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Thread: Nat's Article: Thoughts from Uncle Dick

  1. #1

    Nat's Article: Thoughts from Uncle Dick

    If anyone's got the power to get people's attention, it's Dick Button. I'm not holding my breath, though.

    For example:
    "The other elements of skating -- the artistry, the choreography -- are of equal value with if not more than a fifth triple jump, and that is not what is being recognized," he said. "It's understandable. Cinquanta is a sped skater with a mechanical mien. But, in my mind, that is not what determines fine skating."

  2. #2

    It's the politics, stupid!

    Uncle Dick and I are on the same page, yet again. I'd marry him if he wasn't so short, old, and creepy. The problem with judging in skating is the politics. Of course, the problem with that is, the ISU is a very political organization, how do you ask politicians to take politics out of their jobs?

    And for the last time, for anyone who thinks a system that rewards technical elements is somehow less subjective than one that considers artistry, too, let me just say: If judges can consider a triple lutz more difficult than a triple salchow, even though it's not true for some people (Kristi Yamaguchi, AP), why can't judges consider a more balletic form of skating more pleasing than breakdancing, even though it's not true for some people (Mike Weiss)?

  3. #3

    Re: It's the politics, stupid!

    I think Dick is injecting humour into his statements for fear he'll be blackballed someway. If you read in between the laughs he is stating his dislike for the Cinquanta circumventions of taking the public out of the picture. there is still room for political judging.


  4. #4

    Re: It's the politics, stupid!

    <span style="colorurple;font-family:helvetica;font-size:small;">I don't think Uncle Dick gives a YOU KNOW WHAT about what anyone else thinks of him--and he is not losing sleep at night worrying about being blackballed. Blackballed from WHAT?</span>

  5. #5

    Re: It's the politics, stupid!

    Great article, Thartell. One of the best I've read on the "whole deal." Of course the writer cannot go into depth because it's a newspaper, but I thought he got all the most important elements out there in a concise, understandable, and entertaining way. (Loved the "every Tom, Ottavio, and Harry" quip.)

    ITA with Dick Button's assessment and also with Fetal's about the subjectivity being just as big an issue with scoring jumps as it is with any other element of skating. I'm also with my twin about Dick not holding back. I think he's being cognizant of the media--after all, Button knows it's not going to help his cause if he comes off like a jerk--but I also think he's being candid. Besides, I think Button knows, "It's the politics, stupid!" and in order to get his point across, he has to appeal to people.

    But the best point in the article, IMO, was the one about Speedy wanting to please the IOC. I don't think this gets talked about enough. The IOC is the one group the ISU has to answer to. So, yeah, Speedy couldn't care less about what the judging does to the actual sport as long as it looks clean and doesn't draw negative attention to the sport. Sadly, I think Speedy may succeed. If figure skating judging goes the way of gymnastics, people may lose enough interest that it won't be a big deal at the Olympics anymore:x

  6. #6

    Re: It's the politics, stupid!

    I agree about the IOC, rgirl. The IOC is at least as corrupt as the ISU, and even more powerful. For proof of the IOC's corruption, look no further than the SLC Olympics. The IOC selection committee was heavily bribed into selecting SLC as the hosting city, a fact that all the media outlets never mentioned (not that I know of) for their coverage of the actual games. The actual scandal broke out a few years before that, the committee members probably got off with a light lecturing, and SLC remained the host.

    We, the fans, love the sport. The skaters, they love the sport, too. Unfortunately, we are all ultimately victims to the whims of people who run the sport, people who love measely bribes and silly political posturing instead of figure skating. Solution? Assassination <img src=""/> ! Legal solution? Maybe if famous skaters would band together and demand changes, or even start their own federation, maybe. But who would want to risk their various deals and contracts? We need a Che Guevara of skaters. Here's looking at you, Beatrice Liang!

  7. #7

    Re: It's the politics, stupid!

    Pardon my use of the word blackballed, RG. I'm a figure of 'the communists are under the beds era'. I do believe he has to be careful of his Disney personna as will his replacement in due course.


  8. #8

    Re: It's the politics, stupid!

    Interesting thoughts about the IOC. Maybe I'm being naive, but I've gotten the feeling that Rogge is trying to clean things up. His predecessor, Juan Antonio Samaranch (s/p?) was as corrupt as they get, IMO, but Rogge seems to have his head on a bit straighter. The IOC seemed horrified by the SLC skating scandal and went above the ISU in requiring that the situation was at least band-aided. Although, I haven't seen a lot of interest coming from the IOC recently so I'm not sure that they really care about a real solution. Although, I assume they've got a monetary interest in maintaining the popularity of figure skating as it is the marquee event of the winter olympics. I want to see them exert some pressure on Speedy!

    I also agree that Dick doesn't care. He's been around too long, is too old, and loves to sport too much to care if his opinions offend. He needs to lead the fight to ensure that skating maintains it's artistic/athletic integrity.

  9. #9

    Re: It's the politics, stupid!

    Thank you for the article. I think the only part Mr. Button was kidding about was having a separate judge for each US State -- but his joke was to point out the ridiculousness of allowing the former soviet union judges to apply as judges from each different part of the former Soviet Union and thus being able to easily manipulate judging panels to their favor if need be... it is as fair as having 4 US judges (from different states each) on a panel. Obviously that would give an unfair advantage to any skater from the US and probably Canada as well.

    I also like his point about SLC -- the point is not whether you thought B&S really deserved to win over S&P -- but the fact that regardless of which team was better that night, there was corruption. That is the issue, not which team you thought was better, but the Corruption which did take place.

    It's high time Cinquanta was removed from his position (forcibly if need be) and Dick Button (or someone who actually knows something about and cares about skating) put in his place.

  10. #10

    It's the politics, stupid!

    Yes, we DO need the IOC to help get this mess cleaned up...a little history...

    The bidding scandal was a disgrace, and as a result, in April 1999, Rep. Henry Waxman introduced legislation that would render it illegal for an American entity (person, corporation, etc., etc.) to contribute to the IOC unless the IOC enacted reforms. Since American monies make up well over 50% of the IOC's budget, there is no way that the IOC would ever risk losing the American cash cow...and lo and behold, reforms were enacted...and Rep. Waxman's legislation never made it onto the Congressional floor for debate.

    Those reforms included: (1) A transparent bidding process (IOC members on the bid committee are prohibited from going to candidate cities is part of this proces, among other things); (2) term limits for officers (elected to an eight-year term which is renewable once for an additional four years, making for a maximum of 12 years); and (3) mandatory retirement age for IOC members (those elected to the IOC in 1965 or before were still permitted to serve for life...there are only three that meet this criteria and they are all old; those elected 1966-1998 must retire at the age of 80...Speedy falls into this group and he will be around until 2018 if he lives that long or nothing happens to him; those elected in 1999 and thereafter must retire at the age of 70).

    None of us foresaw the "mobster" that was arrested in Italy last July...and he is now awaiting extradition to the US for trial (he is appealing, but I do not think his appeal will be granted). Add to this mix the fact that Worlds is in Washington DC at the end of March this year. I would not be at all surprised if the timing of the trial coincides very closely with Worlds, to allow for the court to subpoena any of the foreign ISU powers-that-be that will be in the US for Worlds (I wonder how many of them are going to conveniently stay home this year). I cannot help but wonder what any of them would have to say when under oath. That in and of itself is going to be some sideshow:rollin: :rollin:

    In all fairness to the IOC, I do not believe for one New York minute that any of them believe that a new scoring system is going to solve the ethical problems...we know it won't. By the time their 115th Session takes place in Prague this July 2-7, the new scoring system would have demonstrated for itself that it does not address the ethical issues in any way whatsoever and the "mobster" trial would have no doubt taken place and perhaps, even a verdict with a sentence.

    By waiting until their 115th Session in Prague this coming July, the IOC will then be able to truly say that the ISU was given the opportunity to clean up its ethical mess and failed to do so. Therefore, the IOC will be iin a much better position to demand that all federations enact and enforce ethical standards for officials to prevent another debacle like what happened in Salt Lake from ever happening again in order to remain Olympic eligible. By taking this approach, the IOC will not be singling the ISU out. Although the IOC does permit and expect international federations to enact and enforce its own rules, it still reserves the right to demand that those rules meet given criteria. Everyone knows that losing Olympic eligibility would result in the loss of substantial monies for any federation, almost certainly enough to result in bankruptcy.

    We can help by keeping the heat on the IOC. How? If everyone wrote Dr. Rogge and the IOC (I do not have an e-mail address, but snail-mail and the fax will get the job done...that information is on the IOC websitei) and flooded his mailbox and the IOC fax machine before the 115th Session in early July, the impact would be tremendous. Right now things are so bad that there is absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain by doing this.

    Also, before any "naysayers" out there ridicule this idea, I challenge you to come up with a better one that we can do to effectively solve this problem.

  11. #11

    Re: It's the politics, stupid!

    According to todays newspaper

    the chief executive of the U.S. Olympic Committee was just exonerated on charges that he used his position to get a million dollar contract for his brother's company.

    I feel a lot more hopeful now.


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