Saturday, February 16, 2008

On The Edge

Figure Skating's Big BooBoo

According to Philip Hersh Chicago Tribune Reporter (February 15, 2008) The United States Figure Skating Championships will make a historic schedule change for 2010; that is, Figure skating championships will spread over 9 days, 2 weekends in 2010 as opposed to the five days and one weekend which is the current schedule.

For a sport that is losing widespread appeal to viewers, such decision would be an equally unwelcome one to the fans; despite Mr. Raith’s assurance that it would only occur during the Olympic season. First they did away with the 6.0 system, and now this. While I have to agree the new system (Code of Points)is fair to the athletes; however, it has robbed the sport of its artistry. This Code Of Point, which athletes have to cram as many elements in a program as they can ( jumps, -the more revolution the better-- spirals, spins, footwork) to accumulate points is supposed to discourage judges from cheating. The possibility still exists.

The ISU's objective to totally turn off the fans is working. Not only has it become impossible for a lay person to observe the sport, this decision will make it almost impossible for even some fans with limited vacation time to attend.

Despite the drops in TV ratings and attendance at some events, The 2002 Skate America competition, held in Spokane, Wash., set an attendance record with a total 28,664 people at the four-day event. (3/24/2003 Vicki Michaelis USA TODAY )

That is absurd! It is expensive enough to travel for Senior Nationals to see it all of the events in four days. The number of fans who are willing and able to do that is lessening. Now fans will either have to choose between a Ladies and Men's weekend or dance or pairs which do not draw crowds, as in the singles events. The travel and accommodations’ expenses will be a burden to the arduous fan. I find this thought perturbing. Figure skating's survival worldwide depends on the fans’ interests. This is a truly stupid stupid plan. Some people can only get a certain amount of vacation per year. While this new agenda may not affect a great amount of people, by the same token others will affected tremendously. Skating is very important. I can wager my figure skating boots that no one would even think of tinkering with football!

Before arbitrarily drawing to a conclusion, USFS and NBC really should have surveyed the fans’ opinion prior to launching such plan. Those people really have no clue. This is the final straw. The end is near!

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