How Tonya, Nancy helped their sport

Jason Brown brought the crowd to its feet with a stirring Irish dance routine at U.S. nationals this past weekend, but even he could go only so far with his choreography.

"I don't know what will happen to skating. I really don't," Collins said. "What bothers me most about it now is there is nowhere for the skaters to go. Where does Gracie Gold go to make money? If she wins gold at the Olympics, where does she go to make money to pay her parents back? They have nowhere to go now. Maybe there are some endorsements, but it's nothing compared to what it once was.

"I feel sorry for them."

With so much competition from other sports and entertainment options, figure skating will never return to the popularity it had following Tonya and Nancy. But its popularity could rise again if the sport takes requisite measures.

The scoring must be revised to bring personality and creativity back into the routines. A top mark -- the equivalent of a 6.0 -- must somehow be determined to help fans follow and understand the scoring. Career rewards must be such that skaters remain in the sport long enough for fans to get to really know and like them (or draft them for a fantasy team).

And if none of that happens or helps, well, then, is it possible to get Tonya and Nancy together on the rink for a true "Ice Wars"? (Batons optional.)

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