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Thread: Modern Skating is Ugly – European Champions

  1. #16
    Like subtlety in ice dancing Serious Business's Avatar
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    Very true tulosai. And there is immense pressure from much higher up in the government on Russian skaters to produce good results now that they're headed into the Russia-hosted Olympics. No skater can be caught slacking or leaving points off the table, that just will not do. It's not the freest system in the world. But on the other hand, it does produce the best darn pairs skaters (and a lot of other great skaters in other disciplines) who don't have to worry as much financially and resource-wise. Pairs skating right now would be much less watchable without the Russian greats.

    That is not to say I want the US or any other country to take after the Russian system. For all the success you see in a single-minded state-sponsored Olympics program, there are many more failures who wind up with not much support, education and skills to apply elsewhere in life. And even those who succeed are under pressure to keep quiet about abuse.
    Last edited by Serious Business; 02-09-2012 at 03:26 PM.

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Serious Business View Post
    Their funding and livelihood depends on producing results for the Russian skating federation, as do some of the funding and livelihood of their team. They have more responsibilities than just their artistic ideal. Speaking out against the rules without ignoring them is a valid compromise in their situation.
    But they can choose to do something difficult and pretty, or something a little lower on BV but make it so pretty to score high GOE.

    Many of the criticisms on ugly elements are due to poor execution by less skilled skaters struggling to do a higher level for points' sake, or something not suitable for them, due to lack of flexibility or strength, for example. The best in the sport find ways to win while optimizing their best and complying with the rules, not that the system is not to be modified and improved with skaters' inputs.

    I remember way back when Paul Martini as a commentator often called death spirals ugly, like pulling a sack of potato. He and Underhill of course had gorgeous spirals and he found many Pairs just didn't bother to pay attention to them.

  3. #18
    Like subtlety in ice dancing Serious Business's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkateFiguring View Post
    But they can choose to do something difficult and pretty, or something a little lower on BV but make it so pretty to score high GOE.
    A blade grab during lifts and a hand hold change during the death spiral makes the difference between levels, which is quite a few points. It may be possible to make the former... not so offensive looking, but repeating it in every lift, which the rules encourage, still gets wearying. The death spiral hand hold change is impossible to pretty up. At this level of skating where 1 or 2 points separate gold from silver, those aren't things you can throw away. Most of the top level pairs teams can do all those uglifying features while maximizing GOE, therefore it's not really optional for any of them if they want to win. The problem is one that has to be fixed in the rules, not by the skaters.

  4. #19
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    most spins certainly are if not ugly look extremely tortured and a lot of lifts look tortured and death spirals have declined in quality.
    Last edited by gmyers; 02-09-2012 at 06:04 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nadine View Post
    You have a point there, bsfan, I honestly lost interest in pairs (except for the USA) after 2002. I do like Shen & Zhao and think they should be commended for never giving up, persevering, and staying in the game while into their mid-30's. However, Shen's positions come nowhere close to someone like Elena Berezhynia & Ekaterina Gordeeva. And though S&Z's throws were HUGE, the technique was not good; Zhao's feet always left the ice when he threw Shen. This is also what cost Artur Dmietriev the gold in 1994; his technique on replay was the same as Zhao's, whereas the split screen showed the correct way to do it, that of Sergei Grinkov, feet firmly planted on the ice and the flow he still carried after throwing Katia into the air. These little things may not seem like much, but they do matter, especially when it comes time to deciding who should win ~ apples versus oranges ~ that was the famous saying at the 1994 Olympics in Pairs.

    I'd rather see an element done right with perfect technique versus a harder one with imperfect technique. Hopefully the powers-that-be are reading this thread and institute some changes to bring back the beauty in skating. Jmho.
    I agree with how the men look when they throw the lady. I hate it when the med look like they are throwing a bag of dirt, like what they are doing doesn't matter. All the Chinese men do it and Maxim is starting to do it with Tatiana as well and I hate it. I wish men would take pride in how they looked in the throw as much as the lady. Sadly that doesn't seem to matter now. Now all that seems to matter is how high the lady gets off the ice.

    The death spiral is ugly with all the hand changes, the man comes to a dead stop and it's really looking bad even for the best skaters. Senior skating choreography has become too progressive and I would rather give skaters the option to put it in or leave it out as part of their choreography and not an element.

    I disagree with him on the split twist, I notice he only wants to be credited for height and not steps before hand? That’s because he has a high twist and no steps. I suggest he works on his levels and not changing the rules.

    Lifts can be pretty for those skaters, coaches and choreographers inovative enough to come up with pretty lifts. When they can't of course they will blame the rules, not themselves.

  6. #21
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    I agree with the Russians. Beauty in skating is no longer truly appreciated. It is all about the points now.

  7. #22
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    I just watched the video of M&D's LP at '94 Olympics and in both throws, Artur's skates remained on the ice. The male skaters who I first noticed having a flying up leg on the throw were all of the Chinese (mainly Tong and Zhang which was odd since their partners were and are so tiny).

    Quote Originally Posted by Nadine View Post
    You have a point there, bsfan, I honestly lost interest in pairs (except for the USA) after 2002. I do like Shen & Zhao and think they should be commended for never giving up, persevering, and staying in the game while into their mid-30's. However, Shen's positions come nowhere close to someone like Elena Berezhynia & Ekaterina Gordeeva. And though S&Z's throws were HUGE, the technique was not good; Zhao's feet always left the ice when he threw Shen. This is also what cost Artur Dmietriev the gold in 1994; his technique on replay was the same as Zhao's, whereas the split screen showed the correct way to do it, that of Sergei Grinkov, feet firmly planted on the ice and the flow he still carried after throwing Katia into the air. These little things may not seem like much, but they do matter, especially when it comes time to deciding who should win ~ apples versus oranges ~ that was the famous saying at the 1994 Olympics in Pairs.

    I'd rather see an element done right with perfect technique versus a harder one with imperfect technique. Hopefully the powers-that-be are reading this thread and institute some changes to bring back the beauty in skating. Jmho.

  8. #23
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    I watched in real time with Verne Lundquist & Scott Hamilton doing the commentary for I think NBC? It's all there, packed away in my old VCR tapes, with a *split screen* showing Artur throwing Natalia versus Sergei throwing Katia, and pointing out the difference between the two.

    Besides the argument over apples versus oranges, most famously Scott said "passion or perfection". And the judges chose perfection.

    Btw, that was one of thee most exciting pairs final EVER! At that time I thought M&D would win, especially considering the little mistakes Sergei made (i.e. singling the double flip & the minor bobble on his 2A), but I had no problem with G&G winning because their technique was better, as well their lines glorious; like Scott said the judges went with "perfection" instead of passion.

  9. #24
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    I'd hate to go against the grain....but I love how COP has made figure skating so much more sport-like. For me, and I think the reason I fell in love with it, is that it is first and foremost a sport (I know, sorry, bringing up the sport v art debate) and that a great skater brings a clean showing....but a brilliant skater can touch you in unimaginable ways within the great skate. Skaters' opinions which show a fustration with how "ugly" or "technical" skating now is don't hold much water in my mind....if you want to make it beautiful and a show, thats for YOU to do within the completion of the elements. Alissa Czisny, Sasha Cohen, Castile/Okolski ('07 nationals LP) Davis/White have all done this exceptionally well, to point out the Americans who I watch the most.

  10. #25
    Like subtlety in ice dancing Serious Business's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pista04 View Post
    I'd hate to go against the grain....but I love how COP has made figure skating so much more sport-like. For me, and I think the reason I fell in love with it, is that it is first and foremost a sport (I know, sorry, bringing up the sport v art debate) and that a great skater brings a clean showing....but a brilliant skater can touch you in unimaginable ways within the great skate. Skaters' opinions which show a fustration with how "ugly" or "technical" skating now is don't hold much water in my mind....if you want to make it beautiful and a show, thats for YOU to do within the completion of the elements. Alissa Czisny, Sasha Cohen, Castile/Okolski ('07 nationals LP) Davis/White have all done this exceptionally well, to point out the Americans who I watch the most.
    There's nothing wrong with going against the grain. We need dissenting opinions in the forum or we'd just be an echo chamber of agreement. Although, I don't think you are disagreeing that much, at least with me. I don't want to do away with the COP, that's not my objection. The basics of the COP are a very sound idea, quantifying everything and giving them point values. Within the framework of the COP, anything can be rewarded. Good things, bad things. I don't like the rules that encourage bad things.

    The COP allows change, and it has been changed for aesthetic purposes in the past. For instance, the woman assuming wacky positions during the death spiral is no longer a level feature. It used to be one, but led to exceptionally vile looking performances of the element. Did it make the move harder? Sure. But it was ugly enough that the ISU decided to do away with the rule. People decided that they liked the classic death spiral position, and well they should. In singles, the Biellmann position was far more ubiquitous once upon a time, used in every spin, every spiral. But the rules changed to limit using it as a level feature, so now the move is far less abused.

    Complexity and difficulty should not be the priority of the COP. As Johnny Weir said (h/t to Nadine), the rules may give points to him for doing "a quadruple flip with [his] finger in [his] nose". Would that be difficult and complex? Yes, it would. But would it be a good thing for the sport, for skaters and for viewers? No, at least for those of them who aren't nose picking enthusiasts. It is fine to encourage and quantify complexity and difficulty and reward them, but if, after they've been put in practice, it turns out that they lead to ugliness and repetition rather than beauty and innovation, those rules should be done away with.

    The simplification of some overly fussy areas of the COP is already happening: this is why we have the choreographed step sequence and choreographed spirals in singles, so skaters don't have to repeat footwork and contortions they're already doing in other parts of the program. At this point, it should be abundantly clear that pairs skaters are abusing the blade grab feature on lifts, and that no pair skater has managed to do the hand hold change on the death spiral without ruining at least the man's posture. It's time to ditch those rules.

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