A Case for an International Skaters' Union
In the Bulanhagui thread, a recent post says that she should have focused on the issue, not on the other compatriot skater. I agree on that, but can't help pondering on what caused her frustration in the first place and her subsequent wild rants on SNS.
No doubt that she should have been more mature, more focused on the source of her frustration. But, as a skating fan who realize at the bottom line it's the skaters who keep me interested in the sport, not the politics of the administrators of the governing bodies, I want to sympathize with her frustration, while I by no means condone her having gone uncontrolled on SNS.
The talks for an international skaters' union have been missing for a while, but I think if the skaters had a union, a case like Bulanhagui would have a better channel of audience to a fair solution, or at least a better, effective feedback. Outside of the contractual or acknowledged obligation to the governing bodies, each athlete should be free in selecting what competitions he/she would enter to fit his/her needs and schedule, and entitled to fair, transparent and predictable standards and procedures in having their skills judged.
The athletes deserve to have a channel for their grievances and suggestions be heard, mediated and solved, regarding the selection procedure, rule making, judging/scoring, etc. The collective opinion of the fans heard in the process could be incorporated into the procedure as the mediating factor. The journalists who cover the sport would have more juicy in-depth coverage of the conflicts and topics to sell to the public. And it would translate into less relevance as to who would be in charge of the governing bodies, and less stress and frustration on the part of the fans regarding what's happening behind the doors.
Less arbitrary power to the heads and governing bodies, more interest to the fans and the media, and better rules, fairness and transparency for the athletes and the fans.
I think a skaters union would face impossible odds. In the general work force, labor unions wax and wane according to the value of labor. For athletes' unions in other sports, billions of dollars in revenue are at stake, so league officials and team owners have to pay some attention to players' concerns. I doubt that figure skaters have the clout to pull it off. :(
I'm in heaven ... watching Tessa and Scott DANCE
Because of her inflammatory tweets, Bulanhagui is absolutely not the poster child who would make me believe that a skaters' union is necessary.
(And LOL, ISU stands for International Skating Union.)
I got your program components right here.
But golden411 and Mathman, I think you are both missing the point of thinspread's post. The point is not about MB specifically (golden411) or about whether such an organization is likely (Mathman).
Originally Posted by golden411
Yes, thinspread. Absolutely there should be a union for figure skaters. All workers should be unionized.
^^ I understood what Mathman said. At the same time, the other side of the coin is, the fact that figure skating is not a big revenue sport and that the skaters are not paid workers mean that the governing bodies also (in pro sports, equivalent to the owners and the commissioner's office) would not have a strong leverage or means in blocking, bustering or interfering with the organized body of the skaters. Once formed, I think the skaters' union can gain a critical mass, when it wins that one critical battle with a governing body on a well-publicized issue with a good, agreeable cause for both the skaters and the fans.
A well-represented skaters' union can contribute in many, many aspects of the sport, I think, by having a voice and giving the monitoring feedbacks in rule making and implementation processes, regarding:
- Judging and scoring, especially the technical rules and calls (the integral building blocks for all athletic disciplines), the level requirements (spin levels, step levels, etc.) that can expand or restrict the room for skaters' expression and individuality, and the rules that are conducive to less risk of injuries and healthy career for the skaters;
- Skater selection criteria and procedures for competitive events (for its fairness, transparency, predictability and reliability);
- Skaters' participation in commercial events and remuneration guidelines;
- Disciplinary actions on malpractices of officials and judges;
- Disciplinary actions on misconducts of skaters;
- Channel of communication, negotiation or arbitration for the skaters' grievances and suggestions.
I have a feeling this will go down as the least interesting thread of the year.. drawing only three replies for a week, excluding mine.
I think this is a very interesting thread
I definitely agree that the skaters should have more say on the rules and regulation regarding their sport, and some kind of international organization that has an influential voice in the ISU is needed. As it is, the national federations and Speedy have too much power and in so many instances wield it quite arbitrarily. I can't see anything happening any time soon, however: especially in the countries with tough competition for the top spots the skaters' opportunities to participate in international competitions etc. depends heavily on whether their home federations regard them favorably or not. Hence, it's unlikely that a skater would start ruffling the feathers for the sake of common good.
A lot of the old guard that runs the federations would need to retire/die for this to work. That, and some horrific injustice that captures media attention beyond the sport.
I got your program components right here.
Don't judge the worthiness (or interestingness) of one's post by the number of replies it receives! I know you are just being self-deprecating, but I doubt there is any relationship between the (objective) interestingness of threads and the number of replies they receive. After all, you could have posted a thread with the title "Who are the sexiest female figure skaters nowadays?" That probably would have been very popular, but...
Originally Posted by thinspread