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Thread: Commentary by Sonia

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kunstrijdster View Post

    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.

    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. As to the Grand Moments. She said the first three in each segment were outstanding. How many more outstanding performances does she expect from a GP?

    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 simply don't like it. There were good and artistic performances then and there are good and artistic performances now IMHO.
    I agree with you! They were many mediocre performances in 6.0 era as well.
    And I really don't think that only top skaters gave good performances in TEB.
    Also, sometimes she seems to be lost in her logic. She says that top 3 were outstanding in all disciplines. Later, she describes the total meltdown of S/S. So at the end were they outstanding or not? Taking it further - if a skater has some mistakes in the program (not a meltdown) - can it still be interesting? YES. She seems to know it, yet she denies it.
    And by the way - S/S are not 3-times World Champions.


    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
    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.
    ITA

  2. #17
    Off the ice Buttercup's Avatar
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    One other thing I just noticed - not only did she get the jump values wrong and the bit about S/S winning Worlds three times, but also:
    The list of the skaters named by the ISU to take part in the Trophée Eric Bompard was exciting. It included most of the skaters who, at least on paper, might claim a medal at the next Olympic Games: in Ladies, reigning world champion Yu-Na Kim, the legendary Mao Asada, Carolina Kostner and Kiira Korpi. In Men, Brian Joubert, Thomas Verner and Nobunari Oda. In Pairs, three-time world champions Savchenko/Szolkowy, Dube/Davison, and Muchortova/Trankov, and in Ice Dancing, Virtue/Moir and Pechalat/Bouzard.
    That's just sloppy. She should have taken the time to get the details right.

    Also, Mao is very good, but legendary? What has she done to qualify her for that status?

  3. #18
    End subjectivity,reduce PCS, fix the COP! schiele's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
    One other thing I just noticed - not only did she get the jump values wrong and the bit about S/S winning Worlds three times, but also:

    That's just sloppy. She should have taken the time to get the details right.

    Also, Mao is very good, but legendary? What has she done to qualify her for that status?
    Maybe landing 2 triple axels in the same programme ? That pretty much made it to the books so she will be remembered one way or another.. its pure technicality.

  4. #19
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    Where's the yawning smilie when you need it?

    I read the first 6-8 paragraphs of Sonia's article and it confirmed that the copy and paste functions on her word processor are stil working well. Is there anything new of any worth to read in this or am i right to stop after the first few paragraphs?

    Ant

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tonichelle View Post
    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?

    I don't quite understand your logic toni.
    Under 6.0, based on their performances, Evan and Jonny's positions would have changed in Torino. To say they wouldn't have is really quite a stretch imo.

    As to skating out of the lower groups - most thought Alissa, after her weak SP at '09 Worlds was then terribly undermarked in her LP. The same thing probably would have happened to her under 6.0. But that is a flaw that still remains in CoP scoring.

    I see reputation as the driving force in many of the marks in CoP.
    The anonymous scoring has made sure that this can remain prevalent and unchallengable by fans.

    Earlier I addresed the look-alike syndrome that Cop seems to be promoting. I am only a fan, but many skating experts have used the term "robotic skating" more than once. So much originality has gone away.

    The incredibly dull spiral sequences come to mind. How ridiculous to hear the same people who harp about Yuna's spirals defending the great virtues of CoP. Under the new rules Yuna's spirals get good marks because she holds them for 3 seconds and glides faster than the other girls. More used to be expected, with actual attempts at real artistry.

    Spins could also be mentioned - this requirement for changing positions has led to similar looking spins and there really is not much point to being a great spinner like Lambiel now because if he dared to show how a spin can actually fit the music and be faster and smoother than his competitors CoP would penalize him.

    I am getting used to the new system and new style of skating. I miss the originality at times and how skaters could show programs without having to do elements exactly the same way. Sometimes I miss moments of simple but expressive gliding in these packed and frantic looking programs.

    And yes, I admit that today's skaters are technically better. An absolute no brainer and so silly to hear that argument when comparing 6.0 and CoP. Athletes today continue to train better, and sports evolve. Swimmers are faster,
    skiers have better equipment, diet and nutrition have been incorporated, etc, etc.

    It is hard to believe that in an Olympic year skating has such limited coverage in Europe and N. America. I don't think the product is very saleable anymore and that is the reasons networks are taking a pass. This may have nothing to do with the scoring system,,,,,,,,,,,

    Thanks for replies on this topic. I am not as hard headed as I might sound and it is interesting hearing and learning from opposing viewpoints.
    Last edited by janetfan; 10-22-2009 at 08:08 PM.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by ImaginaryPogue View Post
    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).
    This pretty much sums up what I think about Mrs. Bianchetti and her writings.

  7. #22
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    I think you have to take serious note of the tremendous error of fact at the end of Ms. Bianchetti's article, because it forms one of her bigger arguments against IJS, and it makes no sense whatsoever. It's more than a mistake of math; its entire reasoning is counter to what is actually happening on the ice.

    I found this article an embarrassment. To say that "besides the top three in the men's, ladies, and pairs," the athletes were disastrous, is not only simply untrue; it begs the question, "What does Sonia expect?" If she can go to Paris and enjoy the top three short and long programs in these disciplines, plus gaze with wonder at Virtue and Moir, what else did she want? I certainly do not recall any competitions of the 70's and 80's, that were not Worlds, Olympics or Europeans, yielding higher technical and artistic merit than Bompard. I do recall many flat-out poor performances and puzzling judging decisions. To read Sonia's writing, one would think every competitor was the equal of John Curry during the 1975-1976 season (and even he made errors at Worlds that year).

    Her further point, that somehow all the skaters performed without joy, is also incorrect; she evidently failed to see Inoue and Baldwin, who finished off the podium, exalt in their throw triple Axel, Alexe Gilles smile after her short, and many other moments.

    It's time for one of Sonia's many friends in skating to sit her down and tell her the writings have become repetitive, poorly reasoned and downright cranky. Of course she's entitled to publish what she wishes but she is doing her outstanding record of innovation in the ISU a profound disservice.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by nylynnr View Post
    I think you have to take serious note of the tremendous error of fact at the end of Ms. Bianchetti's article, because it forms one of her bigger arguments against IJS, and it makes no sense whatsoever. It's more than a mistake of math; its entire reasoning is counter to what is actually happening on the ice.

    I found this article an embarrassment. To say that "besides the top three in the men's, ladies, and pairs," the athletes were disastrous, is not only simply untrue; it begs the question, "What does Sonia expect?" If she can go to Paris and enjoy the top three short and long programs in these disciplines, plus gaze with wonder at Virtue and Moir, what else did she want? I certainly do not recall any competitions of the 70's and 80's, that were not Worlds, Olympics or Europeans, yielding higher technical and artistic merit than Bompard. I do recall many flat-out poor performances and puzzling judging decisions. To read Sonia's writing, one would think every competitor was the equal of John Curry during the 1975-1976 season (and even he made errors at Worlds that year).

    Her further point, that somehow all the skaters performed without joy, is also incorrect; she evidently failed to see Inoue and Baldwin, who finished off the podium, exalt in their throw triple Axel, Alexe Gilles smile after her short, and many other moments.

    It's time for one of Sonia's many friends in skating to sit her down and tell her the writings have become repetitive, poorly reasoned and downright cranky. Of course she's entitled to publish what she wishes but she is doing her outstanding record of innovation in the ISU a profound disservice.
    Thanks for sharing your views. You do make a strong case and effectively pick apart many of Bianchetti's statements. I do want to say that apart from most of your points - which after some consideration I can agree to -
    for better or worse Sonia's point about the health of figure skating is central to her article and has been overlooked by her many critics here. Actually because it is unpleasant to most of you it has been totally ignored.

    One thing is certain and true and that is that even in an Olympic year figure skating is not doing nearly as well as it has in the past.

    It is fine and more than fair to pick apart Sonia's article piece by piece without considering or mentioning the underlying concern behind her comments. It is a very old and successful debating trick and you are good at it and very convincing.

    Another favorite response "Sonia has an agenda, blah, blah,." Puh-leeze, who in figure skating doesn't have an agenda? Speedy for instance? Why be involved or care about anything, personally or professionaly without an agenda or reason.
    I find that attitude not only unfair but ridiculous.

    If Sonia is so wrong about so much - why is figure skating floundering. The loss of so much TV money must be BRUTAL for ISU and having fewer judges based on the way CoP works has the strong possibilty of reducing close results to nothing more than a lottery. That is NOT sport, that is results by luck of the draw - and reducing the judging panel will eventually come back and bite ISU where the sun don't shine.

    I think most of the dissent over Sonia here is well founded and it did make me think and reconsider my earlier thoughts. But a society or sporting union without dissenting voices is not a good thing. I am glad Sonia continues to fight on, work for her agenda and offers an alternative view to Speedy and ISU governing body.

    After a lifetime devoted to a sport she loves Sonia has earned this right.

  9. #24
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    [QUOTE=janetfan;418553]If Sonia is so wrong about so much - why is figure skating floundering. The loss of so much TV money must be BRUTAL for ISU and having fewer judges based on the way CoP works has the strong possibilty of reducing close results to nothing more than a lottery. That is NOT sport, that is results by luck of the draw - and reducing the judging panel will eventually come back and bite ISU where the sun don't shine.[QUOTE]

    The judging panels have been shifted around in a rather serpentine manner, that some have simplified into saying is an outright reduction. Even with the random elimination of two of the nine on each panel, up to 11 judges figure into the results. Add to that, a three-person technical panel, who make many of the previous calls judges would. BTW I'm not saying it wouldn't be better for judges to be identified by name, or to go straight to the trimmed mean without the random elimination, but saying results are achieved via lottery is a laughable exaggeration.

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
    Also, Mao is very good, but legendary? What has she done to qualify her for that status?
    I read legendary as a reference to how well Mao has performed at the last GPF and previously. To me Mao has not looked like Mao in her last 3 performances (4CC, Worlds and TEB).

  11. #26
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    [QUOTE=nylynnr;418574][QUOTE

    The judging panels have been shifted around in a rather serpentine manner, that some have simplified into saying is an outright reduction. Even with the random elimination of two of the nine on each panel, up to 11 judges figure into the results. Add to that, a three-person technical panel, who make many of the previous calls judges would. BTW I'm not saying it wouldn't be better for judges to be identified by name, or to go straight to the trimmed mean without the random elimination, but saying results are achieved via lottery is a laughable exaggeration.
    What about the the ISU press release stating that due to a lack of funding the judging panels were being reduced by two. Are you saying they did - and they didn't - reduce the size of the panels by two? I am not laughing - but you have confused me. Either it has been reduced or it hasn't.

    I have read some analysis that clearly pointed out the statistical ramifications of the announced ISU reduction in the size of ISU judging panels.
    The conclusion was that in some cases for certain skaters their marks could be determined by what amounted to a lottery drawing.

    If true what a dubious and unfortunate method to decide placement of skaters at what is supposed to be a competitive sporting event. I hope I am wrong but your explanation of - they have and they haven't - and it doesn't matter anyway - leaves room for doubt.

    I respect how much you know so if you have time a more clearly defined explanation would be appreciated about the size of the panels for this season.
    Last edited by janetfan; 10-22-2009 at 01:12 PM.

  12. #27
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    I find Sonia's indifference to facts that contradict her opinion and general ignorance of the relationship between cause and effect to be extremely irritating. I also find her emphasis on 'passion' to be a little tiresome (I'm a more formalistic kind of person and like the more formalistic aspects of skating).

    But ... she's got some good points in general. I've very sympathetic to the idea of CoP but I can't much say I care for the results we've gotten so far. There are some hugely talented skaters around now but I get a lot more bored watching CoP skating a lot faster than I ever did with 6.0 (despite all the flaws of that system which I freely grant).

    I even get bored watching CoP SP's and I never got bored watching 6.0 SP's.

    Just sayin'....

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    for better or worse Sonia's point about the health of figure skating is central to her article and has been overlooked by her many critics here. Actually because it is unpleasant to most of you it has been totally ignored.

    One thing is certain and true and that is that even in an Olympic year figure skating is not doing nearly as well as it has in the past.

    If Sonia is so wrong about so much - why is figure skating floundering. The loss of so much TV money must be BRUTAL for ISU and having fewer judges based on the way CoP works has the strong possibilty of reducing close results to nothing more than a lottery. That is NOT sport, that is results by luck of the draw - and reducing the judging panel will eventually come back and bite ISU where the sun don't shine.
    I think we have discussed this before janetfan but really the only place that skating is suffering or floundering is in the US. The primary reason for this is because the States doesn't seem to have a "star" in the ladies division. However, you have the Men's World Champion and World Silver Medalists in Ice Dance! You have a very strong team in Dance, a strong Men's team, and a strong junior team. Why not celebrate them?

    The general public or audience in the US needs to shift their view to include other disciplines of skating. The end all and be all of the sport is not the Women's division and the States is very narrow minded in this regard, IMO.

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by nylynnr View Post
    but saying results are achieved via lottery is a laughable exaggeration.
    Can't agree it is a laughable exaggeration. There is clearly a random component to the results using the current calculation method. It does not come into play for every skater or every medal, but it does come into play. It should not be a part of determining an athletic competition.

    (We can have an animated discussion on this in Lake Placid.)

    (And BTW the error in the next to last graph has been corrected.)
    Last edited by gsrossano; 10-22-2009 at 02:37 PM.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by i love to skate View Post
    I think we have discussed this before janetfan but really the only place that skating is suffering or floundering is in the US.
    .
    Floundering? After US Skating kicked your butts at WTT

    Seriously, ISU has lost a ton of TV money. FYI we have limited coverage here this season and Europe has less.

    I am happy Canada is hosting this year and glad for the added boost it gives your fine skaters and your entire Winter Olympic team.

    But interest is waning not only in the USA but in many parts of Europe too.

    The loss of so much big TV money, which typically used to be the largest income generator for ISU not only hurts ISU but is a fair barometer for judging the saleabilty and attractiveness of skating.

    You are entitled to your views and Canada is a great country with fine athletes. But on the whole the ISU is not going through a good period right now.

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