There is one skater who seems to be carrying the sport, or actually two. In Asia they are a great rivalry. Yuna and Mao seem to be keeping ladies going. Amongst young Fans Yu-na seems to get all the attention. On this smaller niche board where we have plenty of long time fans, its Yuna who has a 40 page thread. So I would say she is carrying the sport and a clear huge plus because of her story and the S. Korean response to her. Of course MAO is not the only great Japanese Lady and Japan's history goes back to Midori Ito, so there's a place where the future seems very bright for years to come. Japan will have shows, competitions and good media coverage.
I actually heard Kurt Browning say (was it tongue in cheek as he's not a gusher) "She (Yuna) is the leader of our sport and our queen!" Kurt can be droll so I did not quite believe my ears. For skaters, I guess travelling to Asia to do shows is far better than not skating. So outside the USA there is one mega star. I do not know whether her fandom in USA is yet reaching mainstream viewers. I think Joannie Rochette is now helping interest in the USA and Evan. Johnny's shows certainly appeal to most die hard fans as we have known him a long time now.
Well, there might be another Michelle Kwan type skater around the corner. I guess it will take that.
I do think, though, that Johnny's portrayal of the sport as effeminate will dissuade some boys/parents. Other than Rudy Galindo, who was tame in comparison, even the gay skaters want to portray "acceptable masculinity." Orser or Boitano never wore anything outrageous. I don't think they would have had such long carreers/large fan bases but that is due to the times they skated. The public would not have embraced them in those days had they pushed every button and envelope, of that I'm sure.
Anything goes nowadays. The more outrageous the better...Lady Gaga anyone? (I actually like her in small doses!)
I am guessing her fees were enormous and they had n american champs and faves to invite. Maybe 1 yuna costs 4 others! I wondered too. Maybe she would not want to travel by bus around usa. She is so rich she likely would need her own bus and maybe security detail. I'm guessing it came down to money. I don't think she wants a 40 city tour. She just does a weeks worth of work, brings in world skaters and makes a bundle for 3 nights. Anyone have any idea what the gross was on her recent Festa?
IIRC it had something to do with contract agreements between her agents and IMG - SOI's backer.
as for Kurt - he gives praise in many forms, if that's what he said about Yuna he wasn't 'gushing' he was just stating fact as he called it. - it doesn't hurt she's coached by one of his friends/idols.
There were various contractual disputes and bad feeling about the switch. IMG does not allow their skaters (Mao Asada and Miki Ando, in addition to many American skaters (Mirai Nagasu, for instance) including the whole SOI gang) to participate in Yuna's shows, and vice versa.
Michelle Kwan is one of the few U.S. big-timers who has independent representation (Shep Goldberg), so she was able to skate in Yuna's show in Korea last summer.
If that's the case, I think it important to be casted in a big, traditional, authentic show like SOI. She does not have to be in the entire touring of the SOI, but can just pick and choose a few big cities to participate.
Even though she does have the funding to organize her own shows in the US or Europe, she really needs strong local collaborators that have publicity among the general public (e.g., Michelle Kwan in the US, Stephane Lambiel or Plush in Europe and Russia). Although she was chosen as the most influencial person in the world by an internet poll, it's just not the case.
Shizuka has been pretty successful as a show skater and a commentator. It worked well for her because of the younger generation of Japanese skaters to commentate on. But I think that Yuna is too young and too big a name to work as a commentator. The Korean public would want to see her as a star and there is no knowing if the public remains interested in FS if Yuna ever retires. But doing her own shows only in Korea would not be challenging enough for her to keep her motivated for the many years to come.
I think that Canada may be a good place for her to start organizing her own shows. She has strong connection to Canadian skaters and the public would accept her more as an insider of the country because of her long-term relationship with the country.
Or why doesn't she collaborate with Johnny? Both are not joining the SOI. She has that enormous funding and Johnny has the name in the US.
Last edited by Bennett; 04-19-2010 at 11:14 PM.
Yeah it might do wonders to both of them to work together. But first of all, Johnny needs a better, more professional representation. It seems like Ms. Modulin is ruining whatever's left of his career. And Yuna would need a local rep in NA.
Last edited by sunny0760; 04-20-2010 at 03:20 AM.
To get back to the topic:
Of course Weir is a tremendous help to the sport. He's a star in a sport that needs stars, burdened by a federation ruled by fossils and cultural retrogrades.
As to whether his .... flamboyance might scare away some delicate straight boys from becoming skaters. Who cares?
No, really. Figure skating owes a tremendous debt to gay men (as competitors, choreographers, coaches and fans). It's digusting and hypocritical that the establishment is so hesistant to acknowledge this little fact.
If some guy dislikes gay men so much (or is so afraid of people thinking he's gay) then chances are approximately 99 to one that he won't have the competitive nerve or drive needed to succeed.
Jeff indeed comes to Japan very often. He has long had a very strong fan base in Japan and, after doing the pair with Mao and kissed her, he has become even more popular.
But I thought that he was also popular in Korea and that there was a Korean Jeff fan forum on the net. I think that joining Yuna's show would be good for both. Jeff has been choreographed by David Wilson and it would be cool for them to tie up together and create a show that have good cohesiveness, rather than different pieces put together. They also could do the pair and ice-dancing together.
I read that Yuna will create programs whether or not she continues to compete. So it seems that she at least continues to skate anyway. Yuna can always do ice shows even as an amatuer. And turning to pro and coming back are also pretty flexible these days. Hope Yuna tries whatever she wants to and has some fun.