Hersh/Age Minimums - Oh well, nothing else to argue about until Worlds

SkateFanBerlin

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Phil H. posted an article discussing age limits in figure skating on"NBC Sports". It's about setting national age limits to those of world's. This thread discussses age limits in general.

https://olympics.nbcsports.com/2019...I8bWCw4lKqvBO_vqMpNCjWnX7m0ucrNka4bIyGv9X_NjQ

As usual Phil values jumping prowess over all else. A few things to consider.

1. He includes only one quote for uniform minimums - from Mishin. Where's the balance, say a quote from Raf who wants 18 as the senior age minimum?
2. Hersh admits the jumping phenom of 13 & 14 yo's a function of "pre-pubescent morphology" So why are we handing out medals to a fluke of physiology?
3. These skaters rarely make a 4 year cycle. Since the artistic skaters who have no 3A or 4 have been winnowed out won't the artistry of skating go away - i.e. no more Kostners?
4. My theory - the mental healthy crises in ladies is due in part from the hopelessness of competing against jumping 13 yo's. You've spent 10 years perfecting your talent, but have no chance to win.
 

rfisher

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I don't buy your 4th theory. What was that skater doing when they were 14-15? Did they win then? If not, why? Face it, the majority of elite skaters only last a quad. They get tired of the constant training, decide they want to do something different, get injured, can't afford it when they are adults (at some point their parents have to start saving for retirement). This is no different than it has always been. Skaters like Kostner were very fortunate that there were no challengers in her country. She could bomb (and she did many times) and it didn't matter. She was still number one. Tursy is another. She can skate as long as she wants and can find funding.

Some skaters stay in more than one quad because they didn't win the big prize and want to try one more time or they don't know what to do with their lives except skate and if they are in the US, there aren't shows or other commercial opportunities. I don't buy the hand wringing.
 

VIETgrlTerifa

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I wouldn't mind if figure skaters can make a career out of it like athletes in other sports do who can play well into adulthood. I don't know why older skaters tend to get shamed for staying in as if they're lost people who can't do anything else, or failed to win the first time around, etc. when other athletes make a career out of it. I mean do people shame Michael Phelps for doing all his Olympics?

That said, I do wonder about the effectiveness of the 16 year old cap. It's clearly not stopping young skaters from focusing on harder jumps, and I think about to the days of Kwan and Tara. I think Kwan being able to go to Worlds at 13 helped her career immensely.
 

starrynight

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As for Nationals - I can understand why some countries don't have an age limit because it some circumstances it would be difficult to field a full rota of skaters. It is probably only really a live issue for the big skating federations where there are enough skaters and enough profile on the event to make it an issue.

As for overall age limits, putting the age limit for seniors at 16 won't stop the juniors from trying the quads. We are well past that.

BUT it will mean that the adult field is more level for senior skaters - with seniors competing against seniors. I think 16 is a good age. It's that bit beyond how long you can hold off puberty through diet and training - but at the same time it's not too old as to mean skaters are having to wait forever to make senior.

I wonder if the process would be approached differently if there wasn't that window of opportunity to push a tiny skater through a first senior season before puberty kicks in. If they had to have a 16/17 year old skater ready to compete at top level when they entered seniors (instead of being ready to discard them at that age). It's clear that Eteri is trying to select smaller, later bloomers because Trusova and Shcherbakova are smaller girls than the girls that came before them.

I just do think it might be more appropriate if the girls can deal with puberty and body changes without it being in front of the glare of the senior spotlight.

On the whole, I don't really approve of huge amounts of pressure and spotlight being placed on junior skaters. They are junior for a reason.
 

Spun Silver

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Using birth dates to establish a cutoff could be changed. It was odd to see a 13-year-old Korean girl at Jr Worlds while Alisa Liu sat home. Why not "13 or older in calendar year 2019"?

Given that FS is an Olympic sport, I think it would be strange if the most athletically advanced athletes were intentionally kept out of senior level competition. The current rules offer a decent compromise IMO. At least they did in Pyeongchang. We'll have to see in the next couple of years if the junior-turning-senior Russian ladies still have their quads at Sr Worlds, or if they will be arguing age discrimination for not being allowed to compete there when they were at their jumping prime.

It's not just about age limits. A lot depends on the judges marking PCS independently of TES. If they really did that, we'd have a whole 'nother set of controversies, but that IS what the judges are supposed to do in theory, if I'm not mistaken.
 

Seerek

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I think this was discussed in a prior thread but I believe the 15 by July 1st rule is a harmonized rule the ISU applies to all of the disciplines it covers. In comparison, International Ski Federation applies a January 1st rule (17 for alpine, 15 for everything else). What I was surprised to learn was that there are some summer sports with essentially no age limits for senior competition.
 

starrynight

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What I was surprised to learn was that there are some summer sports with essentially no age limits for senior competition.
Yes... there is no age limit in swimming for example. But the difference with that sport is that it is a brute strength racing sport where being a child gives you zero advantage. A little stick of a child wouldn't stand a chance against a fully grown athlete. Occasionally you do get younger swimmers winning things, but they are the kids that have gone through puberty and are fully grown at a young age.
 

Tinami Amori

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Unfortunately, the ISU cannot interfere in national regulations, but I definitely would support the idea of discussing the matter with the various federations concerned and try to convince them of the importance of having their champions to represent them in senior ISU Championships.”
Message to the person who said it:
No! it is not "unfortunate", you effing, g-d da.n, a..ole! keep out of other countries' federations business! no! you can't dictate to others what to do.
 

gkelly

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Using birth dates to establish a cutoff could be changed. It was odd to see a 13-year-old Korean girl at Jr Worlds while Alisa Liu sat home. Why not "13 or older in calendar year 2019"?
"13 or older in [current] calendar year" would be another way of stating "birthdate cutoff of January 1" (as opposed to July 1).

So it wouldn't really be a change away from the policy of using birthdates to establish a cutoff, but it would be a change of when the cutoff is set.

Another way of wording the current cutoff would be "13 1/2 or older as of the start of the current calendar year (i.e., January 1).

The effect of a January cutoff is that it occurs in the middle of the international season. So you would have some skaters who were not eligible for JGP but who would be old enough for Junior Worlds . . . although with less ability to earn minimum scores.

Another option -- and I believe something like this was in place a couple decades ago -- would be to make the cutoff the first day of each competition. So if you want to compete on the JGP and your birthday is September 1, you would not eligible for JGPs with August dates in the year you turn 13, but you would be old enough for September competitions.

With juniors, there is also the additional complication of skaters aging out because of the upper age limit. So if you had a mid-season (January 1) cutoff date for everyone, or a rolling cutoff for each competition separately, in addition to 13-year-olds aging in to junior eligibility as the season progressed, you would also have 19-year-olds aging out. Not an issue for many junior ladies, but in other disciplines you could have someone definitively win both their JGPs and the JGP final and then turn 19 (or 21 for pair/dance guys) in December, or in January or February with a rolling cutoff, and become ineligible for Junior Worlds in the same season.
 

SkateFanBerlin

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I wouldn't mind if figure skaters can make a career out of it like athletes in other sports do who can play well into adulthood. I don't know why older skaters tend to get shamed for staying in as if they're lost people who can't do anything else, or failed to win the first time around, etc. when other athletes make a career out of it. I mean do people shame Michael Phelps for doing all his Olympics?

That said, I do wonder about the effectiveness of the 16 year old cap. It's clearly not stopping young skaters from focusing on harder jumps, and I think about to the days of Kwan and Tara. I think Kwan being able to go to Worlds at 13 helped her career immensely.
Yes, it helped Kwan's career but are 13 yo seniors in general good for the sport? Kwan would of gotten a couple less gold medals. She would still would have been considered a great champion.
 

Michalle

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Yes, it helped Kwan's career but are 13 yo seniors in general good for the sport? Kwan would of gotten a couple less gold medals. She would still would have been considered a great champion.
Well this is the question - would her career have developed the same way at all? I think there could be a debate about that. Obviously we will never know the answer.
 

her grace

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I am fine with the age limits as they are. Fifteen is sensible; I'd be okay with sixteen, too.

Gymnastics raised its age limits to 16 and it has done wonders for the sport. Athletes look a lot healthier because they aren't competing with 70 pound 14-year-olds and careers are longer.
 
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On a similar related topic. The ISU prohibits quads in the short program for juniors but not in the long program. What is the reason for this?

I have assumed that the reason was to encourage junior skaters to focus on skating skills to have the advantage in the short since a significant proportion already have the same jump content. But the free program negates this since skaters that have one or no quads can't compete with the big jumpers. We saw this in Junior Men where the top 10 skaters in the short were all within ~6 points of each other. No real difference when a half-dozen juniors are landing multiple quads in the free.

So - should the restriction be removed from the short? Or should the restriction be also applied to the free program? What will this do to junior development in the jumping disciplines - good and bad?

Sorry - I am a lurker and not a poster so if already discussed elsewhere, please direct me there.
 

Perky Shae Lynn

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4. My theory - the mental healthy crises in ladies is due in part from the hopelessness of competing against jumping 13 yo's. You've spent 10 years perfecting your talent, but have no chance to win.
Mental health crisis in figure skating is nothing new. We just speak about it more openly. I don't buy this at all.
 
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Tinami Amori

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4. My theory - the mental healthy crises in ladies is due in part from the hopelessness of competing against jumping 13 yo's. You've spent 10 years perfecting your talent, but have no chance to win.
:rofl::rofl::rofl: If someone spent 10 years "perfecting one's talent", then it means he/she was skating when 12-13-14 years old.... So why did not they win those medals at that age? They had the same age opportunity "to win".. ;) maybe they just don't have it in them.. too bad.
 

Orm Irian

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On a similar related topic. The ISU prohibits quads in the short program for juniors but not in the long program. What is the reason for this?
The reason is, as far as I can find out, that the SP - being a descendent of the old technical program - is the place where the skaters have to prove they have reached a specified shared level of competence and the judges get to compare apples with apples. The majority of juniors, boys and girls, can't do quads yet and most can't do triple axels either (remembering that the rules have to apply to every single junior skater competing at every level of competition from local kiddie comps on up, not just the tiny rarefied handful that wins medals at Junior Worlds). The SP measures each of them against the benchmark of what the majority of skaters between the ages of 13 and 19 can reasonably be expected to have achieved based on the current state of the field: solo doubles and triples, double axels for girls and doubles and triples for boys, and double-double, triple-double or triple-triple combinations (for singles skaters, but there are similar SP restrictions for pairs and less complex patterns in the RD for ice dancers too).

The free skate is, on the other hand, just as the name implies, free for anyone to show the upper reaches of what they can do within a given structure, so quads are permitted there if the kids can do them.

Of course, this leads to some unfairness in overall scoring due to the factoring of boys' PCS having to accommodate a range from double axels and double-doubles to triples axels and quads across the SP and FS, producing situations where little boys doing pretty doubles can outscore stronger, older girls attempting more complex work because they're being factored as if they're already doing successful triple axels and quads, but they only way to avoid that is to break the boys' competition into subsections based on jump content and modify the factoring accordingly.
 

hanca

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Phil H. posted an article discussing age limits in figure skating on"NBC Sports". It's about setting national age limits to those of world's. This thread discussses age limits in general.

https://olympics.nbcsports.com/2019...I8bWCw4lKqvBO_vqMpNCjWnX7m0ucrNka4bIyGv9X_NjQ

As usual Phil values jumping prowess over all else. A few things to consider.

1. He includes only one quote for uniform minimums - from Mishin. Where's the balance, say a quote from Raf who wants 18 as the senior age minimum?
2. Hersh admits the jumping phenom of 13 & 14 yo's a function of "pre-pubescent morphology" So why are we handing out medals to a fluke of physiology?
3. These skaters rarely make a 4 year cycle. Since the artistic skaters who have no 3A or 4 have been winnowed out won't the artistry of skating go away - i.e. no more Kostners?
4. My theory - the mental healthy crises in ladies is due in part from the hopelessness of competing against jumping 13 yo's. You've spent 10 years perfecting your talent, but have no chance to win.
Your point 2, if someone feels that it is not fair that 13-14 years old have advantage because of fluke of physiology, how far are they planning to take it? Should thin skaters be banned from the sport because it is easier to rotate when someone is thinner? Or should heavier skaters get bonus points because they have got it harder? Or should all athletes have their body composition measured and those who have smaller muscle mass get some equalising points to help them make up for the fluke of physiology? Or perhaps we should just accept that life is not fair, everyone has a different body and someone has natural advantage if their body is more suitable for that specific sport?
 

gkelly

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The reason is, as far as I can find out, that the SP - being a descendent of the old technical program - is the place where the skaters have to prove they have reached a specified shared level of competence and the judges get to compare apples with apples. The majority of juniors, boys and girls, can't do quads yet and most can't do triple axels either (remembering that the rules have to apply to every single junior skater competing at every level of competition from local kiddie comps on up, not just the tiny rarefied handful that wins medals at Junior Worlds).
This is very true.

The SP measures each of them against the benchmark of what the majority of skaters between the ages of 13 and 19 can reasonably be expected to have achieved based on the current state of the field:
solo doubles and triples, double axels for girls and doubles and triples for boys, and double-double, triple-double or triple-triple combinations (for singles skaters...).[/QUOTE]

However, I wouldn't call junior-level events, which require a minimum of double axel and one triple in the junior men's SP and require the skaters to be teenagers if they follow ISU age rules, to be "kiddie" competitions. Junior is the first level down from senior and even for nonelite skaters requires a level of competence that takes years to accomplish.

"Nonqualifying competitions" or "local competitions" might be better descriptors when referring to larger federations. National-level competitions in small federations might also include skaters for whom it is a stretch to complete the SP minimum requirements.

What would we call such competitions at international level? Junior B events? But even at JGPs, we do see skaters (from smaller federations) who can just barely attempt the requirements, and occasionally skaters who can't even do that, usually from brand new federations who use them to get exposure to what junior skaters are doing outside their own country.

Even in federations that strictly adhere to ISU age rules in their domestic competitions, I wouldn't say that the expectations/requirements for junior competition are based on what "the majority of skaters between the ages of 13 and 19 can reasonably be expected to have achieved."

In federations where later starters or less intense commitment is also welcomed, there will also be teen skaters who are nowhere near the skill level required to compete at junior or advanced novice level. And because of overlaps in the age requirements, there will be elite-track 13- and 14-year-olds who compete at novice level, because of deep fields in their home countries or just generally not feeling ready for junior competition for technical or other reasons.

As well as skaters 15 1/2 to 19 who compete as seniors.

Maybe we could say junior requirements are based on expectations for the majority of skaters who started training intensely at single-digit ages and who are now between 13 and 19.
With girls more likely than boys to move up to junior and then senior earlier in the age ranges, although the rules are the same for both.

For those who only watch the top juniors, try watching a whole JGP short program someday to get a better idea of the range of skill levels that can be expected in junior competition.
 

feraina

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Your point 2, if someone feels that it is not fair that 13-14 years old have advantage because of fluke of physiology, how far are they planning to take it? Should thin skaters be banned from the sport because it is easier to rotate when someone is thinner? Or should heavier skaters get bonus points because they have got it harder? Or should all athletes have their body composition measured and those who have smaller muscle mass get some equalising points to help them make up for the fluke of physiology? Or perhaps we should just accept that life is not fair, everyone has a different body and someone has natural advantage if their body is more suitable for that specific sport?
Oh. Like boxing and weight lifting. I like that idea! ;)
 

SkateFanBerlin

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:rofl::rofl::rofl: If someone spent 10 years "perfecting one's talent", then it means he/she was skating when 12-13-14 years old.... So why did not they win those medals at that age? They had the same age opportunity "to win".. ;) maybe they just don't have it in them.. too bad.
Wow, a little agggressive. Why she didn't win.....because she didn't have the quirky body-type that made it easy to 3A/4 at 14 but disappeared within a year or two. Before she had developed beautiful positions, musicality, deep edges - the artistic side of thee sport. There are exceptions -i.e. Cohen - but most develop these things over time. It the sport turns into children jumping the other side of the sport will be lost.
 

Tinami Amori

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Wow, a little agggressive. Why she didn't win.....because she didn't have the quirky body-type that made it easy to 3A/4 at 14 but disappeared within a year or two.
well... too bad for the one who does not have "the quirky body-type that made it easy to 3A/4 at 14"... :lol:
different sports favor different body types. plus if she does not have "that quirky body-type at 14", gosh knows what she'll develop into by the age of 18... :D Plus there are other reasons why someone does not win regardless of the body type.

If someone can do "the max" at 14, they should be able to. What if they can't do it after 14-15? Then by hindering the ones who can at 14-15, you're holding them back, in favor of the others... It's all subjective.

What you're proposing is to hinder/punish/hold back those who have "quirky-body type" at 14, and can do difficult jumps, in favor of those "who do not/who can not". it's called TAKING AWAY someone's fairly gained natural advantage in favor of "have nots". it smells like "socialism".

If some one is born to grow very short, he/she can't be a basketball player. What you're proposing is to lower the hoop, so the shorties can play and win too.

There are skaters with different body types, who can't win at 14 or at 18 or at 20.
There are skaters with different body types, who can win at 14, but lose it at 18.
There are skaters with different body types who win at 14 and later at 18 and on.
But there are no skaters who don't do well at 14, and then suddenly sky-rocket to top Gold after 18. Not today, not now.

(Yes, Bradie bloomed at 18, she had decent results during Jrs, and very decent results now as Sr. But she is aiming at Top-10, not the Int'l Gold... and i love the girl, but these are facts).

Before she had developed beautiful positions, musicality, deep edges - the artistic side of thee sport. .
those qualities ARE rewarded by PCS. technical has its own category.
 

Winnipeg

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Age limits again. If you want to 'control' the sport decide what you want to see and make rules accordingly to reward artistry, balanced with technical?
 

Tinami Amori

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Age limits again. If you want to 'control' the sport decide what you want to see and make rules accordingly to reward artistry, balanced with technical?
I am sure rules can be tweaked one way or another. But at present (imo) there is a fair balance between TES and PCS.

How did i come to this conclusion? my method was to compare top 10 skaters' scores, TES vs. PCS, in terms of the total score's percentages. I was looking to see if any top skaters' TES and PCS scores had more than 10% difference. I was looking to see if any skater won a segment with TES or PCS prevailing by more than 10%. (more than 55%/45%).
I did not find any.
 

SkateFanBerlin

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well... too bad for the one who does not have "the quirky body-type that made it easy to 3A/4 at 14"... :lol:
different sports favor different body types. plus if she does not have "that quirky body-type at 14", gosh knows what she'll develop into by the age of 18... :D Plus there are other reasons why someone does not win regardless of the body type.

If someone can do "the max" at 14, they should be able to. What if they can't do it after 14-15? Then by hindering the ones who can at 14-15, you're holding them back, in favor of the others... It's all subjective.

What you're proposing is to hinder/punish/hold back those who have "quirky-body type" at 14, and can do difficult jumps, in favor of those "who do not/who can not". it's called TAKING AWAY someone's fairly gained natural advantage in favor of "have nots". it smells like "socialism".

If some one is born to grow very short, he/she can't be a basketball player. What you're proposing is to lower the hoop, so the shorties can play and win too.

There are skaters with different body types, who can't win at 14 or at 18 or at 20.
There are skaters with different body types, who can win at 14, but lose it at 18.
There are skaters with different body types who win at 14 and later at 18 and on.
But there are no skaters who don't do well at 14, and then suddenly sky-rocket to top Gold after 18. Not today, not now.

(Yes, Bradie bloomed at 18, she had decent results during Jrs, and very decent results now as Sr. But she is aiming at Top-10, not the Int'l Gold... and i love the girl, but these are facts).


those qualities ARE rewarded by PCS. technical has its own category.
In instrumental music you have something analogous. There are prodigies who are amazing technically. They get attention and audiences are amazed. Rarely do they get recording contracts; they don't win competitions. As much as we admire those pearly scales they don't a complete performer make. Actually, very few prodigies make it as professional musicians. I've know a couple myself. They had a grand time as teenagers but just didn't want the endless hours in practice rooms figuring out what an artist does. I feel the same way when I watch Alysa Liu. It's an amazing trick but not enough to hold my attention. I repeat watch Kaitlyn Osmond because I like that whole package - the power in the jumps, the extension, the expression, the womanliness. It boils down to what you want to see, I think.
 

Tinami Amori

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In instrumental music you have something analogous. There are prodigies who are amazing technically. They get attention and audiences are amazed. Rarely do they get recording contracts; they don't win competitions. As much as we admire those pearly scales they don't a complete performer make. Actually, very few prodigies make it as professional musicians.
I disagree. There are plenty of competitions and talent contests with high rewards for younger artists.

There are plenty of children music prodigies who made it big huge!... to name some who excelled around 10-12 years of age: Mozart, Chopin, Bizet, Liszt, Prokofiev, Saint Saens, Paganini, Mendelson... :lol: ... and then there are opera singers, modern time singers, ballet and modern dancers... ;) (and yes, boys' voices change... but then there is Michael Jackson.. )

feel the same way when I watch Alysa Liu. It's an amazing trick but not enough to hold my attention. I repeat watch Kaitlyn Osmond because I like that whole package - the power in the jumps, the extension, the expression, the womanliness. It boils down to what you want to see, I think.
We are free "to watch and to like" what we chose to. We don't have a right to hinder those who are doing something legitimate and positive, just because "other can't do it" or "don't have something the winners have".
 

Tinami Amori

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And what you do see. I see a lot of musicality in Liu and find her very interesting to watch. She reminds me a lot of Michelle Kwan at a similar age and I am hopeful to get a similar progression from her as she grows up.
Liu is GREAT, technically and artistically. and i hate the idea that "in a mad attempt to hold back the big Evil, Tuberidze's girls", skaters like Liu will be swept away from opportunities to earn her medals while she is at her top form! I am very happy to have watched her skate at 11-12-13 while she is skating like she is now... I don't care what happens in 1-2-3 years. Now she is great!
 

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