Sunday, February 3, 2008

Unclear Rules Equal Less Artistry In Skating

No skater now will ever do fancy-free footwork sequences like those of Alexei Yagudin and Philippe Candoloro, footwork that brought crowds to their feet, because the system rewards changing foot positions so frequently the athlete cannot get up a head of steam.

Few skaters do eye-catching moves like Russian split jumps or graceful moves like the Ina Bauer or spread eagle because they take time and earn no points. Most skaters simply race between point-producing elements (even Weir, more of an artist than almost anyone else in the sport these days, had little chance to create any flow while he crammed jumps into the first half of his free skate at nationals).

No one in singles and pairs can game the system enough to do long programs that will be enthralling to watch again and again -- like Kurt Browning's "Bogart'' or Michelle Kwan's "Salome'' or Sale-Pelletier's "Tristan'' or John Curry's interpretation of the score from the ballet, "Don Quixote,'' in which Curry really was a ballet dancer on the ice. The new system has made music almost irrelevant; despite the best efforts of talented choreographers, most skaters would simply do the same elements in the same order, no matter what music were playing.

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Source: The LA Times

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