1) In gymnastics, you do have different specialists and whom you select for a team event depends on each athlete's strengths and weaknesses. In skating, everyone aspires to the same skill set, which would be the equivalent of an "all-around" champion in gymnastics. A strong spinner isn't going to help in the SP or the LP if they don't have an all-around package of jumps and artistry also.
2) Gymnastics uses the team event as the qualification for individual medal events, whereas in skating the competitors for the events is decided before the Games begin.
My fear is that the overexposure of skating the same programs twice could create less interest in the other events that follow the team event.
As for the team event, I'm more curious than excited. If it's gonna be anything like last season's WTT, I'm glad they're getting it out of the way first thing in Sochi.
I think they should also have individual medals for different disciplines, like in gymnastics. It wouldn't be easy to judge, but it would be fun. Scott Davis and Lucinda Ruh would've had spinning medals, I'm sure, and Patrick could get a gold in "skating skills and transitions" even if he falls and somehow loses the big gold medal (not likely, probably). Someone like Max Aaron could try to get a medal in quads without trying to change his style and show more emotion or whatever.
I'm looking forward to the team competition, and while I think some things will have to be ironed out, I think it will be a success and more teams countries will be able to field a team in the future.
I expect it to generate more CONFUSION than not amongst the general viewers. Skaters who can claim themselves Olympic medalists will dilute the impact of the skaters who win the individual events. It could also diminish the impact that specific performances can have if they are seen more than once. Will require an impressive performer to overcome that potential over-exposure risk. Also, those without charisma or personality, should stay away from the media, as it would be twice the opportunity to underwhelm the world.
Spinning gold, silver, bronze medalists
Spiral gold, silver, bronze medalists
Footwork gold, silver, bronze medalists
Edging gold, silver, bronze medalists
Jumping gold, silver, bronze medalists
We wouldn't get tired of skaters' programs, and people like Alissa Czisny get to go to the Olympics
I thought that it had already been confirmed that different skaters would be chosen to skate the short and long programs. So for example, if Ashley Wagner is chosen to compete the ladies long program for the US team, those watching would still need to wait for the individual ladies event to see her 'Shine on You Crazy Diamond' program. So there would still be something new to see later on rather than seeing the same programs over and over and getting tired of them, especially since the general audiences watching these events will be seeing these programs for the first time anyways.
However, I do have some worries about this team event and how the skaters will train simultaneously for it and their individual events, I don't want some of my favorites to tire out so early on, but skating their Olympic programs before an Olympic audience right off the bat could prove to be the best possible practice. I sure hope it is anyway.
It is hard to replicate the experience but hopefully those skating in the team even can use it like "practice" so they aren't tired for their event. I meanthey practice often long hours hand do a few run throughs a day so really if they can mentally train they have a skate a day it is less th an usual - but how they react to the stress and pressure is another issue. I am not suremedals in individual events will work namely because what would be the categories.
On the plus side, the team event encourages countries to have well rounded skating programs that focus on all four disciplines, not just one or two (Japan, I'm looking at you).
On the minus side, I am expecting the ISU to botch this event rather badly. I imagine a scenario where there are several countries tying for the fourth/fifth spots in the final, and the commentators have to explain the arcane tie-breaking rules to the public.
The whole set-up takes us back to the days of ordinals and skaters no longer "controlling their own destiny." Country W beats Country X because Country Y makes it to the final five over Country Z. (Not that I can think of a better way to organize the team event, I admit.)
I also don't like that the two segments are equally weighted. Shouldn't the short count half as much as the free?
I worry, too, about the brouhaha that will erupt if a favourite for an individual medal injuries him/herself in the team event and is taken out of contention in the individual event.
As for seeing the same programs in the team and individual events, don't gymnasts perform the same routines for their various events? If this isn't a problem for gymnastics viewership, why should it be a problem for figure skating?
I think it might prove deleterious to the non-team competitions. No real basis for this, but I suspect it will be history after this Olympics. Who or what gets the credit for coming up with this idea? Are the skaters having to prepare different programs for this event? I think they should if it is to be really interesting. I don't care about seeing them skate the same programs in both the team and non-team events.
The Pairs event, being the first to be held relatively shortly after the team event, would seem a likely place for have different athletes compete, but it is also ironically the discipline with the thinnest roster of competitors.