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Thread: Are golden-oldie U.S. skaters still much more popular than today's?

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    Missing Tdizzle and SDiggity golden411's Avatar
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    Are golden-oldie U.S. skaters still much more popular than today's?

    Are golden-oldie U.S. skaters still much more popular than today's?

    Something nonscientific and anecdotal, but still striking IMO:

    On Aug 8, U.S. Figure Skating asked the following question on its Facebook page:
    ...if you could meet one U.S. Figure Skater, past or present, who would it be and why?
    https://www.facebook.com/usfigureska...52300905896342

    Almost six hundred comments have been posted. Presumably the respondents have a reasonably serious interest in skating -- serious enough to notice USFS's question on FB and to reply.
    It is obvious from a scan through the answers that the overwhelming majority are greats from the past : Michelle Kwan, Dick Button, Sasha Cohen, Brian Boitano, Scott Hamilton, etc.

    Cool that the champions of old are remembered so fondly.
    But I for one was surprised that Davis/White -- even with their OGM -- were barely even mentioned. Same for other 2014 Olympians such as Jason Brown, Gold, and Wagner.

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    Just going by myself. I'm an American who got into skating last fall and when I started watching I had never heard of Gracie Gold, Ashley Wagner, White/Davis, none of the current US skaters.

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    I think Davis and White suffer from the overall lack of depth in US figure skating. If someone isn't watching nationals because they don't like any of the ladies, they will probably not watch most of other events as well.

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    This might be the way the questioned is framed. People who do serious surveys know you can get any answer you want if you ask the question the right way. I don't know of any research on this question framing ("past or present"), but I did a summer internship at a polling firm in high school in the statistics department (most boring internship ever) and I recall someone mentioning that whenever they include the qualifier "past or present" or something along those lines they always get answers biased towards the past. Perhaps that is what is going on here. But again, like I said, this was an anecdotal claim and I know of no research verifying that.

    Alternatively, it could just be reflecting that skating was much more popular in the past, at least in the U.S.

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    This is no surprise. Also, skating was MUCH more popular in the heyday of the aforementioned skaters' careers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by R.D. View Post
    This is no surprise. Also, skating was MUCH more popular in the heyday of the aforementioned skaters' careers.
    This is very true. It's also very true that US Skating does a HORRIBLE job with marketing and promotions, including damage control for a sport who makes the news either every four years or when something shady happens.

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    Missing Tdizzle and SDiggity golden411's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caelum View Post
    This might be the way the questioned is framed. People who do serious surveys know you can get any answer you want if you ask the question the right way. I don't know of any research on this question framing ("past or present"), but I did a summer internship at a polling firm in high school in the statistics department (most boring internship ever) and I recall someone mentioning that whenever they include the qualifier "past or present" or something along those lines they always get answers biased towards the past. Perhaps that is what is going on here. But again, like I said, this was an anecdotal claim and I know of no research verifying that.

    Alternatively, it could just be reflecting that skating was much more popular in the past, at least in the U.S.
    Just curious, are you saying that if the word order had been "present or past" instead, then the results might have been different? (I agree with your general point that the wording of survey questions does matter.)

    In any case, thanks to everyone for their posts.
    The FB comments are what they are, but I still am surprised at the extremely lopsided dominance of past over present b/c my belief is that those who bothered to reply to the question from USFS mostly would be self-selected fans who pay attention to U.S. skating season after season, and Olympic cycle after Olympic cycle. And that such fans would be well aware not only of the golden oldies, but also of today's A-list.
    The coverage of Davis/White's Sochi gold was ubiquitous (justifiably so, IMO), and the golden oldies themselves -- some of whom worked as media in Sochi -- could not have expressed more praise and excitement for D/W. Among skating fans, Brown, Gold, and Wagner also had a lot of visibility and support going into Sochi.

    Not saying that D/W should have swept the FB answers, but they were mentioned literally in only one or two percent of the comments.

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    Size 7 Knife Boots Sam-Skwantch's Avatar
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    I asked a rink employee if they knew who Ashley Wagner was and they said no. Lol. They were less then 10ft away from one of her posters. Same with Gracie and Polina. Kwan,Sasha Cohen,and even Yamaguchi were recognized. or ?

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    I see that Sergei Grinkov, Viktor Petrenko, and Sonja Henie got votes...did people actually read the question?

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    Six Point Zero Krislite's Avatar
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    Duh! Your typical person on the street would have no idea who Gracie Gold is, but if asked about Michelle Kwan or Kristi Yamaguchi or especially (for those old enough) Harding, Kerrigan or Fleming the answer would be different.

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    Missing Tdizzle and SDiggity golden411's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam-Skwantch View Post
    I asked a rink employee if they knew who Ashley Wagner was and they said no. Lol. They were less then 10ft away from one of her posters. Same with Gracie and Polina. Kwan,Sasha Cohen,and even Yamaguchi were recognized. or ?
    A rink employee ? Wow.

    Quote Originally Posted by gallavich View Post
    I see that Sergei Grinkov, Viktor Petrenko, and Sonja Henie got votes...did people actually read the question?
    Good point. I suppose that they could have overlooked that skaters of the present were viable answers ... and that non-U.S skaters were not viable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Krislite View Post
    Duh! Your typical person on the street would have no idea who Gracie Gold is, but if asked about Michelle Kwan or Kristi Yamaguchi or especially (for those old enough) Harding, Kerrigan or Fleming the answer would be different.
    "Duh!" right back at you, LOL. The answers are not from "your typical person on the street."
    They are from people who go out of their way to look at U.S. Figure Skating's posts on Facebook ... and who took the trouble to post a reply to USFS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gallavich View Post
    I see that Sergei Grinkov, Viktor Petrenko, and Sonja Henie got votes...did people actually read the question?
    OMG, I thought you meant one can't meet Petrenko because he is dead like the other two . I was in shock until I re-read the question. Have to work on reading comprehension...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Krislite View Post
    Duh! Your typical person on the street would have no idea who Gracie Gold is, but if asked about Michelle Kwan or Kristi Yamaguchi or especially (for those old enough) Harding, Kerrigan or Fleming the answer would be different.
    You'd have to be truly delusional to think Gracie currently has the star power and name recognition of a Kwan or Yamaguchi.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    I can see why the oldies but goodies are leading the parade. The question asks, "who would you like to meet?" Who wouldn't enjoy sitting down with Dick Button and listen to him ramble on about all the people he knows, the things he's done, and the places he's been?

    Quote Originally Posted by gallavich View Post
    I see that Sergei Grinkov, Viktor Petrenko, and Sonja Henie got votes...did people actually read the question?
    Maybe they count people who toured in U.S. shows as "American skaters." Sonia Henie became an American citizen and lived in Hollywood. Victor Petrenko was my wife's favorite skater for years on Champions on Ice.

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    I think there are several factors - not the least of which is television coverage in the US. The other factor is the decline of shows like Stars on Ice and pro-competitions. People didn't get to know Kristi Yamaguchi or Brian Boitano so much as competitors but more from after they turned pro....at least IMO. They've also been around longer. I dont' know in what universe anyone would seriously compare Gracie Gold to Michelle Kwan at this stage of her career. That's just plain silly.

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