... Is that because Plushy "retired"?
Originally Posted by plushyfan
I think elements competitions -- jumps; big pair tricks like throws, lifts, and twist lifts; to a lesser degree other discrete elements like spins (or death spirals for pairs); and to an even smaller degree step sequences or school figures or some other invention designed to measure edges and turns -- would appeal to casual viewers interested in casually viewing skating as sport.
Originally Posted by CanadianSkaterGuy
And then if they watch enough and if the commentary is informative enough, they will increase their knowledge level and increase their attention span for watching skating accordingly.
For fans who are primarily interested in skating as art or entertainment, elements competitions would not be of nearly as much interest as programs with music. Many casual fans would probably prefer shorter programs with popular/easily accessible music and emphasis on personality; some fans of ballet and other performing arts might prefer classical music and complex choreography according to stage dance criteria, with variety of blade skills merely a means to that end.
And again, as fans become more interested, better informed, and less casual, they'll have more patience for longer and more technically complex programs combining all types of skills in the same 4+ minutes.
The sport needs to value all types of skills appropriately, with edge work perhaps the most important, most fundamental.
But if it also wants to appeal to audiences (as was certainly one consideration in the elimination of school figures from competition), what would be the best format or the best rules to attract both the sports-minded, quantititatively minded fans on one hand and the arts/entertainment, qualitatively minded fans on the other? And then to provide paths for interested casual fans from all points of entree to learn more about the other aspects as they become less casual?
I agree with you there, gkelly. I think edge work is the most important, and fundamental, despite the fact that I don't like the new step sequences. I wish they'd bring back compulsory figures. I think their elimination sowed the seeds for the sports' loss in popularity, in the sense that skating is less graceful now, the quality of edges is not as strong -- Chan not withstanding -- and figures balanced out the sport a bit more: you didn't have to be a jumping bean to win, as those types were usually far back in figures. I actually think the step sequences look a bit like a bastardized version of compulsory figures, with all their rockers and brackets -- that's why they look so slow and laboured, especially when they're often set against fast music. They just don't always work in the context of a free-skating program.
$peedy and the ISU shot themselves in the foot when they decided to take over the pro skating and then deliberately killed it. They could've had it both ways - the more technical olympic elligible competition and then the more artistic pro skating. Best of both worlds. At least you'd have the viewership on par (globally) of the pre-whack era.
Originally Posted by Mathman
No. I adored the figure skating before Plushenko, in all my life. I saw Rodnina, Jan Hoffman, John Curry...on ice. After 2006 started to work the new system stronger, and I didn't like it. It was tragic for three disciplines: pair, icedance, and finally the men.
Originally Posted by aftertherain
The experts can explain why are so important some elements, but are not interesting, are not spectacular for the laymen. And the ISU doesn't understand it, or doesn't want to understand it because of the lobby some countries. Look at, no new fans, no audience in the arenas.
About the death of pro skating, I can understand why the ISU wanted to get control of the market for audience-friendly competitions starring skaters who had already made their name in Olympic-style competition, seeing outside promoters primarily interested in entertainment value as a threat to their control of skating standards. And I also understand the desire to keep current stars from retiring by giving them more money-making opportunities, at a time when there was more money to be made.
But long-term, especially in hindsight, I think they made a mistake in focusing on events that favored the then-current competitive stars, overworking and overexposing some of those stars, making it hard for older retired skaters to keep up with the technical content (especially jumps) of the younger competitors, and making it impossible to develop new stars of performance skating who were more artistically inclined but didn't have the athleticism to win fame in standard competition.
As for how to evaluate and reward fundamental skating skills in standard competition in a way that satisfies purists within the sport without turning off audiences, I'm sure money is a big consideration.
One reason school figures were eliminated was because they required a lot of ice time to compete, without bringing in additional viewers. If anything they turned off most viewers because no one but a real purist would want to sit and watch a whole figures competition, even die-hard fans couldn't really appreciate the quality of the circles without being on the ice themselves, and less die-hard fans would only watch the freeskating and be outraged on those occasions when the best freeskaters didn't win, because they were too far behind from the figures.
But with just short and long programs and few requirements in the long programs, too often the winners were the best jumpers, not the best skaters. Or when the judges did reward the skating over the jumps, casual fans (and sometimes the skaters themselves) wouldn't understand why and be outraged that one who skated cleanest with the hardest/best jumps didn't win.
Then the ISU added more guidelines, and later requirements for free programs, including step sequences and spiral sequences (ladies) or field moves (men).
And then with IJS they codified specific requirements to earn more points for the step sequences -- including requirements to include difficult turns that skaters had been able to get away with ignoring or in some cases never learning during the 1990s.
But the way the rules are set up encourages skaters to try to cram as many steps and turns and upper body movements as possible into a single footwork pass, which often works against the aesthetics of the step sequence or the program as a whole and still isn't very understandable to casual fans.
I do think that separate elements competitions in place of the short program, including one competition phase devoted just to basic skating skills could help educate audiences about those skills as well as rewarding the skaters who excel in those areas and make it harder for skaters to win the combined event on the strength of jumps alone.
But separate competition phases would be more time consuming and therefore more expensive than including all those skills in a short program, so I understand why that option has never been floated in ISU circles.
Also, if a skating-skills competition phase were purely technical with no music, it would not appeal much to arts-oriented fans and would also appeal to sport-oriented fans less than a jump contest or spin contest.
If it included music, it would be more fun to watch, but you'd still have the potential problem that the best technical skaters might not be the most musical or the best performers, so there would still be controversial results in that phase.
I don't know that there is a clear answer that could satisfy everybody. I do think that it is important to build ways of rewarding skating content and quality into the competition structure, probably as the single most important source of the score across the whole event (but jumps having the most variability of execution and therefore often determining results among skaters of comparable overall quality).
But what would be the best way to reward skating skills -- both difficulty and quality -- throughout a program (or across several competition phases) and in designated elements such as step sequences, and also appeal to casual audiences and to serious fans and insiders who put high value on aesthetics? That would be the challenge.
If not all those purposes can be achieved equally, which should be prioritized?
Agree with you CanadianSkater. I find SPs easier to sit through. LPs can be painful to watch especially among the junior skaters. I find them slow and dragging and when you add up all the total minutes of 10 ore more so skaters .... I don't think I can sit through it all.
Originally Posted by CanadianSkaterGuy
As a casual fan, I always find it useful to listen to comments which tells us more about the sport. Am not a diver but love to watch diving and listening to the commentators have helped me to understand why some dives are better than the others. The same can be applied to figure skating though it will take longer to understand since it's few seconds vs few minutes.
I think it's a good idea brinigng figures back into competition. This may force would be skaters to master the basics?
I think there would be zero audience interest in Top Jump type contests. If there were, we would have them.
You could also have a Skate Fast contest -- but that;s speed skating.
I agree that four or four-and-a-half minutes is too long for the attention span of most audience members. (But sometimes you see a truly riveting performance that flies by before you know it. This happens especially in ice dance.)
Maybe there should be two equal programs, the Technical and the Free. In the technical you would get CoP points for each counter and Choctaw, while in the free the emphasis would be on continuous flow and glide, punctuated by highlight elements like jumps and spins.
First phase is a long (4-4.5 min), technical program. Similar to the current long program rules, maybe with even stricter required elements more like a short program except tailored to the greater program length. Two step sequences, one of which might require spirals/field moves, with levels based more on edge skills than on flexibility.
Second phase is a max. 3-min that allows 3 jump elements (including one combination) of the skater's choice, 2 spins of the skater's choice, a choreo sequence, and maybe 1 additional free choice element.
Maybe factor the program components so that TES tends to outweigh PCS in the first program and PCS tends to have greater weight in the second program. Or even give Skating Skills and Transitions higher relative weight in the first program and Performance/Execution, Choreography, and Interpretation more weight in the second.
That would probably be more fun for casual audiences, especially those who might just watch the final round and are more interested in being entertained than keeping track of technical skills.
But I can see two possible objections to putting the longer programs with more jumps as the first round:
1) In large competitions with large initial fields and cuts made before the final round, the longer programs for the initial rounds would mean even longer days of competition for the full field of 40+ skaters.
2) It would be more common for a good jumper to rack up a 3-triple-jump advantage in the first round, which would make it practically impossible for anyone else to catch them in a final round that only includes 3 triple jumps.
Or we could have each program scored by IJS but determine the combined results by factored placements, which would mitigate the effect of margin of victory in the first program.
Maybe both programs have the same factor, in which case factored placement ties would be common, but the second program would be the tiebreaker.
^ I like that a lot. If both programs were the same length, say three minutes, that would taker care of problem 1. The skater would still have an opportunity to do, say, five jumps and a bunch of other stuff (no repeats of jumps allowed). Factored placements, with a tie-breaker, would take care of problem 2.
Maybe in the free program the skater would have an option about which technical elements to include, so that for instance a good spinner, or someone with outstanding moves in the field, would not necessarily always fall behind a good jumper.
To me, the main goal would be to celebrate what is unique about figure skating -- what distinguishes skating from other sports, rather than the ways that it is like other sports.
This was sort of like the pro formats where they did a "technical program," then an "artistic program." I thought that concept made a lot of sense.
I agree with Math: competitions with a "technical program" or a "technical competition" (in which only jumps, spins and maybe something like moves in the field are considered, possibly with separate scores) and then an "artistic program" (maybe with some easy jump/spin elements included in the choreography), with separate rankings and separate medals (and maybe a third all-around ranking) would be beautiful... But just imagine all the scandals that there would be in the artistic program judging! (we would discuss forever!)