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

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

  1. 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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  2. 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.
  3. Prancer

    Prancer Ray Chill 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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  4. 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.
  5. Prancer

    Prancer Ray Chill 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!
  6. equatorial

    equatorial New 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.
  7. equatorial

    equatorial New 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.
  8. Prancer

    Prancer Ray Chill 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!
  9. hirshey girl

    hirshey girl New 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:
  10. AndyWarhol

    AndyWarhol Well-Known Member

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    There are fluff pieces??? oh right, I watch illegal streams over the internet...
  11. 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.
  12. Prancer

    Prancer Ray Chill 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
  13. 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).
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Rex

    Rex Well-Known Member

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

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

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    As well as egregious flutzes which Hughes would have got penalised for as well, today.

    We also had Yukina Ota win Junior World Championships not having rotated a single triple jump. :scream: :wall:

    Nobody, really. That's exactly the problem. ISU is run by people who are completely out of touch with the world today and who don't seem to hire anybody to do the PR work. As long as you give casual viewers drama, they won't care about the scoring system much.
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  22. Seerek

    Seerek Well-Known Member

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    That's an interesting example where factored placements allowed a skater (Victoria Volchkova) to retain a medal despite not placing top 3 in the Free Skate, though the gap between the 3rd (Gusmeroli) and 4th place (Volchkova) freeskates was possibly wide enough that a points-based total format would have allowed Gusmeroli to overtake Volchkova for bronze overall.
  23. Mathman

    Mathman New Member

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    I like Brennan's point. 6.0 was soap opera. IJS is an accountant's convention.

    To the great unwashed masses, soap operas are more fun.

    The ISU has made its choice and now must live with the consequences.
  24. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

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    I think she has a point about skating dying in the US although I don't buy her premise: I remember the casual fan being just as confused about the the 6.0 system (and how it was awarded) as what we have now. I think the system is a bit more fair now. It was shocking to see such a small venue with empty seats during this competition. And I too saw the competition because Latvia carried it. That it wasn't on a US network especially since we are a year from the Olympics says a lot about the state of this sport here. That Canada couldn't sell out a 7000 seat arena astounds me.
  25. equatorial

    equatorial New Member

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    The author must be a casual fan ;) First, it is stated that O'Connor/Millns won the bronze in 1976 while being the only couple to threaten the monopoly of the Soviet "theatrical" style. Then the 1980s controversy is described as "upbeat" style of R/S vs. "sedate, traditional Soviet style". The funniest thing is that both times it was Linichuk/Karponosov :lol:
    Also, loved that "a gangster and his molt" typo re the Duchesnays OSP in 1988 :rofl:
  26. Mafke

    Mafke New Member

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    That's part of the problem, but not the whole problem. There could be ways that IJS could be made more relevant (and interesting) to audiences but they all involve things that ISU doesn't want to do because they'll expose the judigng to too much scrutiny.

    The two big flaws for me are levels (I really, really, hate levels) and PCs which are almost half the score and don't make any sense to me.

    I'll still say it ; 2002 destroyed the (very fragile!) faith the audience had in judging and IJS does _nothing_ to restore that faith. It's a little bit like if the Tour de France responded to riders doping by vowing to make it harder to administer drug tests.
  27. Taso

    Taso Well-Known Member

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    Well I know for myself that I've literally only watched Kostner's performances from this years Worlds - no one else at all. At all. Pre-CoP that would have never happened...
  28. munow

    munow New Member

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    That is no one else's fault but yours.
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  29. equatorial

    equatorial New Member

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    It's not ISU's fault that the current crop of skaters is unable to produce any drama ;) The closest we've got to a full-scale drama recently was the Zoueva-Shpilband split. Coaches are more drama-worthy these days than skaters. Coaches were good at overdrama too in the golden years of 6.0. The Three Wicked Witches of the Soviet ice dancing aka Tchaikovskaia, Tarasova and Dubova have never been surpassed :D But skaters never failed to deliver either.
  30. purple skates

    purple skates Shadow dancing

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    Some of that was the price tag. I would have loved to go and catch an event or two (I'm a few hours drive from London), but not for $150-$200 each! I can't believe that any casual fan would have gone at all, unless they got their tickets through a corporate sponsorship.

    Regarding US tv coverage, Universal Sports did have good coverage, especially compared to the ESPN days. It's unfortunate that Universal isn't available to most people. Plus, at least on Direct TV, it's channel number is so high (in the 600's) that it is unlikely that people who pay for the sports pack and are surfing manage to get that far before they find something else to watch. ESPN, on the other hand, is in the low 200's on Direct TV, so it was far easier to stop there if you are channel surfing. In other words, the casual fan didn't have a good chance to find it this year.
  31. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    Lots of people are saying that evolution isn't true either. That doesn't mean they are right. People have a right to their opinions but people saying things doesn't make them true even lots of people are saying things even them saying them over and over and over.

    IMO skating isn't dying AT ALL. Skating is alive and well. It's not alive and well in the US on network TV. But US network tv isn't the be all and end all of the universe. It's alive and well in rinks all over the US and in Japan and China and Russia and other countries. It's alive and well on TV in those other countries. It's alive and well on the internet which is the be all and end of all the universe these days and into the future. Heck, Latvia showed the entire World championships LIVE as they happened. How many skating skaters does Latvia have? :D But obviously they thought someone would be interested enough in the event to do that.

    There is no evidence to support this statement. Ratings went down under 6.0. They didn't go down only when IJS was introduced. They were already going down. Since IJS was introduced, we have no idea if they would have gone back up but I doubt it.

    They went back up in other countries where the new scoring system was embraced and fans were educated in it and the commentators didn't whine about it for almost a decade later as if it was still an upstart that was going to go away if they closed their eyes and held their breath. So I bet they would have gone back up in the US too under different circumstances. But we don't know so it's all supposition.

    No, most old people have trouble. People cling to the past and hate change mostly. I think this is part of why team sports are popular in the US. You can root for the same team for years and year and year. Yes, the players change but it's still the Buffalo Bills! But figure skating isn't like that. New stars have to be created. Which means older fans sometimes lose interest because they can't shift gears.

    Then they whine about how it's skating's fault and how much better it was in the old days -- the old days they complain bitterly about at the time. ;)
  32. manleywoman

    manleywoman podcast mistress

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    Well said BR!!

    And I am one of those that think the decline of fans was inevitable as the internet and new media have given people more options. THe overall pool has been diluted. Does that mean we shouldn't stop being frustrated that skating isn't shown on major networks? No, not at all. And yes I agree that IJS can be frustrating. But I am more frustrated by the fact that the major networks keep hiring commentators who can't explain it at all to the public.
  33. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    I would also like to point out that we live in a time when Monday Night Football is no longer shown on Network TV. Monday Night Football! A staple of my childhood! When it moved to cable, people acted like the world was ending. American football still seems pretty popular though and still makes buckets of money. They survived in this new era of the internet and 1000 cable channels yet nothing's on and skating will too if it plays it's cards right (which so far, amazingly enough to me at least, it has).
  34. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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    I'm hearing a lot of people saying how mythical casual fans react to stuff in skating. How about some real experiences here?

    I'll give you one anecdote. I loved skating in the 80s. Used to go to all the World Pros events at the Capital Center. I quit watching skating around 1990 because I was SICK TO DEATH of all the controversies over judging; all the US commentators moaning about every time a Soviet Block skater won that it wasn't fair. I didn't watch skating all through the 90s, Michelle Kwan or not. And soap opera stories did not draw me back in.

    What drew me back in was loving to watch actual figure skating. Its both beautiful and exciting. If figure skating can't sell itself to people as beautiful and exciting, it won't matter what judging system there is or how its tweaked or who understands it and who doesn't.

    Either people enjoy watching figure skating or people don't.

    A similiar situation though not a sport is opera. I love opera. There's no way on earth I can get my friends who don't like it to watch it. Figure skating is the same. If its not interesting to you, you aren't going to watch.

    Now are there more people who might like it out there? Sure! So how do you get them? By endless virtual fist-fights over results and endless discussions of judging? Or by promoting what is great about figure skating?
  35. Mathman

    Mathman New Member

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    Entering the competition it was a foregone conclusion that regardless of the skating the four eastern bloc judges (Poland, China, Czech Republic, and Ukraine) would vote for Oksana, and the four western bloc judges (U.S.A., Canada, Great Britain , and Japan) would vote for Kerrigan.

    The only vote that was is doubt was Hoffmann's. Even though Hoffmann represented East Germany, he was known as a conscientious and independent judge who did not always toe the cold war line. So it really was Hoffmann's vote that decided the issue.
  36. Icehog

    Icehog New Member

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    I have been at competitions that were said to be a sell-out and there were empty seats. Months before the event you can buy all-event ticket packages which allow entry to **all** the events. Single event tickets go on sale much later. I have often wondered if fans buy the all-event tickets to get the best seat selection, knowing full well they will not be using all the tickets. Too bad there wasn't a way to turn in those tickets for resale by the organization. Perhaps there is and I am not aware of it; someone correct me if I am wrong. Scalping (reselling, usually outside the doors and at a higher price than the purchase price..... well, that's something else again.
    Perhaps this event was a sell-out and it just didn't show on TV.
  37. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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    Hey Taso, remember when Andrey had that graemlin for you of the ship going down? :rollin:
  38. Rex

    Rex Well-Known Member

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    Tell that to Amber Corwin. Under the old system, she was constantly dinged for her underrotated jumps.
  39. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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    How do you know she was?
  40. escaflowne9282

    escaflowne9282 Well-Known Member

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    Heh, not quite true. Marina Sania of RUS , and Vladislav Petschukov of UKR gave interviews on ABC during worlds that season explaining their ordinals. Jiasheng Yang of China gave a detailed interview on Chinese television doing the same thing during worlds that season. What's more is during the review meeting after the freeskate, Ron Pfenning reportedly started arguing with the judges he didn't agree with and demanded their explainations.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2013