That's how the general public DOES think about it. Very few outside of the sport and FSU think about it as athleticism. This is the crux of the challenges of CoP, which is trying to reward more of the technical ability -- even in PCS which has become technical in many ways. Fans can't follow and can't reconcile to what THEY think is artistic which is more about performance ability and emoting. The way the scoring is broken down and read doesn't help fans either. So they don't get it.
Fans want clean skating and 'emoting...performing...beauty' to be the primary drivers of scoring. That was more the case in 6.0. Not so much now and this is making it hard for fans.