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  1. #241
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    Remember when they didn't have any snow for (Lake Placid?) WI, and they showed the compulsory dances? Complete with a diagram of the pattern, explanation of what to watch for, and intelligent commentary? I was only a low level 13-y-o freeskater, but I knew I wanted to get into dance from then on. I remember the Paso was one of the dances.

    I also miss judging figures. The quiet, the concentration...it was very calming. I not only wish they still had them, I wish they were televised!

  2. #242
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    Sorry in advance for the novel below. Maybe someone will find something intellectually stimulating. Otherwise, time is nonrefundable, I'm afraid. But, essentially, one of the problem of this thread is that it is addressing about 20 topics into 1. Off the top of my head, the subtopics are:

    1) Increasing participation in figure skating
    2) increasing fanship/viewership of figure skating
    3) increase the visibility of our figure skating stars
    ...with the common thread of how the Olympics play a role within each.

    Building upon my earlier post, I think it's important to understand the changes to how amateur athletics is consumed by the public. As more and more people have access to the Internet and resources like YouTube or live streaming competitions, the less "special" the Olympics have become as that 1-every-4 chance for the family to get together and watch the country's best. Many sports have caught up to these changes and adapted, but I think for niche sports like figure skating and gymnastics, they're a bit lost, as the Olympics was always its one time to shine and penetrate the general public, increase participation, etc. Now, as with all Olympians, any American champions get their 15 minutes and those who don't forget them just log on to their social media pages to stay in touch, not attend competitions.

    So, without that golden ticket, how do you stay afloat? USA Gymnastics is starting to learn and USFSA should move fast. You need to reenergize and cater to your core fan base. No other sports have as drastically changed the way they were scored like these two or made deliberate decisions for TV. It's time to face that we are a niche sport, and instead of alienating your trusted and devoted base through circuses like the short dance, USFSA should be watching and listening to see what we want.

    USAG has started uploading every competition back to the 70s in HD; how great would that be? Create an app that allows live judging during events, give insider access to Champs Camp... we're the ones in the stands cheering the loudest and are the sport's biggest cheerleaders. Catching the low hanging fruit - those who follow online and don't attend - is the simplest strategy and one that might actually work, unlike trying to package skating as a Z sport.

    Unfortunately, those hoping for increased broadcasts, more events, or even a revived pro scene will be sorely disappointed. Gymnastics is shown twice a year on NBC. We just need to start seeing our tablets and monitors as where broadcast is evolving. In terms of more events, it seems like the skater's schedules are pretty full; and, sadly, unless a skater with big bucks wants to give it a whirl, pro skating just isn't coming back. The 90's were the perfect storm of talent, money, popularity, etc. to make it viable that won't be repeated. I think Japan Open type events are great and maybe more of close can be organized in the future.

    Market Our Team
    Given the 24/7 Twitter environment we live in, we need to find a way to make our skaters approachable to kids. This is where it is so important to break away from the PR, rehearsed speech and let every skater share their story. Just because I can't do a triple lutz doesn't mean I don't understand the frustration of being unable to do something perfectly like Ashley Wagner. Yet, we don't hear of these struggles. USFSA needs to generate more social content and make it as fun and relatable as possible.

    And, NBC needs to catch up in so many ways. It needs an app for live scoring, an option for newbies to see a live playbyplay, and to start giving us small looks into the skaters' lives; no need for 5minute 1996 style soap operas, but we get very little nowadays, which makes it hard to connect.

    Finally, visibility is a challenge. But, by providing all these resources and using the USFSA site as a central hub, hopefully anyone can find out when and how to keep up with their favorite skater.

    Increase Participation
    I think there are ways to try and increase participation aside from hoping for a ladies gold every four years. Clearly, 4 year olds can't make decisions, so why not start a marketing campaign aimed at their moms? Intercept them on their phone with an ad featuring a little girl with a Hamil cut with the call to action "It only takes 1. Teach them to skate." with a "Find out where" button that takes them to an interactive page where they can find all the local rinks, and upload photos of them and their kid skating. Billboard with similar ads with the page URL would make quite an impact, as well, such as some of the iconic triumphant photos of our time with corresponding tag lines. If not parents, at least grandparents, will recognize the greatest skaters. And, it's at these rec levels where the money is made.

  3. #243
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    I don't for a moment thing there will be a pro circuit: I think the ISU killed that one when they put all their money into keeping eligible skating cash cows in forever and trying to kill pro skating, instead of investing in their own pro competitions, allowing for a continuum of competitions.
    "'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

  4. #244
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwanfan1818 View Post
    I don't for a moment thing there will be a pro circuit: I think the ISU killed that one when they put all their money into keeping eligible skating cash cows in forever and trying to kill pro skating, instead of investing in their own pro competitions, allowing for a continuum of competitions.
    Ding. Ding. Ding. Bingo!

  5. #245
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    Didn't they instigate some sort of pro competition series last season?

  6. #246

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    Poor Douglas, Raisman and Wieber, having to choose between college and capitalizing on their Olympic medals.

    .
    TBH, I've no idea what you two are arguing over...but
    All of those gymnasts turned pro well before the olympics along with Bross and maybe Vega? I think that's really interesting given that these 15/16? year old girls have to make a decision that will effectively end their gym careers after elite competition and rule out college competition. Bross was advised poorly IMO. She and Raisman really took a gamble, considering that success (or a place) on the Olympic team wasn't necessarily a given. Bross didn't make the team, didn't get endorsements and has made little to nothing from the sport. Now she cannot compete at college level and is most likely fnished with the sport. Based on a decision that her parents made for her. Wieber can't compete for UCLA despite training there daily and again made this decision long before the olympics. I assume she received some sort of training scholarship?

    The professional contract negating a college career reminds me of the pro career negating ISU competitions. I do not understand why ALL athletes are not facilitated in earning as much as they possibly CAN from sport.

  7. #247
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    I understand the policy considerations of such a rule with NCAA. However, I think the rules are too rigid in that they don't take into considerations the reality of the individual sports. Basketball and Football players don't have to worry about forgoing a career in their sports and earning income from it because their careers in a professional setting do not take place until after some college (or full college) experience. So they get to take advantage of playing in a collegiate level, getting scholarships and receiving an education, and then they can profit out of it if professional teams want to draft them after college.

    For gymnasts, the same is not true. For women gymnasts, in particular, their elite level careers most often happen before or during their collegiate career (with few exceptions) and they are in a disadvantaged position because the height of their abilities are during their teenaged years where they are the most marketable and have the most opportunities to use their athletic skills to make a profit. It's forcing them to gamble and decide on to take advantage of marketing and money-making opportunities in a sport that doesn't have much opportunities for that or receiving a scholarship that will be incredibly beneficial to many gymnasts who can use the financial support; not to mention the ability to lengthen their gymnastics career since any professional league simply does not exist to help pay for continued participation (and training) in the sport.
    "Corporation, n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility." - Ambrose Bierce

  8. #248
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    Quote Originally Posted by VIETgrlTerifa View Post
    I understand the policy considerations of such a rule with NCAA. However, I think the rules are too rigid in that they don't take into considerations the reality of the individual sports. Basketball and Football players don't have to worry about forgoing a career in their sports and earning income from it because their careers in a professional setting do not take place until after some college (or full college) experience. So they get to take advantage of playing in a collegiate level, getting scholarships and receiving an education, and then they can profit out of it if professional teams want to draft them after college.

    For gymnasts, the same is not true. For women gymnasts, in particular, their elite level careers most often happen before or during their collegiate career (with few exceptions) and they are in a disadvantaged position because the height of their abilities are during their teenaged years where they are the most marketable and have the most opportunities to use their athletic skills to make a profit. It's forcing them to gamble and decide on to take advantage of marketing and money-making opportunities in a sport that doesn't have much opportunities for that or receiving a scholarship that will be incredibly beneficial to many gymnasts who can use the financial support; not to mention the ability to lengthen their gymnastics career since any professional league simply does not exist to help pay for continued participation (and training) in the sport.
    Excellent points. So many gymnasts dream of competing in NCAA for a long list of reasons. It's not always about a free education, although many times it is. It stinks they have to make a choice that other college athletes don't. Tasha Schwikert is one gymnast who turned down many financial offers because she always dreamed of competing on the college level. It's sad that once her college career ended, so did her chance for endorsements. For gymnasts, they have to make choices that most other NCAA athletes don't. Although there are always exceptions. Someone mentioned Missy Franklin upthread. Shes a prime example of someone who could be a millionaire ten times over by now but has stayed NCAA eligible simply because she has long dreamed of swimming on a college team. Unless her plan has changed, she only plans to swim two years at Berkeley and then relinquish her eligibility so she can finally reap some financial rewards/endorsements before Rio.

  9. #249
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueRidge View Post
    I have no interest in (and lots of fear of) putting on skates. I like watching. I hope that's not too sad.

    Speaking of forever whining about a sport's popularity, there has been handwringing about baseball's declining popularity for my whole life. In fact that's where the execrable designated hitter rule came from. So I agree with Prancer changing things to make a sport more popular tends only to make it less good for everyone.
    Sit next to me!

  10. #250
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    I hadn't realized that the elite gymnasts wouldn't be paid and paid well to appear on a tour in a THRIVING sport like gymnastics, which would pay for a whole lot of college education.
    I don't get all these mentions of Gymnastics not having a tour. There is a gymnastics tour in the US, at least in Olympic years, although it is sometimes problematic to get the top names.
    http://kelloggstour.com/

    Three of the big names form the 2012 Olympics also headlined a 2013 tour:
    http://www.intlgymnast.com/index.php...news&Itemid=53

  11. #251
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    Seems FS makes little or no effort to be popular. So it is really no surprise that it isn't.

  12. #252
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    The federations have entirely too much power over the skaters. The skaters need to organize and quit putting up with this s***. Was glad to see some college football players are seeking to unionize to gain some rights.

  13. #253

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    OK, not directly on topic, but fascinating to read nonetheless.

    This is a 1976 interview with the father of televised sports, Roone Arledge:

    http://playboysfw.kinja.com/a-candid...255/@tcraggs22
    Keeper of Nathalie Pechelat's bitchface.

  14. #254
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    Quote Originally Posted by Susan M View Post
    I don't get all these mentions of Gymnastics not having a tour. There is a gymnastics tour in the US, at least in Olympic years, although it is sometimes problematic to get the top names.
    http://kelloggstour.com/
    Yes, there is a tour in an Olympic year.

    Quote Originally Posted by Susan M View Post
    Three of the big names form the 2012 Olympics also headlined a 2013 tour:
    http://www.intlgymnast.com/index.php...news&Itemid=53
    That tour was canceled.
    Trolling dates all the way back to 397 B.C. - People began following Plato around and would make fart noises after everything he said.

  15. #255
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coco View Post
    OK, not directly on topic, but fascinating to read nonetheless.
    I think this is right on topic:

    Playboy: But don't you think television has the power to create tastes, even create an entire sport, if it's left on the air long enough?

    Arledge: No.
    followed by:

    Playboy: Many media experts have credited you with creating the sudden American taste for gymnastics.

    Arledge: Gymnastics came along when Americans were just beginning to become aware of their bodies, and the personality of Olga Korbut came along when the women's movement was getting into athletics. TV can create a personality, but it can't create a taste the public isn't ready for. Americans were ready for golf when Arnold Palmer appeared on television. He was the swashbuckling hero who would be six strokes down, hitch up his pants and charge. People who didn't know a putt from a sand blast could root for him. But, like Bobby Fischer, Palmer would have soon faded into obscurity if an interest in the game didn't underlie an interest in the personality.
    "'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

  16. #256

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    Reading that article excerpted in the US Pairs thread, made me think. Maybe the key to getting new and old fans into skating again is to televise practices. They could utilize split screens when necessary and have commentary that actually discusses technique.

    Official skating practices, and podium training in gymnastics, are really unique when compared to the "big" sports (football, soccer, basketball, hockey). In those sports, while the teams warm up on different parts of the same field, practices are separate and even private, more or less for each team. They aren't using the same equipment or field (at the same time) they aren't interacting with their competitors, etc.

    An official practice or podium training is quasi competition. It is also guaranteed to be exciting, in skating anyway, because of the way skaters zoom around in close proximity to each other.

    Also, in practice, skaters move in and out of the character required by their choreography, sometimes staying out of character the entire time. I'm guessing, but I think this will make them more "approachable" to viewers, certainly more relatable.
    Keeper of Nathalie Pechelat's bitchface.

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