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

  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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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    I really do not think it will take away prestige from Worlds. The Worlds has the whole history of Figure Skating to make it THE most important event. However, having a Finals as we do this season, doesn't really give the GPF a more important event than when more skaters are involved from various countries. And there is always the possibility that one of the lesser but good skaters will rise to the occasion in the Finals. I think it will make more money for the ISU but I'm not sure of that.

    And Lubliana(sp) could host the bigger event. and that city could make some money.

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    Given the ISU's drive to save money (and that meant limiting the number of JGP events), the possibility of making the GPF final larger is nil. The ISU has to pay for transportation, lodging and meals of the GPF competitors, and there is NO way that the ISU would be willing to double those costs.

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    Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program Tinymavy15's Avatar
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    yes, having more skaters there would make it more interesting, but then the GPF would more or less be a mini-worlds. I don't think the skaters, or nessecarily the viewers would want that.

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    Keeper of Bab's Death Stare... nubka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinymavy15 View Post
    yes, having more skaters there would make it more interesting, but then the GPF would more or less be a mini-worlds. I don't think the skaters, or nessecarily the viewers would want that.
    ITA!

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    Yeah! Lets get this party started. enlight78's Avatar
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    I think it would be nice to have two worlds. Golf has four major championships a year. Tennis does to. But figure skating really only has one. So skater are push to have that one amazing skate at the end of the season then they have to wait til next year. I think it puts too mush pressure on the skaters. The GPF would be better then Worlds since it has a more open qualification not squarly based on nationality or squarley based on two competions(last yr worlds and recent nationals) that are 8+ months apart

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    no, I wouldn't want it to be expanded. The GPF is supposed to be about the very best, and that's what I want to see. It's not Worlds.

    Someone mentioned tennis, and I think the GPF compares more to the Master Series final in the men or the Year End Championships in the women's rather than a Grand Slam. Only 8 players who accumulated the most points get to compete there.

  13. #13
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oleada View Post
    no, I wouldn't want it to be expanded. The GPF is supposed to be about the very best, and that's what I want to see. It's not Worlds.
    With 12 skaters or teams in each division competing in six events and producing a Finals of Six based on some points are not necessarily the very best, any more than 10 competitors

    A skater may have a lucky day ISebestyen) but not necessarily be the best alll round skater, and an alternate (Sandhu) may go on to win.

    I'm not convinced I am watching the best of the best at the GPF. I can think of others who are in the 'best' category who will not be in the Finals. Adding two more to the list will enhance the Final, imo, not detract from it.

    (Tennis and Golf basically ignore the Olys )

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinymavy15 View Post
    yes, having more skaters there would make it more interesting, but then the GPF would more or less be a mini-worlds. I don't think the skaters, or nessecarily the viewers would want that.
    Maybe the answer is there are too many skaters at Worlds and not enough at the Grand Prix Final.

    Why do excellent skaters sit on their couches and watch the skater from India score less than 20 points in the short?
    Last edited by Mathman; 06-19-2009 at 09:25 PM. Reason: Oops.

  15. #15
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PolymerBob View Post
    Why do excellent skaters sit on their couches and watch the skater from India score less than 20 points in the short?
    Because the skater from India is the champion of her nation. Every member of the ISU has the right to send its champion to the big show. It's one of the rights of membership.

    But about expanding the GP final to 12, ChuckM posted the only point that matters in post #8. It costs money. The ISU doesn't have any. The last set of rules changes for Worlds tried to save money by limiting the number of skaters that make the LP. etc., for the same reason -- not to mention cutting the number of judges down from 12 to 9.

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