I haven’t been making outright suggestions so far. Basically, I’ve just been doing whatever I feel like, but now I have one and I think it’s a good one.
This is my proposal: for the ISU should run a team even just like the Olympics, prior to and in conjunction to the individual skating disciplines at the World Championships. And, this should also happen every four years, but 2 years out from the Olympics, nicely staggered like the Winter and Summer Olympics.
It is a little odd that with Olympic medals on the line, skaters only experience this kind of competition once every four years, like an after thought. (I’m sure I’m not the first person to think this.) It makes the team even just seem a bit like a medal grab but I think the team event can really be good for the sport and should be treated a bit more seriously.
It has certainly demonstrated that it can be benefit for skaters competing in the individual event to first compete in the team. It raises the quality of skating and helps to put out a better event and it is exciting in itself. It has a dynamic all its own, from different teams’ strategies to the skaters’ perseverance when they are skating for their team and not just for themselves. And, I think, it is already paying dividends in encouraging countries to improve their skating programs across the board. Look at China’s dance team, and the improvement in Japan’s dance and pairs. We see Israel and South Korea becoming more competitive. True, the top three teams have remained the same from 2014 to 2018, but who thought Italy could get so close, only one point back from third after the short? Maybe in another four years and with a bit more attention, the competition for the medals will become tighter and more intense.
A World Championship team event would raise the profile of the team event and give athletes more opportunities to take part in this kind of competition and prepare. I think it would help build more interest in figures skating mid-quad, rather have the world in general only pay attention every four years. There would be qualifying events every 2 years; there would be jockeying for position from competition to competition. Teams would always be building and changing. The results wouldn’t just reflect whose on top, uninjured and healthy, during the Olympic year. Who wouldn’t want to call themselves the World Championship Team?
Let’s make the team event something countries and skaters want to be a part of. Let’s get rid of the World Team Trophy which always comes across as silly, mugging for the cameras, and is so late in the season that many World medalists do not bother to go. Personally, there is nothing on the line for them. But, if countries see that skaters competing in the team have an edge in the individual competition, that could change. Let’s make the this an event in which countries want their best skaters to take part.