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Thread: Sonia Bianchetti Garbato on the TEB

  1. #1
    Custom Title NatachaHatawa's Avatar
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    Sonia Bianchetti Garbato on the TEB

    Here's Sonia's latest article:

    http://soniabianchetti.com/writings_skating.html

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Excellent review. She and I would get along just fine. I particularly like:

    Quote:
    No surprise, however. Only more and more depressing. Flawless, or even relatively clean, is impossible nowadays. The sport has turned into a combination of acrobatic movements more suitable to a circus than a skating arena. The poor skaters are just rushing from one place to another, their main objective being to stay upright, while repeating the same few contortions required by the new judging system.


    Acrobatics and Circus is what figure skating is - not Ballet!

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    Off the ice Buttercup's Avatar
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    Like Hersh, I think she makes some good points but tends to disregard or discount any evidence that does not support her argument (it's a well-known psychological process, called confirmation bias IIRC) - an argument that essentially boils down to "CoP sucks and is ruining figure skating". Yes, 2008 TEB was pretty awful, and the ladies have mostly disappointed this year. But there have also been some really exciting performances on the GP circuit, including some real breakthroughs.

    We often look at the past through very rose-tinted glasses. CoP has brought a lot of problems with it, sure; and there's a lot that can be changed for the better, as we've discussed here on GS before. But were skaters doing that much better under 6.0?

    The first part of the "bad CoP" argument is that there are now more mistakes. But under 6.0 there were plenty of mistakes made as well. I'll take the Olympics as an example because it's easier to look up. At 2002 Olys the men's silver medalist fell in his SP and made mistakes in his LP; no lady skated two clean and strong programs; and the pairs, well, obviously one gold medal team made mistakes (though let's not revive that controversy in this thread). In 1992, every medalist in the ladies fell at least once. In 1998, only Kwan and Lipinski went completely clean in the ladies, and that, we can all agree, was some pretty special figure skating. I believe the men all made mistakes or purposely downgraded jumps except for Kulik. Really, even the best skaters have their off days or even off-years.

    Argument two, with which I agree to a point, is that programs are less creative and less interesting under the current system. Of course CoP needs work, and the skaters have to go with programs that are very difficult to execute well. But some of them do skate them well, even if not always, and the programs are much more packed with content and transitions, not the jump-stroke-jump-stroke-mediocre spin we used to see once you got past the top three or four skaters in each discipline. When I look at older programs some were more creative, but many were also more boring. I think the top people will shine no matter the judging system.

    I don't believe it's ever been that common for skaters to skate two programs that are creative, technically strong, and 100% mistake free.

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    Custom Title demarinis5's Avatar
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    Excellent review by Sonia . Thank you for posting.

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    Gadfly and Bon Vivant Mafke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
    We often look at the past through very rose-tinted glasses. CoP has brought a lot of problems with it, sure; and there's a lot that can be changed for the better, as we've discussed here on GS before.
    Of course CoP needs work,
    The problem is not so much CoP but the institution that introduced it. You and I (and everyone here) can agree there are serious problems but the ISU seems to think it's just dandy and only needs the most subtle bits of tweaking here and there, mostly in lowering the hammer on bits of micro-technique that most audience members care about less than gross mistakes that aren't so penalized (I write that as a purest on edges who doesn't much care about slight underrotation).

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    The Zamboni Rocks!!! sillylionlove's Avatar
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    The second place went to Maria Mukhortova and Maxim Trankov, Russia. They had many failures and she fell in the triple Salchow. Their program, in my opinion, has nothing to do with the music chosen and it is difficult to understand what they want to express. Not to speak of her costume which I would define as grotesque, to say the least.


    This is my favorite quote. Can someone post a link where I can find a picture of this costume? I would really like to see what she is talking about.

  7. #7
    L'art pour l'art Medusa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
    Entire Post
    I have to agree with Buttercup on all points. There certainly are problems with COP - but there was bad skating before COP too, I remember some competitions in the nineties... E.g. the men's competition at the 92 Olympics where a lackluster Petrenko shakily skated away with the gold? Okay, I don't exactly remember that competition that well, I was like 7 years old I think - but it's an example.

    The creative side suffered to some extend, that is true, several skaters have to work against their strengths (e.g. Weir). But one of my alltime favourite programs, the Lambiel-Flamenco was designed under COP and got massive PCS most of times, even when the performance was marred by falls and stumbles.

    I really don't think it's all black and white.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
    We often look at the past through very rose-tinted glasses. CoP has brought a lot of problems with it, sure; and there's a lot that can be changed for the better, as we've discussed here on GS before. But were skaters doing that much better under 6.0?
    I quite agree. There were good and bad performances before and there are good and bad performances now.

    Still, I think Ms. Bianchetti's central argument is exactly right and comprises an indictment against the whole "point total" approach to judging figure skating contests.

    Under ordinal judging, I won because I skated better than you, and you got silver because you skater better than the others.

    Under CoP judging, I won because I got more points than you, and you got silver because you got more points than the others.

    I think this is a profound difference in philosophy. Ordinals say, "skate well." CoP says, "get points."
    Last edited by Mathman; 12-08-2008 at 07:17 PM.

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Exactly. It encourages accountant type thinking rather than artistic or athletic thinking.

    Under the old system, there were a number of ways the athletes approached skating, in addition to just wanting to win:

    1. Wow! suppose I could be the very first to do a quad lutz!!! (Weiss)
    2. I want to skate my very, very best at the Olympics (Boitano)
    3. What fun to make people laugh (Dan Hollander)
    4. I want to produce programs that are true to who I am (Rudi Galindo)
    5. I want to show off before the ladies (Candeloro)

    Now so often it's just-I want to win; where's the darn rule book. Can I get 6.5 instead of 6.0 on that skill if I pick my nose while doing it. Not that many skaters don't have other motivations, but First to win, they must sharpen their pencils and get going.

  10. #10
    I like pie. Tonichelle's Avatar
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    but skaters don't have anything to fall back on if they don't win... they can't be Dan Hollander and establish themselves as an entertaining sort and then get signed to champs on ice. there's ONE ice show now in the states for the N. Americans to vie for (European skaters have how many ice shows? I don't know, but they also seem to look at medals to pick their casts)... and STARS on Ice has made it pretty clear as to what they're looking for right now for their show (STAR power requires shiny things around your neck).

    Winning is everything when you're talking $$... if you don't win you don't fund your skating very well/easily.

    I prefer this new system. The 'gifts' aren't as blatant (2006 not withstanding) in the PCS, maybe, but Ice Dance especially has benefitted from the 'best skate of the night will be rewarded'...

  11. #11
    Vancouver 2010, 247.23, Bronze
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    Under ordinal judging, I won because I skated better than you, and you got silver because you skater better than the others.
    Wasn't CoP originally introduced because they couldn't decide who'd skated better that one day: B/S or S/P?

    Quote Originally Posted by sillylionlove View Post
    This is my favorite quote. Can someone post a link where I can find a picture of this costume?
    http://www.sports.ru/images/object_36.1224077191.jpg

    Mrs.Bianchetti isn't exactly a style icon herself, IMO.

  12. #12
    I like pie. Tonichelle's Avatar
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    actually I think the CoP had been discussed prior to the 2002 Oly scandal, but the pairs debacle was a good excuse to finally impliment it.



    actually a lot of change that we've seen in the last 20 years in how the sport is run Kurt Browning wrote as suggestions in his autobiography - so I assume a lot of skaters in his generation (who are now working behind the scenes) probably had similiar feelings/ideas back then.

  13. #13
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    All this discussion about the CoP, yet the topic was switched to the GPs because of Bianchetti's use of TEB as an example for her disdain for the CoP.
    Hopefully more members read it here and not worry about Joubert.

  14. #14
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hsuhs View Post
    Wasn't CoP originally introduced because they couldn't decide who'd skated better that one day: B/S or S/P?
    That is a good case in point, IMHO.

    The reason that the Salt Lake City controversy was bad for the sport was that it focused attention on the judges instead of on the athletes. This is always a bad thing.

    Under the CoP, attention is on the tech specialist -- who did he downgrade, who got caught flutzing and who got away with it, what do the protocols say?

    The skating? That doesn't seem to have much to do with it any more.

  15. #15
    Custom Title NatachaHatawa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    That is a good case in point, IMHO.

    The reason that the Salt Lake City controversy was bad for the sport was that it focused attention on the judges instead of on the athletes. This is always a bad thing.

    Under the CoP, attention is on the tech specialist -- who did he downgrade, who got caught flutzing and who got away with it, what do the protocols say?

    The skating? That doesn't seem to have much to do with it any more.
    I couldn't have put it better myself.

    With this system, the judging isn't perfect, just like the old one, but at least the old one Skaters foccussed on their skating, on their performance and not on the amount of points they need to win.

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