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Thread: The Return to Simpler, Lovelier, Safer Skating

  1. #16
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    you mean return to 1980's ? No way

  2. #17
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    Get over it. Right now skating is better than ever.

  3. #18
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    What about if the judges scored according to the way it's supposed to be scored? For example, I assume the GOE points are supposed to reward moves that were performed better. And aren't PCS worth roughly half of the points, and supposed to reflect the overall program artistry and so forth?

    I sort of feel like the problem isn't with the measuring stick -- the points system -- but with the people doing the measuring. And that problem won't change regardless of what measuring stick you're using to try to encourage certain types of skating.

    I actually like the spins, but I feel like the skater should be penalized more if they are noticeably traveling while they do spins. To me it's distracting whenever the camera has to move around to keep the skater centered on the screen. I do agree though that some spin positions are good but quite a few are sort of meh.

  4. #19
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    For spectators, I think it depends on why you like to watch figure skating.

    If you're looking for flawless beauty, perfection in simplicity, meaningful choreography and musical expression, with or without caring about fine points of skating technique, then something like ice theatre might be your cup of tea. Or the more artistically adventurous ice dance especially ca. 1984-92.

    That kind of skating alone doesn't seem to attract broad audiences, especially outside a competitive context. And codifying it for competition compromises some of the potential for creativity, as well as relying almost purely on debatable subjective assessments.

    If you like spectacular athletic feats, especially those with a do-or-die nature like jumps, combined with athletes pushing the envelope to be the best athletically, then your preferred format would probably be competition with the biggest rewards for difficult elements completed successfully, less emphasis on artistry, some debate about how much or whether to reward flawed or failed attempts at difficult elements.

    If you're a skating purist, primarily interested in the finer points of skating technique, you might like to watch compulsory figures or programs that measure elements for difficulty and quality, with some but not primary emphasis on program construction, matching music, etc.

    Currently, competitive skating tries to balance all of the above. Those who lean heavily toward one of the above aspects would prefer to see less emphasis on one or both of the others.


    Some casual fans prefer entertaining programs with charismatic skaters performing exciting tricks but don't believe anything a casual viewer can't see should count toward results. Exhibition/tour or pro competition style skating would probably be their preference.

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vanshilar View Post
    What about if the judges scored according to the way it's supposed to be scored? For example, I assume the GOE points are supposed to reward moves that were performed better. And aren't PCS worth roughly half of the points, and supposed to reflect the overall program artistry and so forth?

    I sort of feel like the problem isn't with the measuring stick -- the points system -- but with the people doing the measuring. And that problem won't change regardless of what measuring stick you're using to try to encourage certain types of skating.

    I actually like the spins, but I feel like the skater should be penalized more if they are noticeably traveling while they do spins. To me it's distracting whenever the camera has to move around to keep the skater centered on the screen. I do agree though that some spin positions are good but quite a few are sort of meh.
    Nail on the head. The system, IMO, is actually perfectly fine. The people assessing under the system, and the way they assess, are the problem.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vanshilar View Post
    I sort of feel like the problem isn't with the measuring stick -- the points system -- but with the people doing the measuring. And that problem won't change regardless of what measuring stick you're using to try to encourage certain types of skating.

    I actually like the spins, but I feel like the skater should be penalized more if they are noticeably traveling while they do spins. To me it's distracting whenever the camera has to move around to keep the skater centered on the screen. I do agree though that some spin positions are good but quite a few are sort of meh.
    Say we're satisfied with the base value rewards for higher levels and the real concern is GOEs...

    How should judges score spins or other elements that are very good in some aspects, adequate in others, and distractingly less than good in one or more areas?

    Is it OK to balance out pluses and minuses -- and maybe end up with +1 or even +2 GOE if there were enough more pluses despite an obvious weakness but not outright error?

    Or should all obvious weaknesses in centering or position quality automatically cancel out all positive qualities? The skater can still get full credit in base value for higher levels if the skater meets the criteria, but the GOE cannot be higher than 0 if . . . what? The judge thinks at least one of the position variations was ugly? The spin traveled more than X feet?

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by CanadianSkaterGuy View Post
    Nail on the head. The system, IMO, is actually perfectly fine. The people assessing under the system, and the way they assess, are the problem.
    I agree as well. Trying to remove subjectivity in the scoring system would completely destroy everything we love about skating. There are a lot of other methods that could be used to improve accountability and transparency in judging.

    Unfortunately, once a sport like skating has reached a certain standard of difficulty it's going to be impossible to go back to a simpler time. This is why I stopped watching gymnastics about 12 years ago. It just wasn't going to get any better. The IJS has done a better job than the gymnastics CoP of holding on to the aesthetic essentials that make the sport beautiful to watch.

    Personally, I'd love to see the elimination of level 4's, since they rarely lead to anything nice to watch, but that's not very realistic.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anna K. View Post
    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
    Yeah, "just" the triples can be pretty nasty as well. That's why proper training is so important. I don't know the exact conditions of Yuna's training but as far as I can gather they were hardly ideal. Like the rink she was at in Korea was more geared for hockey, meaning the ice was too hard for figure skating. The extra shock on landings as such surely contributed to her injuries. I also remember reading an article where Brian Orser said that when he started working with Yuna, her training method consisted of a lot of repetition. I assume that her coaches in her earlier days may not have had enough experience to set up a proper regimen and Yuna likely overtrained.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmcdermott View Post
    I agree as well. Trying to remove subjectivity in the scoring system would completely destroy everything we love about skating. There are a lot of other methods that could be used to improve accountability and transparency in judging..
    Accountability of judging would be the biggest improvement. Bad judging should be treated like doping, as it amounts to cheating in the end. There needs to be complete transparency of which judge gave which mark, and statistics should be compiled as to which judges deviate the most and skew.

    Judges being under a federation of judges instead of attributing a nationality sounds like an idea, but I think that the nationality SHOULD be attributed to each judge so we know what the Canadian judge is giving or what the Russian judge is giving. No judge should be allowed to hide behind anonymity or random score selection.

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    Quote Originally Posted by I♥Yuna View Post
    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.
    That's what I think at this point, unless/until there is a 2nd coming of Midori.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anna K. View Post
    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

  11. #26
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    On that subject, a segment of a 2012 interview with none other but Alexander Lakernik, translated by another FSU user. Original here http://ffkm.ru/images/mf/Figurist_2011_04_24.pdf, p.30

    http://ffkm.ru/images/mf/Figurist_2011_04_24.pdf

    The complexity and quality

    Another sad fact is that there is no harmonious interaction judging and technical panels. For example, recently we made performing of half of the step sequence on one leg a level feature. And immediately coaches made the athletes perform one leg step sequence, even those who can barely stand on two legs. And so they are sweating, swinging from side to side, crawling completely out of the music and so on. Many people now ask me to remove this feature, because it is impossible to look at. This example clearly shows that, unfortunately, the interaction between the two panels is very limited.

    What does technical panel evaluate? Complexity. What does judging panel evaluate? Quality. If the skater performs half of the step sequence on one leg, technical panel has to award this feature, and the step sequence level will be increased. But if it is performed poorly, GOE should drop. And the coach has to understand that everything they gain in levels, they will lose in quality. And then this feature will be included only by those who really can do it nicely and easily. And what we have in reality: technical panel awards the right level, because they have clearly defined rules, and judges, instead of negative GOE, give GOE 0 or even positive. And the coach comes to the conclusion that the element should be initially set to the highest level: technical panel will definitely take that into account, and the judges would probably just overlook it. And often they do, even though they should not. About 70-80% of the athletes perform half a step sequence on one leg!

    The level pursuit is also due to the fact that the judges are still afraid to award the highest GOE, even when they are evident. And the coach understands that even a brilliant execution of a simple element is unlikely to be awarded by +2 +3 GOE, so it is better not to risk it and go for levels. So I think that for now the judges perform their tasks less effectively than technical panels.

    In my opinion, it is important that the coach understands that if the technical skill of the young athlete does not allow to perform the level 4 element, then they shouldn't set such goal. Leave it at level 2-3, there is a reason why the international rules do not allow novice skaters to get for any element more that level 2 or 3, depending on the category. This restriction is also due to the fact that pursuing levels can lead to injury. Injuries can be explicit (bruises, fractures, sprains) and hidden (deformation of the joints, fatigue fractures, etc.). For example, the Biellmann was found dangerous precisely because of the negative impact on the spine. We had to limit the number of Biellmanns in the programs not only because we see a lot of them, but also because if everyone would try to do it, then what will happen to their backs? In this connection I would like to say that the coach should not mindlessly chase levels and then blame the system, but understand what is allowed and what is not, which direction it makes sense to go and which is not.

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by CanadianSkaterGuy View Post
    Nail on the head. The system, IMO, is actually perfectly fine. The people assessing under the system, and the way they assess, are the problem.
    I actually think there is one thing missing in this system: an evaluation of the overall program. A good (interesting to the viewer) program >>>> than just the sum of parts. Unfortunately, IJS is designed as A+B+C+PCS=TSS and so something is lost.

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    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?
    Right - compulsories would replace the short program. They would be the same length as the short, and the elements would be similar to what the short program requires now, except watered down (no triples -- I nominate adjusting one of Janet Lynn's or Peggy Flemming's classic programs into the first ever Compulsory program for the ladies lol ). Skaters can wear whatever costume they want, and variation of arm movements is allowed (they can infuse the basic steps with their own personality - it will count in the P/E score). The only components considered here are SS, P/E. The Technical program would replace the free skate. Same length and slots (or maybe add some?). The Free Skate would be like bringing exhibition programs into the competition. Length would be no longer than 6 minutes. Limit jump slots (but not spins or step sequences), and give them as much creative freedom as possible with the rules.

    Something like that

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by I♥Yuna View Post
    Right - compulsories would replace the short program. They would be the same length as the short, and the elements would be similar to what the short program requires now, except watered down (no triples -- I nominate adjusting one of Janet Lynn's or Peggy Flemming's classic programs into the first ever Compulsory program for the ladies lol ). Skaters can wear whatever costume they want, and variation of arm movements is allowed (they can infuse the basic steps with their own personality - it will count in the P/E score). The only components considered here are SS, P/E.
    Fleming never skated a short program.Lynn's last year of competition (1973) was the first year the short program existed -- to some degree she was the reason short programs for singles were introduced at all. But she skated it poorly at Worlds, with two falls.

    So there could be a compulsory drawn directly from Lynn's 1973 short program, hopefully with a cleaner performance (from US Nationals?) as template. Or there could be pieces taken from long programs of either of these skaters, to make up 2 minutes and 30-40-50 seconds, which would require some adaptation. Or pro programs, for that matter. As long as that much adaptation would be required, why not have a choreographer invent a new program inspired by a past great skater that's specifically designed to test an appropriate range of technical skills?

    One of Fleming's signature moves was outside spread eagle-double axel-outside spread eagle. That's not a reasonable sequence for all senior ladies to be required to execute, since the ability to do spread eagles depends as much on an individual's anatomical hip structure as on skating skill.

    Would the idea be that everyone must skate the exact same program, every single edge and step the same, with clockwise jumpers allowed to skate a mirror image of the whole program, but no other changes to content allowed?

    Or would there be some flexibility?

    I have some other alternatives we could discuss, which I'll save for a later post.

    The Technical program would replace the free skate. Same length and slots (or maybe add some?).
    OK.

    The Free Skate would be like bringing exhibition programs into the competition. Length would be no longer than 6 minutes. Limit jump slots (but not spins or step sequences), and give them as much creative freedom as possible with the rules.
    I don't think this could be judged on an even playing field, nor do I think it belongs in a sporting context. It would be a nice kind of program for a separate competition circuit.

    But we could try to brainstorm how to make it fair and not primarily a popularity or beauty contest.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    Fleming never skated a short program.
    Okay I never said she did lol. My idea was for compulsories to be the same length as the short, and that I would "nominate adjusting one of Janet Lynn's or Peggy Flemming's classic programs" (I should have said "adapting" instead of "adjusting" and I meant "classic" as in "the one with the green dress" It's pretty iconic, and I was just suggesting it for sentimental reasons. I'd do the same for men's and pair's).


    As long as that much adaptation would be required, why not have a choreographer invent a new program inspired by a past great skater that's specifically designed to test an appropriate range of technical skills?
    That would probably be better.

    Would the idea be that everyone must skate the exact same program, every single edge and step the same, with clockwise jumpers allowed to skate a mirror image of the whole program, but no other changes to content allowed?
    Yep, I just borrowed the idea from gymnastics. The video I posted was a side-by-side comparison of the highest and lowest scoring compulsory floor routines of the 96 Olympics. All the steps, dance skills, and tumbling passes are the same, but the gymnasts can choose to add more personality to the choreography if they want.


    I don't think this could be judged on an even playing field, nor do I think it belongs in a sporting context. It would be a nice kind of program for a separate competition circuit. But we could try to brainstorm how to make it fair and not primarily a popularity or beauty contest.
    Wait, didn't someone suggest a singles ice dance event on another thread?? Maybe that's the way to go... (So it'd be Compulsory, Technical, and Dance, and each would carry equal weight?)

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