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

MedvedFan20

Rinkside
Joined
Jul 13, 2020
Messages
14
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.

Agree that it would have to be live. And I think it is possible to do that.

ISU would need a representative at each rink to control the conditions.

I don’t think this would be easy, but it is worth pursuing with a solid plan that takes every possibility of cheating into account.
 

Edwin

Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 5, 2019
Messages
5,630
The recent virtual competition on the initiative of Irina Usamanova-Viner in rhythmic gymnastics was essentially a Russia - Israel dual meet, with some KAZ and UZB gymnast living and training in Moscow thrown in to make four federations participating.

So a sort of team event between federations with a sufficient number of participants might be possible. But a GP style qualifier with even a dozen of individual entrants from diverse federations? No, I don't think so. Smaller federations cannot bear the logistics.

Perhaps a male/female novice/junior/senior combined team event between RUS, JPN, KOR, ITA, USA, CAN in dual virtual matches might be possible. At least to give the athletes some competitive pressure/experience.
 

Blades of Passion

Skating is Art, if you let it be
Record Breaker
Joined
Sep 14, 2008
Messages
6,983
Why are people making this sound harder than it is. You just give the skaters an exact time they must perform and live record their performance at that time. Then the performances are submitted to a judging panel and the competition in full is broadcast online.

Also, LOL, what excuses will judges have now for their bad judging, since they are watching the performances the same as everyone else and won't even have the excuse of "well, from my perspective where I was sitting..." Yes, we definitely need virtual competitions to happen.
 

Baron Vladimir

Record Breaker
Joined
Dec 18, 2014
Messages
5,451
Why are people making this sound harder than it is. You just give the skaters an exact time they must perform and live record their performance at that time. Then the performances are submitted to a judging panel and the competition in full is broadcast online.

Also, LOL, what excuses will judges have now for their bad judging, since they are watching the performances the same as everyone else and won't even have the excuse of "well, from my perspective where I was sitting..." Yes, we definitely need virtual competitions to happen.

Because at first, skaters performance is evaluated in a relation to the ice rink. Ice rink is a stage where the performance is happening, where you are skating, projecting and jumping, by doing all of that for the live audience, not for the camera. A lot of things written in the judges criteria may not 'appear' the same by the TV screens. You can't address speed, ice coverage, sound of the blades, multidimensional use of space, general awareness of the people who are there watching you and for who you are performing. As many other qualities of the individual elements. When many of objective parameters are not easily experienceable for the judges, it may be hard to 'objectively' judge it. So it may be organized more as a TV show, not really as a sport competition.
 

TallyT

Here for the High Lord of Extra
Record Breaker
Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Messages
3,734
Country
Australia
Not at this late stage. This isn't the small and charming but informal Peggy Fleming, but official competitions where formal prizes, points and standings are to be counted and careers affected.

Think about the logistics for an international set of high-level indoor competitions involving many skaters from many countries, every single one of which has the probably appealable right to equity in ice rink conditions, in expert oversight, in technical quality (cameras, tech panel equipment etc), in timing (have them all do it simultaneously? yeah, very fair for the ones on another side of the planet at 2 a m. And what if the feed fails? On the other hand, having them all able to choose their own time then send a tape is just asking for dishonesty and fiddlling) and goodness knows what I haven't thought of off the top of my just-out-of-bed head. And the ISU will have to quickly organise it, obtain/pay for it all and guarantee (possibly even insure, if they can find an insurance company to take it) the necessary health precautions, cleaning and sanitation of every single one of those rinks and all that extra equipment.

And then someone will have to oversee the judges and also supply them with any high-tech computer access that might be needed for such intense scrutiny, in all their different countries.

And we are talking about an organisation that is leery of something as complex and high-tech as thumb drives, and has a {cough} interesting reputation for being open, highly flexible and quick to adapt, and fair and honest {/cough} at the best of times.

Me, I think they should wash out the GP series and work on developing a virtual unofficial season using B competitions, ones like the Peggy Fleming and Japan Open, and Challengers (without points but with prize money, unlike the ISU's brilliant announcement). Maybe even offer the biggest stars this-year-only extra payments to entice them to sign up for a number of them, though I can see that that might not be a popular idea with the rest, so maybe not.

That way we we get the skating, the ISU get to try and work out how to do it in time for the big competitions early next year, and the skaters aren't disadvantaged by shonkiness.
 

eaglehelang

Final Flight
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
926
Virtual? Nope for competitions.
It would not be fair to all competitors as they are supposed to skate on the same ice conditions, same stadium environment & temperature.
Same goes with every other sport except e-sports, which is not Olympic sports anyway.

Even if for some reason ISU wants to hold a virtual competition with official points counted, I dont think IOC will agree.

That's why you dont see sports gymnastics, synchronized swimming, diving even suggesting to do it virtually. The athletes have to compete on the same exact appratus, same floor mat, same diving platform, same pool conditions.

A competition without audiences can be held but since Winter Olympics isnt until 2022, figure skating International competitions may only start in 2021.

For Summer sports, there are some holding tournaments starting Sept, Oct 2020 as it's for Olympics qualifications for Tokyo.
 

Skatesocs

Final Flight
Joined
May 16, 2020
Messages
1,141
The sport is worth it and it allows those with creative thinking and the determination to make it happen rise to the top.
That's more creative than most skating, I'll give you. But I doubt anyone's going to invest in all that even if they all are with you.
It would not be fair to all competitors as they are supposed to skate on the same ice conditions, same stadium environment & temperature.
Same goes with every other sport except e-sports, which is not Olympic sports anyway.

It is telling that most in the thread cannot think of skating as an Olympic sport. But I guess when a lot of participants are diva artistes~, the culprit is the IOC.
 

Ic3Rabbit

Le professionnel d'élite
Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 9, 2017
Messages
6,125
Country
Canada
No, because there's no way to assure it would be done in a controlled environment with the same rules and conditions. It would just not be right.
 

Blades of Passion

Skating is Art, if you let it be
Record Breaker
Joined
Sep 14, 2008
Messages
6,983
Because at first, skaters performance is evaluated in a relation to the ice rink. Ice rink is a stage where the performance is happening, where you are skating, projecting and jumping, by doing all of that for the live audience, not for the camera. A lot of things written in the judges criteria may not 'appear' the same by the TV screens. You can't address speed, ice coverage, sound of the blades, multidimensional use of space.

Incorrect, you can see speed and ice coverage and usage of space (and hear sounds) perfectly well from a good recording. People who try to say otherwise, what decade are you living in? Do you not see the technology available, have you never been to an ice rink and watched something live and then seen a good recording afterward and realized nothing is missing and everything is discernible all the same? Judges are already looking at a screen for replays anyway! Competitions are never judged entirely from watching in person only. Also, have you not noticed how observers at competitions don't even watch the performance "in person" a lot of the time, but instead are looking up at the jumbotron during elements (or for the judges, at their own screens)?

A live audience can help to make a performance more impactful, but if all skaters are asked to compete in the same setup of knowing they instead must perform with a single camera watching (or rather 2 cameras would be needed, but 1 of them would just be used for technical element replays as needed, to ensure a viewpoint of the blade is available), then it's fair. Actually, skating in this setup is MORE fair, because an audience can decide to have poor behavior to some skaters and great behavior to others.

Virtual? Nope for competitions.
It would not be fair to all competitors as they are supposed to skate on the same ice conditions, same stadium environment & temperature.

We don't ask skaters to use the same brand/color of boots or blades or clothing.

Stadium environment is quite irrelevant in this setting (there would be no audiences and it could be mandated to use the same size ice surface), and ice is ice. This is actually another thing that's MORE fair, because who gets to decide what the ice temperature will be at a competition? I've heard of competitors going up to the rink manager and telling them to change the temperature to their own liking, and the rink manager can listen to whichever competitor they want. Why should some skaters have an advantage of getting to compete at an ice temperature they like more, while others don't get to.
 

karne

in Emergency Backup Mode
Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 1, 2013
Messages
16,186
Country
Australia
Actually, I think the Peggy Fleming Trophy gave us a view of why this is not something that can be done.

While the organisers of PFT did a good job in a limited time, we still saw shaky camerawork for some skaters, some skaters with videographers who didn't know how to use the zoom button resulting in the skater appearing far away and difficult to see, different lighting in different rinks having an effect (different lighting in the same rink on occasion!), a Zamboni on the ice during one skater's performance, another skater almost wiping out their videographer, one skater admitting to doing four separate "takes" and submitting the best one (and I doubt he was the only one), different lengths of training time available prior to the comp, and some rinks having boards/not having boards/having mirrors etc.

Then you've got other issues.

First, obviously you can't have video submission, because you'll have exactly what happened in the PFT - skaters filming multiple "takes" and submitting the best one. So the only answer to make sure everyone's doing the right thing is live stream, which raises a whole host of issues.

What if the skater doesn't have access to the technology to live-stream at high quality and good camerawork? A video on the latest iPhone is hardly going to cut it when the tech panel wants to analyse rotation.

Timezones? Skaters and judges and officials are scattered all over the globe. Do you know what time it is on the east coast of Australia when the French GP takes place? 3am. Three o'clock in the morning. Would you ask Brendan to somehow acquire ice time at 3am and skate a program at full strength at that time? And the judges? Would you really expect a judge to log on at 3am in the morning and be sharp as a tack? Bearing in mind also that most judges are older!

Let's say, by some miracle, you manage to line up the time zones. Let's address the IJS. That software is not your average phone app, easily downloadable and usable on any device. It's huge, bloated, needs to do a multitude of things - and is designed to run on computers that are physically linked together. My understanding is that it can be done on wifi on a secure network. But they all have to be on the same network to talk to each other. Additionally, the tech panel camera is physically connected to the Replay Operator's computer so the IJS Cutter software can work. How do you propose that the Cutter software and program are made compatible with the multiple different file formats and multiple different devices the skaters would use and make sure that it can take live footage not coming to it directly from the camera?

Now let's talk about the locations. Not every rink is the same. Even in the PFT we saw variations in light at the same rink. And again, huge differences in the way the programs were filmed. Some skaters appeared very far away in their videos, and difficult to see, because the videographer didn't zoom in; at least one skater had a very wobbly video because whoever was holding the camera wasn't very steady. And you would ask a tech panel to correctly evaluate rotations, levels, edge calls when they don't even have the same angle for every skater, let alone the same quality of vision?

These are just some of the technical issues that, to me, say that we are not, and should not, get a virtual GP series.
 

ruga

Final Flight
Joined
Oct 20, 2017
Messages
795
It could be doable, the issue could arise from time zones though. But maybe the ISU could look up the database of training locations and try to assign events by them. And maybe require multiple cameras - four at each side for example. There would be four screens in Zoom call and judges could enlarge any one of them.

But obviously nothing like that is going to happen. USB is too advanced for this organization lol
 

karne

in Emergency Backup Mode
Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 1, 2013
Messages
16,186
Country
Australia
It could be doable, the issue could arise from time zones though. But maybe the ISU could look up the database of training locations and try to assign events by them. And maybe require multiple cameras - four at each side for example. There would be four screens in Zoom call and judges could enlarge any one of them.

But obviously nothing like that is going to happen. USB is too advanced for this organization lol

Are the ISU the world's most competent organisation? No.

But this comment is just plain stupid.

I'm sorry, they should look up a "database of training locations"? Oh, you know, EVERY RINK IN THE WORLD? Not every country has centralised training hubs. In most countries, in fact, skaters will be spread out across dozens, maybe hundreds of rinks. And skaters should be travelling as little as possible - even within their own countries.

Multiple cameras? Four by each side? I'm sorry, who's paying for all this? And where are you finding the volunteers to operate these cameras? And how do you bring them in if, say, the rink is not allowing anyone other than skaters and coaches because of COVID restrictions in their area? And once again, TIME ZONES! Not every skater on the GP is in the same time zone! Why is this so hard for people to grasp?

The irony of a statement like this being concluded with "hurr durr ISU stupid" is not lost on me.
 

ice coverage

avatar credit: @miyan5605
Record Breaker
Joined
Feb 27, 2012
Messages
14,716
... While the organisers of PFT did a good job in a limited time, we still saw ... one skater admitting to doing four separate "takes" and submitting the best one (and I doubt he was the only one) ...

So the only answer to make sure everyone's doing the right thing is ...

But to be clear and fair: Per PFT rules, there was nothing wrong with filming multiple takes.
PFT rules allowed multiple takes, so "admitting" is not really the best word.

According to Hersh's pre-PFT article, Karen said that she sent in her third take, and Camden sent in his third take.
Per the AP's pre-PFT article, Jason sent in his second take.

Again, none of these PFT skaters did anything wrong.
The PFT rules were that filming multiple takes was allowed, but only one unedited take could be submitted.

(If the ISU were to hold a virtual competition, then I do think it would be reasonable for the ISU rules to limit filming to only one take.
If Karen, Camden, and Jason were to enter such a competition, then I believe that they would readily comply with its limitation and would film only one take.
That said, I recognize that 100% compliance among the entire field of skaters could not be guaranteed -- which would be a problem for the said competition.)


Actually, I think the Peggy Fleming Trophy gave us a view of why this is not something that can be done. ...

Otherwise, I do think that karne gave a good sense of the logistical nightmare that a virtual edition of an ISU international competition would be. :agree:
 

kolyadafan2002

Fan of Kolyada
Final Flight
Joined
Jun 6, 2019
Messages
689
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.

If we find one location with an Olympic size ice rink with a low population, then we could do all the Grand Prix events at the same rink. Test every skater and make them quarantine until the test comes back, same with judges, etc.
of course, this doesn't account for the cost, etc.
 

ancientpeas

The Notorious SEW
Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 11, 2014
Messages
12,181
Why are people making this sound harder than it is. You just give the skaters an exact time they must perform and live record their performance at that time. Then the performances are submitted to a judging panel and the competition in full is broadcast online.

Also, LOL, what excuses will judges have now for their bad judging, since they are watching the performances the same as everyone else and won't even have the excuse of "well, from my perspective where I was sitting..." Yes, we definitely need virtual competitions to happen.

I share this view.

I for one would very much support your approach for things like GP and see how it goes and if they can find a formula that the feds agree with go ahead and do Europeans and 4CC, revisit and try worlds. It will be a big undertaking.

My concern is expenses. This will cost some money to do (less than the event but it won't be free). Would people be willing to pony up money to pay to see the equivalent of 6 GP assignments?

I think it's a question of making do and seeing if it will work. There are countries that are open who can do this without problems. I believe it could be done in Canada. Barring a second wave of course.

I also think that if we lose the GP season and even Europeans and Worlds then the skaters should get to know this sooner rather than later so they can make plans.

I think trying a few smaller competitions this way might work to see if it's feasible. I'm loathe to declare something unfeasible without at least trying it first on a small scale.
 
Last edited:

Arbitrary

Medalist
Joined
Sep 5, 2018
Messages
1,240
There is an idea discussed in FFKKR to "open" the RusCup stages to invite foreign skaters, at least at the J-level. Maybe even S-level too.
 

el henry

Fangirl of men’s spirals and split jumps
Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 3, 2014
Messages
11,641
whole post

I also agree.

The ISU could try on a limited scale with a lower level comp, and see what happens. These adjustments are happening with far more important events than skating comps all across the world, where nothing is as it was but still continues in some form. Will the virtual comp have all the attributes of live skating in an arena with an audience? Of course not. Will it be different and have issues to resolve? Sure. But that's the whole point, resolve the issues:). No-one is saying award Olympic gold in this manner, but I see no reason not to at least try.

And Peggy Fleming Trophy had a "Who's Who" of American judges because they could in fact do so from home. So that is at least one plus.:biggrin:
 

lariko

Medalist
Joined
Jan 31, 2019
Messages
1,681
Heh, didn’t Aliev said after Eu if they put them on the lake, they would skate on the lake? Maybe he has the right idea...

Jokes aside, it just feels like a logistical nightmare with controversial everything, from ice conditions to judging, to allegations of hacking the videos and gods only know what else. Let this season go, and support the national athletes if the nationals are in the cards... I really miss the skating and the skaters, but the world is not in the safe or prosperous state
 

Blades of Passion

Skating is Art, if you let it be
Record Breaker
Joined
Sep 14, 2008
Messages
6,983
First, obviously you can't have video submission, because you'll have exactly what happened in the PFT - skaters filming multiple "takes" and submitting the best one. So the only answer to make sure everyone's doing the right thing is live stream, which raises a whole host of issues.

It doesn't need to be live-streamed. You can start the video with a shot of the skater holding up a phone/labtop that displays the official world clock time (maybe even through a specific link on the ISU website for further foolproofing), and then keep that phone/labtop in frame of the camera to verify the skater's performance is taking place at the set time they have chosen to compete.

What if the skater doesn't have access to the technology to live-stream at high quality and good camerawork?

Considering usual travel expenses and venue costs, it shouldn't be a problem for the ISU or the federations or the skaters to arrange proper equipment setup. I'm sure that costs less than what it normally costs for a competition to happen.

If for some reason a skater can't get proper equipment setup, then they simply can't compete. The same as any skater who doesn't have access to skating blades or an ice rink and, realistically, a large amount of money to be able to pay for constant coaching and other expenses. That's always been the reality of this sport, it's nothing new.

Timezones? Skaters and judges and officials are scattered all over the globe. Do you know what time it is on the east coast of Australia when the French GP takes place? 3am. Three o'clock in the morning. Would you ask Brendan to somehow acquire ice time at 3am and skate a program at full strength at that time? And the judges? Would you really expect a judge to log on at 3am in the morning and be sharp as a tack?

Again, you give each a competitor a set time that works for them, where they must compete and verifiably record their performance. After all of the competitors have done this and the performances have been sent to the ISU, then a time is set for judges to do their work. Judges are normally traveling outside of their timezone and have to be "up at 3am" in another location from what they are used to, so it shouldn't be too hard for judges to arrange their schedule to judge an event from the comfort of their own home. Possibly the judging times could be staggered too though, it's not like their marks would be public until all of the scores are set, the judges themselves could be known only by the ISU as well, until the date of broadcast.
 

elbkup

Medalist
Joined
Mar 3, 2015
Messages
1,933
Country
United-States
This discussion may take a different turn if a viable workable Covid vaccine is on the horizon. What form would the season take if this was a possibility as early as the end of 2020 early 2021? Nevertheless the gauntlet has been thrown down to the sport - change or become irrelevant. This is a unique opportunity to explore new unique competition venues, methods. Will be challenging, no question but the exploration should begin now. Who remembers when the first electric cars arrived; internal combustion enthusiasts swore electric would never make headway but now it is a real option in many forms.
One way to begin perhaps is to explore Jordan Cowan’s onIcePerspectives camera, filming methods which might equalize virtual competitions. If it is possible for him to step up to the plate and expand his concepts, train other filmmakers to video comps it might be a start toward additional viewing options in the sport which, I think, needs to grow beyond the traditional arena.
EDT. LOTS of good ideas in this thread
 
Top