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  1. #81

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    Yes, skating had ratings going through the roof after Tonya/Nancy, and it brought in more "casual" fans. But aside from any judging controversies, figure skating also shot itself in the foot by capitalizing on this new interest with a ridiculous amount of cheesy "competitions" and skating shows where the skaters who appeared kept doing the same program over and over (even Nancy said it didn't matter how you skated, you still got paid). Remember "Too Hot to Skate?" and it's ilk? Meanwhile, Dick Button's amazing Landover pro competition died. Add in 2002, and the shiny surface on skating was really getting tarnished.

    And I think the lack of a Kwan or Cohen in the US has hurt skating in the US; whether we like it or nor, casual fans in the US tend to ID the sport by its lady skaters. Lysacek (and I'm a fan) would have likely faded into near complete obscurity after Vancouver if it weren't for DWTS considering how few skating shows are available anymore, and with the loss of COI and SOI diminishing every year. I personally find skating very exciting right now mostly because I don't have any huge favorites aside from D/W in dance. It's great to watch a competition and just want the best skater that day to win instead of always pulling for a favorite. But that doesn't always work with casual fans, and well, we didn't get to see Worlds on TV anyway... Don't know what the solution is, but skating needs a kickstart here in the US.
    "Once you've skated together long enough, and you're really good friends, you can close your eyes, put your hand out and she's right there." Joe Dolkiewicz, 2011 US Novice Pairs Bronze Medalist

  2. #82

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    From another Reuters article:
    It is not hard to pinpoint the reasons behind the drop in interest in North America and figure skating's rise in Asia where attendance and television ratings are soaring.

    In the glory days of the sport in North America, Michelle Kwan, Kristi Yamaguchi, Tara Lipinksi () and Debbie () Thomas were household names but this week Americans would be hard pressed to name the two U.S. female representatives in London - Ashley Wagner and Tracie (!) Gold.

    "For North America you need homegrown stars, homegrown personalities, homegrown winners," David Raith, the executive director of U.S. Figure Skating told Reuters. "Finishing second, third is great but the public wants the winner. It's not just winning a world championship, it's winning an Olympic Games.

    "We need to develop new personalities to come to the fore.

    "What we have seen the last five, six, seven years is a lack of consistency from the top athletes with a couple of exceptions, Kim Yuna being one.

    "She was a star going into 2010 (Olympics) became a star then disappeared, and when an athlete disappears that star power disappears with them."
    ETA: In light of the above, it's not hard to figure out why USA Today is writing articles on Tracie Gracie Gold such as this one: http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports...-star/1994885/
    Last edited by Sylvia; 03-18-2013 at 04:28 PM.
    "Randy [Starkman (1960-April 16, 2012)] lived by the same motto as the rest of us. The Olympics isn’t every four years, it’s every single day. He just got it." --Canadian Olympic kayaker Adam van Koeverden

  3. #83

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    Tracie Gold- Has she done anything since Growing Pains?

  4. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueRidge View Post
    ...Figure skating keeps taking hits every time people scream about a result as if it were not just what is inevitably going to happen in a subjectively judged sport but an injustice that deserves world wide concern.

    IF people want to promote the sport and have it be more popular in the US and any other countries where it may not be as popular as people wish, celebrate the sport! Worlds was a magnificent display of figure skating and ice dance! Tearing the sport down is hardly going to bring it up. And it will do the skaters no good to be convinced its not their skating that determines their placements. Then they don't improve their skating they end up bitter and sad.
    I totally agree! Aspects of the judging system can be discussed and improved - or even overturned - but the violence with which the whole sport and community are attacked by some journalists only does harm to the sport in general!


    Quote Originally Posted by BlueRidge
    If people saw skating on TV and weren't taken with it, its because they just aren't into it! People in the skating world need to stop tearing their hair out over this. Celebrate the sport, spread the joy of watching. That's the only way to generate interest.
    Absolutely! I will not watch boxing or golf no matter how these are marketed, so why should I be surprised that fans of those sports aren't interested in figure skating?


    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    I like Brennan's point. 6.0 was soap opera. IJS is an accountant's convention.

    To the great unwashed masses, soap operas are more fun.
    For someone in the arena or watching the broadcast, in what way is the IJC more difficult to understand than the 6.0 system?

    With the IJC, the skater with the highest mark wins. The casual viewer will think that this is the sum of the marks of the judges - which is correct as the general idea. You hardly need to be an accountant to understand that.

    With the 6.0 system, you saw a line of marks and placements such as: 112213132. The casual viewer could not for the life of him understand the result unless he sees the ordinals for the other skaters - and generally not even then.

    In both cases most viewers understand the placement of the skater only when it is displayed. In neither case does the casual viewer understand how the judges actually calculate their marks. However with the IJS, at least the fans who are able to read the judges' score sheet can understand the details of the elements, which was not the case with the 6.0 system.

  5. #85
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    What brings in the casual fan is human interest stories and star power which many have pointed out. There is none of this in the US whereas Asada, Tak, Plushy, Kim bring this in spades further east.

    What 6.0 was able to do was incubate stars but often times at the expense of fair judging. In the 60s through the turn of the century you had some combination of the most compelling and good skaters rising to the top and were held there to help drive the marketing machine with the most marketable skaters. I don't want to get into naming names to divert the conversation, but there were many Olympic medalists who were not the best skaters and/or did not perform nearly the best to win their medals. But this incubation of star power filled the seats in both amateur and pro arenas. That's what DWTS and other 'competitions' like Miss Universe do; reward the most marketable entries among the decent ones. Drives ratings and interest, but...

    By devising a scoring system that rewards more technical and basic skating ability you end up with some compelling skaters stuck in the second tier (Joubert, Abbott, Cohen, etc). This will forever make fans crazy and likely won't ever be fixed to the satisfaction of all. So posts and articles like these definitely have truth but will forever be a difficult reality for the future of skating. There are definite tweaks to be made, but we all need to understand that this is where the sport is and needs to be if it wants to stay Olympic eligible. I'll stop just short of saying "get used to it" because I think we should continue to challenge the system and application thereof.

  6. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by munow View Post
    That is no one else's fault but yours.
    Fault? I'm not ashamed of my actions in any way - my skating viewing experience of the past decade, and earlier performances I viewed this season, has informed me that, no, I'm not that interested in watching anyone else right now. And aren't we are talking about loss of viewership here? My taste (developed through my own processes and watching and participating in skating in prior decades) isn't reflected in the vast majority of current skating (skaters process influenced by ISU and IOC changes). Hence skating has largely lost my viewership. It's my choice not to watch, but the fact that I'm not inspired to bother whereupon I used to be very much so is the skating factor.

  7. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by Asli View Post
    ...
    With the IJC, the skater with the highest mark wins.
    What?! I don't get that at all! How does that work?!

    Congratulations 2014 World Ice Dance Champions Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte!!!

  8. #88

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    I find the sensitivity over most criticisms of IJS and its impact on the sport to be quite interesting.

    Although both systems don't make much sense for casual viewers, I think what made 6.0 easier on-the-surface and more fun to argue about was that it was absolute measure of perfection that viewers could compare to a skater's actual score. Even if someone knew NOTHING about the sport they would say "well...I would've given her a 5.8/5.8 instead of that 5.6/5.7."

    I think casual viewers who only watch during the Olympics would be better serviced if television stations would tell the viewers (before the routine and during the Kiss and Cry) a skater's base value for TES and the average PCS they had been scoring for that routine all season. Just giving a viewer a reference point to compare their score to would go a long way to engage viewers. They should also remind viewers how much mistakes such as popping and underrotations and falls actually count rather than give vague "oh, that looks underrotated...he'll be hurt there." NBC should also stop simply putting PCS as one score and give the breakdown just like almost every other television company in the world.

    Commentators and those in charge of the broadcast need to find ways for the audience to participate. If anything, COP has much more potential for that. They should tell viewers to print out a scoring sheet before a competition (like print out how many a viewer will need depending on how many skaters they show on the actual broadcast) with an element value guide, and they can mark the routines in real time and see how it matches up with the judges, etc.

  9. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueRidge View Post
    What?! I don't get that at all! How does that work?!

    Listening to the 'water cooler' talk around work today, it sounds like Figure Skating is a lot like basketball. The person/team with the most points wins. But the judges judge totally unfairly, and apparently so do the referees. Every call the refs make is wrong- they are totally favoring the other team!

    There has been as much wuzrobbing about our University's team in the office today as there is about Ten and V/M (well maybe not them) on FSU.

  10. #90
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    Figure skating can't contend here in the US against crap like Keeping up with the Kardashians and other reality tv shows. Our culture wants drama and controversy figure skating it too refined to keep people's attention. We Americans have the attention span of a flea.

  11. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by escaflowne9282 View Post
    Tracie Gold- Has she done anything since Growing Pains?
    Celebrity Wife Swap.

  12. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by VIETgrlTerifa View Post
    Commentators and those in charge of the broadcast need to find ways for the audience to participate. If anything, COP has much more potential for that. They should tell viewers to print out a scoring sheet before a competition (like print out how many a viewer will need depending on how many skaters they show on the actual broadcast) with an element value guide, and they can mark the routines in real time and see how it matches up with the judges, etc.
    Oy! Figure skating will shed its remaining casual viewers if they do that! People sit in front of their TVs in order to and relax. Not in order to do homework!

    BTW, I think the CoP is an absolute disaster in judging ice dance. Not because of any of the psychological or emotional reasons related to 6.0 being perfection, but because comparing two step sequences or two dance lifts is nothing like comparing two triple axels. Two step sequences may satisfy the criteria for level 4, but one may still be more difficult than the other - actually there may be quite a difference. There is no way of reflecting that in the mark now. Plus the dancers are doing those ridiculous moves like scratching the right ear with the left blade in order to get the levels and often it is ugly. Unlike in singles, quality has suffered.

  13. #93

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rock2 View Post
    What brings in the casual fan is human interest stories and star power which many have pointed out. There is none of this in the US whereas Asada, Tak, Plushy, Kim bring this in spades further east.

    What 6.0 was able to do was incubate stars but often times at the expense of fair judging. In the 60s through the turn of the century you had some combination of the most compelling and good skaters rising to the top and were held there to help drive the marketing machine with the most marketable skaters. I don't want to get into naming names to divert the conversation, but there were many Olympic medalists who were not the best skaters and/or did not perform nearly the best to win their medals. But this incubation of star power filled the seats in both amateur and pro arenas. That's what DWTS and other 'competitions' like Miss Universe do; reward the most marketable entries among the decent ones. Drives ratings and interest, but...

    By devising a scoring system that rewards more technical and basic skating ability you end up with some compelling skaters stuck in the second tier (Joubert, Abbott, Cohen, etc). This will forever make fans crazy and likely won't ever be fixed to the satisfaction of all. So posts and articles like these definitely have truth but will forever be a difficult reality for the future of skating. There are definite tweaks to be made, but we all need to understand that this is where the sport is and needs to be if it wants to stay Olympic eligible. I'll stop just short of saying "get used to it" because I think we should continue to challenge the system and application thereof.
    Very interesting post. Thanks for pointing out the star power. The NBA has its Jordans, Kobes and Lebrons. The NFL has its Bradys, Mannings, etc. Even though those are team sports, people do go to the games to see the 'stars'. TV networks comments are geared toward the star power. I wonder if the ISU (and the national skating unions in some countries) need to tap into the star power and market the sport that way? I think the USFSA has already started doing that with Gracie Gold, and they need to do that in the men and ice dance disciplines. Now we have 2x world champions in ice dance, going for an OGM in 2014. This should make a HUGE story. I hope the USFSA is working on it, but they don't have a lot of time.

    I disagree somewhat with your last paragraph. I don't want to just live with an imperfect system. It needs to be a work in progress, and improvements need to be made every year. Rules and requirements for the skaters are changed all the time. Why should the judging be exempt? The system needs some major tweaks at this point to make the sport more like a sport and less like a pre-determined result. I am not just talking about Chan's win here. V&T had a win with a very poor skate during the GP series. Things like that should not be allowed to happen.

  14. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by escaflowne9282 View Post
    Tracie Gold- Has she done anything since Growing Pains?

  15. #95

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    Quote Originally Posted by Asli View Post
    Oy! Figure skating will shed its remaining casual viewers if they do that! People sit in front of their TVs in order to and relax. Not in order to do homework!
    I didn't say it was mandatory. However, people who want to watch a sport, will want to understand it and take it seriously. If we want to only continue pushing figure skating for the soap opera drama, then by all means keep it as it is, but don't get mad if the ratings and overall interest in major markets continue to dwindle to the point that it only becomes popular in Asia (due to their superstars) like sumo wrestling.

    Being surrounded by huge football, basketball, and baseball fans, I know that they LOVE to learn the rulebook and understand referee decisions, so they can decry them when they don't work out in their favored team's favor. They can't do that without really understanding the sport, and I find that figure skating's broadcast does a piss-poor job educating anyone.

    I'm not saying we shouldn't play up the drama and the theatricality of skating because I am sure that is what attracted most of us in the first place, but we also have to promote the scoring system and allow people to be able to understand the numbers side in a much more in-depth fashion since that is how the game is played now. The broadcast companies should push hard for viewers to learn more about it rather than ignore it and only having dedicated fans like us to do it ourselves...which judging from this forum, a great number of people on a dedicated figure skating forum have not really done that due to disenfranchisement.

    I think an app would work out that can do the complicated math (with the multiplying of its factors, etc.) automatically.
    Last edited by VIETgrlTerifa; 03-18-2013 at 04:57 PM.

  16. #96

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    Quote Originally Posted by Asli View Post
    BTW, I think the CoP is an absolute disaster in judging ice dance. Not because of any of the psychological or emotional reasons related to 6.0 being perfection, but because comparing two step sequences or two dance lifts is nothing like comparing two triple axels. Two step sequences may satisfy the criteria for level 4, but one may still be more difficult than the other - actually there may be quite a difference. There is no way of reflecting that in the mark now. Plus the dancers are doing those ridiculous moves like scratching the right ear with the left blade in order to get the levels and often it is ugly. Unlike in singles, quality has suffered.
    Thank you for this! I keep reading comments about how the IJS has done wonders for ice dance, and I strongly disagree - often I feel like I'm watching acrobatic speed skating and not ice dance. I was beginning to wonder if I was the only one who was unhappy with what ice dance looks like these days...

    Also, bring back the CDs

  17. #97

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    Quote Originally Posted by VIETgrlTerifa View Post
    Yes, elements have values assigned to them, and there's a system of assigning levels, etc. But, exactly how do they come up with those numbers? Why should certain features count in gaining a level while others not?
    A committee (the ISU technical committees for each discipline?) decided initially what were skills they wanted to reward, and they've made changes to the rules each year adding and subtracting features when they discovered that some had been overlooked or were being overused or weren't that difficult after all, etc., after getting feedback from coaches and skaters. I'm sure they will continue to make such changes from time to time.

    Ideally more skaters and coaches should have given input before the initial design of the system, and there should have been more tests of the mathematical ramifications, but we know that it was rushed into use because of the SLC scandal. Too late to go back and start from scratch now, hence the frequent readjustments.

    Hopefully the changes to level features will settle down to more like every four years rather than every year.

  18. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    Entering the competition it was a foregone conclusion that regardless of the skating the four eastern bloc judges (Poland, China, Czech Republic, and Ukraine) would vote for Oksana, and the four western bloc judges (U.S.A., Canada, Great Britain , and Japan) would vote for Kerrigan.

    The only vote that was is doubt was Hoffmann's. Even though Hoffmann represented East Germany, he was known as a conscientious and independent judge who did not always toe the cold war line. So it really was Hoffmann's vote that decided the issue.
    Did Hoffmann ever represent Esta Germany as a judge? What Cold War was there in 1994? Why would China side with the "Eastern bloc"?

  19. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by Asli View Post
    For someone in the arena or watching the broadcast, in what way is the IJC more difficult to understand than the 6.0 system?
    6.0 draws the audience in. CoP shuts them out.

    When you see a row of marks like 1211314 you know exactly what it means. It means the Slovakian judge thought my skater was best, the Chinese judge thought my skater was second best, and so on. Then you get the satisfaction of yelling at the TV, what is that Swedish judge smoking -- how dare he put my girl way down in fourth place!

    Under CoP, the score comes up 149.62. We don't know how that score is arrived at, but we are assured that if you calmly go to the protocols then you will see that she got -.7 GOE for an e call, etc., and if you get out your calculator you can see how it all adds up.

    What's the fun of that?

  20. #100

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    Would the ISU be better off using a scoring system that helps casual audiences have fun or one that helps skaters understand where they're being rewarded and penalized?

    Is there any way to do both at the same time?

    Please see my thread for brainstorming.

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