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Has Figure Skating Lost Its Soul?

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by Maofan7, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Member

    New article entitled 'Figure skating now sadly lacking both Witt and imagination.' It reads:-

    So, has figure skating lost its soul as the article suggests?

    The article was commissioned to mark Katarina Witt's birthday. She is 47 today (3rd December). Happy birthday Katarina!!
    LilJen and (deleted member) like this.
  2. caseyedwards

    caseyedwards Well-Known Member

    The article is totally wrong. Witt could win events with her jump content in 1984 now in 2012 Her spins and steps would have to be level 4 but her pcs would be good. Though maybe the article doesn't mean jus jumps but the word manouvre seems like jumps to me. Witt wouldn't have to worry about jumps but time spent on level 4 spins and steps might indeed make Witt less Witt and she couldn't spend so much time just doing drama or maybe she could integrate more into step sequences. Maybe the article makes some good points but not in regard to jumps just more focus on steps and spins damaging Witt like drama and artistry but certainly not jumps.
  3. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

    There were some souless programs in the eighties as well. Linda Fratianne and Anett Poetsch's silver and gold Olympic performances for example. I can think of plenty of current programs that I would rather re-watch than Katarina's Carmen.

    Audiences nowadays have more choices and they are used to a lot of special effects. They get bored quickly. Skating takes so long to learn it is difficult to make it trendy, and we now have reality tv for trainwreck drama.
  4. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    The article is more about Katarina than it is about "soulless" skating programs, as intended, if it was "commissioned" in honor of her birthday.

    Sure the new "point-gathering" judging system has adversely affected skating in many ways, but I suppose the best athletes/ artists are finding ways to overcome the fp strictures.
  5. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

    Exactly how many times are we going to have variations on the same damned theme?

    Honestly, I have watched programs from the 6.0 era. Plenty of them. And plenty of them were boring as shit. 6.0 didn't automatically make skaters expressive, and COP doesn't automatically make a skater inexpressive. Carolina Kostner would be an expressive, speedy skater regardless of the era she skated in. Michelle Kwan would have been. Sasha Cohen was. Similarly, Miki Ando would be void of most expression, as would several others. There are skaters who won in the 6.0 era who landed all their elements but were not great skaters who were expressive - I mean, Sarah Hughes, anyone? Yu Na Kim is the most recent ladies' champion, and she skated programs that were both lovely and well-skated. The truth is that in any era we are in, you will have a lot of skaters that skater through the music and a select few whom are truly expressive. That was true then and it is true now. And Miki Ando would have still won many titles, because regardless of the era being able to land all your jumps and do some difficult elements was rewarded. Hell, using the analogy, at least under COP Sarah probably wouldn't have been Olympic Champion.

    I am so sick of this discussion. COP did not ruin figure skating. 6.0 was not perfect. If they want to make figure skating relevant again, then the ISU should get rid of things like anonymous judging, start penalizing people when crap happens like Mao winning NHK this year, and should stop trying to pretend it's still 1965 and girls are cute little Ice Princesses and men should be MANLY MEN. And they should start educating skaters on the wild world of classical music and the fact that there are actually more than 20 pieces in the world to choose from. And maybe start using PCS in a way that actually acknowledges what a skater does on the ice than just going by reputation, because the fact that a skater skates well and lands all his/her stuff does not automatically mean they deserve any points for choreography if the program is utter crap. I/K should be getting like a 3, max, in PCS for their choreography this year, but that will never happen.

    I am so sick of hearing that COP is a demon when it's never really even been used very well.
  6. Finnice

    Finnice Well-Known Member

    ^Great post, Michiruwater!
  7. l'etoile

    l'etoile New Member

    I second that. But why is it that such articles with same theme keep pouring out? What should be noted for public eyes?
  8. Judge Dred

    Judge Dred Active Member

    I imagine because it happens to be true, and the audience just keeps getting lower and lower. The apologists for COP are part of the problem as they are a roadblock to change, and the worst of them is Speedy. As its architect, until he goes, nothing is going to change. The question is, will that come in time to save the patient, or will the patient be dead.

    Why are there so many articles? Because outside observers see a dying sport, and skating does not seem to be doing anything to save itself. It's like a dying man defending the cancer he is dying from.
  9. IceIceBaby

    IceIceBaby Active Member

    Aren't most of the articles from North America? Figure skating is still popular in Russia, some parts of Europe and getting really popular in Japan.
  10. spikydurian

    spikydurian Well-Known Member

  11. rayhaneh

    rayhaneh Well-Known Member

    I totally second, third, whatever, this ^

    Seriously, I love how some people write about how artistry has been lost as if programs pre-COP were all wonderful and so poignant.The thing is, we tend to remember only the programs from 20-30 years ago that did touch us, and we tend to forget the rest, thus elevating those older periods in our memory. I should know - my earliest memories of figure skating date back to the last few years of Katarina Witt skating and I have such fond memories of that. But frankly, having been through videos of late 80s-early 90s competitions recently, I was reminded that I only really remembered the tip of the iceberg and not the rest. Frankly, most programs were as devoid of choreography as they are now. Actually, I would argue that Men's skating is in a much better place now as it was by then, although I think it has nothing to do with COP and everything with the arrival of skaters like Candeloro, Stojko, etc, who broke the traditional mould

    The only discipline in which COP may have made things harder as far as developping artistry goes may be ice dancing because of the increased imposed content, which makes more things to work around in order to develop the choreography of your program. That didn't stop some couples to give us wonderful programs though, so that's also debatable
  12. Iceman

    Iceman Well-Known Member

    Witt had too much posing in her programs.
  13. martyross

    martyross Well-Known Member

    if the American ladies were still dominant even in the COP, articles may sound different :D
  14. LilJen

    LilJen Reaching out with my hand sensitively

    Not according to Morozov. She and Amodio would have gotten along famously!
  15. Willowway

    Willowway Well-Known Member

    I know that a lot of the complaining around COP may come from the US but the article referenced above is from a Dublin, Ireland paper.

    Any article with the adverb "sadly" in the headline is an opinion piece, not reporting (almost any article with an adverb in the headline is not reporting); so this is an opinion piece, one observer's point of view.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012
  16. IceIceBaby

    IceIceBaby Active Member

    Was figure skating hugely popular in Ireland during the 6.0 era?
  17. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

    Yeah...that has to be it. I mean it's not as if I read the likes of Stavisky, Anissina, Mishin, Plushenko, and countless other skaters from other countries complaining about how skating has become mechanical or some variation of that argument.

    Anyway, I think the problem is that a lot of people are so defensive of COP, that they do fail to see legitimate problems with it. It's not just about people being overly nostalgic over the 6.0 era (though I do think some critics are).
  18. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

    I think skaters like Katarina who failed to keep up their technical abilities as pros had more to do with the demise of the popularity of figure skating than COP. She didn't develop as a performer or a skater in my opinion. She was no John Curry, Robin Cousins, or Kristi Yamaguchi and she had TWO Olympic medals to live up to. I didn't click on the tv or go to show because I heard that she was going to be in it. Even Caryn Kadavy could outskate her as a pro.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012
  19. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    I think there is too much hyperbole/one-sided thinking on both sides.

    There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches to scoring. There will always be tradeoffs. I'd love to be able to discuss the pros and cons in a rational manner.

    But opinion articles in the general press for the general public tend to take an all-or-none position and then when they get posted here many of the responses either accept or reject that position entirely.

    Also people tend to start threads when they're fed up with specific results happening now and take whatever they're upset about as representative of the whole current situation, painting each problem as evidence that the whole system is worthless.

    I think we see more "COP is worthless" initial posts than "COP is perfect" or "6.0 was worthless" thread-starting posts. If we suddenly went back to 6.0 rules, there would be some unpopular results and then we'd probably see more threads started expressing those frustrations.

    Either way, when the initial stimulus is all-or-nothing, it's easy for the rebuttals to be equally all-or-nothing on the other side. So if we happen to lean in favor of one scoring method, the attacks on our preferred method are likely to stick in our minds than the ones against the method we like less.
  20. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    Who is arguing that CoP is perfect, though? I think even the most vocial advocates of it, I included, have discussed the flaws directly and repeatedly.

    I think every system so far has been less-than-optimal, and that each system has some things that are rewarded more highly than others. As a result, the skaters will aim towards the things that will give them the greatest gain for their efforts, whether that be quads or L4 elements, and that will be reflected in the programs, especially when there's little differentiation of the technical skills from CH, IN, TR, and PE, so why bother with a coherent program, when SS are the PCS anchor and empty programs get 7-9's? I also think that there are elements that are blamed on CoP that were already there or trending there, like anonymous judging and more and more restrictions on and requirements for the contents of the FD/FS, that were codified by CoP. CoP didn't invent twizzles, for example, but it declared what they were worth in relationship to other elements, and eventually became a required skill, just as side-by-side singles elements in Pairs skating became more dominant.

    I think it's ironic that now that there's a system in place that gives weight to each element that the allegedly "free" programs can't be much more open, especially since there's the double-whammy of a restrictive list of elements that get credit plus restrictions on the types of jumps and/or positions that get credit. There is the repeated argument here that as it stands now, CoP doesn't give enough credit to the well-rounded jumper, with suggestions for bonuses for having all the jumps or penalties for leaving jump types out, so I can imagine the wars over a skater with 8 spins, even 8 different spins, winning over a skater with 8 jumps, because a truly (or mostly) free program wouldn't show a well-rounded skater as champion.

    I'd rather watch the first group of GP Ladies now than see Witt vamp, though, so anyone who puts her up as a model of artistry or interesting programs after her first Olympic cycle has lost me there.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012
    gkelly and (deleted member) like this.
  21. allezfred

    allezfred Master/Mistress of Sneer Staff Member

    Hugely popular would be overstating it, but we got/get a lot of British TV here and Witt was skating at the height of the boom in the UK, so she would be the best known female skater. So much so that people still ask me if she is competing. :lol:
  22. peibeck

    peibeck Simply looking

    Of course, I agree that there as many dreadfully dull skaters under 6.0 as there are under CoP, but I think what makes CoP a bit less exciting is that everyone is trying to get a level 4 element (or as many as possible), and so it tends to make so many programs look similar because so many of the elements are the same - and in both the short and long programs, and they got tossed in even if they don't seem to go well with the music or the program.
  23. skatingguy

    skatingguy Well-Known Member

    I always find the argument about free programs looking the same odd because the programs from the early '90's to the COP era looked pretty similar to one another in terms of elements contained - same number of jumps, spins, footwork/sprial sequences. From my perspective the programs started looking the same after the triple jump became the standard - no room for other jump elements because doing a double something could cost you in the standingds if others did just triples (double axel excluded). It's the programs of the 70's and 80's that looked different from one another because they were doing a variety of elements. I think COP is a major improvement in skating judging from 6.0 but it is not perfect and I think that is why the ISU keeps tinkering with the system but I don't think it is responsible for the programs all looking the same - I think we would see major similarity between the elements of the free programs of the 2002 Olympics but we don't have access to a list of elements attempted and how they were graded like we do with COP and I think that because of that we focus on how similar the elements are between skaters.
  24. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    I also think that it's the well-balanced program rules that make free program templates so similar. As kwanfan1818 suggested a few posts above, it should be possible to use the standardized points for elements to allow more variation in the kinds of elements skaters choose to do and still judge them fairly, moreso than under the 6.0 with well-balanced requirements that was in effect ca. 2000-2004. Unfortunately, the ISU has not seen fit to allow such variation in free program content under IJS, but the current restrictive well-balanced program rules are not inherent in the concept of a code of points, so I have hope that someday the rules will be changed to allow and encourage more variation within the IJS structure.

    We do, of course, expect short programs to be similar in construction, and this was much more true (and much simpler and therefore IMO more boring) in the 1970s and 80s than it is now.
  25. peibeck

    peibeck Simply looking

    Let's see: at the 2002 Olympics Yagudin skated to "Man in the Iron Mask," Plushy to "Carmen," Geobel to "An American in Paris," Honda to "Aranjuez," and Abt to a Rachmaninoff piano concerto. For the ladies, Hughes won skating to "Daphnis and Chloe," Slutskaya skated to "Tosca," Kwan to "Schez," Cohen to "Carmen," and Suguri to "Moonlight Sonota." None of those programs seemed very similar to me... even if they did do similar jump combo. :lol:

    The fact I can even remember them a decade later, better than what skaters did two week ago in the GP says something (at least to me). :shuffle:
  26. skatingguy

    skatingguy Well-Known Member

    Maybe you just have a good memory for these things but I would not have been able to remember most of that - maybe Slutskaya and Yagudin but I certainly didn't remember that Plushenko skated Carmen - I don't remember who skated to what at the grand prix event in Japan either but I don't think it has to do with the programs being so similar - I just don't remember.
  27. peibeck

    peibeck Simply looking

    I can remember Plushy's "Carmen" so well because it was my favorite of his programs. He also skated it on Champions on Ice that year, with most of the jumps! :respec: (And everyone else was doing snoozy ballads or rock anthems. :lol: )
  28. manhn

    manhn Well-Known Member

    My goodness, the list of music for 2002 was awful.

    While the men of 2002 were better than the men of 2010, I will take the ladies of 2010--Yu Na was wayyyy better than Hughes, Mao was better than Irina, Joannie was better than Kwan (yeah, I said it!), Mirai's perky Carmen was better than Sasha's, and I preferred Laura's tango program over Suguri's.

    Also, it's weird using the relatively recent group of ladies as an example of how skating these days sucks. IMO, 2010 displayed one of the best ladies Olympics competitions in its history. The gold and silver medalists ushered in an unprecedented popularity in their respective countries. And the bronze medalist had a story that captivated people beyond the boundaries of her country.
  29. TwizzlerS

    TwizzlerS Well-Known Member

    I think what this article reflects is that Witt is getting to the age where one tends to get nostalgic and often that makes people think things were so much better before than they are now.
    aliceanne and (deleted member) like this.
  30. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    I stole that from you: I wasn't thinking broadly enough to see that possibility until you mentioned it.

    As programs, I only remember "Carmen" and "American in Paris," and apart from the melting move Yagudin did in his program, I remember it was well skated, but as a program, not much else, and Honda's and Abt's? Not at all, and Abt was one of my favorite skaters of that era.

    In Vancouver, I definitely remember Lysacek's skating because of its energy, and Plushenko's -- not in a good way, because he wasn't near the Plushenko I saw often in the early 2000's-2005 -- but as programs, I remember both of Takahashi's, Lambiel's, Chan's, Weir's, and Kozuka's, especially, and SP's of Ten, Ri, the guy from North Korea, who opened the competition by nailing his 3A and wuzrobbed of the final spot in the FS because he had no rep -- the story was, he learned from watching videos -- and I think it was Kovalevski who did a beautiful program presentation-wise, but got little credit for it in PCS. Then there was Abbott's FS. (I was so :wuzrobbed for Abbott during the SP, that the program itself didn't register.)

    I only saw what was televised in the US and Canada for 2002, and saw Vancouver live and then afterwards on video, but I was working in Ireland during 2001 and 2002 Europeans, and got to see every program on Eurosport, and the programs from that era, and live in 2003-5, that I remember most were by Abt, Smalun, Jeannette, Vlascenko, Lindemann in Dortmund, Lambiel, and a couple by Plushenko. It was exciting to see Joubert win his first European championship, but apart from the original Matrix, which I think suited him, I didn't think much of his programs, even back then when they were the norm.