Friday, September 07, 2007
ISU Grand Prix Rant...
I often complain about the ridiculously tight schedule skaters have in December and January...but I'm going to suggest something that contradicts that...but I have a plan!
I think the ISU should go with the same Grand Prix formula for senior skaters as they do for junior skaters, that is, 8 Grand Prix events with the top eight making it to the Grand Prix Final.
For the added events, I think they should be roaming locations. We have our standard events in the U.S., Canada, France, Russia, China, and Japan. We should have two more events that travel...for example, a Grand Prix event could be held in South Korea and Australia one year. Maybe an event in Mexico and Italy another year. This does two things...gives countries that have little exposure to skating events a chance to shine and provides for an opportunity for skaters who never get to compete in their home countries the chance to do so. It's nice to see the Grand Prix Final this year in Torino, Italy. Italy doesn't normally hold a Grand Prix event and is a first step in this direction for ISU competition!
It doesn't add any more pressure to the skaters schedule to add the events...you keep the formula the same: skaters may skate in up to three events, earning points in two. The added events just provide for more skaters to make the final. You can have the top 8 make the final and have two groups of skaters, 4 in each skating group. Short program draw is determined by qualifying points to the final. Free skate draw is based on short program point totals...it couldn't be simpler!
You give fans the opportunity to see more of their favorite skaters in the Final and you make that event much more exciting with greater talent competing. You also would have skaters really trying to make the event because it would become a small version of the World Championships with all the best skaters there competing.
Where do you fit these events in? Simply move the start date of the Senior Grand Prix up two weeks (the junior skaters begin their season almost two months before the senior skaters...it won't kill them) and stick them in the line-up as convenient. Again...skaters don't have to commit to more events than they already are so it doesn't effect them much unless they are competing in the earlier events, they'd have to be ready to compete a couple of weeks earlier than normal, but the pros of this far outweigh the cons.
I urge ISU officials to really give this some thought...it's a possible way to spark some more interest in Figure Skating internationally.