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## Level of Ladies Skating (2004 to Now)

Is the Level of Ladies Singles figure skating higher or lower than it was around the year 2004?

In the US?

In the World?

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Hard to compare different eras, different rules. But here is what the U.S. had in 2004.

And here is what the world had in 2004 and 2005.

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Originally Posted by Mathman
Hard to compare different eras, different rules. But here is what the U.S. had in 2004.

And here is what the world had in 2004 and 2005.
Love.

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I think the level hasn't changed much, but it changed a lot if you compare it to 1998-1999 for example. In those years, almost everyone tried the 3Lz+2T or 3Lz+2Lo in the SP, now almost every top-level skater is trying 3T+3T (Kostner, Suzuki, Murakami, Leonova, Tuktamysheva, Sotnikova, Gao, Zawadzki, Korobeneykova, Meite, Hecken, Helgesson, Osmond, Makarova, Nagasu, Korpi... ). And, now, in the FS the 3-3 is not really important if you perform 7 triples: you can do 7 solo triples (with 3-2 and 3-2-2 combos) and your BV will be higher of one skater who has a 3-3 but not 7 triples, and that's because of the rule of adding the BVs to calculate the value of the combination. And there are less clean programs: the skaters have to focus on transitions, more difficult spins and steps, complex choreography so they do more mistakes in the jumps, but I think there are also a lot positive things.
Look at the layback spins, for example: we have a lot of WONDERFUL spins, now (Czisny, Sotnikova, Lipnitskaya etc.), even in 2004 Kwan's or Arakawa's spins (especially the laybacks) were really ugly and easy, compared to the ones we see today. And let's talk about the step sequences: If we compare Kostner, Suzuki and Mao's step sequences with Slutskaya, Kwan, Cohen or Arakwa there's really no comparison to do: today we can see really works of art, when the steps in the 6.0 years were "just" a transitional part, it was all about the passion, the intensity, the arm movements...
So, it's difficult to judge, but I think that today ladies skating it's a lot better (but you can obviously argue that, in your opinion, it's worse! and that's the beauty of discussing!)

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The old days may have many 7 triple programs, but how many of them will get full marks by today' standard? What about the quality, accuracy, strict UR protocols or constraint of limited jump passes such as no 2x2A are allowed etc. I think it is almost impossible to measure, but I am sure many will try

I believe any sport is only good as its very best, and a good indicator of this is when the sport is most newsworthy and increased popularity outside existing fandom.

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Originally Posted by FSGMT
I think the level hasn't changed much, but it changed a lot if you compare it to 1998-1999 for example. In those years, almost everyone tried the 3Lz+2T or 3Lz+2Lo in the SP, now almost every top-level skater is trying 3T+3T (Kostner, Suzuki, Murakami, Leonova, Tuktamysheva, Sotnikova, Gao, Zawadzki, Korobeneykova, Meite, Hecken, Helgesson, Osmond, Makarova, Nagasu, Korpi... ).
Is that supposed to be an increase or decrease in content?

It seems to be debatable whether it's harder to do a 3T+3T or 3Lz+2T -- depends a lot on each individual skater's strengths -- surely 3T+3T and 3Lz solo jump would show the best of both skills.

But also the skaters who can do both work around what the rules allow and what they reward. 3-3 combos weren't allowed in the ladies' short program until 1997, so there was less incentive to work on them. Now there are clearer penalties for incorrect lutz takeoffs, and the difference in value between a (second) 3T at the end of the combination is enough to offset the difference in value between lutz or toe loop as the first jump, assuming the solo jump is the same.

And, now, in the FS the 3-3 is not really important if you perform 7 triples: you can do 7 solo triples (with 3-2 and 3-2-2 combos) and your BV will be higher of one skater who has a 3-3 but not 7 triples,
Except that it is not possible for a lady to do 7 solo triples (with 3-2 and 3-2-2 combos) under today's rules. She also has to do an axel jump of some sort. So if she can't do two triples in the same jump pass (combo or sequence), her options are to do one triple in combo or sequence with a double (or single, or triple) axel, or else to do fewer than 7 triples.

Of course if she can do a triple axel, then she can do 7 triples in 7 jump passes without a 3-3, but under pre-IJS rules she would have been allowed to do 8 in 8 passes.

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Originally Posted by gkelly
Is that supposed to be an increase or decrease in content?

It seems to be debatable whether it's harder to do a 3T+3T or 3Lz+2T -- depends a lot on each individual skater's strengths -- surely 3T+3T and 3Lz solo jump would show the best of both skills.

But also the skaters who can do both work around what the rules allow and what they reward. 3-3 combos weren't allowed in the ladies' short program until 1997, so there was less incentive to work on them. Now there are clearer penalties for incorrect lutz takeoffs, and the difference in value between a (second) 3T at the end of the combination is enough to offset the difference in value between lutz or toe loop as the first jump, assuming the solo jump is the same.

Except that it is not possible for a lady to do 7 solo triples (with 3-2 and 3-2-2 combos) under today's rules. She also has to do an axel jump of some sort. So if she can't do two triples in the same jump pass (combo or sequence), her options are to do one triple in combo or sequence with a double (or single, or triple) axel, or else to do fewer than 7 triples.

Of course if she can do a triple axel, then she can do 7 triples in 7 jump passes without a 3-3, but under pre-IJS rules she would have been allowed to do 8 in 8 passes.
Yes, I obviously made a mistake: I forgot to include the 2A+3T combo (which a lot of skaters are doing now) and the jump+2A+SEQ, sorry!
And, for the 3T+3T, I think it increased the difficulty of Ladies skating, but I remember watching Bonaly's SP from the 1998 Olympics: she landed a 3T+3T the commentator said that the judges would have probably considered it easier than a 3Lz combo! So, yes, I agree that doing 3T+3T and a solo 3Lz (like Suzuki or Zawadzki are doing) is the best to show the completeness of your jumping abilities, but I think that, in the future, the skaters will need a solo 3A or a 3F/3Lz+3T combo to win, since today a lot of skaters are improving their spins and the jumps are really important (again!), along with good PCS... This is how skating is evolving, and it's really interesting to observe!

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Quite a few skaters could do 2A3T, including Elaine Zayak & Katarina Witt.

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The funny (and remarkable) thing is, if Midori Ito were coming up today, she'd still be kicking everybody's behinds technically. She really was a freak of nature, in the most wonderful sense!

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Originally Posted by tommyk75
The funny (and remarkable) thing is, if Midori Ito were coming up today, she'd still be kicking everybody's behinds technically. She really was a freak of nature, in the most wonderful sense!
TOTALLY. One can't just put Midori on the evolving lines of figure skating and say "See?" She was too awesome for any era.

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My two cents: ladies skating like every other sport is getting better and better. That is the way of things. Most lady skaters before the CoP era would not be able to skate to the technical standards that CoP requires. That alone would have doomed their scoring ability. In terms of sheer jumping ability, while it may appear there has not been any progress, how many of pre-CoP jumps would have passed the quality tests now enforced by CoP? I'm guessing not many. Who cared about 1/4 turn under-rotations pre-CoP or all the other technical minutiae now required, for example? How many 3-3 combos were there pre-CoP in ladies skating? Now to be able to win you have to have a reliable 3-3, the more difficult the better. No doubt, soon (within the next 4-8 years I think) the 3A will also be a requirement to win just like the quad is now for the men.

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Not an answer to the OP's question, but I like this statistic:

U.S. Figure Skating ‏@USFigureSkating
After her title today, @AshWagner2010 becomes the first U.S. lady to win multiple GP events in the same season since Sasha Cohen in 2003.
11:08 AM - 17 Nov 12

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I hope Kim come back in her "normal" mode, and kick every one's butt!! I hate that top ladies stopped challenging themselves technically these days (Mao, Ashley, Kostner etc.,)

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Originally Posted by tommyk75
The funny (and remarkable) thing is, if Midori Ito were coming up today, she'd still be kicking everybody's behinds technically. She really was a freak of nature, in the most wonderful sense!
She's the only skater I can love with only the technical ability - I mean, she was a jumper and no artist at all, but she was a BRILLIANT 3A jumper and most of all, HAPPY jumper! 3A alone didn't really evoke me a lot, but at every landing of it, you can see the crazy euphoria on her face, the kind that MK (though not crazy) had with spirals. Also, she exemplifies the lasting joy in skating, which she demonstrated with her recent senior competition.

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Originally Posted by loren
I hope Kim come back in her "normal" mode, and kick every one's butt!! I hate that top ladies stopped challenging themselves technically these days (Mao, Ashley, Kostner etc.,)
Of course, all three have good triple loops, something Kim can't claim. So challenging oneself technically means different things to different people.

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