I was unable to blog this weekend, but Scott Hamilton was on Celebrity Apprentice last night on NBC. The show airs Sunday nights at 9pm. I haven't watched it yet but Hamilton managed to avoid being fired last night.
Here is a recent Washington Post chat with Hamilton for him to plug his book The Great Eight and the show. I love Scott Hamilton but don't understand all of his answers.
Here is what he says about the lack of skating popularity:
Scott Hamilton: I believe a lot of the decisions made during the heyday of skating set the stage for our current recession. Networks have changed, sponsors have changed. And it is up to the skating industry to respond to these new economic challenges. The skating has never been stronger. The athletes are driven. It is up to them to build a relationship with the audience that will bring them in consistently. Then you'll see a change in viewership.
I wish he would elaborate on what those decisions were. Also, in defense of today's skaters, it's hard to build relationships with the audience if they can never watch you on television.
He was later asked if skaters turning professional ruined amateur skating:
Scott Hamilton: The problem wasn't professional skating, it was a lack of professional skating. When the World Championships and the World Professional Championships were both healthy, the sport was booming. The amateur structures changed their rules to keep their skaters, thus effecting the natural turnover of champions that fed both entities. The way out is to reestablish a healthy professional competitive structure and allow the "Olympic eligible" skaters their moment in the spotlight so they can move on and give the next skater their turn.
Not sure if I understand what he means here. Who does he think overstayed their amateur welcome and should have turned professional? Michelle Kwan? Irina Slutskaya? Todd Eldredge? Does he mean amateur skaters have too many opportunities to make money?
When world professional championships started its major decline, many of the top skaters from the Olympics had all turned pro - Tara Lipinski, Ilia Kulik, later on Alexei Yagudin. Some consider the decision to turn the World Pro Championships event into a pro-amateur competition in the late 90s as the kiss of death. Who knows.
On the lovely subject of quads:
Scott Hamilton: In any competitive sport, it amazes me how these athletes take it to the next level. I thought, in my days of competing, that you had to be a mutant to do a quad. Now, you need one to be in the top 10. Is a quintuple (5 revolutions in the air) possible? Absolutely! It may take a change in skate technology. It seems we've been skating on whale bones since the last century. I wish a large shoe company would advance the technology to see where we could take this. I've learned to never say never when it comes to the limits of what a human being can do. Ask Tiger Woods!
Hmm. Jeffrey Buttle, Patrick Chan, Jeremy Abbott, and several others might disagree with the idea that you need a quad to be in the top ten of skaters. I don't know why he would say that.