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BreakfastClub
07-05-2012, 06:19 AM
It's entirely unrealistic to apply the sort of judging system to a Men's Free Skate that lasts four minutes and thirty seconds as is applied to a gymnastics vault that takes about six seconds to execute. Unless, of course, you want to eliminate scoring for interpretation, choreography, performance, and execution.

No it's not. Vault is the exception. Other gymn apparatus allow up to 8 scoring elements for women and 10 for men and then they get bonuses for connections and variety. Skating SPs only have 7 scoring elements - less than a any beam, floor, high bar, p-bars, etc. routine. Free skates have 11 (ladies) or 13 (men), not much more than men's gymn routine.

Aussie Willy
07-05-2012, 09:20 AM
My Russian is very limited and I've only watched Russian commentary when Zhulin was there (:cool:) but based on those couple of times it's clear that the people in the commentary box can see the judges scores come up real time and they know the score before it comes up on the screen, they can also see the level calls of the tech panel already during the performance and also if something was marked for review. Not that they need the latter because they can see with their own eyes if a twizzle was three-turned or a step sequence not clean, etc.
I don't know if it's the same for the other disciplines (I assume it is), but it is for sure way more informative to watch with that kind of commentary and I wish everyone did it that way. (It would also go a long way convincing people that fs is not a fixed beauty contest but that there are actually some objective technical requirements/mistakes that the experts can in fact see.)
I have found the British commentators on Eurosport are very good. They have that information too so can provide informed commentary on the levels and why skaters do well or not so well. But they call it as they see it, rather than talk about perceptions of the system.

allezfred
07-05-2012, 09:43 AM
I am curious about the Japanese or Russian commentators. Two countries where figure skating is very popular, especially, Japan. Do their commentators explain the judging system to the audience? If they do, is that what the sport is so popular?

Can't speak for Russia, but it's popular in Japan because they have a generation of superstar skaters first and foremost. Otherwise you wouldn't have three or four Japanese TV networks flinging money at the ISU for the broadcast rights to various events.

TV commentators in Japan have always tended to be very unbiased. Generally, they'll explain why they think a certain skater received the marks they did rather than just stating that they think the marking is right or wrong. That hasn't changed between when it was 6.0 and IJS.

They certainly do a lot better at getting the average viewer to understand how IJS works. I've seen them give benchmarks, ie 60 points for a ladies SP is a pretty good score.

I think giving too much information is a turnoff. Keep it simple innit.

Zemgirl
07-05-2012, 09:50 AM
Friedlander's new article is no better than the previous one; would it kill her to link to the articles she's referring to? As a science writer she should know better. And this was just :huh::

For the first time in the history of figure skating, a change in the judging system has not only changed the way skating is measured, but also the way it is performed.
I mean, didn't doing away with figures represent a major change in how skating was measured and performed?

Obviously there's plenty to discuss about the merits of the system and its weaker points, but less hyperbole and more factual discussion are better.


I would not blame the US commentators for the delcine in FS in the US, yes maybe they do not explain the system to the audience but if they did can we really say that FS would become popular again.

I have found the British commentators on Eurosport are very good. They have that information too so can provide informed commentary on the levels and why skaters do well or not so well. But they call it as they see it, rather than talk about perceptions of the system.
I wrote earlier that some of the decline in skating popularity have more to do with changes in the way people consume media and entertainment, and I don't know if skating can or will get back to the level of popularity it once enjoyed in the US; probably not. But still, American commentators could do a better job of explaining what is happening on the ice and why, and I imagine that at least for some viewers, this will indeed be helpful.

As Aussie Willy pointed out, the Eurosport commentators have been really good at this. In the past they would always point out how the technical panels were on the lookout for UR - I lost track of how many times I heard "if it's more than a quarter of a turn short, it will be marked as a bad double" - and what features the skaters were doing to get the levels up. I don't notice that as much anymore (and URd triples are no longer marked as bad doubles) but they are informative without overwhelming viewers with information. And usually if they criticize, it's on point and not general rants about the system.

walei
07-05-2012, 10:11 AM
Her article is so ridiculously written I'm surprised she didn't simply say skating under the IJS is super popular in Japan/Korea now because Asians are good with math.

As for the declining popularity, now that I read this thread I definitely think commentators with bias against the new system from the get go are a contributing factor. IIRC, wasn't the coup against ISU with the World Skating Federation was lead by a more North American centric contingency? I don't think the general public would know about the back story but perhaps the commentators who were friendly to the cause still harbors some resentment towards the ISU and the IJS, and it rubs off during their commentating. Just some random thoughts.

sezam
07-05-2012, 10:30 AM
I think that -1.0 deduction for the fall is what bothers most of the people, who are concerned that it is not fair when "Chan is falling, but still winning".

In my opinion, ISU should have done the same thing with fall as with under-rotated jumps.

I.e. if someone has UR jump, the value of the jump is 70% of the intended jump's value.

So, if someone has felt fully rotated jump, the value might be (for instance) 80% of the intended jump's value, and if the falls occurs after the UR jump, it's value might be 56% (both deductions applied) of the intended jump's value.

Maybe -1.0 deduction for the falls in spins and steps (or anything else - children can fall in crossovers too) can stay as it is...

In the system as it is now, if pre-juvenile skater falls from 1A, it leaves almost him nothing, not to mention that attempting 1S and a fall earns you -0.6... while (nice) 3A and a fall is still better then any other successful triple.

Japanfan
07-05-2012, 12:52 PM
At least that's the impression I get. They're interested in the net, texting, Facebook, video games, hanging out, etc etc. There's nothing wrong with that, but figure skating must seem so arcane to them. I could be way off the mark here. I'm "older", shall we say :lol: so what do I know.

I don't know - do young people watch football or hockey? And was FS's main audience every young? Seems to me that the audience at every competition is largely composed of middle-aged and elder women, who of course never miss the men's practice. :)

kittyjake5
07-05-2012, 01:33 PM
My Russian is very limited and I've only watched Russian commentary when Zhulin was there (:cool:) but based on those couple of times it's clear that the people in the commentary box can see the judges scores come up real time and they know the score before it comes up on the screen, they can also see the level calls of the tech panel already during the performance and also if something was marked for review. Not that they need the latter because they can see with their own eyes if a twizzle was three-turned or a step sequence not clean, etc.
I don't know if it's the same for the other disciplines (I assume it is), but it is for sure way more informative to watch with that kind of commentary and I wish everyone did it that way. (It would also go a long way convincing people that fs is not a fixed beauty contest but that there are actually some objective technical requirements/mistakes that the experts can in fact see.)

Thank you for the informaton!

gkelly
07-05-2012, 02:50 PM
Bolded that part because it has always amused me how some critics of IJS will say in disgust how the system caters to certain skaters. How a skater won because they checked all the boxes as if it's a bad thing.

The way I see the system is that it rewards a skater who can jump well, spin well, skate well, do difficult turns and steps well, distributes their jump elements well throughout their program, has good choreography, performs well.... Isn't that a good thing?:D


I generally agree with you. But, playing devil's advocate, we do see situations such as skaters who choose to do only loops, flips, lutzes, and axels because they can get more points that way than "wasting" some of their jump passes on toe loops and salchows. Or they do double toes to get their combinations in but don't attempt triple toes.

In a broader sense, there are the basic skills that we expect everyone to do and that the well-balanced program rules require them to attempt, de facto or de jure. And then there are various ways that skaters can add difficulty (or choreographic interest) to the basics. Some of those variations and more difficult skills are explicitly rewarded with higher base marks, and some are rewarded only if they inspire some judges to award higher GOEs or PCS, and some are actually penalized (e.g., by filling a slot with a low-value element and therefore causing a higher value element performed later in the program to receive no credit).

So skaters who show a well-balanced range of skills in ways that conform to the explicit rewards built into the system have an advantage over those who show a well-balanced range of skills in general terms but not in a way that fits the official reward system. Hence the trend toward "cookie-cutter programs" as skaters all try to tailor their programs to earn the most rewards.

In trying to standardize the scoring for skill sets that allow so many different variations and combinations of skills, there's always going to be a tension between, on the one hand, allowing skaters complete freedom selecting and arranging the skills they want to show and judges complete freedom in deciding what to reward, vs. on the other hand defining exactly how many points each skill is worth and regulating how many times a skater can get credit for each general category and specific subcategory of skills.

Starting with the Zayak rule in the mid-1980s and the well-balanced program rules starting in the mid-1990s the trend was toward more standardization of free program content.

(Short programs underwent their most significant change from highly standardized to allowing much more freedom with the 1988-89 changes, although junior requirements soon became moderately standardized again.)

But then the change in scoring system also involved a big change toward standardization.

Since all the skills boil down to point values now, I wonder if it would be possible to define even more possible ways to earn TES points and then give skaters back some freedom in choosing exactly which skills they want to use to earn those points. E.g., a total of 13 elements of which 5-8 can be jump passes, 2-5 can be spins, 1-2 step sequences, 0-1 of other types of elements.


:rolleyes: Maybe this "journalist" should do some research into why the changes came about. Nobody oversees the ISU, so no one "tasked" the ISU with anything. And even if you don't like what the ISU did, they did not overstep their authority, because there isn't a higher authority they are accountable to.

My understanding was that the IOC put a lot of pressure on Cinquanta/the ISU to make changes, especially after 2002.

But what the IOC wanted -- more quantifiable measurement, more objective insofar as possible for a sport with so much subjectivity in its evaluation -- and what audiences want are often at odds. So who's the higher authority?

Not even mentioning what figure skaters themselves, and figure skating officials as opposed to speedskaters, actually want.


I mean, didn't doing away with figures represent a major change in how skating was measured and performed?

Absolutely. I'd say the change in scoring system and scoring philosophy is a change of comparable magnitude to the elimination of figures.


I think that -1.0 deduction for the fall is what bothers most of the people, who are concerned that it is not fair when "Chan is falling, but still winning".

In my opinion, ISU should have done the same thing with fall as with under-rotated jumps.

I.e. if someone has UR jump, the value of the jump is 70% of the intended jump's value.

So, if someone has felt fully rotated jump, the value might be (for instance) 80% of the intended jump's value, and if the falls occurs after the UR jump, it's value might be 56% (both deductions applied) of the intended jump's value.

But don't forget the loss of GOE when falling on a jump or other element. The 1.0 fall deduction is only part of the penalty.


Maybe -1.0 deduction for the falls in spins and steps (or anything else - children can fall in crossovers too) can stay as it is...

Elite skaters can fall in crossovers too. Anyone who's off balance, hits an obstacle in the ice surface, gets too close to the boards or a partner's blades, or just isn't paying attention and makes a momentary blade-clicking mistake in crossover technique can fall in crossovers. I don't know that there's much difference in the frequency of this happening between preliminary and senior level.


In the system as it is now, if pre-juvenile skater falls from 1A, it leaves almost him nothing,

Less than nothing. You've forgotten about the negative GOE. Falls on any jump up to double flip result in negative net points after both -3 GOE and the fall deduction are subtracted.


... while (nice) 3A and a fall is still better then any other successful triple.

I think the best solution to that is to make the negative GOE values for triple axels and quads larger than 1 point per grade -- as was the case a few years ago.

MacMadame
07-05-2012, 04:35 PM
:rolleyes: Maybe this "journalist" should do some research into why the changes came about. Nobody oversees the ISU, so no one "tasked" the ISU with anything. And even if you don't like what the ISU did, they did not overstep their authority, because there isn't a higher authority they are accountable to.
Plus by 2002 they'd been working on this new judging system for a few years already.

I can't remember exactly when but I think they started around 1999.

love_skate2011
07-05-2012, 06:34 PM
:eek:

Merlyn Davis :rofl:

at least I had a good laugh in this article

Morry Stillwell
07-05-2012, 07:55 PM
From the new article:



:. And even if you don't like what the ISU did, they did not overstep their authority, because there isn't a higher authority they are accountable to.

The ISU is a member Federation of the International Olympic Committee. They are the highest authority for all Eligible Sports, so the ISU is accountable to the IOC.

overedge
07-05-2012, 08:27 PM
The ISU is a member Federation of the International Olympic Committee. They are the highest authority for all Eligible Sports, so the ISU is accountable to the IOC.

AFAIK the IOC's authority only extends to the ISU's interactions with the IOC in the context of skating being an Olympic sport, i.e. ensuring that skating is structured and operated to be Olympic-eligible.

If, for example, a skater had a dispute with the ISU over the results of a non-Olympic event, e.g. Worlds, I've never seen any indication that they would be able to resolve it through appealing to the IOC.

Mathman
07-05-2012, 10:02 PM
Her article is so ridiculously written I'm surprised she didn't simply say skating under the IJS is super popular in Japan/Korea now because Asians are good with math.

:lol: I was about about to comment favorably about the second article, but that was too funny to let go. :)

But I do think Ms. Friedlander is on more defensible ground with her second article than with the first. Here her topic is: many former skaters lament that the present judging system has produced programs of less artistic merit than the programs of the past.

First of all, this is true. Many former skaters have said that.

If we disagree with the views of these skaters then we have two ways to go. We can say, no, that's wrong. The programs we are seeing today are just as artistic as the programs of earlier eras.

Or we can say, who cares about that anyway? Higher, faster, stronger!


I'd say the change in scoring system and scoring philosophy is a change of comparable magnitude to the elimination of figures.

Gosh, I don't think so. As great a change as eliminating figures from figure skating? That change completely stood the sport on its head. Instead of being a sport about tracing precise patterns on a sheet of ice it became a sport about jumping and looking pretty.

Would you agree that the CoP is in part a move back in the direction of figures? Giving a defined reward for blade on ice skills?

gkelly
07-05-2012, 10:45 PM
Gosh, I don't think so. As great a change as eliminating figures from figure skating? That change completely stood the sport on its head. Instead of being a sport about tracing precise patterns on a sheet of ice it became a sport about jumping and looking pretty.

The thing is, figures weren't eliminated all at once. In 1890 (pre-ISU) or 1908 or even 1939 we could say the sport was primarily about everyone tracing the same precise patterns on a sheet of ice and secondarily about combining tracing patterns of one's choice with variations including jumping from one edge to another and performing other blade-on-ice skills and with looking attractive or spectacular.

After WWII the jumping and looking pretty parts started to become more and more important, so by the late 60s the tracing the same precise patterns started to be worth less and the freeskating performances starting to be worth more, including the addition of a compulsory freeskating program (short program). By 1988-90, freeskating skills generally determined the winners more than the precise tracing skills.

And then all of a sudden the precise tracing was gone entirely, and skaters could start to devote all of their training time instead of only approximately half of it to all the different skills involved in freeskating programs -- jumps and "artistry," whatever that means, being the most important.

Do we see more change in what determined results between 1990 and 1991 or between 2004 and 2005? Or, say 1988-92 and 2002-2006, if you want to look at Olympic years?

I'd say we see a bigger change for the top ladies in the world with the elimination of figures than with the introduction of IJS, but about the same for men. I wasn't following the sport during 1989-91, nor would I have seen as much of the grassroots practice at that time as in the recent change, so I can't really say what the effects were below the top televised contenders. I might say that ca. 1988-90 the most important determinants for women were tracing precise patterns and looking pretty, and that by 1991 or 1992 the jumps started to become the most important. Whereas for men ca. 1988-90 it was precise patterns and jumps, and in the 90s postfigures the artistry also gained importance.

Even if we decide that going from 2 figures to none in 1990 to 91 was a bigger change than going from 6.0 to IJS in 2004 to 05 (not counting the 2003 Grand Prix), I'd still say that IJS was the next biggest single paradigm change -- bigger than, say, the introduction of the short program.


Would you agree that the CoP is in part a move back in the direction of figures? Giving a defined reward for blade on ice skills?

I can understand why one might say that. Certainly the precision of blade-on-ice skills such as jump takeoffs and landings and execution of edges and turns during footwork have become explicitly more important in IJS freestyle programs than in 6.0 freestyle programs, although they were always important to those judges to whom they were important. :D

I'm not sure I'd say it's a return to anything like everyone tracing the same precise patterns. But I would say that the free program suddenly became more like the short program in structure.

Of course we're only talking about singles here, since pairs never had compulsory figures and ice dance is a whole different animal in many ways.