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Thread: Questions for the Off Season???

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    Figure Skating Is A Dangerous Sport Dee4707's Avatar
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    Questions for the Off Season???

    Over the weekend, I watched the Marshalls competition and it got me thinking and wondering about a few issues.

    The first being that Dick Button was talking about Johnny Weir being an introspective skater. That he doesn’t really play to or draw the audience in. Yet when Michelle skated both he and Peggy were commenting about how the audience loves her and how she draws the audience in. I guess I don’t understand what that means. At first I thought that maybe they were just gushing over Michelle which still could be the reason. I don’t understand how a skater can do this when they need to concentrate on their program. So the question I am asking is what does drawing the audience in mean to you??

    The next question I have is why do you think that Michael Weiss does the quad when he two foots it most of the time. I am not a real fan of his but while watching him in the Marshall’s comp, he does really have some good technique, not good choreography. Wouldn’t it make sense for him to leave out the quad because his other jumps are for the most part good?

    Lastly, all the discussions we have on the board about which skater does this better and which doesn’t and how Dick Button gets on the skaters because they fling their arms and the ladies spirals need more stretch and yet most of the time the skaters don’t change a thing. The women continue to flutz, they don’t stretch, the men don’t spin fast enough and their choreography stinks. Don’t their coaches watch them? Do you think they watch their own programs and critique them? Why don’t they just listen to us at GS and Dick Button and they would be the best? So I guess my question is why do the skaters continue to use poor technique and choreography?

    Dee

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    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    to answer the introspective vs drawing crowd in skaters... that's Peggy and Dick talk... because Michelle does no more for me than Johnny... so either she's not reaching enough... or Dick and Peggy just need to make her sound like she's the best... which her skating can do without their help...

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    I can't say for sure what Dick meant. I'm still trying to figure out what ''slash and burn vitality'' is. I do think Michelle projects more personal recognition and warmth toward the audience. You get the feeling that she is skating for them. With Johnny, there's more of a feeling that he would skate the same way even if no one was watching.

    With Mike, I think it's important for skaters to keep attempting their hardest moves under pressure. You don't want to set up a situation in which you're afraid to try it and start pulling back. If Mike is going to have any chance at the big wins, he needs those quads. He might as well keep going for it. He also needs to keep proving to the powers-that-be that he's a contender. If he eases up, they might think he's past it.

    That last question is so complex. A million things came to mind. First, I am sure everyone connected with an elite skater is overwhelmed with well meant suggestions. I think it's probably just self defense to learn to tune a lot of that out.

    I remember reading in one of Brennan's book that a judge told Rudy's coach/sister to have him skate faster at 96 worlds. His sister was polite, but thought it too late for changes. Coaches have to weigh out what's best for each skater and their situation.

    With things like flutz's and bad spins, I think it's a cost vs gain matter. It takes time and energy to correct those problems. Up to now, there's been little to gain from it. Hopefully, COP will change that.
    Last edited by SusanBeth; 05-18-2004 at 05:02 PM.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Hey Dee - Good post of questions for musing:

    To begin with, I believe we are talking about the Presentation part of figure skateing which is everyone's subjective view.

    In the case of Weir and Kwan, I see them both as lyrical skaters, i.e., skaters involved with the music as opposed to skaters involved with the auditence. I think both Dick and Peggy have a point with MK in that the audience goes after her. they get involved in her zone. With Johnny who also has a lyrical style there is, for me, still something missing. His technique is better than MK's but he is not drawing in the audience as lyrical skaters must!! Now that he will be part of COI, that experience may well get the audience to caress him. skaters in COI, in my opinion, have a edge over those that have not yet made that show.

    Everyone agrees michael would be better off without attempting the quads. I think he can do them but I do not think he practices them on a daily basis. They are tough jumps and need daily practice of at least 10 attempts a day.

    Ok, this is a techniqal question like the previous one. I agre Dick and Peggy often point out their weaknesses in their elements. They know their elements and I agree with them.

    Joe

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    For me Kwans great receptions are in part to her living legend status. Like her or not she IS a legend in the sport. Also she has a very rare ability to elicit emotional responses from her audience. We've all heard the stories of people in tears at her skating. Lord knows she's made me cry enough times!

    I remember an article in the British press from Nagano where the writer, a grown man who really didn't nkow that much about skating said that her SP CoE spiral made him - a grown man more used to covering football matches - cry like a baby! It really is undefinable IMO and is what makes her so great. That emotional quality, the skating from the heart is the one thing that MK does WAY better than anyone else and WAY more often.

    As for Dick and Peggy, they may be repetitive. Just from my downloads this season, every time Miki Ando does a spiral he slams it and compares it to Sasha which IMO is pretty unfair. Her flexibility is a genetic thing. All the stretching in the world will improve positions greatly but will never result in a SashaspiralTM.

    But essentially Dick is right, Miki's spirals do need to be improved. They point out bad laybacks ad nauseum but again they really are correct in what they say. But why the skaters don't listen is beyond me. MK did when Dick kept mentioning her layback. It improved enormously. Fumie and Shizuka have really improved on extension - no doubt from watching the American girls. As for the men and comments about flailing arms and crappy spins, again ITA with all thats said, but if the skaters in question are still medalling without the said improvements then why bother?

    Just my two penneth worth

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    Rooting for the Kerrs!
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    Re: Questions for the Off Season???

    Mike Weiss may two-foot the quad a lot of the time, but a two-footed landing is still a quad, just with a lower quality/tariff. If he stopped attempting them, he would drop in the standings. Two-footing a jump is a habit that is very difficult for a skater to get rid of. I'm sure he's trying to fix it, but stopping trying the jump isn't really an option if he wants to try for medals.

    Originally posted by Dee4707
    Lastly, all the discussions we have on the board about which skater does this better and which doesn’t and how Dick Button gets on the skaters because they fling their arms and the ladies spirals need more stretch and yet most of the time the skaters don’t change a thing. The women continue to flutz, they don’t stretch, the men don’t spin fast enough and their choreography stinks. Don’t their coaches watch them? Do you think they watch their own programs and critique them? Why don’t they just listen to us at GS and Dick Button and they would be the best? So I guess my question is why do the skaters continue to use poor technique and choreography?
    Poor technique is something that is very difficult to change. It takes a lot of time and patience and practice. That's why you don't see many skaters trying to change their technique (e.g. flutzing) - it's very difficult to do (imagine how long they will have been doing the flutz for, how used to it their body will be). Some skaters may lose the jump altogether. I believe Kwan has been working on improving her lutz technique last season, trying to get rid of the flutz - and you've seen how her lutz hasn't been as consistent as normal this season. She's still flutzing, and on the times when she has lutzed, she has had difficulty making it a clean triple. (I've only seen her at Worlds, so I'm going by what I saw there and what I've read.)

    As for the other issues - Dick Button may be an influential US commentator, but that doesn't mean every skater will listen to his commentary and use it as coaching. (Nor will they probably want to go to an internet message board and take into account all the nitpicking!) When skaters are training with their coaches, they know what they have to do to win/to place where they want to, they know what they have to improve. My guess though is that most of the time and effort is spent on the jumps, since they're the weapons. Maybe with COP we'll see more emphasis on the other parts of skating from all skaters.

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    Custom Title merrywidow's Avatar
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    I think it is much more obvious when you attend a live skating event as opposed to watching tv as to which skaters reach out & connect with the audience & which skaters don't. I would use Brian Orser as an example for myself. Watching him over the years on TV I was never aware of how well he connected to his audience until I saw him live & was amazed by my feeling of connection to him. Katarina Witt has great connection to an audience as do most of the popular pro skaters. Among current amateurs, as well as Michelle, I think Ryan Bradley is a great example of connecting to an audience. I see it as well with Jeff Buttle, Stephane Lambiel, & IMO Evan Lysacek is developing a connection.
    As has been pointed out, Weiss does receive credit for 2 footing a quad & it will be more obvious under CoP.
    As to Dick & Peggy's criticisms I doubt if foreign skaters pay any attention but it is clear to me that over the years the US skaters & their coaches do. Check out the ladies laybacks clear down into our Jr. ranks. For the most part they are far superior to those of Senior competitors from outside North America. It hasn't always been like this. Take note of how many more US men are getting down low to the ice on their sit spins than they were say, 6 or 7 years ago. Someone listens.

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    ~ Figure Skating Is My Passion ~ Ladskater's Avatar
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    Dee4707:

    Quite the profound questions about skating.

    First of all, Johnny Weir is still quite "the new kid on the block" as far as competition goes. He needs a few more skates under his belt to develop that "drawing in the audience" appeal that Dick was referring to. I am sure he will develop a better raport with the audience as time goes on. Michelle, has a lot of mileage to draw on so has had the chance to develop her technique and presentation. Paul Martini was quite impressed with young Johnny at the worlds and really likes his style. I must add that it is really a treat to see skaters who listen to their music. Jeff Buttle is another skater I love to watch. He just flows from one element to the next - like Kurt Browning - totally in tune with his music.

    I guess if Michael Weiss wants to still compete he has to throw the quad in - two footed or not. Sometimes the judges don't notice. However, this is a bad habit and not easy to break.

    As to your last comment - sometimes skaters develop bad habits - poor technique when they learn a jump or spin and unless their coach "nips it in the bud" they continue to do it. A change in coaching helps. As for the poor choreography, well that is the coaches' fault.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    I would like to see Mike Weiss use another choreographer. I know it is a sensitive subject for obvious reasons but I feel he is not skating with much flow. The choreography seems too busy with tricks and poses. I feel the same way with Irina Slutskaya.
    Both Irina and Mike are well seasoned skaters and I would like to see more moves in the field with rockers and counters not just in footwork but in flowing over the ice.

    But with the advent of CoP on the horizon, a skater will be getting more points for the tricks than the flow. I can live with it but not happily.:(

    Joe

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    Arm Chair Skate Fan show 42's Avatar
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    Not having skated much in the past, I only know what I see. Michelle drew me in at 13 years old, her love of skating sparkled in her eyes........it's the eyes that draw you in, not the smile or the movements......for me, anyway.

    I understand that Michael does land his quad in practice on one foot, so I am guessing it's a confidence issue in the actual performance that makes him two-foot the jump......well, practice makes perfect :\ .

    As to "fixing" a problem jump, spin, etc., I do know that once a move is learned incorrectly, it is very hard to fix. When I get second graders at the beginning of the year, it is very hard to change their handwriting formation and the way they hold their pencil, especially the pencil part. What they learned at four or five years of age is incredibly difficult to unlearn at 7 and 8 years of age........the same, I guess, applies to figure skating.......(love those analogies).....42

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    Figure Skating Is A Dangerous Sport Dee4707's Avatar
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    Thanks for all your answers. I guess it is the off season, over the weekend I watched the Olympics again.

    From what you've answered about bad technique, I thought how difficult it must be for Tim Goebel and his current problems. Jumping technique during the Olympics and afterwards was wonderful. It must be the reverse of trying to learn new jump techniques from bad habits. That must be so frustrating for him.

    After watching the Olympics, I have another question. If the 2 pair teams were awarded gold medals, was the bronze medalists moved up to silver. If not, why not? And were the 4th placed couple moved to bronze? Or if nothing changed, then are there no silver medalists in Pairs for 02 Olympics? My next question is even if S&P would have won the free skate, would not B&S still have won the gold?

    Dee

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    Dee 4707: After watching the Olympics, I have another question. If the 2 pair teams were awarded gold medals, was the bronze medalists moved up to silver. If not, why not? And were the 4th placed couple moved to bronze? Or if nothing changed, then are there no silver medalists in Pairs for 02 Olympics? My next question is even if S&P would have won the free skate, would not B&S still have won the gold?

    Look at it this way: if two skaters/teams are tied for first place, then the skater/team who finished behind them was beaten by two skaters/teams, and so is in third place. In that case, there IS no 2nd place, but two firsts and a third.

    There is no qualifying round in Olympic figure skating competition. In every discipline, if the top two skaters from the SP finish 1-2 in the FS, then the FS winner gets the gold. It doesn't matter which of them won the SP.

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    Rooting for the Kerrs!
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    Originally posted by Dee4707
    After watching the Olympics, I have another question. If the 2 pair teams were awarded gold medals, was the bronze medalists moved up to silver. If not, why not? And were the 4th placed couple moved to bronze? Or if nothing changed, then are there no silver medalists in Pairs for 02 Olympics? My next question is even if S&P would have won the free skate, would not B&S still have won the gold?
    I tried to reply to this before but the computer started playing up. Euterpe has already answered it really.

    Re: SLC, the pairs results will appear as -

    1: Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze
    = Sale & Pelletier
    3: Shen & Zhao
    4: Totmianina & Marinin

    There won't be any silver medallists. Shen & Zhao are still judged as being 3rd best, so they stay with bronze.

    If S&P had won the free, they would have taken gold overall. In the Olympics, the skaters only do a SP & LP (in other ISU comps, ladies & men usually also do qualifying). The LP is worth more than the SP - two thirds of the result, compared to one third for the SP. It's worked out by multiplying 0.5 by the placement for the SP, and 1.0 by the placement for the LP. So in the case of SLC, if S&P had won the free, the result would be:

    S&P: (0.5x2) + (1.0x1) = 2.0
    B&S: (0.5x1) + (1.0x2) = 2.5

    If there's a qualifying round (e.g. for ladies/mens), or if the placements are wider (e.g. someone finishes much lower on the QR or the SP), then they won't necessarily win gold if they win the free. An example is Shen & Zhao at Worlds this year, who won the free but didn't win overall because of their SP.

    T&M: (0.5x1) + (1.0x2) = 2.5
    S&Z: (0.5x4) + (1.0x1) = 3

    When there's a qualifying round (for ladies or mens - pairs don't have them), the points are worked out as 0.4 x placement for QR, 0.6 x placement for SP, and 1.0 x placement for LP. So for someone who wins every section, their total score would be 2.0.

    Another example - Sarah Hughes at the Olympics. Because she was 4th in the short, she couldn't necessarily win the gold just by winning the free. She did win, because the SP winner (Kwan) was third in the free.

    Hughes: (0.5x4) + (1.0x1) = 3
    Slutskaya: (0.5x2) + (1.0x2) = 3
    Kwan: (0.5x1) + (1.0x3) = 3.5
    Cohen: (0.5x3) + (1.0x4) = 5.5

    In this case, even though Hughes & Slutskaya were equal on points, Hughes won overall because she was higher than Slutskaya in the free (which is what they use to break ties).

    That's why you often see commentators/fans talking about a skater "controlling their own destiny" - if there's no QR (which there isn't at the Olympics), then as long as they're in the top 3 after the SP, they can win gold by winning the free. Skaters who are lower than 3rd after the SP (like Hughes in SLC) have to win the free, but also have to hope that the leader after the short is 3rd or lower in the free, which they can't control - therefore they can't "control their own destiny".

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    Figure Skating Is A Dangerous Sport Dee4707's Avatar
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    Icenut & Euterpe, thanks for the explanation. The reason I asked the question is because of the men's competition. Scott Hamiliton made the comment that if Alexei came in second he could win the gold.

    Did I get confused because of that comment??Is is different for the men?

    Dee

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    Re Alexei:
    Scott made that comment about ALexei needing only second place b/c Plushenko was in 4rth after the short and Plush had already beaten Goebel in the freeskate before Alexei had skated. For Plush to have won, Tim would have had to beat Alexei and that probably wasn't going to happen b/c Alexei's prgram was so strong.

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