Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 1 2
Results 16 to 23 of 23

Thread: Scoring the short program

  1. #16
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    3,753
    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    In this thread I was thinking more about skating on television than anything else. Casual audiences have a short attention span. if an event like U.S. Nationals could be wrapped up in one big slam bam thank you maam, say four hours in Saturday prime time, I think it would be easier to promote the heck out of it. The cheesefests had such a one-skate format, and I think they were just about right, television-wise, even though for those events nothing much was at stake.
    That's what cheesefests were for.


    Seriously, if you're going to design a competition format primarily around what keeps casual audiences interested, then you're not going to meet the needs of the majority of competitors, and you're also not going to meet the needs of serious fans.

    So the made-for-TV events should probably designed to appeal to casual audiences, and keep the championships designed to work best for the skaters and the internal values of the sport. What format is best for each is open to debate, so let's debate it.

    The problem is that casual audiences tend to be most interested if an important championship is at stake. But important championships require that many skaters get to participate -- not all of them will be medalworthy, but they have to compete in order to sort out which ones are, this week. Important championships require measuring skills that are important to the skaters even if they're boring or invisible to casual audiences.

    Do important championships require more than one competition phase? Maybe, maybe not. Pair skating only ever had one phase up to the 1960s. In the US, juvenile competitions, and intermediate pairs, only have one phase. At higher levels, could the long programs be structured to measure everything important that's currently measured in short programs, and then some?

  2. #17
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Detroit, Michigan
    Posts
    27,960
    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    That's what cheesefests were for.

    Seriously, if you're going to design a competition format primarily around what keeps casual audiences interested, then you're not going to meet the needs of the majority of competitors, and you're also not going to meet the needs of serious fans.
    Why not? Think of the Super Bowl. Good television, and the players don't complain that their needs are not met

  3. #18
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    3,753
    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    Why not? Think of the Super Bowl. Good television, and the players don't complain that their needs are not met
    The way football works, you get to watch two teams go at it against each other for a couple of hours. The final round (Superbowl) is only those two teams. If it were the only game that were ever televised, you bet the other teams would feel their needs are not met, and neither would the serious football fans.

    Not to mention that NFL football is a professional sport in which the athletes are being paid reliable -- and in some cases enormous -- salaries to give the public what it wants.


    In skating the competitors perform one at a time for only a couple of minutes at a time. It's therefore more efficient to have a moderately large number -- let's say 18-36 -- skaters perform in the same competition in the same place on the same day. And there are four disciplines. So competitions take several days and last too long to fit into a neat 2-3 hour timeslot.

    And most of the competitors are paying to participate, not making a profit.

    To achieve what you're looking for, maybe the ISU should hold its large championships as always but called them qualifiers. Then invite the top 6 in each discipline to a long-program-only superfinal in which only the results on that day determined results, and call that the championship. It would fit nicely into a weekend broadcast for the casual fans, who would not be subjected to the tedium of watching many mediocre skaters.

    Except serious fans of skating would get shortchanged if they didn't have access to watching mid- and lower-ranked skaters they have come to enjoy. Even casual fans would get shortchanged if they want to see their national champions, who didn't make the top 6, compete in the world championship or other international championship. And the majority of skaters and federations would be shortchanged by being excluded from the exclusive "championship" event.

  4. #19
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Staring at the ocean and smiling.
    Posts
    15,115
    I think that at the very least, we should go back to having the SP measure something that the LP doesn't-think the SP's of 1988. In our current format, skaters skip their unfavorite jump. This annoys me. Let's rotate through the required catalog of jumps for the single jump out of footwork. This year the lutz, next the loop, for example. Let's have the combo be another jump + double loop one year and double toe the next.

    Or you could insist that the the single jump be a not axel edge jump and the combo be a toe assisted take off. I'd leave the axel requirement in because it is the only forward takeoff jump.

    Have a required element or two in the f/w or choreo sequence - how about a walley? or an Ina Bauer? or a change of edge spiral?

    Then the SP would be a technical program again.

    BTW at worlds, they do give a little bitty medal for the Sp and LP separately and a big one for the whole competition. Make it official; big medals for all

    If casual viewers see medals for short, long & all around, I think that is understandable.

    However, the concept of accrued points is not foreign: people watch the Golf Channel on the weekend where a player can win the event in the first 2 rounds. However, the scoring is easy to understand, and very few of the ref's calls are tought to get.

    I'd like to see the following concept, that seems to work well in things like American Idol or Project Runway-

    The kids that wins the all round gets an ad spot in maybe a magazine or a TV commercial. Or maybe a wardrobe from some dress company,

    That would fund skaters.

  5. #20
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Detroit, Michigan
    Posts
    27,960
    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    The way football works, you get to watch two teams go at it against each other for a couple of hours. The final round (Superbowl) is only those two teams. If it were the only game that were ever televised, you bet the other teams would feel their needs are not met, and neither would the serious football fans
    But imagine that the popularity of football were such that the television networks were willing to offer only one game per year, the championship game (together with a season opening Football America). The players would know going in that they might not get on TV, but they play anyway because they like playing football.

    Maybe Little League baseball would be a better example. Thousands of young athletes participate with enthusiasm, but only the Little League World Series between two teams is shown on TV.

    As far money considerations, a rising tide lifts all boats. Money coming in is always a good thing, if only to relieve parents of some of the staggering costs.

    To achieve what you're looking for, maybe the ISU should hold its large championships as always but called them qualifiers. Then invite the top 6 in each discipline to a long-program-only superfinal in which only the results on that day determined results, and call that the championship. It would fit nicely into a weekend broadcast for the casual fans, who would not be subjected to the tedium of watching many mediocre skaters.
    Yeah, I had just started thinking along those lines. In many sports, whoever wins the last game wins. In March Madness basketball, whoever wins the last game wins. You might have to do yeoman's work to make it to the final game, but, bottom line, whoever wins the last game is national champion.

    Should the preliminary rounds be televised? Sure -- all the market will bear. But if the market will bear only the championship game, then that's reality.

    Quote Originally Posted by dorispulaski View Post
    I'd like to see the following concept, that seems to work well in things like American Idol or Project Runway-

    The kids that wins the all round gets an ad spot in maybe a magazine or a TV commercial. Or maybe a wardrobe from some dress company,

    That would fund skaters.
    I think that pinpoints the problem.Chicken or egg? American Idol and Project runway are popular entertainments that attract viewership and commercial sponsors. Hence they can afford to give out prizes to the winners.

  6. #21
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    3,753
    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    But imagine that the popularity of football were such that the television networks were willing to offer only one game per year, the championship game (together with a season opening Football America). The players would know going in that they might not get on TV, but they play anyway because they like playing football.
    Yup.

    But I wonder if something like top 8 teams go to the championship and play one quarter each game (including the final) in an elimination tournament might not attract more viewers than top 2 teams playing four quarters. That should fit easily into one weekend, if not a single broadcast.

    After all, the most exciting do-or-die moments probably happen in the fourth quarter when the score is tied going in, so why not start with only that phase of the game, score tied at 0-0 going in, and dispense with all the early-game maneuvering?

    Plus that way more viewers will be invested in a hometown team competing during the one televised event.

    Sure, there are reasons why football doesn't work that way, but if it were approximately as popular as figure skating to begin with, that would probably be better than all that traveling early in the season that only diehard fans who buy tickets and travel to the games would ever get to see.

    I think that pinpoints the problem.Chicken or egg? American Idol and Project runway are popular entertainments that attract viewership and commercial sponsors. Hence they can afford to give out prizes to the winners.
    Right. And they started out that way. And the NFL started out as for-profit sports entertainment. And all are focused specifically on American productions for American participants and American audiences. They would be structured very differently if they had to serve a global market, e.g., if the winners of American Idol and Canadian Idol and every other country's Idol competition went on to a World Idol competition that was more prestigious than the national events.

    Figure skating started out as an amateur sport funded entirely buy the well-to-do participants and earning money from skating not only was looked on as déclassé but could also get you banned. Later some federations and governments started paying for training to develop medal contenders for the glory of the homeland. Later still amateur rules were relaxed across all Olympic sports to allow skaters to earn money from skating and still compete at the highest level, but with no guarantee of funding. And then, at the peak of competitive skating's popularity, some prize money directly from the ISU was introduced, never enough for any but the handful of most successful competitors to fund their training with and reduced to lesser amounts and fewer recipients as popularity waned in more lucrative markets.

    Meanwhile, international competition at the highest level continues to be international in scope and which countries is most successful/dominant, which countries have the most interested audiences, will vary over the years. They can't keep changing the format significantly to appeal to the US sometimes and Russia or France or Japan or Canada a different year. Not to mention that their mandate as an international membership organization means they also have to meet the needs of Swedish and British and German and Austrian participants even if it's been decades since those countries have had world medal contenders.


    If there were to be an organized professional circuit aimed at giving audiences a good show and the participants who make it possible good salaries, would it be appropriate for the ISU to change its mandate to privilege for-profit entertainment ahead of serving all its members? Should there be a separate organization to administer professional skating? Should it be global in scope or (as was the case in the heyday of pro competitions in the 1990s) should it be primarily organized around appealing to American audiences, bringing in skaters from other countries who had already earned name recognition with US audiences through their ISU-circuit accomplishments.

    If a one-country-focused pro circuit existed in, say, Russia or Japan, should American fans complain if it's not shown on US TV and doesn't feature as many US skaters?
    Last edited by gkelly; 01-30-2013 at 12:35 PM.

  7. #22
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Staring at the ocean and smiling.
    Posts
    15,115
    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post



    I think that pinpoints the problem.Chicken or egg? American Idol and Project runway are popular entertainments that attract viewership and commercial sponsors. Hence they can afford to give out prizes to the winners.
    When the freebie generates news, then it is an effective ad. Think of all the Domino's free pizza giveaways. If the giveaway is parlayed to a News Story, then the advertiser is getting his money's worth, even if figure skating is a niche sport these days.

  8. #23
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    3,753
    Appeal to casual audiences in one country aside, I think there is a case to be made that the short program has outlived its usefulness under the current scoring system and long program rules. But I'd like to take a broader view and consider -- from the point of view of the sport itself and devoted fans of the sport on its own terms, not casual viewers -- what kind of format makes the most sense in terms of measuring what makes the best skater(s). I'm moving the post to this thread in hopes of more discussion:

    * * * * *
    Here are a bunch of different possible competition phases for solo skaters. If there's interest, I could make a list for couples or group disciplines as well.

    Can you think of other examples?

    Which of these could be worthy of a championship as stand-alone events? Which two or three events could best be combined into a multi-phase championship comparable to the current short and long programs?

    Which could be appropriate for male and female skaters to compete in the same event?

    Which could be appropriate as ISU-sponsored events but not appropriate for Olympic competition?

    Which would be of interest to some skaters or some audiences but not appropriate for the ISU to sponsor at all?

    Traditional programs to music

    The scoring of any of these could have an explicit emphasis on either the technical content or the overall performance qualities or balance between them, or the weighting between them could be left up to each judge to determine, or the system can be built to reward whatever each skater does best without preconception as to which categories of skills are more valuable.

    * Completely free program: Show us all your best skills that you can fit into 4-5 minutes, to music of your choice, no restrictions or requirements, maybe a few illegal types of moves (pre-1982 freeskate rules)

    * Well-balanced free program: Show us all your best skills that you can fit into 4-4.5 minutes, to music of your choice, with required elements and restrictions on repeated skills and quantity of each kind of element to ensure "balance" but except for a few forbidden non-skating-based moves almost anything is allowed either within or between element slots (IJS era freeskate rules)

    * Freer well-balanced free program: Somewhere between the above extremes, with a few restrictions, requirements, and/or guidelines (early 2000s well-balanced freeskate rules, or fewer restrictions in 1980s and 90s); some flexibility in choosing number of elements from each category if judged by IJS

    * Compulsory long program: Standardized longer program that requires all skills expected at that level, with some flexibility to add more revolutions to jumps, more variations to basic steps, spins, entries and exits of elements, transitions, etc., to demonstrate additional skills


    * Compulsory short program: Standardized prechoreographed program in which everyone does the same steps and same element layout, to the same music if applicable, with variations only in rotational direction or number of revolutions where applicable; specific elements and choreography change each year (like compulsory dances, or gymnastics compulsory routines of the past)

    * Standardized shorter program in which everyone must do the same very specific required elements expected of all skaters at that level, but music and choreography including modest variations of the elements are at each skater's discretion; specific elements rotate each year

    * Shorter program in which everyone must do the same required elements representing a subset of what is expected of all skaters at that level, but music and choreography including modest variations of the elements are at each skater's discretion; specific elements rotate each year; some elements allow for choices within the definition of the element including some jump takeoffs or number of rotations, specific steps or spin positions (short programs 1973-88, and junior short programs mid-1990s to present)

    * Shorter program in which skaters must fill the same general categories of elements but most variations that fit the category and required number of jump revolutions are allowed (senior short programs 1989 to present)


    Technical competition phases without music, judged on difficulty, quality, technical correctness only:

    * Compulsory technical program requiring selected specific moves or categories of moves expected of all skaters at that level, with some flexibility to add difficulty; individual transitions allowed and considered; no music, judged on technical merit only

    * Compulsory program for jumps and separate compulsory program for spins requiring certain categories of jumps/spins with flexibility to showcase your own best difficulty or variations; no music, judged on technical merit only

    * Jump contest in which skaters must execute required jumps one at a time in a required sequence, two tries for each, with elimination after failing to execute any element along the way (Top Jump format from the late 1990s)

    * Element competitions (jumps, spins, school figures or prechoreographed stroking/step sequences) in which the required elements are executed one at a time and each scored separately, with a combined total score for the whole competition category (e.g., school figures as practiced as an initial competition phase up to 1990 and as a separate discipline in the 1990s and rarely beyond; some spin, jump, or Moves in the Field competitions held at local competitions mostly at lower levels) -- spin features, jump takeoffs and numbers of revolutions, variations to add difficulty may or may not be allowed and rewarded

    Competition phases focused on use of basic skating skills to express musical rhythms and styles:

    *Solo original set pattern dance: Musical rhythm/tempo/theme specified each year; each skater/team creates their own pattern that must progress continuously around the perimeter of the rink and must be repeated for a total of 2 or 3 patterns; no jumps, spins, lifts, etc., allowed -- IJS levels for the pattern as a whole or broken into 2-4 segments?

    *Solo original dance: Musical rhythm and theme or selection of related themes specified each year; some specified elements (with levels under IJS as applicable) and restrictions on other types of elements allowed; may also include some requirements for pattern layout

    *Solo short dance: Musical rhythm and theme or selection of related themes specified each year; some specified elements, including a prechoreographed pattern dance in which everyone skates the same steps in the same narrow allowed tempo range and also including several additional required elements (with levels applicable) and restrictions on other types of elements allowed

    *Footwork program: Music selection entirely at the skater's discretion; elements such as step sequence of a specified shape, leveled spiral sequence, field moves sequence (with defined requirements and level features), twizzle sequence, school figure variations -- specific elements may be required every year or may rotate, or skaters may have an option of choosing any 3-4 elements, perhaps with 1 step sequence required

    Artistic programs, in which the scoring may give the highest weight to fundamental skating skills or to overall aesthetic impact:


    *Artistic freestyle program, any kind of music, limited number of freeskating elements of the skater's choice (e.g., 3-4 jump elements with at most one combination, 2-4 spins allowed in a 3- to 4-minute program), judged on both TES and PCS but weighted to give precedence to PCS

    *Solo free dance with specific required/allowed elements for points and levels but no multirevolution jumps or overhead lifts allowed (and maybe restricted spins?); music should have identifiable rhythm; PCS weighted to balance the TES

    *Completely free program, with a wide allowed time range, in which any type of music and any type of elements are allowed; hand props, costume changes, etc. allowed; judged on PCS only

    *Completely free program, with a wide allowed time range, in which any type of music and any type of elements are allowed; hand props, costume changes, etc. allowed; judged by audience response

Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 1 2

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •