February 19, 2010

The end of the quadruple jump.

It's been proved, perhaps conclusively, that skaters should not attempt the quad in competition:
An analysis of all quadruple jumps attempted in major international competitions in the last four seasons shows that only about a third of them would earn more points than if the skater had performed a triple lutz, an easier jump, but worth as many points when performed well. 
Evan Lysacek — the American gold medalist — excluded the quad from his program:
"For me, it’s just as difficult to have the intricate program that I have and execute everything as it would be for me to execute a quad... I guess if you asked a speedskater if there is one stroke they do that’s more important than any other, they would say no, that every stroke is equally important. I feel that way about my program, that each stroke I take, each step I take, each jump, each spin, is of equal importance. Sometimes it’s easy to forget about the simpler moves and to take them for granted."
And so it is with life... I feel like saying. It sounds like a general personal philosophy, doesn't it?

39 comments:

k*thy said...

A friend of mine has a bracelet that reads: “We can do no great things; only small things with great love.”

traditionalguy said...

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well. But the fast pace of life, and the digital communications storms at times, lead to un-centered energy that in turn makes us do small things sloppy. The beauty in the ice dancer skate programs was in seeing the fluid and centered perfection possible. The need to see another winter dare devil has been more than filled in luge and downhill skiing and snowboarding. Thanks for this post to our beautiful Professor who always sees and writes about the details exquisitely.

Comrade X said...

sounds like a scoring flaw in the figure skating pageants

vet66 said...

Too many times we reduce our work flow to discreet functions then farm their production out to the cheapest producer. By doing so it disrupts the beauty and art of the flowing presentation. Obviously, focusing on one aspect at the expense of entire workflow/routine misses the beauty of the whole for the glorification of the part.

I still remember Torville and Dean's performing to Ravel's Bolero decades ago. It was breathtaking and free of the trumped up physicality inherent in gravity defying leaps.

Joan said...

sounds like a scoring flaw in the figure skating pageants

G'morning, Comrade Plushenko. A few sour grapes with your coffee?

Plushenko's arrogance last night was a stark contrast to Lysacek's gracious gratitude. Plushy may have (just) landed his quad but several of his jumps were off-kilter leading to wobbly landings. But it was foot work and spinning where he lost -- the jump differential wasn't enough to save him, given his quality of execution. If you can (just) land a quad but the rest of your program is a little sloppier than the guy who nailed every single one of his triples and skated everything else exquisitely, does that mean you deserve to win gold? Plushenko thought so. He's wrong.

Scott M said...

Is it really a sport if the only way to score points is through the subjective opinion of a panel of judges?

This isn't to say it's not extremely physically demanding, but so is child birth and nobody gets medals for that. My wife stuck the landing like a pro on our last baby, though...

michaele said...

My husband and I were once interviewed for a somewhat lengthy personality profile in a magazine that centered around a sport we competed in. Anyway, the story ended with a quote by me that sums up my life philosophy: "If you can be happy with you little moments, the big moments take care of themselves, right?"
It was interesting to note that the unsuccessful attempt of a quad proved to be the downfall for several of the contestents. The reward of the gold should be for the excellence of the entire program. Yes, it should be athletically challenging but it should also have depth and nuance.

Fred4Pres said...

Still, I consider Althouse.com a well executed "quad" in the blogosphere.

Titus said...

Thank God. I have been watching figure skating forever, yes big fag.

I am really happy Evan won. He was wonderful.

I do think also, though that Weir got screwed. I have watched all of his programs in the past and he usually fucks up but he had an excellent performance last night, as well as his short program being excellent, with a minor flub on a spin. A couple of guys in front of him fell and I thought their overall performances both technically and presentation wise were not as strong as Weir's. His jumps made sense in places in the music. Some of the other guys are just jumping in the middle of nowhere. I realize they need to get certain points but that it just my view.

I say bring back the 5.8's and 5.9's with the countries judged attached. I have no idea how they come up with the scores now.

When watching I was thinking of:
1) which guys I would do
2) how fucked up their ankles and bodies must be.
3) what kind of money do the coaches, staff, judges etc make.
4) what kind of money do the skaters make being in skating shows during a year.
5) that Frank Carol coach has been out there forever coaching. That queen is 71 years old. Good for her.
6) who was the female commentator?
7) I bet that stadium audience is like a gay bar. Lots of Larry Craig action in bathrooms...I suspect.

toodles.

Comrade X said...

no joan, i didn't watch. not interested. i just think pushing the envelope deserves reward, like freestyle motocross, where double pits to chesty would never score as high as a double backflip

Titus said...

Oh and off to pinch my morning loaf. I am crowning.

Laurie said...

Ditto what Joan said. Plushenko's arrogance/disdain was just oozing out of his pores - and it made Evan's win that much more enjoyable for me!
While watching the competition I actually thought one of the same things as .. Titus! OMG! (#6.. only #6!)

Scott M said...

Sometimes I think Titus is just Ann's Id getting loose now and then.

SteveR said...

I have some understanding about the "sport" of figure skating (e.g. falls are not good), the details (mis)used in judging escape. So I just root for the Americans or skaters like the Japanese guy whose lace got messed up.

I don't think you can lose sight of the big things, prioritization is important. I believe you need to concentrate on the small parts that lead to the big things, as opposed to getting bogged down in little things that don't add up.

Bob said...

I think that there is something to be said for elegance over athleticism, at least in figure skating.

Fred4Pres said...

“If the Olympic champion doesn’t know how to jump a quad, I don’t know,” Plushenko said. “Now it’s not men’s figure skating, now it’s dancing.”

I agree with him to a point, but usually in times like this it is better to be gracious.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

I say skaters should drop the quad and go for the Double McTwist 1260 instead.

William said...

There is so much wisdom to be gleaned from the words and vision of figure skaters. These are people who are not afraid of sequins.

Fred4Pres said...

Scott M said...
Sometimes I think Titus is just Ann's Id getting loose now and then.

2/19/10 8:41 AM


I know he loves to try to shock, but inbetween that stuff Titus really does have good posts. I think he is a real and unique person. If what Scott M said was the case, I suspect Meade would be running out of the AltMeadHouse when that "Id" got loose.

Fred4Pres said...

Whenever I watch the half pipe, I think it would be more enjoyable to watch with a bong hit. And I do not smoke weed. And don't the athletes look like they are indulging?

Fred4Pres said...

Dick Button was very gracious in saying he did not care if his record is broken, records are meant to be broken, but I suspect he likes that Evan won.

Scott M said...

@Fred4Pres

I suspect Meade would be running out of the AltMeadHouse when that "Id" got loose

Not if he's into that sort of thing...maybe they have a giant mirror on the ceiling with FORBIDDEN PLANET lightscribed into it...

ricpic said...

No more wire hangers and no more triple salchows!

ricpic said...

People, people who wear sequins,
Are the limpest wristed people of them all.
When a person, a very sequined person,
Dances across the ice tippy toed,
Then the whole voyald will know,
He's the sweetest the juiciest of them all.

Joaquin said...

I'm not sure if the quad is harder. I do know that the hardest thing of all is telling your father you want to be a figure skater.

sane_voter said...

Some years ago when the quad was first being attempted, I remember reading about a physicist who calculated that theoretical maximum number of rotations that a man could complete doing a toe loop was NINE. So a quad should be no problem, right?

But I thought Evan deserved the gold. Plushencko has the best jumps when he is on, but he wasn't last night, and he really shouldn't have been that close to Evan in the final scoring.

MadisonMan said...

Joaquin, if my kid told me he wanted to be a figure skater, I'd help him achieve his goal. That's what a parent does.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Has anyone of these fellas ever done a routine to ABBAs Dancing Queen?

Just wondering.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Joaquin, if my kid told me he wanted to be a figure skater, I'd help him achieve his goal. That's what a parent does.

Or beat some sense into him ;-)

Richard Dolan said...

"It sounds like a general personal philosophy, doesn't it?"

Well, it sounds more like common sense, or perhaps a little folk wisdom that would have worked better if expressed as an aphorism. "Philosophy" is a bit grand for this.

edutcher said...

A man's reach must exceed his grasp...

Just because it hasn't been done successfully (in the sense of points), only means someone has yet to find a better way.

Or something.

Scott M said...

Sometimes I think Titus is just Ann's Id getting loose now and then.

Let us pray.

For Meade.

WV "hesinin" What Titus says.

Joaquin said...

@Madison Man. Dude, I was only kidding.
It's Friday, and we are a tad burned-out here so I thought some yuks might be in order.

Hoosier Daddy said...

@Madison Man. Dude, I was only kidding.
It's Friday, and we are a tad burned-out here so I thought some yuks might be in order.


I wasn't :-)

Ok so maybe I wouldn't beat the little dork but that doesn't mean I wouldn't cry myself to sleep.

Ralph L said...

I looked up Dick Button on Wiki last night. He took 2nd at the 1947 Worlds at 17 and never lost after that. He went to Harvard (because Yale wouldn't let him compete) between Olympics and then HLS.

He married (briefly) at 45 and is now 80.

I think the new scoring is more objective and transparent (excuse the buzzword) than the old--now they can game the rules instead of the judge.

Cedarford said...

Hoosier Daddy said...

"Joaquin, if my kid told me he wanted to be a figure skater, I'd help him achieve his goal. That's what a parent does."

Or beat some sense into him ;-)


Skating to "Dancing Queen" ?? Another Hoosier classic, with a smiley disclaimer...

In the sports page, the run-up to the Olympics had a pretty robust debate about male skaters and the backlash against over-the-top effeminancy. Which the likes of Elvis Stoijko and Evan say DO discourage young male talent from considering the sport. As well as the discouragement from the perception male figure skater = homosexual.

Which is a pity, Elvis said in the article because he started into skating as a hockey player, found he liked the idea of expanding his skating skills.....so a country like Canada has a vast pool of talented boy skaters that could be a robust pipeline into figure skating, ice dancing, pairs, but go begging because the more extreme effeminants (he didn't say the "Johnny Weirs") are such a turnoff to Team Canada's recruiting efforts.

The point Stoijko makes what he thinks is good for the sport, and not 'anti-gay". And really simple:

Gays are fine in skating as long as they skate like guys and not like feather-draped prancing girls.
(And Plushenko is not in the feather-draped pracing girly boy category! He is the perfect haughty Russian....and overall, Russia is getting their asses handed to them this Olympics. If they lose in hockey, the one medal that matters above all others, the Russian rout will be total)

mariner said...

Do what you do, do well.

JAL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JAL said...

Remember that comment about socialism the other thread -- Tradguy, I think. (In socialism no one loses, so you don't deal with it very well, in capitalism people lose from time to time and learn how to cope better -- or WTTE).

Seems like the Russian can't deal with not being gold.

Too bad, so sad.

Big Mike said...

I've seldom been more pissed off at the American press. A guy was hounding Lysacek on TV trying to get him to respond to Plushenko. Why should Lysacek have to say anything at all? The scoring system is well-established, a well-executed triples lutz counts as much as a not-as-well-executed quad, jumps later in the program (when the skater is tired) count extra over jumps early in the program, etc. If Plushenko and his coach didn't understand how to maximize their score but Lysacek and his coach did, then that's scarcely a problem for Lysacek, is it? NBC seems bound and determined to whip up controversy, and a guy who was the best out of the strongest field anyone has seen in years is paying the price. There were guys who finished well down in the standings who would have been on the medal podium in past Olympics, and none of the three medalists have anything to be ashamed of in their performance.

Least of all Evan Lysacek.