Tracking ISU and U.S. Figure Skating Events, Issues and Governance
by Pete Murray
First let me say that all of you should listen to what Jenny and David had to say in their 30 minute show Wednesday evening. It was done professionally, and was not a gotcha slam at U.S. Figure Skating.
TSL has issues with the level of control that USFS media folks exert over our international competitive skaters, which in fact limits the kinds of interviews that can be done. Jenny and Dave are hearing quietly from both former and current top level skaters that this is the case. They are afraid to speak up for fear of being pulled from international assignments. There are topics that USFS goes ballistics over one of which is ‘eating disorders’. There are others too. The current leadership of USFS is following the same power of control model that prior leaders demonstrated.
They are all in the same mindset on this and they fail to see the points that Jenny and David are trying to make. Do you see much figure skating on TV these days? Where has it migrated to? THE INTERNET! Lock, stock and barrel. Skating appears in paltry and limited telecasts on one Major Network, NBC and occasionally on its affiliated cable channels. What is happening to TV? It is dying and in another 10 years all viewing, will be done on the web. TV is dying along with coverage of Figure Skating.
U.S. Figure Skating should address these facts and embrace the internet, not just in what they present, but with how they present it. Thus, their credentials policy is heading for the scrap heap. It is long past time for it to be reformed and reborn. Jenny and David you can love, hate of just plain ignore, makes no difference; They are one of the new online journalism models that will lead the change in skating coverage whether U.S. Figure Skating wishes to admit it or not.
I have and continue to support much of what U.S. Figure Skating and Ice Network do for the sport we love here in the U.S. I do recognize that the way USFS controls both its skaters and how they are presented and portrayed in the media, particularly in Ice Network articles and interviews, is a most valid criticism raised by TSL. They are all presented in the most bland and uninteresting way to the fans.
Showing that these great skaters are outstanding athletes, great young people who have their own opinions, dramas, humor and humanity is what the sport desperately needs to grow a larger fan base. In this department U.S. Figure Skating FAILS!