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Thread: New rule on hand-assisted spirals

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    New rule on hand-assisted spirals

    Here is an interesting rule change for next year, pertaining to spiral sequences:

    If all of [the positions in a spiral sequence] are executed with the assistance of the hand/arm…[the assigned level] cannot be more than 1.

    I assume that the “all” means that if you do two or three different positions in a single sequence, and if one position is hand assisted but another is not, then that’s OK. Anyway, the clear intent is that the position is to be regarded as weaker if you are holding up your free leg with your hand.

    Here is Nancy Kerrigan’s famous version (level 1 under the new rule).

    http://www.dissonskating.com/our_eve...20Kerrigan.jpg

    What about a Biellmann? Is this rule intended to discourage this position (two years ago it, under different rules, it was all the rage.) Click on "Biellmann spiral."

    http://www.kingonice.com/animatedgifs.htm

    If you need both hands to hold your leg up instead of only one, is that worse? Irina:

    http://msnbcmedia4.msn.com/j/msnbc/C..._12p.widec.jpg

    Should there be a deduction for this double whammy (Shizuka looks like she need two hands to get her leg off the ground).

    http://english.people.com.cn/200403/...s/0328_060.jpg

    Does the new rule devalue the “I-spiral?” as a preferred position? Sasha:

    http://msnbcmedia3.msn.com/j/msnbc/C..._3pA.widec.jpg

    What if you start out like that and then let go? Arakawa won the Olympic gold medal with this move! (The rest of her program was great, but this was out-of-this-world.)

    http://www.lexar.com/dp/gallery/kodak/12_large.jpg

    Which of the current crop of skaters will be most affected by this new rule?
    Last edited by Mathman; 05-11-2007 at 11:23 PM.

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    I am confused by this rule. I thought that Biellmann position was encouraged. Then now it's not?

    Another thing that I was wondering was the position. Dick never forgets to complain when the skater drops her upper body. But those skaters sometimes get level 4 and plus GOE. What about that?
    Last edited by morninglight; 05-11-2007 at 09:29 PM.

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    Rooting for the divas with Kwanford Spun Silver's Avatar
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    Um... nyquil.org?

    The two handed Bielmann makes a nice image - I hope it's not graded down just for the second hand.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spun Silver View Post
    Um... nyquil.org?
    You mean you don't want to read the first hundred pages of a book for free on the Internet?

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    I don't see how this new rule affects anything. Who ever had a hand-grab in ALL phases of their Spiral Sequence anyway?

    ~Z

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    I have actually noted a few skaters who do use their hand/s to assist in the entire spiral sequence, although admittedly I don't remember seeing any this season. I love spiral sequences but I do prefer to see a little variety rather than Biellmann positions over and over again. That said, I don't like to criticize, as to get into that position myself, I would need to use both hands, several members of the audience's hands and have a paramedic on standby :o

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    Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program Tinymavy15's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by morninglight View Post
    I am confused by this rule. I thought that Biellmann position was encouraged. Then now it's not?

    Another thing that I was wondering was the position. Dick never forgets to complain when the skater drops her upper body. But those skaters sometimes get level 4 and plus GOE. What about that?

    Biellmans are still going to be overused and everybody will still do them. All the new rule is saying is that at least one postion in a skaters sequence has to be withiout assistance from hand or arm. Think of Mao's freeskate spiral sequence. She did A change of edge biellman, and then a unassiated fan spiral. I am sure that was a level 3 or 4.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by morninglight View Post
    Another thing that I was wondering was the position. Dick never forgets to complain when the skater drops her upper body. But those skaters sometimes get level 4 and plus GOE. What about that?
    This seems to be a matter of preference. Peggy Fleming, for instance, never fails to compliment Sasha's spiral position -- "the best in the world! -- because of the astonishing ampiitude that she gets with her free leg. But this comes at the expense of a weaker "dropped back" position of the upper body.

    http://joe.siegler.net/images/cohen2.jpg

    In contrast, here is Michelle's spiral. Less amplitude in the free leg, but a better upper body position. (There is also the question of depth, security and control of the edges, which is hard to judge in still pictures.)

    http://english.people.com.cn/200403/...s/0328_062.jpg

    I think this is a matter of aesthetics and does not factor into the determination of levels.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    This seems to be a matter of preference. Peggy Fleming, for instance, never fails to compliment Sasha's spiral position -- "the best in the world! -- because of the astonishing ampiitude that she gets with her free leg. But this comes at the expense of a weaker "dropped back" position of the upper body.

    http://joe.siegler.net/images/cohen2.jpg

    In contrast, here is Michelle's spiral. Less amplitude in the free leg, but a better upper body position. (There is also the question of depth, security and control of the edges, which is hard to judge in still pictures.)

    http://english.people.com.cn/200403/...s/0328_062.jpg

    I think this is a matter of aesthetics and does not factor into the determination of levels.

    Thanks for your comments. So the level does not seem to be affected by the position, but GOE is, correct?

    Regarding the aesthetic preference, Sasha’s spiral actually seems to be the long-time favorite of Dick, too. When he complained about spiral positions of any skaters, he barely forgot to compare them with Sasha when she was around. It was almost funny

    I think that what he is essentially complaining about is the lack of overall stretch. When we do the spiral position, the overall body needs to be stretched out: from the toe, the ankle, the knee, inside of the leg, the back, the neck, and to the head. In Sasha’s case, her overall body, including her upper body, was stretched out. She raises her leg to the extent that a person cannot keep her upper body totally up. But her upper body is still stretched out. This is different from needing to drop the upper body to raise the leg enough to make a spiral position. Sasha sometimes touched her skating leg with her hands, with her legs drawing almost 180 degree angle. It was really spectacular. In that position, her upper body was certainly dropped; but overall stretch was there:

    "Sasha's incredible spiral over years"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6So8OuehfI

    But my question was if the level of stretch is actually reflected in GOE that much (for Sasha, yes; but for others??).
    Last edited by morninglight; 05-12-2007 at 03:41 PM.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by morninglight View Post
    I am confused by this rule. I thought that Biellmann position was encouraged. Then now it's not?
    Without looking it up and going just by my leaky memory, I think it went something like this.

    Two years ago the ISU came out with language that specifically mentioned the Biellmannn position as one of the difficult positions and changes of positions that you could use to get a higher level in both spins and spirals. Naturally, everyone (led by Irina Slutskaya, who -- not coincidentally -- won the world championship that year) rushed to work as many Biellmann positions into their programs as possible.

    The next year (2005-2006 season) the ISU said, no, no, that's not what we had in mind. So they changed the rules to take out the specific encouragement of the Biellmann position above all others, plus they limited the number of times in a program that you can use this position to raise the level of your element (sort of a mercy rule on Biellmanns.)

    The new rules seem to me to be in the direction of downplaying the Biellmannn even more. You can still do it, and it still counts as a change of position. I'm not sure whether the Biellmann position alone counts as a "difficult variation of position."

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    Thanks for your explanations Mathman.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by morninglight View Post
    So the level does not seem to be affected by the position, but GOE is, correct?
    The rules for the levels are completely specified in the rules. The features that the technical specialist is looking for are:

    1) Three spiral positions with change of foot (mandatory for SP), forward and backward, inside and outside.

    2) One difficult variation of position.

    3) Second difficult variation on a different foot than the first one. (New rule for 2007-08.)

    4) Change of edge in a spiral (3 seconds hold before and after the change).

    5) Unsupported change of free leg position or direction of skating maintaining the spiral (three seconds hold before and after the change)

    6) Free leg in a total split position, one or both arms hold [permitted].

    Assignment of levels goes like this:

    Of these six criteria, do two of them for a level two, three for a level three, and four or more for a level four. How well you do it does not affect the level, but is judged in the GOE (I am not sure of the specific criteria for GOE's for spirals. Presumably an outstanding spiral sequence also affects the program component scores.)
    Sasha sometimes touched her skating leg with her hands, with her legs drawing almost 180 degree angle. It was really spectacular. In that position, her upper body was certainly dropped; but overall stretch was there.
    I think that position (the Charlotte) counts as one of your three positions in a spiral sequence. Not many ladies try it any more.

    One funny thing about the Charlotte, though, is that it seems to be done on the flat of the blade instead of on an edge.
    "Sasha's incredible spiral over years"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6So8OuehfI
    Wow, thanks for popsting that (and thanks to Kypma)

    Under CoP judging, I am afraid that more and more of the young skaters will focus on just getting in the required number of position and edge-changes, and that the show-stopping classic arabesque spiral will disappear, along with the layback spin and everything else that once made figure skating a joy.
    Last edited by Mathman; 05-12-2007 at 03:55 PM.

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    Custom Title Jhar55's Avatar
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    Take a closer look on Sasah's I sprial she only using one hand the other is not touching so that wouldn't count as using 2 hands would it?

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jhar55 View Post
    Take a closer look on Sasah's I sprial she only using one hand the other is not touching so that wouldn't count as using 2 hands would it?
    The rules don't distinguish between one or two hands.

    In fact, as Zuranthium mentioned, I am not sure if this rule will mean anything at all to the top tier skaters. I think its purpose is to make skaters do at least one classic position to show that they actually can get their leg up above hip level.

    In addition -- I might be wrong about this, it is more of a hope than anything I actually see in the rules -- I hope that the ISU is trying to send the subtle message that, in spite of the letter of the CoP, it really is nice to see a real spiral and not a contortionist's trick once in while.

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    Moving up the testing structure Kypma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    One funny thing about the Charlotte, though, is that it seems to be done on the flat of the blade instead of on an edge. "Sasha's incredible spiral over years"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6So8OuehfI Wow, thanks for popsting that
    (and thanks to Kypma)
    Well, I figured it might be time I joined this forum after reading my name in it
    Finally, I get to say my opinion!! (sorry- I've been debating whether becoming a member was worth it for like 3 months or so!)

    I don't really think this hand-assisted-spirals rule will affect most top ladies; after all, like it has been said, many of them have at least one position where they are not holding their free leg.

    As for the charlotte - I think it's difficult enough without worrying about and edge However, Sasha does this really neat one in her 2005 Nationals Long Program; she starts in the fan spiral position then directly steps into a forward charlotte...

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