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Monica Friedlander: "International Skating Union Now Officially a Dictatorship"

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by Maofan7, Jun 30, 2012.

Should Cinquanta Stand Down And Make Way For A New President?

Poll closed Jul 31, 2012.
  1. Yes

    151 vote(s)
  2. No

    13 vote(s)
  3. Don't Know/No Opinion On The Matter/Unsure

    20 vote(s)
  1. Nomad

    Nomad Celebrity cheese-monger

    Dancing with the Stars may have been a poor example, but shows like SYTYCD do expose the general public to a variety of dance genres and there are truly talented dancers competing on said shows. So I think Wood's point still has some validity.
  2. giselle23

    giselle23 Well-Known Member

    But the problem is, there are no more casual viewers.
  3. Morry Stillwell

    Morry Stillwell Well-Known Member

    Then those that have graduated from the casual viewer class, wishing to be expert and understand what we judges must learn, it will be important to download IJS detail sheets. Then learn how to interpret them. When we come off a large IJS catagory, seldom do we know where we placed a large group of skaters. If you were to sneak into a off duty judges room you would see many judges pouring over the records book to see the detailed results.

    Perhaps it would help Friedlander work through some issues also.:)
  4. Mathman

    Mathman Active Member

    I think that is the problem in a nutshell.

    For a participatory sport the IJS is good. For a spectator sport it is bad. Not many spectators will be interested in "graduating to the expert class and learning what professional judges must learn."

    The ISU has made its choice and seems content to live with the consequences. So be it.
  5. spikydurian

    spikydurian Well-Known Member

    The article is full of bias. It is clear that Chan is used as an anti-COP whipping boy for her own agenda. Never mind if there are others who have fallen and win medals too. And of course, it’s easier to blame the rules rather than understanding and changing one’s training methods.

    For those who have constantly posted that they find vibrators non-satisfying, we do get it. We are well aware of your seeexual preferences. Please do spare us the details of frequency, type and size as we have no desire to know more unless in cohort with you.;)

    Not true. Speak for yourself. :D
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2012
  6. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

    I never understood the argument that people don't watch skating because the IJS is too complicated for casual viewers to follow. At the most basic level, it's higher score wins; that's very easy math. If you want to learn more, there are plenty of resources - there's a lot to criticize the ISU for, but they make this information readily available and easy to find. That's not different than some of the most popular American sports: you can enjoy a football game without knowing everything the refs and players know, or you can geek out to your heart's content and really get into the strategy and the statistics. You can watch baseball for fun even if you don't want to read a box score (let alone understand the more advanced statistics) or learn how to identify pitches. And although the refs/umpires don't determine the outcome to the same degree as do skating judges, they can certainly affect it (e.g. overlarge or too small strike zone, decisions on close calls, penalties etc.).

    It's not quite the same audience, but I don't think skating's decreasing popularity in the US is because oh noes, math is hard/rules are hard to follow. More like, it's a niche sport that had a (rather brief) surge in popularity, then people moved on the other things and the media market became increasingly fragmented. That downward trend began even before the IJS came in, and contrary to what Ms. Friedlander seems to suggest, it is not something universal.
  7. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

    nevermind. I was being repetitive
  8. allezfred

    allezfred Master/Mistress of Sneer Staff Member

    I think I read the Vandercorkells being quoted that they didn't like IJS, but that says it all really innit. ;)

  9. ItalianFan

    ItalianFan Active Member

    OMG Aussie Willie is a girl??!!
  10. hanca

    hanca Well-Known Member

    Not sure why, I also always imagined it to be a male. :lol:
  11. Mathman

    Mathman Active Member

    Great post!

    Still, I find the self-congratulatory attitude of the ISU and the skating establishment to be a little bIt patronizing and annoying. The skaters like the IJS (check), skater's parents like the IJS (check), coaches, members of the ISU technical committee, and officials in national skating federations like the IJS (check, check, check). Everyone likes the IJS except the people.

    So if you are a "people" and are not moved or inspired by the programs and performances that the IJS encourages and requires, skating insiders respond: "The only reason you don't like it is your own ignorance. If you were as smart as we are, you would love us as much as we love ourselves."
    flutzilla1 and (deleted member) like this.
  12. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

    I agree that telling people "you should like it because we do" isn't a sound marketing strategy. But it is certainly possible to articulate why experts like the IJS and why certain skaters do well under it without being condescending. The system isn't that difficult to understand, at least at a basic level, and I don't think skating is struggling in the US because the IJS is too complex for casual fans to understand. I've watched skating events - on TV and even live - with friends who don't follow the sport, who wouldn't even know who Michelle Kwan is, and we're all from a non-skating country so not that many opportunities to be exposed to skating at any level. It didn't take them long to figure out what was going on and who was skating well. As with almost any sport, all it takes is someone to explain the basics, and from what I've seen and heard, American commentators have not done a great job of this.

    But in the end, either people will want to learn more or they won't, and it can't be forced. The ISU can only do so much to make its product accessible and marketable, especially as it is dealing with a vastly different media market than the one that existed during skating's golden years. And there will always be those who believe that things were better in the past. I mean, look at baseball: interleague has been around longer than the IJS, and plenty of people still hate it (and rightly so, interleague sucks). Same with the DH. I'm sure some people will complain about college football going to a mini-playoff system. You can't please everyone.
  13. pani

    pani Well-Known Member

    Did you remember media wars when competitions was hold under old system? I remember. And remermber 2002 OG too.
    I dont want support ISU, but dont like when people, who didnt know nothing anout sport, try to talk from all the World :)
    Just feel sad, becasue Monica thinking she is "jourmalist".
  14. Mathman

    Mathman Active Member

    Well, there are two approaches to marketing. You can offer a product and then try to make people like it or you can try to find out what people like and then offer it.

    I agree with post 66 that the main reason for the general decline of interesting in figure skating in most of the world is...well, nothing really. Cultural drift. Changing tastes in entertainment.

    I was watching TV with some friends and for some reason a rerun of an old production of "Romeo and Juliet on Ice," with Toller Cranston as Mercurio. was on. The reaction? Why "on ice?"

    Amateur skating never commanded a big audience. But in 1950 the highest paid actress in Hollywood was Sonia Henie (who couldn't act a lick). From the 1940s through the 1970s shows like Ice Follies and Ice Capades were big deals. Later Champions on Ice and Stars on Ice ran tours with with 80 stops.

    So I would say that professional skating entertainments is where the sport has essentially disappeared from the landscape. Maybe it is unfair to put the burden on competitive skating to make it popular again.
  15. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    Mathman, these are such important points. Henie's movies and professional ice shows were exceedingly popular during the time when amateur/competitive skating wasn't televised, and people went to see "The Olympic Guy" that they had only heard of or possible have seen news clips of in those shows.

    The Henie movies came right out of the Busby Berkeley-Goldwyn Follies movies and their ilk. (George Balanchine made quite a living choreographing for Hollywood and suggesting camera angles for dance during that time.)

    As much as I waited for "The Olympics people" and their solos with jumps during my family's yearly pilgrimage to Madison Square Garden for Ice Capades, it was the people dressed as characters or objects and the Carmen Miranda chorus lines that kept most of the audience happy.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2012
  16. Mathman

    Mathman Active Member

    I think the part about why she doesn't like the CoP is legitimate journalism, although not everyone will agree with her position.

    But I think she went off the mark when she called the results of 2012 Worlds a "scandal." Takahashi gave a crowd-pleasing performance. But Chan displayed marvelous skills and rolled up the points.

    As for the dance competition, Davis and White have enthusiastic fans, as do Virtue and Moir. It is not a "scandal" if one team finishes first and the other second.

    I used to think that the CoP should be adjusted to give higher weight to the aspects of a performance that the audience most appreciates. That way everyone is happy. :) But lately the criticism of the CoP has swung around the other way. Now people complain that the judges are putting too much emphasis on the Program Components, over-rewarding subjective factors like musicality and choreography. So it is kind of a no-win situation for the ISU.
  17. Emdee

    Emdee Well-Known Member

    I so agree with you Mathman.

    For some its a scandal if the teams/skaters they dont want to win actually win.
  18. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    There have been complaints from the beginning of CoP that components are used 1. Like ordinals 2. Inappropriately 3. Without variation 4. Within the corridor and 5. To prop up skaters on reputation.

    The ISU has removed the number of technical elements, introduced non-leveled choreographic elements, changed the GOE scales, and made levels more difficult to attain, all of which lower the technical score. There have been offsets over the years -- the roller coaster of changing the base for quads and triples and, after a year or two of actually calling under-rotations, codifying the 70% values -- but not enough to offset the balance completely. The absolute weights for PCS haven't changed.

    The biggest change in emphasis was when the judges were told not to cap the PCS scores, and we've seen more 9's and 10's among the top competitors, especially in ice dance.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2012
  19. VALuvsMKwan

    VALuvsMKwan Wandering Goy

    If you want the "publique general" to understand and follow the IJS, then...wait for it...

    Why not display each competitor's scoring protocal either DURING or at least JUST AFTER each program, with all the TES elements described fully - not with the acronyms - and with possible values AND actual judged values, including GOEs, and then PCS?

    Integrate the protocol availability with the broadcasts as each skater competes, and reference a link to a web area with complete protocols for skaters who have competed so far, so that viewers, if they care to, can track all scores via the web in real time).

    Display them immediately in the arena as well.

    Take away judging anonymity.

    THAT is how scoring was done for each skater under modern 6.0 to the extent that scores were calculated - if you want an "apples to apples" comparison of 6.0 vs. IJS. You saw all scores and who gave what after each skater (until 2002). The only thing that wasn't display fully were ordinals by judge, and they should have been.

    And - if you argue that the IJS scoring protocols are too complicated to do such reporting and displays - well, that reinforces many people's complaints about IJS and its ability to be understood easily, doesn't it?

    The only way IMHO that the IJS is going to be really understood beyond the small coterie of insiders (judges, skaters and "fanatics" like some of us) is to put it out there with every major competition so that everyone has a chance to be educated on exactly how it works.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2012
  20. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    I think what would be most helpful is, during Kiss and Cry, to show the top three skaters to date, with last name and score, so that the number that's flashed on the screen for the current skater has a context. I don't think most people care about the details.
  21. julieann

    julieann Well-Known Member

    I agree. I think they need to get rid of the kiss & cry and allow the competition to flow better and only show the complete scores if they are available, not just the total, but what would be shown on the protocol. In gymnastics they don't wait until the score is ready they move on. Now fans see that skaters got a 195 verses a 201 but at least they can see a difference. I like the idea of having more interactive on the internet too.
  22. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    What kind of bothers me with many of the anti-IJS articles coming out is they only seem to focus on the elite level of the sport, and even then it is not an insider's view, it is only from whatever barrow they want to push.

    I would really like some of these journalists to head to a regular figure session or club competition and chat to some of the younger kids who are skating under this system and get their thoughts about it.
  23. Cherub721

    Cherub721 YEAH!

    I like that idea. I also find it helpful when they flash the skater's season's best score at the beginning and also tell us what number they need to beat to get into first - that way, the audience can at least figure out if that number is feasible for that skater.

    Posting the full protocol information on the screen would be a turn off for many viewers, IMO. What the broadcasters might do, in controversial cases or for all the medalists in each competition, would be to break out the scores in smaller categories - X points for spins, X for jumps, X for footwork and spirals, and then the breakdown for each PCS. That would sufficiently demonstrate what qualities helped the skater win.

    Another thing that could be improved in the US would be explaining when a skater placed high overall but actually lost placements in the free. The British Eurosport commentators always do a good job of saying "A is into first overall, but B is first on the night." I think the audience could accept and understand that the score is cumulative. What annoys the audience is when someone clearly has a poor skate and then goes right into first place without explanation that they are like 4th in the free.
  24. Coco

    Coco Well-Known Member

    Yes, it kills me that they show each individual PCS mark, even though they've never been adequately defined for a US audience AND they are barely >.5 from each other.

    Yet they never show "jumps," "spins," or "steps" as lump sums. That would make all the difference in the world, imo.
  25. julieann

    julieann Well-Known Member

    So you think the audience would hate seeing the protocols on the screen where they can clearly see a skater got a level 1 vs a level 4 that is worth more or someone did a double instead of a triple? I think they care about understanding what skaters got what scores than some people worrying about the anonymity of the judges.
  26. Cherub721

    Cherub721 YEAH!

    Yes, I think some audience members would be turned off by that much information. If skater A's first spin was level 3 with positive GOE, second spin level 4 with negative GOE, and third spin level 3 with negative GOE, while skater B's first spin was level 4 with 0 GOE, second spin level 3 with positive GOE, and third spin was level 2 with positive GOE, then who spun better? It's too much information for a lot of people to absorb in the limited time that the broadcast has. A lot of people already complain that the new system is too technical and too complicated, and that would be an irritant for them.

    The goal, IMO, is to get people enough information to allow them to understand the result, while allowing for the fact that people watch figure skating for entertainment and not to analyze details. For those who do love to analyze, the information is available online. I also think NBC's Olympic game for Vancouver (allowing viewers to live judge online) was a great teaching tool for interested parties.
  27. bmcg

    bmcg Well-Known Member

    I spent the last few days watching US Olympic trials. I watch gymnastics every four years so I don't understand the scoring system and I don't know enough (or anything really) about the sport to recognize on my own what elements they are performing or what their base values are. Yet I enjoyed watching the gymnastics competition this week and while the numbers that came up meant nothing to me I just trusted the commentators when they pointed out mistakes/deductions (which was enough to tell me it wasn't their best) and when they pointed out the more difficult routine. *IF* I want to understand it beyond a casual fan level then I will research a bit more into it. But I don't, I'm satisfied with what I saw and the explanations that were given and just enjoyed and marvelled at the talent and skill of the gymnasts I watched.

    I don't think casual fans of figure skating are turned off by IJS. I think it's people who are a bit more into the sport and watch it in non-Olympic years. Casual fans don't need an instant printout of detailed scoring. They just need a decent educated commentator to say "while the crowd seems to have enjoyed that performance more I should point out that the other program had a much higher degree of difficulty, more complicated choreography and their command of the blade is second to none". It's a sport and there are rules in sports.
  28. julieann

    julieann Well-Known Member

    You must not watch much professional sports.

    Some may watch skating for "entertainment" value but we can't forget it's still a sport. We can't just rely on the drivel that the so-called commentators give during the skate and during the repay. Half the time they are aren't even talking about what they are watching. It doesn't have to be as complex as you described, remember you're not comparing skater A to skater B, just informing them why skater A may have received the score they got.
  29. iggie

    iggie Well-Known Member

    the isu pdfs for scores are complicated to read. i had to turn here to ask for helping figuring out what it means. once you know what to look for and what everything means, it's fine but it's not something that makes immediate sense to someone new. the scoring at the 2010 olympics, however, was brilliant. it was clear, easy to understand and useful.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2012
  30. spikydurian

    spikydurian Well-Known Member

    That's me too. :D