The Future of Figure Skating in the Aftermath of Global Crisis

BlissfulSynergy

On the Ice
Joined
Sep 1, 2020
Country
Mars
The Skating Lesson recently aired an interview with Ari Zakarian that is worth listening to mostly for Zakarian's thoughts on the rise of Russian dominance in the sport, and the current state of affairs with the sport dying in the U.S., and dead in Europe (aside from Russia and from what Stephane Lambiel is trying to do in building a school/ training center). Japan and Russia are doing the best in terms of widespread interest and support (including government support). I suppose China and South Korea are burgeoning as well. Canada is rebuilding its disciplines in the wake of so many top stars retiring post 2018 Olympics.

All day conventions could be developed around the discussion of what to do about the sport in the U.S., and the whys and wherefores of its current limp and dying state. So many factors are involved. Zakarian is advocating for people and former stars who love figure skating to join together and brainstorm to save the sport's future worldwide. I believe that during this sad and concerning time, there's an opportunity to make something new, beneficial and ultimately thriving. The skating community needs to put aside old fears, differences, political conflicts and self-interest in order to try and find new ways of doing things that will benefit the athletes most of all, but that also includes benefit and respect for the sport's fans around the world.

Zakarian is right that the sport (or the ISU who run the sport) are not effectively promoting all of the wonderful things about the sport, which Zakarian lists a bit in his conversation. I completely agree with Zakarian's concerns and his advocacy for coming together and rebuilding, reframing, pulling from the strengths of the past, but recognizing that new ways of doing things, and new energies truly need to be brainstormed and developed posthaste.


BTW, I love the new flag feature on Goldenskate. I am from the U.S., not from Brazil, but I love the colorful Brazilian flag, so I'm giving Brazil a shout-out at the moment. I hope no one will be offended by that. I like seeing there are flags available for the United Nations, the Olympics, GoSquared, and even Mars!!! Personally, I have an interest in knowing more about so many countries in the world. The history of different countries and flags is fascinating. So I hope to post colorful flags from different nations that are not generally represented in figure skating.

The sport as a whole needs to think long and hard about new ways of growing the sport globally, while individual former powerhouses should be reassessing and exploring ways to reinvigorate the sport domestically/ locally.
 

flanker

Record Breaker
Joined
Feb 10, 2018
Country
Czech-Republic
BTW, I love the new flag feature on Goldenskate. I am from the U.S., not from Brazil, but I love the colorful Brazilian flag, so I'm giving Brazil a shout-out at the moment. I hope no one will be offended by that. I like seeing there are flags available for the United Nations, the Olympics, GoSquared, and even Mars!!! Personally, I have an interest in knowing more about so many countries in the world. The history of different countries and flags is fascinating. So I hope to post colorful flags from different nations that are not generally represented in figure skating.
I generally like the post, I just couldn't resist:

 
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Bookseller

Final Flight
Joined
May 28, 2018
Country
United-States
Historically, the US as a sports following nation has only been interested in singles skating, primarily Ladies, and it's been a while since a US lady or man has won a gold medal in the Olympics, or had the prospect of winning one. This coming Olympics is different, at least for the Men, but it hasn't happened yet. It's been 18 years since a US lady won gold (Sarah Hughes) and 14 for any medal in Ladies (Sasha Cohen silver.) The last US man to win Gold or any medal was Evan Lysacheck 10 years ago. If you ask Americans who don't follow skating what they remember about skating, it's usually Tonya Harding. American sports fans like winning teams and scandal. So to increase interest in skating in the US, there has to be an interest in Olympic sports and Gold Medals. Sports fans like US football, where the US dominates, because basically no one else plays the game except Americans. If Nathan wins a gold medal at the next Olympics, there might be a slight spike in interest. NBC has domination over broadcast rights and more often relegates Skating broadcasts to Sunday afternoons opposite Football or cable offshoots that no one watches but skating fans. There is no hope for an increase in US fans unless there are fundamental changes in how and when the sport is presented. The US Olympic committee is not very interested, and USFS is wandering lost in the mountains trying to figure out what to do.

I agree that past medal winners could be helpful, but it's been so long since they won their medals the general public doesn't know who they are. Scott has been working tirelessly for years promoting Figure Skating in the US. He could use some help and skaters could use more support. It's an expensive sport and it limits the talent pool. Skating is big in Japan and Russia because they support their talent pool and don't expect the parents to bankrupt themselves to buy training for their budding skaters. Not to mention that the opportunities for post competitive careers for US skaters have dropped dramatically. It's a complicated problem that needs a complicated solution. But a good start would be better exposure by NBC, who pays big bucks but maybe doesn't get the return that they would hope. Hence the relegation of skating to not for prime time status. They have to find sponsors, USFS has to find sponsors. The sponsors need to get something for it. They want gold medals. And charisma!

Jason Brown's Riverdance got millions of views. That's charisma. We need more of that! We need a bigger talent pool as well. More exposure, more promotion, more sponsors. And more medals.
 
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