In many ways, figure skating has changed so much in recent years that the gap from the sport and art that first got my attention is huge - and not necessarily in a good way. It’s not the IJS, at least not in the “oh noes, the math, bring back 6.0!” way that some former fans have expressed. I think maybe it’s that I was spoiled in that so many of my favorites had long careers, and I became attached to them, but not to the newer generation. And here I do blame the IJS, because there’s not enough room for individual expression, and too many skaters seem concerned with the outcome more than the process. Who will spend months developing a concept and storyboarding a program like Pechalat/Bourzat did with The Little Prince? Even Evan Lysacek studied those stupid birds when he did Firebird. Nowadays it seems like a lot of skaters just study the rulebook.
On the other hand, just two weeks into the off-season and there's also been much excitement. Russian partnership splits, swaps, new pairings and other excitement! Aliona Savchenko, representing... France? And soon to come, for better or worse: music with lyrics...
A taste of things to come?
Still, to follow a sport, you really need favorites. It doesn’t matter if it’s football, swimming, gymnastics or a spelling bee, if you can’t root for someone, there’s no involvement, only impersonal admiration. And with all my favorites at the end their careers, I need to find new favorites. In some cases, it's quite easy. But will it be enough? That's a question I can't yet answer.
Work with me here, judges.