I am tired of watching all this figure-skating where someone falls down. (So far it seems to be the woman who usually falls down in the pairs competitions, but that may be a mistaken impression.) It ruins the sport for me; the beauty and artistry of a particular routine is just too irredeemably marred by the awkwardness of a fall. Plus, I just feel bad for the skaters as I watch them finish their routines while knowing that they have most likely stumbled their way out of contention. A professional ballet dancer who fell as often as these figure skaters do would not be dancing at the highest levels. It ought to be the same for amateur figure skaters.
It seems we have settled at a bad equilibrium: where the payoff to landing a difficult maneuver more than offsets the penalty for not landing it, so that we get too many flub-ups (for my liking). Therefore, I would like to see the incentive structure of figure skating altered, in order to discourage this excessive risk-taking. One proposal would be to possibly assign a penalty to a fall that would carry through an entire competition, thereby hurting that skater's chances in other events and in the all-around. Or perhaps a skater should be banned from competition, or relegated to a lower division, if he or she falls, say, three times in any one-year period.
Would this lead to blander, safer, skating? Yes, and that is the point. Cleaner, less-ambitious routines, filled with maneuvers that are clearly within the skaters' abilities, will make for a better sport.
It probably goes without saying that I think that this type of remedy should also be applied in the realm of financial regulation.
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