Lessons from Russia's 2023-24 domestic competitions | Golden Skate

Lessons from Russia's 2023-24 domestic competitions

lariko

Medalist
Joined
Jan 31, 2019
Country
Canada
1. Everything is available for viewing. Literally everything. On every level of competition. For free. A lot of it. With scoring window
2. being flexible with discipline selection at each major competitive stage, even if it means that there is only dance or only pairs on each stage. Obviously, if there are talented new Challengers putting them into large competition right away is great, but if not, maintaining quality and prestige of the biggest competition is more important than representing all 4 disciplines
3. Moving the most talented of the juniors into main stages of the main competition circuit as openers for seniors in a limited number. The other juniors have plenty other Competitions (see 1)
4. Making Gala one semi-competitive event instead of a part of each major competition and allowing both acting and retired skaters participate
5. Country-wide jumping team tournament
6. New focus on developing and recognizing regional schools, plus battle of the schools style tournaments
7. Commentary by a new and updated team that includes former champions and coaches along with a seasoned commentator who do most of their job during replays, conducting respectful and informative conversation

And the most important thing...at least so far...wait for it!...fair judging. When favorites lose. When it's harder to get SS4 in Russia than +3 GoE on a good jump. When favorites don't win over the skaters that skated better than them, even relative unknown...

And there being practically no 'literal unknowns' in Russia, because see 1 through 5.
 
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Mathematician

«One who walks masters the road» - Muravieva
Medalist
Joined
Aug 8, 2023
Country
Russia
Its unlikely international organization will be on the level of Russia just because skating is more popular in Russia alone than the rest of the world. Also since Russia's ladies are the best the sport gets super charged for the politics of culture superiority war. Theres just so many reasons Russia has to care more about skating than ISU so its not a matter of can they but why should they.
 

lariko

Medalist
Joined
Jan 31, 2019
Country
Canada
Its unlikely international organization will be on the level of Russia just because skating is more popular in Russia alone than the rest of the world. Also since Russia's ladies are the best the sport gets super charged for the politics of culture superiority war. Theres just so many reasons Russia has to care more about skating than ISU so its not a matter of can they but why should they.
Because they ostensibly profit from growing the sport they are in charge of. At least I kinda thought so.
 

Mathematician

«One who walks masters the road» - Muravieva
Medalist
Joined
Aug 8, 2023
Country
Russia
Because they ostensibly profit from growing the sport they are in charge of. At least I kinda thought so.
I'm not sure what you mean by ostensibly. They just do profit significantly, be it financially or even politically.
 

Skatelife

On the Ice
Joined
Oct 2, 2019
1. Everything is available for viewing. Literally everything. On every level of competition. For free. A lot of it. With scoring window
2. being flexible with discipline selection at each major competitive stage, even if it means that there is only dance or only pairs on each stage. Obviously, if there are talented new Challengers putting them into large competition right away is great, but if not, maintaining quality and prestige of the biggest competition is more important than representing all 4 disciplines
3. Moving the most talented of the juniors into main stages of the main competition circuit as openers for seniors in a limited number. The other juniors have plenty other Competitions (see 1)
4. Making Gala one semi-competitive event instead of a part of each major competition and allowing both acting and retired skaters participate
5. Country-wide jumping team tournament
6. New focus on developing and recognizing regional schools, plus battle of the schools style tournaments
7. Commentary by a new and updated team that includes former champions and coaches along with a seasoned commentator who do most of their job during replays, conducting respectful and informative conversation

And the most important thing...at least so far...wait for it!...fair judging. When favorites lose. When it's harder to get SS4 in Russia than +3 GoE on a good jump. When favorites don't win over the skaters that skated better than them, even relative unknown...

And there being practically no 'literal unknowns' in Russia, because see 1 through 5.
I really agree with point 1.
I have commented before in my country is easier to follow all Russian competitions, hence the last season and the current one, I have been watching mainly Russian skaters since novice to seniors. For instance I have more information about Russian Junior than international seniors. From ISU I only see the results or snips from competitions available on Instagram.
 

throw_triple_flip

On the Ice
Joined
Sep 7, 2023
Country
United-Kingdom
I think you're clutching at straws with point number 2. It's not selectivity, they just don't have enough teams. Something must be wrong- this is a country with a lot of skaters and strong tradition/history in Pairs and Ice Dance.

Amd so many teams with very good long term potential are splitting. Why?
 

TallyT

Record Breaker
Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Country
Australia
Of course, all this involves a high level of state sponsorship/funding which is why they all have to 'toe the party line'. In countries where there is not the heavy but lucrative hand of government, who do people suggest should pay for all of this? The ISU and feds either do not or cannot.
 

Amei

Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 11, 2013
I really agree with point 1.
I have commented before in my country is easier to follow all Russian competitions, hence the last season and the current one, I have been watching mainly Russian skaters since novice to seniors. For instance I have more information about Russian Junior than international seniors. From ISU I only see the results or snips from competitions available on Instagram.

If you have the time you can seriously get into the Novices/Younger age categories as well. Russia's streaming accessibility for all levels of skating is amazing and it helps the skaters build brands and get sponsorships. Shcherbakova/Trusova were on Japanese sports news before they ever competed internationally.
 

icewhite

Record Breaker
Joined
Dec 7, 2022
Of course, all this involves a high level of state sponsorship/funding which is why they all have to 'toe the party line'. In countries where there is not the heavy but lucrative hand of government, who do people suggest should pay for all of this? The ISU and feds either do not or cannot.

I think some could absolutely be done without a big budget. The ISU has some means to make money. I don't see that they are making the best effort. They could make more money if they invested in better and more modern marketing, better and more commentators would surely not be a huge strain on the budget even if they cost a bit, and new formats of competitions should actually not be a burden on the budget.
The selling of tickets could also be done a lot better and bring more people to buy tickets... which would increase the budget...

What seems rather unrealistic to me is completely free streams for everything, that does indeed only seem pausible with government support, but the streaming models could and should definitely be overhauled.


I also think it wouldn't be a bad idea to look at how the Russians are organizing everything and what they are doing right. There are some things that are not that expensive, they just need some will.

I don't like the jumping tournament much and I think the show competition overall was rather disappointing, but with some improvements it's very fun and a great way to bring back older stars and mix them with current skaters. It sure should have some real potential.

I am mostly impressed by the marketing and by the way they actually evaluate what they are doing and how fast they change things in order to make them better. Of course it's much easier when you do only have people from one country, with one aim, instead of councils with people with a completely different understanding of what figure skating should even be or look like. Still I see that there is a real will to improve the product in order to hold and gain new viewers. Things that do not work that well are picked and changed. New ideas are welcomed, not denied with an immediate "not possible because".
 

Skating91

Final Flight
Joined
Sep 16, 2023
Of course, all this involves a high level of state sponsorship/funding which is why they all have to 'toe the party line'. In countries where there is not the heavy but lucrative hand of government, who do people suggest should pay for all of this? The ISU and feds either do not or cannot.
Not to get off topic, but I don't think government funding of sports is a bad thing. The Russian government seem make an effort towards trying to get people into sports or participating in physical activity, probably for health and psychological reasons it can only make for a better society.

I see you're in a Australia and a google search shows they similarly state sponsor Olympic sports (summer) at around $10 million per medal.

Whatever is given to Russian skating would compare very favourably. I quick google search showed Russia spent $25 million on the 2018 Olympics (this could be wrong of course) for all sports, won 17 medals.

Russian skating would be somewhat self sufficient to a degree as well with good attendances at events, many sponsors names on the boards at arenas, shown on Channel 1, as far as Olympic sports go Russian skating is one of the best success stories in the world. Of all the sports receiving funding in Russia, skating is giving the best return and the most self sufficient.
 

lariko

Medalist
Joined
Jan 31, 2019
Country
Canada
I think you're clutching at straws with point number 2. It's not selectivity, they just don't have enough teams. Something must be wrong- this is a country with a lot of skaters and strong tradition/history in Pairs and Ice Dance.

Amd so many teams with very good long term potential are splitting. Why?
I prefer that. Russians show actual depth and quality of the field versus ISU putting unexperienced pair teams in the GP stages. It's dangerous and it lowers already poor prestige of pairs on international stage.

Ice dance is great internationally, so it's never a problem for ISU.

Russians have a lull in ice dance. Seeing it, it makes it easier for the skaters flagging in singles' careers to consider transfers to explore the potential for success. There was a lot of moves to pairs that made the Russian pair field an absolutely insanely ahead of anything on the ISU roster, so I have hopes for dance now that they actually see the deficiency.

New teams are forming and I have a feeling a new boom is actually coming within next few years. Imo, it's rather helpful, and I wish ISU would do the same. Small field is not a tragedy. Sweeping it under the carpet is. To fix the problem, one must first admit it exists.

And, like, the biggest and the most obvious problem is that ISU struggles without Russians, and Russians struggle without the ISU.
 
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Skating91

Final Flight
Joined
Sep 16, 2023
It's been a successful domestic Russian season with some very exciting events.

I like the Russian stream it is 1080 and high frame rate.

In the women, there's been the death of successful ultra-c apart from Petrosian (she's not consistent), many big names missing, but there's been such exciting events with close finishes. Stage 3 especially where the top 4 skated to their absolute maximum with zero errors (one of the best women's events I have ever watched), then on the weekend Muraviova perfect over two events drama with Valieva's free skate after skating one of the great short programs in history. You can't script this.

It's a really good competition that I encourage people to watch.
 
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lariko

Medalist
Joined
Jan 31, 2019
Country
Canada
In the women, there's been the death of successful ultra-c apart from Petrosian (she's not consistent)
Far more ultra-c in women than with what we saw in internationals. Junior women delivered in spades in the last 2 stages. I am glad Amber Glenn had finally delivered her career 3A and Sumiyoshi is on the way to a stable quad. But darn it, Pleskacheva's free was a gift to humanity.
 

Skating91

Final Flight
Joined
Sep 16, 2023
Far more ultra-c in women than with what we saw in internationals. Junior women delivered in spades in the last 2 stages. I am glad Amber Glenn had finally delivered her career 3A and Sumiyoshi is on the way to a stable quad. But darn it, Pleskacheva's free was a gift to humanity.

I'm just a little worried for Amber and Rion now that people will start insinuating awful things about them for feeling empowered enough to jump ultra-c because there seems to be a sizeable number of fans who think ultra-c is a physical impossibility for a female skater. Instead we should all be applauding them for moving the sport forwards.

Attitudes do seem to be changing a little because it seemed more people than usual got excited when Amber landed her 3A and Rio landed her 4T (although it should not have received 2's and 3'd from the judges since it was far from rotated). This contrasts to a couple years or so ago when people seemingly got real sour about people moving the sport forward with complex technical content.
 
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lariko

Medalist
Joined
Jan 31, 2019
Country
Canada
I'm just a little worried for Amber and Rion now that people will start insinuating awful things about them for feeling empowered enough to jump ultra-c because there seems to be a sizeable number of fans who think ultra-c is a physical impossibility for a female skater. Instead we should all be applauding them for moving the sport forwards.

Attitudes do seem to be changing a little because it seemed more people than usual got excited when Amber landed her 3A and Rio landed her 4T (although it should not have received 2's and 3'd from the judges though since it was far from rotated). This contrasts to a couple years or so ago when people seemingly got real sour about people moving the sport forward with complex technical content.
I saw Amber's 3A life and it was awesome. I mean, I hope nobody insinuates that Amber from all people who was going for that 3A for years was under duress or doing something wrong. And Sumiyoshi's 4T looked quite natural. She is very light despite being 20, basically like a teen. Why the heck not? Because, you know, watching a gal skate a spiral for 30 seconds, then fight for dear life to fully rotate a double T...peeps can do that without me.
 

moonvine

All Hail Queen Gracie
Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 14, 2007
Country
United-States
I think some could absolutely be done without a big budget. The ISU has some means to make money. I don't see that they are making the best effort. They could make more money if they invested in better and more modern marketing, better and more commentators would surely not be a huge strain on the budget even if they cost a bit, and new formats of competitions should actually not be a burden on the budget.
The selling of tickets could also be done a lot better and bring more people to buy tickets... which would increase the budget...
I think the commentator they do have is incredible. The only way to make it better IMHO is to add Ted.
 

moonvine

All Hail Queen Gracie
Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 14, 2007
Country
United-States
I saw Amber's 3A life and it was awesome. I mean, I hope nobody insinuates that Amber from all people who was going for that 3A for years was under duress or doing something wrong. And Sumiyoshi's 4T looked quite natural. She is very light despite being 20, basically like a teen. Why the heck not? Because, you know, watching a gal skate a spiral for 30 seconds, then fight for dear life to fully rotate a double T...peeps can do that without me.
I would kill to see a 30 second spiral.
 

moonvine

All Hail Queen Gracie
Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 14, 2007
Country
United-States
Not to get off topic, but I don't think government funding of sports is a bad thing. The Russian government seem make an effort towards trying to get people into sports or participating in physical activity, probably for health and psychological reasons it can only make for a better society.

I see you're in a Australia and a google search shows they similarly state sponsor Olympic sports (summer) at around $10 million per medal.
Have you seen the Harley & Katya documentary? Australia is not known for taking care of its winter athletes, or at least not its skaters.
 
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