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  1. #1

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    Lost Interest in Skating

    In another thread, a poster related that he/she lost interest in skating. This thread is for anyone who feels that way. What were the reasons you turned away from skating? I am more interested in skating than ever, and TheIronLady has been around the skating block.

    One part of skating I no longer watch if I can help it is pairs. From my vantage point as a spectator, pairs has declined somewhat in terms of quality, participation, and interest. Even China, which seemed to have a pairs machine dynasty in the making, has struggled to replenish. I believe pairs was once the romantic part of figure skating, combining danger, symmetry, and the contrast of masculine and feminine aspects of skating. The pairs programs had characters and styles that dance and singles did not. Now to sit through an entire pairs event, one endures a plodding show of disconnected elements. All but the top ranked duos give fatigued performances. It so happens that it involves two skaters, but in most cases today it might as well be two women or two men or whatever. The programs are artless and sexless, even if the costumes are colorful. The men seem to be increasingly burly, which is necessary for achieving higher levels. Meanwhile ice dance has picked up some slack by improving leaps and bounds technically. It has come to resemble the performance chemistry of pairs--with daring and expressive lifts.

    Still pairs has become somewhat of a lost art. The top teams are good, but you have to risk boredom to endure a full event. The particular combination of high risk, showmanship, complementary male-female physical dynamics, and seamless skating in sync is not often found in today's pair programs. This is my only serious gripe about IJS. It is not the fault of the top pairs skaters, but it is due to the structure of the programs and the level requirements.

    I am more interested than ever in singles and dance. I think IJS should place greater emphasis on jumps by reducing the requirements for spin levels (I am tired of ugly spins), but I love this sport as much as ever. How could you not? If you have lost interest, tell us why. There is so much quality and excellence in men's and ladies' that I fail to understand how anyone who was ever a fan could be bored or turned off.
    Last edited by TheIronLady; 08-17-2013 at 07:11 PM.

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    I lost interest ca. 2002-2003 when I started university and my mom and I stopped going to CSOI (because I started university but also because most of my favourite pro skaters had retired. I remember the pre-2000 shows like they were yesterday. But the other day I was looking through the old programs I had purchased and I was shocked to see that I had apparently seen Yags and B&S on the post-2000 tours. I honestly do not remember them at all). I remember Nagano like it was yesterday - Vancouver is a complete blank. It was only with this year's Worlds (held in my area) that I actually started watching again, and dug out my old VHS tapes to watch my favourite "golden era" stuff. I agree with OP about pairs but watching the Worlds this year I still find ladies and ice dance quite boring as competitions. But definitely one of the reasons I don't take the competitive aspect of the sport as seriously anymore is the measly penalties for falls (and a host of other issues with the new judging system). I watched the Worlds out of nostalgia more than anything, but I found it had to take the competition seriously even though I am looking forward to this season which, time permitting, I will follow closely.

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    Do you think falls disrupt the entire spell of the program for you?

    Skaters had falls in the past, like Kristi Yamaguchi, and they still went on to win titles. I realize that if someone else skated cleanly, the judges under 6.0 would have had a difficult time ranking a program with a fall first, but my thinking is that perhaps a fall or two should be evaluated holistically. The whole program should be taken into account, and IJS is at least a rational way to do that.
    Last edited by TheIronLady; 08-17-2013 at 07:26 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheIronLady View Post
    Do you think falls disrupt the entire spell of the program for you?

    Skaters had falls in the past, like Kristi Yamaguchi, and they still went on to win titles. I realize that if someone else skated cleanly, the judges under 6.0 would have had a harder time ranking a program with a fall first, but my point is that perhaps a fall or two should be evaluated holistically. What I mean is the whole program should be taken into account, and IJS is at least a rational way to do that.
    As someone who is merely an armchair spectator of the sport, I feel that a competition is about who performs best on the day of the competition. So from that perspective, a token deduction for a fall doesn't seem fair (I realize that's not a very compelling argument on my part but it just bugs me!)

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    It is annoying that you have to be a skating expert to know how much a particular fall is going to cost the skater. It used to be much better for laymen. The audience being confused in the arena can be a problem, but I believe audiences can still appreciate that a performance like Kostner's at worlds--even with the fall--is more intricate, accomplished, and pretty than the performances of Zijun Li or Gracie Gold who had no falls.

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    I did not lost interest in skating in general but I miss more individualism, creativity and originality. I love performances like:

    Jeremy Abbott - 2012 SP (Swing Kids)
    Daisuke Takahashi - 2008 SP (HipHop Swan Lake)
    Stefanie Rosenthal - 2006 SP
    Takahiko Kozuka - 2010/11 SP (Soulman Medley) and his new SP
    Kerr & Kerr - 2011 Exhibition (A Beautiful Mine)
    Stephane Lambiel - 2012 Exhibition (Don't Stop the Music)
    Pechalat & Bourzat - 2008 FD (Craziness)
    Jason Brown - 2012 SP (Prince) and his new FS

    Those pearls are to rare (or just seen in shows) compared to the thousands of similar constructed programs where it makes no difference to what music a skater skates.

    Moreover what bothers me:
    > Too many similar elements in order to gain features and levels (spins and steps)
    > Too many jumping passes per program and "required" elements in total in free skating -> no time for choreography and interpretation
    > The uniform boring image/chliché in ladies skating, all trying to be beautiful, light, lyrical, elfish. I am missing variety and more powerful girls. So the ladies portion leaves me quite cold (apart from Carolina Kostner).
    > Too many overused music pieces.
    > Judges not doing their job properly (Please really LOOK what you see that particular day and not what you want to see).
    > Tiny, tiny jumps that may fullfill the rotation criteria but are barely jumps compared to a flying Axel by Robin Cousins or to a double axel by David Jenkins.

    Here is my wish list:
    > No levels at all -> judge difficulty in the GOE
    > One of my longterm wishes will anyway come true - I am looking forward to more variety in music with lyrics as of next season.
    > Measure not only the number of rotations of jumps but also height and length
    > Reduce the component scores to 2 (Artistic impression/performance, skating skills).
    > Reduce the limit of elements significantly in free skating, e.g. 5 jumps, 2-3 spins, no required step sequence at all as steps could/should be spread all over the program anyway.
    > Penalize falls harder, not only in the technical marks but in the component scores as well because falls distract from the overall performance. That should encourage skaters to skate more clean performances rather trying to pull of 3 quads. I could live perfectly without quads if only I could see more of the pure skating qualities like edge, flow, balance, speed and innovative tricks. I am sure skaters come up with lots of innovation if they have more freedom and time for it and if they get rewarded for innovation. I haven't seen the +1 point for an innovative move since the implementation of IJS.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheIronLady View Post
    Do you think falls disrupt the entire spell of the program for you?

    Skaters had falls in the past, like Kristi Yamaguchi, and they still went on to win titles. I realize that if someone else skated cleanly, the judges under 6.0 would have had a difficult time ranking a program with a fall first, but my thinking is that perhaps a fall or two should be evaluated holistically. The whole program should be taken into account, and IJS is at least a rational way to do that.
    Thats less to do with the judging at the time, but how the competition played out in Alberville. Yamaguchi won that Olympics because everyone else also fell in either/or the SP and LP. Had Ito and Harding went clean (or near clean), as we had seen in prior competitions, Kristi wouldn't have come close to winning.

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    Yamaguchi did not fall in the 1992 Olympics. Her biggest error was on the 3 Loop. She had a hand down and stepped out (with a sort of squat), but her blades never left the ice.
    http://youtu.be/dozwFZ5NoNs?t=2m59s

    Quote Originally Posted by TheIronLady View Post
    Do you think falls disrupt the entire spell of the program for you?
    There isn't a single answer for that. There are falls and there are falls. It depends on how disruptive the fall is. If the skater pops up and gets right back in the music, it has less impact that when the skater misses several seconds of choreo chasing half way across the ice to catch up where they should have been. The concept of disruptiveness was a significant consideration under the 6.0 system in deciding how much a fall should affect the presentation mark. I don't know where the current system considers it, if anywhere.

    For me, I find it also matters what the music and choreo are doing when it happens. A fall near the beginning when the music is uptempo does not detract much from the mood of the program or my enjoyment of it. A fall in a slower section, especially on a jump that is supposed to be the big Ahh moment at the end of a slow section, can be a mood-killer. A second fall, wherever it happens, does pretty much end the program for me.
    Last edited by Susan M; 08-18-2013 at 04:53 AM.

  9. #9
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    It was a near fall for her. I agree though Yamaguchis miss wasn't that disruptive to the rest of the program in Albertville, and she was really on other than that (and missing her sal).
    Kerrigans mistakes were much more jarring. As for Ito and Harding they fell on the 3A, then Midori went on to land a clean one so I think most forgave her.

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    I've been attending (occasionally) and watching figure skating competitions since I was a kid in the late 1950s. I saw Carol Heiss win Worlds, so that dates me. Maybe 90% of skating bores me, but what keeps me watching are those unexpected moments of brilliance. It's kinda like watching a musical performance. You've heard and seen it all before, but every now and then there's something magic that happens, something that puts you in tears. You stop what you're doing or thinking about and are swept away. And that's why I keep watching skating. Personalities and drama play into it, too, but it's when a skater transcends the usual, leaving an imprint on me, that keeps the interest going. We all have our favorite performances from the past, yet there are many more to come from skaters we have yet to hear of. I'll never lose interest.

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    My interest in skating has waxed and waned over the years, mostly due to the quality of my internet access.

    I probably watch skating more than ever now, but I do miss the "olden days". I guess I feel that most programs seems the same these days.
    I do wish for more fluff pieces, to get to know the skaters, but I guess when you're watching a shady internet stream from Latvia you can't really complain.

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    I haven't missed a single worlds or Euros since 1995 There have been times I'm more engaged than others, but that often depends on what's going on in my own life plus how "emotionally invested" I am in the current skaters.

    I still get nervous watching major competitions, and I still religiously check results of senior B's and GP's etc. even if I haven't been able to see them. I guess I'll never lose interest in the sport. I worry for pairs post Sochi. The event without S/S and V/T could be...erm ... for me. We'll see.

    The sport that has totally lost me is gymnastics. It's a shadow of it's former self, and it just hasn't grabbed me since maybe even the Sydney games in 2000. The glory days of 70's/80's and 90's gymnastics seem to have gone forever. The grace, fluidity and balletic aspect of the sport has disappeared; I just can't get excited about muscular kids throwing themselves around in neon metallic leotards. There have been exceptions in recent times (Mustafina, Afan, Pavlova) but overall the sport has gone in a direction I don't appreciate. Whilst overall I am a fan of skating's COP, the open-ended scoring system has ruined gymnastics IMO. Anyway, wrong sport for this thread lol.

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    Yes I must admit I've lost a lot of interest. I was always a very casual observer of figure skating as the only time I ever watched it was during the Olympics. This changed in the 2004-2005 season with the 2005 worlds and then I joined this forum and became a regular watcher of figure skating and watching heaps of skating from youtube etc. I really liked Sasha Cohen and in the 2005-2006 season fell in love with Asada. I watched the sport closely through to the 2010 Olympics. But since then my interest has rapidly waned. I haven;t watched much at all. I think Mao's decline has played a part in my interest dwindling. But I'm also the type of person that can get obsessed and then lose interest. I am a huge fan of winter sports though and as we're heading towards olympic season I will once again follow the winter sports closely. Therefore, I'll follow figure skating again. But I must admit i'm far more interested in what is going on in alpine skiing, cross country skiing and biathlon than figure skating. I've also regained my interest in gymnastics and been following that much more than figure skating.

    I don't blame the COP. I do think the COP came about at the wrong time for many fans and at the wrong time for the sport in general. Whilst figure skating has gained popularity in Japan and Korea due to the success of their skaters. In the US at least interest was already falling with the Tonya-Nancy saga being ages ago now and Kwan no longer featuring as much. Pro competitions have basically gone and little effort has been done to understand COP. Sure it isn't perfect but i really don't think artistry is any less than it was previously. I never felt there were heaps of artistic skating in the first place. The likes of Janet Lynn and Michelle Kwan (who I for one don't find interesting) have always been rather rarities in this sport. COP is not a perfect system but neither was the 6.0 system. The code of points simply gets so much criticism because skating in the US has waned significantly from where it once was. And Europe (Germany, Russia, Austria, Great Britain) no longer produce the strong skaters they once did.

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    The Grand Prix series leading into each season has killed my interest.

    In the 1970s, 80s and early 90s, there were 15 or so different skaters each week attending Skate Canada, NHK, Skate America, or Trophy Lalique from around the world. Now, only a small select seeded group are chosen. Not that it is a fault of the skaters. But we are seeing the same programs week in an week out for three months in fall and winter. The format gets monotonous very quickly.

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    I'm not sure that's true of the 70's. There was only Skate Canada and in 1979 NHK started as well as Norton Skate which eventually became Skate America. There was the Richmond Trophy in the UK which was initially a ladies only competition but morphed into the Rotary Watches International and then St Ivel in the 80's. Even at it's peak here in the UK, we only saw say, T&D at St Ivel either competing or giving an exhibition, Nationals, Europeans and Worlds. We never got to see any of the other skaters who didn't come to St Ivel until the majors.

    I still follow the sport but I'm not fanatical about watching or following everything 'live' as I used to be. Plus most of what I watch these days is only once. Only rarely will I watch something twice or more. The skating I watch over and over tends be from the archives.

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    I've lost interest in pairs because there has been so little coverage of it on TV. I am not familiar with many ice dance teams outside of North America, either. I also feel less of a connection to even the skaters from the US in this quadrennium since there is no Tom Collins tour any more, and Stars on Ice has been cut back so much.

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    I haven't lost interest, but I do agree that pairs is the least interesting discipline now. I still watch all of them, but if I had to not watch one, I'd probably pick pairs, or maybe ladies (depends on who was competing, I guess). I think dance is much better under IJS and men's is still as interesting as ever, even though some of the wins of Patrick Chan are infuriating.

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    Skating has always been a part of my life, so I don't see myself ever completely losing interest.

    I've always been mostly interested in singles (probably because I competed myself), but enjoy pairs and dance as well. Here's my take:

    I'm more interested in dance now than in the past.

    Singles & pairs: I HAAAAAAAAAAAATE the endlessly long and slow step sequences. Ridiculous that every turn in skating has to be included. I miss the days of footwork that fit the music and had SPEED. Also turned off by the spins with various position changes, simply to gain points. Too many rules in the "free" programs now (in other words, they're not "free.")

    Too many unnecessary judging categories in program components.
    "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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    My interest in skating has waxed and waned over the years, mostly due to the quality of my internet access.
    The concept of skating fandom post-dating the advent of the internet makes my mind reel.

    But I do like your description of waxing and waning. My interest has been fairly steady, it is more my enjoyment that has waxed and waned. I have always been a pretty faithful watcher of figure skating on TV, even in the days when the coverage consisted of an hour or so from Worlds or US Nationals on Wide World of Sports, two weeks after the fact and sharing air time with barrel jumping. I do recall, though, periods where my interest and enjoyment were more intense, or moved from one discipline to another.

    For me it had everything to do with whether there was a skater I found especially compelling. For example, after adoring Curry and Cousins, I found the men's event pretty boring until Orser came along. From then on I always had at least one favorite in the men's event but the ones I tuned in to see most were Petrenko and Kulik. Pairs was a wasteland between the Protopopovs and Babilonia & Gardner and then again until G&G matured about 1988. (I know there were champions during this time, it's just that I didn't especially enjoy their style.) For me pairs has again been totally uninspiring since 1994, with the exception of Berezhnaya/S and one good year of Totmanianina/M.

    For ladies, there was a long drought for me between Hamill (1976) and Yamaguchi's appearance at the sr level in 1989. I never bought the Fratiani hype. I liked Sumners and Thomas OK, and liked Witt as a teenager but not the skater she became after the mid-80s. I was never a huge Kwan fan (prefering Bobek & Cohen for style) but she was still enjoyable to watch.

    But honestly, I have not had a favorite, must-see skater since 2006, outside of ice dance. I think the key, for me, is that I always liked the most musical skaters, and there is something about the COP that somehow has devalued that, or changed the choreography away from highlighting a skater's musicality. Skating today is just lacking something for me. It all feels too cookie cutter, too many skaters looking like they are going thru the motions concentrating on the choreo or next element. I think the last new skater to show any real performer instincts like we saw in skaters like Baiul or Petrenko or Browning is Takahashi, and that been a few years ago now.
    Last edited by Susan M; 08-19-2013 at 03:00 AM.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Susan M View Post
    The concept of skating fandom post-dating the advent of the internet makes my mind reel.

    But I do like your description of waxing and waning. My interest has been fairly steady, it is more my enjoyment that has waxed and waned. I have always been a pretty faithful watcher of figure skating on TV, even in the days when the coverage consisted of an hour or so from Worlds or US Nationals on Wide World of Sports, two weeks after the fact and sharing air time with barrel jumping. I do recall, though, periods where my interest and enjoyment were more intense, or moved from one discipline to another.

    For me it had everything to do with whether there was a skater I found especially compelling. For example, after adoring Curry and Cousins, I found the men's event pretty boring until Orser came along. From then on I always had at least one favorite in the men's event but the ones I tuned in to see most were Petrenko and Kulik. Pairs was a wasteland between the Protopopovs and Babilonia & Gardner and then again until G&G matured about 1988. (I know there were champions during this time, it's just that I didn't especially enjoy their style.) For me pairs has again been totally uninspiring since 1994, with the exception of Berezhnaya/S and one good year of Totmanianina/M.

    For ladies, there was a long drought for me between Hamill (1976) and Yamaguchi's appearance at the sr level in 1989. I never bought the Fratiani hype. I liked Sumners and Thomas OK, and liked Witt as a teenager but not the skater she became after the mid-80s. I was never a huge Kwan fan (prefering Bobek & Cohen for style) but she was still enjoyable to watch.

    But honestly, I have not had a favorite, must-see skater since 2006, outside of ice dance. I think the key, for me, is that I always liked the most musical skaters, and there is something about the COP that somehow has devalued that, or changed the choreography away from highlighting a skater's musicality. Skating today is just lacking something for me. It all feels too cookie cutter, too many skaters looking like they are going thru the motions concentrating on the choreo or next element. I think the last new skater to show any real performer instincts like we saw in skaters like Baiul or Petrenko or Browning is Takahashi, and that been a few years ago now.
    There was a period of between 2006 and 2010 where the only internet access (ie skating access) was at a job that allowed little to no personal browsing, so no skating those years

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