Should the ISU Senior Grand Prix Go Virtual (and be announced NOW)?

AshWagsFan

Edges for days.
Final Flight
Joined
Oct 14, 2017
Country
United-States
Since the ISU junior Grand Prix was cancelled earlier today, it is clear that the ISU Senior Grand Prix is in jeopardy of not happening as well. The ISU said they will announce in August whether or not they’ll have the Senior Grand Prix.

Why not just make the Senior Grand Prix a virtual event now? It gives more time to organize the events, and it seems like it’s the only safe option to have unless the entire series is cancelled.

Here’s one way it could be done:

The skaters are assigned to events as usual. The skaters train at their home rink as usual, and when it comes time to compete, they must record a video of their program (costume and everything), and send it to An official from their country. The official would then send this video to all of the judges judging the event.

The only issue I see with this method is that I don’t know how the judges would know the video sent is the skater’s only competitive effort (for example, someone pops a Jump in their program, then decides to redo their program and send it in).

What are other people’s thoughts on this? Could a virtual Grand Prix work?
 

Harriet

Record Breaker
Joined
Oct 23, 2017
Country
Australia
A virtual GP might work if it had a year's worth of planning, prep, trials, tech panel/judge training and resource provision leading up to it, but as a jury-rigged replacement for a regular series thrown together in the middle of a global health crisis I think it would be about as effective as a hasty switch to online education - which is to say, not at all.
 

sparklestan

On the Ice
Joined
Apr 24, 2020
I don’t see how they could prevent people from redoing their programs, so it wouldn’t be fair. The only way I could see there being a GP is if they do it in a “bubble”. Have everyone fly into one country, maybe even one city, then do the quarantine and restart training before having the 6 week series there. Although I cannot imagine the ISU and federations have the money to make a bubble situation work.
 

Skatesocs

Final Flight
Joined
May 16, 2020
A virtual GP might work if it had a year's worth of planning, prep, trials, tech panel/judge training and resource provision leading up to it, but as a jury-rigged replacement for a regular series thrown together in the middle of a global health crisis I think it would be about as effective as a hasty switch to online education - which is to say, not at all.

It would still need some sort of an honour code, and have camera work that reflects what is available to judges usually.
 

cheerknithanson

Record Breaker
Joined
Jul 13, 2014
Country
United-States
I don’t see how they could prevent people from redoing their programs, so it wouldn’t be fair. The only way I could see there being a GP is if they do it in a “bubble”. Have everyone fly into one country, maybe even one city, then do the quarantine and restart training before having the 6 week series there. Although I cannot imagine the ISU and federations have the money to make a bubble situation work.

I know the bubble is happening for the NBA and NHL now. But the thing is that the NBA and NHL only have team in the USA and Canada. So it sounds like it would trickier considering people have two spots usually. And that's a lot of skaters....
 

MedvedFan20

Rinkside
Joined
Jul 13, 2020
Nope. Too many variables to take care of.

This pandemic may be with us for the next 3-4 years. Isn’t this at least worth a shot?

I’m not an information technology expert but in the year 2020, we have live stream technology, etc. and if it’s worth it to ISU to continue the sport, they should find experts and put together a solid plan that addresses these concerns. If not, the sport may be in for a very long hiatus.
 

kolyadafan2002

Fan of Kolyada
Final Flight
Joined
Jun 6, 2019
You need to stop being bothered by a lack of skating, lol. Much, much bigger fish to fry. It's just skating.

I feel sad, but the most important skating events are Europeans and world's and 4CC due to the fact it's pre-olympic season. It might be worth sacrificing the GP series to protect the skaters, to ensure they stay healthy and have the best short to qualify for Olympics at the world championships
 

SkateSkates

Medalist
Joined
Feb 17, 2010
The only thing they could salvage at this point I think is the GPF - there’s enough time and small enough fields. Maybe invite the top 6 SB or WR. Then they likely need to travel to China sometime in early Oct at the latest, quarantine with no ice for 2 weeks, and then live and train in this bubble until GPF. The officials and judges would need to arrive 2-3 weeks before the event, too, to quarantine for 14 days. This is far too expensive to happen, but if they really wanted to this is the only way.

You can’t just do a LP after 2 weeks of no training - especially with the content the top skaters are performing. It’s going to take at least 2 weeks once they are back on the ice to get back to their condition before quarantining, maybe longer. That’s an entire month minimum that needs to be built into any schedule for an event with a bubble.

For virtual events, there’s no reason why skaters/rinks shouldn’t be able to send in a single shot, no cut version of a warmup, waiting to skate, then skate based on starting order. A lot of the rinks which host JGPs and Challengers are small without any high level competitors training at them, yet they manage to live stream events. This shouldn’t be a barrier. For the Grand Prix at least, most (not all) of the top skaters train at rinks in groups with other top skaters. They could send it all in together in a mock competition format. If the ISU assigned, ie, Hamada’s rink will live stream the competition to the ISU at 5pm local time and we see all their skaters back to back, then the next day Mishin’s rink does the same, the next day Eteri, and so on. The judges could judge in real time and marks can’t be changed. It can be done if they wanted to make it work. Or the Japan national team could do one, Russian national team another, US, etc. No it wouldn’t be the same, but it would be something.
 

Skatesocs

Final Flight
Joined
May 16, 2020
This pandemic may be with us for the next 3-4 years. Isn’t this at least worth a shot?

I’m not an information technology expert but in the year 2020, we have live stream technology, etc. and if it’s worth it to ISU to continue the sport, they should find experts and put together a solid plan that addresses these concerns. If not, the sport may be in for a very long hiatus.

It's not worth a shot currently, no. Not unless the judges are trained, as mentioned, and not unless the same equipment to shoot that live stream is made available to the federation of each senior GP participant, the people needed to handle that equipment are trained by each federation, and they all follow an honour code. I don't even know if everyone involved trains in the same size rink - that would be another problem, especially when it comes to really small federations (though maybe more in JGP).
 

lopsilceci

Her DOG has a Wikipedia page!
On the Ice
Joined
Jan 20, 2019
Country
Mexico
Unless anyone still belives that the virus will just go away by itself in the coming weeks, I don't see how the senior GP can happen without taking major health risks.

The only viable way to save the GP would be to somehow make it work virtually, but the rules for judging and requirements would have to change for these events.
The other way could be to have several local events with only skaters from one country/region at the same time and then make a global ranking with all the events scores. But then there would be mostly local judges which could cause corrupt judging...

Most likely, I think we will see only national competitions this year and hopefully next year we can finally have international competitions.
 

slider11

Medalist
Joined
Jan 12, 2014
Nope. Too many variables to take care of.

I think this could be done with some ingenuity. The sport is worth it and it allows those with creative thinking and the determination to make it happen rise to the top. Here's how I see it:
1. ISU picks a day for each event and a certain number of skaters and teams are permitted per country per event. Like it's always been but the skating will remain in the skater's rink or perhaps a rink nearby that can handle this event. If necessary one site within each country would be broadcast site. It would be rink in an area without high infection and one that can accommodate the skaters and technology.
2. Each skater/team will have their coaches and some combination of ISU and federation officials present in that rink. That's where it might make sense to limit the number of cities per country where these events can take place. Skaters might have to travel but within their country with appropriate precautions.
3. Most importantly, a quality videographer must be present to record the event and, ideally, do so live as a panel of judges in some location observe and score virtually. Videographers would sign an affidavit as to the validity and timeliness of the record. False representation would have stiff penalties.
4. Spectators may be allowed at a 25% capacity and maybe limited to family or friends with masks and distancing. This is optional. Wouldn't be that much different than the rinks from the past!
5. Is there a chance of cheating? Sure. But with possibly more than one skater participating at a specific rink, coaches, officials and maybe even a few spectators, I think cheating would be discovered quickly. And the penalty for that would be severe. I don't think many would want to risk.

People are starved for some entertainment. This might even revive figure skating! It's worth a try!
 

drivingmissdaisy

Record Breaker
Joined
Feb 17, 2010
I don't think the GP would work as virtual events. I enjoyed watching the skating last weekend and think that, under certain circumstances, this type of event works well. It allows skaters to showcase their new programs under favorable conditions, and gets the fans excited about the upcoming season. For competitions in which there are actual stakes, like earning minimum scores to qualify for major international events or competing for spots in the GPF, it's important that the skaters perform in a competitive environment and the judges are able to assess all the nuances of a performance in person.
 

MedvedFan20

Rinkside
Joined
Jul 13, 2020
I think this could be done with some ingenuity. The sport is worth it and it allows those with creative thinking and the determination to make it happen rise to the top. Here's how I see it:
1. ISU picks a day for each event and a certain number of skaters and teams are permitted per country per event. Like it's always been but the skating will remain in the skater's rink or perhaps a rink nearby that can handle this event. If necessary one site within each country would be broadcast site. It would be rink in an area without high infection and one that can accommodate the skaters and technology.
2. Each skater/team will have their coaches and some combination of ISU and federation officials present in that rink. That's where it might make sense to limit the number of cities per country where these events can take place. Skaters might have to travel but within their country with appropriate precautions.
3. Most importantly, a quality videographer must be present to record the event and, ideally, do so live as a panel of judges in some location observe and score virtually. Videographers would sign an affidavit as to the validity and timeliness of the record. False representation would have stiff penalties.
4. Spectators may be allowed at a 25% capacity and maybe limited to family or friends with masks and distancing. This is optional. Wouldn't be that much different than the rinks from the past!
5. Is there a chance of cheating? Sure. But with possibly more than one skater participating at a specific rink, coaches, officials and maybe even a few spectators, I think cheating would be discovered quickly. And the penalty for that would be severe. I don't think many would want to risk.

People are starved for some entertainment. This might even revive figure skating! It's worth a try!

I agree completely. Thank you. It’s not impossible and, therefore, should be explored.
 

sheetz

Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 10, 2015
Maybe Japan Open could be held virtually as a test event to see if it could be done for other ISU competitions.
 

surimi

Shan Ben Cao Tai, don't give up!
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2013
I can only see a virtual event happening if skaters skate live, and their livestream is broadcasted to the judges/ISU channel. For that, they'd have to live in timezones where they're able to compete at the time assigned, and their selection to an event would need to consider that. I do not support a serious competition working with something pre-recorded when we don't know how many attempts a skater made.
Still, I don't see how judges could evaluate precisely, without low-mo and their own cameras.
 

lopsilceci

Her DOG has a Wikipedia page!
On the Ice
Joined
Jan 20, 2019
Country
Mexico
I don't think the GP would work as virtual events. I enjoyed watching the skating last weekend and think that, under certain circumstances, this type of event works well. It allows skaters to showcase their new programs under favorable conditions, and gets the fans excited about the upcoming season. For competitions in which there are actual stakes, like earning minimum scores to qualify for major international events or competing for spots in the GPF, it's important that the skaters perform in a competitive environment and the judges are able to assess all the nuances of a performance in person.

You would also need to somehow guarantee equal conditions (rink size, ice quality, etc.) for all the skaters competing at each stage.
 

Finley

Record Breaker
Joined
Feb 19, 2014
The UFC has come up with 'Fight Island' in Dubai. We need Dubai to get on board and create a 'Skate Island' and hold all competitions there.
 
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