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Thread: Ladies Free Program 19:00 pm Eastern Time Saturday, November 21

  1. #526
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    Also, I believe Lysacek's win took place late at night on the west coast, which would mean the wee hours of the morning on the east coast, where a huge chunk of the US population lives. Most of the LA Worlds coverage was hidden on a low-profile cable network. Only the ladies free skate, which, ironically, was the one event the Americans didn't stand a chance in, got televised on network TV. And, as expected, the ratings were quite low (worse than the US championships IIRC). NBC did, however, re-show Lysacek's winning FS at the conclusion of the telecast.

    (On a side note, if an American pairs, ice dance or male skater happens to win an OGM, and the ladies don't medal, I wonder if NBC would ever consider airing that discipline in prime time during the US championships instead of the traditional ladies event)
    Last edited by R.D.; 11-23-2009 at 01:48 AM.

  2. #527
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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    Looking back to the 80's might be interesting. There was not a USA Ice princess from that decade who made much of an impact. Linda almost - but we know what happened with her.

    It is interesting to note that skating did very well in the 80's . It was because of the American men, Scott and Brian. Both were the major skating stories and stars of their respective Olympics back in '84 and '88.

    The men's LP in both instances had very good ratings and both of these guys went on to have TV specials and very successful Pro skating careers. They both remain fairly well known in the USA today.

    I am not saying I disagree that a leading Lady does not help but in reality the success of Scott and Brian pretty much disproves this theory which comes up in every post about skating popularity in the USA.

    In addition, a Pairs team from the late 70's and early 80's, Randy and Tai were very popular , appeared as guests on TV shows, and if not for an unfortunate injury withdrawal at Lake Placid in 1980 they would have been even more popular. No other US Pairs team has ever approached their popularity.

    So skating did flourish in the US for a decade without an Ice Princess of the staure of Peggy, Janet, Dorothy, Kristi, etc.
    In the '80's there may not have been a US Ice Princess but there was a lady who (whether you love her skating or not) transcended boundaries and was nearly always fascinating to watch--and her name was Katerina Witt. From 1984 and for the next 10 years, I can't begin to count the number of US skating fans--including lots of red-blooded males--who had no problem sitting down with a tall cold one and a competition with Katerina in it, first eligible and then pro. They knew about her more than most of the US lady competitors. That their interest wasn't necessarily in the skating per se is beside the point--they were at least tuning in and watching. And this was a time when figure skating only had TV coverage of the big events (cue ABC's Wide World of Sports music here). Katerina wasn't necessarily the most technically proficient skater but she had presence in spades and a broad based appeal across a lot of audience demographics. And like Michelle, Katerina was a ferocious competitor.

    Two points: 1) Right now, post-Michelle--there is not a Larger-than-Life presence among ladies' elite skaters that can singlehandedly pull in US live show and TV audiences. Not a US lady nor a lady from elsewhere. I look out there and don't see anyone with that "IT" factor....yet.
    2) Most casual fans want to see LADIES (or at least women )skating and not pre-pubescent girls. I think this cuts across nearly all adult demographics of gender and age group. This tends to support not lowering the minimum age for senior competitions.

  3. #528
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigsisjiejie View Post
    In the '80's there may not have been a US Ice Princess but there was a lady who (whether you love her skating or not) transcended boundaries and was nearly always fascinating to watch--and her name was Katerina Witt. From 1984 and for the next 10 years, I can't begin to count the number of US skating fans--including lots of red-blooded males--who had no problem sitting down with a tall cold one and a competition with Katerina in it, first eligible and then pro. They knew about her more than most of the US lady competitors. That their interest wasn't necessarily in the skating per se is beside the point--they were at least tuning in and watching. And this was a time when figure skating only had TV coverage of the big events (cue ABC's Wide World of Sports music here). Katerina wasn't necessarily the most technically proficient skater but she had presence in spades and a broad based appeal across a lot of audience demographics. And like Michelle, Katerina was a ferocious competitor.

    Two points: 1) Right now, post-Michelle--there is not a Larger-than-Life presence among ladies' elite skaters that can singlehandedly pull in US live show and TV audiences. Not a US lady nor a lady from elsewhere. I look out there and don't see anyone with that "IT" factor....yet.
    2) Most casual fans want to see LADIES (or at least women )skating and not pre-pubescent girls. I think this cuts across nearly all adult demographics of gender and age group. This tends to support not lowering the minimum age for senior competitions.
    All good points and Kat most definitely was known in the USA. But her popularity simply pales when compared to either Scott or Brian. It is funny at times hearing so many jokes about Scott from this generation of skating fans. He was revered in his heyday and he won as many WC's as Kurt Browning as well as the OGM. His story, rising from a very sickly child to becoming Olympic champion was made for TV and believe me it was milked for all it was worth. Button was a relentless supporter of Scott and when it came to skating in those days Button's word was law.

    I agree Kat was popular here, mostly with the most casual or even non-skating fans. In Calgary '88 there was talk about the "Battle of The Carmen's" but it was a very distant second to the "Battle of The Brians."'
    "The Brians" also won the TV ratings and Brian made alot of money in the years that followed Calgary.

    Kat did have appeal, but it was not really skating appeal. In fact Kat was disliked by many simply for being an East German and for having had the audacity to beat Roz and then Debi Others thought she was more of an anti-Princess and her reputation was never close to skaters like Peggy, Janet or Dorothy.

    I have heard talk that Yuna can bring back skating in the USA. I may like Yuna but don't see her filling the role of Ice Queen for American fans. And she seems to have a full time job serving that role for Koreans at the moment

    I think the whole argument about the weak American ladies causing a downfall in skating popularity is absolutley false. Skating was popular in the 80's because of the American men and Button was always more popular than Tenley Albright with the American public in the 1950's.
    Last edited by janetfan; 11-23-2009 at 08:00 AM.

  4. #529
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    Layfan and R.D., interesting points about Evan. Regarding TV networks treating ladies' events well over other disciplines despite lack of close competitions, same is happening in Japan. NHK (the broadcaster) decided to show ladies' live and you know how the competition turned out. Many wonder if it would've been wiser to show men's live instead with so many great performances (not to mention the huge crowd reaction). I happen to be enjoying men's much more this season.

    Fascinating to learn about the 80's and 90's with Katarina Witt and Brians and Button and all that!!

  5. #530
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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    I have heard talk that Yuna can bring back skating in the USA. I may like Yuna but don't see her filling the role of Ice Queen for American fans. And she seems to have a full time job serving that role for Koreans at the moment
    If Yuna had been an American skater, I'm sure she could've filled the void since America is desperate for another top female skater, and Yuna can deliver -- look at the record-setting scores from her over the years even with her back injuries. (08-09 was the 1st time she skated pain-free.)

    But she's not, and given that many American fans want American skaters to win, I highly doubt she's going to have the level of fame and popularity enjoyed by top American ladies such as Dorothy, Peggy, Kristi, Michelle, etc.

    BTW -- Korea has a big problem w/ the next generation of skaters since it doesn't have anyone who can be Yuna II. So after Yuna retires, I'm sure FS popularity will dwindle in Korea.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    My problem with russian skaters is that there is little difference in style. They do not have a Weir/Lyacek/Abbott/Mahbanoozadah difference.
    Do you still think that, Joesitz? I certainly find that their great triumvirate of Kulik, Yagudin, and Plushenko are very different from one another, and very individual. Or do you mean right now? If that's what you mean, I suppose I could agree with you. But not across the sweep of Russian/Soviet skating history.

    Granted, they haven't had distinctive solo competitors until recently. I heard that in the days of Soviet dominance, they used to channel their best skaters into pairs and ice dancing, where they ruled the world, leaving the lesser skaters for the individual disciplines. Certainly the skaters I call to mind from those days haven't left much of a mark on my memory.

    I also agree that there are sometimes Russian pairs who have been what one could call businesslike. (Out of charity, I will not name the ones I see that way.) In their time, they were technically solid as all Russians are but never brought any special personality to their competition. They showed up, they skated, they won, and in a few years they retired. But the standouts through the years have been unique and are still beloved: Rodnina with both her partners, Gordeyeva and Grinkov, Dmitriev with both his partners, ice dancers like Klimova and Ponomarenko or (favorites of mine) Usova and Zhulin.

  7. #532
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    Quote Originally Posted by hikki View Post
    It'd be interesting if we could find TV ratins of all the major events from the past and compare, just to have some statistics as an indicator.

    I think in Japan it went like (I don't have rating info now unfotunately):

    Late 80's to Early 90's
    Very popular. Smaller competitions like Skate America and Trophy Lalique were televised where Midori competed.

    Mid 90's to '04
    The dark age. I remember '03 Nationals was open to public for free! That's where Miki landed the quad and won! And '04 Worlds, where Shizuka became the champ, was televised in a pathetic time slot and her win didn't gain much attention.

    '05 till now
    Miki/ Shizuka/ Mao/ Daisuke effects. Lots of TV coverage with record high ratings, lots of cheesefests for ridiculous price. But apparently (I moved to Australia in '04) competitions that Mao didn't participate in this season, even NHK, got low ratings, which is a shame.

    So yeah, national stars do seem to play a major factor in popularity. I was surprised last year when I was in LA there wasn't much media coverage of Evan's win. Sometimes the media has to help, no?
    Wow, you know very well.
    I wonder which countries have more people who skate themselves. I feel that I come across a lot of skaters and ex-skaters on this board. But I wonder if the situation is similar elsewhere. I have an impression that the US and Canada have lots of rinks.

  8. #533
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    *sigh* What an underwhelming event this was . . . kind of remniscent of the 1997 Skate Canada prior to the Nagano Olympic Games where all the skaters had flawed performances. Joannie skated like no one at this event was pushing her (which was true), sort of like how she has been able to skate at Canadian Nationals and still win. I can't say that I blame her; no use in giving your best performances in November. It seems all the ladies are pacing themselves to peak at the right time later in the season, as we've seen many uninspiring performances from everyone. I hope we are treated to better performances at the Grand Prix Final and at the Olympics from everyone. GO LADIES!

  9. #534
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    I don't know. They could get even more anxious for not skating well earlier. These performances won't help their confidence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    I also agree that there are sometimes Russian pairs who have been what one could call businesslike.
    Like these pairs?
    (a) Eltsova & Bushkov
    (b) Shishkova & Naumov
    (c) Petrova & Tikhonov

    I can't remember a single performance from any of these guys. Not even any of their music. I must have been either snoozzzzzing or on refrigerator break. Always got the impression they were mostly placeholders, and got the nod from the judges due to influence of Russian Fed on the panels of the times.

  11. #536
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigsisjiejie View Post
    Like these pairs?
    (a) Eltsova & Bushkov
    (b) Shishkova & Naumov
    (c) Petrova & Tikhonov

    I can't remember a single performance from any of these guys. Not even any of their music. I must have been either snoozzzzzing or on refrigerator break. Always got the impression they were mostly placeholders, and got the nod from the judges due to influence of Russian Fed on the panels of the times.
    Well all the Russian pairs teams had great basic skating skills. I remember in comments about Petrova/Tikhonov vs P/T and Zhang/Zhang at the Olympics was it Sandra? said that while the Chinese may be more fun to watch, that the Russian pairs will beat the Chinese skaters on basic skating skills every time...I'm not so sure this would work though with K/S but they aren't exactly an old school Russian pair.

    I'm not sure either about all the Russians being alike I guess there are some similar styles. But I think Petrenko too while yes Ukranian was a Soviet skater, was different from Plushenko and Yagudin too.

    I also think there were differences between M/D and G/G too. I mean of course all the Russians were pretty classical but there was differences within that. However, I think the core of Russian pairs great skating skills training/ballet training. Is something that frankly all the skaters should strive towards.
    Last edited by bekalc; 11-23-2009 at 10:49 AM.

  12. #537
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    Quote Originally Posted by bekalc View Post
    Well all the Russian pairs teams had great basic skating skills. I remember in comments about Petrova/Tikhonov vs P/T and Zhang/Zhang at the Olympics was it Sandra? said that while the Chinese may be more fun to watch, that the Russian pairs will beat the Chinese skaters on basic skating skills every time...
    You speak the truth on this. I am trying hard to think of a Russian skater in any discipline that showed up at major competition with crummy basics....and am drawing a complete blank.

  13. #538
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigsisjiejie View Post
    You speak the truth on this. I am trying hard to think of a Russian skater in any discipline that showed up at major competition with crummy basics....and am drawing a complete blank.
    Well now its a big different. I don't think Leonova has great basics, although she's not as bad as Zhang by any stretch. But we have to take into account the flight of so many coaches/the fact that families couldn't afford training. However, now with their young juniors you can see that this is already really improving.

    (Can't stand that they let people like Voronov have such bad posture though)

    Maybe if some of those teams that had been mentioned had been American/Canadian etc. They would have gotten more attention on getting better choregraphy to stand out more etc. But considering the Russians ALWAYS had better teams, I wouldn't be surprised if that much attention was put on them.
    Last edited by bekalc; 11-23-2009 at 11:00 AM.

  14. #539
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigsisjiejie View Post
    In the '80's there may not have been a US Ice Princess but there was a lady who (whether you love her skating or not) transcended boundaries and was nearly always fascinating to watch--and her name was Katerina Witt. From 1984 and for the next 10 years, I can't begin to count the number of US skating fans--including lots of red-blooded males--who had no problem sitting down with a tall cold one and a competition with Katerina in it, first eligible and then pro. They knew about her more than most of the US lady competitors. That their interest wasn't necessarily in the skating per se is beside the point--they were at least tuning in and watching. And this was a time when figure skating only had TV coverage of the big events (cue ABC's Wide World of Sports music here). Katerina wasn't necessarily the most technically proficient skater but she had presence in spades and a broad based appeal across a lot of audience demographics. And like Michelle, Katerina was a ferocious competitor.

    Two points: 1) Right now, post-Michelle--there is not a Larger-than-Life presence among ladies' elite skaters that can singlehandedly pull in US live show and TV audiences. Not a US lady nor a lady from elsewhere. I look out there and don't see anyone with that "IT" factor....yet.
    2) Most casual fans want to see LADIES (or at least women )skating and not pre-pubescent girls. I think this cuts across nearly all adult demographics of gender and age group. This tends to support not lowering the minimum age for senior competitions.
    Yes, you are absolutely right about Katerina, she transcended her sport and helped increase its popularity. (Of course, it helped that she was beautiful.) I didn't matter what country she was from.

    Maybe Kim Yuna could eventually do the same - IF she wins an Olympic gold and then sticks around for the next games, like Kat did.
    But the U.S. still needs a star for the sport to regain its luster in America. There may have been no Michelle Kwan in the 80s but Kat had an important U.S. rival in Debbie Thomas and, obviously, that kept American audiences interested. The problem isn't just that there is no Michelle Kwan - there isn't even a Debbie Thomas! (at least that's the common wisdom.)

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    Okay the thing about really young/small skaters being the "best" is just that where the olympics are every 4 years, it kinda sucks for those that are just too young to go one year and then have to wait a full 4 more to have another shot. Yu Na would not fall into this category because she is even better now than she was at 15, that being said she is also the same size she was at 15 which probably helps. Mao on the other hand beat all 3 2006 ladies olympic medalists at one point or another the year before the olympics. Given her current troubles, there is a possibility she won't even go to the Olympics (though doubtful) and even if she goes she could very well end up not medaling if she keeps making the same mistakes. So for Mao if she goes to the Olympics this year and comes in say 5th place, she'd probably be pissed because if they had let her go in 2006 she probably could have won or medaled. Four years is a long time....Kimmie and Emily are basically out of the picture now even though 4 years ago they were the ones to beat. Mirai was national champion at 14 and now two years later she's grown half a foot and is struggling (though still amazing). If the judges are wanting her to wait four more years, she might not even be a force to be reckoned with anymore. Between now and the 2014 olympics at the rate she keeps growing she could be 5'8" and lose all her jumps. That's why I'm wondering if it's really fair to give the older girls a shot at going to the Olympics if the younger girls are technically better, but get lower scores because of highly controversial PCS. It seems as though skating has become all about PCS recently and jumps don't really matter. I think they SHOULD matter, and the fact that Mirai got the highest TES at SC and finished off the podium behind women who landed half the number of triple jumps she did seems bogus. It is a sport

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