Article about Mariah Bell (and artistry vs technical prowess) in The Guardian

Gabby30

On the Ice
Joined
Aug 8, 2019
:rolleye:I have yet to read the article. Thanks for sharing it @lappo.

In general, I slightly disagree with your views. I think what's going on in figure skating is multi-layered and complicated, as it has always been. There are, as usual, a ton of issues and complexities that the people running the sport never adequately pay attention to. They tend to put bandaids on stuff, or stick their heads in the sand until some scandal or controversy forces attention and action, which is always woefully behind-the-curve, and never ahead of the game.

Visionary, creative and responsible leadership is simply lacking. There are so many things that need to be studied and addressed, and the political conflicts are many, which further complicates anything being adequately or beneficially addressed, much less effectively resolved. The mainstream media understand very little about figure skating and nothing about its history. It is nice to see some articles being written here and there that try to go beyond the usual hype and simplistic views surrounding skating. Again, I still have to take a look at this particular article to see exactly what their take is. It sounds like a genuine effort to discuss the age-old problem the sport has faced regarding technical evolution vs the artistic soul of the sport.

I disagree that all these very young ladies landing quads and triples is such a fantastic or necessary thing. In my view, there are still some very problematic issues surrounding the enormous technical and physical demands of the sport not keeping up with equipment innovation. There have been advances in physical therapy management, training strategies, and dietary approaches, but even in those areas, there's a lot of work to be done. Other neglected aspects (including mental and emotional health, the problematic sports culture, plus abuse and diversity issues) are only recently being looked at more, tackled and addressed in many cases by current and former skaters themselves, including Rachael Flatt, Kira Korpii, Jenny Kirk, Asher Hill & colleagues, and to a degree on a personal basis by Gracie Gold, Ashley Wagner, Amber Glenn, Karina Manta, Rachel Parsons, et al.

The jury is still out regarding the current trend toward over-rewarding young teenyboppers with technically demanding jumps. Yes, a few of the young Russian ladies combine graceful sensibilities with difficult jumps, but the problems are many, including the tendency to have a very short career while being over-rewarded before gaining sufficient competitive experience and maturity.

I will start by acknowledging the fact that the rest of the world simply caught up with the talent and dominance of U.S. ladies. Without question, it's also true that U.S. fed and U.S. fans were completely spoiled by the dominance of the Michelle Kwan era. I suppose the expectation was that U.S. ladies' podium presence would continue on after MK's retirement, just as there had always traditionally been a U.S. lady or ladies battling and winning against the rest of the world, since the 1950s. It is interesting that it will still take years before either Russia or Japan, much less South Korea can begin to amass the record-breaking total number of World and Olympics medals that are still held by the U.S. in their ladies storied division (historically). The problems faced by the U.S. ladies discipline are to a large degree politically-based (i.e., the U.S. lacks substantial political clout), in addition to the lack of leadership and sound decision-making by those running U.S. fed. They have just seemed to be caught betwixt and between. I don't think U.S. fed officials were sure how to address the changing landscape (regarding IJS/CoP and the gains by other countries in ladies competition), so most definitely they have been slow off the mark. But the direction the sport was/ is going in is not necessarily the best direction. So U.S. fed seemed to be hedging their bets in recent years with the thinking that perhaps the new system would resolve on its own and maybe eventually get back to what they were used to seeing with U.S. skaters making their way to the top.

That's similar to how the entire sport seemed to view quads. They seemed to think: Oh, it will all resolve by itself without any need to update the rules, or to listen to the voices of skaters and coaches regarding the need to figure out how to reward quads, and how to simply study what kind of impact quads might have long term. And so, the problems in scoring quads (especially with falls) in the men's field ensued, and then culminated in the rise of Nathan Chen post the phenomenon of Boyang Jin and his quad lutz triple combo. With strong and rare jumps, Jin landed on the World podium in his first year as a senior, without adequate presentation skills, and with some questionable skating skills, which to be fair were addressed later by Jin, and he's come far because he learns well, though artistry is still not his strong suit. ISU and fed officials also seemed to think that Hanyu and Javi would battle on forever at the top, as Patrick Chan's dominance began to wane. But no, Denis Ten made a run with his exquisite brand of artistry and technical brilliance, and then inspired by Jin, et al, Nathan Chen changed the game. And the sport's honchos quickly implemented additional bandaid-measure scoring changes. LOL

Meanwhile, with our entire culture's misogynistic leanings, no one in figure skating fully contemplated that very young ladies would begin to challenge at the Game of Quads. This despite the fact that 3-axels were already being trained more among ladies, and that historically 3-axels and quads had already been landed by a few amazing former ladies competitors. It's about paying attention and taking the time to develop studies and to include voices and viewpoints from everyone in the sport's global community. Also, being brave and forward-thinking enough to bring in outside opinions and expertise that might benefit the sport's overall necessary decision-making for the future.

Of course, now an entirely new wrench has been thrown into this challenging mishmash in the aftermath of COVID reality 2020 and beyond.
"Misogynistic leaning", sure :rolleye: Everybody is hyping these little girls and their "quads" to the point that people are doing arrogant remarks and putting down and insulting other skaters ( ahem men ahem), but ofc, nobody will call out sexism toward boys/men here :rolleye: which is why i, as a woman, won't support these little girls and their cheating. I'm not supporting victimisation of girls, if you want to be equal, don't hide behind big words that forces other people to take you serious.
We all know that many of these tiny girls won't be able to jump the big jumps a few years laters, since a tiny body gives you a huge advantage, and as equality goes, if they UR the "quads" ( which they do), it should be criticized as much as in the men's discipline. But it's much easier to hide behind lame accusations like "mysoginy" and other stuff than to see the reality. Show the world a grown woman with a fully rotated quad, and the story is gonna be different
 

katymay

Medalist
Joined
Mar 7, 2006
I actually also enjoyed her Ludovico Einaudi FS from 2019.
I would like to see Mariah find more sophisticated music-Chicago, West Side Story (in the past) and Abba are all overused and sort of trite at this point. I know Mariah has a certain style-not unlike Ashley Wagner-but Ashley picked Hip Hip Chin Chin which was sort of genius. I will always remember Ashley Wagner, this program, and the music. For the Olympic year, Mariah needs to find something interesting, something never skated to before. Mariah needs own version of something unique like 'hip hip chin chin' We ought to start a thread of: Let's pick Mariah better music for 2022.......
 

sillylionlove29

Rinkside
Joined
Sep 27, 2017
I feel like how you view the debate between what is considered artistry and what is considered more technical really depends on what era you started to be a fan of skating. You have the Dorothy Hamill/Scott Hamilton generation and before, the mid 90’s to 2000’s generation that grew up with Michelle Kwan/Yagudin etc/. Then the mid to late 2000’s to 2010 that was kind of a mix of everything and then you have the current group that enjoy the Russian girls. That’s just my opinion!
 

draqq

FigureSkatingPhenom
Record Breaker
Joined
May 10, 2010
I don't see how this article is overhyping anything. It's just a relevant piece by a large newspaper about U.S. figure skating (as Nationals is arriving soon) and framing the sport around Mariah Bell and her current position in the US ladies field, not really anyone outside of that. The article is her blossoming in the twilight of her career rather than her outright dominance.

As for the tech vs. artistry debate, I think we've already hashed this out. To me, it still boils down the technical mark outweighing the artistry mark due to how much the technical mark can fluctuate by comparison, and the fact that artistry is capped while technical is not. It's not that the artistry doesn't matter as it differentiated the top three ladies at Russian Nationals who all landed two quads (and mainly everything else) fairly well. It's just that most of the time it's about high difficulty jumps with high GOEs; artistry is just the tiebreaker, along with spin and footwork GOE.

If we're talking about the "soul" of the skater, that's the Performance and Interpretation marks of PCS. Choreography, Skating Skills, and Transitions are mainly about speed, step complexity, and ultimately things given to or placed on top of the skater. And even then, all of these marks are bunched up together, neatly packed, and fitted in a narrow band of marks among the top skaters.
 

withwings

On the Ice
Joined
Jan 5, 2014
A real artistry stands above time, and nationalities and politics. It is like with a music... Beethowen stands above time, or Mozart or Schopin...their music stand above time because it IS a REAL music, not a short lived noise. Also, there are emotions and there are feelings. Feelings comes from the very depth of the heart, while emotions last only for a short time and are only on the surfice. And emotions makes a lot of noise ( even animals have emotions while only humans are able to have feelings). No, it does not depend " in which era" one fell in love with a figure skating.
The only distinction maybe is that now most of us are influenced by politics, and flags and personal gains...

True artistry is when we cannot distinct between artistry and so-caled technical skating. It is one whole. A peace of art. A skater becomes like a music instrument where his"instrument"/ body is "played" to express the feelings. And then it transcends time or politics, or flags.

And certainly figure skating is not short lived gymnastics on the ice. Its politics.
 
Last edited:

DizzyFrenchie

On the Ice
Joined
Dec 9, 2019
What Mathman stated is a fact, Nathan attempted 6 quad in his Olympic free and Worlds 2018 free program. Training six quas program is very very hard both mentally and physically, according to Nathan when replying to a question from young skater last summer. It is an incredible achievement no matter how some FS fans like it or not.

Claiming Nathan cannot do someone's program is an assumption, which is, not a fact/reality, it is a hypothesis. You can lend it more credibility by supplying numbers, details to prove the point. Without convincing details, it is just some idea living in some people's minds. By the same token, would Yuzuru be able to do what Nathan did when he was 17, like what he did at 4cc 2017? If the answer is yes, then you bear the burden of proof. I am not going to making any assumption for this question.



Here are the videos from 2019 GPF. Please educate me on
1. how much faster Yuzu was in this performance? How much slower Nathan compared to other top skaters with similar tech content of 4 quad, I am not asking for 5 quad, not asking for programs with 4lz and 4f.
2. how stiff/rough Nathan's landings are compared with those of Yuzu's
3. how much shorter his entries to his jumps compared to Nathan. Nathan did have long entries to his 3A in this program, compared to his other program since there were originally steps leading to the 3A and the 3A needed and indeed landed right on the beat.
4. How many more difficult entries he tried than what Nathan did for his 4lz and 4t-eu-3s combo, ie. entry from choctaw, exit from spread eagle for the 4lz, spread eagle to the 4t-eu-3S combo.

This is Yuzu's GPF free
Here is Nathan's free
or you can watch Yuzuru fan's breakdown about Nathan's fp





Roman does have incredible spins, while spin is not Nathan's favorite elements. But does Yuzu has better or similar spins like those of Jason, Misha or Roman? If he doesn't, does it mean Yuzu is a bad with his spins, I wouldn't draw that conclusion.

Here is FS from 2017 when Nathan was 18, when he did sometimes have stiff knees, rough landings and didn't have the speed he has today, but educate me how lacking/unbalanced his program was compared to the programs of Roman and Cha

Cha's FS from 4cc 2020, similar age as 18 year old Nathan

Here is Nathan's SP
SP from Cha

And enlighten me how much shorter his entries to jumps compared to Nathan, how much faster they are compared to Nathan.


I am too uninformed and "narrowly focused" in this regard to find some striking difference, so without you educating me how Nathan's program should be, I would agree with Kamila Valieva's take that Nathan is good in both jump and skating and he does it effortlessly

And your girl Sasha would probably would not agree with your opinion. To Sasha Nathan would always teach something new and complicate his program.

And I don't think younger Japanese skaters hold the same opinions about good programs, good performances as you do. To Yuma, Shun, and Kao who went to watch the Saitama Worlds, "there is none other than Nathan", BTW, they thought Jason's short was very good too.

To Yuma in Nov. 2019, "Nathan is very good at using his body. He moves his upper body so smoothly, gracefully." He stated further he tried to learn from Nathan, "the way he uses his feet; I think everything, right from the joint of his finger, is a performance in figure skating. So I tried to watch and learn with that understanding that is the level of detail I need to achieve.


In an interview after his NHK win, he offered further opinions about Nathan, he specifically mentioned Nathan's spins, steps and expressiveness, and his desire to be all around like Nathan is.

2020NHK杯 鍵山選手インタビュー | KOSE SPORTS BEAUTY NEWS Powered by Ameba (ameblo.jp)

It seemed that his fellow young Russian skater, the very promising Andrei Mozalev whose idol is Nathan shares similar thoughts,
"What impresses you about Nathan?
"Chen is cool with his jumping technique, his artistry."
Фигурист Андрей Мозалев - интервью о четверных, книгах, Нейтане Чене (sport24.ru)

There are too many other top skaters enjoying Nathan's programs, this post is getting too long, and I've other stuff to do so I just stop here.

There are many areas Nathan needs improvement in. Both Nathan and Raf are aware of those, and making conscious efforts in improving his skating. Constructive criticism are always welcome to Nathan and his fans. But claiming him he's "exceptionally" (for a top skater!) deficient in all other tech matters" and his programs are "partial" without offering further details is not constructive criticism.
This is a very long answer and I hope, my answer won't go farther from the subject so I stick on it.
Every skater, and/or their coaches/teams/families, 1) has a natural potential, 2) makes choices, first when training (prioritising such or such ability), second when choosing a program and skating to it because I don't think any skater can pack all of his/her abilities in a program.
Both Men skaters we are speaking of have a great natural potential (though one had a hip surgery harming his landing, and the other an injured ankle harming his consistency). (They happen to have oriented this potential in very different ways though.) They also happen to be more than four years apart, and I think you are right to insist on what Nathan Chen was capable of as to jumps at 17, quite a feast. By then I wouldn't watch Men skating but retrospectively, I was shocked at how much pressure was put on 18-year-old shoulders, assuming Olympic Gold to be warranted. And the same repeated last season with an even younger Alysa Liu, and worried me (but I was quite relieved by her joy when she did rotate her 4Lz). At this age (17½) Yuzuru Hanyu had a good 4T and a still unstable 4S, and he jumped his 4Lo in a championship "only" four years later; and as a whole, stamina problems which seemed due to nutrition. At the same time, he had long had exceptional spins, which his rival hasn't reached yet, rather struggling and not always getting value (I mean, the spin itself, not the scoring). This can be said, neither of Gracie Bell, nor of Alysa Liu, both very good spinners, you see how their spins, though difficult, look easy, with "natural" accelerations and decelerations, rather supple arms and back? Yuzuru Hanyu didn't need a lot of crossovers either, which Nathan Chen still does, and skated a lot on one foot, and with deep edges in his steps, the torso often far from the centre of gravity, though he was far from the skating skills he has today. Nathan Chen, not yet. In this Mariah Bell and Alysa Liu do differ, because Mariah Bell has better footwork from experience, and this difference may be why people liked so much Mariah Bell's skate : it was so coherent, very good in all its technical aspects, while Alysa Liu had a strong advantage in jumps and a lesser lack in skating skills; but the content of their programs is not that different in this respect. And my point is my message, is that all this is tech, not artistry, though giving an artistic impression at the end (and in some French "university schools", with equal score the one with most homogeneous marks in all subjects is chosen) and the differences between the too Men skaters gave an illustration where the too similar technical levels of Mariah Bell and Alysa Liu couldn't. And both tried to show most their artistic talent, and they are reasonably talented skaters (Alysa Liu may grow of course). I think the article "has it all wrong", in opposing them as the technical skater and the artistic skater.
I put the left under spoiler because it is less about the article, than about your answer, and not everybody may be interested by it on this thread.
I don't know how was Yuzuru Hanyu's relationship with Nanami Abe, his coach until 2012, but from what said Brian Orser, had been let do what he wanted, he would probably have practised jumps more, and less other skills? The fact is, his coaches insisted on a full technical package, and he got it. Now, let's see the GPF videos to illustrate, it is very good because it is precisely the skate where Yuzuru Hanyu, with 3 jetlags in 2 weeks, no coach for SP and incensed by his score there, was the least characteristic in this respect. I had to take another one for Yuzuru Hanyu's skating because yours was geoblocked in my country. I propose you this one, I hope you can see it :
Nathan Chen in green, Yuzuru Hanyu in blue, the girls in orange.
Well, the program starts at 0:36. The opening pose, I have never seen Nathan Chen in such balance-demanding position. Have you?
There are two little crossovers at 0:52, rather discreet, otherwise only steps, then at 1:00, 4Lo. No entry delay.
Nathan Chen's program starts at 0:31. Much more crossovers, then the visible preparation for his first combo starts at 0:42 and the entry at 0:46, with just a turn for a jump at 0:49, this is a long preparation (-2 or -3 to the GOE). Mariah Bell and Alysa Liu have also a bit of a long preparation, but manage to make it less visible, less "laboured" with a nice position they maintain until the jump. Then his 4F-3T combo. Exit OK, a few relatively non demanding steps, his entry starts at 1:09 and he jumps his 4Lz at 1:13, there again with a long and very visible preparation.
Yuzuru Hanyu has then a beautiful edgework, his entry to the 4Lz at 1:21 last less than 2s and in a difficult and elegant position, without discontinuity, then steps into his camel/doughnut spin at 1:28, looking easy.
Nathan Chen has steps and crossovers, then a nice entry with spread eagle into 4T + Eu + 3S at 1:30 (the comment "out of nowhere" referring probably to what the commenter had seen before?), steps (there's a twizzle though!) into a camel spin looking OK at 1:47, he managed arm movements.
Step sequence into 3Lz, from 1:44 to 2:37, so many changes of edge, rhythm, look at his upperbody, the centre of gravity is most of the time far away... ISU call it "use of body movements". Looks so easy.
Steps and crossovers then 3s preparation (still the most basic) to 3A at 2:18. How to stress the difference between a 3A "in training", with this sort of entry as if awaiting a ski tow, even after a tiring practice, and one jumping out of pure choreography (Yuzuru Hanyu's with back-counter entry for instance at 4:01, it must be said that Kévin Aymoz and Alena Kostornaia too succeeded in this entry)? This is one of the reasons (another being optimisation of program under different aspects) a number of skaters, who do have a jump at practice, don't jump it in a championship before months, or years, or ever, until they can jump it with a proper entry. It must be said though, that although all Ladies I see take care of entries, many take less care of their rotations, so at the beginning of last season Alysa Liu had a "clear forward take-off" plus half a rotation missing in her 4Lz, but at Nationals, object of the article, she had reduced her prerotation and her underrotation. (But also, OT, like other technical choices, I rather understand a coach who starts a season with a just grown teen who doesn't rotate completely a jump, if he/she is likely to rotate it fully later, it's up to judges to call.)
Exit into "regular" step sequence (well, it was called, level 3), 4s preparation to 4S at 3:07 in this same position with just a turn... steps with, yes, a bit of bending on both sides, then "only" 3s of the same preparation to his 4T at 3:21.
A "less inspired than usual" series of steps with some crossovers, then a 4S out of turns at 2:51. He looks tired in his next steps yet so at ease, out of turns again at 3:11, 4T + Eu + 3F (a former Nathan Chen specialty), step out, steps "more like himself", into 3:35 4T+2T. Then again choreographed steps with the body "over the ice" etc, and the back-counter 3A, popped into a 1A.
Then really more demanding steps into a 3Lz-3T, with a shorter preparation, and nearly right into a change combo spin (I think the difficult entry is there) (but still a bit uneasy). A real but short choreo sequence (he looks exhausted, how original :wink: ) right into the final fly combo spin — not sure the thigh was horizontal in the sit position.
Short choreo too, into a fly change sit spin, with his usual arm movements challenging balance, and the final change combo spin.
I have not spoken of the artistic aspect. We may speak of it privately or on another thread, because I think comparing these two skaters on artistry wouldn't bring anything about what The Guardian said about Mariah Ball and Alysa Liu, and the collateral question of "what is tech". The same of course about what we can pick of such or such skater's general compliment on another skater. So I am speaking of the choices made by this two skaters and their teams, which makes the technical content of these programs so different (more so of course when Yuzuru Hanyu is "on", yet this version is now my preferred, but not the one I would chose to introduce Yuzuru Hanyu). Both try to optimise scores, but on one side the choice was made to "make up transitions" with a few steps between crossovers to get some rest and adapt speed, and not to work on entries because anyway, difficult or at least presentable entries are too taxing and would prevent Nathan Chen to jump so many jumps in one program; that is, sacrificing (at training and in the programs) on all tech but core jumps; on the other one, a prerequisite that a program must be "a whole dream", "a whole dance" from the beginning to the end (and one can see particularly in this version, with two passages being somehow intermediate between his usual style and Nathan Chen's, more like other skaters, how you were disturbed in this whole, and you were not alone) which implies both an extremely high level of skating skills of all sorts, which only him possesses, and to use it at an exhausting level all along the programs. Jumps come if they come. That is, pushing the tech everywhere.
As to Jun Hwan Cha, I think maybe he would have been able to skate this program, but I wrote, with triples instead of quads (the same for Jason Brown, I'm nearly sure he could, and with Nathan Chen, not that he cannot jump quads at all, but not with such entries and without rest in-between, or he would do it in his programs wouldn't he?, and I really don't think Nathan Chen has the training to do all the complex steps with body movements and all), he was still labouring in his quads at the end of last season, and understandably so after a big growth spurt. And this year he is coachless, and certainly not fit for training without coach at his age, I hope he can come back because his skating was so beautiful.
 

bonita

Final Flight
Joined
Mar 27, 2018
This is a very long answer and I hope, my answer won't go farther from the subject so I stick on it.
Every skater, and/or their coaches/teams/families, 1) has a natural potential, 2) makes choices, first when training (prioritising such or such ability), second when choosing a program and skating to it because I don't think any skater can pack all of his/her abilities in a program.
Both Men skaters we are speaking of have a great natural potential (though one had a hip surgery harming his landing, and the other an injured ankle harming his consistency). (They happen to have oriented this potential in very different ways though.) They also happen to be more than four years apart, and I think you are right to insist on what Nathan Chen was capable of as to jumps at 17, quite a feast. By then I wouldn't watch Men skating but retrospectively, I was shocked at how much pressure was put on 18-year-old shoulders, assuming Olympic Gold to be warranted. And the same repeated last season with an even younger Alysa Liu, and worried me (but I was quite relieved by her joy when she did rotate her 4Lz). At this age (17½) Yuzuru Hanyu had a good 4T and a still unstable 4S, and he jumped his 4Lo in a championship "only" four years later; and as a whole, stamina problems which seemed due to nutrition. At the same time, he had long had exceptional spins, which his rival hasn't reached yet, rather struggling and not always getting value (I mean, the spin itself, not the scoring). This can be said, neither of Gracie Bell, nor of Alysa Liu, both very good spinners, you see how their spins, though difficult, look easy, with "natural" accelerations and decelerations, rather supple arms and back? Yuzuru Hanyu didn't need a lot of crossovers either, which Nathan Chen still does, and skated a lot on one foot, and with deep edges in his steps, the torso often far from the centre of gravity, though he was far from the skating skills he has today. Nathan Chen, not yet. In this Mariah Bell and Alysa Liu do differ, because Mariah Bell has better footwork from experience, and this difference may be why people liked so much Mariah Bell's skate : it was so coherent, very good in all its technical aspects, while Alysa Liu had a strong advantage in jumps and a lesser lack in skating skills; but the content of their programs is not that different in this respect. And my point is my message, is that all this is tech, not artistry, though giving an artistic impression at the end (and in some French "university schools", with equal score the one with most homogeneous marks in all subjects is chosen) and the differences between the too Men skaters gave an illustration where the too similar technical levels of Mariah Bell and Alysa Liu couldn't. And both tried to show most their artistic talent, and they are reasonably talented skaters (Alysa Liu may grow of course). I think the article "has it all wrong", in opposing them as the technical skater and the artistic skater.
I put the left under spoiler because it is less about the article, than about your answer, and not everybody may be interested by it on this thread.
I don't know how was Yuzuru Hanyu's relationship with Nanami Abe, his coach until 2012, but from what said Brian Orser, had been let do what he wanted, he would probably have practised jumps more, and less other skills? The fact is, his coaches insisted on a full technical package, and he got it. Now, let's see the GPF videos to illustrate, it is very good because it is precisely the skate where Yuzuru Hanyu, with 3 jetlags in 2 weeks, no coach for SP and incensed by his score there, was the least characteristic in this respect. I had to take another one for Yuzuru Hanyu's skating because yours was geoblocked in my country. I propose you this one, I hope you can see it :
Nathan Chen in green, Yuzuru Hanyu in blue, the girls in orange.
Well, the program starts at 0:36. The opening pose, I have never seen Nathan Chen in such balance-demanding position. Have you?
There are two little crossovers at 0:52, rather discreet, otherwise only steps, then at 1:00, 4Lo. No entry delay.
Nathan Chen's program starts at 0:31. Much more crossovers, then the visible preparation for his first combo starts at 0:42 and the entry at 0:46, with just a turn for a jump at 0:49, this is a long preparation (-2 or -3 to the GOE). Mariah Bell and Alysa Liu have also a bit of a long preparation, but manage to make it less visible, less "laboured" with a nice position they maintain until the jump. Then his 4F-3T combo. Exit OK, a few relatively non demanding steps, his entry starts at 1:09 and he jumps his 4Lz at 1:13, there again with a long and very visible preparation.
Yuzuru Hanyu has then a beautiful edgework, his entry to the 4Lz at 1:21 last less than 2s and in a difficult and elegant position, without discontinuity, then steps into his camel/doughnut spin at 1:28, looking easy.
Nathan Chen has steps and crossovers, then a nice entry with spread eagle into 4T + Eu + 3S at 1:30 (the comment "out of nowhere" referring probably to what the commenter had seen before?), steps (there's a twizzle though!) into a camel spin looking OK at 1:47, he managed arm movements.
Step sequence into 3Lz, from 1:44 to 2:37, so many changes of edge, rhythm, look at his upperbody, the centre of gravity is most of the time far away... ISU call it "use of body movements". Looks so easy.
Steps and crossovers then 3s preparation (still the most basic) to 3A at 2:18. How to stress the difference between a 3A "in training", with this sort of entry as if awaiting a ski tow, even after a tiring practice, and one jumping out of pure choreography (Yuzuru Hanyu's with back-counter entry for instance at 4:01, it must be said that Kévin Aymoz and Alena Kostornaia too succeeded in this entry)? This is one of the reasons (another being optimisation of program under different aspects) a number of skaters, who do have a jump at practice, don't jump it in a championship before months, or years, or ever, until they can jump it with a proper entry. It must be said though, that although all Ladies I see take care of entries, many take less care of their rotations, so at the beginning of last season Alysa Liu had a "clear forward take-off" plus half a rotation missing in her 4Lz, but at Nationals, object of the article, she had reduced her prerotation and her underrotation. (But also, OT, like other technical choices, I rather understand a coach who starts a season with a just grown teen who doesn't rotate completely a jump, if he/she is likely to rotate it fully later, it's up to judges to call.)
Exit into "regular" step sequence (well, it was called, level 3), 4s preparation to 4S at 3:07 in this same position with just a turn... steps with, yes, a bit of bending on both sides, then "only" 3s of the same preparation to his 4T at 3:21.
A "less inspired than usual" series of steps with some crossovers, then a 4S out of turns at 2:51. He looks tired in his next steps yet so at ease, out of turns again at 3:11, 4T + Eu + 3F (a former Nathan Chen specialty), step out, steps "more like himself", into 3:35 4T+2T. Then again choreographed steps with the body "over the ice" etc, and the back-counter 3A, popped into a 1A.
Then really more demanding steps into a 3Lz-3T, with a shorter preparation, and nearly right into a change combo spin (I think the difficult entry is there) (but still a bit uneasy). A real but short choreo sequence (he looks exhausted, how original :wink: ) right into the final fly combo spin — not sure the thigh was horizontal in the sit position.
Short choreo too, into a fly change sit spin, with his usual arm movements challenging balance, and the final change combo spin.
I have not spoken of the artistic aspect. We may speak of it privately or on another thread, because I think comparing these two skaters on artistry wouldn't bring anything about what The Guardian said about Mariah Ball and Alysa Liu, and the collateral question of "what is tech". The same of course about what we can pick of such or such skater's general compliment on another skater. So I am speaking of the choices made by this two skaters and their teams, which makes the technical content of these programs so different (more so of course when Yuzuru Hanyu is "on", yet this version is now my preferred, but not the one I would chose to introduce Yuzuru Hanyu). Both try to optimise scores, but on one side the choice was made to "make up transitions" with a few steps between crossovers to get some rest and adapt speed, and not to work on entries because anyway, difficult or at least presentable entries are too taxing and would prevent Nathan Chen to jump so many jumps in one program; that is, sacrificing (at training and in the programs) on all tech but core jumps; on the other one, a prerequisite that a program must be "a whole dream", "a whole dance" from the beginning to the end (and one can see particularly in this version, with two passages being somehow intermediate between his usual style and Nathan Chen's, more like other skaters, how you were disturbed in this whole, and you were not alone) which implies both an extremely high level of skating skills of all sorts, which only him possesses, and to use it at an exhausting level all along the programs. Jumps come if they come. That is, pushing the tech everywhere.
As to Jun Hwan Cha, I think maybe he would have been able to skate this program, but I wrote, with triples instead of quads (the same for Jason Brown, I'm nearly sure he could, and with Nathan Chen, not that he cannot jump quads at all, but not with such entries and without rest in-between, or he would do it in his programs wouldn't he?, and I really don't think Nathan Chen has the training to do all the complex steps with body movements and all), he was still labouring in his quads at the end of last season, and understandably so after a big growth spurt. And this year he is coachless, and certainly not fit for training without coach at his age, I hope he can come back because his skating was so beautiful.
Your answer doesn’t answer any of my questions in my post. I am asking for comparison of speed specifically with all the skaters you mentioned in your original post, how shorter their entries are in terms of each jump, i. e., 4T vs 4T, 4S vs 4S, 4lz vs 4lz, comparison of entries to each combo, each Euler combo? And do you even realize that Nathan was trying and did succeed in landing one of the most difficult combo right on the beat? Or is it too much to ask you to even realize he is the only person who can perform this combo, and landed on the music? how stiff the Nathan‘s landings are compared to your standard of good landing. How many crossovers in terms of numbers in Nathan’s GPF free vs Yuzuru’s GPF free? And other top skaters by your standard? And since when one foot skating becomes the only criteria for skating skills? How much better Yuzuru’s spins in this GPF free vs Nathan’s? Why has Yuzu has better spin in his younger days anything to do the original questions? What PCS component is missing from that MLD and Nemesis program compared to your complete programs.

I am not asking for generic answers of whole dance or Yuzu’s coach about his vision, sacrifice, nutrition, and your insistence of replacing quads with triples. What have all these anything to do with your claims that Nathan is exceptionally deficient compared to other top skaters and 17 year old Yuzu can perform 7 quads programs across two programs as you insist 21 year old Nathan couldn’t perform Yuzu’s programs when he was much much younger? You are backing up you hypothesis with more hypotheses and irrelevant reasonings.

Can you focus on the comparison questions for the above mentioned 6 programs of with your numbers? And then number comparisons of each top skaters you think are exceptionally better than Nathan in their tech content before dragging Alysa and Mariah into the conversations?


Yuma, Andrei, Jeremy Abbots, Kurt Browning all are much much credible in their opinions about Nathan’s skills and programs than you do.
 
Last edited:

TallyT

Record Breaker
Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Country
Australia
In history, I was taught that there are times when technology outstrips the humans who use it, and it takes a while for the latter to find equilibrium, and it's difficult (hellishly so sometimes) till it does. In sports like skating, sometimes tech scores outstrip artistic and the rules that are supposed to balance them are out of whack (and to be fair, Boyang and Chen didn't start the process, there are comments right back to Plushenko's days on the archive on how it was impacting, and lots when Patrick Chan was being overtaken by Yuzuru and Javi in tech while he still had the upper artistic/skills hand). There are after all very very few, in previous eras or now, who are preeminently gifted in both and have star quality on top, and that's why they are the legends/GOATS. We will be lucky if history will agree we have two or three right now in the whole sport.

The problem for the US is that their current ladies are talented, in some cases very talented, but not preeminent in either side.
 

Dogo

On the Ice
Joined
Oct 2, 2020
Both Men skaters we are speaking of have a great natural potential (though one had a hip surgery harming his landing, and the other an injured ankle harming his consistency). (They happen to have oriented this potential in very different ways though.) They also happen to be more than four years apart, and I think you are right to insist on what Nathan Chen was capable of as to jumps at 17, quite a feast. By then I wouldn't watch Men skating but retrospectively, I was shocked at how much pressure was put on 18-year-old shoulders, assuming Olympic Gold to be warranted. And the same repeated last season with an even younger Alysa Liu, and worried me (but I was quite relieved by her joy when she did rotate her 4Lz). At this age (17½) Yuzuru Hanyu had a good 4T and a still unstable 4S, and he jumped his 4Lo in a championship "only" four years later; and as a whole, stamina problems which seemed due to nutrition. At the same time, he had long had exceptional spins, which his rival hasn't reached yet, rather struggling and not always getting value (I mean, the spin itself, not the scoring). This can be said, neither of Gracie Bell, nor of Alysa Liu, both very good spinners, you see how their spins, though difficult, look easy, with "natural" accelerations and decelerations, rather supple arms and back? Yuzuru Hanyu didn't need a lot of crossovers either, which Nathan Chen still does, and skated a lot on one foot, and with deep edges in his steps, the torso often far from the centre of gravity, though he was far from the skating skills he has today. Nathan Chen, not yet. In this Mariah Bell and Alysa Liu do differ, because Mariah Bell has better footwork from experience, and this difference may be why people liked so much Mariah Bell's skate : it was so coherent, very good in all its technical aspects, while Alysa Liu had a strong advantage in jumps and a lesser lack in skating skills; but the content of their programs is not that different in this respect. And my point is my message, is that all this is tech, not artistry, though giving an artistic impression at the end (and in some French "university schools", with equal score the one with most homogeneous marks in all subjects is chosen) and the differences between the too Men skaters gave an illustration where the too similar technical levels of Mariah Bell and Alysa Liu couldn't. And both tried to show most their artistic talent, and they are reasonably talented skaters (Alysa Liu may grow of course). I think the article "has it all wrong", in opposing them as the technical skater and the artistic skater.
I don't know how was Yuzuru Hanyu's relationship with Nanami Abe, his coach until 2012, but from what said Brian Orser, had been let do what he wanted, he would probably have practised jumps more, and less other skills? The fact is, his coaches insisted on a full technical package, and he got it. Now, let's see the GPF videos to illustrate, it is very good because it is precisely the skate where Yuzuru Hanyu, with 3 jetlags in 2 weeks, no coach for SP and incensed by his score there, was the least characteristic in this respect. I had to take another one for Yuzuru Hanyu's skating because yours was geoblocked in my country. I propose you this one, I hope you can see it :
Nathan Chen in green, Yuzuru Hanyu in blue, the girls in orange.
Well, the program starts at 0:36. The opening pose, I have never seen Nathan Chen in such balance-demanding position. Have you?
There are two little crossovers at 0:52, rather discreet, otherwise only steps, then at 1:00, 4Lo. No entry delay.
Nathan Chen's program starts at 0:31. Much more crossovers, then the visible preparation for his first combo starts at 0:42 and the entry at 0:46, with just a turn for a jump at 0:49, this is a long preparation (-2 or -3 to the GOE). Mariah Bell and Alysa Liu have also a bit of a long preparation, but manage to make it less visible, less "laboured" with a nice position they maintain until the jump. Then his 4F-3T combo. Exit OK, a few relatively non demanding steps, his entry starts at 1:09 and he jumps his 4Lz at 1:13, there again with a long and very visible preparation.
Yuzuru Hanyu has then a beautiful edgework, his entry to the 4Lz at 1:21 last less than 2s and in a difficult and elegant position, without discontinuity, then steps into his camel/doughnut spin at 1:28, looking easy.
Nathan Chen has steps and crossovers, then a nice entry with spread eagle into 4T + Eu + 3S at 1:30 (the comment "out of nowhere" referring probably to what the commenter had seen before?), steps (there's a twizzle though!) into a camel spin looking OK at 1:47, he managed arm movements.
Step sequence into 3Lz, from 1:44 to 2:37, so many changes of edge, rhythm, look at his upperbody, the centre of gravity is most of the time far away... ISU call it "use of body movements". Looks so easy.
Steps and crossovers then 3s preparation (still the most basic) to 3A at 2:18. How to stress the difference between a 3A "in training", with this sort of entry as if awaiting a ski tow, even after a tiring practice, and one jumping out of pure choreography (Yuzuru Hanyu's with back-counter entry for instance at 4:01, it must be said that Kévin Aymoz and Alena Kostornaia too succeeded in this entry)? This is one of the reasons (another being optimisation of program under different aspects) a number of skaters, who do have a jump at practice, don't jump it in a championship before months, or years, or ever, until they can jump it with a proper entry. It must be said though, that although all Ladies I see take care of entries, many take less care of their rotations, so at the beginning of last season Alysa Liu had a "clear forward take-off" plus half a rotation missing in her 4Lz, but at Nationals, object of the article, she had reduced her prerotation and her underrotation. (But also, OT, like other technical choices, I rather understand a coach who starts a season with a just grown teen who doesn't rotate completely a jump, if he/she is likely to rotate it fully later, it's up to judges to call.)
Exit into "regular" step sequence (well, it was called, level 3), 4s preparation to 4S at 3:07 in this same position with just a turn... steps with, yes, a bit of bending on both sides, then "only" 3s of the same preparation to his 4T at 3:21.
A "less inspired than usual" series of steps with some crossovers, then a 4S out of turns at 2:51. He looks tired in his next steps yet so at ease, out of turns again at 3:11, 4T + Eu + 3F (a former Nathan Chen specialty), step out, steps "more like himself", into 3:35 4T+2T. Then again choreographed steps with the body "over the ice" etc, and the back-counter 3A, popped into a 1A.
Then really more demanding steps into a 3Lz-3T, with a shorter preparation, and nearly right into a change combo spin (I think the difficult entry is there) (but still a bit uneasy). A real but short choreo sequence (he looks exhausted, how original :wink: ) right into the final fly combo spin — not sure the thigh was horizontal in the sit position.
Short choreo too, into a fly change sit spin, with his usual arm movements challenging balance, and the final change combo spin.
I have not spoken of the artistic aspect. We may speak of it privately or on another thread, because I think comparing these two skaters on artistry wouldn't bring anything about what The Guardian said about Mariah Ball and Alysa Liu, and the collateral question of "what is tech". The same of course about what we can pick of such or such skater's general compliment on another skater. So I am speaking of the choices made by this two skaters and their teams, which makes the technical content of these programs so different (more so of course when Yuzuru Hanyu is "on", yet this version is now my preferred, but not the one I would chose to introduce Yuzuru Hanyu). Both try to optimise scores, but on one side the choice was made to "make up transitions" with a few steps between crossovers to get some rest and adapt speed, and not to work on entries because anyway, difficult or at least presentable entries are too taxing and would prevent Nathan Chen to jump so many jumps in one program; that is, sacrificing (at training and in the programs) on all tech but core jumps; on the other one, a prerequisite that a program must be "a whole dream", "a whole dance" from the beginning to the end (and one can see particularly in this version, with two passages being somehow intermediate between his usual style and Nathan Chen's, more like other skaters, how you were disturbed in this whole, and you were not alone) which implies both an extremely high level of skating skills of all sorts, which only him possesses, and to use it at an exhausting level all along the programs. Jumps come if they come. That is, pushing the tech everywhere.

I feel that sometimes we, as fans, are fixated too much on assuming many things based on the few minutes of program training preparation that we catch before the big competitions. I have seen him at Yale and, while I only saw him briefly compared to the many hours of ice training he does, I was struck not only by his musicality and ease of upper body movements and footwork but also by how different the place feels when he performs.

I would say that, from my personal experience as a classically trained musician, true artistry is acknowledged through the respect of your peers. And Chen has already earned that from many skaters, including Yuzuru. Putting one above the other prevents a lot of people from enjoying their craft and the advancement of their own artistry.
 

DreamSkates

Rinkside
Joined
Dec 12, 2015
Article says:


Dude, bye. For starters, musicality is very important to me and the lack of it never gets past me. I can tell if a skater is genuinely musical or if they just memorized their program and where to hit the nuances. There’s a big difference. Using the body to express the program and their skating skills is also important. A story should be told with the body and feet - the step sequence is my favorite part of the program and it should be its highlight. The summary of an idea, if you will. Well, the Americans aren’t ticking these boxes and are behind not only technically, but artistically as well.

If an “artistic program” is ever implemented, Bell will still lose to the Japanese ladies (they are the ones ticking those boxes with me). She’s not going to suddenly start winning competitions in an alternate universe where 3As and quads don’t exist. She’s not automatically some paragon of artistry just because she’s in her 20s. I’ve said this before (especially in relation to Tennell), but the Americans continue to skate as if it’s 1996.

Lastly, figure skating is a sport. If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen. Major technical strides have been made (finally!), but I wouldn’t say it’s a jumping contest. Many said that when Boyang Jin burst on the scene. Did he dominate? No. The complaints started up again when Chen started attempting five and six quads in his free skate. Did he dominate? No. Did Trusova dominate? No.

The winners are most often those that can combine technical merit with a strong second mark. You’re not going to win if you only have that second mark down.

...and you shouldn’t.
Musicality is very important - yes, agree, as it is the center of a program, or should be. Telling a story with body/feet/movement is what makes figure skating beautiful.

Jin burst on the scene, then others had to deal with that challenge. Chen burst on the scene. Who has dominated men's figure skating since the last Olympics? Not Hanyu. But I certainly don't count him out coming into the next Olympic competition. His prowess in competition when under pressure is undeniable.

Bell - loved her programs last year and appreciate her artistry. Is she being set up for a win at Nationals? Perhaps, but she will also need to skate without error and know that at least Tennell is nipping at her heels with strong technical content and a strong desire to be on the top of the podium again. Competing on the world stage? Hopes for top ten may be fading.

The first mark (technical skills) makes figure skating a sport and should be the center of point-getting. However without some expression/artistry, the meaning is gone. Try watching a program with no music. It's like watching men's gymnastic floor exercise and comparing to ladies' gymnastic floor exercise, the former without music and the latter with music. I watch both, don't compare but miss any type of music with the men's gfe.

Anyway, the technical vs artistry debate will continue into the future. I don't know if the ISU could create judging criteria on a strictly artistic program and keep the technical program as is (short program). Meanwhile I am going to enjoy what I enjoy and hope the competitors can cope with all that they have to, to make progress and win medals (or not).
 

DreamSkates

Rinkside
Joined
Dec 12, 2015
I feel like how you view the debate between what is considered artistry and what is considered more technical really depends on what era you started to be a fan of skating. You have the Dorothy Hamill/Scott Hamilton generation and before, the mid 90’s to 2000’s generation that grew up with Michelle Kwan/Yagudin etc/. Then the mid to late 2000’s to 2010 that was kind of a mix of everything and then you have the current group that enjoy the Russian girls. That’s just my opinion!
That is likely true that during whatever era you entered into figure skating observation and/or fandom, will be the "glasses" through which you see all of figure skating. Of late, I have read books and watched some videos of past figure skaters whom I did not see on tv growing up (it wasn't on television...yes I'm ancient). Today you can see and read about so much more and get real-time updates on whose doing a 3A or Quad in practice. Different world today, so different viewpoints.
 

BlissfulSynergy

Final Flight
Joined
Sep 1, 2020
Country
Mars
"Misogynistic leaning", sure :rolleye: Everybody is hyping these little girls and their "quads" to the point that people are doing arrogant remarks and putting down and insulting other skaters ( ahem men ahem), but ofc, nobody will call out sexism toward boys/men here :rolleye: which is why i, as a woman, won't support these little girls and their cheating. I'm not supporting victimisation of girls, if you want to be equal, don't hide behind big words that forces other people to take you serious.
We all know that many of these tiny girls won't be able to jump the big jumps a few years laters, since a tiny body gives you a huge advantage, and as equality goes, if they UR the "quads" ( which they do), it should be criticized as much as in the men's discipline. But it's much easier to hide behind lame accusations like "mysoginy" and other stuff than to see the reality. Show the world a grown woman with a fully rotated quad, and the story is gonna be different

Eh, I'm not sure what point you're trying to make either. :rolleye:

A lot of problems exist in the sport of figure skating, and there's a lot of good and a lot of beauty that exists as well. That's why I continue to watch, always hopeful that the good will outweigh and eventually overcome the huge problems that tend to fester.

Meanwhile, it's the athletes who suffer the most from lack of leadership and the antiquated approach that tends toward higher ups in the feds and in the ISU keeping their heads stuck in the sand too often.

The over-rewarding of young skaters, whether they are male or female does none of them any good in the long run. Even Michelle Kwan was made to 'wait her turn' when she first blazed upon the senior scene.

Even Nathan Chen had to pace himself in his first senior season, and once he broke through in a big way, it has been his ability to stay grounded that has helped him continue to grow. Plus a better training and physical therapy regimen came about for Nathan as a direct result of the 'blessing in disguise' of his having to go through surgery after the hip injury he sustained during the 2016 U.S. Nationals exhibition. Unfortunately, he missed Worlds and Junior Worlds opportunities that he'd earned that year. But as Nathan later said, the surgery and his subsequent recovery actually made him stronger mentally and physically, and thus better prepared to weather the 2016 - 2017 senior scene. Nathan Chen (starsonice.com) That was a season in which Nathan challenged yet paced himself, as he gained senior competitive experience. As the season progressed, he ended up breaking out in a big way at U.S. Nationals, making his beginning and apparently enduring mark on the sport.

Still, even then, Nathan had a rough 2017 Worlds due to boot problems. And then, the OTT commercial build-up of Nathan in advance of 2018 Olympics (which in part is understandable but also overwhelming) led to Nathan having to surmount a very testing situation over his three Olympics events which he surely learned a great deal from. In other words, even with his extraordinary talent, Nathan didn't zoom straight to the top unimpeded by challenges and learning experiences, which are important and valuable for young athletes. He earned everything he's achieved the hard way, which is a good thing.
 
Last edited:

Draculus

Rinkside
Joined
Sep 8, 2018
A real artistry stands above time, and nationalities and politics. It is like with a music... Beethowen stands above time, or Mozart or Schopin...their music stand above time because it IS a REAL music, not a short lived noise.

True artistry is when we cannot distinct between artistry and so-caled technical skating. It is one whole. A peace of art. A skater becomes like a music instrument where his"instrument"/ body is "played" to express the feelings. And then it transcends time or politics, or flags.
There are plenty of shows where we can marvel this artistry.
Beethoven / Mozart / Chopin as gold/silver/bronze medalists in "classic music" Olympic sport do not look ok to me.
 

BlissfulSynergy

Final Flight
Joined
Sep 1, 2020
Country
Mars
Nathan didn't zoom straight to the top unimpeded by challenges and learning experiences, which are important and valuable for young athletes. He earned everything he's achieved the hard way, which is a good thing.

What tends to happen to many of the over-rewarded or over-exposed young phenom skaters is that they either burn out quickly, or they have to go in a reverse direction of very high highs and pressurized expectations, and then lots of problems to overcome with scores going in the opposite direction. For the less lucky athletes, it's over fairly quickly and they have to deal with physical, psychological/ emotional traumas in order to figure out how to move forward with their lives. I don't even have to name the names that are on the tip of my tongue.

But for starters, Lipnitskaya; Radionova; Zagitova; Sotnikova; Stephen Gogolev, et al. Even Mirai Nagasu and Caroline Zhang were over-exposed as juniors. Add Alysa Liu to that grouping as well, although her story is still playing out. It's very possible that like Mirai, Alysa may bear down and adjust to the physical and emotional changes she's going through and come out stronger competitively on the other side. As well, we likely haven't heard the last of Stephen Gogolev. But at the moment, he's been relearning his technique under Raf A in California. Stephen is no longer the over-exposed phenom who could land quads at age 11.

Liza Tuk is also in that category of winning a lot as a young skater and then having a reckoning that led to her working hard to battle back, which she and Mirai, and even Ashley Wagner have done over the years. I would also include Mao Asada because she had the courage at one point past the middle of her career to completely revamp her technique in order to continue being competitive.

As we all know for sure, figure skating is NOT easy.
 

Mathman

Record Breaker
Joined
Jun 21, 2003
^ No, Haydn! Haydn!

By the way, in the 0067 Olympic Games Nero won the gold medal in singing, poetry and playing the lyre. That's like Michael Phelps in 2008 winning the 200 meter freestyle and the 200 meter butterfly and the 100 meter butterfly. :rock:
 
Last edited:

BlissfulSynergy

Final Flight
Joined
Sep 1, 2020
Country
Mars
The problem for the US is that their current ladies are talented, in some cases very talented, but not preeminent in either side.
Hmmm. Perhaps 'not preeminent politically,' is more accurate. There are too many factors involved in weighing attributes of skaters to generalize about the tech vs artistic abilities of all U.S. ladies, particularly in such a dismissive put-down fashion. Performance stats are not actually a judge of comparative talents among skaters around the world.

The way figure skating is judged in different eras has a lot to do with the skaters we see at the top during those periods. A lot of what transpires in figure skating is heavily based on politics. The politics of judging, along with other factors, determines what gets rewarded, and what attributes are emphasized as 'superior.' Such requirements and trending ideals fluctuate over the span of different eras.
 
Top