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Thread: "Skate Canada still searching for its lost mojo" (Mar 11, National Post)

  1. #16
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    noidont Boy howdy do I disagree with you - figure skating is a sport better watched on youtube than live? Not for me!!!!! I'd much rather be sitting in the arena, hearing the music over good speakers, watching it full-on instead of on a computer screen at the mercy of an amateur photographer! Cameras are not always able to keep up with the speed, either.

    As far as chicken or egg, I have no answer. But I still stand behind my point that the USFSA does little or nothing to interest the public. The diehard fans will always follow the sport (and I'm old but have moved past the 6.0 era thank-you-very-much) When you could catch competitions on TV I think alot of people knew who Michelle Kwan was. Take a poll on the street and ask who Ashley Wagner is and I bet most of the time you're met with a "huh?" Canada's coverage is always better than ours. Someone commented that the CBC is streaming the competition. If you logon from the US you get a message that it's not available. If you subscribe to the Ice Network the presentation is jerky, the reception stinks, and it's not worth the $39.95 frustration.

  2. #17
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    FWIW - I can’t comment on Canadian sportswriters’ perspective of the supposed lessening of interest in the sport since Canada seems to televise a lot more skating that we in the US can find on our networks. I can only comment on my 10 year tenure working for television. Figure skating is considered to be a “female-oriented” sport by many men and particularly US sportswriters. Corporate TV is run primarily by men. I continually had to argue for any coverage of pairs or dance at our television meetings, mostly to no avail. I was just a lowly researcher/analyst. The producers were polite in totally ignoring my pleas. Commentators hired to work for TV were single skaters like Scott Hamilton, etc. Hamilton admits he knows zip about dance. Finally they did begin to use Susie Wynne and Tracy Wilson but didn’t give them a lot of air time. Also singles was where the US had the most champions. It’s only been recently that ice dance has garnered more attention in the US because of our recent success in that discipline. Definitely the lack of champions in singles has hurt the sport in the US more than just the change in judging or even the judging scandal. More TV exposure is what is needed, but until we have world champions again in singles or fill executive positions in television with women who generally show more interest in the sport of figure skating, we will still see the current ennui at the television corporate level filter down to the public. Of course, if Davis & White manage to win an Olympic gold medal, that might change.

  3. #18
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    KKonas, it must be hard to argue for something appealing primarily to women in a world that is so weighted in favor of Y chromosomes. Corporate TV is, as you say, mainly run by men, but corporate sports TV must be even more intensely a male environment. Thank you for at least trying to get more skating on TV in the years you were at the table.

    Let me add something else. In several other threads here on GS, we've lamented at the wasted opportunities in terms of promoting Davis and White. Not only would Meryl and Charlie benefit from greater exposure, but American skating would be advanced. There are ways of doing this (and they don't have to be crass like the nonstop shilling of the Kardashians). Take for example Jennifer Aniston. Here is a nice-looking woman (but certainly no raving beauty) who has, since her TV show ended, starred in a string of affable but entirely unmemorable movies, and yet she is featured on more magazine covers than Meryl Streep and Hillary Clinton combined, and she is invited to and photographed at innumerable red-carpeted events. One can only conclude that she has one heck of a publicist who never sleeps or takes lunch hour. How come skating doesn't have one of those on retainer? In Meryl and Charlie we have two fine-looking and talented skaters who have been (and I hope will be again) champions of the entire world, and they are nowhere to be seen. In what world would they be seen as uninteresting if cleverly presented to the American public? Several years ago, Katie Holmes (then married to Tom Cruise) was a guest star on I think Dancing with the Stars, on their results night, performing the old Judy Garland hit, "Get Happy." (Judy Garland was not outdone, may I add.) It was pre-taped and I think lip-synched, and she didn't move a muscle as she sang. Why can't some of the skaters be featured doing real performing on that show? Do we think that Meryl and Charlie, or the Shibs, or Tessa and Scott (why stop at Americans? Skating knows no boundaries.) couldn't dance stunningly on a wooden floor instead of on the ice? Where are people's imaginations?

  4. #19
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    Olympia - that's what I've been trying to say all along!

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by noidont View Post
    That being said, I don't see anything wrong with figure skating being a chill, minor Olympic sport. It's still by far the most popular winter olympics sport.
    For the sake of the skaters I wish the sport would attract a more robust live audience for major competitions. Youngsters go into figure skating, rather than some other sport, because they like the performance aspect as well as the athletic competition.

    No where can you get that happy feeling...when you are stealing...that extra bow!

    It must be discouraging when the skaters sacrifice and train all year to perform before empty seats. They gave a party and nobody came.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    For the sake of the skaters I wish the sport would attract a more robust live audience for major competitions. Youngsters go into figure skating, rather than some other sport, because they like the performance aspect as well as the athletic competition.
    That may be true for many youngsters who go into figure skating, but not necessarily all. And reasons why someone gets on the ice the first time may be different from reasons why they decide to start lessons or reasons why they decide to train seriously.

    Some skaters start skating lessons because they try skating and they like the feeling of gliding at speed. Or, when they get a little further along, the feeling of jumping. Either can feel like flying.

    In the days when school figures were a big part of the sport, some shy skaters especially liked the fact that it was an individual sport and liked the process of mastering technical challenges.

    Skaters who like the performance aspect but don't like the technical training won't get very far.

    Skaters who like the technical part and aren't interested in the performance part are more likely to reach the elite levels. Somewhere along the line, they'll realize that if they want to place higher they need to learn how to perform.

    Some introverted skaters do go on to become successful and popular performers.

    Others don't make as much effort in that direction and may be resented by fans -- and maybe some judges -- who want to be entertained.

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