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Thread: Johhny-help or hindrance?

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    Johhny-help or hindrance?

    There continues to be much interest in this person even if his skating career is over and a bit of controversy.

    But its been brought up again and again and two recent GS threads.

    As far as the general public goes, do you feel Johnny is bringing new fans to mens figure skating or pushing them away?

    I do not know that anyone here has the pulse of the USA but if you have articles to back up your yes or no, maybe we could really give this serious attention it deserves.

    I think his skating brings people in because its beautiful, but I suspect (only a guess) that his off ice outfits, staements and reality shows might make a parent think twiceabout encouraging his son to be a figureskater. Unlike Jamie Sale, I don;t have a problem with Johnny as he's so honest and funny. (qualifier would be his use of fur-I hope he stops it).

    If people answer and you don't like the answer. Please do not flame them. Everyone should be able to state an opinion. I thought of a sincere, honest question as this question gets talked AROUND but people are vague because they fear attack. I don't think GSers are typical of the American public re "Johnny". I suspect they are liberal and more lenient as to lifestyle.

    The question is again, is he as a total package bringing the sport up or down in popularity? Or do you think he has no real effect?

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    Bijoux, I must say that you are brave to bring a lot of controversial, nerve racking topics here. Well my position is clear. I am a conservative on this topic. Just don't know if I am the only one here? So I'll stand on the sideline for now.

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    I don't think you are the only one here. But given that its off season and not a lot of people post here, it might feel that way. We do want FS to continue, but maybe there are so many things wrong in the sport and its a cyclical thing, we'll not know exactly why we seem to be losing viewers in America. For those of us who primarily have Tv or the internet and don't travel the world to competitions, these are good questions. SOI, BTW no longer comes to my city after many, many years and this an Olympic year when tickets would sell better! What IS going on? I can't easily get to a city an hour or two away. I have watched since Peggy Flemming. I do miss the golden era. Glad I have some tapes and grateful for youtube despite some bad quality...

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    I like pie. Tonichelle's Avatar
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    Johnny Weir is not to blame for SOI's pulling back. The golden era dried up at the turn of the millenium. There isn't just one thing that can be blamed, but the show took a turn for the worse after the year of 'furnature on ice' when it became far more hokey than most remembered it. Add to it that the 'stars' are not the ones that are also big characters (skating doesn't have a lot of those at teh moment) and you are going to have it slowly dwindle with attendance.

    the bad economy doesn't help. SOI is expensive.

    People can be upset that SOI didn't pick up Johnny Weir, but they also didn't pick up Ryan Bradley - Johnny is too controversial (not so much for his 'sexuality' whatever it may be, but for his mouth) but he DOES get recognized by the average Joe viewer... Ryan Bradley is entertaining and a crowd pleaser... much more so than the current crop of guys (and I'm a fan of quite a few of them).

    but to blame the 'downfall' of figure skating or even just SOI on Johnny is absurd. For the 'haters' that seems to give someone they don't like too much credit, and - let's face it - he's no different than Toller Cranston was some 25/30 years ago, and skating did just fine, then.

    We were spoiled with so much coverage in the US in the 90s that we seem to have forgotten what it was like before... add to the fact that television as a medium is greatly changing, and yeah, we don't have the same amount of coverage.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jennylovskt
    I am a conservative on this topic.
    ? The question is about Johnny’s overall impact on the popularity of figure skating. This is a question to be settled by market research. There is no conservative or liberal “position” to stake out.

    Personally, I do not think Johnny or any other current U.S. skater has any measurable impact on the sport’s popularity. I think it is safe to say that the average American has never heard of Johnny Weir and has no interest in watching figure skating be Johnny alive or dead. (Oh, well.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    ? The question is about Johnny’s overall impact on the popularity of figure skating. This is a question to be settled by market research. There is no conservative or liberal “position” to stake out.

    Personally, I do not think Johnny or any other current U.S. skater has any measurable impact on the sport’s popularity. I think it is safe to say that the average American has never heard of Johnny Weir and has no interest in watching figure skating be Johnny alive or dead. (Oh, well.)
    Mathman, you didn't have market research to back up your view, but you've just taken your position. Exactly like I did. No impact, have impact, positive impact, or negative impact, to me these are all positions.

    I think there is a difference between the impact on the sport's popularity to average American viewers and the impact on the sport's popularity to skating enthusiasts, fans and participants.
    Last edited by jennylovskt; 04-18-2010 at 11:39 PM.

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Clearly, having a controversial competitor does not dampen public enthusiasm for skating, or for that matter, any sport. Otherwise, interest in skating would not have exploded after the Tonya/Nancy performances. Neither Tonya nor Nancy was a particularly lovely, inspiring person. Nancy was catty about Oksana, dissed Mickey Mouse while taking his money, and had an affairwith her agent and later married him. Tonya was...well you all remember.

    The one thing that hurts skating is when it's boring, when the competitors are boring, and when the performances are boring. There has been a lot of boring in recent years, particularly in fluffs and interviews since the skaters have learned their answers from the same PR agents. About the only 2 bright spots are Mirai and Johnny (as far as fluff/interviews go).

    As to his skating:
    We were visiting Ski's uncle and aunt (both in their mid eighties) during the Olympics. Uncle John is almost compulsive with the TV clicker, which drives everyone crazy. However, he watched the men's LP through from start to finish, having become an instant Johnny Weir fan after the SP. He declared that Johnny should win, but would not because he was "a clown" so the judges would never award the win to thim. Anything that keeps the viewers watching is good!

    Plus Mr. Ski, who really hasn't cared that much for men's skating since Brian Boitano and Brian Orser retired, has become a fan of "Be Good Johnny Weir" on the Sundance Channel. He finds Johnny amusing (by the way, I never attempted to get him to watch it--I just assumed he wouldn't like it, and didn't bother. He found it himself while clicking around and now looks for it and watches it all the way through.

    So IMO, anything not boring is good for skating in general. Parents are not so nuts that they would keep their kids from skating because of Johnny Weir. Did parents keep their kids from playing football because of Michael Vick and Ben Roethlisberger? Are people not playing golf because of Tiger Woods? Did they stop letting their kids play basketball because of Dennis Rodman? Maybe one or two here and there, but on average, no.

    People did not stop their kids from skating because of Tonya Harding. They won't stop their kids from skating because of Johnny Weir.

    Whatever else you might say about Johnny, he is seldom boring as an interviewee. And his Lady Gaga exhibition at Nationals was very entertaining IMO. I'd pay to see it.

    That's all good.

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    Custom Title Kitt's Avatar
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    I love every word of above post!

    Uncle John has good taste, as do my parents, also in their 80's - big Johnny Weir fans.

    And good points about other sports' bad boys. Won't deter anyone from doing those sports.

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    One day I dragged one of my non-figure skating-fan-friends to watch Jeremy Abbott's 2010 National Exhibition program video, she said, "Oh, do skaters now wear normal clothes?"
    Last edited by jennylovskt; 04-19-2010 at 01:10 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jennylovskt View Post
    Mathman, you didn't have market research to back up your view, but you've just taken your position. Exactly like I did. No impact, have impact, positive impact, or negative impact, to me these are all positions.
    I meant, they are not political positions. Guessing whether market research might reveal this or that is not a matter of being conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican, a free trader or a protectionist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    I meant, they are not political positions. Guessing whether market research might reveal this or that is not a matter of being conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican, a free trader or a protectionist.
    Ok, then I used a wrong word.

    The situation in men's figure skating is depressing. The more hypes about Johnny Weir and his fabulousness, the more I feel depressed. Whatever any one call me, I knew it and I don't care. I am actually on the verge of abandoning men's figure skating. I believe I am not alone (Maybe I am alone among the active members on this board.)

    I never watched his "Be Good Johnny Weir". Not interested it.
    Last edited by jennylovskt; 04-19-2010 at 12:28 PM.

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    Personally, I don't think Johnny is a negative or positive presence in Men's figure skating for the US general public.

    The big draw in the US are medal winners..... It's been a while since the US was a dominating force in figure skating and it has to happen at the Olympics.

    Our guys have won some world medals, but until this year, it's been quite some time since a US man landed at the top of the Olympic podium and, for me, NBC didn't heavily promote a battle between Evgeni and Evan because a lot of people thought it was Evgeni's gold medal. It was fortunate that Evan won last year's World's and now the Olympics - so, there may now be some more interest in Men's figure skating. Otherwise, the prior big rivalry at the Olympics for North America was the Battle of the Brian's, 20+ years ago.

    Ice Dance has become more popular in the US over the years because of the success of dance teams like Lang/Tcherneshve (I know I spelled that wrong) and Belbin/Agosto and now, Davis/White. With Belbin/Agosto, we go the 1st US ice dance team in years to win a medal and Davis/White's win will continue that perception of strength in this discpline.

    The US Ladies have had at least a medal contender in the hunt until Sasha. The years since Torino have not been as good with regards to giving the US public a 'face'. However, the performances of Mirai and Rachel signify a 'chance' for the future and there could be a strong growth of interest.

    Pairs, as always, lags behind. It really has been a long time since the US had a medal podium favorite IMO. China and Russia have had the most success because they were, at least at one time, willing to put the money into the program and because pairs seldom split up. Pairs and Dance both require long term committments from both members of the teams; with the emphasis on quick results, a lot of people give up.

    So, no, one person does not control the fate of figure skating in the US. it's the medal count.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heyang View Post

    The big draw in the US are medal winners..... It's been a while since the US was a dominating force in figure skating and it has to happen at the Olympics.

    Our guys have won some world medals, but until this year, it's been quite some time since a US man landed at the top of the Olympic podium and, for me, NBC didn't heavily promote a battle between Evgeni and Evan because a lot of people thought it was Evgeni's gold medal. It was fortunate that Evan won last year's World's and now the Olympics - so, there may now be some more interest in Men's figure skating. Otherwise, the prior big rivalry at the Olympics for North America was the Battle of the Brian's, 20+ years ago.

    Ice Dance has become more popular in the US over the years because of the success of dance teams like Lang/Tcherneshve (I know I spelled that wrong) and Belbin/Agosto and now, Davis/White. With Belbin/Agosto, we go the 1st US ice dance team in years to win a medal and Davis/White's win will continue that perception of strength in this discpline.

    The US Ladies have had at least a medal contender in the hunt until Sasha. The years since Torino have not been as good with regards to giving the US public a 'face'. However, the performances of Mirai and Rachel signify a 'chance' for the future and there could be a strong growth of interest.

    Pairs, as always, lags behind. It really has been a long time since the US had a medal podium favorite IMO. China and Russia have had the most success because they were, at least at one time, willing to put the money into the program and because pairs seldom split up. Pairs and Dance both require long term committments from both members of the teams; with the emphasis on quick results, a lot of people give up.

    So, no, one person does not control the fate of figure skating in the US. it's the medal count.
    Look at it this way: China 1 Gold 1 Silver and both in Pairs; Canada 1 Gold and 2 Bronze in Skate Dance and Ladies and Men; France l Silver in Mens; Japan 1 Silver in Ladies; and 1 Bronze in Mens; Russia 1 Bronze in Skate Dance; United States 1 Gold in Mens and 1 Silver in Skate Dancel Korea: 1Gold in Ladies

    The US did well in the Olympics as did Canada both in different disciplines.

    All the 6 major Feds got medals. and 1 Outsider. That's should hold interest for the sportsfans. The nonsporting spectators were totally confused with the scoring system; others remembered the days of questionable judging which now has become secret judging.

    The Olys comps are basically outdoors in the middle of winter. Everyone wants a ticket to the Figure Skating event to be indoors. It's not really a good gauge of attendance. But the US TV was very poorly arranged and they did not expect a drop in advertising revenues in spite of the hype. To put the Ladies event on at late night TV on the east coast was a shocker. The sweetheart of the Olys was Ms Vonn a Downhill Skier.

    I believe we must wait and see if any major TV network is interested in picking up Figure Skating. Are we sure the cable showing Universal Sports will be in business in the future? Is Icenetwork still viable after dying out on major events?

    The figure skating events will go on, but will they be shown on TV, and I can assure you if an event is not in your local area, it is an expensive trip.

    Not trying to be pessimistic but that's the layout. I am sure the USFS is trying to get hold of the problem.

    (I think i may have gotten some of my stats at the top confused with Worlds.)
    Last edited by Joesitz; 04-19-2010 at 01:19 PM.

  14. #14
    Dreaming and dancing Bennett's Avatar
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    Johnny Weir in Japan - He's not that famous. The most famous foreign skater is Yuna by far. Katarina Witt, Tonya, and Kerrigan are also recognizable by the general public above certain ages.

    I think that Plush is more famous as a skater than Johnny. The lack of big titles hurts Johnny's publicity. So he wouldn't be treated like the authority of FS like Plush is.

    Jeff is also famous and has good media coverage. He presents such a likable personality and the media loves "prince on ice." Jeff is also extremely good at giving model answers and sensitive to everyone that's involved. Jeff is very sophisticated, but never fails to live up to expectations. I think that he may be more TV friendly than Johnny. Johnny is too unique to be used as a commentator, for example, to answer questions like "Will Japanese skaters medal at this Oly?" I don't find Johnny good at becoming the background.

    Johnny's androgynous beauty is accepted positively by the Japanese media. The Japanese cliche of figure skating is "the fairy on ice" and he's a mysterious, male version of it. His big mouth does not bother the media here. He's known more for the on-ice beauty. He has some core fans in Japan to whom Johnny sells a DVD. To treat him like a diva like that is the best way to promote him.

    But Dai, Nob, and Koz are certainly by far more famous. I don't find Johnny that marketable here.

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    I honestly don't think any one skater is single-handedly helping or hindering the sport. That's so much pressure and expectation placed upon one person

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