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Figure skating is dying, and judges can't prop it up

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by Sugar, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Figure skating was dramatically changed in part due to fs coverage on television. Yes, there is a completely different dynamic going on in the current environment of rapid technological change and viewer choices. There are a myriad of factors involved re figure skating's downswing, obviously. Just because fs has exploded in interest throughout Asia does not mean as a sport that it is thriving. TPTB within the sport did not know how to take full, positive and long-term advantage of the boom in interest post Tonya/ Nancy, and I doubt they understand how to learn from and build upon the huge popularity of fs in Asian countries in a way that can ultimately benefit the sport worldwide.

    Re all the kids at local learn-to-skate programs, the sport still needs to be restructured and TPTB still need to understand how to grow the sport at the local level and how to make improvements that can ultimately benefit skaters in a more widespread and significant way, so that they might actually have opportunities to develop and make it past novice and juniors, and see the possibility for successful rewards rather than injuries, money pits, and pipe dreams. The young skaters are the lifeblood of the sport and right now I think they're being ill-treated and taken for granted. Indeed, diehard fans don't seem to matter much either.

    The only reason the sport continues on is because the joy at its core can not be corrupted, even if we don't often get to see and experience the transcendent magic of that on the ice these days. There's always hope and maybe that's what those of us having a hard time letting go, are actually clinging to. Still the body of the sport is in dire straits, if not death throes.

    From my perspective anonymous judging is the egg, and IJS is the chicken, or maybe it's the other way around. :confused: I've been contemplating trying to become a vegan, cold turkey ... yeah, fat chance. :p

    I'm not sure that "screaming politics" is the point. It may be the diversion. Politics will always exist, but it's not the root of the problem necessarily. I think perhaps the roots of the problem are lack of understanding, lack of vision, lack of unity, lack of beneficial communication and stultifying status quo thinking. There are many good people with good ideas doing good things in this sport, and many who may be well-intentioned, but whose heads seem firmly planted in the sand. The healthy cells of the sport's body are doing their utmost to escape the deadly virus. :scream:
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2013
  2. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    Aftershocks - I have to ask you the question - what is your involvement in the sport? You have made comments about learn to skate so I just want to understand where you sit within the sport that you have knowledge about that area.

    From my personal experience here in Australia I don't think at grass roots that the sport is suffering. There have been a few examples mentioned where learn to skate programs are growing. I am not sure what is going on overseas but I don't see that as being a problem. I think those who are involved in the sport would be able to enlighten us here about that side of it.
  3. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    ^^ Oh, Aussie Willy, I was commenting on J-Ro's mention of "learn-to-skate" programs, which I think are great and one of the very good things that are going on now at grassroots level. Sorry if it's hard to understand my metaphor-strewn posts. What I'm saying is that no matter how many kids are signed up in these programs, they will have nowhere to go, if the sport doesn't fix it's problems and heal itself.

    For an example of my thinking re the good things that are happening from the bottom-up (not the top down truthfully), just take a listen to manleywoman's current two-part interview with Audrey Weisiger, or take a look at my comments in the GSD thread about the interview. Audrey Weisiger is someone who has made and is continuing to make invaluable contributions to this sport. The ISU and TPTB are contributing very little except for directives and headaches. Help fund and support Grassroots to Champions, and Young Artists Series programs! Listen to the voices of genuinely concerned fans, coaches and former skaters!

    End anonymous judging and try in good faith to construct a scoring system that benefits the sport and the skaters, not one that protects the judges from scrutiny. Provide more and better opportunities for all the skaters, by restructuring the way the sport is operated. Help figure out a way for skaters to learn the fundamentals and to practice figures and to train in dance -- this is a sport and an art! Care about the skaters and the fans ...

    ITA with some of the ideas and suggestions that Audrey Weisiger espouses.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2013
  4. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    Thanks for the clarification.

    Learn to skate programs are not the ISUs responsibility. Or even where skaters go immediately after that. Basically it comes down to rinks, clubs and local associations providing them with the opportunities. And then that relies on volunteers to do all that stuff, except the rinks will make money from learn to skate programs. That is the case in Australia and I think you will find it the case all around the world. As someone involved in the sport at a grass roots level it would not even come into my mind that the ISU should have any responsibility in that area.

    Now if you were talking about a National association (such as ISA where I am), they do have a responsibility to provide help and guidance with the development of the program which then in turn provides the basis for competitions streams at that level. In fact what happens here is that when skaters join the learn to skate program Aussie Skate, then $5 of each registration fee for the program goes to the clubs and then $5 to the local state associations. So then that money can get directed back into the sport to help its development. But it is done by the the volunteer workforce.

    I know I bang on about volunteers, but seriously unless there are people out there organising the sport out of their own goodwill, you do not have a sport. And you do not have skaters feeding into the national or even international competition stream. But I don't think that is the ISUs responsibility. Figure skating is a sport whereby there is no social obligation for it to exist (at the end of the day pretty much like all sports). But it is entertainment and people love doing it and there is a group who excel at it. Of course it is addition to our lives but not an essential. And that is coming from someone who basically does a second unpaid job being a volunteer for the sport on top of a paid job.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2013
  5. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    IMO, the ISU has a responsibility to lead, and above all a responsibility to understand the history of the sport and the essence of what the sport is about. They have a responsibility to care about more than their bottom line. There is no excuse. If they want to head the sport (I'm talking about officials at all levels), they've got to stop leaning on excuses and speaking in platitudes about what they have no control over and about what exists that nothing can be done about because its too hard and their ears are full of sand.

    So the top officials are just laissez-faire controllers and regulators and everybody else has to roll up their sleeves to do what they're told and they have no voice in trying to change anything for the better. The lowly workers and volunteers can just create programs and try to scrape around finding the money to fund the programs to gather in hopeful dreamers, many of whom will end washed up on the scrapheap of a decaying 19th century entertainment enterprise that you seem to be saying the ISU doesn't need to bother their little heads about because at the end of the day, there ain't no social obligation for the sport to exist. IOW, Cinquanta is simply doing all the feds a huge favor by presiding over the sport's body ever since he seized the reins of power. Furthermore, we as fans must volunteer to nourish the sport and thus ourselves because the ISU calls all the shots, but doesn't care what happens on the grassroots level. Fans must also pay exorbitant prices for tickets, and be unable to easily view the sport online, forget about on television.

    From what you've said, Aussie Willy, it becomes even more clear that the sport is decayed and is based upon the attitudes and organizational precepts of the 19th-century. That's even more reason for the ISU not to exist... you talk about the sport not going to exist! No, the ISU apparently banks on the continuation of the current state of affairs and status quo thinking. IMO, the ISU needs to be overthrown and reconstituted in a different form ... it is obviously a host kept alive in a stagnant body that is on life support, and if the ISU has its way, the body will remain in that condition interminably.

    Thanks for the enlightenment. Maybe that's where things need to be focused ... on understanding the history of how the sport developed, and on understanding exactly how the sport operates now on all levels, and then destroy the sand castle.

    Is that one of the ways the ISU continues to wield power: By saying they have no obligation to do anything but preside over member federations who are just privileged to have the ISU calling all the shots, while the ISU has no responsibility to lead efforts for positive change?
  6. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    Aftershocks - I have just given you the reality of how our sport is run. Sorry but I do not understand what you are so upset about or why you should even care so much. I do not know one person who is involved in the sport who would even contemplate that train of thought. Go and talk to some local skating clubs, tell them what you have just written here and then see what they would say. They would probably love an offer of another volunteer to help them out.
  7. AndyWarhol

    AndyWarhol Well-Known Member

    we need someone to do for skating what they did to Roller Derby!

    Ice skating just isn't cool.
  8. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    Exactly! I don't know what they did but they really have made a succes of it. And it gets lots of media coverage.
  9. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Yes, thanks, Aussie Willy like I said for the enlightenment. It doesn't change the fact that it's the ISU that no longer needs to exist, but the federations are also antiquated, complacent and too afraid to reorganize and to tell the ISU that as the governing body, it is no longer needed. I'm not upset, but I do care and I am pointing out the confounding ironies of the situation that you've described. If you feel that people at the local club level would never contemplate my train of thought, then I guess that says it all. :puppet:

    Anyways, perhaps an investigative documentary exposing the underpinnings and explicating the history would be a good way of stirring up some passion for change. Not a chest-beating diatribe, but just a clear-eyed telling. Maybe I'll suggest the idea to a skilled documentarian who would be interested, but who has no prior knowledge or affiliation with the sport.

    No, according to the way things stand, as described by Aussie Willy, it's actually everyone who cares at the grassroots level who must organize and do something to change figure skating for the better. Ice skating isn't cool because it is run by people who are out-of-touch with the 21st century.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2013
  10. skateboy

    skateboy Well-Known Member

    :lol: Unfortunately, those would be appropriate titles today.
  11. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    Still, if you look at where the sport was, globally and within the US, ca. 1993 (a nice round 20 years ago, before the Tonya/Nancy scandal), compared to now, I think in almost every measure of health it is either better than ever or better than 1993 but with higher peaks 10-15 years ago and then a partial decline.

    I can think of three exceptions. Two of them relate directly to what fans are interested in and one is exactly what fans were not interested in:

    *There are far fewer professional performing opportunities -- competitions, television specials, and tours -- for star skaters than there were in the peak boom years, and somewhat fewer than in the late 80s/early 90s. But the ISU is not charged with maintaining the health of elite skating for entertainment outside its competition mandate. One reason for the decline in post-ISU-eligible careers is the fact that there are more opportunities for eligible skaters to earn money while still competing now than there were 20 years ago, for better or for worse.

    *There was less television coverage on US broadcast TV, and although there were more hours of cable TV coverage it was on a cable network that most American cable subscribers did not have access to. That has more to do with bad planning by Universal Sports than by the skating federations.

    *School figures as a discipline was still alive but declining fast within the US as of 1993. Now for all practical purposes it's completely dead -- with a very very few isolated signs of life.

    Oh, I thought of one more area, relevant to participants not fans: Social ice dance sessions, dance weekends, etc., are probably less common now than 20 years ago.

    Do you have better ideas than those that are already in place in the US? Do you know what's already in place in the US, and how things have changed in the last 20 years?

    Skating has always been a money pit. Ice time is expensive (especially with school figures in the mix), and so are lessons -- not to mention expenses of traveling to competitions, which puts money into the pockets of the travel and hospitality industries, not the skating establishment. Very very few skaters in any era ever earned back what they/their parents had invested in their participation. There's a reason why so many skaters turned pro or quit as soon as they had a bankable success or it became clear they never would. At least now skaters are able to fund their training by teaching and performing -- and prize money helps the successful international skaters as well -- options that were forbidden to amateur skaters before the 1990s.

    Making a living as a skater, or ever getting to compete internationally, are much more attainable dreams for a larger number of young skaters now than in the past. But that's still only a tiny percentage of all skaters. This is and always has been an expensive hobby. But it's much more welcoming to a wider variety of would-be participants now than 20 years ago, let alone 40.

    I would guess that injury rates are indeed significantly higher among competitive skaters, although I haven't seen a controlled study on the subject.

    Why do you think that? What kind of opportunities do you think young skaters had 20 years ago that they don't have now? Or vice versa. Do you have any sense of what is and isn't available to serious and recreational skaters at all the levels between learn-to-skate and novice?

    This is nothing new. If anything there is more communication now between federations and fans -- though there's still plenty of room for improvement.

    And how are you defining "the body of the sport"?
  12. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    This is where I now say - you are not involved in the sport so you are not qualified to comment. And it is probably time to put you on the ignore list because you are now just talking rubbish. If you are so concerned about our sport, go and volunteer at your local club and then you might get a reality check and learn something.
  13. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    It seems that you are the one who is actually upset Aussie Willy. I thanked you for the enlightenment. I'm not saying that you aren't telling the truth about the way things exist, per your knowledge of the situation at your club level. But you seem to think that nothing can be done to make changes. Perhaps you are right under the current structure, but that doesn't mean things have to continue under the current structure either. It's laughable when people who don't like what another poster is saying or misconstrues another poster's tone and intent threatens with the ignore list. That's your right and your privilege. Just like people who prefer burying their heads in the sand and clogging their ears make that choice perhaps because they are afraid of the uncertainty that dissent, differing points of view, and change might bring.

    I'm just a voice in the wilderness, I suppose. I'll certainly try to find the time to talk to people at clubs in my area and survey the lay of the land, and keep an open mind about what I find out. Whether change happens under the current structure, or whether the sport is completely reorganized, IMHO, change needs to happen.
  14. iloveemoticons

    iloveemoticons Well-Known Member

    Well, I was trying to say that it did happen under 6.0 with Kwan being upset twice at the Olympics. I'm not saying there was a Tara before the real Tara, but rather there hasn't been another Tara in the CoP era, meaning someone who didn't have that much of a reputation upsetting someone who did due to superior technical content.

    Under 6.0, if a person fell twice and they got 5.0s in the tech score, usually you wouldn't see a totally disparate presentation score like a 5.8. That makes sense to me because if someone makes major errors like falling, that tends to mean that their skating skills, transitions, and interpretation weren't that great, unless they were trying to portray the fall of the Berlin wall or something.

    But under CoP, the PCS can be very different from the tech score, which seems kind of like determining results before the competition even begins, IMO. That takes away from the enjoyment of skating as a sport for me, because when I think of sport, I think of a competition where everyone starts out on a level playing field. When some skaters start out 10-20 points down in PCS, it's like saying they have to do an extra 3Lutz-3Toe (worth about ten points) or do that combination twice (on top of their original program) in order to be level. That just seems really unfair to me. I think there was a suggestion earlier in the thread that the PCS should maybe be 30% of the score, which makes sense to me.

    I can't speak to Stoyko or Kerrigan, but Michelle Kwan usually was the best or close to the best technically when she won. She was very consistent with clean 6-7 triple programs; in her era, most people weren't doing 3-3s on a regular basis; and at her peak she did have the 3Toe-3Toe as well. And the times when Kwan wasn't the best technically, she was usually duly punished for it, like when Tara upset her in 1998.
  15. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all your questions, gkelly. The professional competitions eventually died because the federations (particularly USFS) saw them as a threat. Instead of joining with professional skaters to help find ways to positively promote and maintain interest in the sport as a whole and to find ways to coexist for the long term benefit of the sport, TPTB forced professional competitions out of existence, by providing more incentive for top skaters to remain eligible. But now, when retired skaters who desire to still skate could benefit from professional competitions, they no longer exist. Those years post Tonya/ Nancy were opportunities lost because once again the sport lacked vision and people did not work together for mutual benefit.

    In regard to young skaters, I'm sure there are a lot of things being done to assist in the development of skaters, but more needs to be done. I mentioned some of the things I think would be helpful re finding a way to reintroduce figures, and focus more on teaching the fundamentals, as well as movement and dance classes. I also feel that more should be done in the areas of injury prevention and equipment studies, and sports medicine intervention. I also pointed out that what Audrey Weisiger is doing and the suggestions that she is making are valuable. She is doing a lot of things at the grassroots level that are benefiting skaters in many ways, and benefiting the sport. She advocates coaches joining together to share ideas and knowledge in helping skaters to develop. Her efforts with YAS have already proved fruitful for a number of skaters whose lives have been impacted by the opportunity to obtain work as choreographers.

    I think Audrey's suggestion about allowing skaters to compete in jump competitions, figures competitions, and spin competitions, and artistic competitions, as well as all-around competitions would allow more opportunities for skaters to succeed. Of course the sport is expensive and requires dedication, but that expense and the sacrifices would bear more fruit for a greater number of skaters if the sport were restructured to provide different kinds of opportunities, since few skaters will ever make the Olympic team. Coaches and club officials should promote the sport more for the myriad benefits it offers rather than the traditional and limited focus on Olympic dreams.
  16. Prancer

    Prancer Slave to none, master to all Staff Member

    Michelle Kwan went into the 1998 Olympics as a two-time US National and one time World Champion.

    Tara Lipinski went into the Olympics as:

    The first woman to land a triple loop-triple loop
    The 1997 US National Champion
    The 1997 World Champion
    Two-time Champion Series (now Grand Prix) champion

    Tara was no unknown from nowhere. She went into the Olympics as a known contender for gold and a solid bet for a medal.

    Gracie Gold is no Tara Lipinski--not yet, anyway.

    First of all, under 6.0, there were no scores. There were marks, which were placeholders. Skaters did not get points. They were placed relative to how well they performed against other skaters; the marks were just what was used to make the placements.

    Second, no you wouldn't see someone get wildly disparate marks for tech and presentation because, as I said, presentation IS mostly technical. Good skating skills ARE technical. The top skaters are top skaters because they are good at both of the categories. If you don't have good skating skills, you aren't going to have good jumps, even if you land them, and your marks would reflect that--because they reflected how well you skated relative to everyone else.

    You would see--and did--skaters who had two fall programs place over people who didn't fall down at all. You saw it a lot. Anyone could judge skating if all we had to do was count how many times someone fell down. I could probably win a skating competition like that--I can't skate a lick, but I hardly ever fall down.

    How do they start that much lower? I don't understand. Don't scores build under IJS, with everyone starting at zero and building from there?

    But even when other skaters did do 3-3s, they didn't always beat her and it was because of her Presentation marks. And they were well deserved using the criteria for Presentation, regardless of whether she was to someone's personal taste or not.
  17. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    The more you get involved, the more your perspective is likely to change.

    At the local club, you probably won't find many people who are looking to reorganize the sport completely. If you talk to enough people -- coaches, officials if there are any who are members of the club, skaters who are old enough to have some historical perspective -- you may find some who feel strongly that they'd like to see a return to 6.0 judging at the higher levels (still used at lower levels in the US), or even some who would like to see a return to required school figures. Maybe the occasional coach/official/older teen or adult skater with radically different vision of what they'd like to see, more as a dream than a realistic plan.

    Mostly you'll find people who would like to see changes that would have a direct effect for themselves and their friends, which may have nothing to do with anything people outside that part of the sport would care about.

    But you might find it interesting to see differences in what the people who are involved in different aspects of the sport do care about. And how many different aspects there are beyond what you see at the elite events.

    Are you talking only about gold medals at Olympics/Worlds? Olympics, especially, is too small a sample because there have only been 2 Olympics under IJS so far.
    But there have been plenty of examples in the IJS era of lesser known skaters winning other medals on the strength of superior technical content.

    In the short program you would, because of the way the SP deductions worked. Any two big errors, even if they weren't both falls. E.g., see Kurt Browning's SP marks at 1994 Olympics or Vyacheslav Zagorodniuk's at 1998 Olympics

    In long programs, no, that big a gap between the two marks was rare.

    But it would also be rare for someone who usually got 5.8s for presentation without falls to get scores as low as 5.0 for technical merit in a long program with two falls. A skater who was usually in the 5.8 range for a program without falls might drop to the 5.5 or 5.6 range on both marks with a couple of falls.
    One case in point: Young Plushenko in the free skate at 1998 Europeans vs. 1998 Worlds.

    Someone who earned 5.0 for technical merit in a long program with a couple of falls probably would not have earned close to 5.8 in a clean program, because there was a lot more being measured than just the number of clean jumps.

    Depends why they were falling.
    If they were trying jumps at the limits of their abilities, especially quads for men, or triple axels one step lower on the ladder, then it wouldn't be surprising for them to fall on those particular elements even if they were among the best in the world at the time on things like skating skills, transitions, and interpretation.

    If they were falling on jumps that they could usually land easily, then injury or illness or jet lag or equipment problems or nerves might have been interfering with their ability to get the jumps landed that day. And those same factors might have had a negative effect on other skills besides jumps throughout the program. So probably both marks would be lower on the bad day than on a good day with the same program. But a great skater on a bad day generally still has better basic skills than an average skater having a good day. And so both the "great" skater and the "average" skater might end up with "good" marks that day. But the great skater isn't likely to earn scores that are merely average, and isn't necessarily going to dip lower in the "good" range than the average skater is able to rise.

    The mere fact of landing the jumps and even being especially on top of his blades on a good day doesn't give the average skater a higher skill level than he ever possessed before -- only all the best skills that he already had, finally all coming together in the same program.

    That's because the technical score is primarily derived from the elements the skater actually does, as called by the technical panel, whereas the PCS score is entirely determined by the judges on the basis of everything the skater does throughout the whole program, with success of the elements officially only a small part of one component. There's no mechanism for any member of either panel to make any intentional effort balance the two marks against each other the way there was under 6.0.

    For that matter, under 6.0 the fact that some skaters tended to score 5.8s on a good day/5.5s on a bad day, and others tended to score 5.0 on or lower on bad day and maybe as high as 5.3 or 5.4 when they were especially on could be seen as "determining results before the competition even begins."

    Certainly judges had expectations of which skaters were likely to place in the top, high middle, low middle, or bottom part of the field, and longtime observers could usually predict those ranges as well. One or two mistakes in a free skate -- not necessarily falls -- would often drop a skater behind others in the same general group, but it would usually take more than that to drop the skater down to a lower group entirely. Maybe along with unexpected improvements or a skate of a lifetime for a skater expected to place lower.

    They all have the same opportunities to earn points according to the same rules. But they don't all have the same skills. Each skater can only do what he or she can do. Landing all your jumps on a good day doesn't usually mean that your program became more complex or your edges deeper. The excitement of a clean confident performance will probably inspire judges to give higher PCS than they'd given you on less inspired days, but even finally putting together "good" on everything won't lift your skill level to "great."

    If you want "great" component scores, then you need to improve your skating skills, choreography, etc., up to that level, not just execute the elements cleanly.

    Sounds good to me.

    I hope you're aware that all of these events currently exist at club-level competitions -- except figures, because people stopped entering them once they were no longer required, and because they're much more expensive in the amount of ice time -- on clean ice -- required for competition and practice.

    USFS does have a national-level competition in artistic skating now, but it will take time for the top levels there to reach the prestige and quality level of elite freestyle and dance -- and even then it may never get there because by nature it could never be an Olympic sport. The most talented, most ambitious skaters want to aim for where the big prizes are.

    If the ISU were to offer international championships in artistic skating, and separate medals for spins, jumps, etc., then they would attract more top skaters. I agree, I would love to see it.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2013
  18. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Thanks gkelly. May I ask, what is your direct involvement with the sport?

    I know that becoming involved on a local level would offer a broader perspective, but I do already bring (albeit as a fan) years of knowledge from closely watching, viewing, reading, thinking and caring about the sport. Certainly, with so many variant viewpoints, limited historical perspectives, self-interest, dyed-in-the-wool thinking, disparate political factions, and antiquated structure, that does mean change would be exceedingly difficult to effectively muster.

    My perspective surely will be enhanced by getting to know more on the grassroots level, but I doubt my feelings will diminish re the fact that change is needed.

    Perhaps I'm wrong re your motivations, but you seem to suggest that know-it-all fans should just shut up, and let things continue as they are, cuz that's just the way things are. For one thing, the fact that figures were completely eliminated is a huge factor in the technical problems that are being experienced at the elite level (I understand the reasons why figures were eliminated so please don't go into a long list of why it happened and what prevents them from being brought back).

    Playing devil's advocate and asking questions to make fans think is one thing, but espousing a strictly USFS/ ISU apologist point of view is quite another (not saying that's clearly what you're doing).

    In any case, what I advocate is providing more opportunities at the elite level, so that young skaters coming up can seek to advance beyond novice and junior into the senior level competition categories that match their strengths. I've said this before, but I also believe that the senior B division should be expanded in importance and recognition in order to allow skaters (especially in the talent deep U.S.) more opportunities to develop their competitive skills internationally.

    As it currently stands, there are so many talented skaters in the United States and Japan vying for a limited number of opportunities to advance. It is a terrible shame for the growth of skaters to be stunted because they have limited opportunities to compete, while skaters from other countries are able to develop their skills over many years of attending Worlds because they face little challenging competition in their countries.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2013
  19. J-Ro

    J-Ro Active Member

    Tattoos, Bettie Page bangs, and hip checks into the boards!
  20. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    Maybe a group of recent and current high-level skaters who are more interested in new possibilities than in fitting the existing ISU mold, could start something like an Xtreme Skating event with a younger, hipper focus.

    It would have to start outside the ISU structure -- but they'd have to get any necessary sanctions if they don't want to lose eligibility. But if it proved popular with skaters and audiences, probably the ISU would prefer to get in on the action than to see a separate sport develop as a rival.

    I'm sure we could each imagine kinds of events we'd like to see in addition to the existing disciplines. The question is whether enough people who already have the necessary expertise to make them happen also want to invest the necessary time and money to bring them to life.
  21. overedge

    overedge Janny uber

    Like this. It's not competitive, but it's different.....

  22. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

    I think you are wrong here, aftershocks. If you look at nearly all of gkelly's posts, she makes lots of suggestions about how things can/could/should change. She provides a huge amount of perspective from what seems to be a vast store of knowledge on skating. The last thing she seems to me to be doing is suggesting people shut up.

    I appreciate her perspective on realistic opportunities for change. I don't know much about skating, so I tend to bring in my political perspective. In human institutions, real constructive change happens slowly. Revolution may bring change, but it also leaves massive new problems in its wake. People who don't like IJS should reflect on how it came about--in an emergency situation where the ISU felt the need to put something completely different out there quickly (even if some work had already begun on the changes).

    Rabble rousers have their place in dislodging complacency, but cooler heads are needed for real progress.

    (Insert appropriate song lyrics here ;) )

    This seems backward to me. The skaters from small countries who have little competition for a spot to worlds seldom develop into the top skaters. Its the skaters in countries where the regional and national competition is fierce who have the opportunity to push to the top. Then when they do win spots to international competitions its the icing on the cake.

    Do you ever go to regionals or sectionals, aftershocks? I love attending these competitions. Many young skaters work very hard just to compete at these competitions (not to mention at lower level comps). Its wonderful to see these competitions. That few if any of these skaters will ever go to the Olympics doesn't mean the comps are meaningless excercises, for most elite competitive skaters these are what its about.
    gkelly and (deleted member) like this.
  23. spikydurian

    spikydurian Well-Known Member

    Aftershocks, I do not know gkelly's background (and I don't care to probe) but I have tremendous respect for her because not only is she highly knowledgeable in figure skating but her posts and explanations are always calm and logical. I personally find I (a non skater) can learn a lot from her. I believe gkelly is someone who has a passion for figure skating and is trying her best to communicate to figure skating fans what they may like to know and if they care to listen.

    You may wish to ask why is the current system of skater qualification for Worlds as it is since it is true that it disadvantages countries with depth like USA, Japan and Russia. Perhaps gkelly may care to explain if she's aware of the background of that rule. Personally I see it as a method to allow smaller countries who may have a handful of highly talented skaters but no depth to match USA, Japan and Russia to help their countries to obtain additional places for their team other than for themselves. I see no problem in this but of course if you are looking at your own country's benefit only, then with the current depth of men and women in USA, this current rule certainly does not benefit USA or Japan.

    No aftershocks, I do believe being 'directly involved' in the sports compared to observing from your computer gives you a different perspective of the sport. Talk is easier than action. There are details you can never see from afar. I am a believer in 'on the job training'. If you really care and feel passionately for the sport, why not volunteer to help out in your local figure skating association? You get to know the skaters, the coaches and the administrators who are part of the skating association structure without which it ceases to exist. In fact, you may be able to instigate changes you see fit.;)

    You have always been 'the devil's advocate' aftershocks. No need to remind. :p
    gkelly and (deleted member) like this.
  24. Iceman

    Iceman Well-Known Member


    Does anyone remember this event

    Jaca competition

    A professional skating competition was held for many years in Jaca, Spain. Its official name in Spanish was Campeonatos del Mundo de Patinaje Artístico Professional sobre Hielo. The forerunner of this event was an open professional championship for show skaters dating back to at least the 1930s that was held in England, initially under the auspices of the National Ice Skating Association of Great Britain, and later organized by the Imperial Professional Skaters Association. The event moved to Jaca with the sponsorship of the International Professional Skaters Union. During the 1980s it was a prestigious event with wide television coverage in Europe. Past winners of this event include Denise Biellmann, Robert Wagenhoffer, Gary Beacom, Scott Williams, Pierre Panayi and Lorna Brown
  25. giselle23

    giselle23 Well-Known Member

    It is definitely a big deal if skating is not on TV any more. Selling TV rights is a way for a sport to make money. Money is necessary to help athletes train and compete. Unless the sport wants to be just for the rich, like polo, there needs to be a source of funding. When NBC decides not to broadcast a live figure skating event (2013 Worlds) on Saturday night--when there would be no competition in terms of popular programming in the US--the sport is in trouble as something that can keep itself afloat without either athlete self-funding or private contributions. Other sports pay attention to what makes the sport more interesting to viewers (thereby increasing demand for TV programming). That is why there is instant replay in football, the designated hitter in (AL) baseball, the shot clock in basketball, etc. In fact, that is why there is no more compulsory figures event in figure skating! This doesn't have to mean "dumbing down" skating. Skating wasn't "dumb" under 6.0. It just means making it more understandable and interesting to the average viewer. I would start with getting rid of anonymous judging and posting the individual judges' scores on the screen.
  26. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

    Why do you think this would bring in more viewers? People are more interested in the judging than the skating?

    Its funny how anonymous those judges are--when they are introduced by name before each competition. You know who they are and can hold them accountable as a panel. Its the individual marks that are anonymous.

    I think people are barking up the wrong tree if they think that the insider/stakeholder concern about anonymous marks has anything to do with the decline in popularity in skating. The anonymity hasn't restored the lost credibility of the sport, but I doubt its a major factor even in that.

    To get more TV viewers, its going to have to be a focus on the actual skating, on the skaters as people, on things that translate well on TV. The sport is beautiful, the competitions are exciting, but something isn't translating on TV. People have suggested a lot of reasons for this that I think have merit. I think anonymous marks, while a valid concern, is the concern of highly interested fans and has little to do with bringing viewers back to the sport
    julieann and (deleted member) like this.
  27. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    If I understand the objections correctly, the main complaints about why fans don't connect to the skating would boil down to:

    *many programs look busy, with a multitude of steps, position changes, and contorted positions thrown in to earn points at the expense of aesthetic impact

    *everyone seems to be doing the same variations, so most programs look similar and moves that once would have stood out as original or unique are now just same old-same old, whereas some simple moves that used to be enjoyable are no longer highlighted or used at all

    These are really expansions of the same point, I think there could be changes in the requirements for the "free" program (and/or the short program) and for the way leveled elements are scored so as to encourage more originality -- including in choreographic concepts -- and more simple moves done well.

    Major changes to the above could have major impacts, both negative as well as positive. But I do think that there are some possible smaller changes to the existing system that could move the skating in the "right" direction to better please fans (and skaters and judges who value artistry) while still retaining most of the benefits of the current system.

    *the results often don't seem to match a holistic general impression of "who skated best"

    I think there would need to be a two-pronged approach to this problem.

    *Introduce some changes to the scoring rules and guidelines that would allow for more of an "overall impression" score and for errors that detract from the overall impression to have a greater impact on the final scores especially at the highest levels -- if the rewards for good stuff at those levels is high, then the penalties for bad stuff need to be commensurately high to balance appropriately

    *Do more (directly from the skating federations to the fans, and also skating federations encouraging media to take this approach) to help viewers appreciate aspects of skating technique that are important within the skating community and therefore rewarded in the judging, but that are not immediately apparent to nonskaters without someone showing them what to look for

    I also think that alternative competition formats that value other skills, outside of the standard Olympic-track disciplines, could be ways to appeal to different audience segments. It would be quicker for the ISU to introduce them from the top down and invite skaters who have already made it to the top ranks in standard competition, but in the long term I think it would be more effective if they grow from the bottom up.
  28. Rex

    Rex Well-Known Member

    And don't forget Ethel Mertz...
  29. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    As far as many of the programs having contorted movements, too many steps, etc., were the CH, PE, and IN components judged correctly, some gains made in levels would be offset by rightly lower component scores, and other skaters, who are slotted into "PCS low 5's vs. PCS mid-6's" would get what is due them. That includes getting a mark that is actually 30-40% higher for movement that is sympathetic to the music instead of where it is frenzied and the sole purpose is to rack up difficulty points.

    Right now, the surest way to increase scores apart from landing difficult jumps is the increase the levels. Skaters can't be sure that they are not only be graded with correct GOE -- ie, what's on the ice that day -- but also that the other skaters are being judged by the same criteria and scale as they. They can see this in the protocols, especially the ones whose show very few high or low GOE marks when there is a range of quality throughout the program. They can see how little range there is between component marks.

    Theoretically, CoP should show the actual distance between skaters taking many things into consideration. If that distance is .02 or 25, it's supposed to be reflected in the cumulative scores. What "ordinalizing" GOE and PCS does is flatten the actual distance between skaters, and its no wonder skaters will exploit not only the written code, but how it's applied.
  30. query5

    query5 New Member

    Acknowledge something is wrong with ijg juding
    Find ways to fix it
    Post the ways, plans how to fix it
    Listen to public, skating fans find out why and incorporate their ideas if possible.
    Put old tapes, cds, past, pro,elible in sale.
    Go to,public find out reasons they arent buying into spirt and seroiusly take the reasons and find out if can,yse them than impkement them.
    Ijs start adding the scores from zero each time,they skate, not tpo score down pubkic diesnt kniw hogh score can get. Etc