February 2002

It's Great To Skate

The Olympic Winter Games are a time when figure skating puts its best skate forward. Millions of people tune in to see the drama and talent of the top skaters in the world. Television ratings will be high - but that doesn't necessarily translate into skyrocketing membership numbers for the U.S. Figure Skating Association. National Skating Week, March 4-10, 2002, hopes to capitalize on the Olympic fervor by giving fans - both young and old alike - incentives to take those first tentative steps on the ice.

The numbers tell the tale. Although membership in the U.S. Figure Skating Association traditionally spikes in the year following the Olympic Winter Games, that increase is not necessarily the huge percentage that many people expect. Since the 1994 Olympic Winter Games, regular USFSA membership has increased by about 15,000. Certainly that's good, but with the solid ratings figure skating usually draws during an Olympic year and the spectacular popularity of the sport during the last eight years, those numbers could conceivably be higher. ...

Read more about National Skating Week in SKATING magazine.

Also featured in this issue ...

Feature: The Olympic Impact
by Laura Fawcett

The Olympic year is one of the most important parts of the marketing of U.S. Figure Skating - for both sponsorship and membership. Figure skating has benefited from extraordinary TV ratings in the last decade, and that in turn led to a $100 million contract between the USFSA and ABC Sports. SKATING gives you a brief overview of how the popularity of figure skating in an Olympic year affects the well-being of the USFSA.

Competition: Triumphs & Tribulations - 2002 ISU Grand Prix Final
by Salvatore Zanca

The ISU Grand Prix Final, held Dec. 13-15 in Kitchener, Ontario, proved that nothing is guaranteed in figure skating. Three out of the four World champions did not win their discipline, making for some very interesting storylines heading into the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.

Coaching Mastery: Christy Ness
by Ted and Mary Clarke

Christy Ness, coach of 1992 Olympic champion Kristi Yamaguchi, is profiled in Part 3 of SKATING's look inside the minds of some of figure skating's top coaches.