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Thread: The Return to Simpler, Lovelier, Safer Skating

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    Custom Title skateluvr's Avatar
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    The Return to Simpler, Lovelier, Safer Skating

    How do we achieve this? Is this what viewers want? Skaters want?

    1) Ladies de-emphasize jumps-3x3s and return to edges, easier transitions resulting in less injury. My Vision? Caro's SP was perfection. Return value to spirals and classic blurred spins. Yuna Kim and prepubescent phenoms are so rare. Janet Lynn-watch her-skating skills, flow, off the charts. This was figureskating.

    If figures lead to perfect basic skills, should they require them again? And not broadcast them but score them-20%?

    Diff expectations for singles-M or F? I juries are rampant-what to do or change?

    Lastly, watching the older oly Champs, they had straight backs, great posture and speed-Peggy was diff from Janet who was diff than Dorothy. Not so much cookie cutter. I wish the ugly spins and interminable footwork were stopped and reworked. I hate spins now with few exceptions, and god help the footwork. It is all the same and so boring.

    From a fan point of view, should ijs be changed some more? thanks.

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    Size 7 Knife Boots Sam-Skwantch's Avatar
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    I would pay to see Yulia do another 11 second spiral in competition!

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    🌸🐱❄🐱❄🐱🌸 jennyanydots's Avatar
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    Well, Carolina actually started out as a jumping bean and part of what made her Olympic SP so magical was that gorgeous 3F-3T combo. I think expecting 3-3's from of the top ladies is well within reason as long as they train properly. However if the emphasis shifts to obtaining 3A's and quads, I think that would be disastrous. It's just too much stress on the body. It's great that freak talents like Midori and Mao could/can do them, but it should never become the standard unless the human race mutates into a stronger version than what it currently is. I think the state of the men is extremely worrisome. They're getting quads at a younger age and now there's an expectation for the top men to do more than one type. How many of these guys will need knee and hip replacement procedures in the future? I'm all for advancement of the sport, but I think there should be a limit, like allow only one quad for the short and two for the long. I definitely agree about putting more emphasis back on basic skating skills. Kind of on the fence about spins. They weren't valued enough during the 6.0 era but there are a lot of ugly spins done nowadays due to all requirements.

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    First: rejigger the Scale of Values, specifically the GOEs, so that for leveled elements it's always more valuable to earn 1 higher GOE step from all the judges than to earn a higher level

    Increase the values for the PCS relative to the TES. For ladies and pairs, the simplest way to do this would be to use the same factors of 1.0 and 2.0 in the short and free program, like the men, instead of 0.8 and 1.6 respectively.

    Whether to raise the PCS factors higher than that for the men would be more debatable. Certainly there are people out there, including a lot of male skaters themselves, who believe that men's skating should be more about pushing the difficulty envelope.

    And some sports fan-type skating fans and skaters would say that should be true for all disciplines. Not everyone will agree that safer and lovelier is the right direction for the sport.

    Putting more weight on GOEs and PCS would increase the subjective aspects of the scoring. So changes in that direction would give the judges more power to reward what they themselves prefer or find lovely, which may or may not be the same things that any fan does. (As well as room to pretend they prefer a skater's qualities if they want to manipulate results.)

    I think many honest judges do prefer to reward quality and would welcome their evaluations being worth more than the base values.

    More skaters may prefer to keep the focus on the more objective, quantitative aspects: "I did the difficult skill; now show me the points."

    Beyond adjusting the scoring to reward quality over difficulty, it would also be possible to encourage or require simpler moves done well by changing the requirements for the short and/or long program.

    Maybe the short program could go back to 1970s/80s-style requirements where everyone has to do the same thing or have minimal room for variation on most of the elements. Spins, lifts, death spirals, etc., in the SP could all be level B or level 1, so there's no value to including more features unless they also enhance the quality. Some features (e.g., Biellmann position following the layback) could be forbidden in the SP.

    I don't think we're ever going to go back to school figures with judges on the ice examining the tracings up close. Too time consuming = expensive, both for the skaters' training back home and for the organizers of the competitions.

    But there could be specific required edge sequences in the short program, similar to the pattern dances in the short dance, on which all skaters would be compared on how well they perform the same skills. The requirements for senior SPs would be achievable by even weaker senior skaters, so the top skaters should be able to execute them extremely well and be rewarded for that high quality.

    (Again, the focus on quality over difficulty would make short program judging more subjective)

    Then free programs could have more freedom -- skaters could show off their hardest skills there, but they could also choose a strategy of aiming for high GOE and more coherent choreography and music interpretation, using only skills they execute consistently well.

    And have more different kinds of elements available in free programs, more blade-based options on how to earn higher levels. Let the good skaters with weaker jump ability plan to play it safe with their jumps earn more points in non-jump skills. Let less-than-ultraflexible skaters could earn more points for what they're doing with their blades on the ice, not with contorting their bodies above the ice.

    Another option would be to allow and maybe require top difficulty and maybe specific level features in a technical program for the first phase, and then have the "free" program be the one where everything counts as level 1 or level B so the emphasis would be on showcasing the skater's best-quality skills and overall performance, not their hardest skills.

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    I think it's just a mentality thing at this point...the sport has told itself that the only way for it roll into a new era is to shift the criteria for judging towards athleticism and place less emphasis on beauty and line. Perhaps this is an attempt to recreate the sport in the image of what the ISU think the general public thinks all sports should be...a points game.

    Hopefully, our sport will wise up and realize that skating is unique and is really about combining the athletic with the lyrical. It's not solely some harsh points game. Hopefully moving forward, skaters who have the complete package will be rewarded, not just the ones that can stick their skates in their mouth when doing spins or pack in 3 jump combos in the second half of their programs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jennyanydots View Post
    Well, Carolina actually started out as a jumping bean and part of what made her Olympic SP so magical was that gorgeous 3F-3T combo. I think expecting 3-3's from of the top ladies is well within reason as long as they train properly. However if the emphasis shifts to obtaining 3A's and quads, I think that would be disastrous. It's just too much stress on the body. It's great that freak talents like Midori and Mao could/can do them, but it should never become the standard unless the human race mutates into a stronger version than what it currently is. I think the state of the men is extremely worrisome. They're getting quads at a younger age and now there's an expectation for the top men to do more than one type. How many of these guys will need knee and hip replacement procedures in the future? I'm all for advancement of the sport, but I think there should be a limit, like allow only one quad for the short and two for the long. I definitely agree about putting more emphasis back on basic skating skills. Kind of on the fence about spins. They weren't valued enough during the 6.0 era but there are a lot of ugly spins done nowadays due to all requirements.
    I wouldn't say it's just quads that are health ruining. Yuna has never had quads or 3A but her actual body state is rather dramatic (please scroll the page up to see the text and the picture, it's a link to a forum thread):
    http://yunaforum.com/forum/index.php...0&#entry131966

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    First: rejigger the Scale of Values, specifically the GOEs, so that for leveled elements it's always more valuable to earn 1 higher GOE step from all the judges than to earn a higher level
    You mean they would come out scoring higher if they earned a 3 on a lower level, than if they earned a zero 0 or minus on a higher level, right?

    Increase the values for the PCS relative to the TES. For ladies and pairs, the simplest way to do this would be to use the same factors of 1.0 and 2.0 in the short and free program, like the men, instead of 0.8 and 1.6 respectively.
    I think if you re-calibrated the GoE like you suggest above, you wouldn't have to make this adjustment, b/c from a strategic standpoint, there would be no more incentive/reward for pacing in difficult elements if they're not done well (which should result in skaters giving quality performances, and an honest display of the level of difficulty that each skater has).

    Certainly there are people out there, including a lot of male skaters themselves, who believe that men's skating should be more about pushing the difficulty envelope. And some sports fan-type skating fans and skaters would say that should be true for all disciplines. Not everyone will agree that safer and lovelier is the right direction for the sport.
    I think it's sort of like gymnastics, where we've pretty much reached the limits of what is physically possible for each of the disciplines. The only way I see to continue going for difficulty is if they changed something about the skates themselves - made the blade thicker or something, re-engineered the heel & blade to have built-in spring for more height on jumps, and absorb shock on the landings (like when they changed the vaulting horse into a table) - maybe that opens up the possibilities for more difficulty that can be done safely.

    I think many honest judges do prefer to reward quality and would welcome their evaluations being worth more than the base values.


    Maybe the short program could go back to 1970s/80s-style requirements where everyone has to do the same thing or have minimal room for variation on most of the elements. Spins, lifts, death spirals, etc., in the SP could all be level B or level 1, so there's no value to including more features unless they also enhance the quality. Some features (e.g., Biellmann position following the layback) could be forbidden in the SP.
    I loved compulsories in gymnastics and ice-dance I kind of wish they had them for singles and pairs, too. If you added compulsories to the format, you could have it so that compulsories are scored with an emphasis on quality and execution, short program with an emphasis on difficulty (a showcase for all the difficulty), and then the free skate would be a showcase for creative interpretation (loosen the rules, so they can use props, dramatic lighting, like in pro competitions and exhibitions, and maybe some illegal moves (like lifting above shoulders in ice-dance, maybe with some restrictions so it's not exactly like pairs). I think that would be fun for the skaters and viewers, both

    I don't think we're ever going to go back to school figures with judges on the ice examining the tracings up close. Too time consuming = expensive, both for the skaters' training back home and for the organizers of the competitions.
    Compulsoriiiies (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gek7UB_YBFE)

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    Maybe if there was a return of more professional competitions where older skaters could continue to perform/compete and earn a living while performing more artistic programs with less emphasis on jumps. This would leave the olympic eligible skates to continue to push the envelope technically but would not require them to keep pushing there bodies to perform difficult skills for years beyond their prime just to keep earning money or performing. I don't think there should be bans on expanding the technical content of programs in the olympic eligible realm however, because this would open the door to even more controversies over taste, style and personal preference determining results. By limiting the technical content i think you move the sport away from an athletic event and more toward an artistic event such as ballet or opera or musical theater. You also would make the sport less understandable to causal fans. Most of us understand that a fall is bad but most causal viewers can't tell the difference between the quality of edges for example.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skateluvr View Post
    How do we achieve this?
    Easy. Go to YouTube and look up videos of performances pre-IJS (and pre 3-3's and quads). Or just watch a bunch of exhibition skates.

    But for figure skating these days, it needs to be technically demanding. Even at a (marginal) expense of artistry. A lot of people view figure skating as dancing and looking pretty on ice, and many don't take it seriously as a sport unless there is inherent risk. That's not to say it can't look pretty at all - but Hamill-esque spirals, as elegant as they are, really shouldn't be viewed as more important the ability to execute a 3-3 combination.

    It would be like those who say gymnasts should stop doing athletic, double twisting double layouts, and instead do simple 1 rotation flips in an elegant manner. It's like saying pairs should have a star lift in one position be the most complicated maneuver in their program.

    The main problem with reverting skating to a greater emphasis on artistry and emphasizing PCS more (i.e. giving higher score weight to PCS) is that it gives judges a lot more leeway to manipulate scores. By emphasizing technical scores more, skaters are rewarded for tangible things that they do, instead of have their placement determined for the most part by subjectivity (which is why so many people are skeptics about figure skating and judging). No matter how hard some judges try to hold them down artistically, if a junior skater reels off 7 triples, they will be credited with those 7 triples -- there's no way Michelle Kwan would have been 4th in the FS in her first Worlds under IJS.

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    In mens if there is a return you know who will win!!! And you know who will be mad....
    Imagine Elegie as done as the ex.... ethereal...

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skateluvr View Post
    [Simpler , lovelier, safer skating]: Is this what viewers want? Skaters want?
    I think the short answer is, yes, viewers want it; no, skaters don't.

    Certainly viewers enjoy lovely skating. But competitive skaters are more interested in doing harder tricks than the other guy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by I♥Yuna View Post
    You mean they would come out scoring higher if they earned a 3 on a lower level, than if they earned a zero 0 or minus on a higher level, right?
    Yes, depending on what the difference in levels would be. Base value on level 4 should probably be worth more than +3 on level B (now that that exists), but the same or lower than +3 on level 1.

    I loved compulsories in gymnastics and ice-dance I kind of wish they had them for singles and pairs, too. If you added compulsories to the format, you could have it so that compulsories are scored with an emphasis on quality and execution, short program with an emphasis on difficulty (a showcase for all the difficulty), and then the free skate would be a showcase for creative interpretation (loosen the rules, so they can use props, dramatic lighting, like in pro competitions and exhibitions, and maybe some illegal moves (like lifting above shoulders in ice-dance, maybe with some restrictions so it's not exactly like pairs). I think that would be fun for the skaters and viewers, both
    So essentially the first phase would be compulsories, the second phase would be a technical program (which might not be short, more like the current not-so-free long program), and the third phase would be exhibition programs as part of the competition?

    Quote Originally Posted by Risa View Post
    Maybe if there was a return of more professional competitions where older skaters could continue to perform/compete and earn a living while performing more artistic programs with less emphasis on jumps. This would leave the olympic eligible skates to continue to push the envelope technically but would not require them to keep pushing there bodies to perform difficult skills for years beyond their prime just to keep earning money or performing.
    Yes, I would like to see the ISU support a competition circuit that would be better suited to older and artistically focused skaters. That could just mean allowing skaters to participate in non-ISU competitions, for money, without losing eligibility. Or they could sponsor their own series of competitions aimed at skaters over 25 or 30, or aimed at skaters who excel on the ice but not in the air.

    But I think there would need to be a path to earn one's way into those events by skating well according to that circuit's requirements now, regardless of one's age, and not just have it be invitational for former athletic-track medalists.

    I don't think there should be bans on expanding the technical content of programs in the olympic eligible realm however, because this would open the door to even more controversies over taste, style and personal preference determining results. By limiting the technical content i think you move the sport away from an athletic event and more toward an artistic event such as ballet or opera or musical theater. You also would make the sport less understandable to causal fans. Most of us understand that a fall is bad but most causal viewers can't tell the difference between the quality of edges for example.
    I agree. I do think there should be rewards for doing simple things well, but I don't think the sport will or should change into one in which there is no incentive to do difficult things well, or even just somewhat well. I don't think the Olympic sport should turn into one where pleasing audiences is more important than demonstrating control of the technical basis of what the blades are doing on the ice.

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    Custom Title Kitt's Avatar
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    I bet skaters with lovely extensions would love to hold that spiral longer. it's just so beautiful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skateluvr View Post
    I wish the ugly spins and interminable footwork were stopped and reworked. I hate spins now with few exceptions, and god help the footwork. It is all the same and so boring.
    Agree with that part but I also agree with CanadianSkaterGuy. I would rather reduce judges' biases. Yunas are rare indeed in this world (do people remember the state of women's skating in her absence?) but someone will have to step up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    I think the short answer is, yes, viewers want it; no, skaters don't.

    Certainly viewers enjoy lovely skating. But competitive skaters are more interested in doing harder tricks than the other guy.
    Agreed. And to be honest, only certain, skating-informed viewers will actually appreciate a program with higher difficulty. Many of us were really surprised when Kostner busted out the 3F+3T in Sochi, when her team SP only had a 3T+3T, and were thrilled... but the casual viewer probably just saw it as the exact same skate.

    It's like in diving/gymnastics... the casual viewer will look at the no splash or stuck landing, but the diving/gymnastics enthusiast will be more appreciative of the difficulty of the dive/routine and be impressed by the ability to not create splash or make errors in spite of the difficulty. A dive with 2 1/2 twists instead of 1 1/2 twists, or a 3 1/2 full twist instead of a triple twist will probably not be picked up by a casual viewer just like many casual viewers can't tell a quad from a triple. Even figure skating commentators sometimes forget when they see a quad twist or throw.

    The point being, for the athletes and those who are into the intricacies/difficulty of the sport need to commit to and be lauded for higher difficulty, even if it comes at the expense of clean programs that casual viewers can appreciate.

    A sport isn't worth watching if people are perfect all the time. If basketball players made 100% of their shots going back and forth, or tennis players hit only aces on all of their serves, it wouldn't be very interesting or competitive - even if fewer errors looks better.

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