Figure skating is dying, and judges can't prop it up

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by Sugar, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

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    I find explanations regarding why IJS is anymore accurate than 6.0 to be a bit lacking. Yes, elements have values assigned to them, and there's a system of assigning levels, etc. But, exactly how do they come up with those numbers? Why should certain features count in gaining a level while others not?

    Nobody really explains why the numbers make sense. They just argue results are fair because the system says it is. That's fair since competitions are taking place by the system in place, but I've never really understood why people are so quick to accept the system in itself isn't deeply flawed in truly measuring what's put out there on the ice.

    Not to say there aren't many positives to it. Elements like footwork and spins are given much more importance than they ever were under 6.0, skaters that are close after the short program have a real shot of moving up with a cumulative points system rather than a factored placement system (an example would be 2002 Ladies SP where it didn't seem fair that comparable skates did not have the same shot of a medal), technique problems like flutzing and underrotations are finally being dealt with, and skaters themselves can see areas in which to improve if they want to move up in the rankings.

    However, with all those positives and constant tweakings to "perfect" the system, can anybody really say that the actual numbered values and system of adding up numbers really properly evaluates programs in the sport at least any better than 6.0? Yes, it is a more detailed approach and puts many more things in consideration, but as a whole, is it better?

    BTW, Brennan is really a bad journalist when it comes to figure skating. Yes, she has inside information and can provide gossip, and I guess skating knowledge at the most basic level (though I find her conclusions to be weak based on what information she gives). However, she's not well-researched nor does she really do any real work to understand how anything in figure skating works. That was true under 6.0 as well as she never understood what was required for the presentation mark.
     
  2. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

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    Ah, thank you Mafke. ITA! :respec:

    You hit the nail on the head. My thoughts exactly.


    ETA:
    You make great points too, VIETgrlTerifa.

    Christine Brennan could definitely make some improvements in terms of her research, writing and her overall approach to reporting on figure skating. However, the sport of figure skating IMO evidences a great deal more room for improvement. In any case, why kill the messenger?
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2013
  3. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

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    As to Christine Brennan’s article, of course Denis Ten is not unknown to hardcore fs fans, but obviously he doesn't have high name recognition among the general public. And how many skaters do anyway these days? Sure that characterization of Ten is a minor flaw which we could probably send off suggestions to Brennan for rephrasing. However, regardless of opinions on Brennan's writing skills, her motivation, her knowledge and accuracy, and her tendency to over-dramatize the current fs scene in a negative fashion, she does make points that have merit and substance.

    I agree with the above. What's the point of hard-core fans and powers at the top of the ISU right down to the federations keeping their heads buried in the sand? Why keep denying that the judging system is not a bastion of perfection? Changes needed to have been made well before 2002. Trying to rush in a system in order to sweep a scandal under the rug doesn't vouch much for the changes that were implemented and that as a result have had to be constantly tweaked and re-tweaked. Changes to the judging system were necessary, but completely eliminating 6.0 as a brand (Lysacek's apt term) was a huge mistake, IMO.

    Also, the sport could certainly benefit by an infusion of fresh blood at the top, preferably younger people who have vision and solid experience and knowledge of the sport of figure skating (not speed skating). It remains :duh: that judges are so mesmerized by Patrick's skating skills, while not seeming to understand where they come from. Power mongers running the sport in the late 80s and early 90s apparently didn't realize the importance of figures training, nor did they seem to understand that practicing figures is an essential and basic foundation which helps skaters develop proper technique on their jumps. Doing away with figures in competition was an important move, but wiping out the requirement to do them at all helped cut the sport off at the ankles.

    Some anecdotes from Tom Dickson help explain the importance of figures practice (from his interview with manleywoman on February 28, 2010): http://www.manleywoman.com/episode-36-tom-dickson/

     
  4. equatorial

    equatorial Well-Known Member

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    Pity the poor fan who opened USA Today (perhaps in NC or wherever) and got totally misinformed by Christine Brennan's ignorant rant.
     
  5. Asli

    Asli Well-Known Member

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    Was the arena really empty during the first half of the championships Christine Brennan calls it "a wake". :confused:

    IMO for ticket sales the traditional schedule of the championships was better. I mean only one LP a day and no LPs on weekday afternoon sessions.

    If Christine Brennan really loves figure skating, maybe putting all the emphasis on one judging decision she doesn't agree with is not the best approach to help the sport's popularity.

    What about the astonishing number of fantastic young talents from the USA, Russia, China, Canada, Ukraine and even Slovakia in the women's event? Has there ever been such a wealth of 16-17-year olds from so many countries? What about the Olympic champion coming back after a break and giving one of the best technical performances in memory? What about milking the rivalry between the three world champions on the ladies' podium and the Olympic gold and silver medalists on the dance podium? What about the fact that in the men's category two countries won medals for the first time in history? What about Volosozhar/Trankov - I mean, maybe they won't sell papers in the US but does figure skating get any better? :swoon:
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2013
  6. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

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    ^^ Ah, but pity figure skating too for losing casual fans by the droves because if such fans have a rare opportunity to actually see a truncated fs television broadcast, they're dumbfounded by the results not seeming to match up with what they watched the skaters doing on the ice.

    What's worse, Brennan's sometimes less than accurate reporting which tends toward negative over-dramatization and weak conclusions, but also offers some points that bear further examination and reflection? Or, losing both casual and hard-core fans fed up with the repetitive programs, inconsistent scoring, confusing results, and inability to easily gain viewing access to major competitions?
     
  7. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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    There's a lot of research that shows that human memory reconfigures the past rather than recording it. Its remarkable what people "remember" about skating under the old judging system. Someone should do some research so we don't have to rely on memory--maybe its my memory that is faulty but I think it would turn up almost constant complaints about the judging being corrupt (find some old US broadcasts from the 1980s with Dick Button raving on and on about the block judging in favor of Soviet skaters).

    The ranting and raving about every result that was disagreed with by enough people is what ended up with SLC and that insanity. And the new judging system. But figure skating keeps taking hits every time people scream about a result as if it were not just what is inevitably going to happen in a subjectively judged sport but an injustice that deserves world wide concern.

    IF people want to promote the sport and have it be more popular in the US and any other countries where it may not be as popular as people wish, celebrate the sport! Worlds was a magnificent display of figure skating and ice dance! Tearing the sport down is hardly going to bring it up. And it will do the skaters no good to be convinced its not their skating that determines their placements. Then they don't improve their skating they end up bitter and sad.

    Chan won. Sure its arguable. Judging is subjective. Let's not take the whole sport down again.

    If people saw skating on TV and weren't taken with it, its because they just aren't into it! People in the skating world need to stop tearing their hair out over this. Celebrate the sport, spread the joy of watching. That's the only way to generate interest.

    Sour grapes and ramped up screaming controversy might get people to read your articles but they don't promote the sport.
     
  8. equatorial

    equatorial Well-Known Member

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    I doubt that shameless pandering to casual fans would do the sport any good. Brennan certainly is on something when she says that casual fans look for reality show. Nancy vs. Tonya, Usova smashing Pasha's head against the wall (?) in Spago, conspiracy theories, lionizing Oksana Baiul and then watching her spiral downward into half-insanity, Witt's boobs, death stare and shagging Alberto Tomba. And, unlike true reality shows, the FS ones are unscripted. Actual competitions are just a side dish. And they are about who outjumps whom, of course.
     
  9. Rex

    Rex Well-Known Member

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    She's a good writer IMO. You may not agree with what she says - sometimes I don't, but I don't think her writing is bad at all.
     
  10. RobinA

    RobinA Active Member

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    This. I have been tryng to make the case for why 6.0 is better for skating (not to mention the fan) since they got rid of it, but Mafke has done it better than I ever did. It makes more emotional and intuitive sense, and it's more engaging. I'm in the same boat, not paying much attention to skating anymore after being a fan for 40 years. And yeah, the paywall doesn't help either.

    I do think that the 2002 fiasco is overrated as far as discouraging fans.
     
  11. bek

    bek Guest

    Also the judges had to answer more to the public. Now they can hide behind numbers. Also I think that in someways under the old system the results would make more mistakes. The judges at the very least had to take responsibility for putting skater 1 over skater 2. Now they can easily hide behind numbers.

    And I think this system is actually MUCH easier to cheat.
     
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  12. TheIronLady

    TheIronLady New Member

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    Yes her writing is sharp, as is her thinking. She just has a useless agenda that is based on, I think, all her old, whiny contacts and their struggling to adapt and disillusionment.
     
  13. Prancer

    Prancer Jawwalking Staff Member

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    To whom?

    I don't know if people are looking at the past with rose-colored glasses or have simply lost their minds. Or maybe none of you were around for all the controversies over results under 6.0

    And when was that not the case under 6.0?

    Seriously, you people are all deluded if you think that the casual fans have ever understood skating. They never have. I once had a long argument by email with reporter over why Michelle Kwan beat Sasha Cohen at US Nationals in 2002. He informed me that skating would never be able to attract fans because it was too hard to understand the judging and that skating needed to do something to make it all more understandable to the average person, who needed the equivalent of getting the ball in a hole to understand a score. This whole 6.0 thing was ridiculous; relative placement meant that there wasn't even a score!

    He wasn't telling me anything I hadn't heard before, many times. And frankly, if people can't tell the difference between a toe loop and a lutz, they have nothing to base their own judging on, anyway, except "Oh, that's pretty" and "Oh, he fell." Is THAT what you want the judging to be based on? What the casual fan understands? You all do realize that if the casual fans actually found skating interesting, they would make an effort to learn more about it. Maybe skating just isn't all that interesting to casual fans.

    :lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:

    I give up. You all ARE crazy.
     
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  14. bek

    bek Guest

    Yes they did Prancer. The judge who was the final choice between Nancy and Oksana, I remember an interview there. There was the judges who put B/S (especially the French) over S/P.

    the judges at a whole actually had to stand behind putting skater no 1 first over skater 2. And I don't think Ten would have been 2nd under 6.0. We knew what judges gave what marks. And they weren't hiding behind numbers.
     
  15. Prancer

    Prancer Jawwalking Staff Member

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    Yes, it was Jan Hoffman who was inexplicably blamed for that. Why, I don't know since he was only one of the majority and it's not like he entered his score after all the others did. What made HIM the one who made the final choice?

    And Yes, LeGougne was big news for about a week there.

    Now tell me which judges put Annette Poetzch over Linda Fratianne? Which one put Michelle Kwan over Lu Chen at Worlds? Which judge made the difference between Brian Boitano and Brian Orser at the Olympics? Names, I want names.

    Oh, yes, and speaking of Brian Orser, how the hell did Scott Hamilton win over Brian with his dreadful Olympic programs? Scott had an ear infection and it affected his balance. But he WON! :eek: How did that happen? What did the casual fans think?

    And speaking of Scott Hamilton, what did the casual fans think when Scott told them that Alexei Yagudin had just ceded the gold medal to Timothy Goebel during Yags' LP and then it turned out that he hadn't and Tim didn't even get silver? How did the casual fans take that? As someone said to me at the time, Scott was a champion skater and knew what he was talking about; the system was obviously rigged for the Russians!
     
  16. equatorial

    equatorial Well-Known Member

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    And Ten winning is how the world should be? Colour me baffled. The judges were manifestly not more accountable than now. Jan Hoffmann was singled out by the pro-Nancy camp, but nothing happened. Le Gougne wasn't singled out because of the marks she had given. It was actually easy to justify putting B/S ahead of S/P. Who was held accountable for atrocious judging of the ice dancing event in Albertville (I mean, K/P winning the FD 5 to 4 over D/D, like, seriously?!)? No one.
     
  17. equatorial

    equatorial Well-Known Member

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    He didn't say that ;) He said that Yagudin was ceding the FS to Plushenko, and Goebel was yet to skate. Still :rofl: but not completely insane.
     
  18. Prancer

    Prancer Jawwalking Staff Member

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    As the majority of the panel did. How many others can bek name who had to stand behind their judging on that occasion?

    Never mind, I will answer for bek--none! Because none of them had to answer for anything! Even judges who were blatantly caught cheating would quietly go away for a couple of years and then come back--and the all-important casual fans knew nothing about about it because they were casual fans and didn't know the judges!

    Not that it mattered. The Russkies were all crooked anyway.

    Well, damn. Call me a casual fan. :soapbox: Scott Hamilton made me aware of the crooked judging....whoever it was in favor of!
     
  19. hirshey girl

    hirshey girl Well-Known Member

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    I think that the partial blame should also be on the networks and their commentators. I've learned about the scoring system mainly from FSU. I rarely hear about it from commentators during competitions. Maybe posting the skater's possible program value (based on levels of spins, footwork, etc) at the beginning of a program or show a break down of programs between 2 competitiors when there is a close call could help the casual fan understand the scoring better. But I guess that would take away from the fluff pieces they feel they have to show. :lol:
     
  20. AndyWarhol

    AndyWarhol Well-Known Member

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    There are fluff pieces??? oh right, I watch illegal streams over the internet...
     
  21. RUKen

    RUKen Guest

    The judges at Worlds this year gave the highest freeskate score to Dennis Ten; Patrick Chan was 2nd. In the old scoring system, if you were in the top three in the short and then had the highest freeskate score, then you would win the event. In the current system, the winner is determined by the cumulative score, just as in almost every other competitive sport in the world. This is not harder for the general public to understand. The problem is that the casual fans only see the freeskate on television. The same problem existed when figures were required. The figures were skated first, and certain skaters would have huge leads over the next best skaters going into the televised freeskate.

    The only thing that the casual fan understood about the 6.0 system was that 6.0 was the highest score. How the scores were determined were a mystery to most viewers, except that they knew that falls were bad.
     
  22. Prancer

    Prancer Jawwalking Staff Member

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    This article talks about some of the controversies in skating and other judges Olympic sports before the SLC Olys: http://www.la84foundation.org/SportsLibrary/JOH/JOHv8n2/johv8n2i.pdf
     
  23. AndyWarhol

    AndyWarhol Well-Known Member

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    I was talking about staying up late watching worlds the other day with my old roomie, who is not a skating fan, and has only ever watched skating when she lived with me and i made her watch with me. She said that she felt that is just not exciting now, "not like back when it was all about Kwan and Cohen". Maybe casual fans do find it hard to relate to the new stars (for what ever reason).
     
  24. elka_sk8

    elka_sk8 Well-Known Member

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    Not sure if I'm totally correct on this but doesn't NBC have the contract to broadcast figure skating I the U.S.? I believe ESPN is affiliated with ABC. IMO, coverage was better when ABC had the contract. I wouldn't mind NBC shifting coverage to Universal Sports if this channel was actually available with most basic cable packages like ESPN is. But it's not, I don't even think we have the option to get it with my provider yet. Admittedly I was floored to see that NBC wasn't showing anything. Thought for sure they'd broadcast the ladies free anyway.
     
  25. iloveemoticons

    iloveemoticons Well-Known Member

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    I'm not a fan of CoP because the PCS is an insurmountable cushion to hold up favored skaters in an egregious way. Challengers have absolutely no chance win no matter what happens. For example, Zijun and Gold got PCS around 10 points lower than the top three at Worlds in the LP. However, a fall on a jump is only a mandatory -1, along with -2.1 GOE. The top three would essentially have to fall three times or more in the LP before Zijun or Gold skating completely clean programs could overtake them. That is a result that would not have happened under 6.0, because the judges simply could not justify awarding a three fall skate with a win under 6.0 over a completely clean program, even if they wanted to.
     
  26. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

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    I suppose thoughtful, constructive discussion is impossible under these circumstances. It's not a black and white issue at all. If most people who disagree with Brennan only want hear their own points of view then perhaps that's what FSU provides a venue to engage in doing.

    As has already been pointed out, 6.0 was not a perfect system either. I haven't seen most people say that it was. Some people here are focusing on what they liked about it, which is not a capitol offense, or is it? I said that changes in the scoring system were necessary well before 2002, but TPTB running the sport had their heads in the sand back then too, which unfortunately ended in them being forced to make changes by the IOC post-SLC scandal. There were many people with positive intentions involved in trying to come up with the new scoring system, but the top people in the sport were mainly motivated to protect judges and to pacify the IOC. The other problem was how the changes were rushed in too quickly. With judicious forethought and effective synthesization of ideas, there might have been a happy medium to be arrived at which incorporated the best attributes of IJS without completely throwing out the baby with the bath water, i.e., 6.0 brand.

    If the yammering and sticking fingers in ears, name-calling, and covering eyes and thumbing noses here is an example of what goes on between federations and ISU officials who run this sport, then indeed spinning wheels in quicksand seems the inevitable going nowhere result. Status quo, politically correct, and stuck in the past.
     
  27. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

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    THIS!

    And this also explains why every time a skater who fell wins, people very conveniently 'forget' all the positive aspects of their performance. And then we have to listen to ignorant, ill-informed rants. :yawn:

    The judges also had to answer to threats, deals and were terrified to mark certain skaters low for fear of repercussions. This is why anonymous judging is necessary.

    And the way the scores related to the ordinals and the way the ordinals combined to form a final result was not transparent or easy to understand whatsoever. Often you'd have the ordinals all over the place and then the final result which didn't seem to make any sense at all. At least under IJS the skater with the highest point total wins which is as simple as it gets.

    1) That is fair because Gold and Li's skating skills, program construction and other abilities which make up the PCS were nowhere near as good as Kostner's for example (falls or no falls). If they want to win, they should work on improving those aspects and then they can challenge for the the gold.

    2) It's another example of memory reconstructing the past. Such results used to happen all the time under the old judging system. I cried all day after Gusmeroli was 4th at 2000 Europeans, having skating a beautiful and clean free program.
     
  28. Asli

    Asli Well-Known Member

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    You are assuming that the jump was fully rotated and didn't have any other deductions.
    Carolina's fall after an underrotated salchow cost her more that 6.5 points, including the -1 deduction.
    Singling the loop cost her around 6 points, considering the GoE she usually obtains for her successful jumps.
    If she had fallen landing the first underrotated jump of a combination, she could have lost around 11 points. Falls are costly under the CoP.

    There is one aspect of the jumps that the 6.0 system hardly ever penalised: Underrotated jumps were usually considered successful if landed. Sarah Hughes won the olympic gold with a whole bunch of severely underrotated triples that would be called as doubles today. With the CoP underrotating jumps by more than half a rotation is a very costly mistake.
     
  29. AndyWarhol

    AndyWarhol Well-Known Member

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    Who is in charge of the marketing for figure skating? Audiences today will watch anything (kardashians, honey boo boo) and i refuse to believe that western audiences wouldn't watch if it marketed to them correctly.
     
  30. Rex

    Rex Well-Known Member

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    Then I too, am BITTAH and disillusioned by skating these days!!!