2020-21 ISU Grand Prix season - Assignments Announced

readernick

Medalist
Joined
Dec 5, 2015
I think it's important to keep in mind this quote: "Because the athletes' hearts weren't imaged prior to their Covid-19 infections... it's impossible to say whether the virus caused the observed damage." Anecdotally, we're seeing elite athletes recover and perform well after infections, such as Novak Djokovic.

If we allow sports to continue, athletes can always opt out if they don't feel safe participating; in addition to Yuzuru Hanyu skipping the GP, #1 tennis player Ashley Barty has decided to stay in Australia rather than compete in the Grand Slam tournaments this fall. For athletes willing to take a risk, and given that they understand to potential problems even with the mitigation efforts that sports federations are undertaking, I think they should be allowed to compete. In many cases, these people rely on competition to earn a living through prize money and endorsements. Additionally, for sports like figure skating, the window for the athlete's peak ability can be as short as a few years.
I think your argument would be reasonable if:
1. All senior figure skaters were adults (many aren't)
2. Sports bodies made a true effort to inform athletes about the true risk associated with practicing and performing.

In figure skating, the first requirement isn't met. Many athletes are legally and mentally still children. The second requirement isn't met by most sports organizations. Most have a history of not sharing the true dangers/ risks associated with a sport, and/or hiring doctors who tell athletes they can continue to train/ perform when most medical professionals would disagree. Allowing athletes to weigh risks/rewards only works when dealing with adults who are well informed.
 

drivingmissdaisy

Record Breaker
Joined
Feb 17, 2010
I think your argument would be reasonable if:
1. All senior figure skaters were adults (many aren't)
2. Sports bodies made a true effort to inform athletes about the true risk associated with practicing and performing.

In figure skating, the first requirement isn't met. Many athletes are legally and mentally still children. The second requirement isn't met by most sports organizations. Most have a history of not sharing the true dangers/ risks associated with a sport, and/or hiring doctors who tell athletes they can continue to train/ perform when most medical professionals would disagree. Allowing athletes to weigh risks/rewards only works when dealing with adults who are well informed.

That's fair. The good thing is that the data we've seen so far has shown that children and young adults are minimally impacted by the virus. Here is a chart of covid fatalities in California:


People under 18 account for about 10% of cases (i.e. positive tests, both symptomatic and asymptomatic) but < 0.1% of deaths. Those young people include many who have preexisting conditions and recover. We obviously don't want to see any deaths higher than 0 in any age group, but people take risks everyday that put them in harm's way. We don't prohibit recreational driving because, although there is a risk of death, the benefits of having freedom of movement outweigh the risks for people who want to drive. We can't make any sporting event perfectly safe (and we couldn't in a pre-covid world, either). But the mitigation steps other sports are taking are above and beyond anything we've seen before, and it seems like a lot of athletes are confident that they'll be protected.

The US Open tennis tournament featured 366 players and conducted a total of 6,500 tests; one player tested positive and was pulled out of the tournament before it started, but none of the other competitors contracted it. Four support staff also tested positive, but I don't believe that they were include in the isolation bubble with the players and their coaches. If that set-up is replicated, I would be confident as an athlete that my risk of contracting the virus is low. If this season gets cancelled, it's likely that at least one of the top three women in the world for two years running will never compete in a world championship, and that makes me sad when we know what mitigation efforts to take to minimize risk of contraction.
 

readernick

Medalist
Joined
Dec 5, 2015
That's fair. The good thing is that the data we've seen so far has shown that children and young adults are minimally impacted by the virus. Here is a chart of covid fatalities in California:


People under 18 account for about 10% of cases (i.e. positive tests, both symptomatic and asymptomatic) but < 0.1% of deaths. Those young people include many who have preexisting conditions and recover. We obviously don't want to see any deaths higher than 0 in any age group, but people take risks everyday that put them in harm's way. We don't prohibit recreational driving because, although there is a risk of death, the benefits of having freedom of movement outweigh the risks for people who want to drive. We can't make any sporting event perfectly safe (and we couldn't in a pre-covid world, either). But the mitigation steps other sports are taking are above and beyond anything we've seen before, and it seems like a lot of athletes are confident that they'll be protected.

The US Open tennis tournament featured 366 players and conducted a total of 6,500 tests; one player tested positive and was pulled out of the tournament before it started, but none of the other competitors contracted it. Four support staff also tested positive, but I don't believe that they were include in the isolation bubble with the players and their coaches. If that set-up is replicated, I would be confident as an athlete that my risk of contracting the virus is low. If this season gets cancelled, it's likely that at least one of the top three women in the world for two years running will never compete in a world championship, and that makes me sad when we know what mitigation efforts to take to minimize risk of contraction.
Yes, I agree the young athletes are unlikely to die from the virus itself. However, the real issue is that they can contract the virus, be symptom free, and yet suffer long term damage to their organs because they continued to exercise during the illness. Obviously, canceling the Grand Prix wouldn't completely negate this risk because skaters would continue to practice.

In terms of large events, I agree they can be done in a safe way. But, after seeing Russian test skates, I don't have confidence that they will be. It worried me.
 

drivingmissdaisy

Record Breaker
Joined
Feb 17, 2010
However, the real issue is that they can contract the virus, be symptom free, and yet suffer long term damage to their organs because they continued to exercise during the illness.

Many (perhaps most) also suffer long term damage to knees, hips, and/or lower back. The science isn't clear on the long term effects of covid on the organs, but we have decades of knowledge about the effects of jumps and difficult spin positions on the musculoskeletal system. Yet we don't prohibit triple/quadruple jumps or Bielmann spins in the sport, knowing with near certainty that they will cause health problems later.
 

Harriet

Record Breaker
Joined
Oct 23, 2017
Country
Australia
Many (perhaps most) also suffer long term damage to knees, hips, and/or lower back. The science isn't clear on the long term effects of covid on the organs, but we have decades of knowledge about the effects of jumps and difficult spin positions on the musculoskeletal system. Yet we don't prohibit triple/quadruple jumps or Bielmann spins in the sport, knowing with near certainty that they will cause health problems later.

Musculoskeletal damage isn't a communicable disease, though. There are multiple factors that need to be taken into consideration when running competitions under current circumstances; one is the immediate health risks to the athletes, coaches, team doctors, judges and tech panel members, television film crews, drug testers, volunteers and any allowed audience members (speaking of which, I cannot believe the Masters de Patinage is going ahead with an audience while France's daily numbers are what they are!), which are relatively known; one is the potential future risks, which are partially unknown (though some can be extrapolated from current data); and a third is the risk to the general population of the area where the competition is held, which is increasingly known (the potential creation of a superspreader event in which the majority of people at the actual competition are not the ones who bear the burden of illness, death and economic damage in either the short or the long term). In circumstances where the risks are to an extremely large group of people rather than to individuals, and some of those risks are unknown or incompletely known, I think it makes far more sense - and is far more responsible - to assume and act on the worst-case scenario than the best-case one.
 

TallyT

Here for the High Lord of Extra
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Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Country
Australia
Many (perhaps most) also suffer long term damage to knees, hips, and/or lower back. The science isn't clear on the long term effects of covid on the organs, but we have decades of knowledge about the effects of jumps and difficult spin positions on the musculoskeletal system. Yet we don't prohibit triple/quadruple jumps or Bielmann spins in the sport, knowing with near certainty that they will cause health problems later.

My concern is that - while yes, they are young and the young tend to think they are immortal - skaters and the people around them are aware of the dangers of damage from skating per se. I have a feeling very few athletes have are aware that even if they didn't even have the foggiest idea they had covid, heart and lung problems could be in their future.
 

drivingmissdaisy

Record Breaker
Joined
Feb 17, 2010
Musculoskeletal damage isn't a communicable disease, though. There are multiple factors that need to be taken into consideration when running competitions under current circumstances; one is the immediate health risks to the athletes, coaches, team doctors, judges and tech panel members, television film crews, drug testers, volunteers and any allowed audience members (speaking of which, I cannot believe the Masters de Patinage is going ahead with an audience while France's daily numbers are what they are!), which are relatively known; one is the potential future risks, which are partially unknown (though some can be extrapolated from current data); and a third is the risk to the general population of the area where the competition is held, which is increasingly known (the potential creation of a superspreader event in which the majority of people at the actual competition are not the ones who bear the burden of illness, death and economic damage in either the short or the long term). In circumstances where the risks are to an extremely large group of people rather than to individuals, and some of those risks are unknown or incompletely known, I think it makes far more sense - and is far more responsible - to assume and act on the worst-case scenario than the best-case one.

It is not, and we were actually talking about risks specific to young athletes.

That there are sporting events that are not held with acceptable mitigation measures does not mean it cannot be done. Substance abuse, suicide, and other mental health issues are increasing with the length of this shutdown (which has no end in sight). In addition, the lack of economic activity is decimating communities and low income people. You aren't taking any of that into account when you say we have to shut everything down, assuming a worst case scenario. For many people, including young children who at near zero risk of dying and likely not vectors in covid transmission yet cannot go to school or play with their friends, what we have now is the worst case scenario. IMO, we can assume some risk by having events and taking mitigation measures as were doing at the US Open, which I think is a fair balance.
 

drivingmissdaisy

Record Breaker
Joined
Feb 17, 2010
My concern is that - while yes, they are young and the young tend to think they are immortal - skaters and the people around them are aware of the dangers of damage from skating per se. I have a feeling very few athletes have are aware that even if they didn't even have the foggiest idea they had covid, heart and lung problems could be in their future.

This is something that should be studied further, and everyone should take reasonable measures to avoid contracting the virus. However, I haven't seen any studies that suggest causation, or even anything where someone's heart and lungs were imaged before and after a covid case. We've seen quite a few of these symptoms reported in the media that were later debunked, like "covid toes," because it was later found that covid wasn't the cause. Obviously, it makes sense that a respiratory ailment can cause serious problems for organs like the lungs and heart, but I'm skeptical that an asymptomatic case would cause very serious long term problems, given that symptomatic cases aren't causing widespread problems for children.
 

karne

in Emergency Backup Mode
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Jan 1, 2013
Country
Australia
The US is a big country. We have 50 states taking 50 different approaches. They can't all be wrong.

Yes, well, leaving aside that particular issue which is a whole other kettle of fish, the 200,000+ dead people beg to differ.
 

macy

you should see her in a crown
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2011
i apologize for being lazy and not wanting to read through, but have there been any more updates? last i heard the ISU were still planning on doing some version of the series, but i never heard more than that. is that the last everyone knows of?
 

readernick

Medalist
Joined
Dec 5, 2015
Yes, well, leaving aside that particular issue which is a whole other kettle of fish, the 200,000+ dead people beg to differ.
Praising a country's response and a particular sporting event's response are different things. Honestly, the US Open was handled in a responsible way, and so (it seems) was the most recent in person skating competition. Everyone wearing masks (including skaters during the warmups), no audience... however, the recent events in Russia have not been good examples, and the French plans seen irresponsible. My concern goes beyond this though, it extends to young skaters continuing to engage in hard exercise while possibly infected with undiagnosed asymptomatic COVID. I know the evidence of COVIDs long term effects are limited (it is a new disease after all) but other recent coronaviruses have caused many long term physical complications among the survivors and the evidence we do have regarding COVIDs effect on athlete's organs (while certainly limited and not of high quality) is not encouraging.
 

Skatesocs

Final Flight
Joined
May 16, 2020
i apologize for being lazy and not wanting to read through, but have there been any more updates? last i heard the ISU were still planning on doing some version of the series, but i never heard more than that. is that the last everyone knows of?
Lakernik said something or the other.

I don't think I want it to happen anymore tbh. The way we kept seeing the audience without masks at Russian senior tests, or that Samodurova was allowed to compete with a cold, I'd rather they cancelled it entirely.
 

surimi

Shan Ben Cao Tai, don't give up!
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2013
If they go ahead with domestic GPs, the ISU should absolutely stipulate that everyone who isn't on the ice should wear a mask. That can't be so hard to ensure, and if a country insists on audience without masks, they should not be allowed to host a GP as it sets a bad example. Although people can be infected through surfaces, the virus spreads predominantly by air, and masks are a huge health protection here. I just don't understand why so many including skaters and coaches just didn't seem to care at Russian tests skates.
 

Supernovaimplosion

Final Flight
Joined
Feb 13, 2018
According to a Tweet I saw, the grand prix assignments will be announced next week. Just wondering, when is skate canada supposed to be held? They're cutting it incredible close
 

surimi

Shan Ben Cao Tai, don't give up!
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2013
I wouldn't be surprised if Canada and China opt for a GP without audience. Japan might do the same, depending on how their Japan Open goes with spectators.
 

Ziotic

Medalist
Joined
Dec 23, 2016
Canada will almost definitely be without audience.

In Ontario, where It was scheduled to take place they still have indoor gathering limits at 50 people.
 

Supernovaimplosion

Final Flight
Joined
Feb 13, 2018
Canada will almost definitely be without audience.

In Ontario, where It was scheduled to take place they still have indoor gathering limits at 50 people.
It's in Ottawa, yes? As I've said before, I think they should move it to Toronto or Montreal, seeing as that's where the majority of their skaters train/live. But it's probably too late now
 
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