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The value of a European versus Four Continents title/medal

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by essence_of_soy, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. essence_of_soy

    essence_of_soy Well-Known Member

    When Four Continents was launched in 1999 as the North American, Asian and Oceanic equivalent of Europeans, the USA didn't send team members such as Kwan, Hughes, or Weiss, somewhat reducing the event to the status of a senior B international. Europeans however, was attended by the skaters that would be heading on to worlds.

    Four Continents results 1999

    Four Continents results 2013

    Europeans results 1999

    Europeans results 2013

    Having broadcast Four Continents for the first time this year, interestingly, British Eurosport commented that the singles competitions were so much stronger at Four Continents than Europeans.

    With the shift in singles' skating superpowers from Europe to Asia, even though Four Continents has less nations (with smaller federations struggling to meet the minimum TES), how equal are both championships 15 years on?
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2013
  2. TheIronLady

    TheIronLady Well-Known Member

    Europeans is still more prestigious. One factor is simply tradition. Another is that most European countries do not have competitive nationals. Europeans thus fills that void and is important to the best skaters from such lands as France, Switzerland, Belgium, Slovakia, Germany, Spain, UK, and Poland. The Japanese and USA singles still emphasize success at their nationals over Four Continents.

    What will help 4CC in the future will be to have stars from the emerging Asian nations, like Korea and China. If it remains a a CAN vs USA vs Japan championship, it will not grow in significance. If Yu Na had competed this year, it would have made the ladies event considerably more unique.

    Ice dance at 4CC lacks luster compared to Euros. Ice dancing is most appreciated by European audiences. The North Americans have become powerful, but the Asians are so far behind that for the years ahead the 4CC ice dance event will be a two-country show with some very bland or weak Asian teams dragging behind.

    Pairs is an underwhelming 4CC event at present. The Chinese have no depth right now, so there is little competitiveness or distinctiveness in winning pairs at 4CC. It's about the North American pairs and resembles a "B championship". It will help when Japan and Korea start to have 4CC pair teams and when China regains depth.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2013
  3. TheIronLady

    TheIronLady Well-Known Member

    A 4CC should be held in Australia. That country has too many skating enthusiasts to be peripheral at 4CCs.

    Also it is important for the Latin countries to continue to be represented in 4CC. It has done a lot to encourage skating interest within Mexico.

    These things might not increase the prestige of a 4CC title in the short term, but in the long term it should create interest and participant excitement by shoring up the involvement of the Latin Americans, South Africans, and Australians.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2013
  4. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

    That's because they have some unfortunate problems with their long-term memory. No way was the men's event better than the one at Euros, or that Reynolds' LP was among the greatest ever. Reynolds' total score would have barely allowed him to win silver at Euros, and the two other medalists didn't do as well as their European counterparts, either.

    The thing with 4CC is that the fields can be very good or pretty mediocre, in part based on location or whether it's an Olympic year. I think this hurts the event's prestige - because 4CC results are not all created equal. With the Europeans, skaters don't often skip the event just because it's far away (and with so many skaters now training in North America, it is far away for some of them), or because it's too close to Nationals (because Euros is a month after the last Nationals in Europe). Between having more tradition and having fields that generally include everyone of note, I think it still is more prestigious.

    I'm not sure how I feel about federations being allowed to send 3 entries per discipline at 4CC regardless of the previous year's results. On the one hand, it is important from a developmental standpoint. OTOH, it allows skaters an opportunity that comparable OES don't always have.
  5. Susan M

    Susan M Well-Known Member

    I think you pretty well captured the issues. As long as top skaters chose not to go the 4CC, it won't have the prestige of Europeans. And as long as the event covers 70% of the earth and is inevitably a very long trip for a good number of the skaters, it will continue to have this problem. I know some Europeans train in North America now, but a flight from the US (esp the Eastern US where most of them train) to Europe is nothing compared to traveling from here to Asia or Australia. That trip basically knocks you out of commission for a couple days coming and going.

    I think the fact that neither the US nor Canada has moved its Nationals to make the schedule easier for those attending 4CC says a lot about just how little they regard or value it.
  6. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

    Even East Coast to most of Europe is a pretty long flight, and more importantly, a six time zone difference (if it's a location in central European time). For skaters based further out west, there are some cases in which some East Asian destinations are probably closer than European ones. I think it's more about the importance given to the two events by the skaters and the federations. After all, skaters don't skip Worlds, or even their GPs, just because of the distances involved.

    I agree.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2013
  7. robinhood

    robinhood Active Member

    The only discipline that was stronger at 4cc than at Euros was ladies, even though the podium of Europeans was a very strong one, because several ladies were very good there. Pairs and Dance lack the depth of Europeans yet. The men were actually not craptastic at all at europeans and they have much more momentum going to worlds than the others
    I have to say attendance in 4cc is great when it's in Japan. Not sure what would happen in other countries
  8. manhn

    manhn Well-Known Member

    09 4CC is the best figure skating event I ever attended and that includes the Olympics.
  9. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

    Interesting topic: I had no idea so many countries did not have nationals. Medaling at Europeans then would be a fantastic honor. I always thought of 4CC as a something of a consolation for third and fourth place finishers although maybe I should rethink that. Re Ironlady's suggestion: A chance to see favorite skaters and Australia at the same time would be wonderful.
  10. TheIronLady

    TheIronLady Well-Known Member

    To clarify, most countries do hold nationals. They just have limited depth. Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia hold a joint nationals to pool their nations' skaters/resources and make it a better event with enough entrants. I think a lot of famous European skaters, however, focus on peaking at Europeans because their national fields are more limited in their discipline. The Czech men for example look to establish themselves at Euros. It has a lot of prestige and rewards for them.

    Qualifying spots for your nation at Euros for the next year is also somewhat significant. The same cannot be said for 4CC due to the nature of it.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2013
  11. mia joy

    mia joy Well-Known Member

    Lets face it, the 4CC is about 4 countries, not 4 continents. Europeans have much more depth in this area, which also makes the event more interesting to watch.
  12. eleonorad

    eleonorad Active Member

    ALL of the european skaters plan their season to peak at Euros. Those wo are not among, let's say aprox. 5/6 top skaters in the world do it because they may have a chance to medal there. The elite skaters do it because it's very different to go to Worlds as reigning euro champ rather than a "simple" medalist. All the others do it because Euros is the most prestigious competition they're attending in the whole season and probably one of their last ones and usually they are able to raise their PCS if not in the same event, in future competitions just by attending it.

    I think that an European title will always be much more important than a 4CC one as long as skaters and federations will not start to treat 4CC as europeans treat Euros, that is to say as the second most important event of the year. I understand that they have a very strong competition at home for Nationals, but it is extremely annoying when you don't get to watch top skaters fighting among each other (unless there is a very good reason like a severe injury), just because they rather stay home and having more time to prepare for Worlds, which may be reasonable in seasons like this one when Worlds are so early, but not in other seasons IMHO.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2013
    TheIronLady and (deleted member) like this.
  13. Proustable

    Proustable New Member

    You know, it really depends on the discipline, the year, and who decides to show up.

    Who of the major European skaters missed Euros this year? Pechelat/Bourzat, Korpi and Leonova
    Who of the major Four Continents skaters missed 4CC this year? W/P, Chan, Sui/Han, Pang/Tong, Kim, Wagner, Kozuka, Abbott
  14. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

    I agree, the big difference is that Euros are still THE big competition for European skaters, and the best skaters from each european country always go to Euros. It's not the case for 4CC.
    But in term of level, actually, I'd say 4CC seems to be more interesting in Ladies and Men.
  15. professordeb

    professordeb Well-Known Member

    I would venture to say that a number of the top skaters don't attend 4CC because of travelling distances and time differences. For those who attend Europeans, I would venture that the most time difference would be about a 6-8 hours? Now take someone from the east coast of Canada and have them fly to Japan -- you are looking at something like a 14 hour time difference not to mention how long it would take to travel there. So I would venture to guess that sometimes top skaters from countries where time/distance is a factor may be inclined to give it a miss. What with there being top skaters from so many of the countries, I can understand why 4CC is likley to always have some skaters giving it a pass.

    I understand that decision but I do think it takes away from what TPTB were hoping the 4CC would become -- an equivalent to Europeans. If they were really serious about having something similar, then perhaps they should do away with 4CC and institute a couple of "regional" comps instead. You could have a North/South American comp, and then a Pacific area one that would see Australia, China, Japan and ??? competing. Just some thoughts flowing.
    TheIronLady and (deleted member) like this.
  16. allezfred

    allezfred Master/Mistress of Sneer Staff Member

    All this talk about how far people have to travel for events never seems to come up during the Grand Prix season....
  17. Rex

    Rex Well-Known Member

    Isn't 4CC a Worlds qualifier for some Asian countries?
  18. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    Sorry but Australia does not have too many skating enthusiasts. It is a minority sport in this country and will always be. As much as I would love to see a 4CC in Australia, and as one of the countries that is entitled to participate we probably should have it, the reality is it is not practical nor viable for anyone to run it here. The requirements of what you need to run an event such as 4CC is cost prohibitive for any Australian association to take it on and they cannot risk the massive losses that would go with that event. Not to mention possibly burning out your volunteer workforce.
  19. TheIronLady

    TheIronLady Well-Known Member

    There are several reasons I think Australia has unusual enthusiasm for and disproportionate interest in skating.

    There are a lot of Russian coaches working in Australia.

    On the whole it is not a cold weather country and has a relatively small population, but it has attracted top coaches and choreographers, including for a time Torvil and Dean.

    Australia has also had talented skaters in the top ten and top twenty at Worlds: Joanne Carter, Miriam Manzano, Stephanie Zhang, and Anthony Liu... Cheltzie Lee... I think this speaks to the general athletic talent and love of sport that seems part of Australia's national character, but it also shows that Aussie skating fans and officials-- though small in number-- are devoted to figure skating. They share in the Anglo-American tradition of skating, which survives not only in America and Canada, but also in Britain. I think this gives them something to build on that Thailand or Mexico do not have.

    It is a shame that things seem in decline there. Perhaps it is because IJS has made the sport so much harder. I still think the foundations are there to build on for Australia. It may be financially unrealistic, but it would be a great promotional boon to Australian skating to host 4CC.
  20. essence_of_soy

    essence_of_soy Well-Known Member

    Having been a small part but integral part in helping organise Australian Nationals for the past 3 years, because it is volunteer - run, the issue is that many of the folks, parents of skaters, ex - skaters, and fans involved donate their time after hours and on weekends on top of working paid jobs, etc. Even for Nationals, there is a lot of planning involved that is set many months in advance. It is definitely a project of passion for many, and something like Four Continents would be much bigger, with international advertising and tv involved.

    Even the JGP in Brisbane two years ago, though held in a 500 seat local rink, was barely attended by anyone outside the immediate skating community.
  21. Susan M

    Susan M Well-Known Member

    It's actually 9 time zones different from the Eastern US if they held Europeans in Moscow. But realistically, that's about the farthest east Europeans would ever be, so we are talking at most 4676 miles from New York. OTOH, Tokyo is 5471 miles from LA and that's about the closest 4CC would ever be outside North America.

    Still, it does seem like more of the top skaters are making the trip than there were several years ago. I think the ice dancers are setting a good example here.
  22. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

    Talinn in 2010 was the farthest east I can recall in recent years. It's a seven hour difference, flying east (which I find tougher then flying west). Of course, not all skaters train near the relevant coasts, regardless of whether they are flying to 4CC or to Euros - e.g. the large number of skaters in the Detroit area, skaters in Colorado Springs, etc.

    I agree about the ice dancers, and while 4CC doesn't have deep fields, it does have really excellent teams at the top in recent years.

    So essentially, it's a ten-hour time difference, just in the other direction. And although somewhat shorter, traveling from the west coast to Europe isn't exactly a quick hop, either.

    I don't think it's the distance; if it were, skaters wouldn't go to NHK and CoC. It's more a matter of perception regarding the importance of the event, and the way the season is planned to peak at certain times.
  23. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    Seriously I am not sure where these perceptions come from but unfortunately you are totally off the mark.

    There are not a lot of Russian coaches. The majority of our coaches are Australian with a smattering of coaches from other countries.

    Sorry but the only time they coached in Australia was to do Dancing on Ice. Which was not a ratings hit and only did one season. And top coaches and choreographers may come out when someone personally pays for them. It is more an anomaly rather than standard practise.

    Given the skaters who do rise to the top, that does not prove anything about the dedication of skating fans and officials. Our sport survives on a volunteer workforce and gets no government support. As one of those volunteers I speak from experience. Even the possibility of hosting a National Championships is a massive workload in itself and requires hours of dedication and commitment. How is Australia meant to put on an international event under those circumstances?

    IJS has nothing to do with the popularity of our sport. People get involved in the sport and start skating because they like to skate, not because of the system. And the general public wouldn't know or even care how the sport is judged. However in Melbourne where I am based our sport has grown because of an excellent rink that was built in the heart of Melbourne. But that is basic grass roots and whilst it may get some coverage, it is usually as a novelty (such as driving a formula one vehicle on it). So the sport is not in decline, but if you think that is going to provide a case to host a 4CC you really do not know anything about how skating operates in Australia.
    AJ Skatefan and (deleted member) like this.
  24. AndyWarhol

    AndyWarhol Well-Known Member


    This was true of Perth in the late 90's. There were 5 Russians and a Polish coach.
  25. snoopysnake

    snoopysnake Well-Known Member

    If 4cc's were held as early as Europeans, perhaps more skaters would go. But that would mean US and Canadian Nationals would need to be held earlier. Perhaps the North American Nationals could be in December, and the Grand Prix could run Sept-Nov rather than Oct-Dec. (An extra month of competititions out of the year would be a good thing at least for the fans!)
  26. LilJen

    LilJen Reaching out with my hand sensitively

    This. The timing is all wrong wrt Canadian and American nationals. Plus the travel.
    Yeah we do! Sometimes skaters get back-to-back GP assignments that are on totally different continents, and at least some of us wring our hands over it :p
  27. Marco

    Marco Well-Known Member

    Now that US, Canada, Japan and China all send their top skaters to 4CCs, I think 4CCs really is as prestigious as Euros.
  28. Cherub721

    Cherub721 YEAH!

    I especially enjoyed Chan, Abbott, and Wagner's performances at 4CC this year. ;)
  29. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

    Does Abbott still qualify as the top US skater? He's not the national champion and hasn't had any great international results recently.

    That said, I agree that saying everyone sends their top skaters to 4CC is a stretch, and I expect it to be completely inaccurate next season. Olympic season Euros are exciting. Olympic season 4CC tend to be more of a consolation prize.
  30. Cherub721

    Cherub721 YEAH!

    He won the bronze medal this year at Nats, so if the US were sending top skaters, he would've been the third guy at 4CC, IMO. He may have been surpassed by Aaron and Miner, but I wouldn't rank Farris, Rippon, or Dornbush higher than Abbott.