They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity. True or not, one side benefit to all the recent talk about the future of figure skating, and just what direction it should go in, is that hopefully the sport’s audience will continue to grow. The water-cooler effect and all that. Audiences declined after the 2002 scandal, which served to cement the view that the fix was in, figure skating judging could not be trusted.
The new, and I think very successful, system that was subsequently developed, is really the newer judging system. The ISU adopted the ‘new’ system in 2004, and it has been mandatory at all international competitions since 2006, including at the 2006 Olympics. Given Plushenko won his gold in 2006 under these ‘new’ rules, it makes his current vocal disapproval of the system, which he still calls ‘new’ in a way that implies it’s untested or can’t be trusted, all the more strange. It’s not that new to him anymore, why treat it as such?
While I personally believe skating is moving in a good direction overall, I think it’s important to raise questions, to look at things from all sides. In a perfect world wouldn’t it be great to see quads and complex footwork, spins, transitions etc.? Whether this is physically possible, there are human limits to consider; only the skaters and their coaches know for sure.
In the meantime though, here’s a little glimpse into the future. And we thought four revolutions was a lot…