We close out our coverage the USFSA annual meeting with some final loose ends on some of the other activities that took place in addition to the main business meeting.
During the banquet and
ceremony that closes the annual USFSA meeting, Russian pair skaters Ekaterina Gordeeva and
Sergei Grinkov were warmly acknowledged by the ISU President, USFSA officials, and
delegates as they were inducted into the USFSA Hall of Fame. Gordeeva was present in
Colorado Springs with her daughter Daria (who was in bed during the banquet) for the
ceremony. The many, well known, accomplishments of the team were highlighted, and Gordeeva
received a copy of the plaque that will be placed in the Museum at USFSA Headquarters in
Colorado Springs. Following the award, a video of their last professional performance
together was shown. The screens flanking the stage could not be seen from the podium in
the packed ballroom, so Gordeeva sat on the steps to the stage watching fondly. She looked
lovely for the occasion and appeared in good spirits. Many in the audience would have
liked to have heard some comments from her, but unfortunately none of the award recipients
were given the opportunity to speak.
[Photo at right: Ekaterina Gordeeva with former USFSA President Ben Wright, at induction into USFSA Hall of Fame.]
Friday afternoon, while delegates were busy beating each other up over the rules, the many award recipients at the meeting were honored with a luncheon at Headquarters following which their palm prints were preserved in concrete. A la the Chinese theater in Hollywood, future visitors to Colorado Springs will find these when they visit the Museum.
Saturday night, the theme of the closing banquet was, naturally, the 75th anniversary of the USFSA which is being celebrated this year. Photos and videos of past champions were shown and the accomplishments of American skaters over the past 75 years were highlighted, many presented by past National champions invited to the ceremony. The U.S. World team, which makes an annual appearance at the meeting, was joined by dozens of champions from past decades, including the oldest living Men's and Ladies' Champions. [Trivia question: Who are they?]
Master of Ceremonies Harry Gleason ("the voice of Nationals") was assisted by Host Scott Hamilton. What might otherwise have ended up as a rather dry recitation of names and results was kept moving by Hamilton, who could probably make watching ice trying to freeze in July entertaining. Hamilton is one of the few superstars of professional skating who is truly generous of his time when it comes to eligible (amateur) skating, and is rightly admired for much more than just his skating.
Ben Wright's book, "Skating in America", which chronicles 75 years of skating in the U.S., went on sale at the meeting. This book is available from USFSA headquarters and is available in limited quantities. [The print run was only 2500 copies. We will review the book next month.]
Prior to the banquet a reception was held in which nearly 60 years of National Champions assembled in a group photo making up a virtual who's who of American Champions - with a few noteworthy exceptions who will go nameless. Following the photo shoot at the reception, it was charming to see former skaters and delegates (of shall we politely say - "mature years") go into a feeding frenzy having the photos in their copies of Wright's book autographed by the collected champions.
For the first time in its history, an ISU President attended the annual meeting of the USFSA. Mr. Cinquanta spoke at the start of the meeting, and then sat back to watch the fireworks. We considered providing the text of his remarks, but after listening to our tape we decided it was a little too long and a little too rambling for the two main points the average reader might be interested in.
After the usual polite introductory remarks congratulations the organization for surviving 75 years, and American skaters for accomplishing so much during that time he made two more serious points. First, there was a diplomatic, but firm suggestion that American dancers ought to be accomplishing more in international competition, and "urged" the U.S. get it act together in dance. The second item concerned a program the ISU is working on in changing the way the short programs are judged.
While the USFSA is mired in a technological stone age, the ISU is looking to harness modern technology to improve judging of competitions. In the short programs, they are looking at an interactive digital video system that the judges could use to replay short program elements. The idea is that each short program would be digitally recorded and the short program elements isolated. Each judge would have a video monitor at their desk. If a judge wanted to see a given element again they could immediately call up the video clip of the element in question. In principle, this instant replay capability would allow greater accuracy in the assignment of required deduction, and would help eliminate the frequently unfair criticism judges receive from T.V. commentators using instant replay that only they currently possess.
Return to Title Page