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Thread: Article on the Marshall's Challenge

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    Article on the Marshall's Challenge


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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link, Red Dog.

    I notice that the attendance was only 3400. The December Marshall's show usually gets closer to 10,000. Also interesting that the St. Petersburg show that Lysacek was in was sold out.

    Michelle on the CoP:

    Kwan agrees with one criticism of the new system. When your muscle memory has completely taken over and is interpreting the feeling the composer sought to convey, with each note vibrating through your body and each fingertip extending to interpret the emotion created by the music, you ascend into a zone where you are not thinking. Your body is completely taken over by, and is a conduit for, the sound. Only a few are able to reach that ultimate "zone" and that has become more unlikely now that your mind must constantly process the more mundane mechanics. You have to add up the seconds the spiral and the spin changes of edge are held. You have to constantly think about racking up the points, and figure out how to compensate for any error. Skating is becoming more of a quantifiable sport under the new system, but the moments when it transcends into a sublime art form will be rarer.

    "The music sometimes tells you what to do. The composer didn’t have the precise instructions from the ‘caller’ in mind. The ‘caller’ and the computer see the performance very methodically as opposed to lyrically," Kwan explained.


    Sasha on the other hand:

    She doesn’t like the 6.0 as much as the new system because, "you don’t know what a mark is for. The new system is really good because you get the break down of exactly what they’ve given you, and you can see what you can work on to get more marks."

    She is a gorgeously graceful skater and, despite the mistakes, her Tchaikovsky Nutcracker routine was beautiful. Released from the constraints of the new system, she had time to include her high-kick skid spiral with change of edge.


    I guess in any change of judging system you gain something and you lose something.

    Mathman

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Am I correct for saying that Meissner is being groomed to replace Kwan as the next American Sweetheart?

    From the Item:

    Val Belmonte, Executive Director of USFS, said the reason this year to exclude other countries’ skaters was because they wanted to promote the next level of home-grown skaters. "The staff (of USFSA) talked to me about an all-American event. It is a great opportunity, from the point of view of exposure, to introduce the public to some of the less well known skaters. It is very important they get more publicity and get some financial help."

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    Hopeless fan Doggygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman
    Thanks for the link, Red Dog.

    I notice that the attendance was only 3400. The December Marshall's show usually gets closer to 10,000. Also interesting that the St. Petersburg show that Lysacek was in was sold out.

    Michelle on the CoP:

    Kwan agrees with one criticism of the new system. When your muscle memory has completely taken over and is interpreting the feeling the composer sought to convey, with each note vibrating through your body and each fingertip extending to interpret the emotion created by the music, you ascend into a zone where you are not thinking. Your body is completely taken over by, and is a conduit for, the sound. Only a few are able to reach that ultimate "zone" and that has become more unlikely now that your mind must constantly process the more mundane mechanics. You have to add up the seconds the spiral and the spin changes of edge are held. You have to constantly think about racking up the points, and figure out how to compensate for any error. Skating is becoming more of a quantifiable sport under the new system, but the moments when it transcends into a sublime art form will be rarer.

    "The music sometimes tells you what to do. The composer didn’t have the precise instructions from the ‘caller’ in mind. The ‘caller’ and the computer see the performance very methodically as opposed to lyrically," Kwan explained.

    Sasha on the other hand:

    She doesn’t like the 6.0 as much as the new system because, "you don’t know what a mark is for. The new system is really good because you get the break down of exactly what they’ve given you, and you can see what you can work on to get more marks."

    She is a gorgeously graceful skater and, despite the mistakes, her Tchaikovsky Nutcracker routine was beautiful. Released from the constraints of the new system, she had time to include her high-kick skid spiral with change of edge.

    I guess in any change of judging system you gain something and you lose something.

    Mathman
    I'm sure that's true MM about the gains and losses with any change.

    I do find Michelle's comments a bit ???. I think we've seen some great performances this year under COP where the music was heartfelt, and the skating was brilliant, and the programs scored well under COP. Weir and Buttle come immediately to mind as examples. I actually had tears in my eyes towards the end of one of Johnny's best "deliveries" of Otonal. I thought MK's SP this year was very good on both the technical and presentation front. The Bolero program changed so much throughout that season that it makes me wonder if "muscle memory" (or something along those lines) wasn't more of the problem.

    Under both 6.0 and COP I think programs evolve on the "presention" side over the course of the season. In the early performances, the skates on average tend to be "less dramatic," and I've always assumed part of that is the skater adapting to a new program - hence more thinking rather than feeling on the ice. As the programs undergo final tweaking, and are performed repeatedly, the quality of presentation seems on average to come up through the season. I assume some of that has to do with having the program itself commited to memory - hence less need to think through the elements and more room to "feel" the program. (Weir comes immediately to mind once again, but I'm sure we could list many others that seemed to trend this way)

    I guess this is my long way of asking whether it was really COP, or if it was the constant changes to MK's LP (even under 6.0 it was different every time) affected the need for "thinking" too much.

    In any case, I hope MK successfully adjusts to COP because I would love to see some brilliant programs next year!

    DG

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Let it be known, that having seen MK's Worlds LP both Live and on TV, I found her, as usual, one with the music. Her interpretation of that 'dance number' was absolutely correct. I think Ida Rubenstein would be nodding her head in approval if she were alive and watching. I believe TT also commented on it.

    What I saw as the problem with the LP was that it did not lend itself to competitive skating. It was a superb exhibition number. No one, imo, can skate so emotionally with her body as MK.

    As for Sasha, which as I've said before, it was her best yet. The second half of her skate was as good as the first half. Little flubs didn't stop her. She carried on to the end smiling and with a joy of skating. I believe the gold medal was not on her mind. She just wanted to enjoy skating. It paid off. Not so much for the medal but for the unspoken statement: 'I've arrived!'.

    I think if she continues in that vain and hopefully gets away from Tschaikowsky, she will definitely give Irina a run for the money.

    I haven't seen Marshalls but after reading the article I know the placements. So I dug right down to the bottom of my soul to see what I could feel. I felt nothing.

    I hope someone checks the TV ratings on this. I just wonder if Americans are interested at all.

    Joe
    Last edited by Joesitz; 04-09-2005 at 10:31 AM.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Hi, Doggygirl. I think we have to take some of this with a grain of salt. The long paragraph that I quoted about muscle memory and getting in the zone -- these are the words of the author (Alexandra Stevenson), not Michelle. Stevenson merely claims Michelle "agrees." Michelle's own words are:

    "I have yet to decide anything right now (about next year). I have to finish the tour and then I have to sit down with my coach. I was frustrated in the beginning by the new system because the point system didn’t make sense. I have my eyes open now and I know what it takes. When Christopher (Dean) choreographed ("Bolero") I didn’t know what level the moves were. I guessed. Now I can determine them. Fourth at Worlds was pretty neat considering. I didn’t look at it as just missing the bronze by a tiny margin. I did badly in the qualifying. I have no choice but to accept the system. The system is there and so I say the system is great. I can’t be retro. They change so I just have to evolve. I can’t talk about the Olympics because first I have to qualify."

    Furthermore, this article is from the web site of Dr. George Rossano, an inveterate foe of all things CoP and of most things ISU. We are not going to read anything favorable about the new judging system there.

    When the CoP first came out I did not have much feeling about it one way or another. I did not think that it would succeed in it's announced goal of making figure skating judging more fair and less ridden with controversy and scandal. I did not, however, think that it would have much effect on the sport itself. Time will tell. Has it encouraged the women (Slutskaya, Ando) to be more athletic and the men (Weir, Buttle) to be less so? That would be a pretty weird and unexpected result of what I still consider to be relatively minor changes in the judging system.

    For whatever reason, I do think that Michelle allowed the CoP to mess with her mind last season. The only times that she skating well were in the Campbell's show in October, before she began to think about the CoP, and in the Marshall's event just completed, where she could put the new judging system out of her head.

    The three middle events (the December cheesefest, Nationals and Worlds) I think she did have her mind on how many points she could get for an extra change of edge in her combination spin, etc., and this was reflected in her performances.

    Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Only if he wants to learn. Michelle just does not seem comfortable with the new system. Maybe she will decide it's not worth the effort after all.

    BTW, did you notice that there was concern that Michelle might not skate at all at Marshall's because she hurt her back in practice that afternoon? Her decision about whether to do the Grand Prix might depend on more than just obstinacy.

    Mathman
    Last edited by Mathman; 04-09-2005 at 11:17 AM.

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    Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Only if he wants to learn. Michelle just does not seem comfortable with the new system. Maybe she will decide it's not worth the effort after all.
    But, you see, if she REALLY wants that OGM, she'll put in the effort, believe me. I wouldn't count her out just yet unless she announces retirement. And if she does go on, she already has the pro-am events and Nationals in the bag. She'll only need to work for Olympics and Worlds (if she goes that far).

    I see in MK a reluctant acceptance of the new system, and while she might naturally resist change, she realizes she's going to have to do so if she wants to continue to stay on top. She's no longer the best (in the world) anymore.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    True, Red Dog, but it is one thing to say the words, "I know what I have to do and now I am going to do it." Actually doing it is another thing altogether.

    Plus, there has to be a tiny little part of her that is saying, "I am the best in the world at skating my way. Let the younger generation worry about 3.2 points for this and 4.9 points for that. In the meantime, I'll just boogie-oogie-oogie."

    MM

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman
    True, Red Dog, but it is one thing to say the words, "I know what I have to do and now I am going to do it." Actually doing it is another thing altogether.
    I'll agree with that...just from experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman
    Plus, there has to be a tiny little part of her that is saying, "I am the best in the world at skating my way. Let the younger generation worry about 3.2 points for this and 4.9 points for that. In the meantime, I'll just boogie-oogie-oogie."
    I'm sure she thinks (inside of course) that she is the best in skating. Not to mention she is constantly reminded about this. I think there HAS to be some sort of inner "diva" or "ego" in MK. I really think Cohen thinks this way as well.

    Something tells me you're onto something there, but MK has proven to be a very mysterious character. For the upcoming off-season, I predict threads with pages upon pages of "What's MK going to do?", "Is she going to retire?", "Is her new EX REALLY a goodbye song?", etc.

    (Don't tell anyone this, but my secret wish is almost for MK to just give it up and end all discussion and speculation as to what she's gonna do next. )

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    Mathman - I like MK as much as you do but one can't think she didn't bother with the CoP. She knew the jumps were being counted separately, and she didn't bother with taking a risk and throwing in a triple combo. She also knew the spins were being counted separately and she did make an effort there. She also hired a specialist choreographer for the music she chose but did not get enough transitions. I believe she equated the PCS scores with what we used to call the"whole package" and said to herself, I have that. But with that whole package broken down did she think of each facet of the PCS?

    And what about the Grand Prix Series? What better way to test this? No. She decided to test it at Worlds where she skated a beautiful exhibition piece of bolero. And she skated beautifully notwithstanding the triple salchow, but it wasn't competitive.

    I hate to say it but her laxadaisicle attitude in figure skating is not working.

    Red Dog - You should be happy. She's off the podium after 11 years!

    Joe

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    I don't think Michelle has been lax(sp). Maybe she intented on competing in the GP but after Campbell's was told that her program would not score well as it was under COP and she decided to go home and try to rework it. This was evident of the program when we saw it again at Marshalls in December. There was more in the program with different spins and other things. It was stated elsewhere that this was totally Dean's choreographed program at Marshalls. I do not think that Michelle and RA did not work hard enough but worked on a lot of different things and it was not in muscle memory to make it gel together in time for worlds. Her program or not doing GP was not why she did not medal at worlds but the QR that did it. If she had done at least one international, could she have been better prepared for worlds, maybe, but we will never knkow for sure. As Michelle stated this was a learning experience and I am sure she will be ready next season if she decides to compete.
    Last edited by flowjo35; 04-10-2005 at 10:27 AM.

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    I do not think that Michelle and RA did not work hard enough but worked on a lot of different things and it was not in muscle memory to make it gel together in time for worlds. Her program or not doing GP was not why she did not medal at worlds but the QR that did it. If she had done at least one international, could she have been better prepared for worlds, maybe, but we will never knkow for sure. As Michelle stated this was a learning experience and I am sure she will be ready next season if she decides to compete.
    We won't know for sure, but out of all the speculation this one sounds the most likely.

    As for Sasha, which as I've said before, it was her best yet. The second half of her skate was as good as the first half. Little flubs didn't stop her. She carried on to the end smiling and with a joy of skating. I believe the gold medal was not on her mind. She just wanted to enjoy skating. It paid off. Not so much for the medal but for the unspoken statement: 'I've arrived!'.
    I agree that she held it together despite the mistakes. That's certainly an improvement. If you make a mistake it's not all over just yet. However, I don't agree that it was her best yet, or that she wasn't thinking of gold. She did better last year with the exception of the FS, maybe the most drab performance I've ever seen her do. This year she made mistakes in all of her programs and fell twice (counting the EX) whereas last year she didn't fall at all. And HER statements back up the fact that she came to win (and no problem with that...when you're in second place the only other step up to take is first). Whether the gold was on her mind WHILE she was skating only she knows, but I can almost bet ANYTHING it was definitely on her mind during the competition.

    However, that said, given the crappy season she's had, she definitely improved a lot. I didn't expect her to medal this year. She should be proud of her accomplishment.

    Red Dog - You should be happy. She's off the podium after 11 years!
    I think "happy" is the "simple" way to put how I feel.
    Last edited by R.D.; 04-10-2005 at 11:17 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by flowjo35
    As Michelle stated this was a learning experience and I am sure she will be ready next season if she decides to compete.
    We do have faith in her, but the question is didn't the two previous Olys give her a learning experience about the technical aspects of skating? Didn't we say, Michelle will surprise us at whatever competition? Don't we hear constantly that she is working on a triple lutz triple toe?. Didn't she say she will skate her usual without regard to CoP? C'mon. She threw this Worlds away. I think she has become lazy as far as the technical is concerned but will keep in shape for her unique presentation. It's time for her fans to insist she work harder and get a move on. BTW, the 'next season' is not that far away. Will we see her in Atlantic City? or will we make up yet another excuse for her not entering? (Campbells and Marshalls are not true interntional competitions and they use the 6.0 system.)

    Red Dog - Indeed the grin works for you. Michelle is off the podium and although you are not a fan of Sasha (hmmm) you do worry about her.

    Joe

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Dog
    (Don't tell anyone this, but my secret wish is almost for MK to just give it up and end all discussion and speculation as to what she's gonna do next. )
    Oh no, Dog, we can't give up the best soap opera in the sport. Will she or won't she? For me, I hope she wins the gold medal if that's what she really wants. But it would be equally cool if she gave the CoP a pass, did her own thing at the Olympics and exited, stage left, singing,

    "Regrets, I've had a few;
    But then again, too few to mention.
    I did what I had to do
    And saw it through without exemption.

    I planned each charted course;
    Each careful step along the byway,
    But more, much more than this,
    I did it my way.

    I've loved, I've laughed and cried.
    I've had my fill; my share of losing.
    And now, as tears subside,
    I find it all so amusing.

    To think I did all that;
    And may I say - not in a shy way,
    "No, oh no not me,

    I did it my way"
    .

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    Joe

    Win, lose or draw in the end it is her skating whether she does what people want or think she should do. I just am glad she has competed as long as she has. It always good to read different takes on how people feel she could improve to get ready for the upcoming season if she decides to compete. Like you I hope she goes all out with great programs filled with COP moves and technical content. I just hope all the ladies bring it next season.

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