He is dead right on the singles. The singles events have been a joke so far, both in terms of the quality of skating and the quality of judging. I have never seen singles skating look so hopeless. However the pairs and dance have been exciting with many bright new talents. His comments on those events are completely out of line, but on the mens and womens singles right on the money.
I agree with him. Especially for ladies the quality has gone down BIG TIME. Or maybe we just feel like that because Yuna is missing. If you think about it, if you take Yuna out of last season the rest of the ladies weren't that impressive at last GP season either.
Well, all things considered, Skate America was a relatively dreary event--if you're trying to drum up excitement for American competitors, which is Hersh's schtick. It was an easy job when Kwan was skating, since she was reliably going to win, place or show any competition she entered for years.
And as to pairs, the up and coming pairs, even in the US, have been quite exciting. Yankowskas & Coughlin skated really well in 2 competitions. And Castellia and Shnapir gave a good SP at Skate Canada and a good LP at Skate America-some day they'll do both in the same competition. Donlan and Speroff among the up and comings look good, too. Among non US pairs, there's Sui & Han and Takahashi and Tran and Baranova & Larianov--all interesting teams, and more important with advances on the technical side, as well as with promise on the artistic side.
Last edited by dorispulaski; 11-27-2010 at 12:41 AM.
It's not going to get much better as long as the scoring system and judges prefer rewarding mechanical, convoluted moves and sloppy, forced performances. I also long for Yu-Na Kim to come back but her skating will only be a more exciting version of overwrought CoP-ness rather than the true divinity of figure skating at its best.
I read this last week, and except for Skate America, I agree with him. I was actually there at Skate America and had a great time, despite being ill, all because of Rachael Flatt's performance, and to a lesser extent Daisuke Takahashi, both of whom are phenomenal performers in person. And Rach brought the house down with her AWE factor, her charm & personality, but most importantly she was the only one to skate clean with 7 triples & no falls/bobbles/breaks. That alone puts her on a higher sphere than the rest, but more importantly she did it with gusto/determination/personality. Now if she just skated clean without the latter it wouldn't have been so impressive imho. But she really did have it ALL.
Yet I don't think Rachael will be the one to put figure skating back on the map, and she isn't the only one, if Michelle Kwan couldn't do it except here in the States nobody else could either, including Yuna Kim. We honestly haven't had an international star since Katarina Witt, she transcended all sports & all countries, same as Sonja Henie did in her time. But what would help skating is if we finally had a STAR again here in the States along the lines of Michelle Kwan's appeal. Like it or not, the USA is a beacon for figure skating, if one makes it here in the States one makes it big time, not just in his or hers small country (please see Henie & Witt's examples). And I would add Ekaterina Gordeeva to the list, as well as the brief time Oksana Baiul shone. Right now I don't see anybody on the horizon to transcend figure skating internationally either, even Kira Korpi, yep she has the look, but that's it imho. I seriously don't think she will be the next Anna Kournikova, which is a good thing imho, Kira's personality is much more refined.
So in the end what Phil is saying is nothing new, as long as us die-hards are still here, there will be a market, despite how small. Enjoy what we can, and maybe one day in our lifetime we will get that star that transcends all countries & all sports to make figure skating big again on a global basis (ala Henie & Witt). Jmho of course.
Hersh writes about SA from last season - and could only cite Rachael's winning LP. Actually, Yuna skated a terrific SP but a poor LP and still won. I don't see how that was any better than this season's SA unless one's idea of excitement is seeing Yuna falling all over the fabled Lake Placid ice.
gkelly reminded me last season that skaters can be far from their best at the GP and for many skaters that would seem to be true this season.
Listening to the Ladies SP press conference Kiira was asked about Mao. She said all athletes have ups and downs and that she was sure Mao would be ready for the more important events later this season. I suspect Kiira is right about Mao and by also pointing out the skaters care more about the events that follow the GP.
Also, Mirai with funny comments about why she loves skating
We are watching the GP - not Natls, Euros or Worlds. Very few skaters can be at their best throughout the entire season. ISU put the GP together to kill competition - and not because any skating expert ever said it was good or natural for skaters to be able to perform at a high level five or more times a season.
We saw Kwan try and ease out of the GP and I would not be surprised if she advised Yuna to save herself for the major events and not risk wrecking her body maintaining a schedule of events that does not seem to promote good skating or even the skater's health.
It is what it is - fun for us fans but very demanding on the skaters.
Last edited by janetfan; 11-27-2010 at 07:10 AM.
He admits to watching just bits and pieces of the GP series. It's hard to get into it when you don't fully commit to watching all of it. I understand some of his points-- I have been down about the Ladies for a while now-- but Hersh wouldn't be happy even if it was the greatest season in years.
I don't think the USA today can be called a "beacon for figure skating".. in terms of either market power or qualify of athletes... Japan is a much greater superpower in figure skating now...
It is your loss if your narrow vision restricts you from seeing the fact that currently, the INTERNATIONAL ladies figure skating scene is quite booming, with perhaps one of the greatest female skaters in the history of the sport in Yuna, and certainly one of the best skaters of this generation in Mao.
Yes, U.S. figure skating may be down, but that is hardly the case in Japan or Korea.
The fact that recent competitions seem so "mediocre" is not because these skaters are necessarily bad.. but it is a testament to how high the bar has been raised by the Queen.
Hersh doesn't write for USA Today, but the Chicago Tribune. He also wasn't at Skate America. He was obviously watching it on the computer. I expect to see him at Nationals. Year after Olympics is always a "rebuilding year," so it's no surprise that it's not the most exciting season. We are a long way from being a power in pairs and that's hardly a surprise. I will have to disagree re Castelli & Snapir. He is a hammer-thrower and she should find another partner. Yankowskas & Coughlin have shown progress. It will be interesting to see what Brubaker and his new partner can do. Hersh doesn't watch dance, and knows zip about it. As for singles, well, let's hope the programs improve.
In defense of Nadine: one can hardly state with any confidence what is popular in another part of the globe. I always heard that Jerry Lewis was wildly popular in France, but my friend who did junior year abroad there told me otherwise--he was well-liked, but the French weren't obsessed with him as I was led to believe. If an American said "Oh, Thank God figure skating is so popular in Japan" someone would probably say "No it isn't! The Japanese really like (soccer/baseball/sumo/pinball/fill in the blanks.)" That's what I've heard the Japanese like, anyway. I could be wrong. And anyway, most people don't care what's popular in other countries. Telling an American not to be concerned because their favorite sport is thriving somewhere else is the same as telling someone that their favorite band is popular somewhere else. It's nice for them, but you're not hearing their songs on the radio much, are you? Wishing for something to be "in" where you live doesn't make one narrow minded.
A couple of factors made figure skating very popular in the US for years: the scandal, Michelle/Tara/Sarah/Sasha's dominance, and I think the fall of the Berlin Wall. Suddenly, all those creepy communists Americans were hoping to beat (and were rarely, if ever, interviewed and couldn't be in ice shows here) turned out to be nice, English speaking people with (in many cases) tragic back stories. Who didn't feel for orphaned Oksana, widowed Ekaterina or poor Katarina, whose parents could only attend the Olympics she was over the hill for? Nadine is right, they were international stars in the US.
I don't see any American woman winning anything for a while, and the Japanese skaters aren't really breaking through. They seem like nice young women, but not interesting characters with sob stories like some of the Russians and East Germans. YuNa is the best bet to be the next star in America.
As for Davis and White and their asterisk? Besides the fact that that is ridiculous (did Stephane Lambiel get an asterisk the year without Plushenko?) I do not believe they will win. Somehow, some other team will miraculously get ahead of them, at least in the judges' eyes. I will believe that the US will get a world ice dance gold medal when I see it and not before then.
ETA: That said,
I agree with the previous posters that Hersh and others are over analyzing the GP series a little. It's a great honor to make the final and medal there, but it definitely does not have the panache of a Worlds title/medal.
And also there's been some great stories this GP season-- We just saw Kozuka score the second highest FS score in COP history! We're seeing Tomas Verner slowly come back to form. Evora/Ladwig go their first GP medal, etc. Don't want to list them all. But while it has been drab at times, let's not forget it isn't a complete failure either.
Last edited by Mrs. P; 11-27-2010 at 11:49 AM.
Wait a minute! France isn't crazy about Jerry Lewis??????!