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In 7 minutes, how will you convince a non-fan of FS to start appreciating it?

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by Vash01, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Yuzuru, Medvedeva, T&M, Shibs, P&C

    I am not kidding. I have to give a 5-7 minute speech on Figure Skating appreciation in my Toastmasters club. I expect that most of them don't know much about figure skating, and some of them watch once every 4 years, and can't tell a lutz from a loop. Usually there are 1 or 2 exceptions in the audience, but even they don't come close to my friends on fsu.

    The real purpose of the speech (from Toastmasters perspective) is to demo something, and FS is a great topic for that. In ulterior motive is to 'convert' some in the audience into potential figure skating fans.

    My plan is to start with the upcoming Olympics in 2014 (quite possibly most of them don't know about this), then talk about what to look for (based on my taste, of course :lol:), demonstrate some edges and a couple of jumps, while wearing sneakers on a floor. I will carry my skates along to show them how narrow the edges are, purpose of the toe pick, etc.

    Since the time is so short, I cannot realistically spend more than 1-1:30 min on visuals using a PC & screen. So I plan on showing just a couple of clips- one of a couple of jumps, and one or two of actual skaters (my favorites, naturally :)), so they have something better than me to look at.

    My goal is to get at least some of them interested in watching more FS (it does take viewing practice to really appreciate it), and may be someone would even want to join fsu!:)

    I am not going to cover the IJS because I gave a speech about it (compared it with 6.0) last year, to a different audience. It is complex enough to make a separate speech out of, but for me the task is to make my speech about FS interesting and get others interested in it.

    So here is the challenge. How will YOU convert these non-fans into at least people that can appreciate figure skating?
  2. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Hit ball, find ball, hit it again.

    My I suggest slo motion video of a good quad or triple axel, followed by 8-10 wipe outs all set to Flight of the Bumble Bee.

    The reason to watch is when it's done well, it's incredible. When not done all so well, it's still interesting. Think skiing or auto racing.
    AxelAnnie and (deleted member) like this.
  3. maatTheViking

    maatTheViking Danish Ice Dance! Go Laurence & Nikolaj!

    good luck! I have heard many great things about toastmasters, sounds awesome

    I can't tell a loop from a lutz either :p, but it doesn't prevent me from appreciating skating.

    I would focus on the blend of athleticism and art - to me that is FS main draw. To me, the fact that you CAN jump off a tiny edge and turn around in the air 3 or 4 times AND at the same time you are expected to emote the feel of the program to the audience - this is more exciting than which edge the jump was started on (at least until you get more involved in watching).

    I think personally for casual fans, even though ladies is the traditional showcase, maybe focus on the men and the pairs, as the tricks are bigger and bolder.

    Since you are focusing on Sochi, a different route would be to focus on Plushenko - I am not sure if you are a fan or not, and while his artistry is debatable, his longevity and twice comeback and home olympics make for a powerful story.

    I do think the right approach is to look forward, rather than backwards on the history in that short amount of time
    PeterG and (deleted member) like this.
  4. UMBS Go Blue


    Boob tassels! Sequined illusion fabric! Wardrobe malfunctions! Wedgies! Lots of healthy derrieres! :saint: :inavoid:
    jamesy, AxelAnnie, halffull and 5 others like this.
  5. cbd1235

    cbd1235 Well-Known Member

    This will be of no help to you....

    But if I had to convert someone to a fan, I would probably show them a video of a Michelle Kwan long program circa 2003-2004 Nationals :p.

    Doesn't really work for your specific situation, but good luck :)
    kwanette and (deleted member) like this.
  6. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Yuzuru, Medvedeva, T&M, Shibs, P&C

    That's a great suggestion- to mention the blend of athleticism and artistry. Most people can easily see the artistry, but very few know how athletic you have to be, to be a top quality figure skater.

    I am a huge fan of Plushenko, and IMO his artistry is not debatable at all. He owns the ice; no one has presence like him. In 2002 I 'converted' one of my coworkers into a FS fan, and she is one of the biggest fans of Plushy. For this speech, I may mention his name, how old and injured he is, and still competing. In Toastmasters they love inspirational stories.
  7. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

    No speech, just Gordeeva&Grinkov 1994 Olympics LP or Exhibition to Reverie. :swoon:
    halffull and (deleted member) like this.
  8. giselle23

    giselle23 Well-Known Member

    You could do a short video with Michelle's footwork section to the end of her 2004 Nationals long program and the last minute or so from Shen and Zhao's Turandot from 2003 Worlds. ON the latter, you could explain how Shen was injured and didn't even think she could compete. Figure skating takes courage and heart.
  9. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

    Contrary to popular belief, not everyone immediately falls under the spell of Michelle Kwan. A Michelle Kwan program would not have converted me to skating fandom. :shuffle:

    I'd probably emphasize the athleticism and the risks involved in skating; AceOn6 was in the right direction with that, I think. The difficulty with emphasizing the uniqueness of a sport that blends athleticism and art is that a lot of people can't get past the pageantry aspects of it, and dismiss the difficulty as a result. So I'd be careful with showing anything that is primarily artistic.

    Another possibility would be to show one of the famous on-ice accidents and how the skaters involved were able to return and perform beautifully. Everyone likes a good comeback...
    kosjenka and (deleted member) like this.
  10. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Yuzuru, Medvedeva, T&M, Shibs, P&C

    T&M- the video is easily available. Her fall was scary (actually I used the story in one of my speeches a few years ago). My video time is going to be very limited; I will see how much I can fit in.

    I agree about MK, even though I am a fan.

    I believe it was MaatTheViking, and not AceOn6 that showed that direction (blend of sport and art). I appreciated inputs from both; just wanted to make sure the credit went to the right poster. :)
  11. Alixana

    Alixana Definitely NOT a sonogram

    Re: the athletic angle .. I seem to remember an article somewhere that listed calculated how many kms various skaters skated during their LP. I think one LP was between 5-6 km. Power, endurance and artistry on a 1-2 mm blade?
  12. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

    I thought of them, or Dube/Davison. Or the Zhangs in Torino; I still don't know how she got through that LP.

    I was referring to Aceon6's suggestion of showing skating elements done well and contrasting that with ones done badly (falls, specifically). I thought that was one possible idea.
  13. lala

    lala Well-Known Member

    My friend! I must answer to you!

    At the age of 16, Plushenko was the youngest male skater to ever receive a perfect score of 6.0. He received a total of seventy five 6.0s before the new Code of Points judging system was introduced, most of them were presentation marks!
    And these are facts, not individual opinion

    Do you think Michelle Kwan isn't artistry? Plushenko has more 6.0 like Kwan. He has innate artistry! I recommend you began to watch Plushy's programs on Youtube since 1998... maybe you will be surprised..
  14. spikydurian

    spikydurian Well-Known Member

    Depends on the likes of your target audience. If they are largely female and like performance arts, showing them vids which emphasize the artistic aspects may impressed them. However, they are largely male and lean to male sports, vids emphasizing the technical difficulties and aspects may be better choice. Maybe, best to bring them to live competitions. :D
    All the best in your speech, Vash01.
  15. giselle23

    giselle23 Well-Known Member

    How about one of Kurt Browning's amazing footwork sequences?
  16. professordeb

    professordeb Well-Known Member

    Oh God, here we go again.

    IMO, having a video of Plushenko to try and encourage someone to get figure skating would not be the best or only avenue. I get that he has a presence on the ice but for me (and others, I believe) it comes across only when seeing him in person. On video, too much of that persona and presence gets lost. However, if you want to use him as part of history and comebacks, that would be a good idea.

    Depending upon in which country you are speaking, I would try and relate some of what you are speaking to a skater who has competed or is still competing for your country.
  17. Shyjosie

    Shyjosie Well-Known Member

    The task you are facing is quite challenging, if you're right when suggesting that most of your audience doesn't know anything about FS. But we need to know a little more about your listeners, I think, to get an idea of the situation.
    Bringing your skates along and let them touch the boot, the blade and have something "real" there is a great idea, IMO.
    As it was said here before, it depends on the structure of the audience which skaters will be most appreciated. Are there male and female listeners? Have some examples of famous skaters, males as females, with names most people can rely to without being experts (I live in Germany, and a safe name is Katharine Witt, for example, everybody knows her).
    If the 2014 Olympics are an important topic in your speech, you could indeed give a short outline of Plushenko's life and career, and show a clip of his most spectacular jumps.
    Do your listeners know what the Kiss'n'Cry is? If time allows an additional clip, show three or four famous scenes from the K'n'C, which would work best with your favourite skaters (the audience notices if you're somehow feeling for a skater or not).
    Just my weird ideas.... I actually have no idea what the toastmasters club is.... But I can well relate to the situation of presenting somthing to people knowing that they are little to zero interested in it. When I (have to) listen to a speech, the best and safest method to get - and keep! - me interested is real enthusiasm and joy while speaking to me. You are an FS enthusiast, as I get it, and this should be the best precondition to get your audience intrigued. I wish you all the best!
  18. AliasJohnDoe

    AliasJohnDoe Headcase Addict

  19. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    If you have the capability to edit video, I think that even if you're only going to show 30-90 seconds of video it would be best to show short clips of several different skaters with different styles performing different kinds of skills. That increases the chances that at least a few seconds of what you show will capture the interest of each viewer, even if they're not all interested in the same things.

    Plus, one of the most interesting things about figure skating to me is the variety of skills. So by showing more different aspects of the sport, you'll also have the potential to attract people for whom variety is a plus.

    If you just choose one person's favorite skater, even if it's your own favorite and you can talk enthusiastically about the performance, you risk boring viewers for whom that skater's strengths would be the least interesting thing about the sport.
    ioana and (deleted member) like this.
  20. TheGirlCanSkate

    TheGirlCanSkate Well-Known Member

    What about stories of skaters you know and how skating changed their lives? All ages, sizes, and passions. I'd ask your rink if they would offer a free pass or b1g1 pass(depending on the size of the audience) and you could give them at the end of your talk.
  21. Cherub721

    Cherub721 YEAH!

    I think you should try to emphasize that figure skating has something for everyone.

    Since you want to talk about the Olympics, I would tie it into the London games as best you can to build on that excitement. The US women's gymnastics team is really popular, so you could show some examples of explosive jumpers and point out how there are a lot of young up and coming females who want to peak in Sochi like the Fab 5 did. Or you could point out how Plushenko is like the Phelps of skating.

    Some people won't care about the athletic side at all, so you could then show a clip like this to win over people who enjoy Dancing with the Stars and that type of thing. Or some clips of romantic couples like G&G and briefly explain how figure skating is unlike any other sport because the skaters can bring their personal lives into the performance (like Katia's tribute to Sergei or Joannie's mother's death).

    And then you could admit that sometimes it gets over the top, and ridiculous, but as someone pointed out, that's fun too. Even when skating is bad, it can be entertaining for different reasons. That would be the place to show some crazy costumes and falls.

    And if you can, include Surya's backflip from Nagano, because people freaking love that and most non-skating fans remember it.
  22. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Yuzuru, Medvedeva, T&M, Shibs, P&C

    I am American, living in the USA. Most of the audience will be American, with an even mixture of men and women, from all age groups starting at 25 and above. It's a pretty small audience, but I could potentially take the speech outside of Toastmasters (and make it longer too).

    I know that many fsuers hate Plushenko, but I know people outside of fsu who like him a lot. My coworker got so excited when she saw Plushenko on TV skating at the 2002 Olympics that she became a fan instantaneously. I helped her by showing different videos, what to look for, what is good/great, what is so so, etc. That was done over several weeks. It is tough to do it in 7 minutes. I love the challenge though.

    In any case I am not likely to use Plushenko's video for the speech. It is a demo speech, so a lot of the responsibility is on me - speaking, gestures, audience interaction, interwoven with video clips without them overshadowing the speech itself. The video clips (if at all used) will be a very small part of it, due to the time limitations. Right now on my list is T&M's fall (based on one of the suggestions here) and a couple of jump demos. I could probably fit in one more. I may show Ashley's fall, then the big smile on her face at the end, or I may just use the US nationals DVD and pick 25-30 seconds out of it, if I cannot transfer a clip from yt.

    We may also have technological limitations on the use of DVD or Yt. I am looking into ways to use those. I don't think the general public gets interested in FS because of one skater or one video (my coworker was an exception), so I am trying to figure out ways to make it interesting for the audience. I have to simplify it enough to make it understandable, and yet get the message across that it is worthwhile to watch it and look for these (to be named) things.

    The great thing about Toastmasters is that they will give me an honest feedback in a gentle and encouraging way, and help me improve my public speaking skills. So I am not nervous, but I would really like more people to get interested in FS. That's why I selected this topic.
  23. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

    This reminds me of when I gave a speech on Gene Kelly to my ninth-grade class. :) If I still had my notes, I'd try to glean some suggestions from them for you! All I really remember is that I talked about what made him a great dancer, what some of his best numbers were, and what I loved about him, and I showed a clip at the end.

    That template might be a little bit more difficult to implement for a whole sport than for one particular individual. But you could do something like giving a quick overview of the sport's history, talking about a few things about skating that particularly appeal to you, and showing a favorite clip or two.

    Best of luck!
    Vash01 and (deleted member) like this.
  24. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Yuzuru, Medvedeva, T&M, Shibs, P&C

    The good thing is that I am not limited to just one speech. I could give many more speeches related to FS in the future. I have given 2 or 3 so far; all were different.
  25. rayhaneh

    rayhaneh Well-Known Member

    This ^

    Also, if you only have 1' to 1'30'' for a video, I am not sure how much of the emotion of any program of any skater/ pair would come through. If I were in your shoes, I think one avenue I would like to explore is making a video similar in construction to this one (if you have the time):


    I am not at all talking about using those particular skaters - I don't think it matters much who you'll show because the bits you'll be able to show will be too short for those people to make up their mind about them - but I think the atmosphere created by the video works a bit like a movie teaser and I know it works for people who don't follow figure skating (I've shown this to a couple of people at work who really enjoyed it and know next to nothing about skating). Of course it'd require some time and patience to achieve that kind of result, but I thought it might still be an inspiration ;)
  26. dinakt

    dinakt Well-Known Member

    7 minutes is tough.
    Something like- Do you like ballet? opera? Do you sometimes sneak a glance, or have tried, a ballroom dance? Does acrobatics, gymnastics, pole vault or diving take your breath away at the precision needed to execute it and win? Well, you can have it all if you follow figure skating! It requires feats of athleticism, and unlike other sports, it requires an artistic and emotional involvement, making it the closer to art than any other sport while not losing any of the athletic achievement that dazzles us.
    There are four disciplines, and they all require different sets of skills... Then a bit about your favorite things in them:)
    Then cut to:
    - the first minute of Yu-Na's Olympic SP ( jumps and sex appeal)
    - last minute and ten seconds of Lambiel's Olympic SP ( footwork, artistry and spins)
    - the highest triple twist from Volosozhar/ Trankov or the prettiest throw from S/S that you can find ( or whoever you love. Bazarova/ Larionov's twist and lift would do just as well)
    - your favorite twizzles and lift of your favorite dance team. If your audience is American, use D/W. If Canadian, use V/M. Perhaps last 25 sec. of Indian Folk Dance. Or middle of Fledermaus starting with rotational lift and ending with twizzles.
    Then spend a minute talking about upcoming Olympics and drama of making the team.
    Good luck- I am very curious what you choose to say in 7 minutes and how it goes; please follow- up!

    ... just read your post of explanation. If showing short clips is tricky, choose one clip with some great jumps and a painful fall. But it would be hard without the visual aid- it's just better to show than to explain.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013
  27. pinky166

    pinky166 #teamtrainwreck #teamdiva

    Brian Joubert youtube video where he's in his tighty whities :grope:
  28. misskarne

    misskarne #AustraliaForTheTeamEvent

    *starts humming*

    Sex Bomb, Sex Bomb...

  29. NadineWhite

    NadineWhite Well-Known Member

    It's a known fact that people learn & comprehend better via *visualization*, so I would run with that!

    I know for me, as a child, I fell in love with figure skating watching Dorothy Hamill at the 1976 Olympics. I wanted to be her, even got her hair cut in elementary school, lol.

    And then when Oksana Baiul came along, oh my, oh my...

    On that score, I would present a variety of different spectacular skating that would a-p-p-e-a-l to everyone, not just one type.

    For myself, if I were in your shoes, I would start with Sonja, beautiful smiling charming elfin-like Sonja. Then Peggy, Dick, Dorothy, Janet, Katarina, Oksana, Michelle, Yuna, and end with the Great Plushenko skating to "Nijinski" & "Once Upon A Time in America". Of course it only being 7 minutes long the aforementioned would have to be spliced together, yet the only one I would present in its entirety is this one:


    'nuff said :hat1:
  30. AxelAnnie

    AxelAnnie Well-Known Member

    A long, long time ago.........(in a far off land>>>>>>just kidding) there was an analysis done with Timothy Goebel (that part is not important) looking at the athleticism required in skating and comparing it to the athleticism in various sports. I can't find the video (it may have been a tv thing).

    The one thing I do remember, was the juxtaposition of some basketball player running down the court and jumping up and slamming the ball into the hoop. They showed the effort and skill involved with some fancy slo mo stuff.........then they showed the skater going across the ice, and doing a jump. The thing that stuck in my mind was the voice over which went something like "and the skater has to do everything the basketball guy just did, except he has to do it all and land on a 3/16 blade...........with a smile!"

    Also, I found it really interesting to learn about blades. Regular people don't know it is really two surfaces, inside and outside, etc.