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Thread: Senior B scheduled for August in Australia!

  1. #61
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    From a variety of diffuse bits of evidence (maybe I’ll write a book someday…maybe. I will be terse here.), it seems to me that the ISU is not especially interested in supporting potential figure skaters from countries lacking (imagined) majority white or Asian populations.
    They're not much interested in supporting potential figure skaters (or speedskaters) -- their mission is to support actual skaters, on an international, not a local level. If a country where figure skating had never existed in the past -- where skatable ice had never existed in the past -- wants to develop a figure skating or speedskating program, the ISU can provide them a path to membership and assistance with developing their programs, but they can't create a program out of nothing from the top down.

    ISU Constitution and General Regulations
    See especially Articles 3 and 4.

    http://isu.sportcentric.net/db/isu_f...omms.php?all=1
    See ISU Communication 1778 and its appendixes for information on the ISU International Ice Dance Development Training Seminar for Coaches and their Couples/Skaters in Asia, Oceania, the Pacific Region and South Africa (2013)
    and
    ISU Communication 1714 and appendixes
    ISU International Ice Dance Development Training Seminar for Coaches and Ice Dance Couples in Asia and the Pacific region (2012)
    both held in Seoul

    For singles skating, you might be interested in the
    ISU World Development Trophy events held this spring in
    Poland
    (included skaters from Morocco) and the Philippines (no direct link but it took place April 10-16 in Manila; if you search the ISU events calendar you can find links to the announcement and protocol, and if you google ISU Development Trophy Manila you'll find links to quite a few of the performances on youtube.

    There's also a thread here at Golden Skate about these events

    This is new this year, and hopefully there will be more such efforts in the future. But again, these are ways to welcome developing figure skating programs into the ISU and provide opportunities for international competition below the JGP level. The ISU can't create the new programs and new skaters themselves.

    The cultural points you raise have some merit, but more as an acknowledgment that individuals have cultural biases, and an organization that is primarily composed of Europeans and North Americans of European ancestry will skew in its preferences in favor of those cultures. As more federations from other parts of the world join the ISU and send skaters and officials to its events, the weight of those preferences will be diluted through new points of view. But it will take time.

  2. #62
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pepe Nero View Post
    *whole post*
    Gkelly always responds to proposals about "what we ought to do" with inquiries about the nuts and bolts of how our goals might actually be accomplished. For this I find myself continually in her debt. It is one thing to point out the ISU's ethical obligation to bring the blessings of figure skating to a more global clientele. It is quite another to raise the money to do so.

    I believe that gkelly is right in regarding most sports adventures as bottom up rather than top down. Winter Olympic sports are Scandinavian/Alpine hobbies that developed out of the need to snowshoe across a frozen lake, or to ski down a mountain while shooting a gun. No one outside of Europe won a world or Olympic championship in figure skating until after World War II, when the European skating establishment was shattered, never fully to recover.

    When India joined the ISU a decade or so ago, they had exactly four skating rinks in a nation of a billion people. All of the rinks were left over from British officers' clubs built during the Raj. The Indian figure skating champion lived in Qatar. The current Indian champion is from New Jersey. Trying to make Indians take an interest in figure skating would be as hard a task as trying to make Americans interested in men's soccer. (Figure skating isn't cricket or badminton, after all.)

    As for countries that really could use a helping hand, like South Sudan, building a network of ice skating rinks and flying in international coaches is not at the top of the list of national needs.

    But education is. Yuna Kim donated 70,000,000 won to build a school there.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yB1fwzjtmnw

    IMHO, there is a tack that promises a better wind. Swab your own deck first. In the U.S. there are a lot of well off and middle class black families that enthusiastically put their kids into all kinds of athletic and cultural enrichment programs (ballet for instance), including skating. Local rinks could be more vigorous in outreach activities. There are organizations like Figure Skating in Harlem, which draws the support of dozens of top current and former skaters, in an endeavor to use ice skating as the edge of the wedge leading to programs in academics and leadership.

    http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m1...0aywo1_500.jpg

    Michelle Obama (ably assisted by Michelle Kwan and Dominique Dawes, to mention two) is all over girls' health and fitness. Why couldn't the USFSA partner with the federal government to push skating activities in a "get out and skate" program.

    OK, so this would drive the national debt up to $17,000,001,000,000 instead of $17,000,000,000,000 -- still, write your Congressman
    Last edited by Mathman; 06-22-2013 at 06:34 PM.

  3. #63
    I got your program components right here. Pepe Nero's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    They're not much interested in supporting potential figure skaters (or speedskaters) -- their mission is to support actual skaters, on an international, not a local level. If a country where figure skating had never existed in the past -- where skatable ice had never existed in the past -- wants to develop a figure skating or speedskating program, the ISU can provide them a path to membership and assistance with developing their programs, but they can't create a program out of nothing from the top down.
    "Can't"? I understand such a thing would be difficult, perhaps a bad use of resources, but that would depend on value judgments. (Judgments we could hash out, but let's not. Unless you want to.)

    Let me just put my general view this-a-way: Neither an individual nor a country can become prominent in figure skating internationally without the approval of the ISU. Therefore, it is the ISU's moral responsibility to ensure that persons regardless of nationality have an equal opportunity to be successful, as their natural abilities allow, in the sport.

    Now, in a (hypothetical) progressing-toward-ideal world, the ISU would dissolve and give all its money to development projects in the poorest parts of the world, which surely do not include figure skating. But insofar as the ISU exists, has some good amount of money (relative to most of us), and (most importantly) controls access to the sport at the non-leisure levels, it has a moral duty to use its resources to bring about equality of opportunity in the sports it governs. It cannot (in a moral sense) use existing injustice as a reason for complacency.

    Now, I am making ethical claims about what should be done. I am not a sociologist, anthropologist, historian, or a psychic. I am not trying to describe the past, the present, or the future.

    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    ISU Constitution and General Regulations
    See especially Articles 3 and 4.

    http://isu.sportcentric.net/db/isu_f...omms.php?all=1
    See ISU Communication 1778 and its appendixes for information on the ISU International Ice Dance Development Training Seminar for Coaches and their Couples/Skaters in Asia, Oceania, the Pacific Region and South Africa (2013)
    and
    ISU Communication 1714 and appendixes
    ISU International Ice Dance Development Training Seminar for Coaches and Ice Dance Couples in Asia and the Pacific region (2012)
    both held in Seoul

    For singles skating, you might be interested in the
    ISU World Development Trophy events held this spring in
    Poland
    (included skaters from Morocco) and the Philippines (no direct link but it took place April 10-16 in Manila; if you search the ISU events calendar you can find links to the announcement and protocol, and if you google ISU Development Trophy Manila you'll find links to quite a few of the performances on youtube.

    There's also a thread here at Golden Skate about these events

    This is new this year, and hopefully there will be more such efforts in the future. But again, these are ways to welcome developing figure skating programs into the ISU and provide opportunities for international competition below the JGP level. The ISU can't create the new programs and new skaters themselves.
    Thank you. But, about your last sentence, hmmm. It seems obviously true in some senses and equally false in others, especially given how dependent skaters are on external, institutionalized support for their success.

    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    The cultural points you raise have some merit, but more as an acknowledgment that individuals have cultural biases, and an organization that is primarily composed of Europeans and North Americans of European ancestry will skew in its preferences in favor of those cultures. As more federations from other parts of the world join the ISU and send skaters and officials to its events, the weight of those preferences will be diluted through new points of view. But it will take time.
    Okay. But these changes will not occur naturally. Some agent(s) must take responsibility for bringing it about. My point has been that the ISU has the moral obligation to bring this about, given the governance role they assume over the sport. If they do not take on such responsibiities, they are basically just the skating mafia.

  4. #64
    I got your program components right here. Pepe Nero's Avatar
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    Sorry for two posts in a row; I could only manage one at a time right now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    Gkelly always responds to proposals about "what we ought to do" with inquiries about the nuts and bolts of how our goals might actually be accomplished. For this I find myself continually in her debt.
    For sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    It is one thing to point out the ISU's ethical obligation to bring the blessings of figure skating to a more global clientele. It is quite another to raise the money to do so.
    I wasn't talking about raising money, just about equitable use of existing funds.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    I believe that gkelly is right in regarding most sports adventures as bottom up rather than top down. Winter Olympic sports are Scandinavian/Alpine hobbies that developed out of the need to snowshoe across a frozen lake, or to ski down a mountain while shooting a gun. No one outside of Europe won a world or Olympic championship in figure skating until after World War II, when the European skating establishment was shattered, never fully to recover.

    When India joined the ISU a decade or so ago, they had exactly four skating rinks in a nation of a billion people. All of the rinks were left over from British officers' clubs built during the Raj. The Indian figure skating champion lived in Qatar. The current Indian champion is from New Jersey. Trying to make Indians take an interest in figure skating would be as hard a task as trying to make Americans interested in men's soccer. (Figure skating isn't cricket or badminton, after all.)

    As for countries that really could use a helping hand, like South Sudan, building a network of ice skating rinks and flying in international coaches is not at the top of the list of national needs.

    But education is. Yuna Kim donated 70,000,000 won to build a school there.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yB1fwzjtmnw
    I am not proposing anything anything about how to measure it, but I am talking about equal opportunity, Mathman, not equal rates of participation or interest. We're going to need some social scientists for the practical stuff. Ha ha.

    I think I addressed your other points in my reply to gkelly. Be careful not to prove too much, though. If we are going to prioritize use of resources using humanitarian criteria (which I'm all for) than the worldwide budget for FS is gone.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    IMHO, there is a tack that promises a better wind. Swab your own deck first. In the U.S. there are a lot of well off and middle class black families that enthusiastically put their kids into all kinds of athletic and cultural enrichment programs (ballet for instance), including skating. Local rinks could be more vigorous in outreach activities. There are organizations like Figure Skating in Harlem, which draws the support of dozens of top current and former skaters, in an endeavor to use ice skating as the edge of the wedge leading to programs in academics and leadership.

    http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m1...0aywo1_500.jpg

    Michelle Obama (ably assisted by Michelle Kwan and Dominique Dawes, to mention two) is all over girls' health and fitness. Why couldn't the USFSA partner with the federal government to push skating activities in a "get out and skate" program.

    OK, so this would drive the national debt up to $17,000,001,000,000 instead of $17,000,000,000,000 -- still, write your Congressman
    Well, yes, but I don't see why one goal need be prioritized over the other. Both are worthy goals for which the resources already exist, though even if they didn't, I would resist the idea that there are special obligations to compatriots. (A view that needs defense, but not on GS.)

  5. #65
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    Keeping in mind that until 20-30 years ago, competitive figure skating was a purely amateur endeavor -- it was not allowed to compete and also to earn money for doing so or for other skating-related activities. The reasons for that go back to the 19th century and the beginnings of the ISU and the Olympic sports movement, and the changes in the 1980s and 90s also applied across Olympic sports in general, with some differences by sport.

    So the ISU and the Olympic movement in general started out as international but intentionally elitist. (We don't have to get into the philosophies behind amateurism in elite sport here)

    And most of the officials are volunteers, with a few paid staff hired to keep things running. Most of the income is from broadcast rights, sponsorships, and ticket sales related to the very top elite levels of competition -- programs like the JGP represent expenses, not income.

    More than a century has passed. The world has changed. Values have changed. There are plenty of people involved in figure skating governance at grassroots to international levels who want to see the sport become more inclusive, and even more outsiders who love skating as fans but would like to see it expand its range, or who don't love skating because of its elitist history but on principle would like to see it become less elitist.

    So let's imagine for the sake of argument that all remnants of the old ways of thinking were suddenly eliminated and all decisionmakers within the ISU decided that expanding opportunities to potential figure skaters throughout the globe is a top priority.

    How would they go about doing so? What new programs should they develop? Where should they allocate more resources?

    In conjunction, which current programs should receive less support?

    Could new sources of funding be found without taking away from existing budget items?

    What rules or policies could be changed to encourage wider participation in international competition without requiring ISU funding?

  6. #66
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    Just to change the mood of the conversation.
    Will anyone be attending the competition? I would love to see videos of the competition.

    More specifically, can someone record the Obrien and Merriman's programs? I wish I could see them as well as the other competition but I'm awfully busy that week :(

  7. #67
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    The entries for skate down under closed last night. Does anyone know, or at least heard who might be coming to this event?

  8. #68
    I got your program components right here. Pepe Nero's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    So let's imagine for the sake of argument that all remnants of the old ways of thinking were suddenly eliminated and all decisionmakers within the ISU decided that expanding opportunities to potential figure skaters throughout the globe is a top priority.

    How would they go about doing so? What new programs should they develop? Where should they allocate more resources?

    In conjunction, which current programs should receive less support?

    Could new sources of funding be found without taking away from existing budget items?

    What rules or policies could be changed to encourage wider participation in international competition without requiring ISU funding?
    Gosh, what excellent questions. They require a lot of thought, though I worry that few or none in the ISU considers them seriously. I hope you don't mean to imply that because they are difficult to answer, they are, therefore, unanswerable.

    In any case, I may misread your intentions, gkelly, but I sometime wonder when you post a long list of questions in response to someone's post, whether you mean to express incredulity at what you take them to be implying. (?) I can't (nor am I willing to) devote the kind of time it would take to answer your questions. (You must know that answering these questions respectfully would require at the least--even for a machine--months of devotion and research.) I am not the sort of person who is pleased to give a flippant reply (more than half the time, anyway), and answering them imposes a kind of burden that I not willing to devote to the internet.

    ETA: I'm not conceding, gkelly. (Excessive smiley faces to indicate that I take this be a friendly debate.) I just don't see why your important questions, which the ISU must surely address, cannot be answered in ways that, though likely controversial, are reasonable.

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pepe Nero View Post
    Gosh, what excellent questions. They require a lot of thought, though I worry that few or none in the ISU considers them seriously. I hope you don't mean to imply that because they are difficult to answer, they are, therefore, unanswerable.
    No, the questions are not meant to be rhetorical. I'm trying to take the discussion away from identifying a problem and suggesting that if only the ISU would change its priorities the problem would be solved (implying that the primary obstacle to figure skating success in countries that have had none is ISU policy), and toward looking for practical answers.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pepe Nero View Post
    That this competition has been created is good news for figure skating and, well, just people. I hope that the ISU will sanction more competitions in parts of the world that (1) FS is not traditionally popular, and (2) people who cannot afford to get to Europe, North America, and East Asia can get to within their budgets.
    Your first post in this thread addressed one of the main obstacles -- distance and the cost of travel.

    The biggest limitation on human potential in figure skating has always been artificial barriers imposed by human beings. Whether it has been "women have to wear skirts that go to a certain length," or "men can't wear tights" or something slightly more subtle like "we're just not going to put a rink anywhere near where someone we don't want to compete could get to," figure skating has sabotaged itself.

    This news would be so much MORE exciting if it wasn't 300-500 years behind the progress of the rest of the world. Australia is not a newly discovered territory. (And, sorry, I am modifying my view mid-post.) Makes one wonder how long it will take before skaters from Africa will have an equal opportunity at the Olympics.
    But then you start to suggest that culturally biased rules (one of which, about skirts, no longer exists) are more significant obstacles than the practical ones and blame the sport itself for the lack of skaters from more farflung parts of the world.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pepe Nero View Post
    I was also wondering when, in the sport of figure skating, competitors from Africa will, others things being equal, the same chances at medals as athletes from Europe, North America, and Japan.

    My post was meant to raise the question, "When are people, regardless of where they are born, and what racial classification they are born into, going to have the same opportunity as (gosh, I don't know; let's say...) Gracie Gold?"

    Let's put it another way. What is the ISU doing about (or does it care -- probably the more important question) the potentially amazing figure skaters in Namibia or Bolivia? How can we seriously talk about World Records and how amazing Yuna Kim and Evgeny Plushenko are when only some white and and Asian people are given the opportunity to compete???
    Again, this second post seemed to suggest -- forgive me if I'm wrong -- that the primary obstacle to skaters from Namibia or Bolivia competing successfully is racism and cultural bias on the part of the ISU and its powerful federations European and North American (and now Japanese) federations.

    My answer has been to focus on the facts that 1) warm-weather countries without a tradition of skating on natural ice are culturally less likely to have significant numbers of citizens interested in ice skating and 2) building ice rinks in such locations, whether by governments or private entrepreneurs, is less likely to be a priority. The extra costs of cooling ice in warm climates is one issue, but lack of interest among the local populace, and often more pressing priorities for developmental efforts, are probably more significant.

    My impression, in the 21st century context, is that if enough skaters from a traditionally non-skating country starts doing well enough to merit participation in international junior and senior events, federations from those countries will join the ISU if they haven't already, and the


    The fact that skaters from South America, Africa, and Australia/Oceania have to travel further to participate in most events is indeed an obstacle, but that's a primarily a function of geography. Since these federations tend to be newer and smaller, they haven't often hosted their own events in the past.

    I agree with your very first statement hoping "that the ISU will sanction more competitions in parts of the world that (1) FS is not traditionally popular, and (2) people who cannot afford to get to Europe, North America, and East Asia can get to within their budgets."

    Although the Australian skating program is relatively small compared to the powerhouse countries, it has a more developed program than most in the developing regions and it's great that they hosting a senior B event.

    And no doubt if another federation -- let's say Brazil, now that they have some skaters ready for senior B and 4Cs/Euros -- wanted to host an international event, I have no doubt that the ISU would sanction it.

    But the initiative has to start with the local federation, at least to the point of having junior-level skaters and forming a federation and applying for ISU membership. Countries that don't even have that can have domestic competitions at lower levels, but

    Similarly, skaters who struggle with 2-revolution jumps and can't do 2.5 (double axel) or 3 are not going to succeed in junior and senior competition, especially if their basic skating quality is not at a solid junior level or better (SS component at least in the 4s). That's not cultural bias, that's the technical demands of the sport.

    Isolation from the hotbeds of skating is a practical obstacle. It would be great if the ISU could help alleviate that obstacle. They are making some efforts, perhaps not as many as we might like. But they can't change the physical and cultural geography of the Earth.

    I think it makes more sense to acknowledge the real obstacles and focus on what, practically, could be done to alleviate them.

  10. #70
    Missing D&G GF2445's Avatar
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    So. Is there any news about who is entering? Anyone?

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    I am so excited!

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by christinaskater View Post
    I am so excited!
    Are you going? Please be sure to post reports!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by GF2445 View Post
    So. Is there any news about who is entering? Anyone?
    Entires are all here!

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    Quote Originally Posted by lcd View Post
    Are you going? Please be sure to post reports!!
    I will be there!

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    can we keep politics/isms away pls,
    its getting so annoying

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