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Thread: The Skater Before

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    Trixie Schuba's biggest fan! blue dog's Avatar
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    The Skater Before

    During the 6.0 era, there was a lot being said about the skate order. Many skaters in the past did not want the first spot after the warmup (unless you were Ilia Kulik or Brian Boitano, who liked to set the bar, and set it high). However, a factor that seemed to be ignored in discussions, but seemed to have some sort of effect on scoring of some of the best performances were the skaters right before them. In 1998, Tara really needed the performance of her life that night; if she had been the second skater right after Michelle, would she have received the same marks? She was the penultimate skater, and she followed Bonaly, who fell on a triple salchow, doubled the loop, and threw in the backflip.


    My question is-- does a bad performance by the previous skater affect the way judges score the next performance (under any system)? Or was this a purely 6.0 phenomenon?

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    Quote Originally Posted by blue dog View Post
    During the 6.0 era, there was a lot being said about the skate order. Many skaters in the past did not want the first spot after the warmup (unless you were Ilia Kulik or Brian Boitano, who liked to set the bar, and set it high).
    I don´t know if Boitano and Kulik wished to skate first in the final group, but they did what a skater has to do in that position: They skated as well as they could and went all out.

    I don´t know if a bad performance from a previous skater really helps the next skater, but would assume that an excellent skate before the next skater might scare that skater, the nerves...
    Last edited by Jaana; 12-31-2010 at 02:18 PM.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    The Order of Skate, imo, plays a role in the game of competitions especially the mental attitude of the players. It's all about last minute decision making.

    1. Should the first skater, if in the past, won comps without his top arsenal, use it now? He/she only gets one chance. (This was Kwan's problem whether or not to do her 3x3.)

    2. Should the middle skaters attempt their iffy elements or skate safely? (Tara decided to throw in her 3Rx3R anyway since she was getting the roar-of-the-crowd as she skated her entire routine.)

    3. The last skater's decision based on what she's seen and heard, must decide if he/she can win this and skate accordingly. (What did Ms. Bielman decide?)

    Mental Attitude and Nerves play a big role in that most important skate of the year.

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    she takes the audience on her journey of emotions Layfan's Avatar
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    ^Thanks for sharing that about Tara

    I think it does play a major role but as you said - that's where mental toughness comes in.

    I always suspect that Alissa's meltdown at nationals was partly because Rachael skated so well right before her during the SP and got a huge score (69). I've always wondered if Alissa thought, "oh no. I'm never going to get THAT score."

    Mao could have reacted that same way at the Olympics, skating right after Yuna. But she didn't. Mental toughness

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    Trixie Schuba's biggest fan! blue dog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Layfan View Post
    I always suspect that Alissa's meltdown at nationals was partly because Rachael skated so well right before her during the SP and got a huge score (69). I've always wondered if Alissa thought, "oh no. I'm never going to get THAT score.
    This may have been the same reaction Maria Butyrskaya had in her mind while she was warming up for her long program in 1998. Tara had just preceded her, and Tara's screams while her marks were read only rivaled Oksana's when hers were read in 1994.

    Lu Chen, in the same Olympics, was preceded by Irina Slutskaya. While Irina did not have a meltdown (weird lutz technique, bad save on the triple flip, she did a triple toe triple toe), her artistry was nowhere near Michelle or Lu's, so to the judges, Lu Chen must've looked even better when compared to Irina, who just finished.

    And to follow Lu Chen, Surya must've looked even more like a technical skater.

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    she takes the audience on her journey of emotions Layfan's Avatar
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    Huh. I didn't remember that Maria skated after Tara.

    Oskana didn't really scream after her marks in Lillehammer though. She just had the most epic sobbing in Olympic history It ranks as one of the most memorable victory reactions in skating. Tara's too.

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    I have no nerves so I would fall apart if someone before me skated awesome.

    Kwan, Witt, and Boitano are just a few of the great competitors who entered a competition to the job that they trained for.

    I am shocked that Czisny was able to hold it together at the gpfinal. I held my breath with each of her jumps. I am not sure that she will be able to do it again at Nationals. Now that she skated well and won a major championship the pressure will be greater than ever. I will be rooting for her to skate well again and I am so happy that she didn't retired.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    I think we all agree that mental attitude plays a big role just before the SP and LP. The order of skate is decision making time when it comes to the next skater.

    Czisny did a good job skating after Kostner's best ever. Don't ever underestimate the Grand Prix.

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    she takes the audience on her journey of emotions Layfan's Avatar
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    ^ I don't know what underestimating the GP has to do with it but yes, Alissa did an AWESOME job of holding it together and skating for herself that time.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Layfan View Post
    ^ I don't know what underestimating the GP has to do with it but yes, Alissa did an AWESOME job of holding it together and skating for herself that time.
    Some fans believe the GPs are a form of practicing.

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    Regardless of the mental aspects for the skaters, I think it's absurd to have skate order dependent on, for example, performance in an earlier phase of the competition. As in LP order is reverse of standings in SP. Talk about implanting expectations in the judges's minds, consciously or unconsciously, of how they should score the skaters they are about to see! Even to do it by flight is sketchy imo, but at least if you need to present the lowest 5 or 6, then the next 5 or 6, and so on, at least have them random within their group.

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    Blame the television networks. They're the ones who push for nonrandom short program groupings and nonrandom skate order within freeskate flights. They want to show the highest ranked skaters and they want them grouped together for efficiency. They want to try to build suspense for audiences. If the favorite skates first in the final group and widens their lead by a lot, everything else is anticlimax.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Since Sonia Henie movies got people interested in figure skating as spectaculars (it wasn't her Oly triumps), the media picked up on that. The sport of figure skating took a back seat to the entertaining spectacular it could bring in Ratings. In the earlier years, Jim McKay was showing the sport, but the ratings-hungary-media wanted more, so the USFS made deals with the ISU to arrange figure skating competitions as spectaculars moreso than genuine sport to satisfy the media.

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    Oh, I do realize the skate order is formulated with the audience in mind. Still likely contributes to a biased outcome though.

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    Trixie Schuba's biggest fan! blue dog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    Since Sonia Henie movies got people interested in figure skating as spectaculars (it wasn't her Oly triumps), the media picked up on that. The sport of figure skating took a back seat to the entertaining spectacular it could bring in Ratings. In the earlier years, Jim McKay was showing the sport, but the ratings-hungary-media wanted more, so the USFS made deals with the ISU to arrange figure skating competitions as spectaculars moreso than genuine sport to satisfy the media.
    Yes, and no. The tiered skate order was created to "level" the playing field for many skaters. This happened, actually, because of one of Sonja's triumphs. In 1936, Cecilia Colledge trailed Sonja Henie after the figures. If today's system had been in place, Cecilia and Sonja would've gone head-to-head in the final flight. However, because it was done by a complete random draw, Cecilia skated in the first flight. She was actually the 2nd skater to skate in the LP, which resulted in lower marks, even though she had more difficulty, and was considered to be the better free skater.

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