“Our blade takes us in the most amazing places.”
The Longevity of Figure Skating Fans
At some point near the end of each Olympic cycle, the thought crosses my mind that “maybe I won’t get so emotionally invested in figure skating over the next four years.” This thought especially comes if I know it’s likely that skaters I particularly enjoy will be retiring from competition soon. I tend to think, “Gosh, maybe I’ll actually be able to watch the next Olympics calmly, without getting so nervous.” However, these thoughts have proven to be entirely untrue for every Olympic cycle that I can remember. (I've been a diehard, devoted figure skating fan since 1996). I never fail to find new skaters to be nervous for and/or different reasons to be nervous for the same skaters. My nervousness and excitement never ends. My mother, on the other hand, is what I call a “Michelle Kwan and before” fan. She enjoys the cheesy pro shows because she recognizes many skaters of the past, but she doesn't know or follow the current skaters at all. As for me, every time I think I’m done being a diehard figure skating fan, I soon discover that I’m not.
So, for us diehards, what is it about figure skating itself (as opposed to just Skater X or Skater Y) that keeps us constantly coming back for more? Part of it for me is sheer amazement at what the human body is capable of doing. I also love figure skating’s combination of art and sport. My first exposure to many pieces of music was/is through figure skating. When I hear the piece in a different context, I think about the applicable skating program(s) while listening. I can’t really explain why I care so much about figure skating, but the fact is that I do, and probably always will. My fellow diehards, why does figure skating continuously captivate you? Fire away!
I have to admit I like skating less now that I have since 1994. There are a few reasons. First, it seems every up-and-comer I like flames out a year or two after a good season. Second, there isn't an American lady who is world champion caliber; we had Kristi/Nancy/Tonya, then Michelle, then Sasha, then we thought Mirai but she never improved after 2010. Finally, as a fan it frustrates me seeing a program that I thought would win end up losing because of marginal UR calls.
However, what I do like is that since COP has made skating so difficult, it is a truly special moment when we witness it all come together for a skater because it happens quite infrequently now. In addition, I think Johnny and Tara's insight into COP makes watching more fun.
The longevity of the fandom for figure skating is largely dependent upon the perpetuity of cyber-culture discourse, flame wars. What makes you think why Mao and Yuna is still skating for god's sake, with the latter being already an Olympic gold medalist? - For their respective (and respectful) fans, that's why!
Oh my God, I can't wait for the coming eight years of Lipnitskaya vs. Radionova! It's gonna be wonderful.
Sometimes bad skating happens to good people...
I didn't write the above quote, but I might as well have. Agree completely.
Originally Posted by drivingmissdaisy
I've been an FS fan since 84 Sarajevo. Probably even earlier since I grew up in NJ where Elaine Zayak was a state treasure. We all loved her and followed her competitions like crazy. So it's been a long and winding road since then. I do get amused when the 'rivalries' come up and skating boards get into a basic rumble. Mao v. Yuna? LOL. Yuna has so many weaknesses as does Mao, I find it amusing the passionate defenses to these skaters. Don't worry, I was Tiffany Chin's defender until she imploded. (Was there ever a more beautiful and exquisite skater than Tiffany Chin???? God, that was 30 years ago and I'm still hung up on her skating, but I digress....)
The 'new' judging system just made me check out. All the spins were the same, the footwork the same and had nothing to do with the music. I used to know everything and all things figure skating. Today I just watch on Youtube the programs that seem to get buzz.
and... World Peace!
Fan wars and just the ugliness that the internet brings out in people is why I am not as gungho as I was a few years ago. It just got too tired.
I still enjoy what the sport is, and I'm one of those that has very little problem with the CoP era. I do miss the personalities of the "Golden Era" (here in N America anyway) but honestly I normally like the skaters after they just do show skating more than I do their competitive persona(s).
After rooting for Tonya Harding, I learned not to get too caught up in the fate of any specific skater.
I stay interested because I'm interested in skating -- in all the different things skaters can do with blades on ice, and the different ways to inflect the basic technical moves to express music and add up to something more than just technical skills.
So I'm always interested in who can push the limits on doing something really difficult, or doing something really really well, or varying and combining skills in original ways.
With the advent of IJS I'm less interested in comparing skaters to each other and more interested in evaluating how well they did each move and how well they fulfill the various PCS criteria.
One criterion of the Choreography component is Purpose, which was never an official criterion under 6.0. It's always been rare for a program to have a coherent purpose. Maybe there was a period in the late 1980s-early 1990s (ice dance) and a little later in freestyle when more skaters made this a priority, and maybe it's become less common in long programs under IJS since there are so many requirements to tick off.
Short programs have always been about ticking requirements, and it's easier to maintain coherence in a shorter program, so I don't see much change in the degree of "Purpose" in short programs.
It does seem to me that there's less of a sense now of evaluating whether are sufficiently "feminine" or "masculine" (as the case may be) or "mature" enough, as though that should be a deciding factor in results. So that's a welcome development but maybe leaves out some of the interesting tension.
There's still tension among power and freedom and technical control and refinement, just less gendered.
Creativity in transitions gets me excited.
I have been a skating fan since the 1998 Olympics. While I acknowledge the merits of the COP system, I can't help feeling some of the magic under 6.0 is missing from skating nowadays. I believe the system has helped improved skating overall. I remember some programs under 6.0 being almost completely devoid of choreography besides the jumps. At least now, skaters are required to complete a variety of skating elements. However, at the same time, because skaters are conforming to the same requirements, programs tend to become somewhat predictable. The old system allowed for more spontaneity and originality, which led to more excitement for the viewers.
I used to do gymnastics as a child until I was about 15 years old, and had some ballet lessons for several years, and skated recreationally as a child/teenager for many years. I also loved to watch dance of any kind and so I naturally got interested in watching figure skating. With the introduction of CoP, I came to have a better understanding of edges, and since I also was in a downhill skiing team in school, and alot of what makes for great skiiers are those who can weigh into their edges properly and change directions fluidly using their body and knees and what not, I became fascinated with edges as well. And so I suppose what's kept me interested in figure skating is that I had enough personal experience (gymnastics, ballet, figure skate recreationally, train downhill skiing) to have a sense of how difficult it is to skate and jump like top figure skaters do.
I think edges are really hard to understand. Even though I skated for fun for many years, I would never have understood the hoopla surrounding edges were it not for the fact that our skiing coach used to videotape our practice sessions and spend hours on end explaining when exactly to shift what, going through our form frame by frame.
I have become more and more interested in edges and have learnt to see jumps as an extension of edge work rather than as jumps. Learning to pay attention to edges has qualitatively changed how I watch figure skating.
I love figure skating because I like to cry.
FACT: I once for 2 weeks straight watched Gordeeva and Grinkov Olympic program and cried, and then went to sleep.
It's good to cry sometimes, you know.
Figure skating is a sport where you can live vicariously most through the sporting figure-- as Tolstoy put in WAR AND PEACE, there is "great freedom in the choice of occupation".
I've been a fan since the late 60's & have never lost my love for skating or for those who train, dream & participate. I've had personal favorites over the years but one thing I've enjoyed doing since I've aged is spotting the young talent (mostly U.S.) & following their careers. I agree with Toni that coming on the skating fan sites can be depressing at times & I have no clue why some fans can be so nasty & negative with their comments. I tend to put it down to their being unhappy with themselves & their life choices.
and... World Peace!
It's definitely changed in tone from when skating message boards first popped up, eh MW? gone are the days of a bunch of happy go lucky fans with rose colored glasses on everything!
Originally Posted by merrywidow
No, no, no! such attitudes only invite and condone stagnation. We fans have to be better pillars of the sport than that!
Originally Posted by Tonichelle
Rejoicing in the land of Kwan
I've been a fan since the mid 90s. As my name indicates, Michelle was my world I was extremely emotionally invested in her to the point I couldn't eat or sleep when it came time for a competition.
Since Michelle exited, I've found a new love of skating b/c I don't consider myself to be invested in any one skater. I have so many favorites right now (Mao, Yu-Na, Carolina, Akiko, Ashley, Adelina, Elena, Mirai, Christina and more). I like that I'm not invested anymore b/c it allows me to relax somewhat and watch the competition. I still get nervous for skaters and disappointed for others but I'm not 100% invested in anyone. If the person I'm cheering for doesn't do well it won't ruin my day...probably b/c someone else I also like ended up winning.
There are things I really miss about 6.0 but I've accepted the IJS and think it's okay...it still needs a lot of work IMO, but I'm used to it. I will miss this current group of veterans when they retire but luckily a number of newer skaters have emerged in the last few years that will undoubtedly keep me around at least until 2018. I follow the junior ladies and have watched all of the newcomers make the jump from junior to senior. I love watching them grow, mature and develop as the years go by. I guess that is one of the things that keeps me coming back...there's just something about figure skating I really love and will always love.