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Thread: Blades on Ice - All About Pairs

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Blades on Ice - All About Pairs

    I highly recommend fans to get this latest issue of Blades. It is a well written history of Pairs in ice skating. There may be some flaws in the stories and maybe somewhat biased in some opinions but overall it will give the newly addicted members to figure skating something to go on and remind more active fans that there was brilliant skating in years gone by.

    Joe

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    I got it and it's fantastic!

    I have so much respect for the Protopopovs and the fact that they are still spry and skating is so inspiring to me.

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    Tell me more Joe!! It seems fantastic. In what way is it biased?

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    One of the most interesting sections was about the "crisis" in pairs akating in the early 1980s. Two countries, Russia and East Germany, were so far ahead of everyone else as to make it a two-country sport. Pairs skaters from North America would go to Worlds, see how the Russians and East Germans skated (amid rumors of state-sponsored steroid use in all Olympic sports), then come back home in despair and quit the sport.

    Pairs skating in the West, according to this author, was dead.

    "Television viewers, who had adored the Protopopovs, failed to detect any warmth or personality in the latest Soviet and East German competitors. The Muscovites appeared to be colorless child-like automatons, interchangeable and capable of robotic-like jumping precision. Some had unpronounceable names..."

    The ISU solution to this "problem" was

    (a) teach the parochial Americans how to pronounce Russian names?

    (b) change the rules to give skaters from North America a chance to catch up?

    Answer: b.

    They changed the rules to de-emphasize the hardest technical moves, thus allowing Peter and Kitty Carrouthers and Martini and Underhill to make the podium in subsequent years.

    Mathman

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eeyora
    Tell me more Joe!! It seems fantastic. In what way is it biased?
    I only did an Evelyn Woods read of the varius articles. I plan to sit in the shade on Sunday and read them with more intensity.

    Given what MM is writing, I think we all should read some of those statements.

    Joe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz
    I

    Given what MM is writing, I think we all should read some of those statements.

    Joe
    Now I understand what you mean't about it being biased.
    Last edited by Eeyora; 07-17-2005 at 01:38 AM.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Several of the pairs skaters interviewed were critical of the New Judging System. Oleg Protopopov, for instance, laments that it pushes the sport away from its heart and soul, the lyrical and graceful movement of the body that distinguishes figure skating from other sports.

    Kyoko Ina says,

    "...I think it stunts progress of figure skating. I'd rather see a pairs skater go from end to end with speed and flow and just see the good glide. I don't want to see the girl bobble (on footwork tricks); I want to see the girl turn. With the new judging system, the guy's feet have so much to do that they don't cover the length of the ice anymore. The girl's trying to change position so many times that the (lift) doesn't move."

    Michelle has also said that she cut down the length of her spirals because, after you hold each edge for the required number of seconds (counting "one potato, two potato") you don't get any more points, so you have to rush on to the next element.

    Kyoko also says,

    " I don't think (eligible skating) is elegant to watch anymore. I think the positions and moves that they have to do in order to get the points that they need to win are foul. I don't want to see girl's crotches hanging out everywhere and guys' faces in their crotch just so they can get an extra point."

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    Tripping on the Podium
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman


    Kyoko also says,

    " I don't think (eligible skating) is elegant to watch anymore. I think the positions and moves that they have to do in order to get the points that they need to win are foul. I don't want to see girl's crotches hanging out everywhere and guys' faces in their crotch just so they can get an extra point."
    ITA...LOL!

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    Hopeless fan Doggygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman
    Kyoko also says,

    " I don't think (eligible skating) is elegant to watch anymore. I think the positions and moves that they have to do in order to get the points that they need to win are foul. I don't want to see girl's crotches hanging out everywhere and guys' faces in their crotch just so they can get an extra point."
    Didn't this become a Dance Feature prior to NJS???? Bleh. I have to agree with Kyoko on that point, regardless of judging system used. I'll go back to my point that I think pants should be MANDATORY for ladies of ice dance.

    DG

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    and the I-spin

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    More CoP

    But setting aside the issue of unseemly display, a consistent criticism of the New Judging System seems to be gelling along the following lines.

    When you start assigning numbers to each part of each element of each perfromance of each program, there is a danger that what you will get is "paint by numbers" rather than a work of original artistic merit.

    The NJS certainly punishes a skater who just glides along looking pretty but doing nothing. I have mixed feelings about that. "Gliding along looking pretty" is why I watch figure skating in the first place. Otherwise, it's just another sport.

    Kyoko complains that pairs teams can't cover the ice or maintain flow in their lifts, because they must constantly be twitching their feet back and forth and wiggling about in the air, to get more points.

    The bad fall that Tatiana Totmianina took was off footwork into a difficult forward edge lift-off. Not pretty. All the pairs have to try this now, to get the extra points.

    MM

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    Agree ! And to add, the high scoring original movements will be cycled over and over again, ad nausem, making the skater predictiable and boring.

    Also, other skaters attempting to emulate that skill or position may be scored not on their presentation of that movement but how it compared to the originator.

    As for pairs, I fear we will see more falls and injuries and wonder if head protection is warranted, particularily for the high-flying lady ???

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    I think Ina's comments are interesting, because I find that of the top 10 pairs women, Totmianina, Petrova, Zhang, Savchenko, Obertas, Zagorska, and Volosozhar are far more elegant than Ina ever was in her dreams, and the only skater for which NJS has made any stylistic impact, in my opinion, is Obertas, for whom Moskvina has distorted the candle lifts that she made such a feature of Ina/Zimmerman's skating.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman
    When you start assigning numbers to each part of each element of each perfromance of each program, there is a danger that what you will get is "paint by numbers" rather than a work of original artistic merit. MM
    ITA. The increase in rules makes one think about the term "FREE SKATING". Kind of Orwellian. Don't you think? Nothing wrong with a beautiful glide over the ice with the right pizzazz. It beats choppy foortwork which is often not with the music.

    Joe
    Last edited by Joesitz; 07-24-2005 at 03:26 PM.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    That's an interesting take, Hockeyfan. Quite true, Ina is more the bundle of energy type skater than the long, languid artiste. Plus, like Jamie Sale, she seems like such a sexy-flirty little thing that I was a little surprised that she would take the lead in complaining about riske positions.

    MM

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