Does the sport of "Figure Skating" miss the school figures?
This topic was just mentioned on another thread and I wonder what others think about it.
Here are a few comments from Janet Lynn's controversial address to US Skating a few years ago.
"The joy of figure skating," says Lynn, comes from "the graceful culture of figure skating" and " the graceful language of figure skating."
When Janet was asked how did she and others of her time learn the "graceful language of figure skating." Her answer, "school figures" -- speaking passionately about what school figures brought to her skating.
"Many of my very distinguished colleagues and I don't wonder, we know skating has taken a turn that is not correct or healthy."
Janet strongly advocated the position that due to the loss of school figures, many skaters do not possess the necessary skating skills and body control needed for graceful, safe skating, or to present graceful sophisticated choreography in their programs.
She further advocated that the current scoring system, with its quest for points pushes skaters away from the graceful language of figure skating, and not towards it. "Skaters and coaches are working hard and are not at fault. They simply don't have the benefit of a structure or incentives to learn the essence of figure skating as my colleagues and I understand it to be," she said; and further, "It is time to study how to skate, instead of studying a massive rulebook and how to gain points."
She closed with an appeal for U.S. Figure Skating to create a commission to assess the current state of figure skating. As its purpose, she said, "The commission should define the best structure and incentives for safely learning the complete language of figure skating. Their task should also include defining the kind of system and requirements that are healthiest for our rising athletes, and most enjoyable for those who watch."
Janet's speech caused quite a stir as most thought she would deliver a "feel good" talk about how wonderful skating is.
My thoughts about this tend to center on the safety issue that Janet brought out.
This could also get into the age factor as well. Seeing so many young skaters getting injured today, particularly after they grow would tend to support Janet's concerns. We can also see how learning skating skills has been replaced with a rush towards triple jumps.
Watching Caroline and Mirai (and so many others) struggle the past two years with injuries and faulty techniques seems to further support Janet's call for a change.
Many are against a return to figures and I wonder if it might make sense to include a fairly tough figures requirement as part of the testing that skaters undergo when they jump from the Junior to Senior level. This might insure better and safer technique from skaters without bringing figures back into the competition.