These explanations are not mutually exclusive! The exclusion of Nagasu (who does not look "American enough" from the perspective of the USFSA to represent the USA at Skate America) is overdetermined.
More broadly, it is my view that it is darn implausible to say issues related race never at least subconsciously make their way into USFSA decisions. (I'm thinking of debates we had here early this year about Dornbush being assigned to 4CC over Mahbanoozadeh.)
ETA: Pre-emptorily, denying that there are political issues in figure skating, or that figure skating is not the place to discuss politics, is itself to articulate a political position. My panties are not in a wad.
Last edited by Pepe Nero; 10-05-2012 at 02:53 AM.
For example, I keep wondering why so many think Gracie Gold is the next huge thing. It doesn't seem to be based on competition results, this year or last. I keep wondering to myself: what does Gracie Gold have that didn't cause this kind of excitement in all of the other post-Sasha contenders? Why is she the IT girl? I am not disparaging GG; just wondering why, based on what we know so far, anyone thinks she will amount to more than Alissa Czisny, Caroline Zhang, Rachael Flatt, Mirai Nagasu, Ashley Wagner, Agnes Zawadzki, or Christina Gao (and, oh yeah, Kimmie Meissner). It may be desperate optimism, but I think there is more to it. I think Gold shares features with Flatt (but to a greater extent) that make her profitable as a USFSA "star."
Anyway...just raising the question of whether USFSA (or anyone) can promote the popularity of figure skating and the "goodness" of figure skating at the same time. I think the latter is more important, insofar as the sport remains sustainable.
Last edited by Pepe Nero; 10-05-2012 at 03:54 AM.
Absolutely, they can. In the past, the sport was sold as a melodrama. There were media studies that examined that exact same thing - selling the more pageant like aspects of the entertainment. I think a determined effort could be made my the sporting consortiums (this includes the media, to be honest). It won't be as popular as before - but it can be successful and more popular than it currently is.Anyway...just raising the question of whether USFSA (or anyone) can promote the popularity of figure skating and the "goodness" of figure skating at the same time. I think the latter is more important, insofar as the sport remains sustainable.
It's not about "me, me, me" but more like "them, them, them."
BTW, DWTS has it's own thread at GS so there is obvioulsy a strong crossover appeal between dancing and skating.
DWTS has also had a few skaters on the show and hasn't Mark Ballas done some skating choreo? For Evan maybe - or SOI?
Is it too much to think many of the folks who watch DWTS might have some interest in skating - and more specifically Ice dancing?
As to "what's in it for ABC" I would say that is a false premise. They look at things on a show by basis as well as the big picture. To assume a D/W segment would not be a good addition to one of the weekly shows could be researched but I think most data would show a very positive appeal.
Earlier you brought up ABC would not want to help NBC. I think that is not quite applicable here.
Over the years thousands of TV stars and personalities have appeared on rival networks. ABC star Regis Phibin was a constant guest on the CBS Letterman show over the years. I recall an ABC/ESPN analyst named Dick Button appearing on NBC Olympic broadcasts in the past.
What was in it for ABC? If nothing else a future favor. Think of networks like skating federations - and then think of all the dealing that goes on.
BTW, is it so hard for you to imagine that in the future D/W might do some work for Disney? Maybe appear in an ice show or whatever? If D/W win in Sochi they will have many opportunities to consider.
I mentioned Gabby and the girls appeared on Letterman which is not an NBC show.
To ask "what was in it for NBC" is really not an issue.
Last edited by janetfan; 10-05-2012 at 10:05 AM.
I'm very interested in watching Skate America this time, more than usual, because Jeremy Abbott will be there the first time ever at SA. I will be very interested in it with or without Evan Lysacek's appearence. Maybe somebodies love to follow Lysacek. So Lysacek's appearence in SA is important to bring their attention. Maybe somebodies love to follow the reigning Nationals ladies Champion Ashley Wagner. So Wagner's appearence in SA is important to them. But these skaters have to become a star before they can attract more fans. How to become a star? Winning! Win more! Win big! Win on the international stage.
Second - the lack of promotion is killing skating. IMO there is nowhere near enough promotion of skating in USA...
Now this I can agree with.
But...I don't think the answer is to "put all your eggs in the Skater X basket, hoping she'll turn out to be a star". Sometimes I feel USFS does just this, and it often backfires.
Instead...you have to look at who you already have...who is currently doing well and who has a solid fan base, and find a way to promote them. More should be done on the grassroots level, to encourage young kids to try it. More should be done, perhaps, to help those who have the talent and drive, but are struggling financially to make it work.
Last edited by R.D.; 10-05-2012 at 10:09 AM.
Did this hurt Sarah in SLC? How many think Sarah's thoughts as she took the ice in SLC were "I hope I can live up to the hype" ?
Obviously she was very focused the night of the LP.
What about Kwan? Was it hype and high expectations that were repsonsible for her not winning in SLC?
Perhaps -but there were undoubtably some major internal issues surrounding Michelle that were in play at SLC.
Was Michelle on the cover of Sports Illustrated's special Olympic Issue and did this cause her to lose in SLC?
I don't know the answers but feel sure she was beaten that night by Sarah's "skate of a lifetime" performance.
For any athlete to be successful they must learn to deal with pressure. We hear "no guts, no glory" alot and I could add to this "no hype, who would care."
Skating like any sport needs promotion and yes, some hyping of skaters to help create the stars every sport needs to keep it in the spotlight.
I mentioned Gracie should be at SA this season and offered reasons why.
Is this putting undue pressure on a skater?
Gracie will have to skate at Natls - an event with much more pressure than SA.
Why is one event OK - but not the other
By the way, I've gotten these from a friend. It's interesting to know. So I've copied them here just FYI:
An article from a marketing journal - Scarborough Sports Marketing defines "Avid Fans" as consumers who are "very interested" and "Fans" as respondents who are "very, somewhat or a little interested" in a given sport.
Scarborough Sports Marketing further noted that American sports fans have been opening their minds and wallets to a host of diverse sports. Avid Fans of these sports are often characterized by distinct audience demographics. For instance, 73 percent of Avid Gymnastics Fans are female and 81 percent of Avid Figure Skating Fans are female. This is a unique demographic makeup since Avid Fans of sports like the Olympics, Women's Tennis and the WNBA classically "female friendly" sports are only about 50 percent female. This notable demographic base helps explain findings such as: Gymnastics Fans are 53 percent more likely than all American adults to schedule a spa day, 30 percent more likely to visit a jewelry store and 33 percent more likely to visit a bridal store. Similarly, Figure Skating Fans are 28 percent more likely to visit a florist and 27 percent more likely to visit a dry cleaner.Physics/Biomechanics - Television can't give you the sense of speed-or danger-that is apparent here. Nor can it give you a sense of how difficult it is to break into the top ranks. (Television does well in the drama department, however: Its coverage of the Nancy KerriganTonya Harding scandal back in 1994 is widely credited with raising Americans' interest in figure skating.)
Last edited by Bluebonnet; 10-05-2012 at 11:45 AM.
Reading through the last few posts made me wonder about the following:
Who is more "desperate" for a US Lady skating star?
Is it US Skating?
or is it US skating fans?
I am not sure ........
and wonder if it is really same question
If a star were to appear on the scene would it change much?
Last edited by janetfan; 10-05-2012 at 12:17 PM.
The comparison to the Fierce Five doesn't work, because the Fierce Five became an asset to any show by winning the Olympics and becoming famous. If Davis and White win the Olympics, then they will be more likely to appear on all sorts of shows across networks. They'll be more likely to be invited on these shows even before the Olympics in Sochi, I imagine, during the pre-Olympic hype. That, however, is two years away. Also, it probably won't have a lot to do with the USFSA asking for them to be included- rather, it would be initiated by the producers of the shows. Any time the USFSA is asking if their skaters can appear on a show they can expect to pay for that right unless they are negotiating a broadcast deal, and NBC already has those rights. There may also be a conflict between NBC's deal with the USFSA and the ability to ask other networks to promote their skaters.
As for the pressure, I totally agree that skaters will have to deal with pressure to get anywhere in the sport. Hyping somebody up as being the person who will probably beat the national champion is a bit far, though. It puts a very specific expectation on a skater that could be a blow to their psyche should they fail to accomplish as much. It's also very unfair to the national champion who, by virtue of winning, has earned the right to be heralded as the current best the US has to offer. Billing Gracie as the best (and saying that she'll become better than the national champion is doing so) is probably confusing to many fans who might want to cheer for the skater who was ready to earn the title- a title that some seem to want to hand to Gracie with no results. Also, as I already mentioned, sending two of your best skaters to the same event makes it less likely that both will qualify for the final. That would also be unfair to one of the skaters. They'll face off at nationals, and if they both have good Grand Prixs, then that can build more hype for Nationals, which is the bigger event. If they don't, then the USFSA can find another aspect to hype without having blown their marketing plan with one event.
I do agree that skating needs more exposure in general, but I think that it's 1)harder than we think and 2)needs to be the right type of exposure. In 2006 I thought prospects were bright for the future of figure skating with skating movies coming out and the Ice Diaries and Skating with Celebrities shows. Somehow the general public seems to have a reduced opinion of skating after all that, though. Maybe the Disney version of skating (you can learn to do a triple in a year!?!!!!) didn't sell? Maybe the pageant-like aspects of the sport have turned some people off? Or maybe the USFSA entered into a really bad broadcasting agreement with NBC that truly fails to promote the sport because the sport is almost never on channels that everyone actually gets and includes broadcasters who (even though they might be right) denegrate the code of points every chance they get (this is my vote for what went wrong). There needs to be adequate coverage of the actual sport, and various facts about the athleticism and skills required need to be explained every time it's on the air.
I also think that the quality of professional skating that is shown has gone way down, and that has also affected the ratings. It's hard for me to watch certain skaters who are way past their prime and clearly don't train all that much on shows like the Halloween On Ice show doing the same watered down tricks and choreography over and over again. Some of the professional skaters are lovely, and some of the newer ones are bringing new life to the choreography, but we don't see enough of them on t.v., and we see too many of the others who are there just for their name. We need more skaters like Kurt Browning, Stephane Lambiel, Joannie Rochet, Jeffery Buttle, Katia Gordeeva, and the like to be shown, and less of those who phone their show programs in.
I would love to see skating featured in programs like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade again (way more interesting than a dog show, though I have nothing against dog shows). I think ABC has the right to that programming, though, so it would have to be a group other than the USFSA that would coordinate that type of thing. It would be wonderful if a John Curry style special from the Rockefeller tree lighting could be shown (again, ABC territory). All of this costs money and takes organization, though, and would be out of the hands of the USFSA.
Maybe the USFSA could convince NBC to air a pro-am competition to include athletes of a high caliber during Christmas season in a future year? That way they'd be organizing the competition and could invite those who'd best represent the sport? Again, though, that costs $$$. NBC would have to be willing to pay for it.
Maybe the best route is to try to get more youngsters interested in the sport- perhaps the USFSA should put their money towards a day of free skating lessons in member rinks across the country, and advertise this heavily. The difficulty here is that skating is a sport with a steep learning curve, so they'd have to work hard to find ways to make doing the most basic things a lot of fun.
I'm just rambling and throwing out random ideas now. The point is that it is a lot more difficult to drum up popularity than many of us think, and the USFSA has a tall order ahead of them.
Maybe the best way to promote skating is for each of us to take a friend to a show, and then to take a few friends skating, and then maybe take our neighbors' and relatives' kids skating. Maybe relying on the governing bodies to fix everything isn't the answer? Or perhaps the USFSA needs to find ways to get more people involved in promoting the sport- offering a second set of tickets at a discounted price to people who buy the expensive seats so that they can bring a friend? Or maybe just trying to get member clubs to go out into the community to promote certain events?
Edit to add- I think the USFSA could use social media a lot more, as well. Clearly they are trying to do this with Twitter, but I think they should consider YouTube and Pinterest as really good ways to promote skating, as well. Making a highlight reel of great jumps and artistic skills might play well. A fun video of a jump-off filmed during Champs Camp might get viewers. They could really use the athletes' personalities to advantage here. Maybe a footwork challenge between some of the singles skaters and ice dancers? Shibutani vs. Weir vs. White vs. Lysacek? Make a pinterest and post some of the nicest pictures of USFSA stars? All of that could be done for less expense.
Last edited by MoonlightSkater; 10-05-2012 at 12:40 PM.