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Thread: What is the point of the Short Program?

  1. #1
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Question What is the point of the Short Program?

    Has the concept of the short program outlived its usefulness? To me, the short program is just a long program -- only shorter. I understand that there are various rules about certain elements that must be completed, but under CoP judging you have to put in all those elements anyway to get a decent score.

    As I understand it, originally the SP was supposed to be the "technical" program. Yet in practice the SP has less technical content than the LP, plus you still get marks for interpretation, choreography, etc., just like for the long.

    What got me thinking about this was Hockeyfan's observation on another thread that the main difference between the cheesefests and the Grand Prix events -- other than the fact that the cheesefests pay better and attract the big names -- is that the SP is not contested in the cheesefests.

    Do we need the SP at all any more? Maybe we should just have championships contested by two programs over three or four days, without two sets of rules for the short and long. Or maybe the SP should be replaced by a jumping contest.

    Mathman

  2. #2
    SkateFan4Life
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    [QUOTE=MathmanDo we need the SP at all any more? Maybe we should just have championships contested by two programs over three or four days, without two sets of rules for the short and long. Or maybe the SP should be replaced by a jumping contest.

    Mathman[/QUOTE]

    Remember those wonderful World Professional Figure Skating Championships that were held every December in Landover, Maryland? Such great skaters as Dorothy Hamill, Linda Fratianne, Brian Orser, Brian Boitano, Robin Cousins, Scott Hamilton, etc. competed in those great competitions. They had a simple format - one technical long program and one artistic long program. Granted, the lines were a bit blurred as to what constituted "technical" and "artistic", and both programs had to be a harmonious blend of both aspects.

    How about an artistic long program in which the men are limited to four triples, the women to three triples, where the heavy emphasis is on choregraphy, footwork, spins, carriage, etc. The long program could be the jumpfest it has become of recent years, but such a competition would enable the skaters (yes, force the skaters) to show their "artistic" side of interpreting the music.

    Frankly, I never was a fan of the short program. To me, it was the graveyard of too many would-be champions. One fall on the jump combination, and for all intents and purposes, your chances of reaching the podium were destroyed.
    Ugh!

    I would much rather see points awarded on a positive basis than on a negative basis - i.e. - give points for what the skaters DO, rather than deducting points for what they don't do.

    IMHO, of course.

  3. #3
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    Can't answer the "do we still need the short program" question, but the purpose of the short program remains valid, at least at the junior level and down.

    Junior competitors (and below) are required to execute 8 elements in their short (technical) program. The solo jump (this year a double/triple loop), the axel (single/double), the solo spin, and the flying spin are "predetermined." The remaining 4 elements: combo jump, combo spin, spiral sequence and footwork pattern are at the skater's discretion. Theoretically, the comparison of element to element (axel to axel, loop to loop etc.) helps the judges determine the "quality" and "level of difficulty" (read skill level) that each skater is functioning at.

    In the long program, choreographers theoretically cater to the skater's strength and hide their weaknesses by not including weaker, or non-existant elements. Just because you can do the lutz doesn't mean you can do equally well, or at all, all or any of the lesser value jumps. Fumie has alot of problems with the loop, Eman has a terrible time with the axel, Elvis had a tough time with the loop, Kurt had problems with the flip/lutz. But you wouldn't necessarily know it from their long programs.

    I have no problem with the short program staying put ... its like a mix of the Compulsory and Original Dances.

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    I think it will be like figures but not as extreme. This will give the actual top/best skaters a bigger edge like they use to when figures were around that let Peggy and Scott still win Olympics without winning the long programs. Perhaps the once in a lifetime skate will not be able to win under this program. Just a guess.

    I think if skaters like Michelle, Sasha and Arakawa skate to their potential they will be far ahead after the short. I'm going to add Irina in there. I'm more interested in knowing how Irina will do more than Michelle under COP.

  5. #5
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    I'd like to see the Short Program add on another minute and give the skaters a chance to do three jumps of their choice; three spins of their choice, two moves in the field; and one set of footwork. The individual jumps and spins would be based on the base scores for the CoP. The moves in the field; the footwork together with the edging and flowing on the ice make up the final scoring for the program. Everyone skates to the same music. The scoring would be completely by CoP which would be added to the scores of the Long Program.

    The Long Program would allow the skaters to execute as many jumps and spins they want with two and a half rotations as the limit for each jump; each spin would be unique to itself and not in combination. Moves in the Field, and foortwork plus the edging and flow to a skater's own music preference.

    The purpose of these two skates would be to show technical superiority in the SP and at the same time comparing basic skating among the contestants. The LP would show the uniqueness of the contestants in their relationship to the music and audience.

    Joe

  6. #6
    ~ Figure Skating Is My Passion ~ Ladskater's Avatar
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    Yes, we still need the short program. It was bad enough figures were eliminated. Now we have a new judging system to add to the mix. Does figure skating have to be changed entirely to suit the fans?

    As the Beatles state: "Let It Be!"

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Lotusland, thanks for the perspective.

    MM

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    Gliding Along dlkksk8fan's Avatar
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    The "Short Program" for singles and pair events has certain required elements. Skaters cannot add other elements to retry any missed elements. The "free skate" or long program doesn't have required elements. The short program is a good test of skaters abilities to perform certain moves that are required of them. This forces the skaters in my opinion to be better all around skaters because it requires them to do moves that they might not attempt. I'm for keeping the short program.

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    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
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    Joe, I don't think we can have both a longer SP, and one skated to the same music. If you've ever watched compulsories, you know how tired you get of hearing the same thing over and over again. I like the idea of making SP more like compulsories, but in that case it certainly cannot be made any longer.

  10. #10
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ptichka
    Joe, I don't think we can have both a longer SP, and one skated to the same music. If you've ever watched compulsories, you know how tired you get of hearing the same thing over and over again. I like the idea of making SP more like compulsories, but in that case it certainly cannot be made any longer.
    Pitchka - I am not so bored watching all those waltzes in the compulsory dance, and I'm not even a fan of dance skating. I kind of like to compare the edges, the leans, the holds, etc. I believe the exercise gives the viewer a glimpse of which team knows their basics, and what innovation they can bring to a fixed proram . Whether they will proceed to greater glory in the next two segments is up to the team.

    My system of the SP (the length of the program is not set in stone), it is to allow the skater to show off his best technical, and not what some official decides. Whatever 3 jumps and 3 spins the skater has in his arsenal is up to the skater who should know what the value of those choices are. If the skater leaves out moves in the field and footwork he will automatically lose points.

    By having all the contestants use the same music, judging will be easier to scrutinzed for edges, flow, carriage, etc, Innovation, will, of course, be obvious because the skater must show his choreography as different from other competitors while all are skating to the same music.

    The LP, with its limitations on the technical (no need they've aleady done that), will skate a full program of spins, jumps, footwork to their own choice of music, the costume, etc. will skate to show the judges and audience that they are well choreographed, very musical and quite capable of fulfilling the demands of the component scores. Hopefully. No need for them to be nervous about making triple axels and quads. They will not be allowed in the LP.

    My plan, of course, will never be adopted but I do think the SP should be revamped to give the skater the opportunity to show off his technical, and not told what to do. I believe that is the point of the SP.

    Joe
    Last edited by Joesitz; 11-06-2004 at 06:26 PM.

  11. #11
    Gliding Along dlkksk8fan's Avatar
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    My system of the SP (the length of the program is not set in stone), it is to allow the skater to show off his best technical, and not what some official decides. Whatever 3 jumps and 3 spins the skater has in his arsenal is up to the skater who should know what the value of those choices are. If the skater leaves out moves in the field and footwork he will automatically lose points.
    This is what skaters do in the long program already.

    I like the idea that we are seeing how good the skaters can do certain moves in the short programs. It forces the skaters to be more well rounded.

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    And it forces them to skate well under pressure. If you miss something in the LP, you can tweak the program and add or cut stuff. Not in the SP. Either you do it, either you don't, no room for improvisation.

    And despite what is now often mentioned as too many rules in the LP, under the new system, I disagree. There are "rules" that qualify the difficulty of the elements and that has always existed, just not put down on paper with this detail. No one is forcing any skater to do X or Y move. They choose to do whatever they wish and are marked according to the quality of what they presented.

    Limitation of jumping passes IMO is fine to avoid having a skater running after a quad or a triple the whole program... And limitation of spins is also fine with me. This is not figure jumping, but it isn't figure spinning either.

  13. #13
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dlkksk8fan
    This is what skaters do in the long program already.

    I like the idea that we are seeing how good the skaters can do certain moves in the short programs. It forces the skaters to be more well rounded.
    OK - Nothing I said was meant to be passed by the ISU. It was just that I find the SP not saying much about the technical abilities of a skater. If you like the status quo of seeing the same old triple jump, flying camel, layback, spread eagle, spiral performed by each contestant, you won't have to worry the ISU is not changing anything here. The skaters will be judged equally on the same contents of program. You know, the choice is a lutz or a flip, etc and definitely a dbl axel. No skater will be able to display any other technical ability, and we will continue to see if the skater misses any of these same old tricks as the criterion for the score.

    I thought the thread was to set minds going about the SP - not to change the rules of the ISU. No other suggestions made. Apparently, we are a conservative group and no changes (even suggested) should be allowed.

    Joe
    Last edited by Joesitz; 11-06-2004 at 11:36 PM.

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    Under the COP it does not make sense to have the SP. In the 6.0 system it seemed to have a definite purpose (to decide who would have a chance to win or to at least medal).

    I agree with most of what is being said here. In the place of an SP I may want to see a 3 min. program that would include all the major technical moves that the 2:40 SP used to include, and a little more.

    Vash

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    I personally love short programs for coherent purposes. For trained skaters at various levels, it gives them a good audience and technical warm-up before the freeskate. I like the fact that they have to present a series of elements in 2:40 min. to show their skills. Good skaters will probably have good choreography and transitions between the elements. I also prefer that the skaters choose overused music in the short than in the long, if they want to make an interpretation of a famous piece of music, at least once.

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