A Divine Sport blog

rosewood

unwell-known member
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5,671
So, here is my first interview with a current ladies competitor--U.S. Junior ladies pewter medalist Emmy Ma. Here's the interview link.

I really fell in love with Emmy's skating this year. I find her so exquisite to watch--her spins, skating skills, and musicality are special. So it was really exciting to meet and chat with her about her skating.
Can't help saying so but Emmy's PERSONARITY on the ice is so much attractive! I fell in love with her today. Thanks for the excellent interview (as always).
 

AxelAnnie

Well-Known Member
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11,099
Last week I attended U.S. Classic in Salt Lake--it was so much fun! I was covering the event for Figure Skaters Online, so I didn't have time to do a full pairs review for my web site.

However, I've posted this column with my own personal thoughts & impressions from Salt Lake: https://adivinesport.com/2017/09/23/u-s-classic-2017-highlights-from-ladies-men-ice-dance-pairs/.
Thank you for that wonderful article. So very well done.
"Miss Saigon" has some of my very favorite music. It is compelling, dramatic, powerful. I don't know why Marai chose the pieces she did but I was disappointed. IMO it did not convey the tension and love and confusion of the musical. And, I assume (hope) that is not her costume for the season.
I shall continue my quest to find videos of some of the other skates.

Again, thank you.
 

clairecloutier

Well-Known Member
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9,318
Now, for something a little different.

At the June 2016 ISU Congress, a decision was made to reduce the length of pairs/men's free skates by 30 seconds, starting in 2018-19. Ever since this rule was passed, I've been thinking about how it will affect pairs free skates. I talked to some pairs skaters & coaches to get their thoughts, and have done some data analysis of my own to try & understand how the rules change may play out.

Here is my article on the subject: Going from 4:30 to 4:00

This is the first article in a 2-part opinion series about some of the recent ISU rules changes. The second article comes out tomorrow.
 

AxelAnnie

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11,099
Good Grief! How did you do all that. My brain hurts just reading it.

I think what Eric said is good.
Eric Radford, two-time World champion, said of the time reduction: “I think it could be a good idea. But if they decide to do that, they should get rid of one of the spins in the long program and have them alternate each year. Put the pairs combination spin in the short program, and the side-by-side spin in the long program for one year. Then flip them the following year. With less elements, there would be more time to create a mood and better potential to create more interesting programs.”
Personally, it would be ok with me if everyone stopped pretending, and just took the jumps out. I am awfully tired of the attempts. Could anyone guess what percentage of pairs jumps are actually landed? You don't see pairs that cannot do lifts, or spirals. But the jumps...........it seems to be ok to not land them.

I don't understand the reason for shortening the program. Everyone is so rushed to get the elements in, I would think this would simply make things tighter for the skaters.
 

jiejie

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784
Heh. If the SBS jumps were removed, all US pairs should get together and send large bouquets to the ISU Council members. :p

Back to @clairecloutier's blog---very well reasoned thoughts backed by impressive stats on detailed timing of program elements. I've never seen an analysis like this before. Wow! I'm sold--a spin needs to bite the dust in the 4-minute FP.
 

Spun Silver

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Messages
11,099
My gosh, what a magisterial and timely article, @clairecloutier. I think you just established yourself as a player. Well done! I hope you and others will circulate it as widely as possible, including to all key members of the ISU and to Phil Hersh or any other important skating journalists.
 

SkateGuard

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2,048
A fantastic article with some great food for thought in there - really impressed with your analysis Claire!
 

skatesindreams

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28,933
I agree that the sports' "decision makers" need to see your analysis.
I'm sure that none of them did anything like this to help them understand the consequences of what they are doing.
 

clairecloutier

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9,318
Thanks so much for all the positive comments everyone ... I really appreciate it! I am hoping that the article does get seen fairly widely. (Any retweets & Facebook shares help!! ;))
 

antmanb

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8,834
Great article!

I think I knew that the reduction was tabled, but I think I buried my head in the sand about it going through! How the hell did anyone agree to that? The programmes are too full as it stands, plus shortening the "long" programme basically means we're getting to Short Programmes now.

I think if anything they should have increased the ladies' programme to 4min30.

While I do agree that it would make more sense to cut the spin from the pairs LP and mandating one of pairs or SBS spins in each programme makes sense, it just seems to add mandated elements to both programmes, which leads me back to us having to short programmes.
 

text_skate

Well-Known Member
Messages
761
Your article is very enlightening. I particularly like your downbreak in numbers. It is a good basis for argument. I hope every official who reads it, will come to the conclusion to rethink reducing the length of programmes. If I what sports, I like long programmes and/or long competitions, to get a feeling of the range of the sport and all the participants in it.

With a length reduced FS I follow your reasoning: cutting one spin seems the most sensible thing to do.

IMO the decicion was made, when there was a firm concensus everything is getting shorter, the TV audience wants mainly action, thrill and emotions, short competitions, at best not longer than 1 to 2 hours. Now, I think, some people realise that some things need time.
If the ISU wants shorter competitions, they should probably limit the field in advance. A field with good skaters won't bore the audience because every single second is interesting/good/great. The limiting could be done in kind of worldwide regionals, so that we skating fans still see all our favourite skaters.
 

Spun Silver

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11,099
Claire, WOW. You have outdone yourself. This is such an important contribution to the debate about the current ISU proposals. Your article, especially the last section, reads as if it was written in a white heat of inspiration and, frankly, anger. You are schooling the ISU here. I just hope they see it and take it to heart.

I am especially grateful to you for singling out the travesty of Mao’s PCS vs. Med’s. But you put it in context so it is not just an angry fan’s outcry (such as I might have done) but a brilliantly argued case that the ISU is hopelessly confused to the point of being incapable at present of evaluating the sundry components that make up PCS, the theoretically artistic side of skating. The timing right before the Olympics is excellent.

If I could make a suggestion, see that this gets to Uncle Dick as well as Janet Lynn as well as the top coaches around the world, or at least here in America. Both Button and Lynn are known as outstanding artists or advocates of artistry in skating. But Uncle Dick with his own pathbreaking technical feats and Lynn with her fierce advocacy for school figures would, I believe, be the last ones to want technique and artistry to be separated in skating. Uncle Dick managed to get in the spotlight during the last Olympics. Maybe he will do it again in 2018, and might use your essays as talking points.

It would be a little weird to enlist Sonia Bianchetti against her son but, as you note, she would be on your side here too if she is being consistent.

Great job! Thank you!
 

AxelAnnie

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11,099
I was looking at the line up for Skate Canada, and I was so happy that the IOC eliminated the jumps from the Pairs programs............oh wait..............oh well, I was so happy for a few minutes.
 

aftershocks

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15,065
Thanks for your passion, your research, hard work and your articulate insights @clairecloutier. Hopefully, your thoughtful and incisive analyses will get to the ears and eyes of decision-makers. The question is whether or not those decision-makers will truly listen and understand. Here's hoping! :saint:

I totally agree with you that the ISU is so wrongheaded to be aimlessly decreasing length of programs without any true sense of the resultant impacts. I'm wondering why they don't drop the lengthy exhibition-style intros to each skater prior to warm-ups. IMO, they should also focus on finding ways to shorten length of kiss 'n cry time by experimenting with different ways of more efficiently completing judging, scoring and subsequent revealing of scores. Maybe the judges could quickly take notes and mark scores during programs, and then take a set time of about 2 to 3 min between programs to review their individual scores to determine with the tech panel where they might require further review. But don't take time then, just move on after 2 to 3 minutes to the next skater in the group. And then while the next group is warming up the judges could further review scores and video where necessary of the previous group and finalize their scores for skaters in that group. At the end of the competition, all skaters come out on the ice and the scores for each could be revealed in a more suspenseful way, with everyone who doesn't score in top three eventually leaving the ice to applause, while the top three remain on the ice for the medal ceremony, with bows and announcing of first place, second place and third place. The skaters can quickly congratulate each other while on the ice before heading to the podium, so the time-consuming hugging and shaking hands won't be necessary at the podium.

For in-depth intro to skaters, they should have introductory videos of each skater/ duo playing on the screens in the arena while the skaters in each group are on the ice warming up rather than the unnecessary exhibition-style intros of each group prior to warm-up, which IMO is a time-waster at competitive events. They should also look to research possible ways of making technological advances to the Zamboni for a faster method of smoothing the ice between groups of skaters. The necessary Zamboni breaks are where much of the time is taken up at competitions. Also, if possible, just eliminate the practice of the audience throwing stuff onto the ice after skaters' performances. Let the audience have a chance to congratulate skaters and extend gifts after the competition is over. Or have large containers available with each skaters' name so fans can throw their gifts and stuffed animals in the containers instead of on the ice between programs. This would help eliminate all the time it takes for flower girls and boys to pick up gifts off the ice, especially after Hanyu's performances! The tv crews can simply pan to the containers in the backstage area of the arena after events if we need to see all the stuffies and flowers. I think seeing banners and flags with standing ovations are more important than throwing things on the ice, which can get out of hand and be dangerous at times. I like the idea that Pogrebinsky/Benoit had at last year's Skate America where they asked fans in lieu of giving them stuffed animals or flowers, to please extend gifts of gloves and mittens which they then planned to turn over to a charity for people in need. More ideas like that would be helpful I think.

Thanks again @clairecloutier.
 
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Spun Silver

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11,099
Great as always. Little note: Hao Zhang skated to ballet music in his Nutcracker (Coffee) SP, the first season he was with Peng IIRC. You liked it!
 
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Spun Silver

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11,099
Just read the interview with Nathan. That’s quite meaty. His aplomb is astounding for an 18-year-old. He seems like Med in that way. I love how he feels about the absence of Patrick and Yuzu from the GPF — he is sorry that the level of competition won’t be as high (and quotes RAF to the same effect). Now that is a champion’s mindset.

The bit about the college apps is kind of funny. I’m pretty sure he will get in everywhere he applies. But does that mean he is retiring after this season?
 

clairecloutier

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9,318
@clairecloutier - did you travel to France? Also are you able to travel to Lake Placid?
Unfortunately, no ... I wasn't able to travel to any GPs this year. (I would've happily gone to SA if it weren't over Thanksgiving!)


Just read the interview with Nathan. That’s quite meaty. His aplomb is astounding for an 18-year-old. He seems like Med in that way. I love how he feels about the absence of Patrick and Yuzu from the GPF — he is sorry that the level of competition won’t be as high (and quotes RAF to the same effect). Now that is a champion’s mindset.

The bit about the college apps is kind of funny. I’m pretty sure he will get in everywhere he applies. But does that mean he is retiring after this season?
In other interviews, Nathan has stated that he may continue on after this season. TBH, I don't think he's made any firm decisions. I imagine it will probably depend a lot on how he does at the Olympics and which school he decides to go to.
 

Xela M

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4,616
Here's my pairs review for Internationaux de France: https://adivinesport.com/2017/11/22/internationaux-de-france-2017-pairs-review/

I also did a short article on Nathan Chen for Figure Skaters Online. Sylvia already posted the link in the U.S. Men thread, but here it is again: http://figureskatersonline.com/news/2017/11/21/nathan-chen-seeks-to-win-his-second-grand-prix-at-skate-america-this-weekend/
Loving everything you do, but I think your (and the commentators) quotes about T&M's 'panty-drop' program are very reserved and professional. The program is actually so unbelievably horrendous that I am just speechless every time I see it. It's actually beyond belief :yikes:

I just want to lock myself in the bathroom and cry... :shuffle:
 

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