Triumph on Ice: The New World of Figure Skating

Triumph on Ice: The New World of Figure Skating - Jean Riley Senft, Gerard Chataigneau A strong entry in my figure-skating collection. It works well as a coffee-table book. Chataigneau's photographs, while not "arty" in any way, show that primary virtue of a good dance photographer: the ability to catch a movement at its fullest extension and best angle.

Senft's text is also very well-judged, I think (pun intended, since she is a figure skating judge of long standing). Using the 2009-2010 season as its base (as it is the base for the photographs), she gives the most lucid explication of the new judging system that I have seen anywhere. Occasionally it bears just the faintest tinge of adherence to the party line, and I think she could have been a little more forceful especially in addressing the major objection of many people: the anonymity of the judging, and the lack of accountability that creates. But her examples of how the system has at least enabled a clearer understanding of what factors contribute to the final standings (and, she claims with some truth, changed those factors from the jumps plus some fuzzy "artistic" ranking to lay more stress on spins, footwork, and difficult variations in lifts) are clear, concrete, and drawn from performaces that are vivid in our collective memory.

The cover artwork of this book - the title "Triumph on Ice" accompanied by Virtue and Moir in triumphant gesture - is designed to appeal to the chauvinistic Canadian, but in fact, Senft in her text (as well as the photographer in his choice of subjects) has obviously made considerable effort to avoid blatant nationalistic bias. All skaters who are mentioned by name receive praise for their strengths, and there is so sniping. True, Senft's tone is a little dry when she mentions Plushenko's grandstanding about the quad at the Olympics, but she says nothing that can actually be quoted as critical comment. He doesn't deesrve so much consideration, in my opinion.
In any case, glad I acquired this one. Recommended.