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

Perky Shae Lynn

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I am all for increasing the age limit to16. Would make it senseless to "peak" at 14. Since coaches would need to get some sort of longevity out of their students, the focus would have to shift to sustainable jumping and spinning techniques. Instead of exploiting the small size and greater flexibility of 70 lb girls. Granted, not every girl hits puberty at 15 yo. But at least we would have a better chance of seeing ladies skating again. I am sick of these little girls shining brightly for a year or two, and burn out as soon as they grow and gain a couple of pounds.
 

overedge

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Different people can do different things at different ages. An age limit is arbitrary, as is any other kind of restriction (e.g. score minimums) in being eligible to compete at Worlds. But of course Phil only gets bent out of shape about this when it's a US skater who ends up sitting at home because they're too young :rolleyes:
 

rfisher

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It get's tiresome when this comes up repeatedly and people just don't be honest and say, my favorite skater isn't competitive with the top skaters and something should be done to make them more so. They never suggest that their favorite learn the more difficult elements the younger skaters are learning or improve what they can do so they are in a position to capitalize if others make mistakes. Although, that's not competition. That's exhibition skating.
 

wickedwitch

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I want to see the best competing against each other. We're missing that now and raising the age limit would only make it worse.

If the ISU is worried about jumping beans dominating, they can re-weight the components so that's less likely to happen.
 

just tuned in

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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.
Swimmer Janet Evans was much faster as a young teenager than as a mature woman.
 

gkelly

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learn the more difficult elements the younger skaters are learning or improve what they can do so they are in a position to capitalize if others make mistakes. Although, that's not competition. That's exhibition skating.
How is that exhibition skating?

Figure skating has always had a balance between difficulty and technical quality. (Earlier in its history, quality was the bigger deciding factor, especially when the majority of the score was from compulsories where everyone was doing the exact same moves.)

If you've maxed out on the amount of technical difficulty you are able to include, you can still increase your competitiveness by improving the technical quality, as well as the less technical program components.

Maxing out is most obvious with jump content, but it could be seen in other areas as well. E.g., men who can keep up with the other top skaters on quads but who can't master all level 4 spins, perhaps because of lack of flexibility. Pairs who can maximize their side-by-side and throw jumps but can't get the highest levels on lifts and twists, perhaps because of small size difference and also maybe the female partner's lack of flexibility. Etc.

The ISU can decide how much they want difficulty in certain types of skills to drive the results. If they wanted, they could redesign the rules to give more opportunities for earning points in blade-to-ice skills and lower point values or fewer element slots for elements that earn points primarily on ability to achieve extreme body positions or to rotate more times in the air.

Within whatever the rules happen to be, skaters can only push their own limits, and if they hit a personally ceiling in certain types of skills because of body type for example, they can only do their best to push further in the other areas where they are not so limited. If the scoring is designed to favor the types of skills that they are more limited in and to give fewer scoring opportunities for the areas where they excel, then they're less likely to win. But they can still aim to score as high as they are able and to place as high as possible. If they're working hard to place 5th and not 10th, they are competing, not skating exhibitions.
 

rfisher

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That's the skater. Are skaters specifically wanting the age limits changed so they are more competitive by eliminating younger skaters? Or is it fans and parents? There's a big difference. I'm talking about fans. Skaters can only do what they can do. If they are competitive they are competitive. If they aren't, they aren't. If they want to keep competing and can afford coaching, that's up to them and they should do whatever they want and can do. But, the primary complaints come from fans and coaches whose favorites (fans) or clients (coaches) aren't able to win. If your client isn't winning, I strongly suspect your income is in jeopardy. But, that's not the skater's choice. I have nothing against what a skater can or cannot do. And, again, my post referred to fans.
 

attyfan

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Before they do anything, I wish they would consult with medical professionals regarding potential long term consequences of allowing younger people to compete, especially with the technically difficult jumps. I don't know if there is an extra injury risk or not when younger kids are involved, but I do know that the one of the leading causes of problems for young people is a mindset that "it won't happen to me".
 

Kateri

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I'm fine with the age limits how they are, or even lower, or none at all. All I'd like is for the PCS to be better applied, so that they reflect the skating, and not get inflated when a skater can jump well (or the reverse.)
 

skateboy

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Before they do anything, I wish they would consult with medical professionals regarding potential long term consequences of allowing younger people to compete, especially with the technically difficult jumps.
Skaters, both boys/men and girls/ladies, have been attempting 3Axels and quads for a long time now. Surya Bonaly, Miki Ando, Sasha Cohen all attempted quads. Midori Ito, Tonya Harding and Kimmie Meissner did triple axels. Midori, Tara Lipinski, Michelle Kwan--along with many others--were doing difficult 3-3 combinations from a very young age. How are they doing now? Have they suffered long term consequences?
 

starrynight

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In my view, this issue will even out with time.

It depends on what happens with the current juniors. The big experiment is only half done.

For example, if the current junior wonder children struggle in a season or two or break down with injury (along with the associated devastation which is not fun to watch), the love affair with the tiny girls will probably dissipate. If they don't and continue with success, then the situation of the little girls competing will probably be normalised.

The reason a lot of people get so worked up on the topic is that they strongly believe either one of those situations will happen.... either the jumps will be lost/injury or the girls will steamroll everyone until 2022.

Personally, I think it will probably be somewhere in the middle.

But it's just a waiting game to see what happens with them. They are the big experiment.
 
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I would like to see completed rotations reflected in the jump base, and tiny jumps given the GOE I think they deserve, which is, at most, 0. (I don't think bullet points should include features at all, but that jumps should be leveled like spins, twists, lifts, etc.)
 

gkelly

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I would like to see completed rotations reflected in the jump base, and tiny jumps given the GOE I think they deserve, which is, at most, 0. (I don't think bullet points should include features at all, but that jumps should be leveled like spins, twists, lifts, etc.)
In other words, all scoring for jumps should be in the hands of the tech panel and judges should just focus on program components and maybe non-jump elements?
 
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In other words, all scoring for jumps should be in the hands of the tech panel and judges should just focus on program components and maybe non-jump elements?
I'm not sure where you're getting that from.

The judges would be judging the quality of the jump itself based on length and pace of entry, take-off, height, air position, and landing. For the most part, height of the jump is reflected in entry and take-off, just as, for the most part, landings are the result of the parts of the jump that go before them.
 

UGG

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Here is my thing as far as US ladies .. you have skaters like Gracie, Mirai, Caroline Zhang being called the next Kwan but by the time they are 19 (or younger) it’s nothing more than a dream of the media and fans that has passed by. Could a trip to worlds at a younger age changed their trajectory? I don’t think so. Look at Kimmie Meissner. She won worlds but her career was over before she was 18.
 

just tuned in

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Skaters quit for a lot of different reasons: injuries; their bodies change; they want to experience other things, such as high school social activities; they've already achieved their goals...

Older skaters might stay in the sport if they have more to give, or if they have not yet achieved their goals.

Obviously it is not for fans to criticize any of those decisions, but I don't see any harm in letting young skaters compete in senior championships if they quality on merit.
 

CaliSteve

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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.
It was a under a 6.0 system back them and that made a difference.
 
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Probably from the comment that jumps should be leveled?
How does that stop the judges from applying GOE to the quality of whatever the skaters do from entrance to exit, regardless of the difficulty? Do the judges not apply GOE to other leveled elements, leaving them entirely in the hands of the technical panel?
 

gkelly

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I'm not sure what you meant by "features" or what you want to change.

The current positive GOE bullets for jump elements are
1) very good height and very good length (of all jumps in a combo or sequence)
2) good take-off and landing
3) effortless throughout (including rhythm in Jump combination)

4) steps before the jump, unexpected or creative entry
5) very good body position from take-off to landing
6) element matches the music

with the bolded ones required for higher than +3.

All of those are about quality except for 4) and 6). Do you really want to put the technical panel in the position of getting to decide whether an entry is unexpected or creative? Let alone whether the jump matches the music? Why should those not be the judges' job?

Also, note that there is a positive bullet point for very good height and distance, and a negative GOE reduction for "Poor speed, height, distance, or air position" or -1 to -3

But nowhere does it say that a jump that is "tiny" and therefore perhaps deducted for poor height and distance cannot make up for the lack of size with multiple positives. A jump that is tiny and merely adequate in all other areas may earn 0 or negative GOE. A jump that is tiny but effortless, with a good takeoff and very good body position, and also perhaps preceded by steps or with an unexpected/creative entry and/or matches the music could earn up to +3 under the current rules. Why should jump size alone cap the GOE if a skater less generously gifted with fast-twitch muscles is able to execute a clean jump with excellent technique and artistic enhancements?
 

MacMadame

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How does that stop the judges from applying GOE to the quality of whatever the skaters do from entrance to exit, regardless of the difficulty? Do the judges not apply GOE to other leveled elements, leaving them entirely in the hands of the technical panel?
Since I don't really understand what you were proposing, I would say that maybe you can tell me? :D
 
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But nowhere does it say that a jump that is "tiny" and therefore perhaps deducted for poor height and distance cannot make up for the lack of size with multiple positives
Of course it doesn't, and I think it should.

4 and 6 would go, with 6 being part of IN, along with any reference to creativity, and the difficulty of 4, with criteria as there are for other leveled elements, plus the landing equivalents, would be leveled by the tech panel.

Combo would be judged as a unit, ie, balance between the jumps, run out of both jumps, and comparative height and quality.

I'm not asking anyone to agree.
 

UGG

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I think with the current judging system, most fully grown women will not be able to keep up long term with girls who are under 5 feet tall and 80 pounds. It is just not possible. And even when the 80 pound 5 feet tall girls reach puberty and we don't see them anymore, there will be someone else. I think the age rules are fine the way they are. If the people who aren't making it to worlds because of the age restriction are as great as everyone says they are, they will get there eventually. Just like Mao and Yuna who had great careers even though they couldn't go to the Olympics at 14.
 
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Jammers

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Here is my thing as far as US ladies .. you have skaters like Gracie, Mirai, Caroline Zhang being called the next Kwan but by the time they are 19 (or younger) it’s nothing more than a dream of the media and fans that has passed by. Could a trip to worlds at a younger age changed their trajectory? I don’t think so. Look at Kimmie Meissner. She won worlds but her career was over before she was 18.
Not sure why you included Gracie with Mirai or Caroline. Gracie was never hyped at a young age like those two and in fact when she started getting noticed she just turned 16 and didn't have the issues someone like Caroline had for instance. Anyone could see that Caroline with her bad jump technique and slow speed was not going to translate to a successful career and Mirai who looked like the future of US Ladies after the 2010 season stopped progressing. But Gracie post puberty not only kept her jumps but they were even better and she never had the problem of rotation. Gracie at 19 years old was a contender for World medals and at 20 was one clean LP away from a World championship so she wasn't a flash in the pan who when she grew fell by the wayside like these teen phenoms do sometimes. Unlike those other girls it wasn't talent, lack of focus or growth spurts that derailed Gracie but competitive nerves and other things.
 
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UGG

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Not sure why you included Gracie with Mirai or Caroline. Gracie was never hyped at a young age like those two and in fact when she started getting noticed she just turned 16 and didn't have the issues someone like Caroline had for instance. Anyone could see that Caroline with her bad jump technique and slow speed was not going to translate to a successful career and Mirai who looked like the future of US Ladies after the 2010 season stopped progressing. But Gracie post puberty not only kept her jumps but they were even better and she never had the problem of rotation. Gracie at 19 years old was a contender for World medals and at 20 was one clean LP away from a World championship so she wasn't a flash in the pan who when she grew fell by the wayside like these teen phenoms do sometimes. Unlike those other girls it wasn't talent, lack of focus or growth spurts that derailed Gracie but competitive nerves and other things.
I included her because I believe it was 2012 when she was too young for worlds there were many people complaining about the age rules and stating she should be sent. I don’t think she missed out on anything by not going to worlds that year, her career would have probably ended up the same.
 

wickedwitch

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I included her because I believe it was 2012 when she was too young for worlds there were many people complaining about the age rules and stating she should be sent. I don’t think she missed out on anything by not going to worlds that year, her career would have probably ended up the same.
Absolutely none of this is correct. She was 16 (i.e. age eligible) and competing as a junior at Nats.
 

nylynnr

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Jammers is correct, Gold was not over-hyped or over-pushed at a young age. If there was a complaint about her assignments during the 2011-2012 season it was that she was only given one late-scheduled Junior Grand Prix, which she won, and could not try to qualify for the JGP Final. Despite Gracie winning summer comps in impressive fashion, the selection committee at that time heavily weighted U.S. Championships placements, and Gracie didn't qualify in 2011.
 

UGG

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Oh well I guess i am mistaken. I remember her being hyped before she was a senior and people lobbying for her to go to senior worlds when she was a junior. I guess I assumed she was not age eligible when this was happening because she was not competing as a senior.
 
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Another article posted today at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) website and authored by PJ Kwong (a CBC figure skating analyst). As a country that has "skin in the game" for removal of age restrictions (Stephen Gogolev), it is an interesting and balanced read about pros and cons with comments from some "elder statesmen"of figure skating in Canada.

So here is the conundrum. The argument that the trauma inflicted on young bodies from the G-forces of jumping is so severe that we should restrict them from competing as seniors, doesn't hold IMO with also allowing unlimited jump difficulty in the Junior free programs. After all, the major trauma to their bodies doesn't just happen at competitions but rather at the repetitious training practices preparing for competitions. So if quads are needed in the free to win a junior singles competition, they will get practiced. If the age argument is to protect the young bones and joints until they are no longer growing, then the junior level competitions should also be restricted on jump difficulty in both the short and free. I really can't see that ever happening under the current climate. So why the age restriction then?
 

Orm Irian

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Well, there's also the question of psychological impact. What does it do to the mind of a twelve- or thirteen- or fourteen-year-old kid to thrown them into an adult competition and expect them to compete to win against people three, five, ten, fifteen years older than them, and consider them failures if they don't win? Child actors, especially child stars, are a notoriously messed-up bunch for a variety of reasons; the era of teen phenom swimmers and tennis players also did not have good end results for many of said phenoms (just ask Thorpey and Grant Hackett). Do we need more of the same in figure skating too?

And what impact does it have on audiences to re-normalise thirteen-year-old world champions or world championship contenders, too? The idea, for me, is to grow away from that, and set better, more humane and less exploitative standards.

I'm fundamentally opposed to child labour in any form, so my personal stance is that while individual countries can do what they like - there are plenty where you get fourteen-year-olds competing at Senior level while skating Juniors internationally, for the experience - but the standardised rule should be 16 before the start of the season, the most common age at which teenagers are permitted to leave school permanently and get a full-time job. Among other things, it allows time for the kids to have something resembling a normal life, with school and friends and time off and outside interests, rather than dedicating their entire childhoods to the single-minded pursuit of as many medals as possible as quickly as possible.
 

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