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Thread: Figure skating is dying, and judges can't prop it up

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    I believe that I may be the hoariest person on Golden Skate, now that GrGranny and Joesitz have retired from active posting.
    Based on the good-humored energy of your posts, I somehow doubt that (if that were true, I would expect something, at least occasionally, along the lines of "damn sniveling punks, get off of my server!")

  2. #62
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    ^ I think I will make that my new signature.

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    Quote Originally Posted by YunaBliss View Post
    Dude/Dudette, you are not making much sense to me. A sports fan wants to see greatness, not mediocrity. This applies in any sport. That is how a sport grows. If you have some grudge against extreme Yuna fans and fanatical media in Korea, why don't you take it against them in Korean sites, as you proclaim yourself to be Korean.
    I will agree that I'd rather see greatness than someone who is merely all right. I'm sure you and I are not the only ones who feel that way.

    As for extreme YuNa fans, or extreme fans of any other skater, I don't like to blame the skater for the excesses of fans. I look at YuNa's accomplishments, and that's what matters to me. (It might help that I don't read either Korean or Japanese.) Why should we let other fans spoil our fun? They're not on TV, and they're not in the room with us. Go, YuNa!

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    Topic 1: I'm afraid that I have already chosen the premier "Old Guy tag line" for my Custom Title, but you are all welcome to contend for the silver medal.

    Topic 2: I don't get the whole "uber-fan" thing. I wandered into one of the Fan Fest forum threads on a whim, and it was awful... the posts alternated between pre-teen fantasy musing about someone's beautiful eyes and venomous lashings-out at any one who dared to speculate that the favorite wasn't the most awesome thing ever!

    I don't know if that's the exclusive home for desperate housewives and 13 year old girls, but I certainly will not take any risks by going back to find out.

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by YunaBliss View Post
    Dude/Dudette, you are not making much sense to me. A sports fan wants to see greatness, not mediocrity. This applies in any sport. That is how a sport grows. If you have some grudge against extreme Yuna fans and fanatical media in Korea, why don't you take it against them in Korean sites, as you proclaim yourself to be Korean.
    Sports fans should see greatness of course but it's the matter of how to define greatness. And what I like about this sport is that there's diversity in it. It's not like swimming or running where the fastest person take all the credit and proven to be greater than any other. But many of them or some of them did not respect diversity in this sport and of course as a korean I took 'the grudge' against them but bullied terribly so i'm just waiting for them to cool down instead of fighting it. Is that so wrong? I'm not complaining about it here but stating my experience and using it to make my own predictions and expectations on future. By the way I'm not blaming them for supporting Yuna. She's a wonder. How can I be complaining about her when she's the one who brought me here It's not like I'm antagonizing all Yuna fans. How can I do that when I'm one of them?

    To be specific(since you don't seem to understand why I have the grudge-if I really have one- on them), all I wanted there was only a freedom to post a thread (or at least post it on my own blog) saying 'I love jeffrey buttle so I went to see Super Match Ice show(in which Yuna didn't participate)' without being cyber attacked.
    Do you really think that this was too much of me to ask for Korean fan community?

    No matter why, I think I shouldn't have brought it up here. So I promise that I won't do it again :(

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by sather View Post
    No matter why, I think I shouldn't have brought it up here. So I promise that I won't do it again :(
    THank you. One thing the Japanese fans do so well is that they keep this kind of stuff in-house.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TontoK View Post
    Topic 1: I'm afraid that I have already chosen the premier "Old Guy tag line" for my Custom Title, but you are all welcome to contend for the silver medal.

    Topic 2: I don't get the whole "uber-fan" thing. I wandered into one of the Fan Fest forum threads on a whim, and it was awful... the posts alternated between pre-teen fantasy musing about someone's beautiful eyes and venomous lashings-out at any one who dared to speculate that the favorite wasn't the most awesome thing ever!

    I don't know if that's the exclusive home for desperate housewives and 13 year old girls, but I certainly will not take any risks by going back to find out.
    Don't give up entirely on fanfest's. Yes, there are posts there, as you describe them, but they are a great place to find links to articles and youtubes of their skaters. In fact, sometimes those links lead you to a whole treasure trove of youtubes of events you didn't know existed, particularly when the language they are posted in is not your own!

    I find them valuable, if sometimes OTT...

    It's fun to uber a skater or team occasionally. I am an old-time Torvill & Dean and Pakhomova & Gorshkov uber myself And I fear I am developing a strong tendency to be a real Jason Brown uber-his stuff is just such fun. Not to mention Zhiganshina & Gaszi And our two stunning North American dance teams, Davis & White and Virtue & Moir!

    It is not necessary for me for my favorites to win; I just want to see them perform their programs to the best of their abilities, andI I like to see them happy with their scores. I like to see them grow & develop year over year.

  8. #68
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    Is it the judges's responsibility to make figure skating popular?

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    ^^^
    It's the judges' and technical panel's responsibility to pick the correct winnter, given the rules.

    It's the ISU's and the separate federations' responsibility to make the sport popular. One way to do that is to change the rules around to make the sport more popular.

    Nascar did this. When ratings sagged of late, after they introduced the so-called Car Of Tomorrow (COT), they listened to the fans, and found that fans liked rooting for teams that used their favorite car manufacturer's car. The 2012 season rules had cars that looked alike, except for the paint schemes & the numbers. The new cars this year are now more individual by associated manufacturer. We'll see whether this strategy is successful, but at least there was an attempt to make fans happy.

    Nascar also suffered with a 5 time champion who was not a particularly engaging personality (Jimmie Johnson). Unlike Patrick, Jimmy does not shoot his mouth off, but he is not an interesting interview. There is nothing to be done about this in racing. The guy that wins, wins. No one asks him, "Do you think your win was warranted?" The ISU or Canadian federation sets up the press conferences. They could publish guidelines for reporters if they don't want questions that challenge the judging system.

    So I'm going to turn this around: What should skating do to make you more happy? Tell them! The ISU, USFS (at icenetwork), and I believe also Skate Canada, have forums attached to their websites.

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    A Nascar driver (Denny Hamlin) was fined $25,000 for saying that he didn't like the new Sprint Cup car.

    Skaters, if you don't like th judging system, you better keep quiet.

    Quote Originally Posted by spikydurian View Post
    Is it the judges's responsibility to make figure skating popular?
    I think the title of the article is intended to be ironic. The author is referring to the perception that one reason skating is in decline is because the judges prop up favored skaters with inflated marks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robeye View Post
    No offense to you, but you're boxing yourself into a corner. With a population of 50 million, South Korea is a pretty substantial pond. Larger than California. Of the same order of magnitude as the major European countries. Do France, Italy, the UK, Germany, etc. have no meaning for the future of skating? I guess if you live in Sweden, you shouldn't even bother watching, because with a population of 9 million, you are not even a comma in the meaning of the future of figure skating. Canada with 20-some-odd million might count for a bit more, but try not to give yourselves pretensions, willya?

    If we take the Philosophy of Jenaj to its logical conclusions, then even Americans are merely suffering from a temporary delusion that they count; the only countries that should or will matter, because they are Big Ponds, are China and India.

    Thank you, jenaj, for clearing that little matter up.
    You're welcome. I stand by what I said. The fact that Yu Na is popular in a small market like South Korea means nothing for the future of figure skating. In fact, it doesn't even mean anything for Korean figure skating, since there is no one to follow in Yu Na's footsteps. Big countries mean big markets. All the TV broadcast rights that exist in SK can't save the sport--or at least can't save it from becoming a niche sport, like fencing.

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenaj View Post
    You're welcome. I stand by what I said. The fact that Yu Na is popular in a small market like South Korea means nothing for the future of figure skating. In fact, it doesn't even mean anything for Korean figure skating, since there is no one to follow in Yu Na's footsteps. Big countries mean big markets. All the TV broadcast rights that exist in SK can't save the sport--or at least can't save it from becoming a niche sport, like fencing.
    I think in this case you might be wrong in terms of classification. Korea may not be large geographically, but it is not a small country in terms of population, which is what matters because it affects per capita income. Korea has about 49 million people. Canada, despite its size, has 34 million. In terms of population, Korea is not far behind France and Italy and way ahead of Austria. Its population is only about six million less than that of all of Scandinavia. It's a mid-sized country population-wise and has considerable economic clout. There is also a considerable Korean-American population. (I don't know the Canadian statistics.) I once read that the second most widely spoken language in Seattle, after English, is Korean. That's a lot of fan base.

    I worry about Korea's immediate future as a skating power, but I think the lag will be temporary. As the generation directly inspired by YuNa grows older, these skaters will begin to have an impact on international competitions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    I think in this case you might be wrong in terms of classification. Korea may not be large geographically, but it is not a small country in terms of population, which is what matters because it affects per capita income. Korea has about 49 million people. Canada, despite its size, has 34 million. In terms of population, Korea is not far behind France and Italy and way ahead of Austria. Its population is only about six million less than that of all of Scandinavia. It's a mid-sized country population-wise and has considerable economic clout. There is also a considerable Korean-American population. (I don't know the Canadian statistics.) I once read that the second most widely spoken language in Seattle, after English, is Korean. That's a lot of fan base.

    I worry about Korea's immediate future as a skating power, but I think the lag will be temporary. As the generation directly inspired by YuNa grows older, these skaters will begin to have an impact on international competitions.
    I stand corrected on Canada's population, Olympia^^. I guess it's gotten a bit larger since I was learning those types of facts in school (maybe immigration?).

    OTOH, IIRC, Korea has officially passed the 50 million mark, maybe in the last year.

    No one is saying that Korea by itself is going to save skating, either economically or in terms of talent. But it can make a meaningful contribution (and there is a discussion of Yuna's ongoing influence on skaters worldwide in another thread). Medium-sized but substantial countries like Korea add up. Five or six such nations, for a example, let's say a group that includes France, Germany, the UK, Italy, Korea and Spain, would be represent a viewing market and pool of advertising dollars comparable to the US.

    The World According To Jenaj is the old and conventional dinosaur model relevant to a time when there were only 3 VHF channels on TV, and you walked to your set to change them by physically turning the dial on your Trinitron. Even within the US, with the explosion in the number of channels and choices, success is about successfully targeting more finely defined segments ("niches", if you will) of viewers, across time slots and regional viewerships, among other things, and to a great extent this is true even for the three traditional broadcasters.

    On a similar principle, while it would certainly be a huge bonus for skating to capture a larger slice of the US market, I would think that it is actually more critical for its survival that it be able to string together shares from a larger group of substantial markets at least the minimum numbers required for its economic viability. In fact, I would argue that this model is probably not only more realistic, but more robust (diversification of exposure and avoidance of customer concentration are cardinal rules of business strategy, but I'll let jenaj explain why, given the breathtaking insight and expertise she has already displayed on the subject).

  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ven View Post
    I do think it would help if mistakes were more penalized. I do think there is room to perform at higher level of difficulty and make some small errors and outscore a clean skate at lower difficulty, but the point in the article about a competitor falling all over the place and still beating a clean skate is a valid point. People not familiar with FS will see that and be turned off by it. Scoring needs some reforms not complete overhaul IMO.
    That accurately sums up what happened and what needs to happen before anything else can happen.

    I can only write anecdotally on this, but a lot of people who I know who follow figure skating in Toronto and who are Chan fans were really put off and embarrassed by the results.

    The CBC and the newspapers went out of their way to give coverage and, when everyone is watching, the judges "cack". When that happens repeatedly, the popularity gets set back, if not a little, by a lot. Do it twice (it happened in Nice as well), and what should have been a wake-up call has turned into a pattern and an entrenched position.

    In respect of Mr. Chan's inability to ever say the right thing and his propensity for saying the wrong thing in interviews, that is probably a minor factor. The reason why he is not as popular as Kurt Browning was (or still is) is a personal issue, and although it does not help the sport, it is not the causal factor that is totally killing the sport in Canada (IMO). There was a comment earlier, correct in the context that it was made, about the public wanting reality tv with "crap and controversy". Just borrowing the language, and putting it into another unrelated context, what happened this year certainly might qualify in both the category of "crap" and "controversy". We can't and don't want that in skating, and when we get it (and I think we got it), the popularity of the sport will and should plummet. But the critical factor isn't the symptom, it is the cause. The cause is the people who run it and put skates like the ones Chan does (at Worlds) as the ones that they award the highest scores to. And if those are their values, they are out of sync with what is either right or appropriate for the sport, and everyone, except for them and a few of the winning skater's willfully blind fans, knows it.

    CBC and sponsors are only going to stick with the sport (and they are trying so hard) in the long run if there is a chance that ISU makes the scoring so that people who watch it, seriously and casually, consider it ethical. Right now, that is not the case and, althought people are willing to give second chances, ISU is already at the stage where it has two strikes against it. Three strikes and perhaps it belongs next to dressage on the popularity grid.

    We have upcoming some of the best skaters ever. I am not totally sure that ISU corrects the scoring situation that the sport will make a recovery, but I think that everyone should be pretty sure that it has no chance if ISU does not correct the scoring situation.

  15. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by phaeljones View Post
    The cause is the people who run it and put skates like the ones Chan does (at Worlds) as the ones that they award the highest scores to. And if those are their values, they are out of sync with what is either right or appropriate for the sport, and everyone, except for them and a few of the winning skater's willfully blind fans, knows it.
    See, I don't think that the people who run the sport hold values that "performances with superior skating skills and difficult content and several falls should win over clean performances with good skating skills and difficult content" (or however you want to define it).

    There is and always has been a belief that skating skills should be rewarded, and that falls should be penalized. I think everyone agrees with that. The question is how to balance them out, along with all the other positive and negative factors in the performances.

    The current scoring system is designed to build in specific rewards for each different kind of skill and specific penalties for errors.

    The penalty that's built in for falling is the same at all levels of competition. I think when the fall deduction was introduced ca. 2005, the designers were thinking that they had to guarantee some additional penalty for falls beyond the negative GOE for falls on elements. And they chose to use 1.0 per fall, which was equivalent to what was then the value of one more minus on a triple jump.

    That choice meant that each fall was very costly at lower-scoring levels of competition, and not very costly at higher scoring levels.

    When you get a skater who deservedly racks up points for difficult elements, most of them well performed, and for program components, than subtracting 1.0 per fall isn't going to make much difference in their placements.

    At most levels of competition, if a skater is far enough ahead on other skills that points lost to a few mistakes plus 1.0 off for each fall don't drop them behind a lower-scoring skater who didn't fall, it's because the skater who stayed ahead was that much better.

    That can also be true at the highest, most high-profile events as well. But in choosing top-level champions, as opposed to choosing who's good enough to move on from a qualifying competition, it's more emotionally satisfying to see cleaner performances win.

    But even if the judges lower scores PCS for the better skater with falls from what they would have given for a clean program, and even if they raise PCS for a less superior skater with a cleaner performance further than they would have if everybody had skated clean, they can't force the cleaner skater to win. They don't have control over all the pieces in the system -- e.g., base values of the technical content completed, second-half bonuses, lead carried over from the short program -- when assigning GOEs and PCS in the long program. If they mark each element and each component the way they see it, they may still be surprised and perhaps disappointed in the final result produced.

    This is a bigger problem at the highest levels because 1) when the PCS values are high at the top there's more room for variation between the best, good, average, and weak skaters within that event, and 2) high-value elements rack up a lot of points when completed well, and the very highest-value elements (difficult triples and quads) rack up points even when they're failed.

    When that happens a couple of 1.0 deductions for falls make a negligible dent in the lead that the stronger skater can build up with all the other elements and components -- and short program.

    At lower levels, on the other hand, where the elements are worth less and the PCS range is narrower, even one fall can be a killer because the next-best skater is more likely to be closer behind.

    So if we want falls to be similarly costly at the highest levels, where the most people are watching and the most people care strongly, then the system needs to be redesigned to make the penalties larger at levels where the overall scores are highest.

    I don't know whether the ISU technical committees or whoever else is responsible for designing the system is already working on this problem. They probably do realize there is a problem but they may not have yet conceptualized a good way to solve it. The solution they tried to add ca. 2005 by formalizing a fall deduction in place of the original recommendation to judges to lower the Performance/Execution score was some improvement, but they didn't foresee at that time some of the ways in which it has more recently proven to be inadequate.

    I propose making the fall deduction a percentage of the total segment score. But even if I had the power to wish a new rule into effect immediately, I would want to run simulations and shadow scoring of many competitions at different levels to figure out the best percentages to use.

    Meanwhile, all the judges can do is call each element and each component as they see it. Unless you want them to ignore all the other criteria and manipulate numbers to make sure, as much as they can, that the cleanest programs will win.

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