Archive for the ‘Comment’ Category

With Skate Canada’s Winterfest (4 to 6 January) out of the way, the Finnish results known in December, and Sweden and the USA’s qualifiers decided on 11 and 12 January, it’s perhaps time to look at what has been happening to overall scores in junior domestic competitions since last season.

Winterfest is important because it decides which Canadian junior teams head off to the world championships in Helsinki: this year it is Nexxice and Les Supremes. Nexxice scored 133.64, up from 114.01 last year making a rise of 19.63, and Les Supremes 127.32, up from 118.82 last year for a rise of 8.5 (www.skatecanada-centralontario.com, archive: winterfest2013_juniors). If they follow last year’s trend, scores will no doubt improve further by the time of the Skate Canada synchronized skating competition in February.

In Finland, December’s results saw top teams Fintastic achieve 160.18, a rise of 11.58 from 148.60 in the 2011-12 season, and Musketeers score 157.83, up 17.06 from 140.77.

These results may ultimately be low compared with what will be achieved internationally. Finnish team Fire Blades, consistently 11th in Finland’s junior synchro hierarchy for three seasons, scored 91.47 (up 3.4): the team went on to score 105.64 at the Mozart Cup this month. The subdued Finnish domestic results, compared with scores achieved internationally by the teams, may be because the judging benchmark in Finland, with 14 junior teams competing, is just tougher than in countries with only two, three or four teams. Fintastic and Musketeers are already announced as Finland’s entries for the worlds.

As another example of what is possible, the number 13 team in the Finnish competitions, Chrystal Dreams, this season scored 83.18 in December: at the Neuchâtel Trophy a month later, it won the juniors event with a score of 105.92, some 22.74 higher than its domestic result. UK teams will therefore be all too aware that a 20 or so point gap for, say, a qualification target can be closed and overtaken with a month or more of practice.

Sweden’s second round of qualifying competitions took place at the Vättern Cup 2013 (12-13 January), and it’s interesting to see that results from the top Swedish junior teams also show an upward trend (results: http://www.skatesweden.wehost.se). Team Convivium scored 156.72 at the Vätterncup, up from 135.28 at the Kungsbackatrophy, which took place at the equivalent time of year (14-15 January 2012). Team Spirit scored 138.02, as against 124.49 for the same events. Sweden appears to cycle its events, so they may take place at different times of the year – the Vätterncup was in March in 2012. It’s important to compare domestic events at the same time in the season because teams can improve so much during a season: choosing an equivalent time of year in theory catches a team at the same stage in its development.

The fly in the statistical ointment is the results (www.icenetwork.com) achieved on 11 and 12 January for the US teams. The junior world team selection event saw Lexettes and Skyliners chosen as US representatives at the junior worlds, with Braemar missing out in third. Lexettes scored 146.04, down from 151.29 in 2012; Skyliners scored 143.39, down from 162.44 in 2012; and Braemar scored 135.35, down from 161.24 in 2012.

However, with Skyliners scoring 139.97 at the 2012 JWCC and Braemar scoring 145.08, last season’s US qualification results looked decidedly over-optimistic, and a dose of realism may have hit the domestic decider this season. A number of teams have set high scores in previous years’ domestic competitions and championships, only to come away from the junior world event with a more realistic expectation of their scores.

The trend therefore still appears to be generally upward among some of the top junior teams qualifying for the worlds, confirming that the required elements this year are contributing to higher scores.

The 2013 Junior World Synchronized Skating Championships is in Helsinki, Finland, on 7 to 9 March 2013. Official website: www.jsynchroworlds2013.com Facebook event: www.facebook.com/events/152884378191785/

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SK8 Scotland’s Trophy D’Ecosse begins in Dumfries this week on 5 April with the draw, with the actual days of competition on 6 to 8 April. And yes, that’s Good Friday through to Easter Day.

IW synchronized skating teams Wight Sparkles and Wight Crystals will be competing at elementary and novice levels respectively. Junior team Wight Jewels are not there, with many of the team having exams shortly after Easter.

The Trophy D’Ecosse this year is the only opportunity many of the UK’s synchronized skating teams will have had to compete against each other this season, with the absence of the British national opens from the calendar. But the Easter holiday weekend is a curious choice of dates for the event: yes, it’s school holidays and avoids skaters having to take time out of school to compete, but it is the holidays, and many skaters will no doubt have had other plans made for them or, at a certain age, be more concerned about imminent exams. Easter is also one of the most hideously expensive times of the year to travel and for accommodation, which must limit the attraction of the event to international teams.

So while catering well for the more fun side of synchronized skating, where there is an extensive British presence, the event is surely disappointing as an ISU event for the novice, junior and senior levels. Trophy D’Ecosse has attracted a total of just seven teams at these levels: two senior, three junior and two novice, of which only three are from abroad.

For many teams at junior level, the event must have limited appeal given the climax of the season occurred in March with the Junior World Challenge Cup in Gothenburg. At senior level, of the two teams only Fire on Ice of Australia is actually going on to the World Synchronized Skating Championships in Gothenburg on 12 to 14 April. Novice teams will have had both the Spring Cup in Italy and the Leon Lurje trophy as better known outlets for their skills.

SK8 Scotland’s competitions used to be early in the season – in October. With ISU status, surely it would be welcomed back in its original slot by novice, junior and senior teams trying to achieve marks for selection for later events, especially as the Welsh Championships in October are not ISU events.

Skate order and results: www.sk8scotland.org.uk/Results/TrophyDeEcosse2012/index.htm

Official website: www.sk8scotland.org.uk/trophy-decosse-2012/

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Since 2002 this website has been run on behalf of the Isle of Wight Ice Dance & Figure Skating Club. The club has decided it wishes its website to pursue other directions, and it will be introducing a new website that is oriented towards membership management and organization, including membership data storage. The club committee voted to adopt this approach at its last committee meeting, and aims to introduce the new website by 30 April. [Update: the new official club website is due to launch on 21 May.]

The news-oriented approach used since 2002 is no longer seen as suitable. The time has therefore come to either close this site or remove its association with the club and continue doing independently what the site has done for nine years. I have decided to continue with the website rather than closing it because closing the site would lose an important archive of local ice skating achievements.

So in short, apart from the removal of the IWID&FSC’s name and some details about the club from the website, everything will continue as it has done. iowskaters.co.uk will continue to report on the achievements of skaters from the Isle of Wight, and present items of interest to them.

To mark the change, the site will now use its alternative, shorter web address of www.iowskaters.co.uk, as opposed to www.iowfigureskaters.co.uk.

Ian Marsh

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NISA has picked up the on the story run in the local paper, the Isle of Wight County Press, about the success of the IW synchronized skating teams at the British championships. It’s fantastic that NISA actually takes note of what happens in the regional press, and brings these stories to light.

NISA’s coverage at http://www.iceskating.org.uk/node/4463, however, is an uncritical lift from the IWCP article (jewels_iwcp_03_12_2010) and as such repeats the editing of copy originally provided to the press.

Club members and parents are reminded that the press is at perfect liberty to edit reports to make them more palatable for readers. In doing so the editing process can introduce some emotive words to sex up the story (such as “revenge”, in this instance), change the order in which facts and figures are mentioned, change the emphasis of achievements, shorten and even delete copy and therefore remove references to particular teams or people, and introduce errors. It doesn’t just affect the County Press: all the stories from local papers reported by NISA will have had the same process applied to them, and the same caveats about accuracy and emphasis apply.

The press has its own idea of what makes a good story, and how to make a good story even better, and has a bunch of specialists called sub-editors to do just that (believe me, I used to be one for 20 years). Please bear this in mind whenever a report appears in the local press or on another website. In short, what has been published may not resemble what was originally submitted.

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