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

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

    A tiny arena, not even 7,000 seats in all, unable to be filled to capacity for any single event until more than halfway through the competition. In ice-crazy Canada. Eleven months before the Winter Olympics.

    A sport adrift, its president not even bothering to cross the Atlantic to attend what is not only the most important competition the International Skating Union annually holds, but also once was one of the most revered and most-watched of any world championships in any Olympic sport, winter or summer.
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports...it-up/1995027/


    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/...92G0I220130317

    Glitzy Gala cannot hide figure skating warts
    With a scoring system that is harder to understand than the theory of relativity and offers about as much transparency as a Papal conclave, figure skating still struggles to connect with the average fan, particularly in North America where their numbers are on the decline.

    That confusing system allowed Canada's Patrick Chan to claim a third consecutive world championship title on Friday despite hitting the ice more times than a toddler learning to skate.

    The routine was so dreadful that Chan spent the next two days apologizing profusely to fans for his performance but he certainly did not apologize for the win.

    "I deserved it," declared Chan. "It's totally understandable that people have their doubts.

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    canada's minister of state for sport bal gosal saw things very differently tweeting: "is it me, or is @skatecanada's @pchiddy (chan) getting better every time he skates?"
    lol.

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    Ethnocentric article, IMO. Look where most of the medalists and winners come from, and you'll see FS is as popular there as ever, if not more so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ven View Post
    Ethnocentric article, IMO. Look where most of the medalists and winners come from, and you'll see FS is as popular there as ever, if not more so.
    Burying your head in sand is going nowhere. I sensed that even South Korea is less crazy about FS these days than just two 2 years ago.

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    Brennan makes an interesting point. On another thread, several of us took offense at another reporters comment that maybe if the old fans died out, they would be replaced by newer, hipper fans. Brennan points out that it isn't the age of the fans that's the problem: it's the age, or at least the outdated outlook, of the management. (After all, doesn't football have those wonderful cadre of old fans who have been to every Super Bowl for the last forty years or so?) I refuse to believe that skating has nothing to offer to a wider circle of viewers. With a little imagination, someone can change things.

    It never occurred to me, but once Brennan mentioned it, I realized how amazing it is that Cinquanta didn't even show up for Worlds. This is the equivalent of the baseball World Series, after all.

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    Yes you prove my point, that's because Yuna left competition. They had nobody else to win anything. If you took a competition to Korea last year vs. Yuna ice show, which do you think Koreans would rather attend? Foreigners they don't know and don't really care about? Or someone they do know? It's the same in the U.S. Most Americans don't care about sports where Americans aren't dominant. Soccer(futbol) and F1 racing are not popular at all in the U.S. despite having very large international interest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ven View Post
    Ethnocentric article, IMO. Look where most of the medalists and winners come from, and you'll see FS is as popular there as ever, if not more so.
    Quote Originally Posted by suzukifan27 View Post
    Burying your head in sand is going nowhere. I sensed that even South Korea is less crazy about FS these days than just two 2 years ago.
    South Korea is/was "less" crazy about it because Yuna left. Let's face it, she made figure skating there. Without her, Korean Figure Skating is pretty much nothing. Her ice shows are continually sold-out every year. Then she came back and competed in Nationals in South Korea for the first time in a million years, which made people relatively more accessible to watch her compete rather than going through the fuss of going overseas.

    Figure skating in Japan still seems pretty strong to be honest--men's and ladies' mostly. I get a sense a lot of Japanese FS fans like Davis/White and the Shibutanis because both of those pairs take part in Japanese ice shows in the off-season.

    You can blame the IJS all you want, but it's not the only reason why skating is on the decline in "Western" countries. Part of it is the lack of strong female solo stars, changing attitude as a society towards female roles in sports, the economy, and many others.

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    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.

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    I agree with aftertherain. Yuna is a poor example. South Korea wouldn't even be a blip on the skate radar without her. I think there are several reasons why the sport isn't as popular in the US and I don't think the judges are the main factor. The first is lack of television coverage in the US and the lack of promotion by the USFS. The second is the lack of skating stars since Michelle Kwan.....that points back to the first reason I cited. Third, the scoring system to the casual fan is like reading sanskrit. It makes little or no sense and the broadcasters dont' even understand it. I can see why the 6.0 system had to be overhauled. But basically they went from a motor scooter to a Rolls Royce. The new scoring system has impacted choreography (how many ugly positions are possible in a sit spin?) and the need to get those extra points in the second half of the program by throwing the big jumps has ruined quite a few otherwise wonderful programs. As far as filling seats in an arena....have you looked at the price of tickets these days? It's insane. And add travel and lodging and food on to that and not many people can afford to go to too many competitions. I mentioned this in another thread some days ago but the ticket price for the 2014 Nationals Exhibition show is $200!!!!! How many families could afford to take children to that show? How many couples could go to that show? How many West Coasters can afford to attend Nationals in Boston with ticket prices sky high! I think Canada was smart not to book a huuuuuuuuuge arena and have it half empty. God forbid anyone should look at WHY it's half empty.

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    Long live the Queen! YunaBliss's Avatar
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    I didn't bother to read these articles, but obviously, figure skating is very strong in Japan and Korea, and is getting increasingly popular in China and other parts of Asia. So if figure skating is "dying," then it is only "dying" in the US primarily, as many have already said. Plus, with rising stars like Gold and Osmond, I think the public interest in figure skating in US and North America will start to rise back.

    All in all, as far as ladies figure skating is concerned, I think with the current level of talents we have around the globe (basically the Top 10 ladies at this year's Worlds), the sport is in a better shape than it has ever been in terms of quality standpoint.

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    One thing that could be done is to improve the quality of galas.

    Right now, the kids pick there own music, and do a lot of their own choreo, mostly by borrowing it from last year. Since this is the Olympic year, and NBC knows they will be broadcasting the gala, I think it would be helpful if they at least supervised the music choices of the top contenders for medals, and circulated that list to all other kids who qualified for this year's Worlds, and said, choose something different than what these guys are skating to.

    That way you wouldn't get a gala like last year with about 5 different Adele programs, 3 using the same song.

    They could also circulate a list of music they would like kids to pick from.

    They could donate money for a choreographer if the kid picked from the list. That way there might be less repetitiveness about the programs.

    They could hire the Shibutanis to put together the finale - their videos have been more interesting than a lot of the stuff done for gala finales these days.

    Or USFSA and Skate Canada could get together on something like this.

    Galas and shows is the entry level for selling their product.

    Another thing NBC could do is fire Scott Hamilton. He's a great guy, but it's time he retires as a commentator. The other sales point for skating is is the Olympics coverage itself.

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    In response (to the Salt Lake City judging controversy), they shelved the sport's immensely popular but flawed 6.0 scoring system for an anonymous points-based system that few truly understand to this day. Even though it has produced some fairer results, this was a huge marketing mistake. The 6.0 system was reality TV before there was reality TV. It was Dancing with the Stars before anyone ever heard of the show, with the flags of the judges' countries and their scores superimposed over the skater watching in the aptly named "Kiss and Cry" area. Every TV show on earth wanted what skating had, and skating gave it all away.
    I agree with this assessment (although I think skating's popularity would have declined anyway).

    What is even more frustrating is the ISU's response to this virtually universal judgment. "We don't care. We are above all that. We know what's best for the sport. Fans, television networks, Christine Brennen, go study the rule book and you will see how wonderful we are and how stupid you are not to want our product any more."
    Last edited by Mathman; 03-18-2013 at 07:47 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dorispulaski View Post
    One thing that could be done is to improve the quality of galas.

    They could hire the Shibutanis to put together the finale - their videos have been more interesting than a lot of the stuff done for gala finales these days.
    I'm all for this suggestion!

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    Figure skating can't compete here in the US against trash like reality shows and what not. Skating is too refined and this country wants crap and controversy. Our culture the last 20 years has really declined.

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    No judges, skating stars, and/or systems can revive figure skating in NA. We should be thankful that US still has a few world level skaters.

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