Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Skating into and out of your elements - who needs it.


  1. That SD lift of D/W's make me want to... throw things.

    She doesn't hit her positions, much less hold them. The worst thing though is her legs at the end. Forget mere poor extension, her leg isn't straight! She can't even get her leg straightened out!

    The judges ought to be hauled out behind the woodshed for giving that program 77 unearned points. Instead, no one in any position to make a difference is saying a damned thing. Everyone has just rolled over. Great. Does know one care enough about their sport and their discipline to care that it gets judged correctly?

  2. no one, not know one

    I'm too upset to spell correctly, apparantly.

    1. It kills me. That lift has WHAT to do with Giselle or polka?

      The music in their programs does ALL the work, and even hard working music like Strauss can't stop them from skating through it by the end of the season.

      This is freaking ice dance, it's not cheerleading on ice. Cheerleaders have better lines though. It's not x-games on ice, either, but X-games actually has a higher level of difficulty.

      But give us freaking SOMETHING DW. A lift that is actually challenging, not a basic and sloppily executed rotational lift like that. Make an attempt to actually do it with the rhythm or style or SOMETHING of the freaking dance you've just pretended to do.

      I don't know why other skaters ever even bother. Why don't they just go out there and attack their program like a demolition derby, do the easiest stuff they can get away with as long as they go after it with attack (Gilles Poirier are of this school), and do the easy stuff sloppily because all that matters is you act as if you have a lot of ENERGY out there. Not real speed. Not real power. Because to get either you need to hop an run and run and hop. And leap.

      This is ridiculous.

    2. "I don't know why other skaters ever even bother. Why don't they just go out there and attack their program like a demolition derby, do the easiest stuff they can get away with as long as they go after it with attack (Gilles Poirier are of this school), and do the easy stuff sloppily because all that matters is you act as if you have a lot of ENERGY out there. Not real speed. Not real power. Because to get either you need to hop an run and run and hop. And leap."

      I've been asking myself this a lot lately--why do any of the other teams even bother. Why put all the time and energy into coming up with interesting choreography, working to improve weaknesses in your skating, etc., when it doesn't matter at all when it comes to the judging? Do the easiest program you can and act energetic.

      So ridiculous.

      Speaking of ridiculous, someone on fanforum translated French commentary from Joannie Rochette. Even she's bought into the bs. :/

    3. I read that. Figure skating is a sport with specific judging criteria and with CoP it is tech and pcs. Yet even a recently competing athlete like Joanne Rochette talks about the "artistic side". And fans who disagree chime in with slams on DW's acting - like THAT's relevant.

      It would be really nice if a lot of fans stopped confusing their aesthetic preferences with better/worse program and actually learned what good skating and a well executed element looks like according to the ISU's own criteria in its own rulebook.

      Until people can talk specifically about program components - and not just "wow, what a fabulous lift!" or "what difficult move!" and don't say WHY the thing is difficult or fantastic in a way that meets the standards of CoP, judging travesties like the one going on with DW will continue.

      I don't think figure skaters (as a whole) are brain trusts. I think most are understandably preoccupied with their own career and their own skating. I don't know how much critical thinking they do - the Moirs and Scott Moir have been as guilty of this as anyone at times. How many have read the rules? How many know how it's SUPPOSED to work?

      The way the sport is managed and presented, misinformation is constantly pumped into the public arena.

      How many figure skating journalists would be able to just segue on over to any type of serious basketball journalism, or football? The analysis of the game? The opinions on whether a call was right or wrong if it can't be determined by replay (replay is FINE for all sports, including figure skating). Analysis of whether the coach's choices were the right ones?

      But if you find you like the politics and drama and elbow-rubbing of figure skating and you already have a platform on some newspaper or media outlet - go on ahead and start writing about figure skating without learning one fucking thing about the sport first - and by learn I mean research, not chatting up coaches and skaters.

    4. It occurs to me that skaters and such comment on the sport as they do because everybody is assuming the public can't grasp CoP. That lets the commentators off the hook to really familiarize themselves with it.

      I'm only a casual football fan, but there have been times when I've watched a big game and not "gotten" how something unfolded in a play. They can freeze frame and x and o and do connecting lines, but all of the players have a specific position they're playing and each position is meant to perform a particular function in a play, and each play is meant to move the ball via a specific strategy that requires these position players to perform different functions in different parts of the field depending on what play it is, and as a very casual viewer I often have no idea what the hell everybody's talking about - I just know they got the yardage or they didn't. Meantime the commentators are deconstructing and chatting about the merits of what just happened.

      Why is that? Because they assume they're speaking to an informed audience. It's not something you can grab onto immediately when you watch the game, but they don't broadcast to the three times a year viewer. They broadcast to fans of the sport, and assume fans of the sport can get the freeze frame with the graphics imposed over it telling us what kind of play it was and how it was executed.

      Figure skating fans are too stupid for that, apparently. It's very convenient for the sport to treat its fans as stupid, to resist acquiring an informed public, because then a lot of agendas and politics would become harder to execute. At the moment figure skating commentary is a mash-up of half-truths and completely erroneous and/or irrelevent stuff that just promotes misconceptions. I think the sport likes it that way.

    5. OC - I totally agree with you that figure skating viewers are treated like lapdogs. Figure skating and the ISU can really institute replay and break down elements if they wanted to and educate the public. I mean look at gymnastics - a judged sport but where video replay is used to educate and even re-appreciate when a movement is shown in slow-motion to show the detail. Figure skating has failed in this aspect in addition to judging and its commentators. If I had a child who was athletic - figure skating would not be the sport I would steer them towards unfortunately due to this mismanagement.

    6. Exactly - a gymnastics routine can look "spectacular" or be more audience pleasing than a winning routine, and the commentators don't pander. If you want to watch, you have to accept you either don't know the breakdown or you have to learn a bit on your own and catch up.

      I believe an additional problem with figure skating is the commentators themselves don't know what they're talking about half the time, not in particularity, and yet CoP is all about the specifics.

      It's treated like theatre or dance with a little bit of sport sort of half-assed thrown in there. Oh, here's where they are really digging in for those edges - to get those levels - oh I love Charlie's character here!

      Some distinctions would be nice.

      The culture around figure skating is nuts, with misplaced snobbery that's actually ignorance, and elitism that's actually ignorance in many cases.

      A digression but I'm thinking of Sinead Kerr getting to twitter and saying that Virtue and Moir's stop and restart at the 4CC's should be looked into for the "perception" of the sport.

      You know what, it's self-serving, double standard tweets like that that hurt the "perception" of the sport among a million other things. Agendas everywhere cloaked in sanctimony.

    7. I'm very surprised at Joannie's comments. She sounds clueless! And this from an elite skater. Is this because a singles skater is really that misinformed about ice-dance, or is it just not being a brain trust, as you so aptly described many skaters.

      It's no wonder the judges can get away with anything they want.

    8. I just think they don't know what they're talking about. They're not necessarily students of what they're doing.

      I read, for example, Scott Hamilton's autobiography. He described how he practiced compulsory figures and how he competed them. To him they were a hurdle to get over. Obviously, he was good enough at them to contend for the win, but as far as he was concerned it was just do those suckers and move on. I don't know if skaters actually link the mechanics of some of the stuff they have to do.

      Another thing - I've been trying to hunt down more on the biomechanics of figure skating and a person who studied it described getting a billion questions from coaches. You just wonder how much any of the athletes actually understand what they're seeing - or even what they're doing. And the irony is it's broken down in CoP, but I think too many people in the sport, including the judges, don't make the connections.

    9. Agree OC - that the science behind the technical is overlooked. I am looking forward to seeing Stars on Ice just to see how some of the skaters do the group numbers...

    10. And just to be specific - knowledge of the biomechanics are important if you're going to have a stats-based scoring system that assigns levels of difficulties and the higher the level the more points. Does the ISU understand biomechanics well enough to know what is actually more difficult from a skating skills-centric perspective? And LESS difficult, for that matter?

      How do they test/determine this stuff?

      Furthermore, I believe the ISU hangs onto its culture of corruption and CoP was only intended to create the appearance of transparency - an agenda that was exposed the second they insisted on anonymous judging. They flat out declared it was to discourage corruption when any idiot can see it enables corruption.

      There are sports where corruption has been an issue - college sports for instance. Other sports have huge betting interests riding on the point spread and other results. There have been complaints that referees look the other way when certain teams commit fouls (playing while Duke). Basketball is particularly set up for bad calls and getting away with bad calls - or not making a call. Are the refs anonymous? They're not. Why is that? Because even though it's college athletics it's a real sport. Big business, yes, and a real sport. Figure skating refuses to be.

    11. Oy Canada - I agree with your first paragraph. I think the ISU does okay with the jumps but the lifts, spins and twizzles - I do think there is a real problem in assessing difficulty in levels and grade of execution. Wouldn't it be interesting to hear perspectives from coaches in ballet, diving and gymnastics and how biomechanically they would assess the elements. Naturally they do not have ice skating background but they do know about body space and physics...

    12. The jumps are so specific, technically, you can't really screw with them. Inferior jumps are something even a casual viewer can see on replay. All they need to know is the fact that jumps are defined by the take off edge (and landing edge), and rotations need to be completed in the air, not pre-rotated or underrotated. They were the first element I learned anything about and the easiest to learn.

      I do, however, think the ISU has been moving into tricky territory with how it values certain combinations over others or how certain combinations can add points. I'm not a big fan of tacking double jumps onto the end of triples and especially not of two doubles after a triple. It's not that in and of itself as much as how that combination is weighed in competition and its approximate value vis a vis something else. But this is just my visceral feeling - I haven't analyzed it. It's there, though, in certain types of combinations, that I sometimes worry about appropriate value. Also think the various combinations have allowed singles skaters to skip a jump they can't do, such as the loop, and I think that's unfortunate. Yes, every woman (and man) competing at a high level should have a triple/triple but beyond that the different combos deserve more analysis, IMO.

  3. I heartily dislike that lift in D/W's SD. Couldn't they come up with something equally pretzel-y but more aesthetically pleasing? It's *Giselle*.

    1. That lift is ridiculous. Ridiculous. Meryl gets herself hooked onto Charlie, she can hold her limbs any which way and apparently it's just fine, Charlie does his rotation as fast as he can without caring about his technique, then basically she slides right off onto the ice and stops whenever the given resistence provided by the ice decides she should. The end. Highest GOE! Highest level!

      They could have the same basic lift and phrase and style it a la ballet or polka, they could neaten up their limbs.

      But why should they? Meryl and Charlie can be as sloppy as they want, as out of sync as they want, as bent as they want, and they can employ all sorts of non-skating assists to aid in the launch and completion of elements and they'll get the highest scores thrown at them AND kudos for doing everything perfectly, especially on the pc side. It's just amazing.

  4. Scott HAS @ STOP SMOKING... His Teeth R Soooooooo Yellow...

    1. If you notice, all his brothers have the same colour teeth as well as his mom - it's genetics.

      People do have different coloured tooth enamels other then snow white you know..

      He would have to be smoking 24/7 for a couple decades and drinking coffee the same amount to have done that to them himself.

    2. lmao just because someone has yellow teeth doesn't mean they smoke