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Thread: Anyone read Cracked Ice by Sonia Bianchetti?

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    Keeper of La Khok's Tutus Doggygirl's Avatar
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    Anyone read Cracked Ice by Sonia Bianchetti?

    WOW...I knew the ISU had problems but GEEZ!!! Just wondering if anyone else has read this book, and has a feel for the credibility of the information Sonia presents.

    Next up? For me it's Edge of Glory on the FS front, and also The Da Vinci Code for fiction based on recommendations seen here.

    DG

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    I read about half of it in a Chapters store one time. I am hoping to purchase it next time I am in the city. I think it is extremely slanted, and probably untruthful in many places. That is what makes it great to read though.

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    I actually found the back half of the book more interesting (to me) than the first half, as it sort of goes in chronological order. (although the first half certainly outlines plenty of "dirt" on the ISU)

    What I find particularly amazing is the lack of financially accountability. Media contracts handled privately between the Presidents of the ISU and various media outlets? With no kind of legal review even though LOTS of money is involved? Private loans from the ISU to the ISU secretary for vacation homes at zero interest? No official Treasurer of an organization handling that much money?

    And those are just a couple of the "business" highlights - we haven't even gotten to the skater impact yet.

    I really am wondering what "FS Historians" have to say about Sonia's recording of these ISU happenings and events.

    DG

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    I have not read any official rebuttals from the ISU on any of the claims she has made in the book. If anyone knows of anything from the ISU on this publication, we would like to hear of it. I have noticed from the ISU pages that Sonia is still an official of the ISU. So she hasn't gone the way of others who speak out and blow whistles.

    Joe

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    Keeper of La Khok's Tutus Doggygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz
    I have not read any official rebuttals from the ISU on any of the claims she has made in the book. If anyone knows of anything from the ISU on this publication, we would like to hear of it. I have noticed from the ISU pages that Sonia is still an official of the ISU. So she hasn't gone the way of others who speak out and blow whistles.

    Joe
    I too have not seen any "whistles blown" on this book. Assuming Sonia's accounts are even half true, then we all should be protesting big time (as big fans) the ISU. If Sonia's accounts are even 90% true, then I'm not even sure what to say.

    OK - I will say one thing. The children and their parents who grow up together with a skating dream are in for a .....well.... I won't even say it here. It starts with "F."

    No wonder children's skate sales are down, lessons are down, and everything else might be down on the way up to the elite level.

    I don't have kids, so I don't know for sure. But if I can imagine having children, I would NOT put them in Speedy's hands, for sure, after reading this book.

    At the VERY least, there should be some sort of legal oversight, and a Treasurer to help with matters at the top of this organization. I hope Sonia's book (since there is a gap between the time it was written and the time I read it) has made a difference with the ISU. Shame on you ISU. Fix yourself.

    DG

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    One thing that came across very strongly is her conviction that she, and every good judge, can recognize that special, gut-grabbing performance that transcends techique. Reading her analysis of various performances, she is consistent in her approach, and absolutely convinced in her ability to spot "IT."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz
    ... . I have noticed from the ISU pages that Sonia is still an official of the ISU. So she hasn't gone the way of others who speak out and blow whistles. Joe
    Joe -- where on the ISU pages does it show that Sonia is still an official? I recall reading somewhere that she is no longer connected with the ISU, but that her son is an official,

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    Quote Originally Posted by hockeyfan228
    One thing that came across very strongly is her conviction that she, and every good judge, can recognize that special, gut-grabbing performance that transcends techique. Reading her analysis of various performances, she is consistent in her approach, and absolutely convinced in her ability to spot "IT."


    Toller Cranston - as a commentator - often got himself in trouble with the judges because of that ability to "spot IT." He often questioned judges results and was not afraid to speak up when he felt a skater got slighted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hockeyfan228
    One thing that came across very strongly is her conviction that she, and every good judge, can recognize that special, gut-grabbing performance that transcends techique. Reading her analysis of various performances, she is consistent in her approach, and absolutely convinced in her ability to spot "IT."
    You expressed the same thought I had about this book. Bianchetti is a great spokesperson for the sport because she loves skating and she enjoys watching skaters at all levels, and she is thrilled by great performances. I enjoyed her book more for her personal experiences and views on skating than for the judging expose. I thought this paragraph explained her philosophy:

    Not everybody has the temperament and capacity to be a good judge, in the same way that not all skaters have the qualities necessary to become champions. Figure skating is an art, and, like all works of art, it must be evaluated as one piece, and not a collection of small details put together. In a sculpture by Michelangelo or a painting by Raphael, you do not pay attention if a finger is not very well done, or if the sockets don’t have a nice color. You admire the masterpiece in its entirety. It is impressive in spite of minor unimportant details. Of course, this must not be interpreted as a message that the difficulty of the elements in a free skating program do not count. That would be nonsense in a sport! It only means that one jump more or less, or minor details or errors that can only be detected after reviewing the tapes ten times, should not be determining factors when evaluating a performance.
    This reminded me of Dick Button’s comment when Michelle beat Lulu at the 96 worlds. He said that he would love to know how the judges made the distinction between the two because they were both masterful artists, and he did not think the difference was that Michelle landed 7 triples and Lulu only 6. I agree with Bianchetti that skating is an art form first and foremost, but it is an art composed of difficult elements. I wish more people who have dedicated their life to skating would take time to publish their memoirs, because I love reading the thoughts of anyone who is captivated by the sport far more than accounts of scandal or exposes.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by attyfan
    Joe -- where on the ISU pages does it show that Sonia is still an official? I recall reading somewhere that she is no longer connected with the ISU, but that her son is an official,
    Regret attyfan - I read the name wrongly it was Fabio Biancou and not Bianchetti. There is a List of Controllers and specialists under Full Details. there used to be a List of ISU Judges with Nationalities but I can't find that any more. Does it still exist?

    Also, if Sonia Bianchetti is no longer with ISU was it a simple resignation or was she told to go?

    Joe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz
    Also, if Sonia Bianchetti is no longer with ISU was it a simple resignation or was she told to go?
    That's one of the things she talks about in her book. Basically, she was forced off the ISU Council when Ottavio Cinquanta was elected because the ISU's rules prevent more than one person from the same country from serving at the same time. She claims that certain individuals were merely trying to use Cinquanta as a tool to get rid of her, and they got more than they bargained for.

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    Fabio Bianchetti (Sonia's son) was a Technical Controller at 2005 Junior Worlds.

    According to the CV posted on her site at
    http://www.soniabianchetti.com/about_sonia_cv.html
    Sonia Bianchetti was nominated for an appointment as an Honorary ISU Referee in 1997. Did she get receive it and, if so, was she later stripped of this title because of her affiliation with WSF/etc.?

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    Hi Sylvia...

    The book is filled with so much information that it's hard for me to keep it all straight. Also, things could have happened in recent years that may or may not have been included in the book.

    That said, I gather the Sonia was nominated on more than one occassion for Honorary ISU membership according to the guidelines for such a nomination, based on her years of service to the ISU. It sounds from the book that Speedy never allowed that to happen. In once instance according to Sonia, Speedy did not even bring the official nomination before the ISU Council as dictated by the council rules. (one of the more minor violations of Council rules outlined in this book)

    Speedy has reportedly gone as far as "discouraging" personal friends of Sonia's who have invited her as a personal guest to countries hosting World Championships.

    Hopefully I got some of this right. The plot is really thick and devious.

    DG

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    I really believe that Cinquanta is told what to do by another powerful clique in the figure skating world. Among those things to do, Cinquanta has to get rid of anyone who questions the present judging system.

    I think Sonia should have been elected President of the ISU. She's a decent, honest woman who can address other peoples' concerns. Speedy is not even a good administrator.

    Joe

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    Quote Originally Posted by hockeyfan228
    One thing that came across very strongly is her conviction that she, and every good judge, can recognize that special, gut-grabbing performance that transcends techique. Reading her analysis of various performances, she is consistent in her approach, and absolutely convinced in her ability to spot "IT."
    This is why I have been so slow to jump on the bandwagon of criticism of the judges for handing out such high PCS marks for Slutskaya's free skate at worlds. Yes, it is hard to find wording in the CoP documents to justify such scores. But the judges recognized that WOW! factor and, NJS be darned, Irina deserved acknowledgment for an amazing effort.

    Like Michelle's Rachmaninov SP at 1998 nationals, or her East of Eden at the world pro-am in 1998, or her Aranjuez performance at 2003 nationals -- or like the first time Alexei Yagudin skated Winter -- sometimes the performance just leaves the judges as well as the audience with their tongues hanging out in astonishment, and you win by acclamation.

    Mathman

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