the ice. Shame there's not a lot of interest in that in the U.S. because what is on the ice is wonderful, as far as I'm concerned.
    Congratulations 2014 World Ice Dance Champions Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte!!!

  4. #444
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    Quote Originally Posted by mumboman View Post
    Actually sarakimm is quite right, the perception of skating by a large portion of the public is that it is corrupt.
    The use of ped's in cycling has been acceptable for 80 years, the collusion, cheating and politics in figure skating have been seen as acceptable since Sonje Henie and probably before that. Which is actually worse?
    Seriously? You are seriously trying to make the argument that an uneducated public crying "cheating!" whenever the results aren't to their liking is worse than athletes using performance enhancing drugs to win?
    Actual bumper sticker series: Jesus is my co-pilot. Satan is my financial advisor. Budha is my therapist. L. Ron Hubbard owes me $50.

  5. #445
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacMadame View Post
    Seriously? You are seriously trying to make the argument that an uneducated public crying "cheating!" whenever the results aren't to their liking is worse than athletes using performance enhancing drugs to win?
    Their are many examples in the sport of figure skating of blatant cheating by judges and officials, and I'm not saying their even was an issue at World's this year. Sonje Henie won her first world championships with 3 norwegian judges on the panel in a 3-2 split, and from their it has just grown. Cheating is Cheating whether it is ped use or politics. I just don't think it is right to compare figure skating to any other sport, their is blatant cheating and corruption in the sport just like their is in cycling, football, track and field, etc... Figure skating unlike the other sports though is having problems putting people in the audience and getting television coverage on a couple of continents. I would actually say their is more problems in cycling, football, track and field, cross country skiing etc.. but figure skating has a huge perception issue with being corrupt from the casual fan, and being a judged sport it effects it's viewership and core audience. I think for cycling fans who followed the sport the use of ped's by most athletes was already well known and it was part of the show thus not affecting it's core audience. In general most sports have huge problems, figure skating is one of the few pure sports where ped use is not much of an advantage. But corruption in the sport is a big problem, whether it is only perceived by an uneducated audience as you say, or in many cases is more than real.

  6. #446

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    I think we all know that problems with judging have probably been around since skating became an official sport. That is well known.

    However if you are trying to evaluate why it is losing popularity, that would only be one reason of many why is losing popularity. It is not the only reason which is what some people making it out to be.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  7. #447
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    If there has been blatant cheating from day one then cheating can't be the reason the sport has been losing popularity. I mean that's just logic.
    Actual bumper sticker series: Jesus is my co-pilot. Satan is my financial advisor. Budha is my therapist. L. Ron Hubbard owes me $50.

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    ^^ But (devil's advocate ), figure skating and its political inevitabilities and machinations were always shrouded in mystery, mystique, lack of popular understanding, and tradition, and elitism. Even blatant, the collusion was in most respects condoned and accepted for generations.

    The sport was not even covered that often on tv until the 1968 Winter Olympics ushered in a new era. Still, the media didn't know from nothing, and the results were always justified and maybe even on occasion justifiable. In today's Internet age, the crap continues to hit the fan ... but the cahoots and not so pleasant under-handed dealings were dramatically revealed in 2002 and for figure skating it's been all downhill from there, literally and figuratively.


    ETA: ITA with your post #445, mumboman
    Last edited by aftershocks; 04-01-2013 at 10:32 PM.

  9. #449
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    Actually, I think the argument goes the other way around. It's a lot harder to scream politics now because we don't know who gave what mark. And skating coverage is down... Hmmm.

    Of course, I still say it's all nonsense because it's only skating on tv in the US. By every other measure, interest in skating is up. But, if you accept the premise that skating is dying, then it seems that anonymous judging would be the cause, not IJS according to the logic of "there's always been politics and cheating but now something is different".
    Actual bumper sticker series: Jesus is my co-pilot. Satan is my financial advisor. Budha is my therapist. L. Ron Hubbard owes me $50.

  10. #450
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    You know, by the esteemed Ms. Brennan's article, you'd think skating had been created for television and nothing else. Well, there's NO good programming on TV these days--but that's a separate argument. Skating is not dying, for crissake. By the throngs of kids at the local learn-to-skate programs and all the kids who participate at the regional and sectional competitive levels--most of whom know they are never going to make it to the Olympics but just love to skate and give it a go at competing--you'd think just the opposite. But seriously--how can figure skating compete with Honey Boo-boo for ratings? Skating isn't the problem. The judging system isn't the problem. The viewing public has become too used to vapid reality programming to the point where skating doesn't fit in anymore. For that matter, skating programming should not be dumbed-down to the average American viewer just to get ratings, either. So what if it's not on TV any more?

  11. #451
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    Figure skating was dramatically changed in part due to fs coverage on television. Yes, there is a completely different dynamic going on in the current environment of rapid technological change and viewer choices. There are a myriad of factors involved re figure skating's downswing, obviously. Just because fs has exploded in interest throughout Asia does not mean as a sport that it is thriving. TPTB within the sport did not know how to take full, positive and long-term advantage of the boom in interest post Tonya/ Nancy, and I doubt they understand how to learn from and build upon the huge popularity of fs in Asian countries in a way that can ultimately benefit the sport worldwide.

    Re all the kids at local learn-to-skate programs, the sport still needs to be restructured and TPTB still need to understand how to grow the sport at the local level and how to make improvements that can ultimately benefit skaters in a more widespread and significant way, so that they might actually have opportunities to develop and make it past novice and juniors, and see the possibility for successful rewards rather than injuries, money pits, and pipe dreams. The young skaters are the lifeblood of the sport and right now I think they're being ill-treated and taken for granted. Indeed, diehard fans don't seem to matter much either.

    The only reason the sport continues on is because the joy at its core can not be corrupted, even if we don't often get to see and experience the transcendent magic of that on the ice these days. There's always hope and maybe that's what those of us having a hard time letting go, are actually clinging to. Still the body of the sport is in dire straits, if not death throes.

    From my perspective anonymous judging is the egg, and IJS is the chicken, or maybe it's the other way around. I've been contemplating trying to become a vegan, cold turkey ... yeah, fat chance.


    ETA:
    I'm not sure that "screaming politics" is the point. It may be the diversion. Politics will always exist, but it's not the root of the problem necessarily. I think perhaps the roots of the problem are lack of understanding, lack of vision, lack of unity, lack of beneficial communication and stultifying status quo thinking. There are many good people with good ideas doing good things in this sport, and many who may be well-intentioned, but whose heads seem firmly planted in the sand. The healthy cells of the sport's body are doing their utmost to escape the deadly virus.
    Last edited by aftershocks; 04-02-2013 at 12:50 AM.

  12. #452

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    Aftershocks - I have to ask you the question - what is your involvement in the sport? You have made comments about learn to skate so I just want to understand where you sit within the sport that you have knowledge about that area.

    From my personal experience here in Australia I don't think at grass roots that the sport is suffering. There have been a few examples mentioned where learn to skate programs are growing. I am not sure what is going on overseas but I don't see that as being a problem. I think those who are involved in the sport would be able to enlighten us here about that side of it.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  13. #453
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    ^^ Oh, Aussie Willy, I was commenting on J-Ro's mention of "learn-to-skate" programs, which I think are great and one of the very good things that are going on now at grassroots level. Sorry if it's hard to understand my metaphor-strewn posts. What I'm saying is that no matter how many kids are signed up in these programs, they will have nowhere to go, if the sport doesn't fix it's problems and heal itself.

    For an example of my thinking re the good things that are happening from the bottom-up (not the top down truthfully), just take a listen to manleywoman's current two-part interview with Audrey Weisiger, or take a look at my comments in the GSD thread about the interview. Audrey Weisiger is someone who has made and is continuing to make invaluable contributions to this sport. The ISU and TPTB are contributing very little except for directives and headaches. Help fund and support Grassroots to Champions, and Young Artists Series programs! Listen to the voices of genuinely concerned fans, coaches and former skaters!

    End anonymous judging and try in good faith to construct a scoring system that benefits the sport and the skaters, not one that protects the judges from scrutiny. Provide more and better opportunities for all the skaters, by restructuring the way the sport is operated. Help figure out a way for skaters to learn the fundamentals and to practice figures and to train in dance -- this is a sport and an art! Care about the skaters and the fans ...

    ITA with some of the ideas and suggestions that Audrey Weisiger espouses.
    Last edited by aftershocks; 04-02-2013 at 01:08 AM.

  14. #454

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    Thanks for the clarification.

    Learn to skate programs are not the ISUs responsibility. Or even where skaters go immediately after that. Basically it comes down to rinks, clubs and local associations providing them with the opportunities. And then that relies on volunteers to do all that stuff, except the rinks will make money from learn to skate programs. That is the case in Australia and I think you will find it the case all around the world. As someone involved in the sport at a grass roots level it would not even come into my mind that the ISU should have any responsibility in that area.

    Now if you were talking about a National association (such as ISA where I am), they do have a responsibility to provide help and guidance with the development of the program which then in turn provides the basis for competitions streams at that level. In fact what happens here is that when skaters join the learn to skate program Aussie Skate, then $5 of each registration fee for the program goes to the clubs and then $5 to the local state associations. So then that money can get directed back into the sport to help its development. But it is done by the the volunteer workforce.

    I know I bang on about volunteers, but seriously unless there are people out there organising the sport out of their own goodwill, you do not have a sport. And you do not have skaters feeding into the national or even international competition stream. But I don't think that is the ISUs responsibility. Figure skating is a sport whereby there is no social obligation for it to exist (at the end of the day pretty much like all sports). But it is entertainment and people love doing it and there is a group who excel at it. Of course it is addition to our lives but not an essential. And that is coming from someone who basically does a second unpaid job being a volunteer for the sport on top of a paid job.
    Last edited by Aussie Willy; 04-02-2013 at 01:24 AM.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

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    IMO, the ISU has a responsibility to lead, and above all a responsibility to understand the history of the sport and the essence of what the sport is about. They have a responsibility to care about more than their bottom line. There is no excuse. If they want to head the sport (I'm talking about officials at all levels), they've got to stop leaning on excuses and speaking in platitudes about what they have no control over and about what exists that nothing can be done about because its too hard and their ears are full of sand.

    So the top officials are just laissez-faire controllers and regulators and everybody else has to roll up their sleeves to do what they're told and they have no voice in trying to change anything for the better. The lowly workers and volunteers can just create programs and try to scrape around finding the money to fund the programs to gather in hopeful dreamers, many of whom will end washed up on the scrapheap of a decaying 19th century entertainment enterprise that you seem to be saying the ISU doesn't need to bother their little heads about because at the end of the day, there ain't no social obligation for the sport to exist. IOW, Cinquanta is simply doing all the feds a huge favor by presiding over the sport's body ever since he seized the reins of power. Furthermore, we as fans must volunteer to nourish the sport and thus ourselves because the ISU calls all the shots, but doesn't care what happens on the grassroots level. Fans must also pay exorbitant prices for tickets, and be unable to easily view the sport online, forget about on television.

    From what you've said, Aussie Willy, it becomes even more clear that the sport is decayed and is based upon the attitudes and organizational precepts of the 19th-century. That's even more reason for the ISU not to exist... you talk about the sport not going to exist! No, the ISU apparently banks on the continuation of the current state of affairs and status quo thinking. IMO, the ISU needs to be overthrown and reconstituted in a different form ... it is obviously a host kept alive in a stagnant body that is on life support, and if the ISU has its way, the body will remain in that condition interminably.

    Thanks for the enlightenment. Maybe that's where things need to be focused ... on understanding the history of how the sport developed, and on understanding exactly how the sport operates now on all levels, and then destroy the sand castle.

    Is that one of the ways the ISU continues to wield power: By saying they have no obligation to do anything but preside over member federations who are just privileged to have the ISU calling all the shots, while the ISU has no responsibility to lead efforts for positive change?

  16. #456

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    Aftershocks - I have just given you the reality of how our sport is run. Sorry but I do not understand what you are so upset about or why you should even care so much. I do not know one person who is involved in the sport who would even contemplate that train of thought. Go and talk to some local skating clubs, tell them what you have just written here and then see what they would say. They would probably love an offer of another volunteer to help them out.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  17. #457

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    we need someone to do for skating what they did to Roller Derby!

    Ice skating just isn't cool.

  18. #458

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyWarhol View Post
    we need someone to do for skating what they did to Roller Derby!

    Ice skating just isn't cool.
    Exactly! I don't know what they did but they really have made a succes of it. And it gets lots of media coverage.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  19. #459
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    Yes, thanks, Aussie Willy like I said for the enlightenment. It doesn't change the fact that it's the ISU that no longer needs to exist, but the federations are also antiquated, complacent and too afraid to reorganize and to tell the ISU that as the governing body, it is no longer needed. I'm not upset, but I do care and I am pointing out the confounding ironies of the situation that you've described. If you feel that people at the local club level would never contemplate my train of thought, then I guess that says it all.

    Anyways, perhaps an investigative documentary exposing the underpinnings and explicating the history would be a good way of stirring up some passion for change. Not a chest-beating diatribe, but just a clear-eyed telling. Maybe I'll suggest the idea to a skilled documentarian who would be interested, but who has no prior knowledge or affiliation with the sport.


    Quote Originally Posted by AndyWarhol View Post
    we need someone to do for skating what they did to Roller Derby!

    Ice skating just isn't cool.
    No, according to the way things stand, as described by Aussie Willy, it's actually everyone who cares at the grassroots level who must organize and do something to change figure skating for the better. Ice skating isn't cool because it is run by people who are out-of-touch with the 21st century.
    Last edited by aftershocks; 04-02-2013 at 03:17 AM.

  20. #460

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    Quote Originally Posted by VIETgrlTerifa View Post
    How about Code Skating? Artistic Arithmetic Skating?
    Unfortunately, those would be appropriate titles today.
    "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"

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