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Thread: Commentary by Sonia

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    Skating is art, if you let it be. Blades of Passion's Avatar
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    She isn't even factually correct. A cheated Quad does not garner more points than a well executed Triple, and a cheated Triple does not garner more points than a Double. If the jump is cheated, the base value is completely downgraded to the same amount.

    Which is actually not fair at all. A Quad Toe that is a little short on rotation is FAR more difficult than a Triple Toe. It should be getting more points, if the landing is clean. More rotation is being achieved.

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    Banned janetfan's Avatar
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    So far the comments have been about the last few sentences of Bianchetti's article. But she wrote so much more.......

    I have to agree with her disappointment in so much of the skating at TEB.
    I found much of it as she described - and even though it was the first event of an Olympic season I found myself taking one "kitchen break" after another.

    Unfortunately, I saw too little of what Bianchetti describes here:

    "In a program I want to see passion, I want to see the joy of the skater, his feeling for the music, his personality. A skater must be fascinating, captivating and appealing for his art. A real champion is beautiful to look at because he is elegant, because he is harmonious and expressive, intense and communicative."

    A week ago there was so much complaining about a lack of TV coverage.
    If this is the product ISU/CoP scoring is delivering then I can see why the major networks in North America and Europe are taking a pass on extensive coverage.

    This is what Bianchetti is saying - and if in a sentence or two her mathematical analysis was off - that was hardly the main thrust of her article.

    It is what it is. I am a longtime skating fan but can understand why TV networks are passing on the slopfest ISU calls "The Grand Prix of Skating."

    I agree with Bianchetti - the "Grand" moments were few and far between at TEB.

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    Banned janetfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kunstrijdster View Post
    I for one, focused on these things because they we're factual erros and because many of her articles give her opinion on events and performances (which I find interesting to read, so it's ok with me ) and then proceed to use the event to back up the arguments for her agenda, the changing of the system and the blame of COP for lack of love/joy etc. in the sport. I think when you take out one flaw of a system (and say that there are many more) and end your argument with it, it should be correct

    That's what my post was about. What I selected to comment on. It was not a précis of her article.

    I'm also for making certain changes to the system, that's a thing I have in common with Sonia . Adjusting the positive GOEs of Quads is one thing I would like to change and so I took the opportunity to address it.

    The part that you quoted Janetfan, is actually very nice because I can only agree with it. I want to see all these things too in a performance, and in a champion.

    But what about the following:



    Now, I would like her to give examples because I think, and that's of course only my opinion, but I fail to see that there was so much more choreography and artistry in every performance in the past. The steps and spins are, of course, more difficult. But has artistry completely vanished. Not IMHO.

    In the past (I can speak for the time from mid 90s onwards) I can remember many programs where the time was not used for choreography or artistry. Step sequences were also often neglected and were rarely very interesting. At least to me.

    The rules are more complex now. The demands are higher. It takes a lot to skate these programs. Free time is scarce. Granted. We're there more clean performances pre-COP. Yep absolutely. More interesting performances. Not IMHO.



    This is really a very general statement I can't agree with. I'm not only seeing suffering. I can imagine that the performances of Joubert, Kostner and S/S had an impact on her perception but their problems were not a result of the judging system. Additionally, this was a GP, the first of the season. It was not a disaster. I for one, was not expecting flawless and brilliant performances by 10 skaters in each segment.

    Well rant over

    It was by no means my intention to misrepresent Sonja. I'm still always interested in what she has to say. There are things I can agree with and things I can't. But the re-occuring argument of good old days vs. bad COP days. I simple don't like it. There were good and artistic performances then and there are good and artistic performances now IMHO.

    I actually deleted the post you quoted after I read it because I realized it was a very narrow POV.

    I think your reply does make many good points (many which might be at odds with my rewritten post )

    Maybe I was too hyped up for the start of the season and then disappointed by what I saw, especially from Caroline and Mao. Also Caro was a big letdown and as great as Tomas looked he just about disintegrated in the second half of his LP. Joubert did not look prepared to skate ( to my Euro fans here , I do enjoy Tomas and Joubert alot and appreciate what they can bring to the ice,

    So maybe I was very much inclined to agree with Bianchetti when all the skaters that I like, witht he exception of Yuna were so subpar. OK, Tomas was pretty darn good sort of - but I refuse to accept his meltdowns and then think he did well.
    Thanks for your comments K, they are greatly appreciated.

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    Rooting for the divas with Kwanford Spun Silver's Avatar
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    She is always worth reading and I appreciate her insistence on both emotion and decent math.

    But she continues to repeat the mantra about Kim, that she's in a class of her own. I just don't see it. I prefer Blades of Passion's view of Mao and Yu Na as different types of skaters, both fabulous, with Mao's gifts being a bit dimmed right now.

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    Banned janetfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kunstrijdster View Post
    So are yours Janetfan,

    I too had to think a lot about it all before I responded. And it's a complex matter.
    I do feel strongly about the benefits of the new system (within reason, of course ) and I also feel strongly about the current generation of skating vs. the older generation as I appreciate skaters and skates from all times.
    So I'm also in danger to get carried away in defense of the current state of skating.

    You are so right about Tomas. I actually was so glad as to how he performed, I overlooked the "minor" mistakes he made in the 2nd half as it could have been so much worse. I'm already in the hopeless fan state where one is glad about every decent performance one gets to see
    Sorry if this gets off topic, but I lived in Prague back in 1993 and will forever have a special place in my heart for that beautiful city and it friendly people.

    I remember Dick Button giving one of his biggest rants about Tomas (was it at '08 Worlds?). I mean Button just laid into Tomas and although I forget his exact words he basically said the guy has too much talent to be skating so poorly at big competitions. (Button did the same thing to Sasha at Torino although he wasn't quite as harsh).

    If Tomas could ever learn to compete better he would never miss a podium. He has it all - but unfortunately he aslo..........

    There are many improvements in the new scoring system. Maybe I watched 6.0 for so many years it is harder for me to adjust.

    One of the things I dislike the most is how similar the ladies spiral sequences have become - for me it is close to being ruined. In fact it appears as if 90 % of all ladies are doing the same three positions and too often with little or NO connection to the music. I feel that way about CoP step requirements at times as well. There is a disconnect from the music in general and with such an emphasis on quantity over quality musical skating and beautiful LP's have taken a step back since M.'s retirement.

    I think part of the fascination with M.'s skating (I am afraid to say her name) was the pursuit of the perfect program. I am uncomfortable with a degree sloppiness that is not only accpeted but often rewarded by CoP scoring.

    Anyway, I am getting used to the new system. The runaway victory margins under Cop have taken some of the thrill away from competitions but since Yuna was the only lady who was able to skate a clean program I guess it is OK that she won by a gazillion points. In fact so many Cop competitions are over after the SP but if it is in the name of progress I just have to accept it.
    Last edited by janetfan; 10-21-2009 at 07:47 PM.

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    Skating is art, if you let it be. Blades of Passion's Avatar
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    Why, thank you Spun Silver.

    Kunstrijdster is correct, a thread was already started:

    http://www.goldenskate.com/forum/showthread.php?t=29135

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    1. How many COP competitions are actually over after the short?
    At TEB, only one short program winner was the overall winner.

    At Worlds 09, it was 2 of 3 (Kim and S/S; Lysacek was second after the short).

    At Worlds 08, it was 1 of 3 (Buttle; S/S were second after the short, so was Asada)

    At Worlds 07, it was 2 of 3 (Joubert and S/Z; Ando was second after the short)

    At Worlds 06, none of the short program winners won. But they also had the qualifying rounds.

    Now, comparing that to the years before COP....

    2004 Worlds: Cohen and Arakawa won qualifying. Cohen won the short. Arakawa won the long and won the championship. Plushenko won all three. T/M won the short, came second in the long, won overall. So 2/3

    2003 Worlds: Kwan and Plushenko won all three events. T/M won the short, came second in the long, came second overall. So 2/3 again

    2002 Worlds: Slutskaya, Yagudin, S/Z all won all portions of the event. So 3/3

    2002 Olympics: Yagudin won both portions, Hughes won the long. So 1/2.

    2001 Worlds: Kwan and Slutskaya each won qualifying. Slutskaya the short. Kwan the long, Kwan wins overall. Plushenko won all three. B/S won the short, S/P the long and the title. So 1/3

    Obviously, I excluded ice dance (which would show little movement before or after COP), but I think the results state something different. The thing is because Kim's dominating - at 4CC, at Worlds, now at TEB, posting huge scores that dwarf everyone else, it seems like people are inclined to say the competition's over after the short. I just don't see that to be true, or certainly not moreso than in pre-COP days. Is it because of the big Olympic victories of Huges and Lipinski?

    Bianchetti's article in general
    She makes the same arguments she always makes, which I have to admit is rather boring to me. My biggest beef lies in what I believe to be the central contradiction in her thesis: the new system kills artistry. But she also points out that Kim, Asada, (and in other articles, Buttle/Chan/Rochette... she loves them Canadians) etc are in fact able to combine artistry with athleticism to earn the points required to excel. So the new system doesn't kill artistry. It DOES make it more difficult to combine the two, and because it's a sport, the emphasis is on athleticism, which is perfectly fine. However, those who excel at doing both, excel overall. It doesn't seem like something worth complaining about, but she does it, and does it big time. It seems like the direction the sport SHOULD be heading in is the one it is. (Also, frankly, there's a degree of schadenfraude in her tone that bugs me).

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    Banned janetfan's Avatar
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    Some very good points and logic. But extremely superficial. Many of the events you use were actually nailbiters and featured upsets.

    I still prefer the suspense that the SP's from 6.0 provided. No way could some one like Evan totally bomb their SP and then come so close to a medal like he did in Torino. Some like it that way but it takes away so much of the suspense.
    I miss having two separate competitons that were both so meaningful and important to a skaters chances for a medal.

    Maybe it is better for someone like a Yuna to be sick and skate poorly and finish 12th in her SP and then come back strong and still win the event. Nothing wrong with that but I prefered how much more competitive the SP was under 6.0. This system feels soft........
    Last edited by janetfan; 10-21-2009 at 09:06 PM.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    I, too, am little by little getting used to the new judging system.

    I think that Mrs. Bianchetti is viewing the old 6.0 era through the rose-colored glasses of nostagia. I find that when I go back and look at some of those competions, I see pretty much what we are seeing now. One or two performances that really touch us, and a bunch of others that are quite forgetable.

    And if you think about it, how could it be otherwise, no matter what scoring system is used? These are amateur athletes, many of them teenagers, who are out there giving it their all, earnestly trying to win a prize. It would be unreasonable to demand some sort of artistic depth.

    For instance, in the men's LP there was really only one program that held my attention -- Oda.s. Still, I enjoyed seeing Tomas Verner throw a quad toe-triple toe and I could appreciate the progress Adam Rippon is making. A nice competition, if you are not expecting the Bolshoi. I think it was the same under 6.0.

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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan
    Many of the events you use were actually nailbiters and featured upsets
    But isn't that true both before and after COP?

    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan
    I still prefer the suspense that the SP's from 6.0 provided. No way could some one like Evan totally bomb their SP and then come so close to a medal like he did in Torino
    But isn't that the opposite of suspense? Before COP, the results were truly limited. You made the top three after the short, and won the long, you won. You were fourth, you won and someone else beat the top ranked contender, you won. Was there any other realistic possibility? Of course, there would still be some suspense on the night in terms of who would withstand the pressure, but that hasn't changed.

    I understand what you're saying: the short program is meaningful, but if you miss the long, you miss out overall - whereas that's not true now. But now, if someone bombs their SP, if they have the skate of their life, they can make up some ground. Isn't that better?

    My serious figure-skating watching came after COP, so I'm genuinely curious here.
    Last edited by ImaginaryPogue; 10-21-2009 at 09:34 PM.

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    I like pie. Tonichelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    I still prefer the suspense that the SP's from 6.0 provided. No way could some one like Evan totally bomb their SP and then come so close to a medal like he did in Torino. Some like it that way but it takes away so much of the suspense.
    I miss having two separate competitons that were both so meaningful and important to a skaters chances for a medal.
    yes because Johnny should have been held up after the SP in 2006 and Evan held down. How dare their placements practically reverse on the second night!

    or how about just taking a number out of a hat killing your chances at getting high marks (ala Mike Weiss' SP in 2002) yeah, definitely a nail biter there... why even bother trying if you're not in the final two groups?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ImaginaryPogue View Post
    1. How many COP competitions are actually over after the short?
    At TEB, only one short program winner was the overall winner.

    At Worlds 09, it was 2 of 3 (Kim and S/S; Lysacek was second after the short).

    At Worlds 08, it was 1 of 3 (Buttle; S/S were second after the short, so was Asada)

    At Worlds 07, it was 2 of 3 (Joubert and S/Z; Ando was second after the short)

    At Worlds 06, none of the short program winners won. But they also had the qualifying rounds.

    Now, comparing that to the years before COP....

    2004 Worlds: Cohen and Arakawa won qualifying. Cohen won the short. Arakawa won the long and won the championship. Plushenko won all three. T/M won the short, came second in the long, won overall. So 2/3

    2003 Worlds: Kwan and Plushenko won all three events. T/M won the short, came second in the long, came second overall. So 2/3 again

    2002 Worlds: Slutskaya, Yagudin, S/Z all won all portions of the event. So 3/3

    2002 Olympics: Yagudin won both portions, Hughes won the long. So 1/2.

    2001 Worlds: Kwan and Slutskaya each won qualifying. Slutskaya the short. Kwan the long, Kwan wins overall. Plushenko won all three. B/S won the short, S/P the long and the title. So 1/3

    Obviously, I excluded ice dance (which would show little movement before or after COP), but I think the results state something different. The thing is because Kim's dominating - at 4CC, at Worlds, now at TEB, posting huge scores that dwarf everyone else, it seems like people are inclined to say the competition's over after the short. I just don't see that to be true, or certainly not moreso than in pre-COP days. Is it because of the big Olympic victories of Huges and Lipinski?

    Bianchetti's article in general
    She makes the same arguments she always makes, which I have to admit is rather boring to me. My biggest beef lies in what I believe to be the central contradiction in her thesis: the new system kills artistry. But she also points out that Kim, Asada, (and in other articles, Buttle/Chan/Rochette... she loves them Canadians) etc are in fact able to combine artistry with athleticism to earn the points required to excel. So the new system doesn't kill artistry. It DOES make it more difficult to combine the two, and because it's a sport, the emphasis is on athleticism, which is perfectly fine. However, those who excel at doing both, excel overall. It doesn't seem like something worth complaining about, but she does it, and does it big time. It seems like the direction the sport SHOULD be heading in is the one it is. (Also, frankly, there's a degree of schadenfraude in her tone that bugs me).

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    Off the ice Buttercup's Avatar
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    Others have already noted that Sonia: 1. makes good points but 2. tends to be repetitive and 3. ignore the facts if they don't suit her argument. I agree with her that the system needs work - a lot of work - but I'm not ready to make the sort of sweeping generalizations she did.

    Another thing: she wrote only about the LPs/FDs. I wonder if she was even there for the first day, because I actually thought the skating was quite enjoyable, even from those who were not in the top 3; really, the only discipline this wasn't really true for was the men (where the judging was still overzealous IMO). One of the reasons I went to day 1 is that it seems to me that the SPs these days are often more interesting and creative than the LPs, and lower-tier skaters seem to have an easier time producing good performances when they don't have to skate a four and a half minute program.

    Finally, in answer to Janetfan, it's unusual to have skaters with margins so large out of the SP as to remove all excitement from the LP. A ten point lead is large but can be made up in the LP. Meanwhile, finishing lower than 3rd in the SP no longer hurts as much as it did, so if you have a lot of skaters performing at a high level, they'll all be in with a chance (think of the men at 2008 Worlds - there were six guys within 6 points of each other). That's actually a huge benefit of the current system.

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