It only matters for the purposes of modern competitive figure skating. For all other purposes, including private enjoyment according to one's very personal standards, be they logical/internally consistent or no; or imagining that it's the free skate of the 1972 Olympics and valuing accordingly (well, except for the winning part), it doesn't matter.
Originally Posted by noidont
There is nothing wrong, of course, with making up one's own rules for enjoyment, but it must be recognized that someone watching a skate from such a private perspective, and someone else evaluating according to competition rules, are in a very real sense watching two entirely different things, even if they happen to be watching the same set of physical phenomena (say, a Gosviani skate).
What must also be recognized, IMO, is that there are very few public events, whether they be skating, or dance, or baseball, or spelling bees, which do not incorporate some communal notions of what is good or bad, better or worse, what wins or loses.
The vast majority of the audience do not spend time savoring, in even a local spelling bee, the creative ways in which a word can be (mis)spelled, except, perhaps, the parents of the offender, and maybe her third-grade boyfriend.
Even in a more purely artistic endeavor such as dance, the winning/losing aspect of a public performance (as mediated according to some set of communitarian criteria) is merely more indirect and fragmented in process, not absent. If the dancer is great, according to the known criteria for that genre, she will be feted and celebrated, and will receive a leading place in the dance company.
The issue with someone like Gosviani, from the perspective of public appreciation, is that, given the current breadth and depth of the skater pool, there will always be skaters who have a more complete set of capabilities, including the ability to jump as well as the ability to do other things "in between".
There is always a place for appreciating skaters with brilliant skill/talent in some narrower aspect (e.g. a Lucinda Ruh, or a Katherine Healy), but, to reverse your proposition, to be able to excel at a broader array of criteria is not a bad thing.
IMHO, no skater reaches the very highest levels of the sport without having won a lot, without enjoying winning, and without some ambition to keep on winning until they have won the biggest prizes possible. I daresay that this probably applies to Nikol as well. Sure, I can appreciate those who did not win but demonstrated excellence in some way, but I believe that we need to give "winning" its pride of place, not least because the skaters themselves do.
Originally Posted by RobinA
The mental aspect is a big part of all sport, this one especially. There are certain skaters who always skate well under relatively little pressure but never skate well under immense pressure. You can't describe that skater without describing the mental component. I don't think that I am a "hater", but the term "headcase" seems to apply to at least a few of them. Trying to figure out the mental aspect is an integral part of accurately understanding the sport. The mental aspect is a fact of the sport. Are we just supposed to ignore the reality of it?
Even the best and highest-winning skaters occasionally get mental blow-outs. Some skaters, we all know, get them more frequently. (We each have our own list and I am not going to give you mine. ) It does not mean that they are bad skaters, but it does mean that they have mental issues affecting their competitive standing (at least at a particular time). I can't imagine anyone on this board, when making predictions about who is going to win which event, not taking into account the mental state of the skater based on their past performances. And if there actually is, I would love to wager a few bets with them.
Regarding the term headcase, whether it is used properly or improperly, nicely or in hate, it depends on the nature and motive of the user. It can be appropriate and it can be used without mal-intent. I don't think that I have ever used it (although I may have), but I sure have thought it. There are "haters", very true, and they over-use terms like "headcase", but I don't think that they would be slowed down without the term being there. As well, the term can be used in contexts of fair objectivity (or at least in a way that is as objective as an opinion or perception can be).
This is a competitive sport. People judge the competitors and they can't help but assess the mental aspect, as best as possible, of the skaters over time based on performance. It is part of the way we rank the skaters. Anyone who cannot handle that should not compete as a skater and maybe not even in sports. I respect the compassion and kindness of the contrary opinion, but I cannot agree with it. Sorry.
There are athletes who can competen well under pressure and those who can't. It happens in all sports. I can think of two players on my favorite baseball team, the Yankees, who were famous for suddenly slumping in the playoffs after playing well all year. Was it nerves and pressure? Probably to some degree.
I think we ask a lot of these kids, in a way. To be a successful competitor at this sport, you'd have to be an extreme extrovert, feeling no nervousness at being judged or having no performance anxiety being in front of a crowd. But you'd also have to be an extreme introvert to give up most of your teenage social life to spend time in a rink with adults working on which way your foot is leaning on your lutz. It's a rare person who can be both.
Bona Fide Member
Off topic, but speaking of spelling bees, why are Indian children better spellers than anyone else in the U.S.?
Originally Posted by Robeye
The last six winners of the National Spelling Bee are Sameer Mishra, Kavya Shivashankar, Anamika Veeramani, Sukanya Roy, Snigdha Nandipati, and Arvind Mahankali (edging out Vismaya Kharkar (6th), Vanya Shivashankar (sister of Kavya, 5th), Nikitha Chandran, Amber Born (!!!, 4th), Sriram Hathwar (bronze), and Pranav Sivakumar (silver).
Me, I'm too much of a head case to watch the National Spelling Bee on TV. It makes me too nervous.
Bona Fide Member