I can't imagne the drudgery school figures must have been for the free spirits of the sport - those who excelled in jumping and free skating and who just didn't want to spend the enormous amount of time needed to master the figures. I have a videotape of Kurt Browning that was filmed just prior to the 1990 Worlds, in which he defended his title. The bio piece showed him tracing figures at the Royal Glenora in Edmonton, his training base. There he was, the World champion, patiently tracing the figure eights, all alone, and for hours at a time.
Boring!! (for him, that is).
I, for one, and truly thankful that the school figures were abolished in 1990. On the other hand, I just wish that skaters such as Goebel had the erect carriage and posture that skating the figures would have provided.