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Thread: 2011/12 - That was the season that was

  1. #31
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poodlepal
    If you think someone should have won but didn't, it's like your fault .
    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been struggling ever since the CoP came out to put my finger on it.

    Nobody wants to go out for an evening's entertainment and come back home feeling, "It's all my fault."

  2. #32
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poodlepal
    There's no drama about someone falling.
    Thank you again! In the olden days, that was so thrilling. Just two more jumps to go! Whew, she didn't fall! One more jump to go. I can't stand the tension! I hope she takes me out of my misery and just skates through it. Oh no, here she goes. Yes!!!!

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebonnet View Post
    Those are relatively small reasons compared with the trend and cultural drifting. The traditional sense of figure skating is not attractive any more. People want to listen to strong beat modern music. They want to see fast pace and real fights. They want to see sexiness, more direct, more revealing. In one word, they want excitement.
    YES! This is true too. It's why I myself often get bored with skating, and admittedly there are times (mostly within the past 4 or so years) that I actually enjoy talking/posting about skating more than actually watching it. In fact, I've probably been solely at that stage since the Vancouver games.

    I always felt that the skating community, as a whole, is stuck 20-30 years in the past. More modern music would be nice, and more variety would be nice too.

  4. #34
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    Greed and marketing are killing the sport. It seems to me that skating used to get good coverage when it was cheap (like a reality show). I can remember when CBC would broadcast figures, and, actually ,it was at least as entertaining as bowling. The camera would move right in and show you the tracings.

    Then, it seemed to me, the ISU decided to go after any money there was in skating. There was a time when there were several skating shows on TV every week, amateur,professional and pro-am. TV rights went sky-high, quality slipped and the marketing geniuses decided the public preferred to see fluff pieces instead of so much skating.

    Now you get to see the top few skaters, maybe not even both their programs, and as much as a month later. Common sense tells me that fewer people will want to see a competition long after the event.

    Try giving the locals a show for the price of a night at the movies, it would pay better than empty seats.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebonnet View Post
    Those are relatively small reasons compared with the trend and cultural drifting. The traditional sense of figure skating is not attractive any more. People want to listen to strong beat modern music. They want to see fast pace and real fights. They want to see sexiness, more direct, more revealing. In one word, they want excitement.
    Sadly, I think your first sentence sums up the current state of affairs.

    The problem is, if people are not interested in skating any more, then they are not interested in skating any more. If it is rock music they want, they can go to a rock concert. Why confuse the issue by putting some skaters out there? If the public wants sexiness, why bother with putting on ice skates? Where does the skating part come in?

    Back in the day, shows like the Ice Follies and the Ice Capades were a hot ticket. What happened? As you say, entertainment trends and cultural drift.

    Most of the suggestions to pep up the commercial side of skating are really about professional entertainment, not amateur athletics. We have to remember that 95 per cent of all competitive skaters are children, and most of the remeining 5% are recreational and adult skaters. These are the participants that organizations like the USFSA must give first priority to, if for no other reason that the fact that is is the parents of these children who are footing the bill.
    Last edited by Mathman; 04-23-2012 at 03:17 PM.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by R.D. View Post

    I always felt that the skating community, as a whole, is stuck 20-30 years in the past. More modern music would be nice, and more variety would be nice too.
    I agree. I remember how Davis/White's Bollywood OD garnered so much positive press and praise even from non-figure skating media sources, blogs, and the like (e.g. http://bollyspice.com/3326/bollywood...o-the-olympics, and this http://vancouver2010.blogs.nytimes.c...ia-with-love/#). More quality programs like this instead of Carmen and the same old warhorses over and over again would definitely help lift figure skating from the rather stodgy image it suffers from.
    Last edited by evangeline; 04-23-2012 at 02:34 PM.

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    Actually, this is (or was a couple of years ago) the golden age of subjectively judged talent contests on television. I don't think it matters if people think skaters are athletes or not. People like watching talented people compete against each other, whether they are athletes, dancers, singers, or have some odd talent like ventriloquism! Three times they tried to have skating reality shows like that, though, and they never got renewed in the US after one season. I don't know why, whether it was a problem with the format of the show, the "celebrities" that were on, or if people just don't like to skating. But it's such a pretty thing to see, I can't imagine that it's that displeasing.

    Skating has never been as popular as other "low" forms of entertainment. I mean, I'm sure there were more people in a disco than watching Dorothy Hamill in the Ice Capades back when I saw her as a little kid. And I'm sure all those hippies weren't really into Peggy Fleming. Why the popularity has gone so far below its pre-Tonya baseline is puzzling and troubling. I think what someone said might be it: there is no room for anything other than huge sports on the stations that used to have bowling, billiards and timber sports as well as figure skating. Only the big three men's sports are televised any more.

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebonnet View Post
    I think what someone said might be it: there is no room for anything other than huge sports on the stations that used to have bowling, billiards and timber sports as well as figure skating.
    But I'm not sure I completely buy that argument. The media world today is such that in most cases, you can find what you're looking for (i.e. what you WANT to see) and aren't "limited" just what's on the few stations on TV. There are more niche stations than ever showing all kinds of shows and sports. The "big" stations will show whatever gets them eyeballs and right now, skating is not it.

    The MUCH bigger issue, to me anyway, is where skating fits in today's media world. I don't think TPTB have been able to figure out its place. It's why NBC's US Nationals ratings sink lower each year (save Oly years), every skating TV show seems to flop (skating with the stars, Thin Ice), and audience interest seems to diminish. If skating wants to broaden its range, it needs to figure out how to appeal to YOUNGER audiences... Allowing hip-hop in junior dance, believe it or not, is a step in the right direction. Also, reaching out to social media more is another step. It would be great if we could get a) solid promoters/marketers at USFS, b) a new lady star, and c) better overall competitiveness at the world level. We have to start at the bottom and work our way up.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebonnet View Post
    In one word, they want excitement.
    More specifically, they want entertainment. This goes to the heart of the problem with COP/IJS, as it has removed most of the artistry from figure skating. It was the artistry that provided much of what was entertaining about skating in the first place. In removing much of it, COP made figure skating boring as far as the wider public was concerned. That is why audiences have fallen away, and why TV contracts have been lost. When will the ISU wake up and smell the coffee? Quite simply, if figure skating is going to survive, then COP/IJS needs to go, and go fast. COP/IJS was brought in, in the wake of the 2002 Olympics scandal, but the medicine ended up causing more problems than the actual disease. The solution was simply to remove the corrupt officials from the sport, not to remove what was most appealing about it in the first place - the artistry and the 6.0 system (which was far more easily understood by the wider public, and which provided added excitement in itself). In my view, the solution is to bring back the artistry and the 6.0 system, and thereby restore what was entertaining about figure skating in the first place. Prices for spectators also need to come down. If this is done in time for next season, then hopefully figure skating as a whole can really put on a show at the 2014 Olympics. That is the ISU's next really good opportunity to show the world that figure skating is back to its entertaining best. Make a success of the 2014 Olympics, and that will bring back the spectators and the TV companies. However, to prepare the way for that, and to put the groundwork in place in good time, then the necessary changes need to be made fast.

    Do nothing, and figure skating will continue to suffer a slow lingering death. I think a crossroads has been reached, and if nothing is done soon, the sport will reach a tipping point beyond which recovery is not possible.

    The lesson of the last 10 years that the ISU needs to learn is what every sport has had to factor in if it is to survive in the modern world - that the sport that they are regulating and governing, whilst a sport, will only survive and thrive by acknowledging and running it on the basis that it is in the entertainment business. In removing much of the artistry from figure skating and making it boring to the wider public, COP/IJS has been an unmitigated disaster. What the ISU completely forgot about when they introduced COP/IJS, was that figure skating, at it's best, was more than just a sport, it was a showsport (i.e. a combination of art and sport) in which the best program's were those that came nearest to achieving not just the best blend of athleticism and technique, but also of artistry, musicality, interpretation, flair, verve, charisma, presentation, etc. One example of this, was Liz Manley's free skate at the 1988 Olympics. Looked at in purely technical terms, it was inferior to Midori Ito's long program. However, Manley's performance had so more to it than just athleticism and it's technical content - elements that positively engaged the audience and switched it on as it were. That is why Manley won the free skate, and it is these kind of program's and performances that will bring the wider public back to figure skating. Another excellent example, is Janet Lynn's 'Afternoon of a Faun' (which I think she skated best at the 1970 U.S Nationals) - a brilliant illustration of just how much great artistry can add to a skating program and of why there is more to figure skating than just technical content.
    Last edited by Mao88; 04-23-2012 at 07:55 PM.

  10. #40
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    Does the ISU want the tv contracts in the US/Canada or does it want to retain its Olympic Sport status? The IOC was just as big a reason for this change in judging as anything IIRC.

  11. #41
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    Strongly disagree about going back to 6.0. You can't do that, not when so much has already been invested in the NJS. Instead, you have to figure out how to tweak it so you don't have instances of Chan or Kostner winning (at least not when they are off their game and clearly didn't deserve the victory).

    Do nothing, and figure skating will continue to suffer a slow lingering death. I think a crossroads has been reached, and if nothing is done soon, the sport will reach a tipping point beyond which recovery is not possible.
    In fact, I'm starting to wonder if such a tipping point has already been reached, at least in the US. Maybe not, if we can SOON become competitive in the ladies division again.

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tonichelle View Post
    Does the ISU want the tv contracts in the US/Canada or does it want to retain its Olympic Sport status? The IOC was just as big a reason for this change in judging as anything IIRC.
    The IOC was obviously concerned about the corruption. However, the answer to that was to simply weed out and remove the corrupt officials, not to destroy what was best about figure skating. There has always been an element within the media who make snide and ill-informed remarks about figure skating not being a 'proper sport' and being 'too subjective'. But you don't go around pandering to people like that by removing what is most attractive about skating, and turning it into something that is monotonous and boring in the process. As the old cliche goes, if you look for the bad in something, you will surely find it. The answer is instead to focus on the good, and back in 2002, figure skating still had a sizeable following that saw plenty in the sport that appealed to them. There was never a danger of the IOC pulling the plug on figure skating. The ladies event had long been regarded as the blue riband event of the winter Olympics, and I think it still is. There is no way that the IOC is going to throw that away simply because of a carping minority of 'purists' within the media, who most people have the good sense to ignore anyway. Instead, the IOC simply wanted the corruption weeding out. However, in doing that, the ISU brought in an over the top solution which went way too far. The ISU may have invested a lot of time and money in COP, but that is no reason for keeping it. It is absurd to continue to invest in something which will simply continue to grind figure skating down in to the dirt - in doing so, you just continue to throw good money after bad.
    Last edited by Mao88; 04-23-2012 at 07:16 PM.

  13. #43
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    I don't agree with this at all. The judging system has nothing to do with the popularity of the sport. Only fans dig into that. This may seem unbelievable to fans who love to debate, but most members of the general public don't understand either system. As I stated yesterday, it has a whole lot to do with lack of trust in the integrity of the sport after SLC, dismissing figure skating as not being sport and therefore not worth the time and attention, lower participation in the sport due to the high costs to participate, other choices, and all of the above complaints, poor marketing and public education, etc. The very last thing the sport needs is to go back to 6.0. It would ensure the sport is kicked out of the Olympics for sure, and destroy any remaining credibility.

    I'm pretty sure if you ask the athletes, they will much prefer to keep COP. Especially on the TES marks, they can understand and track their progress and their placement. Athletes are focused on continuous improvement. While you can't compare exactly from one event to the next, you can see steady improvement in PCS, and see the TES levels grow throughout the season. This is true from the newest competitor to the veteran. Athletes absolutely understand the system and pore over their marks with videos after every event. Under the old system, they could never know why they placed at a certain level. It was about reputation, putting in your time before being allowed to win, and honoring style over substance. That is not sport, and does not get a place in Olympics. Skating must be sport first, then art. The ideal is sport that transcends into art. There are still a lot of comments on the boards about reputation judging, relative positioning of skater (ie. if so and so were the country #1, then they would have medaled) and angst over new kids rising too fast. Sorry, but that has no place in sport. It's what you do on the day that should count, and only that....not who your coach is, what rink you train at, what country you come from, how old or young you are....if you bring it, you should win it. Period. That's sport, and that was what COP was to do. The system does a pretty good job of encouraging whole skaters, not just jumping machines or artistic wonders. It's not perfect, but it is a HUGE improvement over what was. Yes, I think there needs to be better definition/criteria and adherence in the PCS marks. And perhaps there is a way to do that so there is more artistic freedom (what Angelika called beauty). Perhaps we could have more transparency in who the judges are. And perhaps the judges can be secret until the time of competition, and segregated from federations and coaches so there can be no pre-competition lobbying. The PCS should not be used to place skaters or rank them like 6.0, which is what happens sometimes I think.

    There is a word of caution in setting up a system to ensure Chan doesn't win. I seem to remember all kinds of whining and moaning when Evan won gold in Vancouver because he didn't have a quad. The system was changed to reward more risk. The results are more quads, and very unlikely we will have another Olympic champion without a quad. The downside is that there are many more falls from ALL skaters. These are technically challenging programs. These are people, not machines. Chan often wins because he earns enough points on the big tricks like the quads and on all the great stuff in between that he still ends up on top, even when not perfect. Take away the reward for difficulty, and the programs will be simpler, and maybe fall-free, but back to men like Evan winning then Olympics.

  14. #44
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    Patrick Chan was getting a lot of points even back when he couldn't do the quad. Wasn't he telling some reporter that quads were out and transitions were in back in 2010? Weren't people calling him "Transitions boy?" How quickly people forget. I commend him on his picking it up, though. Hopefully next season he'll pick up skating clean and his problems will be over.

    There is a definite risk of mid-level fans like myself getting mad and stopping watching due to the peculiarities of the judging system. Casual fans might watch if there's a scandal and switch to the Kardashians or something otherwise. They don't know one scoring system from another. Die hard fans will watch no matter what. But someone in the middle? At this point, I could go either way. Frankly, I enjoy the message board more than watching the competitions. Why pay for Ice Network to watch a competition where it's pretty much pre-determined who's going to win? Under 6.0 it was almost pre-determined, BUT they could lose it all if the "winner" fell and another well-regarded skater did not. Now the results seem based less on the performance of the actual day of the event as much as how well-regarded their "skating skills" are. And these skills probably don't change as much from day to day as the landing of a particular jump.

    It's boring.
    Last edited by Poodlepal; 04-24-2012 at 06:11 PM.

  15. #45
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poodlepal
    Frankly, I enjoy the message board more than watching the competitions.
    There are times (mostly within the past 4 or so years) that I actually enjoy talking/posting about skating more than actually watching it.
    I like analyzing the protocols afterward. I also enjoy following the play-by-plays that people post of events in progress. That is actually kind of exciting. I can keep up with who is ahead or behind without having to watch the skating.

    Does the ISU know that fans are starting to feel this way?
    Last edited by Mathman; 04-25-2012 at 12:55 PM.

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