Yes, jumps are beautiful when they are pulled off well, and I like seeing the smiles on the skater's faces when they do it. But it's true, the big picture and the whole package is what counts in the end.
I'd have to say that as much as the jumps are exciting to watch..... I prefer the footwork and spins and seeing a lot of artistry and emotion put into the skating. Really good choreography, incorporating the jumps as part of the whole package. Rather than all the other stuff being treated as just so much "filler" in between the jumping.
I agree with ARCHIMEDESII that figures should be included. I call it "fancy footwork" and it takes a great deal of skill. Nowadays it seems people are most impressed with the jumps, the triples, quads and combinations. What's next, the quint? Don't know if that is physically possible. Personally I like figures and spirals more than anything.
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21,771 2/14/14 11:33 A
When Peggy Flemming won the gold in 1968, skaters were still required to perform actual figures on ice. The performing of "figures" as part of a skater's score was eliminated in the 1990s.
In that time, as others noted, the complexity of the short and long routines increased. The programs became more athletic when women started doing triples. It wasn't until fairly recently that men started doing the quads. There is too much emphasis on being able to do those kinds of jumps. It does almost eliminate older skaters who may have extremely artistic routines.
Also, skaters take a lot of falls in practice. years of those kinds of falls does take a toll on an athlete's body. Which is another reason the younger skaters are being favored. They just aren't as injured from years of training.
Personally, I think the figures should be reinstituted into the programs. Being able to skate a perfect figure 8 is technically very difficult. That's what Peggy Fleming was famous for. She was famous for her perfect figures on ice.
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611 2/14/14 11:05 A
The programs are getting more technical, which means its harder for competitors. In the Vancouver Olympics, you barely saw a man do a quad, now all are trying them. I remember when a female doing a triple was uncommon, now the women are expected to land those all the time. The best thing that happened to skating was requiring the competitors to do a step sequence and combination spins, otherwise it would just be jumps. I love watching jumping as much as the next person, but they require very little energy compared to a step sequence or spin. Those are really what shows a persons athletic level. Also, step sequences were always harder to do than jumps. I'm also one of those technical people that will watch for the small misstep or double footed landing or even the rare Flutz (Lutz, taken off incorrectly like a Flip).
I can't ice skate either. Anything they do is amazing to me. When Sonia Henie skated the only jump she did was a single axle but she was the best in her day and skated beautifully. The ante gets upped all the time.
Figure skating is different than, say, fencing as far as professional opportunities.... There's the Ice Capades type thing, and a medalist is presumably going to get better billing and probably paid more, for professional shows. Not to mention coaching or choreography or announcing or judging or advertising or whatever. There is a lot more money to be made in figure skating, than fencing. Same with gymnastics, in the Summer Olympics. Much more popular sport among the spectators. I can see winning a gold medal in figure skating, getting you on a Wheaties box. But not fencing.
I thought that one guy that had a huge wipe out and got up and finished anyway was very inspiring
I can't stand on a pair of skates on a good day. So personally I can't be disappointed in anyone that gets out there and tries
Edited by: MANDIETERRIER1 at: 2/14/2014 (10:44)
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2,569 2/14/14 9:49 A
I think Miss Ruth is right, it is technically harder than it used to be on both the men's and the women's sides. Also, for many of the skaters, yesterday was their first day in competition on Olympic ice - the preliminary rounds, not the finals. So many of them are dealing with nerves and this is pretty much the highest point they will reach in many of their careers. A friend of mine won a silver medal at the Bejing Olympics in fencing and the US gives athletes maybe $1000 for a bronze so it's not like there's a huge financial incentive there. The only way he parlayed his fencing career into a career as a philanthropist/TV personality was by quite literally gate-crashing A-list parties wearing his Olympic medal. The logic was, literally, "Who is going to turn away an Olympic medalist?" For many of these athletes, they can last 1, maybe 2, Olympic cycles before turning to their next career. Skaters like Plushenko or Michelle Kwan whose careers in competition span more than a decade are really very rare.
I agree MISSRUTH, as I walked past my screen that skater had just fallen down after he had missed his jump, my heart almost broke as I watched him walk away dejected, shoulder's down and miserable, the announcer was commenting that 'his 31 year old bones just could not take it.' Figure skating has changed much from when I first started watching it. Still excellent, but much more competitive in that so much more is expected of the skaters now. I can't imagine what will be expected of them in 10 years.
I don't think it's because of the weather or condition of the ice.... it's indoors and all of that is controlled.
The Russian is 30, 31. A lot of the other competitors are 19, 21 somewhere in there. (I'm speaking of the men's competition yesterday.) Could be their young age, less experience handling the nerves of competition. Certainly, it's their first experience at the Olympics and I imagine that carries a lot of pressure with it. Doesn't have to be external pressures, could be just the load they put on themselves, to do their best while the world is watching. How many of them have looked to the Olympics as being the pinacle of their career? How much would an Olympic medal help them, as far as professional opportunities? I'm sure it would help a great deal as far as opening doors for financial success, if they could say they won an Olympic medal.
There's a lot on the line. Could be the necessity of including certain elements in their programs, that maybe they haven't quite mastered yet. I don't follow skating and don't know what the regular "Worlds" competition requirements are; but maybe not as *vigorous* as the Olympics? Fact is, years ago a double in a jump was good. A triple was spectacular. Nowadays, the men have to have a quad in there or they won't win gold. Triples are just normal and routine and expected to be completed flawlessly. A double is ho-hum, who cares. You really can't compare the figure skaters of "years ago" to now. Totally different requirements. None of those fabulous skaters of years ago, would stand a chance against what's required today.
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7,999 2/14/14 12:28 A
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I know, I've been kind of disappointed too. I love watching ice skating, but this year, there is something missing!!!!
I have always loved watching Olympic figure skating, I guess I'm spoiled because growing up as a child we had some of the best and now dear god all they do is fall down. Even Tara Lipinski is getting frustrated when she does her commentary, it's rare to see one go through the whole program without falling down. I was so bummed to see the Russian male have to bow out because of back problems he's been one of the only consistent skaters this Olympics. It's not just one country it's all of them except for Russia, I'm not sure if it's because it's warm in Sochi and it's making the ice to soft but this has been a real disappointment....
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