….ashamed of yourself if you were booing in Nice, France and you know who you are.

I am a little late weighing in because I wanted to confirm for myself that this was because of Patrick Chan and not because of something happening off camera that I couldn’t see.

Here are a couple of things I want you to consider:

1. Regardless of how you may feel about the result – this is a figure skater; an amateur athlete paying his own way and not some catrillion dollar making basketball or football player or some other pro athlete….

2. He didn’t get here by being a slacker – in fact none of them got to worlds by being a slacker.

3.  Can you imagine somebody booing your kid – for winning – legitimately????

4.  PS – new system or old – based on the content AND the choreography this year  Chan wins…that doesn’t take away from the fact that Daisuke Takahashi’s short program wasn’t one of my all-time favourites – but the numbers are the numbers.

5. Give your heads a shake…as a fan wrote me “True skating fans cheer for all skaters and for the sport.”  Cheap shots are never in order.

I frequently end up in endless discussions with a few fans who want to talk about the state of skating – I was left to answer yet another message from one of the regulars…I am leaving his name out – but here is the exchange which tells it all:

“PJ, here is a quote from Elvis Stojko’s Facebook page (I’ve cut and pasted). I know you’ve commented that I don’t know anything about what I’m talking about. At least I feel honoured with the company I’m keeping. Here’s Elvis’ quote – “The skating system is killing my sport. You can falter, slip, fall and still win with points to spare … the excitement is no longer there and it seems ‘fairplay’ is even further away. Skating has become a popularity contest within the closed doors of those who have developed the new system… However… our skating fans are not low IQ troglodytes and the attendance numbers don’t lie. The arguments that I used to defend my sport when I was a competitor are no longer apt because ‘pushing it’ or ‘Higher’ ‘Stronger’ ‘Faster’ have been replaced by ‘play it safe’, or ‘just do the math’…”

Here is my response:

” So interesting to me that you feel the need to continue this discussion…but ok…if you like. I am delighted that you share Elvis’ point of view. One of the things I love about Elvis is that he is willing to state an opinion in a world where so few people seem to have them. In my opinion, like it or not – this judging system is here to stay. I don’t agree it is all about math. I do think that Elvis would have been able to compete successfully under this system – because at the end of the day – good is good. I also don’t see that putting two different quads in a program or planning three somehow means that skating isn’t evolving. It sure seems to be in terms of athleticism as far as I am concerned. I also don’t think that quads of any stripe are what I would call ‘playing it safe’. This system is as much about strategy as the one before it – the difference is here you at least have a shot at knowing what you need to do. This new judging system also has seen the evolution of better skating skills. You never would have seen the kind of footwork done before it – it was too hard. As for bums in seats – you have me there – it is too expensive for many people to be able to go to the rink and watch a top level event. The option of the internet has meant that sports are being delivered to fans in a different way. Many fans are liking it that way. I don’t say you don’t know what you are talking about – what frustrates me is that you seem unwilling to consider that time marches on and that the good old days in many ways weren’t so good. I guess we will continue to agree to disagree. Have a nice weekend!”

There you have it.

As an addendum:  If you think the sport isn’t popular, it’s interesting to me that there were thousands of people on live chat this past week and so many tweets going on that Chan trended on Twitter.  Then there was the popularity of the judging tool I wrote – Judge for Yourself with tons of feedback about successfully de-mystifying the scores and making the numbers relevant. We collectively have to wrap our brains around the fact that it isn’t popular in the same way that it once was – Hamilton’s Copps Coliseum isn’t being sold out – neither is Worlds. Skaters aren’t making the same cash that they were able to back in the day because through the internet:  their likeness, their skating and their lives are very much more accessible which diminishes the value of being able to see them live .Then there’s the cost   It’s not just skating – it’s everything.

I also would like to add that in the good old days under the 6.0 system the brilliance of Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov and Yuzuru Hanyu could not have been rewarded with medals as they finished too far down in the short program.

Do your homework.

Get a grip.

You shamed yourselves.



4/3 9:45am   I just received this note from Lesley Buttle; mother of Jeffrey Buttle the 2006 Olympic bronze medallist and  2008 World Champion.

Lesley Buttle 

It really was very disappointing to hear the booing. I think Europeans, in general, appreciate skating differently than we do. To say that this system takes away the excitement is crazy. In the old days, following the results of the short program, the podium was pretty much set. Now, the sky is the limit and it certainly keeps me on the edge of my seat!! I thought this World Championship was filled with wonderful artistry and amazing athleticism – so many well-executed quads in the men’s event – something the haters of COP used to complain about.”