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Thread: Some Good Advice From Debbi Wilkes

  1. #1
    ~ Figure Skating Is My Passion ~ Ladskater's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Some Good Advice From Debbi Wilkes

    I thought this was a good article by Debbi Wilkes about what to expect in the new season and how to handle the new season.

    For those who have not read the article here it is:

    This is a tough one.

    Writing this season review won�t succeed in answering many questions. Considering it�s been a furious year of accusations and criticisms against the International Skating Union, it�s difficult to differentiate what�s important from what�s emotional.

    All weekend long during my work at the World Synchronized Skating Championships in Ottawa, Canada (I�ve spent the last few weeks going from one capital to another!), I tried to sort a few things out regarding the health of our sport.

    One thing is clear.

    Synchro is alive and well, a blazing symbol about just how much fun high-level competition can be for the skaters and for the fans. Over 600 athletes competed, 23 teams from 18 countries including Iceland, Australia, Japan and South Africa � the team experienced snow for the first time and made ice angels outside the Civic Center while the rest of us lamented about snowstorms in April. With so many countries represented from so many parts of the world, and with these demographics, can Olympic status be far behind? To my knowledge neither women�s hockey nor synchronized swimming can deliver those kinds of numbers � and they�re already part of the Olympic family.

    The big question is where does that leave the rest of skating?

    Let�s be honest. It�s still a quagmire out there at the singles, pairs and dance rink. On the plus side as we get a little more exposure to the details of change, perspective is improving and, as a result, the thorny areas standing in the way of our progress are becoming clearer too.

    First and foremost, to understand the real story, we�ve got to separate fact from fiction and for me that means not listening to gossip. Frankly I don�t know what or who to believe any more so I�ve made a handy little rule for myself. If I don�t see it firsthand, if it�s not part of my immediate experience, if I haven�t personally spoken to the person, I put the story in a file labeled �Ripley�s Believe It Or Not!� There is so much trashing going on out there, even by people whose opinion I trust, I feel like I�m doing a throw triple loop with my guards on! It�s a blur!

    No wonder.

    Images of the FBI and Mafia kingpins are not pretty. Add to that stories of suspected corruption, lack of accountability, $$$, national bias and federation agendas, and true lovers of the sport are offended at all levels, legal, moral and ethical. All we want is to be able to count on fair play, that the governors of our sport are prepared to guarantee honesty in its process and guarantee that if that honesty is compromised, swift and severe sanctions will be exercised.

    Sadly, the necessity of those ideals appear to be publicly downplayed by the ISU, as if it�s impossible to determine whether someone has been cheating and further, impossible to make a penalty stick. Law may be a tricky thing, but most humane societies have figured it out. Why can�t the ISU? If there are no provisions within the Constitution that allows it to gauge the severity of penalties and then fairly enforce them, the organization�s goals for productive and honest change are futile.

    A new scoring system, even one heartily endorsed by those who use it, cannot and will not cure all the sport�s ills. Quite simply, with no courage to demand and expect fair and principled behavior, the ISU has concentrated on only one half of the equation.

    In closing for this season, I�d like to suggest a couple of things to try on before we begin anew in the fall.

    First of all, discard your feelings about the soon-to-be retired Interim system from this year. In trying to respond urgently to the mess from Salt Lake, it seems the ISU shot itself in its own skate by creating anonymity in the judging process. Talk about an albatross! With the proposed total points system, secrecy in judging will not be a factor.

    Secondly, take the time to become familiar with this total points system coming into play for the next GP Series this fall. Come with an open mind unbiased by emotion. As a friend guided me, whether you like the political history or the people of the ISU is not important here. What is crucial to the sport�s survival is giving the new system a fair shake by separating ourselves from our hostile feelings, a natural result of what many deem the mismanagement of skating. Now our obligation is to consider this new direction. It�s simple, easy to apply across a wide range of performance, thoroughly understandable, ordinal-less, and mathematically less vulnerable.

    I believe it�s the first push along the road to recovery.

    Finally, thanks to all you skating fans for your generous support. The reason I know we�re going to be just fine is because of your tireless efforts and your unflagging interest.

    Gold medals to you all!

    For, I�m Debbi Wilkes.

  2. #2
    Bona Fide Member RealtorGal's Avatar
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    Is it just me, or do you see a boatload of little boxes where there should be apostrophes? :sheesh: :\

  3. #3
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    Great article, Lad. Debbi Wilkes is seeing things from the inside and though she is talking about a lot of continuing problems, I think her hope for the sport and advice to familiarize ourselves with the COP is great.

    Rgal--I get ? instead of apostrophes. No doubt it's a 'puter problem with the program Lad got the article from. Being a Mac owner who gets things from Windows, strange objects instead of correct punctuation used to happen all the time--though not since I started using OS X

  4. #4
    ~ Figure Skating Is My Passion ~ Ladskater's Avatar
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    Some Good Advice From Debbi Wilkes


    Yes, I noticed a few "typos" - question marks instead of apostrophes - don't know what the problem was. Anyway, the article is worth reading. Debbies point is to start with a fresh page in the new season and put the past behind us. Good idea.

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