Short Program on the Chopping Block?

I was on my Facebook when a skating friend of mine sent me an invite to a group called, “Save the Short Program.” I was a little confused because to date, there has been no scruples against the short program in any way, shape or form. In fact, I’d say that prefer the SP at times because it has a certain amount of predictability but what is always pleasant is when skaters and choreographers combine good skating with choreography that is fresh, unusual and well thought out. (To me, this is a fine example of what I’m talking about.) Either that or the SP is easier to swallow in case the competition turns into a total splatfest.

speedy

So, I decided to investigate and according to this article, the rumours are true. And that’s not all. The infamous Octavio Cinquanta (or $peedy as he is known in figure skating circles) wants to…

1. Cut the SP because other sports are not based on two rounds.

Aren’t there several segments of a gymnastics competition? And correct me if I’m wrong but for certain time-based events like the luge, don’t teams get more than 1 run? Then there are events like rowing and other sports where there are heats and final races. In show jumping, there’s a preliminary, final and possible tie-breaker round each with their own jumping courses, designed in varying levels of difficulty and with various time limits. The preliminary round generally separates the front-runners from the rest of the pack, while the final round is generally harder but has a similar time limit. The tie-breaking jump off course is generally short and tests the riders under duress and is used in the event of a tie-breaker (which seems to be often enough when the front-runner ride clean and well).

Similar to show jumping, the segments in figure skating tests the skaters on different things.

The short program is very structured, has very specific jumping passes, spins and step sequences and is meant to test a skater (and choreographer’s) ability to express a coherent theme with very specific elements in a short period of time. The name of the game in the SP is perfection: because of the set number of elements, mistakes are costly. You might not necessarily win a competition with a SP but you can definitely lose one with the SP (as we saw with Mao in Sochi *sob*).

The long program is designed to test the athlete’s stamina and ability to execute all the elements, interwoven in a more complex way. The LP gives skaters a chance to create a more complicated story and show the judges all the big tricks they can do. In singles skating, we can see clearly from the LP which jumps skaters are able to execute. Compared to the SP, the name of the game is doing better than your competitors and not necessarily perfection. If you look at Yuzuru Hanyu and Patrick Chan’s performances and results at the Sochi Olympics, you can see what I mean when I say this about both programs.

2. Cinquanta wants to somehow combine both programs together into a super mega ultra uber program?

We’ve heard $peedy tell us that he knows little about figure skating but he seriously can’t be this ignorant… right? (Seriously, we’ve seen this guy at skating competitions, you’d think that by now he’d learn something just by sitting there as a spectator – I mean, does he play Candy Crush on his phone during these things or something?)

Ok, Cinquanta and darling readers, let’s get educated (or at least take a refresher course for those who already know this).

A) The LP equates to a mile of cardiovascular activity.

B) In the LP, skaters can reach up to the maximum heart rate of 209 beats per minute.

C) In some spins, figure skaters can experience the same amount of G-force on their arms as a drag racer or up to 4Gs. In simpler terms, 4g is four times the earth’s gravitational force at sea level pulling at your body. According to this science site, astronauts aboard a space shuttle reach around 3.5Gs.

D) According to this ASAPScience video, a quad requires a skater to reach 350 revolutions per minute in the air while landing with around 7 times their body weight on the ice. Astronauts have been known to pass out in tests in which they spin at 320 revolutions per minute.

E) And let’s just take a moment to remember that especially in pairs and ice dancing, skaters need to do their programs and remain vigilant at all times. They have knives on their feet almost quite literally.

We’ve seen skaters about to keel over on the ice at the end of their programs. I’m not sure if they can handle anything beyond what’s already set out in the LP.

Fellow friend, Ay-sa, doubts that this suggestion would pass by the council within the ISU but it seems as if figure skating fans and specialists are taking a tough stance to this proposed change. Backed by previous champions, a technical specialist and a journalist, this petition is calling on Cinquanta’s resignation. It seems as if the ISU has gone against its constitution to allow Cinquanta to run for president again despite his age ineligibility at the next elections.

What are your thoughts on this petition and $peedy’s proposed SP cut? Let me know in the comments!

~The Rinkside CAfe

 

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Olympic Figure Skating Starts in Less than 24 Hours!

It’s been a whirlwind of posts and I’m all tuckered out. However, here is a roundup post of all sorts of links that can help you be the ultimate Olympic figure skating fan! Remember: figure skating events begin on February 6th while the opening ceremonies are on February 7th.

sochi mascots

For a schedule of events and information on all things Sochi 2014, here is the official website of this year’s Winter Games.

This is the ISU’s official page for the Olympics. I will put up the link to the protocols and scores if they ever show up. I finally found the protocols page. Who’s a fan of the site redesign? Not me.

For those who may not have access to a TV or all the channels, Hot Blades Hot Passion has written a post with a schedule of the figure skating events and livestream links.

If you have trouble figuring out time zones and what not, here is the time in Sochi along with the times of all the Olympic events.

Want to know who I think will win the Olympics? Check out my Olympic predictions post!

Be an informed figure skating viewer! I did a series of Skating 101 posts explaining some of the basics in figure skating today. Check them out below!

History of the 6.0 and Code of Points Judging System

The Basics of the Code of Points Judging System

Olympic Berths and Teams: How We Decided Who and How Many Go to the Olympics

Figure Skating Jumps

Figure Skating Spins

Pairs Skating Elements

Ice Dance

If you want to see what the athletes are competing for, here’s a post on the Olympic and Paralympic medals!

Don’t know who the animals are in the picture above? They’re the mascots of this year’s games! See them and the other mascot contenders (and my snarky comments) in this post!

Wasn’t paying attention to the entire figure skating season before the Olympics? I compiled a list of my favourite programs this season! Many of these programs are from top teams/skaters!

You’re ready for the Olympics!

~The Rinkside Cafe

Worlds will be held in Mother Russia

… as stated in this tweet by Elena Ilinykh.

I guess Putin’s plea demand worked.

The Event will be held from April 24th to May 1st.

Which conflicts with some of the Canadian Stars on Ice dates. Dammit. I might not be able to see Tessa and Scott again. Grrr… At least they’ll be performing a new FD. It better be awesome possum sauce.

Read the official ISU statement here.

~The Rinkside Cafe

Live blog of the SD – NHK trophy

Don’t expect live blogs all the time. I just happen to have a bit more free time than usual today. The pictures in this post are from practice by the way. (Photo credits go to the wonderful photographers at ice-dance.com)

Dora Turoczi and Balazs Major

Hmm… excuse me while I take a food break. Decent lines. Nothing too interesting.

Xiaoyang YU and Chen Wang

This program is horrendously tacked together. A bit sloppy at the end.

Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland

I remember this team. They have glimmers of brilliance. They need to mature a bit but I guess this is part of the process. Lovely waltz section, good lines. Need more speed. Bit choppy on the last lift. I thought their scores should be a bit higher than the Chinese team.

Chris and Cathy Reed

I like the Adams family theme of this routine – for a second, I thought Chris was supposed to be Morozov aka the Russian Gino. (You can do better than him, Miki!) The first lift is awkward but it fits with the theme. These two feel really slow during the waltz section. Screwy twizzles, fall from Chris. Midline step sequence faster and more watchable.

Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov

Finally, a team to be excited about. I see these two making a splash this year. Prove me right? Bit far apart oon the first set of twizzles. I’m glad the choreography doesn’t start with the waltz sequence right away like all the other routines. The music is a bit jarring but they’re a lot faster than the previous teams. Very smooth lift. Stumble on the mid-line step sequence. A bit sloppy at the end but a pretty good performance overall. Their superior skills are reflected in their scores.

Weaver and Poje picture to mark the beginning of the warm-up!

(Meryl and Charlie are officially my favourites for this competition but I love Kaitlyn’s dresses!)
FINALLY! Warm-up group 2! *Is super excited for Weaver/Poje, Davis/White and the Shibushibus.*

Lucie Mysliveckove and Matej Novak

Lucie looks as if she slept with in those curls. Oh em gee. No. These two remind me of the tacky team aka Allie Hann-McCurdy and Michael Coreno. No, stop with that =O face. I’m starting to get a headache. Stop it with the stupid facial expression, Lucie! Elena and Nikita were a lot better. The 2nd part of their music reminds me of a theme song to a really tacky sit-com TV show. Twizzles really out of sync. Ughhh… this team just spews tackiness and I thought I had seen the last of the super awkward tacky hick style when Hann-McCurdy and Coreno retired. Excuse me while I go wash my eyes out. I was so distracted by their tackiness, I didn’t note to much about their skating. Woot for replays. Their footwork is a bit sloppy. They don’t seem to know where the other’s feet are. I fear they may injure each other if they don’t work that out. Ok, those twizzles were out of control. I think the guy left out one rotation on the first set. Would’ve marked them lower.

Maia and Alex Shibutani


Yay!!! It’s the Shibushibus~! These two remind me of Tessa and Scott without the romance. Love Maia’s dress. They’re adorable, I want to pinch their cheeks. They both have such lovely lines. Fast twizzles. They may have less experience, but Meryl, take note of Maia’s lines. Wonderful unison on the mid-line step sequence. And Marina Zoueva is a goddess for seamlessly putting the waltz into the program. Whoa. Freak fall from Alex. Costuming problem for Maia, but at least the little bit of cloth is hanging on a thread. No deductions if it stays on. Not a good start for them. Very smooth transitions during the lifts. Hopefully they’ll be placed 2nd after the Russians despite the fall. Yep.

Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje

Can I steal Kaitlyn’s dress? You can totally wear that to a nice night out. No tacky costumes here. So excited to see how these two have grown.I hope to see them as Tessa and Scott’s successors for the Canadian National title one day.  Love the music choice. They’ve gained some speed since last season. .  Beautiful chemistry.  Still love their music choice on the 2nd part of the routine. Wow, they got  some audience support… for a second or so. Good unison in the step sequence. Favourite SD so far.  Simple and elegant. Love. Woot! They’ve beaten the Russians!

Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte

Lovely couple. The bottom of the dress is a bit strange… Love the song! Que sera, sera! Slowed down on the last part of the waltz… They’re nice and close on the mid-line step sequence. . Nice interpretation of the music on the 2nd half. Twizzles a out of sync but difficult. Adorable! 3rd after Kaitlyn and Andrew and Elena and Nikita.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White

Even when you watch them during the warm-up, you can tell they’re so much better than the rest of the competition. It’s Marlie!!! *squeal* Fast twizzles, in unison, definitely the best of the night. Meryl has improved her line and extension slightly. So much faster and smoother than the other teams.  Is it just me, or Meryl a bit stiff? They aren’t skating with the attack that I know they’re capable of. Meryl has a smile practically plastered onto her face. Lovely new lift, very intricate.  For some reason, I can see Tessa and Scott skating this more than these two… Overwhelming lead. No need to panic about winning this thing, they can fall 3 times and still win.

Top 3:

1. Davis/White – 66.97
2. Weaver/Poje – 58.69
3. Ilinykh/Katsalapov – 56.89

General comments:

Meryl and Charlie are very obviously going to win this thing. There might be a bit of a tussle for 2nd place but Kaitlyn and Andrew’s strongest segment is the FD, so I hope to see a silver medal around their necks at the end of this competition. The little Russians whose names I cannot pronounce for the life of me are doing rather well, as expected. I look forward to their Don Quixote FD. Capellini/Lanotte are only 1.2 points behind Elena and Nikita but I don’t see the Italians surpassing them. The Shibushibus will probably remain in 5th as well… I think they would’ve had a chance at 4th place if they didn’t fall. Pity their season had to start like that. Hopefully they’ll get better as the season progresses.

Results/scores can be found here.

I think I’ll go to bed rather than watch the pairs. There aren’t very many exciting teams. I’ll wake up and hopefully there will be no madness and Pang and Tong will be in the lead.

‘Nighty night!

~The Rinkside Cafe