Evan Lysacek and Johnny Weir had press conferences yesterday that were written up by Philip Hersh in the LA Times, in which he spoke about the troubles of the judging system. And the judging system and the recent scoring vigilance by international judges has definitely taken its toll on Lysacek's placements. Lysacek was asked how he feels about the loss of the 6.0 (now, mind you, it's been several years at this point since we had the 6.0 system). He includes a pretty putrid product placement, but if that's what it takes to get skating visible, then that's what it takes:
Regardless of how I feel, the truth is the 6.0 was a brand for figure skating worldwide, and it became a commonly used phrase: "I would give it a 6.0," Lysacek said. "Anyone could flip on the TV and know a 5.9 is pretty good and a 4.1 is not very good, so it was easy to follow, to cheer your favorites.
"Losing that brand was very difficult, and I think we have seen that hit quite a bit here in the U.S.," Lysacek said. "But it is really encouraging for us now to have AT&T onboard, the support
they are putting behind skating. It shows people still are appreciative of the sport regardless of how it's scored."
Lysacek also said that the quad is a brand that the public can relate to, but he'll have to decide whether that "death-defying element" is worth the risk of adding it to his nationals program, prompting Hersh to write:
It would be if the knuckleheads who run international skating made it worth significantly more than a triple lutz (how about twice as much instead of 9.8 to 6.0?), a no-brainer jump for elite men.
I like Johnny Weir's comparisons:
"The sport of figure skating has become some kind of national math contest, and this judging system is killing the sport," Weir said. "The free program is supposed to be free, to put an image out there and tell a story, and it's next to impossible to do, unless you write the whole story on your costume ... The art of figure skating is lost because of this judging system."
I particularly like the "write the whole story on your costume" bit, because, God knows, Johnny's tried to do that...
Weir also says that he's not surprised by the spate of injuries because of the physical demands of the sport now. I would really like to see a quantitative survey about whether injuries are more prevalent now than they were ten years ago (I mean, I feel like Michelle Kwan was injured a bunch of times...probably others were but I don't know) and have it broken down between each discipline (pairs, ice dancing, etc.). Then someone can prove that there are more injuries and we can assess whether they're truly do to the new rules. I guess it's just more elements squished into a program and programs that don't let up as much? Ha, I'm sure USFSA or ISU has the funding for this type of a survey when skating television contracts in the US are dying, right?