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Thread: Educating the public

  1. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by drivingmissdaisy View Post
    I don't think any amount of explanation is going to convince the casual fan that a difficult program with errors should beat a clean program that is beautifully skated. It's a bit like the uproar over S&P vs B&S; a lot of knowledgable fans thought B&S should have won despite the bobbles, whereas the masses were outraged that a program with visible errors would win.
    True. Although in the Salt Lake City case I think the "expert commentators" like Scott Hamilton could easily have said, "Well folks, it's now in the hands of the judges. Anton had a slight bobble on the double Axel and a couple of Elena's landing were a little tight. But B&S had richer choreography, expressed the musical theme with greater subtlety, and displayed outstanding blade to ice skills."

    I think the masses are quite capable of understanding and appreciating all of that.

    It won't effect my conclusion, will it?
    No. All of your assumptions and estimates consistently underestimate the expected value, so your final conclusion about a 6-point deduction for a fall on a quad is quite safe. 7 is probable quite safe, too, and maybe 8 is right.

    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly
    If I were Empress of the ISU, I'd try to get more people engaged in the sport on its own terms so that more casual viewers would turn into fans, more fans would turn into diehard fans, and more fans (diehard or otherwise) would turn into participants -- either as skaters or as officials and other volunteers.
    It worked for me! (Except the part about becoming a skater myself. Does attending local club shows and contributing to the 1961 airplane crash fund count? )

  2. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by drivingmissdaisy View Post
    I don't think any amount of explanation is going to convince the casual fan that a difficult program with errors should beat a clean program that is beautifully skated. It's a bit like the uproar over S&P vs B&S; a lot of knowledgable fans thought B&S should have won despite the bobbles, whereas the masses were outraged that a program with visible errors would win.
    Not necessarily. Nobody booed when a clean Michal Brezina with a huge quad was placed second behind Patrick Chan with a couple bobbles in the SP at Worlds. Or when S/Z with a big bobble on a lift won the gold medal at the Olympics over an inspired and clean P/T. Or when a flawed Gordeeva/Grinkov won over a clean Mishkutenok/Dmitriev in 1994, etc., etc.

  3. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    It worked for me! (Except the part about becoming a skater myself. Does attending local club shows and contributing to the 1961 airplane crash fund count? )
    Sure.


    It's hard for the ISU to get people involved at the local level. At international competitions, the audience is going to consist mainly of 1) local people who are already skaters or otherwise involved; 2) local folks who thought the competition looked like something fun to check out (2a, already skating fans, maybe prime pickings for the host club to recruit; 2b, members of the general public who have little if any idea of what to expect -- including sponsors and other recipients of free tickets), and 3) avid fans who have gone out of their way to travel to a competition away from home

    Anyone from group 2 who's seeing live skating for the first time might get hooked by the excitement. Although with big events some will decide that they're not interested in watching more than an hour or so at a time and their interest will remain casual.

    Program notes, short informative videos on the Jumbotron, more informative ways of displaying the marks in the arena, earphones with educational commentary can all help develop a more knowledgeable audience. Most of these options could be ignored by the more casual fans who just want to sit back and be entertained for a couple hours

    It would be great to have on-ice demonstrations and on-ice group lessons with famous skaters and coaches. Ice time is often at a premium and needed for the competitors. If there's a practice rink, maybe that could be used for public events toward the end of the competition.

    Some kind of off-ice seminars with videos (which could also be sold), lecture, and question-and-answer could be offered to
    interested fans for a small fee.

    Possible topics:
    recognizing and evaluating technical elements (separate for singles, pairs, dance)
    skating skills and transitions
    other components
    advanced inside-the-technical panel seminar (separate for singles, pairs, dance)


    National federations or local host clubs could also do this kind of thing at domestic events that attract paying audiences. And because there's likely to be a larger percentage of local fans in attendance, it might be a good opportunity to promote the club's other activities. There are probably some fans who watch skating on TV, are excited to see an event like US Nationals or Skate America come to their local area, but who have no idea that they could see live skating at a lower level much more conveniently for little or no money at an annual club competition or show and some years at a nearby qualifying competition. Advertise those events too, and if a local competition is coming up soon maybe include ways to volunteer for jobs like registration, monitoring, playing music and announcing, helping in the accounting room.

    Of course the clubs need to be careful about recruiting strangers to show up and interact with their kids. Most fans love skating for the right reasons but there can always be dangerous exceptions. But it would be nice to find a way to let interested fans know that they would be welcome to become active participants in the club even if they never set foot on the ice themselves, while weeding out the occasional wierdo.

  4. #79
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    Of course the clubs need to be careful about recruiting strangers to show up and interact with their kids. Most fans love skating for the right reasons but there can always be dangerous exceptions. But it would be nice to find a way to let interested fans know that they would be welcome to become active participants in the club even if they never set foot on the ice themselves, while weeding out the occasional wierdo.
    Oh how I agree with this. Local clubs can be so clichish and standoffish that it makes it hard to support the local talent because those in charge don't want outsiders around.

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    This whole concept of 'educating the public' is stupid and laughable. It is Judges that need be educated not to inflated Chan's scores.

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    This thread is not about Chan. It's about skating as a whole. If the public is only interested in who wins the world medals, there isn't a sustainable fanbase.

  7. #82
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    I am lucky to live in an area where there are strong local clubs that have really good skaters. When you can go to a local club's annual shindig and see, in addition to a raft of earnest children , skaters like Alissa Czisny, Jeremy Abbott, and Davis and White, all for twenty bucks or so, you get your money's worth. Plus, the next group, juniors and seniors who are at the level of trying to make it to nationals, are really good, too.

    It always seemed to me that it ought to be possible to advertise these shows vigorously and try to rope in more people. Maybe they have tried. The majority of the audience are relatives of the participants.

  8. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    True. Although in the Salt Lake City case I think the "expert commentators" like Scott Hamilton could easily have said, "Well folks, it's now in the hands of the judges. Anton had a slight bobble on the double Axel and a couple of Elena's landing were a little tight. But B&S had richer choreography, expressed the musical theme with greater subtlety, and displayed outstanding blade to ice skills."
    This goes back to the opening question about who's responsibility it is to help the audience understand the sport. One of the clearest examples of what you suggest, imo, comes from the ice dance competition at the 1995 Worlds (where booing occured, interestingly).

    Rahkamo & Kokko
    British Commentary
    American Commentary

    The Eurosport commentators play into the crowd - "Are they all wrong?" (re: the audience) - "Just for their character, they should win it" - "It's so subjective". Sandra Bezic, on the other hand, really does slam any idea that their loss is political or unfair. She points out that R/K were technically weaker than G/P. That the judges have rules to follow, that it's a competition, etc. Even if you prefer R/K's skate/program (I did), I think that the two audiences would come away with a different attitude towards the result.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    I am lucky to live in an area where there are strong local clubs that have really good skaters. When you can go to a local club's annual shindig and see, in addition to a raft of earnest children , skaters like Alissa Czisny, Jeremy Abbott, and Davis and White, all for twenty bucks or so, you get your money's worth. Plus, the next group, juniors and seniors who are at the level of trying to make it to nationals, are really good, too.
    Mariposa Club in Barrie has an annual charity gala where for $30 you can watch Mariposa skaters from around the world who are training at the club, along with former club stars like Jeff Buttle, Jennifer Robinson, and guest skaters who have included Yu-Na Kim when she trained with Orser, Kurt Browning, Yuka Sato, Michael Weiss, and others. We always get a group together and drive up just for the opportunity to see such top level competitive and show skaters. Club skaters who have medalled at their national competition or internationally all get solos so we see skaters from Juvenile to Senior, in all disciplines. Current Mariposa skaters include Nobinari Oda and Paul & Islam. This show is well advertized and is usually packed. Money raised is donated to a local hospital. Afterwards there's a meet the skaters reception for people who buy an on-ice table. It's a great event and very well attended.

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    Quote Originally Posted by evangeline View Post
    Not necessarily. Nobody booed when a clean Michal Brezina with a huge quad was placed second behind Patrick Chan with a couple bobbles in the SP at Worlds. Or when S/Z with a big bobble on a lift won the gold medal at the Olympics over an inspired and clean P/T. Or when a flawed Gordeeva/Grinkov won over a clean Mishkutenok/Dmitriev in 1994, etc., etc.
    Certainly you point out some valid exceptions. I guess I should clarify that the outrage stems from when a perceived co-favorite goes clean and loses to a competitor with errors. I don't think people view Breznia on par with Chan by any means. G/G is a good example though because I personally was surprised that they beat M/D.

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    G&G and M&D are a poor example because people are still arguing that one, so yes, a lot has been said about that competition.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonlady View Post
    G&G and M&D are a poor example because people are still arguing that one, so yes, a lot has been said about that competition.
    G/G vs. M/D in 1994 may be discussed ad nauseum on figure skating forums, but people who post on such forums are by definition not casual fans of the sport. I checked on Youtube (http://youtu.be/pY7HFPSmx8M) and as far as I can tell, G/G--who skated right after a clean M/D--received only applause for their first-place marks. I'm too young to remember the media response to this particular competition, but did the media coverage after the LP in 1994 imply that M/D should have won, or anything of that sort?

    ETA: did some googling and found an article from 1994: http://articles.latimes.com/1994-02-...sergei-grinkov

    In the first meeting in the Olympics between past champions, eight of the nine judges voted for Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov, the 1988 gold medalists, in the freestyle program, while the crowd preferred Natalia Mishkutenok and Artur Dmitriev, the 1992 gold medalists, rewarding them with a standing ovation.
    So I guess G/G vs. M/D is not exactly a good example after all. I wonder if there would have been more of an uproar if both teams were not Russian?
    Last edited by evangeline; 04-07-2012 at 01:12 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by evangeline View Post
    I wonder if there would have been more of an uproar if both teams were not Russian?
    I believe so. It's interesting because when I think back it seems like pairs under the old system has been judged more like COP than singles had. The teams with the solid skating skills seemed always to do very well, whether they were clean or has slight errors. In contrast I think you saw more surprises in the singles, where you had more surprise World and Olympic Champions than in pairs.

  14. #89
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    Over the years, it has been usual for the audience to boo the judges when the marks come up, if they disapproved of those marks. It's very rare that a skater has ever been booed either on the podium, or when taking his/her/their bows.

    Sometimes booing has been disruptive to the skating. I recall one Worlds in Europe , where the skater who came on before Dorothy Hamill skated lights out, her best performance ever, in front of a home crowd. Her marks were kind of low and the audience went wild, booing the judges. The booing continued during Dorothy's introduction, and she thought they were booing her.

    The other booing tradition is that wherever he goes in figure skating, when Ottavio Cinquanta is introduced, he is often booed.
    Last edited by dorispulaski; 04-07-2012 at 03:54 AM.

  15. #90
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    Sometimes audiences boo low scores to show their support for the skaters. Like, aw, come on, she did great, give her some marks!

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