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What does the United States need to do to overcome its Figure Skating slump?

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by Maofan7, Mar 31, 2012.

  1. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Member

    American figure skating is probably going through its worst period since the 1961 air disaster. I think the fundamental problem for the USFSA is the loss of TV money, which has meant that there is far less money to invest.

    In order to turn things around, I think the USFSA needs to be far more proactive in terms of promoting skating to up the TV money. It needs that money back. Furthermore, it needs to go out and actually find the raw talent and link it up with the top coaches. It can no longer just sit back and wait for it to turn up as in years gone by

    Nevertheless, there is hope. Gracie Gold is a major star in the making and I think that the USFSA should seize the moment as it were, and start promoting her big time. Gracie is to the current slump, what Peggy Fleming was to overcoming the post 61 air disaster back in the 1960's. She has the potential to attract a lot of TV interest and new fans. Davis & White will of course also be around for a few years yet, and still have the potential to win the Olympic gold medal in 2014.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012
  2. Lanna

    Lanna Well-Known Member

    If there's one thing the USFSA shouldn't do, it's that: taking an untested junior who had a couple good competitions and hold them up as The Next Big Thing.
  3. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

    Oh goodie, this annual thread again, right on time :)
  4. centerpt1

    centerpt1 Well-Known Member

    1 Get their elite skaters out to more competitions, so they will get experience in all ice conditions and schedules
    2. Make sure the elite skaters learn competition specific techniques
    3. Monitor and assure promising skaters, and current skaters on the GP level are getting 1 and 2 above.
    IT seems our elite skaters train, train, train.....but are lacking the skills they need to compete well.
  5. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Member

    Sport only survives by generating money to invest. The biggest source of money is the TV sports market, a market in which figure skating has lost a lot of ground in recent years. The only way in which the USFSA can recover that lost ground is by promoting its biggest stars. Its no good wrapping them in cotton wool, thereby allowing the decline in U.S. figure skating to continue. Its a ruthless world out there, and the only way figure skating is going to survive is through aggressive promotion of what it has to offer.

    All NBC are giving Worlds is 3 hours on Sunday. At the rate things are going, will they be showing it at all next year? The USFSA have simply got to reverse the decline somehow.
  6. Lanna

    Lanna Well-Known Member

    Gracie Gold is not a star. Gracie Gold is a junior who had a good season. If you paid attention in the last Olympic cycle, you would have seen this over and over again: junior does well, junior gets promoted (remember all the Mirai and Caroline hype? Remember Caroline getting to skate in the exhibition when she was second in juniors?), and then junior goes senior, hits normal snags in progressing, etc, and then the kid gets TORN TO PIECES. Repeat ad nauseum.

    The US doesn't have a star, and it's not going to make one by repeating the same old shit that doesn't work.
  7. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Member

    It will be interesting to see how she does next season. I think that you will find that she does a lot better than you are obviously expecting her to do.
  8. Jammers

    Jammers Well-Known Member

    Gracie isn't some 14 year old wunderkind like Mirai or Caroline were. She's going to be 17 this year has already gone through a ton of crap to get where she is and plus can actually jump unlike Caroline who had the most horrible technique and Mirai who can't control her nerves and has questionable work habits.
  9. Mayra

    Mayra Well-Known Member

    Repeat ad nauseum with a slight hitch...

    In that same Olympic cycle you had two extremely successful junior skaters transition to senior and eventually win Olympic Gold and Silver. :shuffle:
  10. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    I think the U.S women are going in the right direction with a blooming Wagner and Gold their big hopefuls.

    The men will take awhile to get back up there. Bringing back dinosaur Evan is no solution, and Abbott doesnt have the mental toughness or jumping firepower needed.

    The pairs have a long way to go, but post 2014 the field could be weak so who knows.

    The dance are better than ever.
  11. Lanna

    Lanna Well-Known Member

    Yes, but they weren't American. ;)

    They also began the cycle before that Olympic cycle, but I agree it overlapped. Hey, for a long time, we had a streak of JW ladies champs qualifying for the SGPF in their first senior season. But it runs into the problem of senior crowding. People move out of juniors, but they don't in juniors. So there is the simple mathematical fact that most great juniors will not do as well in seniors because there just isn't room. And then you add in other factors, such as injury, skill progression, headcasiness, etc.

    And let's not forget that Mao and Yuna weren't winning everything in sight in that cycle as it stands, and each had their own struggles to deal with. And then Joanne Rochette won the Olympic bronze, so... give awesome juniors time to develop is probably my point here. :lol:
  12. doubleflutz

    doubleflutz New Member

    It's never going to recover all of that lost ground. We're just a different country, culturally, and I'm happy about that. The fanbase who made it popular in different eras weren't really teaditional sports fans, anyway. I'll take women's increased participation in sports that aren't traditionally considered "feminine", and in sports fandom in general, over going back to the Peggy Fleming era, or even the Michelle Kwan era. Are people forgetting that back at the height of the skating boom, Junior Worlds was the freaking Lifetime channel? No thanks to that.
  13. Jenna

    Jenna Well-Known Member

    I agree with all of the above except the last sentence. Ashley Wagner is the clear US #1, and she is a star. She was third in today's FS at the World championships, and likely would have been second if she skated in the final group (higher PCS). She was close to the bronze medal, too.
  14. Mayra

    Mayra Well-Known Member

    Being US number 1 does not make you a star. It makes you the top ranked US lady. :shuffle:
    Habs and (deleted member) like this.
  15. Subway

    Subway Well-Known Member

    Didn't Michelle Kwan carry the US for years? Without her there would have been some funk, despite Sarah Hughes' gold medal. We were never big stars in dance or pairs. It was women. We do have the reigning Olympic gold medalist in men's figure skating, we had world champions in ice dance and ice dance silver medalists two Olympics in a row. The US program isn't in a funk. It was only super hot for a pretty short period and television oversaturated the market.
  16. feraina

    feraina Well-Known Member

    If you only consider the age-eligible senior ladies, Russia's field isn't as strong as US's. I mean, Leonova & Makarova are their two best, with Polina K and Polina S distant 3rd and 4th, plus who next? Sofiya Buryukova and Polina A. And that's just about *it* for their age eligible skaters. And yet they manage to get three ladies spots two years in a row!

    In comparison, U.S. is spoiled with riches: besides Wagner and Czisny, there are Caroline Z, Agnes Zawadzki, Mirai Nagasu, Rachael Flatt, Christina Gao, Vanessa Lam, Gracie Gold, Yasmin Siraj, Samantha Cesario, Angela Wang, Leah Keiser. On their good days, all these girls can easily score 150+, which would've placed at least 7th at WC, and which combined with Ashley's 4th would've gotten the US 13 spots.

    People may think the Russian federation is harsh with the way they wait until last minute to decide assignments to JGP's and WC's and other major events, and constantly replacing skaters in the last moment. Well, that's what you have to do when you are no longer the dominant skating federation. The leaner the times, the more you have to constantly monitor all the skaters, and send the most prepared one and be flexible about major assignments. The inflexible and outdated assignment procedure USFSA follows is no longer adequate in the current environment, when there is a lot more competition from Asian countries than in the old days (Europe still being about the same).
  17. bek

    bek Guest

    delete please
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 1, 2012
  18. bek

    bek Guest

    Because placing 3 girls in the top 4 at the Olympics and leaving a girl who was 5 at Worlds the year before at home isn't a sign of great depth? Even the Japanese have never had THAT kind of placement. The US would have had 3 spots for 98 Olympics, and 2002 Olympics without Kwan. Needless to say having an Olympic team with 2 World Champions and a former world medalist in 98 isn't a sign of a ridiculous amounts of depth.

    Michelle helped the US a lot sure, but to say she carried them when at times she wasn't even the top US lady at worlds or the Olympics is a bit ridiculous to me.

    The US has far more ladies titles than any other nation. Until this recent Olympics, the US ladies hadn't gone without an Olympic medal, since the Olympics right after the plane crash. Michelle was part of a legacy, she wasn't the only one holding it up.
  19. haribobo

    haribobo Well-Known Member

    What year did they switch from having 1-3 = 3 spots, 4-10 = 2 spots....to the Under 13= 3 spots, 14-28= 2 spots system?

    I'm not sure we'd have a *funk* without Michelle. If one were to erase her from the results- you'd have:

    94 Worlds: Nicole DNQ, Elaine Zayak (how was she in 94?)
    95 Worlds: Nicole Bobek and Tonia Kwiatkowski (Nicole bronze)
    96 - Tonia, Tara, Sydne Vogel (Tonia 8, Tara 15, but Sydne could've managed something good)
    97- Tara, Nicole, Angela (Tara 1st, Nicole 13th, Angela could've done fine)
    98- (Tara and Nicole pulled out), Tonia (6th), Angela would've gotten more notice so she'd presumably have been in the country, Amber Corwin
    99- Angela 12th, Sarah 7th, Erin Pearl (NNN too young)
    00- Sasha, Sarah, Angela -great team!
    01- Sarah, Angela, Jenny Kirk- very good team!
    02- Sasha, Jenny (WD), Ann Patrice McD- good team
    03- Sarah, Sasha, Ann Patrice McD- great team
    04- Sasha, Jenny, Amber- ok this might've been iffy
    05- Sasha, Kimmie, Jenny- good team

    Angela and Ann Patrice could've had very different careers.....
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012
  20. chipso1

    chipso1 Well-Known Member

    I'll echo what others have said and say that the USFS needs to start monitoring its skaters after Nationals. They just have to. While Champ's Camp seems good in theory, what a skater looks like in August doesn't mean crap about how they'll look in March.

    The USFS needs to adopt a "readiness clause" of some sort that states all athletes heading to Worlds will be evaluated at their home rink by USFS officials and a panel of judges, where they will skate both their SP and FS. However, something like this needs to be in the rulebook so everyone involved (coaches, athletes, officials) know what the selection process is before they compete at Nationals.
  21. Jenna

    Jenna Well-Known Member

    You're right, but she's a star nonetheless..she has it all. Black Swan is perfect and the choreography is stunning. When she hit the jumps like she did today it's one of the best programs in the world.
  22. bek

    bek Guest

    Ugh, I don't think she really has it all. She's a nice skater and I like the performance but her Swan Lake is no where near the great Swan Lakes this sport has had...

    I think Ashley is like Evan neither a great artist or a great jumper, just somewhat solid. Only Evan had a killer instinct that Ashley just plan doesn't have, which allowed Evan to take advantage of opportunities and win medals/titles. I don't think Evan's very best skate ever would have medaled in this current men's field.

    Thing is though THIS was the year Ashley had to take advantage of such an opportunity because next year the field is going to be much better. The Russian wonder babies and Gracie Gold are coming in with jumps, and I don't think Ashley's going to be jumping with them. And I'm not convinced she's a better artist than them. Wagner doesn't have the artistry and skating skills of Kostner and Asada (if Asada can start landing jumps) to hold her up over the babies either. The wonder babies presentation is only going to improve.

    As for stars I think you become a star when you produce consistent results. Wagner hasn't done that, Alissa hasn't done that, and Gold hasn't done that. When said skater can bring in the results/championships THAN they will be a star.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 1, 2012
  23. jlai

    jlai Title-less

    Reposting my 2 cents so I don't have to retype: :)

    becca likes this.
  24. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

    Uh, yeah, I'm sure everyone saw it the first time.
  25. misskarne

    misskarne #AustraliaForTheTeamEvent

    What's with the "Gracie Gold" answer when we're talking the status of the US skating as a whole? It's not all about the ladies. Why not men?

    If you say "Gracie Gold", I raise you a Joshua Farris and Jason Brown. Two very talented young men, both strong and powerful skaters and yet so graceful and fluid at the same time. Plus, both good-looking and marketable. And they seem to get along okay, certainly there were a few shots of them at JW where they were smiling and talking.

    Just as long as the USFSA doesn't try to create a rivalry between them...
  26. museksk8r

    museksk8r Holding an edge and looking dangerously sexy

    Conduct "concentration camps" orchestrated by Michelle Kwan centered around mental training and meditation techniques, so that they can find the "eye of the tiger" fighting killer instinct attack, consistency, and focus in competition. Implant microchips in their brains that are designed to stun them whenever any doubtful thoughts begin to creep into their minds. Enforce that they do double, full run-throughs of both SP and LP every day in training, so that they always can run on autopilot in competition. Enforce that their coaching teams do not add any technical element into the program that they are not hitting at at least 85 percent success rate in practice. For instance, Rippon's 25% rate of success on the 4Salchow would mean it cannot make an appearance in his program; same with Czisny's 2Axel+3toe, 3Salchow, and 3Lutz+3toe attempts.

    Czisny, for example, got injured because of trying to add too much difficulty to her programs. A more reasonable LP jump layout within her means would have been:


    There needs to be more time involved from the federation with monitoring the progress of these athletes with regard to their training and their competitive shape/fitness and mindset.
  27. RD

    RD Well-Known Member

    I don't think there's a simple answer to this question, but here's where they can start:

    1) Take leadership of the skating program and don't just sit around waiting for things to happen. Actively promote skating and work super hard to keep it in the public eye. Offer incentives to join, etc.

    2) Monitor skaters regularly- but ESPECIALLY World Team members between the conclusion of Nationals and the start of Worlds. Make it so the awarding of a World/Olympic team spot is contingent on the athletes maintaining their peak condition and in the event of injury, illness or unpreparedness, they risk losing the spot and it will be given to someone else who IS prepared and ready to go.

    3) Make World/Olympic team selection a multi-layered process (i.e don't just pick the team based on National results all the time). That is, factor in past performance, trajectory, hold post-Nationals skateoffs between competitors (e.g. 4CCs) if necessary, etc. Make it clear in writing to avoid any legal hangups, etc.

    Sure there are many more things, but it's late now, so I'll stop here.
  28. magnolia

    magnolia New Member

    1. Make policy decisions based on the fact that skaters are humans, not robots, and their conditions can go up or down unexpectedly. In other words, don't stake your odds on one skater, but on three or four skater.

    2. Create an environment where skaters can concentrate on their own training and performance. When you have your own athletes making statements like 'We need to get back 3 posts', then that should be taken as a sign that the athlete is being burdened with things that someone in USAFA, should be thinking about.
  29. demetriosj

    demetriosj Well-Known Member

    Yes, USFS treats a lot of their skaters like racehorses.

    Once injured, ignored and tossed out to pasture.
  30. winterone

    winterone Banned Member

    After viewing two interviews from Worlds on universal sports it surely makes you wonder.
    Alissa and Jeremy looked broken and helpless. Both didn't have answers and were heart broken. I honestly think both don't have the focus to compete when it really matters. They can play the "HOME FIELD" at nationals but not an away game like worlds and Olympics. I think it's time for both to move on.