Bona Fide Member
Grand Prix finals: “major championship” or “who cares?”
Here’s what I think.
It takes time for a sporting event to develop the tradition, history and cache that characterizes a big deal in the sporting world. Organizing committees and international regulatory bodies cannot just declare an event to be important by fiat. There is no particular reason why the Masters is the most prestigious tournament in golf, and Wimbledon in tennis. They just are.
The Grand Prix is only 15 years old. It began as fund-raiser for the ISU in the 1995-96 season by matching up the winners of several invitational events around the world. I doubt if the Bofrost Cup (aka the Sparkassen Cup, the Nations Cup, and the Fijifilm Trophy) was any more prestigious than some of the independently produced cheesefests. (For one thing, the cheesefests offered bigger purses.)
I think it is significant that Japan is the country that pays the most attention to making the Grand Prix Final and placing well. Although Japan has been involved in skating for a long time, only recently has it risen to a place of dominance. To European counties, the Johnny-come-lately Grand Prix can’t hold a candle to the century-old European Championship.
I think the Grand Prix will live long and prosper \\//_ As it gets its feet on the ground, skaters of the future will be eager to carve their name on the trophy beneath those of the legendary giants that grandpop keeps going on and on about – Yu-na Kim, Mao Asada,…Jeremy Abbott….
she takes the audience on her journey of emotions
Good post and I also have thought the GP is taking on more importance and will continue to do so with the rise of the Asian skaters. I know they have FC - but the GP series and final seems at least to surpass that competition in importance, doesn't it? Probably because there it's a prolonged event. Correct me if I'm wrong but when Yuna and Mao faced off that the GP it was a fairly big deal in their countries, no?
Here's a Kyodo story I came across recently about Mao and it describes the GP final as "prestigious"
I think it may also be significant that NHK Trophy existed for over a decade before the Champion Series was created, only one Olympic cycle past the Sapporo games. I'd bet "their" GP event is a little bit more of a thing to them than Bofrost Cup or the other random GP events of days gone by. Trophee French Company, Skate Canada, Skate America all have a long history too, but for various reasons probably aren't quite as signifcant for skating fans in those countries. The way fans in a GP host country see "their" GP event probably has a lot to do with how they see the entire series. The whole thing does seem calculated to play a bit into nationalist fervor, the way invitations/assignments work.
Originally Posted by Mathman
If there's one thing I've learned in school, it's that traditions are invented (Hobsbawm et al.)
With more time and more promotion, I'm sure the GPF will be fine.