Wednesday, February 14, 2018

"Figure Skating Is Not a Sport"

Okay, if that guy from Fox News can create "Figure Skating is not a sport" as clickbait for his posts--so can I.

Click away lovers (and HATERS) of figure skating as a sport. I'm going to wrap myself in the fuzzy blankets of your clicking and raise the worth of my blog from $80 to $82.

Let's define sport: Sport is "an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment." 

Let's do a checklist:
 1. Physical exertion -- check
2. Skill--Check
3. Competes against others-check
4. Entertainment--Check

Figure skating is not a sport proponents rant on that figure skating is judged by aesthetics. And for some reason judging by time, or weight, or  distance,  accuracy, (biathalon), or smoothness is like you know REAL sports judging (end snark).

Huh? I hear you cry? What sport gets judged on smoothness?

Half-pipe snowboarding.

In fact let's compare half-pipe scoring (which as EVERYONE knows, half-pipe is  a 'real' sport because it 'doesn't ' judge based on aesthetic) with figure skating judging--figure skating judging 90's style.

1. The winner is selected on order--that is the snowboarders are stacked in orders based on their scores.  How do they score?
2. The run is scored on difficulty. You know, like how a triple axel is harder than a double.
3. Variety. You know, like how in old-style figure skating scoring you'd see jumps and spins and combinations or footwork you don't see anymore because they don't get 'enough points'? That old school variety. 
4. Execution. Since you won't believe my description, here's the quote. "How smooth is the ride? Does the rider appear to be steady, in control and moving with fluidity? Are the landings smooth, or does the rider appear shaky?"  Really? you know what that is half-pipe fans? That's judging on aesthetic! Annoyingly, half pipe snowboarding doesn't have equivalents to edge errors, or toepicking on stroking, or  other finesse issues. It's like half ass 1990s figure skating judging.

So if half pipe snowboarding has the equivalent of a scoring system that figure skating had in the 90s. I'm mean, scoring like figure skating had back in the 90's when audiences chanted "Six! Six! Six" and there was variety in performance and choreography, and audiences packed to the rooftops.

Instead, because of that stupid judging scandal involving 'the French Judge' and whining from the 'sports writers' we got stuck with IJS--a complicated system that probably judges fairly, but to get there we're stuck with repetitive choreography that makes one program look pretty much like any other program: shuffle the elements and skate-skate- jump.

AND STILL  we get stuck with stupid comments every Olympics that "Figure Skating Isn't a sport  because it's judged on aesthetics". No, it hasn't been judged on aesthetics for 14 years--and it's only occasionally does a skater break through the IJS restrictions and deliver a powerful, exciting program.

Wanna win? Skate to the numbers.  Wanna be dull? Skate to the numbers.

 Oh, I miss those old skool programs. If IJS isn't going to get figure skating any respect from the 'sports whiners writers' no matter what the scoring system, can't we loosen it up so we can get some spectacular skating again?  I miss big open jumps. No points, but oh they were beautiful. Or jump landings that go into back spins?

(Oh, and remember the French judge? The one who starred in the scandal that started it all? She never got banned from the sport at all--just a 3 year suspension.)



  1. I noticed how harshly halfpipe judging is. Fall once, you're done. It's a throwaway. Meanwhile in figure skating, a fall on a quad is more points than a clean triple. We're rewarding the wrong thing, in my not-so-humble opinion.

    Don't even get me started on all that I think is wrong with the current figure skating judging system.

  2. I wonder how many of these men who claim figure skating isn't a sport have ever tried it?

  3. The comment I heard in the past was "if there is music and the music matters then it isn't a sport".