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Anna

Falling over figure skating

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I got this neat offer as a season ticket holder for the San Jose  Sharks. 

 

The USA Figure Skating Championships will take place in San Jose next year, so the Sharks are letting the season ticket holders buy tickets before it goes on sale to the public.  If you watch figure skating, you will note that it never sells out.  So wow...what a hot ticket.  

 

In any case, I checked out the prices.  For all events near the front row -- pairs, ice dancing, men, women - are about $1800 for two.  Or one.  I forget.  It's too expensive for a four-day event that doesn't feature the Rolling Stones.  Prices go down from there, depending upon your choice of seats.  So before deciding, I thought to watch this year's US Figure Skating Championships this past weekend.  This broadcast used to be on a main channel, but it has now been relegated to a secondary NBC channel.  They also only allow you to watch the final 8-10 skaters in a discipline, but you see all the skaters if you pay the premium to watch events online (I do this).  

 

I admit that I do not watch a lot of US skating.  I hate the judging.  And this event did not disappoint on that end.

 

There are a few American skaters I follow.  One is a female pairs skater from Illinois by the name of Jessica Calalang.  She has been skating for quite awhile with a partner, although their inability to remain consistent on the technical end has hampered their rise through the skating ranks.  However, she has had a new partner for the last two years.  Together, they have been dynamic.  In this past weekend's US figure skating championship, they were the only top couple to complete their skating routine without imploding, which is what the other top couples did.  It was rewarding to watch a skater you follow do so well.   She deserved it for working for so hard over a long period of time.  

 

Despite their medal, they won't be representing the US because the skating committee now prefers to choose their skating reps through a subjective system based upon "body of work".   This means that instead of performing one's best while under the maximum amount of pressure, you can go to the world championships if someone on that committee likes your body of work.  They like a program's difficulty, whether or not the skater(s) can actually successfully complete their planned ourtine.  There might be some Santeria chickens and voodoo involved here.  Who knows.  

 

They also seem to go for marketability.  You can read into that what you want.

 

The prevailing argument for not sending the skaters who finished at the top of this event is..."they can go next year. They have plenty of time."

 

Do they not watch sports, much less figure skating?  Nothing is guaranteed in sports, which is why allowing people who finish at the top of a competition is better than just doing this "body of work" bullcrap.  No one knows if that skater, who was made to wait, will ever be at that peak level of performance.  You're also demanding that individuals, who have paid a great deal of money to train (as the US committee is pretty stingy about $$) developing their craft, routine and body, continue to free spend in the hopes that they might fall within the eyeline of that subjective committee.  

 

What sport does that aside from skating, which already has a well-known issue with judging scandals?  What if the New England Patriots participated in this year's Super Bowl instead of the Chiefs, because the AFC decided that the Pats had a far more impressive body of work than a team who finally made it to the Super Bowl after 50+ years?

 

I don't think the US should have a skating championship at all, to be honest.  They definitely shouldn't be charging concert money for it.  This competition seems to have no significance, except to the skater who must return to the drawing board for next year. 

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12 hours ago, Anna said:

Despite their medal, they won't be representing the US because the skating committee now prefers to choose their skating reps through a subjective system based upon "body of work".   This means that instead of performing one's best while under the maximum amount of pressure, you can go to the world championships if someone on that committee likes your body of work. 

 

Judging contestants competing in a championship on their "body of their work" is wrong headed and defeats the very purpose of having championship competitions.  Lemme see how that works: Your skate was perfect today, but last month you fell on the ice, so you won't be advancing to the World Championship.  I can't think of any sport that would adopt such an egregious policy, nor should they.

 

For most of my adult life, I have loved figure skating events, but my interest has fallen off over the past few years.  I began loosing interest when figure skating morphed into a form of gymnastics on ice, with triples and quads becoming the gold standard of a great performance.  What next - will they skate on the balance beam?  Plus, the judging has always left something to be desired, but this "body of work" travesty is a big turn off and the final straw for me.

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@Sandy - I'm with you.  At the very least, I wanted to see if that $1700+ would be a worthwhile investment.  Instead, this Championships thing seems to be a high priced participation prize event.  I'm really bitter about this.  I should also point out that the same thing happened in the men's competition, where a medalist was punted as a backup in favor of another skater, who has been really consistent throughout his career.

 

The jumping is really prevalent on the women's side.  Nathan Chen, the gold winning American and current World Champion, is getting better.  I like Yuzuru Hanyu, but the name of the men's game is tech.  A Javier Fernandez could not survive, which is unfortunate.  Skating peaks at 22-23 now.   

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Agree it should be based on performance on the day. sad as it is when someone has a mishap in their routine but that is what all sporting competitions are about. 

 

Is it just me or are the performances becoming less attractive to watch ? They used to be pretty, lyrical pieces with nice costumes. 

 

Just as an aside about the scoring... I have to admit I was a student who has never performed well under the pressure of an exam, so in high school I was relieved when there was one subject where my final score was based 60 per cent ? On my performance, tests and assignments during the preceeding term. 

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@Versailles - I, too, thought about school testing comparisons, but came to the conclusion that school "finals" and sports' championships are very different things.  School grading is most often predicated on the student's "body of work" throughout the semester. with the final test carrying greater weight, but not the sole determining factor.  Job evaluation and salary increases are also based on your overall performance, not just your work on the last project.   

 

During a sports "season," teams are evolving with some participating teams "coming together," while some others slide backwards, often due to injuries.  The 2 teams that rise to the top of the heap at the end of the season compete for the championship title.  If the two teams competing in sports championships arrived there due to "body of work," criteria, the Washington Nationals' baseball team would never have competed in the 2019 US World Series - and won it!

 

The bottom line:  Ice skating championships are sporting events and the best performances  of those who compete in them should be awarded, accordingly.

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@Versailles, @Sandy - The scoring for skating v. studying is a bit different.  Routines have varying degrees of difficulties in jump varieties, spins, transitions, footwork etc.  Sometimes, you will see a perfect program scored less than you expect, but this is because of it has a lesser degree of difficulty as another skater(s).  Sometimes, you will see someone blow a program but get a higher score because they attempted more.  Or something like that.  Also, known skaters will get a better score v. a lesser known skater.  

 

I think @Sandy also saw the problematic scoring and treatment of pre-knee attack Nancy Kerrigan v. Tonya Harding.  Harding was the better skater, but Kerrigan was the Hepburn look-alike.  The latter should not have even played a part, but I think the US really loves playing into the perky ice ingenue trope.

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16 minutes ago, Anna said:

I think @Sandy also saw the problematic scoring and treatment of pre-knee attack Nancy Kerrigan v. Tonya Harding.  Harding was the better skater, but Kerrigan was the Hepburn look-alike.  The latter should not have even played a part, but I think the US really loves playing into the perky ice ingenue trope.

 

 LOLing at "the US really loves playing into the perky ice ingenue trope."  Speaking of the later, below is a classic picture of Nancy Kerrigan with the signature move/pose that dominated a huge chunk of every one of her performances.  I saw her as a one trick pony.

 

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