I think this would be a really cool idea if it can get off the ground. I love the "team free skate" idea. I wonder how it will be scored/judged?
Unfortunately, I don't think this new team sport will get much publicity until they can get some of the superstars to participate. What's Kristi doing these days, LOL?
I didn't think that this competiton needed "superstars", myself - there were several fave skaters of mine who competed : Shep Clark, Scott Davis, Tonia Kwiatkowski, Petr Barna. I kind of hope this thing gets off the ground without needing the so-called "bigger name" skaters because I find I like this competition the way it is, giving lesser known skaters a chance to compete and shine.
I did a rather lengthy review on this, LOL - but there was more "detail" to this competiton than most we're used to.
I have to say, first of all that I like the look of this competition. I couldn't quite figure out how it worked just reading the rules and regs at the MLFS site and what eyewitness reviews I did find. I'm going to put in my two cents worth and say: to me, this is the kind of team competition that the so-called "cheesefests" should follow, especially the team competitions. It allows for a lot of creativity and some improvisation is required. Also, the skaters looked like they having "way too much fun" as Peggy Fleming likes to say from time to time.
They pretty much showed just the final between the two teams of Velocity and Fuzion, with only clips of the competitions between the 5th/6th finishers and 3rd/4th place finishers.
There were six rounds in the final, with a certain number of points available for each round. There was a "Team Freeskate" which included all the skaters from both teams, but the rest of the way only some of the skaters were used in each round. A skater had to skate in at least two rounds and not more than three. There was some strategy involved, since the team needed the "best" skaters in the specialty each round required.
I was busy scribbling some things down and trying to watch at the same time, LOL - I may come back and add some elements later when I re-watch the thing. And it bears re-watching : it was really fun to watch the skaters period, and to watch some of my faves, Scott Davis, Tonia Kwiatkowski and Shep Clark. :D
Team Freeskate - each skater had to complete certain elements, then "handed off" to the next skater on the team. Some creativity was allowed in the transitions when one was taking the ice and the other was leaving:
Fuzion (Tom Jones medley)--Jason Graetz, Alibel Alegre, Meegan McDonald, Richard Swenning, Scott Davis
Velocity (Cher medley)-- Shepherd Clark, Crystal Hancy, Melissa Gravell, Robin Abraham, Tonia Kwiatkowski
Jump Face-Off explanation and rules - this was what it sounds like : a jumping contest. The rules required an first an axel jump (any number of rotations, the better the quality and more rotations the better the score), then a jump combination and a "draw" jump - this was a random draw jump which the skaters had to perform and all had to try the lutz jump.
Team members could "retry" a jump, if they missed the first time or felt they could do better on another attempt, but had to take the score for the second jump, regardless of how they did on it.
Some struggled with their jumps, including Shep, but Scott Davis was right on the money, landing a triple lutz double toe combination and then a triple toe right afterward.
Spin Face-Off - this was a "spin contest". The rules required a flying spin and a combination spin which could be done with more than one change of foot
Scott and Tonia had some outstanding spins, and Richard Swenning was very creative in his positions
Technical showdown - this focused pretty much strictly on the technical aspect and had required elements which were required to be performed in a time limit of 1:20
Tonia Kwiatkowski (Velocity) and Jason Graetz (Fuzion)
Jason Graetz can get into some of the *craziest* positions - I swear the man doesn't have a bone in his body! He did a "cantilever" move which was bent so far over that he actually had "snow" on the crown of his head! Tonia was neat and polished and precise. She, like Scott, looked more relaxed than I've ever seen her in a competition format.
Shepherd Clark (Velocity) and Meegan McDonald (Fuzion)
Once Shep got past his jumps he was off to the races, LOL. He's always been a crowd-pleaser and a "crowd-skater" and this showed off his performing ability, even though it was a technical round. He did his layback spin, so I can die a happy woman. I was happy to see Meegan McDonald perform as well - another very nice skater I've heard of but haven't really had an opportunity to see.
Artistic Interpretive - this focused on artistic aspect, and had a time limit of 2:30. Jumps didn't really count in this portion - they only counted if they were used as an accent or highlight during the skating.
Jason Graetz (Fuzion) and Melissa Gravell (Velocity)- Melissa had better jumps and spins, but kind of blah music to skate to ("All By Myself") whereas Jason struggled with jumps and spins but interpreted the music very well, doing some of some nearly unbelievable flexy moves, LOL.
Richard Swenning (Fuzion) and Tonia Kwiatkowski (Velocity)-- I thought Richard was mesmerizing. He totally got "into" the music in a way I seldom see and I have taken a real shine to this skater. Tonia did her Marilyn Monroe routine and did it very well.
Add-on Challenge - 3 members from each team alternate turns. The deal is this: the first member has two elements to perform, then the skater from the other team must do the same two elements. The second member must perform the two elements of first member plus two more elements and then the member from the other team who follows must do the same. The third member must complete the elements of first and second member plus two more elements, and then the member from the other team must do the same.
Richard Swenning (Fuzion) Jump (step out on a triple toe in this case) + flying spin (flying camel in this case)
Robin Abraham (Velocity) Jump + flying spin - she did the same as Richard except she doubled the toe loop
Alibel Alegre (Fuzion) Jump + flying spin + steps into jump (a double salchow in this case)+ circular footwork
Crystal Hancy (Velocity) Jump + flying spin + steps into jump + circular footwork
Shepherd Clark (Velocity) Jump (he did a double instead of triple toe, playing it safe) + flying spin + steps into jump + circular footwork + jump combination (a double lutz into double loop for him) + scatch spin (and a very good one at that!)
Scott Davis (Fuzion) Jump (Scott did a fine, clean triple toe) + flying spin + steps into jump + circular footwork + jump combination + scatch spin (excellent jumps and spins on Scott's part )
I was impressed with this competition - it was a lot of fun to watch, and I imagine that watching all the teams through 3 days of competition was even more fun!
I was impressed by how calm, cool and collected Scott was, and how Tonia steered her team so well - Velocity were "underdogs" but it literally came down to the last two skaters in the last round. That's how close the competition was. Fuzion ended up winning, but Velocity was within 2 points until that last round.
I hope this starts something - skating, and especially pro skating needs something fresh and interesting like this, IMO.
Oh yes, and I love seeing some of these skaters that I don't get to see at the "cheesefests" or whatever, even if they're a pro-am event.
I read that this will be broadcst on Fox sports.. Some said in the Atlantic region.. I don't live in the Atlantic region but I have Fox Sports.. I hope Fox sports period will broadcast it. :\ July 2, 2:30 PM is what I read...
This sounds really cool!
Thanks for the outstanding reporting job, Lil Lion. It's a lot lot of work transcribing your notes like that, and we appreciate that you took the time to share it on the board.
It sunds like a super show. I especially like the add-on competition. Wouldn't it be cool if an actual league could come out of this, with teams accumulating won-loss records over a season and then have a playoff?
Thank you so much for the report. I am much more excited about this new type of event now that I've read it.