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How could the U.S. provide more international opportunities for deserving or develop?

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by crzesk8dad, Sep 17, 2012.

  1. crzesk8dad

    crzesk8dad Well-Known Member

    Article on USC Annenberg School for Communications Digital News site - "Neon Tommy"

    Will The United States Ever Have A Breakout Senior Figure Skater?


    Interesting points are made.

    (Full disclosure-one of the skaters mentioned has a close relationship to crzesk8dad, that's not why I posted, but I felt I should be honest with you readers)
  2. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

    I do agree that it would be nice for the lesser known skaters to get these B competitions, but the organizers need some "big ticket" names too to attract the public.
  3. 2sk8

    2sk8 Active Member

    Not just interesting - spot on points. And, what about all those events on the ISU calendar the US sends no one too?

    "There's definitely a challenging situation here: send someone who's a likely medal contender or send someone who could, with some experience, eventually become a medal contender. It's this critical developmental experience that skaters need and have a hard time getting. Theoretically, if skating were a consistent enough pursuit, there would be no reason not to invest in just a select group of skaters.

    But skating is far from consistent. "

  4. nylynnr

    nylynnr Well-Known Member

    Not sure I see the logic in what was written about the men's event. Of the four U.S. men assigned, three did not have any other international assignments. Aaron, who also competed in at least three summer events around the country, hit a quad Salchow and eight triples, including two triple Axels, in his FS. Mahbanoozadeh, fourth in the U.S. with no assignments, used the event to put mileage on his quad toe, which he landed in the short. Dolensky could be termed a (relative) "breakout" for the event; he hit his first-ever triple Axel there in the short. And while Miner has assignments, he needed to get his quad Salchow out there. Should, say, Aaron have stayed home, and, say, Sean Rabbitt and/or Scott Dyer been sent in his stead?

    As for ladies Zawadzki had a challenging summer with a back injury and needed to get the cobwebs out. It's clear Gold is a potential star, and USFS wanted her to get her first individual international experience prior to her Grand Prix. Perhaps a third U.S. lady could have been added, but we don't know if others were asked, and declined.
  5. bmcg

    bmcg Well-Known Member

    Heekin-Canedy and Dun were 15th at last years world championships and the best in their country. Karina Johnson is the top Danish senior lady. Both these examples train year round in the US. I don't see that they took any risks at all, they sent their top seniors who were already living and training in the US.
  6. demetriosj

    demetriosj Well-Known Member

    Yah, why wasn't a third lady added?

    I would think many skaters would have been chomping at the bit to compete in a Senior B held in the US.
  7. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

    What do you mean?
  8. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    For the people that went, were there many locals fans there? Skaters' families and local die-hard fans are going to be there not matter what. Based on reactions to the Senior Men, Pairs, and Dance, I'm guessing that non-local fans would have gone even if Zawadzki, Gold, Davis/Ladwig, and Kriengkrairut/Giulietti-Schmitt (skaters with GPs) weren't there.
  9. love_skate2011

    love_skate2011 Well-Known Member

    Gracie Gold :cool:
  10. n*ice mom

    n*ice mom Active Member

    Senior level skaters (junior, too) need the opportunity to compete internationally. There are many competitions that are great for Novice and below, but the entries dwindle in Jr. and Senior. For men it is worse. Grant Hochstein ended up being the only Senior at Mid Atlantics to compete...the other two scratched. For the cost of a flight from CA and hotels in NYC, he could have put that money towards attending a Senior B at his own expense, but that is not allowed. You simply must be assigned by USFS and there is a very small list of competitions they are willing to do. (Just want to acknowledge that there are other reasons to attend a club comp such as supporting your club, getting feedback from judges, etc.)

    These senior level skaters that are not Olympic contenders are of value to our sport. They all bring something to the ice that brings out the best in our Olympians. They are the training mates, the specialists in spins or artistry or jumps. And yes, their chances of breaking out would be improved greatly by the chance to see themselves as international competitors. Looking at the ladies entries for the International Classic, I see former US competitors Georgia Glastris and Stephanie Rigley who switched to representing other countries years ago, still in the sport at about age 20. I think it is clear that the opportunity to do meaningful competition keeps skaters skating. The expense of year round skating is too great just to have Regionals/Sectionals be your only meaningful outings. There are plenty of skaters who retire after the JGP, but I doubt that these are the skaters who will be the top contributors to USFS in the future in terms of coaching or judging.

    I know of a Senior Level skater who was personally invited by the Turkish federation to compete at the Istanbul Cup (senior B) based on previous international results. USFS would not approve because it wasn't on their list of competitions, even if the skater paid their own way. After a strong regionals, this skater competed with an injury at Sectionals and that was the end to the season. Senior B's of the skaters choice would keep skaters like this training for competition through April and that would be great for them and the sport.

    It is hard to be a Senior level skater. You are generally older...the injuries are more severe and you don't heal as quickly. Unless, you are training at a place like Colorado Springs, you are most likely lonely on the ice for contact with peers. Plus, when you do US competitions you will know more coaches and officials than you do competitors. The chance to compete in Senior Bs is the chance to connect with other skating peers from around the globe.
    missing, alilou, 2sk8 and 3 others like this.
  11. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member


    I couldn't agree more.

    USFS really isn't getting it... :wall:

    (And same goes for Skate Canada)
  12. peibeck

    peibeck Simply looking

    I don't fault the USFS for sending Gold to this event, considering she has limited international experience. This was only her second senior event (counting that team competition in Japan). I think for both Gracie and Agnes, the USFS is trying to nurture some of their promising, but still somewhat emotionally fragile skaters by giving them a good opportunity to medal and gain valuable ISU points.

    I think the men's choice were actually good opportunites for Armin, Max and Timothy. Plus the points they have gained may put them in contention for replacement slots if they become available later.

    The most surprising pick in the line-up for me was Chock/Bates in dance. However, maybe that turned out to be a blessing-in-disguise considering how low their levels were in their free dance (granted one of their step sequences was probably downgraded with one of Evan's falls). :shuffle:
  13. 2sk8

    2sk8 Active Member


    Ditto that...great post n*ice mom. I know of similar situations to the one you mention - there are opportunities for other skaters to compete internationally, but USFS doesn't allow it.

    Another example - why doesn't USFS send Collegiate National medalists to international collegiate events like Winter Universiade? Does any one know? the skaters paid there own way in the past when collegiate medalists were sent to international events AKAIK. And, other countries take those events seriously - I believe Oda medaled at a previous Universiade - seems it would be both an opportunity, encouragement for skaters to continue when in college AND would likely increase the caliber of Collegiate skating.

    The absence of those opportunities goes a long way toward explaining why US skaters who can switch countries do!
  14. BreakfastClub

    BreakfastClub Active Member

    This ^^

    Agree with the other posters here, I see nothing controversial about the USFS selection of skaters to the Salt Lake event - it represented a pivotal and unique development opportunity for each. In fact for the most part, I think the USFS did a good job making sure all skaters who had a strong 2012 Nationals finish got on the GP, JGP or a B event. If you want to get on the list, go knock it out of the park in Omaha.

    You want to talk about controversy? Let's talk about how the USFS blatantly favored Ricky after a crap Nationals and totally hosed a bunch of men, especially Armin. ;)

    Re: talk about paying your own way to an international competition... shouldn't these opportunities should be based on merit not personal financial situation? There are already too many financial pressures on most skaters just to make ends meet in a very expensive sport. Now add the expense of sending yourself to an international too to get an edge over your competitors? That would put the ones from wealthy families or lucky to have benefactors at a really unfair advantage. Just IMO, and would be curious to hear the counterarguments on this.
  15. n*ice mom

    n*ice mom Active Member

    I knew this would come up. By the time your skater has surpassed Intermediate you are broke anyway. How do regular folks pay for $30-60K of training? You do it through 2nd mortgages, liquidating assets and 401Ks, because you think it will not be forever. If you have a skater who has miraculously endured till they are senior than the amount of expense for an international competition pales in comparison to what you've put in. Plus regular competitions in the US often cost $1-2K if you have to pay for yourself and your coach or coaches (4 nights in hotel/entry fees/practice ice...even more if flights and rental car). There isn't that much of a thrill to do your 11th Liberty competition against the same pool of skaters. Instead that money would be better spent on an international.

    And the skaters I am talking about have merit. They certainly wouldn't be coming in last. For example, I wish Yasmin Siraj could go to a Senior B. She is going to train all year for Sectionals and Nationals just to qualify for a JGP the fall of 2013, when in previous years she qualified for the JGP, even the JGP final. Can you imagine what that does to your head when you are a teenager when you feel like you are going backwards? This is a skater who USFS has already made an investment in, so what would be the harm in letting her self-fund a trip to an international competition that would give her something to work towards and let her feel like she was moving forward. I have no personal knowledge of Yasmin's interest in doing this...she is just my example.

    Nor would skaters have to be representing the USA...could just represent their club. I wish there was an option to be an individual member of ISU.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2012
  16. 2sk8

    2sk8 Active Member

    "You must spread some reputation around before giving it to n*ice mom again." :)

    and, breakfast club, completely agree with you about Armin, but not about the "knocking it out of the park in Omaha" comment.

    Most of these comments aren't focused on USFS did it WRONG in SLC, as in Suzy should have gone instead of Sally though we could all differ on this or that choice, but on how more developmental opportunities can be provided.

    To quite n*ice mom, "These senior level skaters that are not Olympic contenders are of value to our sport." Well, at least some of us think they are, and believe they should have some opportunities beyond Liberty for the 15th time.

    On the payment issue, I may have an unpopular viewpoint - athletes don't start out on a level playing field in preparations anyway. Factors include ice time, travel time, parental commitment, coaching quality, injuries...many more, including money. I'm not sure why being willing to pay your own way - or seek funding from sponsors or family/friends to do it - is any more of an "unfair" advantage than any of the other factors.
  17. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

    If nobody is sent to an international event, nobody is benefitting from that opportunity, merit or not.

    USFS's budget is limited and within that budget, skaters are selected on merit. But it only goes as far.

    The wealthy skaters already have a huge advantage, being able to access much more resources.

    Figure skating is a sport that only wealthy people really have access to. At least in the US.
  18. Sylvia

    Sylvia Still recovering from Worlds...

    I found the headline of this article/editorial to be misleading but I assume it wasn't the writer's choice.

    A few corrections/clarifications to the article/editorial, plus some comments:
    The current limit is eight pair and dance teams per Grand Prix event.

    The U.S. clubs had to apply to host the Senior B through U.S. Figure Skating, not the ISU.

    Scott Dyer is listed among the senior level men in USFS' International Selection Pool (ISP) for placing 10th at 2012 Nationals (his sole international experience was at the Novice level several years ago), as is Jonathan Cassar (11th at Nationals), Grant Hochstein (12th), Brandon Mroz (14th), Alexander Johnson (15th), and Philip Warren (3rd in Junior). Of this group, Johnson and Warren have yet to compete in a senior international. Sean Rabbitt is not listed in the ISP.

    U.S. JGP age-eligible Senior ladies (such as Lam) often prefer the opportunity of getting an ISU Season Best score at a JGP, along with the possibility of a second assignment if they place well enough in their first, rather than competing at a Senior B where they have to place in the top 5 to receive the same number of ISU ranking points and no SB score. However, I do think that Lam is worthy to be sent out to a Senior B despite her 4th place finish in her JGP last month.

    10 of these 13 ladies have been assigned to at least one JGP.

    I would say that Max Aaron winning the gold medal in SLC was a breakthrough for him?

    17 different men (16 have competed as 1 was a late withdrawal due to injury) and 14 different ladies have been assigned to either a Senior B or a JGP so far this season by USFS -- that's not too shabby.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2012
  19. n*ice mom

    n*ice mom Active Member

    Totally agree. And thanks for the love.
  20. jlai

    jlai Title-less

    I adore Scott Dyer's skating, but I thought his results this summer were just okay, probably not good enough to be assigned just yet.

    I wish US would save the senior B spots for the men without a GP so some of them could have 2 B assignments, and I wish 2 GPs for Josh and a senior B for skaters like Haley Dunne or Siraj, but other than that, I think the US intl assignments this season so far have been reasonable enough.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2012
  21. n*ice mom

    n*ice mom Active Member

    We could probably nit pick about the selections, but I don't see any controversy. jlai...Haley Dunne is a good example of someone I feel should be able to self-fund a senior B. It might not be shabby for the USFS to be sending 31 skaters abroad on their dime, but it takes more than 31 skaters to make a sport.

    Braden Overett comes to mind. I got to see him skate in St. Paul, where he finished 14th in Senior Men, and skated a fabulous, memorable program to Pirates of the Caribbean. According to Wikipedia he was on the JGP for two years and then moved up to senior, where in the next 9 years he made it to nationals six times but only received two international competitions: Nebelhorn and Golden Spin of Zagreb. Most people probably wouldn't have stayed in that many years, but I am sure glad he did and believe he made a contribution to the sport then, and now. He might have been an even better competitor if he had the opportunity to do more international competitions; more confidant, self-assured. It would also have enhanced his skill set as a future coach.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2012
    LilJen and (deleted member) like this.
  22. TanithandBenFan

    TanithandBenFan Author of the Ice and Edge Series

    There were very few people in the crowd who weren't skaters, coaches, officials, or skaters' families.
  23. Sylvia

    Sylvia Still recovering from Worlds...

    6 junior level skaters representing Patinage Qu├Ębec CANADA are entered in the Lombardia Trophy in Italy this weekend according to this post: http://www.fsuniverse.net/forum/showthread.php?p=3687769#post3687769

    Lombardia Trophy (event page: http://www.sestoiceskatenews.it/1/lombardia_trophy_2012_1719884.html ) is an interclub competition that accepts entries from other countries and falls into the category of a "non-qualifying competition outside of North America" which U.S. skaters can attend if they pay their own way and follow these guidelines set by USFS: http://www.usfsa.org/Athletes.asp?id=320

    USFS has sent U.S. Collegiate champions or medalists to three Winter Universiades that I know of -- Feb. 2009 in Harbin, China (Amy Nunn, Jason Wong, Andrea Best/Trevor Young in pairs, Snyder/Fischl in dance but they withdrew beforehand, Miami University synchro team); Jan. 2007 in Torino, Italy (Stephanie Roth, Michael Peters, Miami University synchro); and 2003 in Tarvisio, Italy (Angie Lien, who won the silver medal behind Shizuka Arakawa, and Sean Calvillo - archived results page).
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2012
  24. allezfred

    allezfred Master/Mistress of Sneer Staff Member

    Some national federations would cut off their right arms to have the USFSA's limited budget. :shuffle:
  25. 2sk8

    2sk8 Active Member

    I am told USFS does not plan to participate in the future, or to otherwise send such Collegiate medalists to international events - source was USFS. Hence, my question - why the change? It does provide additional opportunities for skaters of the type beings discussed here.
  26. barbk

    barbk Well-Known Member

    If Canada adds a Senior B, that will significantly expand opportunities along with the US Senior B, and at not too high a cost.

    I still don't have a clue as to why one of the US Senior B slots was left empty. Very strange. It has to be cheaper than sending skaters to European Senior Bs.

    On the Winter Universidade -- isn't that normally right around US Nationals, such that anyone assigned can't really compete at Nationals? If so, it makes perfect sense why they would choose to not fund that.
  27. mikey

    mikey ...an acquired taste

    I hate seeing available spots go unfilled, but I am more intrigued by the question of why existing assignments are not spread out to allow a broader range of competitors to participate. On the surface it seems to make sense, but I wonder if it is also, at least in part, based on a potentially false assumption that a skater could "break out" or somehow succeed beyond their current abilities and achievements if only they were given the opportunity to compete at the international level. Does competing internationally make a skater better, or do better skaters get to compete internationally? Is there an element of helicopter parenting involved- the drive to provide my child every opportunity at any cost, whether they've really earned it or not?
  28. analia

    analia Well-Known Member

    I think the bigger question is how to fill up an arena. Ideally a JGP or a Senior B should be able to bring out enough real audience to make it worth the expensive trip. They are obviously not so. A skater doesn't get enough experience skating in front of just friends and family, even if it's supposed to be an international competition with real judges and real scores. It's just absurd.

    Technically the competition should be able to fund at least the skater's travel expenses through ad boards, corporate sponsorship and ticket sales. That will be incentives for federations to send more skaters. Small feds are not going to have the money to send their second-tier skaters who don't have a GP to anything.

    That being said, I do think it could be a good idea for U.S. skaters to pay for themselves to go to a few selected Senior Bs.
  29. Jayar

    Jayar Well-Known Member

    Perhaps nobody from the ISP wanted the extra spot? Or, because of the number of senior men who are deserving of a spot, US Figure Skating instead decided to send an extra man instead of three ladies? Regardless of how much it costs, I am sure that there was a budget for the number of skaters who US Figure Skating could fund, and given that this competition was added rather late in terms of budget preparation, I can see costs being an issue.
  30. 2sk8

    2sk8 Active Member

    There are two different "categories" of skaters under discussion here, it seems. 1 - the potential "breakout" from the article title; 2 - Senior/college age skaters who have been to Nationals a few times, Sectionals a lot, presumably have some value to the sport, and have no opportunities encouraging them to continue. (I'm sure others could define this better.)

    Many in the second category may not go to Nationals, likely will make it to Sectionals, so why preclude them the opportunity?

    I would think most Senior level skaters (& college students) who continue to skate are past the point of "helicopter parenting" in skating! And, what opportunities are they not "earning" - it's not like taking away Oly spots, and in many cases, it is events and spots that are not being used at all.

    Remember, there are events where these US skaters are not PERMITTED to enter & USFS chooses not to participate, be it funding or whatever. Those lost chances are lost Developmental chances for some & lost Incentives to stay in the sport for others.

    I happen to think there is a real value to both - and, we need to recall that many of these "cusp" skaters in the US are stronger than the best skaters from many other countries. No offense to any other Fed, but how discouraging for the skater to train with skaters representing other countries, who can do less than they do, watch them get international assignments, and know their own most meaningful event might be Liberty for the 15th time.

    Hoping for some opportunities and incentives is not a bad thing in that context.