Skating Slowly Tries Regaining Its Edge
about 2 years ago
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"Figure skating is not nearly what it used to be — not globally, not in the United States. The sport’s popularity, outside Japan, has eroded. Television contracts and exhibition tours have dried up in North America and in much of Europe. For a sport whose defining element is the cutting edge of a blade, figure skating has been too slow to remain up-to-date, to make changes in formats and approach that would have allowed it a puncher’s chance against all the diversions, buzz and marketing muscle other sports can muster. But don’t blame the skaters. Their craft is still one of the most difficult to master in any sport."
"Papadakis, 20, and Cizeron, 21 — still young to be so polished — have a profound connection and a fluid style that make their performances seem like alchemy. “I was up high in the arena the night of their free dance, and for at least two minutes of their four-minute program, it was so quiet you could hear the wings of a fly beating,” said Didier Gailhaguet, president of the French Ice Sports Federation. “Even up where I was, I could hear the sound of their skates on the ice. That means what? That means something was happening with the audience, something we can’t quantify but something that we have to give value to in our sport.”"
" More such thinking will be required, and with the I.S.U. set to elect a new president in June to replace the ailing Ottavio Cinquanta, there is incentive. Gailhaguet, suspended from the sport for three years because of his role in the 2002 Olympic judging scandal, is among the candidates, and although he clearly carries plenty of baggage, he is also brimming with ideas. He wants to double the sport’s development budget, reach out to nontraditional skating nations and urban youths by using temporary rinks, eliminate anonymity for judges during competitions and introduce new competition formats. “Our formats are to me a little old fashioned,” he said. “Who wants today to see a girl with a chignon and a little skirt skating to Rachmaninoff? Not many. We need to find a way to connect more with the world the way it is now.”"
I swear, the largest reason I stopped following skating - the media coverage before/during performances. I want to see lots of skaters, with as little commentary as possible, and almost no morbid are-they-crying-yet cams, and that's the opposite of what most US broadcasters seem to want to do for major events.
Yeah, it seems like it's almost impossible to find live coverage of the events now, unless you're subscribed to IceNetwork. I mostly ending up watching the top performers on YouTube the next day. I'd really prefer to see *all* the routines, though, not just the ones that make it to YouTube.
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