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  1. #41

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    Well I am all for getting a US lady back to medal contention. I’d expect Russians to be hand wringing over their dance standings and searching for their next to die for pair. Some things are tradition!
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    Quote Originally Posted by snoopy View Post
    Well I am all for getting a US lady back to medal contention. I’d expect Russians to be hand wringing over their dance standings and searching for their next to die for pair. Some things are tradition!
    Well sure, but I think that's separate from the popularity of figure skating. I think if Gracie won a medal even Gold (not suggesting this is a possibility) at the 2014 Olys it wouldn't make a difference for audience size. But it would be exiting for fans!
    Congratulations 2014 World Ice Dance Champions Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte!!!

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceJunkie View Post

    I'm sick of all the about how dooooomed the U.S. ladies are. The media has been spoiled for so long. We had our day in the sun. It's OK if we don't have a Dorothy, Peggy, Michelle or Kristi for another 10 or 15 years.
    Back in the day, Kristi was criticized greatly for her lack of personality and limited appeal. Now she's being held up as a paragon of a media darling. Oh how history rewrites itself.

  4. #44
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    I think the people who are discussing the reality of where today's figure skaters fit into the grand scheme of celebrities are on the right track. Skaters these days are competing in a highly saturated market; not only filled with the reality stars mentioned, but with viral/YouTube commodities, and even other Olympic athletes. Each cycle, more and more sports are added, and the "superhuman" appeal of watching the Games loses a little more of an appeal. Thus, the need for more than just talent and a gold medal to break through into mainstream media.

    Truthfully, I don't think skating ever will have another megastar in the USA on the level of Dorothy, Peggy, Kristi or Michelle. We may get a Sasha here and there, but Sasha's Z-list status - and the status of these ladies- came mainly from exposure. She competed through 2 cycles, was Michelle's biggest rival, and competed at the height of the amateur and proam cheesefests. It's hard to gain a relationship with a skater when you see them on TV 2-3x per year. Visibility was also Kwan and Yamaguchi's greatest assets: the first due to her longevity and perseverance, the second due to her wildly successful run on a professional scene we will never have again. Meanwhile, Peggy and Dorothy won at a time when women were still finding their ground. They showed that they could be homemakers, office workers, and athletes, too! They were relatable to a public that needed those kind of idols, and with the advent of television and lack of competitive programming, a 2 week-long spectacle was a huge deal. Plus, they toured for years because, again, the general public were still impressed by the tricks and by the theatre of it all and willing to shell out the bucks to see them up close. Ask COI if that's still the case.

    If Gracie wins, there is hardly any chance she'll return for 2018. Almost all gold medalists seem to be shifting toward playing it coy to sponsors about future competition, while staying the hell away to not risk losing. She'll receive more sponsorships and attain much more visibility post-Sochi, but without ongoing compeition or an ongoing professional scene, and the buzz of the Olympics fading, she'll become what she is now: a highly regarded star in a niche sport with multiple endorsements.

    Nothing about Gold's background seems even remotely marketable. Gymnasts Nastia Liukin and Gabby Douglas are stunning, and have had the most individual post-Olympic success since Mary Lou Retton. Nastia's path followed the trajectory I outlined, plus additional coverage here and there about her unique heritage (daughter of USSR Olympic gymnast). Gabby has held her place in the market a little longer, but she certainly isn't a MLR. And, that is mainly due to her background, being the first black AA champion, leading to a book and Lifetime movie. But, her star will fade within the next 12 months.

    In any case, those looking for skating to ever have a true star again are always going to be disappointed because it isn't going to happen. What we can hope for is:

    1) One of our ladies to inspire a new generation of skaters, some of whom will be the stars of future Olympiads
    2) One of our ladies to stick around for a while and build a fan-base through visibility
    3) A revived professional circuit allowing increased visibility and opportunity for Olympic champions to compete without risk of damaging their reputation
    4) One of our skaters to say/do something (aka "unimpressed") completely separate from their skating that penetrates mainstream media
    5) One of our skaters to have a compelling back story

    Still, these athletes wouldn't go much further than a Nastia or Gabby, and that's fine. They're millionaires. Are they household names or celebrities? No. But, if you join or follow figure skating for its celebrity status, you are doing it for all the wrong reasons. The days of gender-defying beautify Hamill, cold war-warming Mary Lou, and the Witt-Browning-Yamaguchi crew competing weekly are long gone.
    Last edited by JJS5056; 01-24-2014 at 07:32 PM.

  5. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilyich View Post
    I agree that the U.S. needs someone with Kwan levels of competitive consistency in order for the sport of skating to become popular again. Someone who's always in the running for gold and whose worst days may get her a bronze or silver.
    The thing is, that kind of competitive consistency is no longer common for the ladies, what with IJS and the deepening global talent pool. Since Michelle retired, Yuna is the only one to approach that level of consistent success over her entire career. I don't know how often we'll see that in the future.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ilyich View Post
    With regards to looks and marketability, I think Gracie checks those boxes the best. She's absolutely gorgeous. If she does well in Sochi, she's going to be popular. And if she continues to do well after that, she'll be a huge star.
    I actually think Ashley could be a bigger star than Gracie if she did well in Sochi. Ashley is not only attractive, she's also approachable, down-to-earth, and says interesting things now and then. Basically, in public, she has shown more personality than Gracie, and in a good way. I think in Peggy and Dorothy's day, it was enough to win gold and look good. These days, people are expecting something a bit more spicy/interesting in celebrities.

    McKayla Maroney is a case in point. She's probably the best known of the Fierce Five now, and why? Because she's the most outspoken/interesting. (In public, anyhow.)

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dilng View Post
    ITA! If Gracie won the gold in Sochi she would definitely be a star in the USA!
    I don't doubt that Gracie would be and is a marketable athlete. My question is more along the lines of can she remain relevant once the excitement over the Olympics disappears? Figure skating in general does not command much attention from the public which is why I think it would be hard for her or anyone in skating to become a huge star...the kind of huge star that goes beyond the normal sphere of the sport. I think a lot would have to shift in this country for figure skating to gain the kind of popularity it had back in the 90s and early 2000s.

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    But, does anyone know that Maroney came back this summer and competed AA at the World Championships in qualifications, lost out on a spot in finals due to 2 per country, missed out on a floor finals spot due to an overtime violation, or barely won VT gold over her teammate? No.

    She might ben well know, but she's known for a moment. Many special moments like "unimpressed" happen at the Olympics, but they're nothing more than memes or sound bites and do nothing for the popularity or marketbablity of the sport, though I suppose McKayla did get some individual mileage out of it - mileage I'm sure even she is getting sick of.

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJS5056 View Post
    I think the people who are discussing the reality of where today's figure skaters fit into the grand scheme of celebrities are on the right track. Skaters these days are competing in a highly saturated market; not only filled with the reality stars mentioned, but with viral/YouTube commodities, and even other Olympic athletes. Each cycle, more and more sports are added, and the "superhuman" appeal of watching the Games loses a little more of an appeal. Thus, the need for more than just talent and a gold medal to break through into mainstream media.

    Truthfully, I don't think skating ever will have another megastar in the USA on the level of Dorothy, Peggy, Kristi or Michelle. We may get a Sasha here and there, but Sasha's Z-list status - and the status of these ladies- came mainly from exposure. She competed through 2 cycles, was Michelle's biggest rival, and competed at the height of the amateur and proam cheesefests. It's hard to gain a relationship with a skater when you see them on TV 2-3x per year. Visibility was also Kwan and Yamaguchi's greatest assets: the first due to her longevity and perseverance, the second due to her wildly successful run on a professional scene we will never have again. Meanwhile, Peggy and Dorothy won at a time when women were still finding their ground. They showed that they could be homemakers, office workers, and athletes, too! They were relatable to a public that needed those kind of idols, and with the advent of television and lack of competitive programming, a 2 week-long spectacle was a huge deal. Plus, they toured for years because, again, the general public were still impressed by the tricks and by the theatre of it all and willing to shell out the bucks to see them up close. Ask COI if that's still the case.

    If Gracie wins, there is hardly any chance she'll return for 2018. Almost all gold medalists seem to be shifting toward playing it coy to sponsors about future competition, while staying the hell away to not risk losing. She'll receive more sponsorships and attain much more visibility post-Sochi, but without ongoing compeition or an ongoing professional scene, and the buzz of the Olympics fading, she'll become what she is now: a highly regarded star in a niche sport with multiple endorsements.

    Nothing about Gold's background seems even remotely marketable. Gymnasts Nastia Liukin and Gabby Douglas are stunning, and have had the most individual post-Olympic success since Mary Lou Retton. Nastia's path followed the trajectory I outlined, plus additional coverage here and there about her unique heritage (daughter of USSR Olympic gymnast). Gabby has held her place in the market a little longer, but she certainly isn't a MLR. And, that is mainly due to her background, being the first black AA champion, leading to a book and Lifetime movie. But, her star will fade within the next 12 months.

    In any case, those looking for skating to ever have a true star again are always going to be disappointed because it isn't going to happen. What we can hope for is:

    1) One of our ladies to inspire a new generation of skaters, some of whom will be the stars of future Olympiads
    2) One of our ladies to stick around for a while and build a fan-base through visibility
    3) A revived professional circuit allowing increased visibility and opportunity for Olympic champions to compete without risk of damaging their reputation
    4) One of our skaters to say/do something (aka "unimpressed") completely separate from their skating that penetrates mainstream media
    5) One of our skaters to have a compelling back story

    Still, these athletes wouldn't go much further than a Nastia or Gabby, and that's fine. They're millionaires. Are they household names or celebrities? No. But, if you join or follow figure skating for its celebrity status, you are doing it for all the wrong reasons. The days of gender-defying beautify Hamill, cold war-warming Mary Lou, and the Witt-Browning-Yamaguchi crew competing weekly are long gone.
    Very well put. I definitely agree re: visibility and longevity. In addition to the popularity there were many different competitions that happened in the US outside of the Grand Prix events. I remember competitions sponsored by Marshall's, Hershey's and others, not to mention all of the exhibition and made for TV ones. They used to broadcast COI, SOI and other skating specials. Now I think the only one they broadcast is the Smuckers skating/gymnastics show. The sport doesn't have even a fraction of the kind of exposure it used to have which makes it hard for people to follow/fall in love with these newer skaters.

  9. #49
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    The USFSA needs a world-beater to get themselves more popular, no doubt, but they can't control that on their own. They can help a little with media narratives. The personality issue is a huge stopping point. USFSA has done itself a great disservice by media-training every unique opinion out of their skaters. Even Ashley and Mirai, who are firecrackers in their interviews compared to other skaters, can be very dull, and their answers to Icenetwork's boring questions read as very rehearsed. USFSA needs to let quirky personalities thrive. Say what you want about Johnny's career or his skating itself, but he at least had an interesting personality and he garnered a lot of media attention.

  10. #50
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    It needs some spunk like back in the day when Michelle, Tara and Nicole were doing Campbells Soup Commercials, etc. I still have those fabulous posters of Michelle from Maxxis Tires, and Hallmark had the snow globes of Michelle and Tara. The commercials and media helped in making Figure Skating more popular in the US and also helped in making Michelle, Tara and Nicole more recognizable as figure skaters.


    ETA: I forgot to add that TV Guide had the greatest articles and photos of Michelle, Tara and Nicole leading up to the Olympics.
    Angie
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  11. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maureen View Post
    Are there any ratings available for the Grand Prix events shown throughout the Fall?
    The ratings were counted, but I need to DIG for that type of info. If you can give me the dates the event was first shown (do the ladies' LP), and the time it was shown, I can look it up.
    And so, dear Lord, it is with deep sadness that we turn over to you this young woman, whose dream to ride on a giant swan resulted in her death. Maybe it is your way of telling us... to buy American.

  12. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by fenway2 View Post
    Back in the day, Kristi was criticized greatly for her lack of personality and limited appeal. Now she's being held up as a paragon of a media darling. Oh how history rewrites itself.
    Honestly I do not remember it that way at all. First Kristi was the jumping bean vs. Jill's maturity, then then the skater with jumps and artistry vs. Midori & Tonya's power. I certainly never recall her being criticized when she was skating professionally. I do wish she had returned and defended her Olympic title in 1994, now that would have been something!

  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by NYScorp6 View Post
    Honestly I do not remember it that way at all. First Kristi was the jumping bean vs. Jill's maturity, then then the skater with jumps and artistry vs. Midori & Tonya's power. I certainly never recall her being criticized when she was skating professionally. I do wish she had returned and defended her Olympic title in 1994, now that would have been something!
    I don't recall her receiving any criticism as a professional. I was a huge Kristi fan back in the early 90s though and I remember smarting when some outlets criticized her for lacking the spark and said she would never match the appeal of Dorothy and Peggy. Then she had that brilliant professional career and her popularity soared. It's just funny now to see her cited as a media darling when she was eligible because that's not how I remember it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    Gracie vs. Polina?


    Gracie vs Amber Glenn, this year's equally-drop-dead-gorgeous US Junior Champ. Battle of the Grace Kellys. Wait 'til Amber moves up to the senior level next year. [Polina is pretty but too 'scrubbed fresh face' - not a Miss America Glamour Gal like Gracie & Amber.]

    TSL is already anticipating a 'Battle of the Blondes' in Greensboro next year, by the way. Read latest column on US batls.
    Last edited by Frau Muller; 01-24-2014 at 09:27 PM.
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    I Googled Amber. Either she's not photogenic or you've exaggerated her looks. She's cute but I wouldn't even call her pretty, much less drop-dead gorgeous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fenway2 View Post
    I Googled Amber. Either she's not photogenic or you've exaggerated her looks.
    Or she has a different opinion.

    I get so tired of people constantly talking about how beautiful Kiira Korpi is and while I can intellectually recognize that she fits a certain standard of beauty, I just don't feel anything at all looking at her. She doesn't excite me in an aesthetic (or sexual, and I am a heterosexual male) way. Beauty, as with skating, has a significant subjective component.
    Last edited by RFOS; 01-24-2014 at 09:50 PM.

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    Is it bad that I saw the article name and just assumed this was another one of Rosie DiManno's gems?

  18. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwanatic View Post

    US skaters are very, very dull and boring personality wise, especially the ladies. Everything is pageant queen-like: smile, look pretty, give cookie cutter answers to questions, blah blah blah...boring. It seems like they are discouraged from having an actual opinion. Whenever a skater expresses an original thought that goes against the status quo there's usually some kind of backlash over it which is why it's very rare for it to happen. The sport is so controlled by federations that people have to step lightly. You speak out of turn, criticize something you don't like, piss someone off or something like that, and you may find yourself blacklisted. In this sport it's taboo for one of the women to "talk up" their skill or display anything other than implied confidence meaning you won't see someone come right out and say "I'm going to win/I'm the best skater here," even if it is true. They always go with the "I just want to skate my best/I just want to do it like I do in practice" standard answer. An overt show of confidence is seen as arrogance for the women in this sport.
    But God forbid Nancy criticized the delay in the medal ceremony for Oksana's make-up re-do, or said that wearing her OSM in that parade was "the corniest thing she had ever done." Everyone jumped all over her for those things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kwanatic View Post
    People in this country only pay attention to skating once every 4 years. As soon as the Olympics are over it will fade back into obscurity for the next 4 years. Let's say Gracie miraculously wins in Sochi. She'll be the talk of the town for a month or two...then eventually people will lose interest and she'll fade back into obscurity for 4 years, occasionally making a headline/appearance if she wins something else. Why? She's not particularly interesting by sports figure standards. She's pretty and well-spoken...but she's not someone who the average American viewer will want to see past the pre- and post-Olympic media rush. Figure skating needs a Jennifer Lawrence type skater: talented, pretty, well-spoken but also candid, charming and accidentally entertaining. The stuff Lawrence says probably gives her publicist brain aneurysms but it's funny and entertaining. Even if you don't like her particular brand of goofy adorableness, one thing you can't call her is a boring, plain or cookie cutter Hollywood actress.
    It's a little strange to read that quote (especially from a Kwan fan who is very well-spoken but tended to be kind of cookie cutter and boring and PC in what she said in interviews IMO), I find Gracie to show signs of the opposite. She has a little bit of deviousness to her that I find much more interesting than most skaters in their public personas. For example, I thought the news segment where she and Max Aaron were "interviewed" by someone who skated with them (who seemed more of a comedian type than a reporter, I forget exactly who) was pretty funny. He was swearing a lot and being silly and he asked is it OK to swear in this segment and she said, "Yeah, I'm 18 now." Also, she had a quote in the soundbites played on the Jumbotron at Nationals about how we go out there with knives strapped to our feet and paused and said, "I love it" with sort of a devious smirk. Also, in the "lineup" where skaters gave their names and hometowns for playing on the Jumbotron she said she was from Boston and got big cheers everytime, even though I didn't know if she had any connection to Boston at all, and she certainly hadn't been promoted as a Boston athlete. It turns out she was apparently born in Newton, MA, near Boston but didn't grow up there. So she perhaps wasn't outright lying but being a little mischievous.

    That slightly devious "streak" has gotten her into a bit of hot water for being un-PC (especially the sandwich tweet referencing Mao, but also the "Asian face" picture or whatever the caption was that her friend put on it). I understand why people would be offended by those and the Tweet wasn't a good idea, but I feel pretty sure that she was just trying to be silly and doubt that she's a hateful person (though perhaps she, like I bet everyone does, does have some subconscious biases and surely she isn't a perfect person either). My sisters and I have a pretty strange and twisted sense of humor with each other sometimes, some examples of which others would surely find offensive and that would sound bad if anyone outside of the family found out and heard them out of context, so we don't share them. But part of my connection with my sisters is just being silly together and we certainly don't ever actually mean anything bad.

    ETA: I remember that she was on Leno and haven't seen that, but I recall a poster here who did saying she was "a hoot" on the show.
    Last edited by RFOS; 01-24-2014 at 10:37 PM.

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    I look at it this way. For woman's skating to become more popular, a woman has to start winning year after year at both National's and at World's. (I don't know anyone apart from FSU who pays attention to the Grand Prix events and the 4CC's.) One or two wins is not going to do it.

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