Blog: The Educated Reporter

Figuring out the skating standstill.

Sometimes turnaround guru Justin Cohen and I are simply on the same wavelength. The same time he was writing this, I was having an e-mail conversation with a friend about the lack of progress in figure skating. The topic was areas that have failed to innovate over time, and my mind immediately went to figure skating.I know that the skaters are doing, say, four turns in jumps where they used to do three, and maybe they leap higher or spin faster, but structurally and aesthetically, to the untrained eye the routines look pretty much the same as they did decades ago. Yes, that Chinese couple was great, but it still feels like what Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner did back when I was really into this stuff. Same with the singles competitions: better executed, but the same types of moves, the exact same vibe.

Recalling—and lamenting—that Scott Hamilton could never do his backflip in competition, I figured (haha) that scoring rules must have something to do with why skating hasn’t leaped (hahaha) forward, and Justin did too. Of course he is the one wonky enough to tie it to education policy. I was just thinking about skating.