It seemed to for awhile but now with the rule changes it seems that it is sliding downhill fast and I am about to stop watching altogether I am so disappointed.
This artcle from the Star makes my point.
DiManno: 'It's not figure skating'
New rules send sport on bad trajectory, as skaters in cahoots with clever choreographers avoid hard stuff
February 20, 2010 ROSIE DIMANNO
Do not let your eyes deceive you. Do not be coerced by the occult of figure skating scoring.
The custodians of the sport like it that way: Unfathomable, impenetrable, outside the ken of the mere hoi polloi.
Evgeni Plushenko should be the 2010 Olympic champion. Under the discarded scoring system, he would be. But scandal forced the International Skating Union to change what was so easily manipulated. It's still manipulated, but by skaters who can't do the hard stuff, in cahoots with their clever choreographers.
I'll crunch numbers in a moment but first word, and it's gospel, goes to Plushenko himself: "Now it's not figure skating. It's ice dancing.''
A word, too, from Canada's Elvis Stojko, three-time world champion and twice silver at the Olympics, in a column posted Friday for Yahoo! Sports: "In what other sport do you have to hold back in order to win?''
That column was headlined "The Night They Killed Figure Skating.''
That was Thursday night at the Pacific Coliseum when American Evan Lysacek dethroned the Russian Plushenko, copping gold by 1.31 points. And you want to know why? Not because Lysacek put on a superior display, though many claimed he did. Not because the jumps he executed were more impressive, though, head-to-head on the same triples, his were better in the air and on the landings.
Strictly on the component marks, the two men were dead-even on the tally sheet.
But, in a program designed by Canadian Lori Nichol and she has some 15 skaters here relying on her ingenuity the routine back-ended many difficult elements, meaning they were in the second half of the 4:40 skate. Under the new rules, that immediately adds an extra 10 per cent value to the base score, upon which judges then inject a Grade of Execution mark with a plus-minus value of up to three.
That means Lysacek got bonus marks on five elements; Plushenko on only three and therein lies the gold/silver difference.
Lysacek was undoubtedly better trained, in peak shape, while Plushenko knew he'd be gasping for air, coming off a three-year retirement.
Further, it has always been Russian practice to front-end the tricks. They seem not to have embraced, or deliberately rejected, the new normal in figure skating: the count-by-numbers rote of exacting rotations and body-shifting positions on spins; the fancy footwork transitions.
When the evolving orthodoxy works to your benefit, as it did with Toronto's Patrick Chan in climbing from seventh to fifth overall (fourth in the free skate), everyone's happy and in love with the system. But if this had been Stojko competing, Canadians would be in up arms. He'd never have won all those laurels under the Code of Points, now-called.
So Plushenko does what only two other skaters managed on Thursday a quadruple toe jump in combination with a triple toe (leaving off a double toe at the end, the three-spot trick his signature move) and scores 14.60.
Lysacek counters with an opening triple Lutz-triple toe relatively small potatoes for ultra-elite skaters and pulls down 11.40.
Plushenko's triple Axel-double toe was also better than Lysacek's. But the latter earned high levels further down, racking up bonus and style points. So, via winning the free skate 167.37 to 165.51 overall 257.67 to 256.36 Lysacek matriculates to the top of the podium.
When Stojko calls this "ridiculous'' he's absolutely right. When he accuses men's figure skating of moving backwards, he's likewise correct.
It took a century for skaters to develop the athletic ability for a four-rotation jump. That came to separate the men from the boys, and now it apparently means squat. There's no payoff in taking a quad risk, pushing those boundaries, being an athlete. Now it's about polishing what you can do and skipping what you can't.
Lysacek does quads just not when it counts most, because there's no dare there anymore. If that's the trajectory of figure skating, why even bother with the vexing triple Axel? Let's just make it all about pretty spins and flourish footwork.
Plushenko thought he'd won. Some of us know he did and are sickened by the outcome, might even take a cue from Stojko: "I am going to watch hockey, where athletes are allowed to push the envelope. A real sport.''