Keeping/bringing back old programs
For whatever reason, skaters sometimes choose to keep a program longer than one season. Other times, they resurrect an old program from several seasons past. What are your thoughts on this? Does it annoy you, or is it something you understand and accept? How are returning programs received by the judges--and how should they be received?
For me, I tend to want skaters to switch a program if I feel like they did all they could with the current one. I want them to keep it if I find the program beautiful but it was never skated to its full potential. It helps if a skater keeps one program but switches the other (e.g. they keep their LP for another season, but do a different SP). For beautiful, iconic programs, I want skaters to keep skating them in shows, rather than bringing them back in competition.
However, though keeping old programs isn't my preference, I understand why skaters do this and try not to be too harsh on them. I don't think they should be punished marks-wise unless they go way overboard--see the bottom of this post.
The inspiration for the thread comes from Brian Joubert and the Matrix, which seems to re-emerge every couple of seasons. I don't hold this against Brian, but it seems like he's done all he could with the Matrix. COP improved upon some aspects of the program, but I felt like the step sequence became more and more generic with every iteration (yeah, the original step sequence was kinda Yagudin-wannabe, but at least it was heartfelt and fit the music). Would he have gotten on the podium in Nice 2012 if only he'd done a different LP?
Example of a program I wish the skater had kept: Yuna Kim's Homage to Korea LP. Simply breathtaking and beautiful. I'm simultaneously sad that such a program didn't win Worlds... but also glad it didn't, because she really didn't skate the program to anywhere near its potential. I wish she'd competed more with it and perfected it.
Example of a program I wish had been dumped: That LP Viktor Petrenko kept for four years. It's kinda sad that when I look up old videos of him, it's the same LP over and over again. He had enough style to do better than that. And maybe he could've won the 1991 Worlds if he hadn't bored the judges to death with the same mediocre LP.
I don't mind it too much. Sometimes time is needed to really polish the program (Yuzuru SP) or even let the skater "age into it" (Jason & Prince). Sometimes a skater feels mid-season or even later that the new choreo is just not working and they go back to what feels comfortable (S/S Pink Panther, Ashley's S&D). Whatever works for them, works. If the judges don't mind (but at some point they must, they're only human), then everything's fine.
There are even some junior/early senior programs I wish I could see some skaters repeat with years in between, because the maturity of the skater would bring so much to that program. Jason's Tango SP from 2012 would be wonderful now, I believe.
I'm conflicted on this... Part of me doesn't like it because if you do the same thing over and over again - if you aren't doing it better the second time around, then I think they might (maybe should be) judged more harshly. And it does nothing for the skater's growth artistically for them to use the same music/choreography.
I agree with what TMC said. If they use different choreography it's cool to see how the skater grows -between watching a program they did as a junior.
I agree that if there's no development, keeping a program for another season is not worth it.
Originally Posted by Amei
But I really think that Yuzuru did improve, and the difference between Prince I and Prince II is like night and day even though the changes in the choreo weren't that big. It just needed a man to perform it rather than a slightly awkward teen
Then there's the season to consider. To go back to a program you're comfortable with, one you know you can sell, makes sense in an Olympic year. So good decisions by Ashley and S/S. I feel that if V/M had kept Carmen with its wow-factor, things might have gone differently...who knows?
When it comes to choreo, I would actually wish to see pretty much that exact 2012 SP with very few changes, such as 3a for 2a. The footwork was already level 4. Oh and drop the stag jump towards the end or whatever it was :D
Sometimes bad skating happens to good people...
It was only three years, though it seemed like more. He recycled his 87 and 88 programs a third time for 89. FWIW he should have stopped doing his program in 91 Worlds because it was his best performance of it, and he only lost because Browning did three 3/3 combinations.
Originally Posted by Sandpiper
I think that once a program has been realized and performed to its best, it's time to move on to a new one. Sometimes money is the issue, so a skater keeps the same program. I think that's why Debi Thomas for example repeated her programs, and she was doing most of her choreo! I'm fine with two years of a program, but no more.
Not beat by Brian Joubert! He used The Matrix 4 times -- though I have to admit it seemed way more than that.
Originally Posted by LiamForeman
^^^Okay. Three years. Still. He basically had three LPs throughout his entire amateur career. And he did those programs through consecutive years... at least Joubert took breaks between various iterations of The Matrix. I think money could've been an issue for Viktor, considering he was living in Ukraine, competing in the last days of the Soviet Union... Nonetheless, I wish he'd done more programs.
I agree '91 Worlds was the best performance. And Browning actually made a Zayak error, doing three 3Ts (I've mentioned this on the Stupid Questions thread). Seems like the judges generally seemed to prefer Browning when neither bombed (not just '91 Worlds--Browning beat Viktor in the LP in Lillehammer too, which I can't get behind). Viktor did have the last laugh at the Olympics though. I just wish he'd skated better (and changed the dratted program ).
Two years max is a good rule of thumb. And yes, move on once you've had the ideal performance.
Seeing them sometimes multiple times during a season is enough for me.
Have to agree with Icey. As much as I love Jason's LP this year, and especially since I saw it "live" at Nats, I'm kind of tired of it. I don't think a skate should repeat a program. I don't know if they get downgraded because of that or what, but they just seem stale to me. I can only surmise that some of it has to do with finances. There was another thread that spoke to what choreo costs a skater and maybe some of them would rather use that $$$ on coaching. Who knows. But I'm all for new programs every year as a spectator!!! Besides which I think it stretches the skater's musicality and performance.
Landing 3As in my dreams!
Doesn't a "recycled" program give a skater an advantage (maybe an unfair one) over those who are using new material? I would think that not having to learn new choreo would free up time to focus on details like landing/spin positions and overall presentation. There's also the comfort level of working with something familiar. However, in a competition situation where the playing field is supposed to be level, it seems like everyone should be starting from more or less the same point (allowing for experience, skills, etc.). If some people are using programs that they already know fairly well, that would seem to give them a head start.
I'm all for re-using programs in exhibitions or shows. In competition, not so much.
Team Russian Silver Foxes
I prefer to see something brand new each season if possible, unless there are extenuating circumstances like financing. I don't think you can really get a clear picture of how well-rounded a skater is if they keep doing the same program all the time. It gives the impression that they can only handle a limited range of styles. Also, I would think they would want to challenge themselves and not be stuck in a rut. Ultimately it's the skater's choice, but I don't think it should be encouraged. If it were me, I would get burned out very quickly skating to the same old, same old.
In terms of exhibitions, it's understandable that the audience wants to see the "greatest hits," but there are ways to keep it fresh with some different choreo and/or "remixes" (Baby Sex Bomb comes to mind...).