[ICE TIME] Japan Skating Federation makes wrong decision on first three Junior Grand Prix
Here we go again.
Just when it looked like things were turning around and the skating world was on its way back to normal, one day proved otherwise.
The Japan Skating Federation held a board meeting on Wednesday, June 23 and, in its infinite wisdom, decided that it would not send skaters to the first three Junior Grand Prix of the upcoming season due to concerns about COVID-19.
This move is wrong on so many levels, I hardly know where to start.
First of all, the JGP season does not start for two more months (August 18 in Courchevel, France). Meanwhile, surely they could get young skaters and officials traveling with them vaccinated against the virus, if they really wanted to.
Second, in case you forgot, the entire JGP campaign as well as the World Junior Championships were canceled last season. All the juniors, including those from Japan, had no international experience.
Third, does the JSF take into account that Russia, the United States and other countries will not remove their young skaters from the JGP?
There seems to be a real disconnect here. You don’t have to be a genius to see how Japanese skaters have lagged behind those of Russia in recent years. Restricting the number of events Japanese juniors can compete in this season will only exacerbate the problem.
The JSF must think that Yuzuru Hanyu and Shoma Uno will skate forever.
Yes, Yuma Kagiyama and Shun Sato have big promises for the future, but what about after them?
If the JSF is not going to send the juniors to the top three JGP, what will keep them from skipping the entire JGP season?
This would mean that the juniors will have missed two whole seasons. Not exactly the way to stay relevant on the world stage.
The JSF will say the decision is a matter of safety, but that’s not okay with me. It’s about nobody wanting to take responsibility in case someone is genuinely positive. This is the easy way out. Just throw the box on the road for a few more months and then maybe you’ll be fine.
Data has shown that young people are much less likely to catch and suffer from the virus if they do. But here we are on the verge of impacting another season due to irrational fears as vaccinations advance around the world.
ISU JP announcer Ted Barton gave his analysis to Ice time on the move by the JSF.
“I think they’re just putting health above sport for now and monitoring the world situation,” Barton wrote in an email. “It’s not the wrong thing to do. It is for the athlete and his family. Skating is on the way back, but at different speeds in different countries.
At the same time, the JSF announced the decision on the first three JGP, it also said it will send skaters to all senior GP events. It’s a real headache.
The third JGP is scheduled for September 1-4 in Kosice, Slovakia, while the first senior GP is scheduled for October 22-24 in Las Vegas.
In the space of six weeks, will the situation with the pandemic change significantly?
The JSF certainly does not.
Last summer, the JSF canceled the annual training camp for juniors at the end of July, just days before it started. I can see the same thing happening again.
There does not appear to be any priority given to juniors by the JSF.
Imagine if Yuzu and Shoma, who were both world junior champions, had to miss several international events as juniors.
There is an old saying in sport: “Either you get better or you get worse. You never stay the same. And if you stay the same, you get worse.
The JSF must give Japanese juniors as much international experience as possible. Doing the opposite will only delay their ability to be successful in the years to come.
Skate Canada disconnects once again
Not to be outdone by the JSF, Skate Canada did better by revealing on Wednesday that it would cancel the second stop of the next JGP, scheduled for August 25-28 in Edmonton, Alta., Due to concerns over international travel. and the virus. The event will now take place in Courchevel, offering France two JGP in a row.
The organization, which last season canceled the planned JGP for British Columbia, Autumn Classic International, Skate Canada and Canadian Nationals in One Block, appears to be back on the same track.
“It’s a tough decision to cancel Figure Skating Canada’s 2021 ISU Junior Grand Prix for the second year in a row,” Skate Canada CEO Debra Armstrong said in a statement. “We know better days for our skating community are ahead and we look forward to a prosperous season for our athletes. “
Talk about empty platitudes. Leave me alone.
Earlier this year, legendary choreographer David Wilson blasted Skate Canada for canceling its national championships in an exclusive story for JAPAN Forward. The skating federation responded with a public statement defending itself.
Wilson took issue with Canada hosting the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships shortly before canceling its own national skating championships. Wilson, who has worked with Olympic champions like Hanyu and Yuna Kim, was particularly upset with how hockey seemed to take priority over skating, and rightly so.
In August, guess who is hosting the Women’s Ice Hockey World Championships?
You got it in Canada.
Calgary, Alta., Will be the site of the event from August 20 to 31.
Look at the dates ー at exactly the same time, exactly in the same province, Canada can host an international ice hockey competition, but not a JGP?
What an absolutely shameful decision.
After the failure of the Skate Canada GP last season, I spoke to a seasoned Canadian print journalist who was outraged by the decision. The individual said to me, “I think Skate Canada should be deprived of any future GPs until he gets his act together.
Author: Jack Gallagher
The author is a seasoned sports journalist and one of the world’s foremost figure skating experts. Find Jack’s articles and podcasts on his author page, here, and find it on Twitter @sportsjapan.