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2013-14 ISU Figure Skating Season: The Road to Sochi

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Javier finishes drops from #2 to #5 after Long Program; Jeremy Abbott of the US shoots from #7 in SP to capture bronze in the Finals.

http://www.isuresults.com/events/cat00028031.htm

US ladies (Gracie Gold) and the 2 US pairs just finished outside of the top 3. Will make them hungrier to win and more so for Sochi.

Other results: http://www2.isu.org/vsite/vnavsite/page/directory/0,10853,4844-205151-222374-nav-list,00.html?id=1436

I really don't think Gracie Gold has much of a chance to medal in Sochi. It would take implosions from Asada, Suzuki, Wagner, Kim, and Kostner, honestly. And if Radionova keeps skating like she is, add her to the mix.

Now, maybe under Carroll Gracie will show some crazy improvement over the season. But... I don't think so. I'll watch her NHK skates soon.

The thing that annoys me about this is that the US is sure to promote Gold like crazy with commercials, promos, etc., throughout the Olympics, until people that don't really follow nor understand the sport will feel like she was robbed of a medal or something. (In fact, some of these promos have already started.)

Some level of nationalism is fine and expected with the Olympics, but there seems to be this sense sometimes that US women deserve to medal in figure. When honestly, what absolutely great ladies' skater has the US had since Sasha Cohen? The US ladies haven't medaled at Worlds since 2006. And if you look at the ladies' World medalists from 2007 on, most of those are still competing in the sport.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Figure_Skating_Championships#Ladies

Anyway. This is not directed at you Baron, but just what I perceive is going to happen in the US media.

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I honestly don't think Americans feel they're entitled to ladies' figure skating medals. Figure skating does bring in big ratings and of course it would be nice if there was a competitive American woman in the mix, but it's obvious that hasn't been the case for awhile.

The media need to attract viewers. Americans like figure skating and they like homegrown athletes so it makes sense to promote someone like Gold from a business perspective. I think it's going way too far to suggest that the media will claim she was "robbed of a medal" though. That's much more the Russians' style (Plushenko or Slutskaya anyone?).

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I honestly don't think Americans feel they're entitled to ladies' figure skating medals. Figure skating does bring in big ratings and of course it would be nice if there was a competitive American woman in the mix, but it's obvious that hasn't been the case for awhile.

The media need to attract viewers. Americans like figure skating and they like homegrown athletes so it makes sense to promote someone like Gold from a business perspective. I think it's going way too far to suggest that the media will claim she was "robbed of a medal" though. That's much more the Russians' style (Plushenko or Slutskaya anyone?).

Maybe I'm being unfair. And yes, you're correct that Russian skaters seem to have a tradition of bringing drama.

I think my remarks come because I just see so much hype building around Gracie Gold as the NBC promotional-wagon heats up, and i don't feel like she's deserving. Also because NBC's coverage of the figure skating in the past has been so US-biased and fluffy. Scott and Sandra frequently build up US skaters who aren't that stellar and then tear down everyone else.

Oh, and I said something dumb above. Radionova isn't age-eligible for Sochi. duhhhhhhhhh

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I think my remarks come because I just see so much hype building around Gracie Gold as the NBC promotional-wagon heats up, and i don't feel like she's deserving. Also because NBC's coverage of the figure skating in the past has been so US-biased and fluffy. Scott and Sandra frequently build up US skaters who aren't that stellar and then tear down everyone else.

This is where their billion-dollar gamble hinges and pays off -- in the women's singles. So they HAVE to push the US ladies even if they are nowhere near the top. They have to get those numbers in...otherwise, it's refund time. And the way to build that...is to HYPE the US lady contestants. Like who cares about Yuna Kim or that Masao woman??

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This is where their billion-dollar gamble hinges and pays off -- in the women's singles. So they HAVE to push the US ladies even if they are nowhere near the top. They have to get those numbers in...otherwise, it's refund time. And the way to build that...is to HYPE the US lady contestants. Like who cares about Yuna Kim or that Masao woman??

LOL, well you have accurately summed up NBC's viewpoint, seemingly!

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Maybe I'm being unfair. And yes, you're correct that Russian skaters seem to have a tradition of bringing drama.

I think my remarks come because I just see so much hype building around Gracie Gold as the NBC promotional-wagon heats up, and i don't feel like she's deserving. Also because NBC's coverage of the figure skating in the past has been so US-biased and fluffy. Scott and Sandra frequently build up US skaters who aren't that stellar and then tear down everyone else.

Oh, and I said something dumb above. Radionova isn't age-eligible for Sochi. duhhhhhhhhh

I think you're making an inaccurate connection between promotional advertising and relative athletic ability.

Gold is "deserving" if she helps bring in viewers. That's all she has to do in those promotional spots. It's not as though they're touting her as the girl who wil eclipse Yuna Kim -- that would be undeserved. This airtime is not a prize that's awarded to the best athletes. This airtime is given to the most marketable athletes. There's a big difference.

Plus, you never know when we'll be surprised. Sarah Hughes pulled off the skate of her life in 2002 and what a performance it was!

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I think you're making an inaccurate connection between promotional advertising and relative athletic ability.

Gold is "deserving" if she helps bring in viewers. That's all she has to do in those promotional spots. It's not as though they're touting her as the girl who wil eclipse Yuna Kim -- that would be undeserved. This airtime is not a prize that's awarded to the best athletes. This airtime is given to the most marketable athletes. There's a big difference.

Plus, you never know when we'll be surprised. Sarah Hughes pulled off the skate of her life in 2002 and what a performance it was!

I see what you're saying about NBC's bottom line, bringing in viewers, etc. And certainly NBC hasn't said anything completely stupid like "Gracie Gold is poised to win the Gold against Yuna and Mao!" So I'll grant you that maybe I'm really just complaining about two different lame things that NBC insists on doing in their coverage. But I do think that sometimes the heavy promotion is misleading to people who don't closely follow the sport. Oh well. In February, I'll be interested to see how NBC positions Gold vs. Wagner.

I think I'm also thinking about Scott Hamilton's et al's commentation on the pairs free skate in 2002, which I feel sort of helped create the entire 'scandal' and was somewhat misleading to people who don't follow the sport closely. Funnily enough, though, the outcome of that whole ordeal was that we got the Code of Point, which now actually allows for a skater who falls, but skates an overall more difficult program, to win gold. Wonder how Scott feels about THAT (I'll give you one guess). Of course, he'll try to avoid explaining the Code of Points to viewers as much as possible, as he assumes we're all too stupid to understand it.

Incidentally, I'm not a huge fan of Sarah Hughes, nor her 2002 performance. No use worrying about it though, I don't begrudge her her gold. All would have been different if those Olympics had been judged under the current judging system. C'est la vie!

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evt_header.jpg

Men

1. Daisuke Takahashi, Japan

2. Nobunari Oda, Japan

3. Jeremy Abbott, USA

Ladies

1. Mao Asada, Japan

2. Elena Radionova, Russia

3. Akiko Suzuki, Japan

Pairs

1. Tatiana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov, Russia

2. Chen Peng/Hao Zhang, China

3. Wenjing Sui/Cong Han, China

Ice Dance

1. Meryl Davies/Charlie White, USA

2. Ana Cappellini/Luca Lanotte, Italy

3. Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani, USA

Next stop: Paris for Trophee Eric Bompard

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Evgeny Plushenko has withdrawn from the Rostelecom Cup, which runs November 22-24.

http://en.rsport.ru/olympics/20131113/700869490.html

He should just sit on his laurels and support the new guy. The pressure on him would be unbearable. Besides, he's too old already; and those injuries are coming back. If Lysaceck will be 28 by February (and that's over-the-hill already), what more 31 and fat, flabby and grumpy?? The Japanese guys, Patrick Chan, Javier can spin circles around him.

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He should just sit on his laurels and support the new guy. The pressure on him would be unbearable. Besides, he's too old already; and those injuries are coming back. If Lysaceck will be 28 by February (and that's over-the-hill already), what more 31 and fat, flabby and grumpy?? The Japanese guys, Patrick Chan, Javier can spin circles around him.

Agree with you. I like Plushenko, but Kovtun has been looking good - let him have it. Plus, Plushenko's program is a hot mess - he is doing a mishmash of his own 'greatest hits.' So music from all over the place and looks like his program is just him skating back and forth and doing jumps.

Someone posted elsewhere that perhaps Plushenko could skate in the Team event and Kovtun as the rep for men's singles, but I'm not actually clear if that's allowed under the Team event rules or not.

Regarding Lysacek, he's gotta move soon:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/breaking/chi-clock-ticking-on-lysacek-comeback-20131113,0,3491745.story

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I see what you're saying about NBC's bottom line, bringing in viewers, etc. And certainly NBC hasn't said anything completely stupid like "Gracie Gold is poised to win the Gold against Yuna and Mao!" So I'll grant you that maybe I'm really just complaining about two different lame things that NBC insists on doing in their coverage. But I do think that sometimes the heavy promotion is misleading to people who don't closely follow the sport. Oh well. In February, I'll be interested to see how NBC positions Gold vs. Wagner.

I think I'm also thinking about Scott Hamilton's et al's commentation on the pairs free skate in 2002, which I feel sort of helped create the entire 'scandal' and was somewhat misleading to people who don't follow the sport closely. Funnily enough, though, the outcome of that whole ordeal was that we got the Code of Point, which now actually allows for a skater who falls, but skates an overall more difficult program, to win gold. Wonder how Scott feels about THAT (I'll give you one guess). Of course, he'll try to avoid explaining the Code of Points to viewers as much as possible, as he assumes we're all too stupid to understand it.

Incidentally, I'm not a huge fan of Sarah Hughes, nor her 2002 performance. No use worrying about it though, I don't begrudge her her gold. All would have been different if those Olympics had been judged under the current judging system. C'est la vie!

I understand that the ISU wanted to clean up the sport, but I am sometimes troubled by the code of points because it too often rewards mechanical, soulless performances.

For me, Sarah Hughes was magic in SLC. I had seen enough of her career to know that it was the best she had ever skated. There was a special spark that no one else had (certainly not Slutskaya with that fortune teller routine). In my opinion Hughes absolutely earned the gold.

Similarly, Sale and Pelletier were inspired. There was fluidity and emotion to their skating that I just didn't get from the Russians. The Russians turned in a very nice performance, but Sale and Pelletier were flawless and, more importantly, their performance made me feel something.

I don't think the code of points makes room for the transcendent and it's too bad. I guess you can't have everything.

Truthfully, I enjoy watching figure skating far less than I used to because I don't see the same kind of heart and poetry that I once did.

As for Lysacek, it's feeling like Paul Hamm on ice.

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I understand that the ISU wanted to clean up the sport, but I am sometimes troubled by the code of points because it too often rewards mechanical, soulless performances.

For me, Sarah Hughes was magic in SLC. I had seen enough of her career to know that it was the best she had ever skated. There was a special spark that no one else had (certainly not Slutskaya with that fortune teller routine). In my opinion Hughes absolutely earned the gold.

Similarly, Sale and Pelletier were inspired. There was fluidity and emotion to their skating that I just didn't get from the Russians. The Russians turned in a very nice performance, but Sale and Pelletier were flawless and, more importantly, their performance made me feel something.

I don't think the code of points makes room for the transcendent and it's too bad. I guess you can't have everything.

Truthfully, I enjoy watching figure skating far less than I used to because I don't see the same kind of heart and poetry that I once did.

As for Lysacek, it's feeling like Paul Hamm on ice.

I would say, as far as the Code of Points goes, I hear what you are saying to some degree. When it first debuted, I hated it - although in retrospect I think this was in part because figure skating commentators at the time were telling me to hate it. I think skaters did have to fundamentally rethink what they were doing. Certain things some skaters had done in the past - skating up and down the rink doing jumps, and waving their arms in between, are more strictly penalized in the Code of Points. It has a lot stricter standards with spins and with skating skills. I think overall, you will see a higher level of base skating skills under the Code of Points.

I do think there was a big learning curve at first. So skaters and their teams had to figure out how to put together high-scoring programs. Some skaters, particularly those who'd spent more time under 6.0, probably never really fully adapted. But now I think we're seeing a group of skaters that has mastered the Code of Points skating, has great skating skills, and still manages to put forth something really artistic and beautiful. I'm thinking in particular of Patrick Chan here. So, I agree, I feel something was lost, but that maybe it's coming back.

On on the other hand, there are things that still irk me about the Code of Points. For example for ladies, if you want to achieve a Level 4 on your layback spin, you basically have to do the same sequence... or at least everyone does. Side position to layback position (or vice versa those two) to haircutter to Biellman. I mean, virtually all of them do it the same. I know Uncle Dick complained about the rash of "catch foot" everything the Code of Points brought about and I agree, "catch foot" isn't always the most aesthetic position. Others have complained about skaters putting together programs just for high points - for example, some have said that about White/Davis's current free dance - it's a points monster - and that they are lacking in emotion (I don't see it, myself - I think those two are divine). And of course, many of the commentators, in particular Scott, are very old school and ultimately don't like the new system, so they sort of diss it and don't bother to explain it. (Scott only seems to be able to tell us you get more points for jumps in the second half, but hardly anything else!)

Even with all that, I think comparing how skating looks now, to say, how skating looked in 2006 gives me a lot of hope. I think there's still the potential for transcendence and I hope we'll get to see some of that in Sochi. I hope the sport can recapture some of its U.S. fans.

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I would say, as far as the Code of Points goes, I hear what you are saying to some degree. When it first debuted, I hated it - although in retrospect I think this was in part because figure skating commentators at the time were telling me to hate it. I think skaters did have to fundamentally rethink what they were doing. Certain things some skaters had done in the past - skating up and down the rink doing jumps, and waving their arms in between, are more strictly penalized in the Code of Points. It has a lot stricter standards with spins and with skating skills. I think overall, you will see a higher level of base skating skills under the Code of Points.

I do think there was a big learning curve at first. So skaters and their teams had to figure out how to put together high-scoring programs. Some skaters, particularly those who'd spent more time under 6.0, probably never really fully adapted. But now I think we're seeing a group of skaters that has mastered the Code of Points skating, has great skating skills, and still manages to put forth something really artistic and beautiful. I'm thinking in particular of Patrick Chan here. So, I agree, I feel something was lost, but that maybe it's coming back.

On on the other hand, there are things that still irk me about the Code of Points. For example for ladies, if you want to achieve a Level 4 on your layback spin, you basically have to do the same sequence... or at least everyone does. Side position to layback position (or vice versa those two) to haircutter to Biellman. I mean, virtually all of them do it the same. I know Uncle Dick complained about the rash of "catch foot" everything the Code of Points brought about and I agree, "catch foot" isn't always the most aesthetic position. Others have complained about skaters putting together programs just for high points - for example, some have said that about White/Davis's current free dance - it's a points monster - and that they are lacking in emotion (I don't see it, myself - I think those two are divine). And of course, many of the commentators, in particular Scott, are very old school and ultimately don't like the new system, so they sort of diss it and don't bother to explain it. (Scott only seems to be able to tell us you get more points for jumps in the second half, but hardly anything else!)

Even with all that, I think comparing how skating looks now, to say, how skating looked in 2006 gives me a lot of hope. I think there's still the potential for transcendence and I hope we'll get to see some of that in Sochi. I hope the sport can recapture some of its U.S. fans.

I hear you. I think in some ways my experience of the Code of Points was the reverse of yours. For the first few years I was totally in favor, but that's tapered off some for me now.

I do agree there's a higher level of base skating skills -- no doubt about that. For example, footwork is rewarded now in a way it never would have been previously.

The reality is that if you want a more objective system that is less vulnerable to corruption, the only way to achieve that is to focus on technical merit rather than artistic interpretation because the the technical merit is more quantitative. Such is life.

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US takes 3 medals at the ISU Grand Prix event, Trophee Bomphard in Paris...

men - Jason Brown, #3

ladies - Ashley Wagner, gold (beat that Russian Adelina gal who took silver)

pairs - Caydee Denney/John Coughlin (3rd)

no US couples in Ice Dance.

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evt_header.jpg

Results

Men

1. Patrick Chan, Canada

2. Yuzuru Hanyu, Japan

3. Jason Brown, USA

Ladies

1. Ashley Wagner, USA

2. Adelina Sotnikova, Russia

3. Anna Pogorilaya

Pairs

1. Qing Pang/Jian Tong, China

2. Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford, Canada

3. Caydee Denney/John Coughlin, USA

Ice Dance

1. Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir, Canada

2. Elena Ilinykh/Nikita Katsalapov, Russia

3. Nathalie Pechalat/Fabian Bourzat, France

Next stop: Moscow for Rostelecom Cup.

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US takes 3 medals at the ISU Grand Prix event, Trophee Bomphard in Paris...

men - Jason Brown, #3

ladies - Ashley Wagner, gold (beat that Russian Adelina gal who took silver)

pairs - Caydee Denney/John Coughlin (3rd)

no US couples in Ice Dance.

Wagner should be thankful for a healthy short program lead that enabled her to win the title. She lost the free to Sotnikova who was third after the short program. in the 6.0 system, a good short won't win you the title, while in the points system, you can still win the title even if you had a bad free skate provided you had a good short program.

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Planning to watch the highlights on NBC today after the F1 race, then the rest of everything on YouTube tonight. I did already watch Jason Brown's free skate on YouTube yesterday. What a performer and class act that young man is!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_X_F8zJ8k8

I am really hoping he gets put on the US Olympic team; so many of the men have just fallen apart. I know he doesn't have a quad yet, and perhaps thus not much a chance at medaling in Sochi, but it would be good experience for him. I'd like to see him and Rippon for the US in Sochi, which I know is probably a very, very long shot to occur.

Speaking of Olympic teams, competition for the Russian ladies spot is also going to be intense! Can't wait to see Sotnikova's skates from TEB.

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Hate that hairdo of Brown. He could use a more masculine cut.

But he himself isn't particularly masculine.

Beautiful skater. Very lyrical quality. Needs time to develop power.

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He has potential...and I suppose it could be worse. At least the present do is well-groomed and tucked up. But I can't recall a Men's Singles skater in history who wears his hair in a bun. And if he isn't "particularly masculine," then a more masculine-looking cut could only help. After all, the devil is in the details...and this is an affair all about presentation.

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Maybe not a bun, but I can think of at least one noted male singles skater with a ponytail:

Right. Candeloro. But there was no mistaking the testosterone Philippe exuded. All I'm saying about Brown is that I think he could possibly choose a hairdo that shows off his face better, even while performing.

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