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Thread: Why is pairs skating the least popular of the 4 disciplines amongst fans?

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    Why is pairs skating the least popular of the 4 disciplines amongst fans?

    I have noticed over the last few years that pairs skating seems to have become by far the least favourite of the 4 disciplines (i.e. men's, ladies, pairs, ice dance) amongst fans. In the forums during major competitions, it always seems to be the pairs SP's and LP's that get the least 'views' and 'replies'. Moreover, whenever I do my video lists, it is always the pairs videos that are the most difficult to find. For instance, it was impossible to find any videos for the first warm up group for the pairs SP at TEB by the time I completed the lists (the situation may well have now changed since - I have not checked). This is in part because TV coverage for the pairs competitions seems to be less thorough. I imagine this is because viewing figures for the pairs events are lower, thereby given the TV companies a reason not to show them in full. I know Eurosport did not show the first warm up group for the TEB pairs SP.

    So, why have the pairs events become seemingly less popular in recent years?

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    you are talking about North American audience right ?
    I can as well ay Ice Dance just got recently popular in North America because of D/W and V/M

    I like Pairs skating after ladies, and im not North American
    I find Ice Dance the easiest but I've learned to like it since D/W began skating in 2010 and get to learn more of the elements

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    To me, it is the notable weakness in skating skills amongst the majority of the current teams. I would argue that CoP's has contributed to emphasizing elements which actually exaggerate the lack of skating skills - such as really uncomfortably clumsy footwork sequences and Level requirements for death spirals which lead the teams to opt for ones which are aesthetically a lot less pleasing.

    It also has not helped that many of the top teams over the past cycle or so, have not done much to either develop their personas beyond their status as athletes. I really couldn't tell you much about the personalities or the relationships between the athletes in many of the given teams.

    The 'gold standards' in both of these regards - skating skills and 'human interest' - such as Rodnina/Zaitsev, Tai/Randy, Gordeeva/Grinkov and arguably the Salt Lake co-gold medalists plus Shen/Zhao - all gave so much more to admire in these departments, than the current crop of skaters either CAN or do, IMO.

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    Simple answer: Pairs is not popular in North America and never have been, North American media still generate most of the media coverage despite an anemic audience, but Pairs outside NA, is not low as its made out like in China, Japan, Russia, and other European countries

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    Quote Originally Posted by sky_fly20 View Post
    Simple answer: Pairs is not popular in North America and never have been, North American media still generate most of the media coverage despite an anemic audience, but Pairs outside NA, is not low as its made out like in China, Japan, Russia, and other European countries
    Agree with your points made here Sky+fly20 as well. Just the approach taken by the major network with license to broadcast in the US - NBC Sports. Their weekly summary broadcast of the Grand Prix events BY DESIGN focuses almost entirely on singles. Even if Davis/White and the Shibutani's are the only consistent medalists across all of US Figure Skating's team during the past cycle, they rarely if ever make the broadcast. Pairs? Forget about it, unless there's some sort of horrific collision or fall.

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    For me, the IJS has made pairs unwatchable.

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    Off the ice Buttercup's Avatar
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    I don't often find myself in agreement with sky_fly20, but I agree to some extent this time: what you're describing is a lack of popularity in specific places - my guess would be the US (thus the fewer forum posts on the more NA-centric GS) and Japan (where I think many skating videos originate). But I just checked on FSU, and the PBP pairs threads don't seem to be drawing less interest than the rest - it's comparable in most cases to ice dance, and then in some countries, such as China and Russia, pairs skating is extremely popular.

    TV coverage probably has a lot to do with the scheduling at each event, which is likely affected by popularity and other concerns.

    Personally I think the IJS has been worse for ice dance than for pairs. Ice dance is now acrobatic speed skating with ugly lifts, and I find very few teams enjoyable.

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    I like pairs a lot, so I have been thinking about this too. Pairs has not been a popular discipline for quite some time: in most events (other than in China and maybe Russia) pairs skate first - the place usually reserved for the least interesting competitors :(. I think it might be because often pairs skaters are the ones that were not successful as singles skaters. It is interesting in this respect that both Aljona and Tatyana said at some point that they specifically wanted to skate pairs because of all the pairs tricks. Maybe that's way they are so good? Also, it seems to me that a significant part of a pairs routine (lifts and twists) showcases not the skating skills but acrobatic ability and is therefore closer to a circus performance (I don't mean it in a derogatory way) than the actual skating.

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    agreed, nobody seems to notice Ice Dance although shifted after the CoP to North America
    it is the discipline that suffered the most, now the couples have almost the same elements, almost similar lifts and all about speed

    as Anissina have said regarding her comeback: I can come back, Ice Dance is doing the same elements over and over again

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    It's because of the weak field and obvious winners from Russia/China/Germany..It's too predictable.

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    A lack of talent and the new system's demands for "difficulty" which lends to ugly choreography. There has been no one at the level of Shen & Zhao, B&S, G&G, M&D. While S&S, V&T, and P&T are very good, they just aren't the best pairs skating has ever seen. Aside from V&T's recent efforts, most teams are inconsistent and frequently bomb. Not very inspiring especially when fans have been spoiled with such greatness in the 90s and early 00s.

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    I've always thought pairs should be scrapped. For me, a good pairs skate is one in which the girl doesn't end the performance in a wheelchair.

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    Off the ice Buttercup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pasdedeux View Post
    I like pairs a lot, so I have been thinking about this too. Pairs has not been a popular discipline for quite some time: in most events (other than in China and maybe Russia) pairs skate first - the place usually reserved for the least interesting competitors :(. I think it might be because often pairs skaters are the ones that were not successful as singles skaters. It is interesting in this respect that both Aljona and Tatyana said at some point that they specifically wanted to skate pairs because of all the pairs tricks. Maybe that's way they are so good? Also, it seems to me that a significant part of a pairs routine (lifts and twists) showcases not the skating skills but acrobatic ability and is therefore closer to a circus performance (I don't mean it in a derogatory way) than the actual skating.
    When ice dance still used the three-segment format, competitions started with ice dance rather than pairs. I don't know what the reasons are for the standard order at major events (pairs/men/dance/ladies) but it's not because the men are not popular, I'd imagine. As for GPs, TEB switched the order this year, before that I'm pretty sure that the men were the first event and ice dance was last. I think the men will go first at the GPF, while Euros this year will have a pretty wacky schedule ending with the pairs. I wouldn't read too much into it.

    Pairs skaters = failed singles is true in some countries, not so true in others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post

    Pairs skaters = failed singles is true in some countries, not so true in others.
    I think this is kind of offensive
    that would be like saying Pairs are singles skaters who were bad jumpers
    and Ice Dance being easy and single skaters who could not do any jumps at all

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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
    When ice dance still used the three-segment format, competitions started with ice dance rather than pairs. I don't know what the reasons are for the standard order at major events (pairs/men/dance/ladies) but it's not because the men are not popular, I'd imagine. As for GPs, TEB switched the order this year, before that I'm pretty sure that the men were the first event and ice dance was last. I think the men will go first at the GPF, while Euros this year will have a pretty wacky schedule ending with the pairs. I wouldn't read too much into it.

    Pairs skaters = failed singles is true in some countries, not so true in others.
    Buttercup, I stand corrected then . I have no idea about protocol anyway.

    About who ends up in pairs, perhaps it is not wise to make generalizations. I only have a few examples: Gordeeva in her book said she started as a singles skater but was never a strong jumper, so she got switched to pairs. Robin Szolkowy said in an interview that he also skated singles but other boys started surpassing him at one point so he switched. I am pretty sure I read somewhere that Meagan Duhamel was a singles skater (I think they were complimenting her on her ability to jump the lutz) but had issues with nerves and found it easier to skate with someone else (?)... Two young girls I skate on the same ice with here in the US recently switched to pairs because their jumping was not good enough for singles. So I guess, I just made that conclusion . I don't know much at all about how pairs are made up in China where it is obviously a very popular discipline.

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