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Thread: Should the ISU expand the field for the Grand Prix final?

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  1. #1
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Should the ISU expand the field for the Grand Prix final?

    Hopefully this is understood as a general comment and should remain in The Edge. It is not about the upcoming GPs but in the future.

    Since interest in the GPs has increased over the years, I was thinking it might be wise to allow 10 Finalists instead of 6 or at least 8 so that we can consider who are the TOP TEN (or eight) seem to be heading toward the Olys/Worlds.

    As it stands with 6 Finalists, it doesn't open our eyes on skaters who do not make the Finals. Let's give them a chance to show their stuff.

    Examples of the Underload of Six Finalists

    Ladies this year seem to have 4 contestants already in the Finals, plus a returning Oly medalist The Men's events has so many super skaters that to limit the finals to only 6 is not even fair. The usual front runners in Dance are there but there are other teams worth looking at again. I already see 6 teams in the Finals, why not 2 or more?

    Too late to do anything about now, but maybe in the future

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    A warm-up group is usually 6 skaters. Having all skaters in a discipline in one group doesn't really make sense. 10 or 12 would be a good number.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PolymerBob View Post
    A warm-up group is usually 6 skaters. Having all skaters in a discipline in one group doesn't really make sense. 10 or 12 would be a good number.
    I didn't know that the Finals are based on the final group to skate. It therefore makes it that much easier to predict even before the preliminary events. I still suggest that up to 10 finalists should skate in two groups, and not this season but in future.

    However, one group of six Dance Teams or six Pairs Teams do make a crowded warm-up. Bound to be accidents. They have to break that up even with six finalists.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    I didn't know that the Finals are based on the final group to skate.
    I think the original idea was that each country would put on its competition, and then all the winners would get together for the final showdown. It was called the "Champions series final." (It took Cinquanta a couple of years to secure the rights to the name "Grand Prix" because that is also used in other sports, such as auto racing.)

    Anyway, the problem with a meeting of the five champions (six after they added the Russian event in 1996-97) was that one person might win more than one championship.

    For instance, in the first year, 1995-96, Michelle Kwan won Skate America, Skate Canada and the German event. The other two winners were Josee Chouinard in France and Lu Chen at NHK.

    Since they only had three champions, thay had to round out the field with second place winners. Hanae Yokaya of Japan won silver in Canda and NHK, and Maria Butyrskaya won silver in Germany. (Chen also won two silvers.) So that made five "champions."

    Then they went to bronze medalists. Slutskaya and Markova each had a bronze and a fourth, so they tied ahead of Bobek (bronze and sixth).

    So there were seven ladies in the finals that year, in order of finish, Kwan, Slutskaya, Chouinard, Chen, Yokoya, Markova, Butyrskaya. There were six in the men's final, 4 pairs and 4 dance teams.

    By the way, over the years the Grand Prix final has been pretty much a grand slam for Russia. Russian skaters have won a total of 24 gold medals at the GP finals, compared to 6 for Canada, 6 for China, 5 for the USA (Jeremy Abbott! ), and 3 for Japan.

    Anyway, on topic, I don't see any reason they couldn't double the field to 12 in singles. The only drawbacks I can see are, (1) making the GP finals would become a less prestigious accomplishment, (2) it would cost more, and (3) it might steal some of the thunder from wolrds -- if all of the best skaters had already duked it out for the crown at the GP finals, would we need a world championship afterward?

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    If the top 12 in each discipline competed in the 2008-2009 GPF, several of the competitors (in italics) would not even have competed at Worlds:

    LADIES:
    Yu-Na Kim
    Joannie Rochette
    Mao Asada
    Carolina Kostner
    Yukari Nakano
    Miki Ando
    Fumie Suguri
    Rachael Flatt
    Alissa Czisny
    Laura Lepisto
    Caroline Zhang
    Ashley Wagner


    MEN
    Patrick Chan
    Takahiko Kozuka
    Johnny Weir
    Brian Joubert
    Jeremy Abbott
    Thomas Verner
    Alban Preaubert
    Evan Lysacek
    Yannick Ponsero
    Steven Carriere
    Kevin Reynolds
    Ryan Bradley


    PAIRS
    Savchenko/Szolkowy
    Zhang/Zhang
    Kavaguti/Smirnov
    Pang/Tong
    Volosozhar/Morozov
    Mukhortova/Trankov
    McLaughlin/Brubaker
    Dube/Davison
    Inoue/Baldwin
    Duhamel/Buntin
    Brodeur/Mattatall
    Vise/Trent

    DANCE
    Delobel/Schoenfelder
    Domnina/Shabalin
    Faiella/Scali
    Khokhlova/Novitski
    Davis/White
    Belbin/Agosto
    Pechalat/Bourzat
    Crone/Poirier
    Kerr/Kerr
    Samuelson/Bates
    Cappellini/Lanotte
    Gorshkova/Butikov

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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckm View Post
    If the top 12 in each discipline competed in the 2008-2009 GPF, several of the competitors (in italics) would not even have competed at Worlds:
    That happens sometimes even with only six competitors at the GPF. Off the top of my head, Tonia Kwiatkowski in 1997 and Irina Slutskaya in 1999.

    I'm not counting situations like Mao Asada in 2006 where the reason for not being at Worlds was the difference in age limits between championships and GP.

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    I would like to see 8 at the GPF. I think 12 would be way too many and would ruin the prestige of qualifying for the Final, but 6 isn't enough. Sometimes it comes down to luck who gets that 6th and final spot, and I think it would just make it more fair to expand it to 8.

    The longer answer is, the purpose of the ISU rankings is for the ISU to prod skaters into doing Four Continents and European B events, which otherwise the elite skaters would prefer to skip.
    I don't know, Four Continents is becoming a pretty big deal now. If Europeans is a big deal, why shouldn't the other continents have a similar type event? There's too much emphasis on Worlds, Worlds, Worlds. It's nice that the skaters can compete in a Grand Prix series and a 4CC rather than having their entire international season based on just Worlds.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gold12345 View Post
    I don't know, Four Continents is becoming a pretty big deal now.
    True. Maybe this shows that the plan of the ISU worked.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    True. Maybe this shows that the plan of the ISU worked.
    I know less about 4cc than almost anything I can think of that has to do with skating. I am not even sure which four continents they are referring too

    N. America, Europe, Asia.....and a wild guess - Australia ???

    Give me a year and I will bring a team of skating penguins from Antartica. We will become the 4th continent..
    Last edited by janetfan; 06-19-2009 at 10:31 PM.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    ^ The Americas (North and South America count as one continent, like in the Olympic rings), Asia, Africa and Oceana.

    Oceana is mostly Australia, but New Zealand sent a men's skater this year, Mathieu Wilson.

    I think the only African nation in the ISU is South Africa. They sent 2 ladies and 1 man to the 2009 event.

    There were several skters from Mexico and South America.

    Europe has their own "continental" competition (appropriately called Europeans. )

    The winners of the 1948 European championship were Dick Button (USA) and Barbara Ann Scott (Canada). (After World War II European figure skating programs were in shambles, so they allowed North Americans to come just so they would have some skaters to put on a show with. After 1948, it went back to being Europeans only.)

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    I'm happy to see others also think that increasing the number of GPFinalists to at least 8 would improve the competitions in many ways. Now can we convince the ISU of that?

    As to 4CC v. Euros. Well, travel plays a big roll in the distinction. A skater from Paris travelling to Warsaw will take up a substantial amount of time, but one from Capetown to Vancouver is a heluva long trip, and not so easy even if it is a direct flight.

    If Argentina begins to enhance its figure skating on ice, that will also be a huge trip, and Capetown and Argentina may want to hold the Worlds someday. It's not a European sport any more.

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