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

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

  1. Asli

    Asli Well-Known Member

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    The 6.0 system is adequate for DWTS, because DWTS is a bogus competition. Most people watch it just for the fun of seeing the celebrities. :glamor:
    There are no criteria to speak of, the "judges" are not trained and they can give the couples whatever mark they like. Half of the competitors have started skating only about a month ago at the tender age of 35. The routines are practiced for all of one week.

    A judging system that is adequate for this kind of show is not necessarily the perfect system for a complex sport like figure skating. These are two completely different things.
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  2. OliviaPug

    OliviaPug Well-Known Member

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    I personally think it's VERY helpful to discuss 6.0 and IJS. It's not a useless pursuit to try to determine why viewership is down. If there were aspects of 6.0 that helped in that regard and they can be incorporated into the current or a new, improved version of IJS, then why not discuss it?

    Yes, yes, we all know that 6.0 is not coming back, but some of us are hoping for something better than 6.0 AND the current IJS.

    O-
  3. iloveemoticons

    iloveemoticons Well-Known Member

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    I don't mean a one or two point deviation between competitions, I mean substantial deviations of 10 points or more during time periods where skaters are stuck in a particular PCS range, no matter how they skate. Carolina never got a 70 PCS during the Sasha, Shizuka, and Irina era, she was never allowed to place above them PCS wise. During the Yuna era, Carolina was also not allowed to place over Yuna PCS wise. Carolina only started getting high PCS after Yuna left the game. I don't believe that Carolina's PCS has suddenly improved 10 points from 2 years ago to now. There is nothing objective about PCS, we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one. Unless there is objective evidence of a skater's speed like a radar gun or some sort of speed sensor on a skater's blade, anyone can say whatever they want, regardless of reality.
  4. Eislauffan

    Eislauffan Well-Known Member

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    The attendance was not poor. The fact that this journalist went over and over to repeat this in several articles doesn't make it any more correct. I also wonder about that quote from Yuna Kim. Somehow I don't think she said that or that she was understood correctly as the lower bowls always were full.
    Someone asked what the attendance really was.

    Skate Canada states here: www.skatecanada.ca/AboutUs/NewsDetails/tabid/2157/sni[2797]/2533/language/en-US/Default.aspx

    "The saleable capacity was 6,650 and the building experienced sell-outs on both Saturday sessions, as well as near sell-outs on Thursday, Friday and the closing gala exhibition on Sunday."

    This was exactly my impression from being on site.
    Also from Skate Canada: "In addition to the ticketed events, over 22,500 people visited the Light Up London fan festival at the Canadian Tire Family Zone and Skate Canada House."

    I regret the fact that Skate Canada chose a relatively small arena in a small city. I am convinced that you need to "think big" and you will have success. With proper marketing and not too expensive tickets I am sure they could have filled a bigger arena in a larger city for several reasons:
    - more people from the city that could have come
    - more fans from other countries and cities that would have come also because of an attractive host city

    My prime example is always the 2008 World Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden. The Swedes had excellent marketing, they sold the Championships as an event and they were able to fill the big arena (Scandinavium) even though they didn't have a single medal contender.
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  5. Sylvia

    Sylvia Whee, summer club comps!

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  6. Alixana

    Alixana recovering Oly-holic

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    I understand the points you're making and I wish you were right. For purely selfish reasons, I'm glad they chose London. But when I step back and look at the big picture, I'm not sure that even with proper marketing, they could've filled a 12,000-15,000 seat arena in Canada in this economy. Hockey, definitely yes; figure skating no. But I do wish you were right.
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  7. Mathman

    Mathman New Member

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    Very different. In ordinal scoring the judges determined what ordinal placement they wanted, then came up with the 5.7s etc to make it come out that way.

    If they thought that a skater was the best so far, with two more to go, they might give 5.8, 5.7. This leaves room for 5.8, 5.8 for the next one, if she is better, and still reserve 5.7, 5.8 in case the last skater inserted herself in between for silver.

    As for ordinals, no, you can't add them. 1st place + 2nd place = 3rd place? ;)

    By the way, IMHO it is this "adding up the points" feature that is responsible for the inflation of scores for skaters like Patrick Chan, whose performances have both positive and negative features.

    Under 6.0, suppose you are a judge and you think that, despite the mistakes, overall Patrick skated the best and deserves to win. So you give him your first place ordinal. Honest and straightforward. Other judges may disagree, but you can't do anything about that.

    Now consider CoP. You still think Patrick skated the best and deserves to win. But with many pluses and minus, it is hard to predict how the final tally will come out. So you throw in a few +2 GOEs when he only deserved +1, and a few 9.5s where he deserved 8.5.
  8. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

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    Yes, that is how a dishonest judge would manipulate the scores if s/he thought that Chan indeed deserved +1 GOEs on those elements and 8.5 PCS but wanted to make sure he would win regardless of the tech calls.

    However, we don't know that that's how any judges were actually thinking. It seems to me more likely that they actually did think he deserved +2 for those elements and they actually did think he deserved 9.5s for some PCS. They may have been thinking "Wow, that was great, and that was great, and that was gr--oops, too bad. Great, great, eh not so good, great, oops, great, oh no!, great, great, amazing, pretty good. Really special skater, so many good qualities, but the mistakes might have lost it for him." And then the numbers get crunched and the pluses on some elements and PCS outweighed the minuses enough to keep the skater in the lead.

    But we really don't know, without being mind readers.
  9. demetriosj

    demetriosj Well-Known Member

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    Haha. Actually I wasn't talking about "one second of a teen showing her true feelings" being the reason why this country is going down the tubes. I was talking about emulating your theory - "but you do remember her, and that's the most important thing."

    That kind of thinking is dangerous, IMHO. In other words, according to what you're saying, do anything, be it negative or positive, as long as you can wind up being noticed on You-Tube or TV. That's the end-goal. This thinking is, unfortunately, quite prevalent these days.

    For example, look at the trash on TV currently- "reality" shows, where people make complete fools of themselves just to be noticed and on TV. You're embarrassing yourself and others, but hey, people will remember you...... and that's the most important thing...........
  10. TheIronLady

    TheIronLady New Member

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    Don't forget somebody else in the comfort of a boardroom makes big bucks off your making a fool of yourself.
  11. Mathman

    Mathman New Member

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    You are probably right. Maybe I am thinking of my own armchair judging and projecting it onto the professional judges.

    I know when I watch a performance and it's really good and I start thinking, "gee this performance is really good, it deserves to win a prize" -- little by little I talk myself into saying, "wow, that was a great jump. +3. Oh, that fall wasn't so bad -- he got right back up. -1."

    By the way, IMHO the worst thing about ordinal judging was not what occurred at the top. The judges usually got the podium right. The problem was the impossibility of remembering whether skater number 5 out of 30 was better than skater number 18. Which skater deserves 13th place overall and which 14th. The 5.3s are intended to aid this process, but it's not very trustworthy. CoP has an advantage here.
  12. martian_girl

    martian_girl New Member

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    I am fairly indifferent toward Chan, but all of these articles blaming him for the death of the sport are kind of making me want to start rooting for him. :p

    The sport is "dying" for a number of reasons, but neither pretending that the 2012 men's long program is the first time judges ever held up a skater, or that somehow 6.0 was this magical system that kept the sport afloat is going to help.
  13. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    DWTS did not copy skatings numerical ranking system. It's scoring system is based on ballroom dance. You know... the kind of competition it is. And it's not even an ordinal system as they sometimes add the scores from different dances together.

    She didn't deserve them.

    But Yuna is back and Carolina's PCS haven't suddenly gone down. And her skates has absolutely improved over the past two years in the PCS areas particularly as she was injured during a lot of that time.

    The sport isn't dying at all. Sure it wasn't on US network tv showing Worlds live this year but it was on tv on US and will be on network tv next week and the weirdnesses of tv contracts this year were an aberration caused by Universal Sports trying to do something risky to grow their network and failing.

    But USFS's membership is growing and the sport is growing in popularity all over the world. Plus it's alive and well all over the internet.
  14. Marco

    Marco Missing Ziggy

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    And they need to publish follow-ups with judges who gave scores that are out of line with the rest of the panel.
  15. iloveemoticons

    iloveemoticons Well-Known Member

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    That's your opinion, but I don't agree.
  16. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    Is it? Over what period of time?

    Our skate school membership is up if you look at recent, down economy, years, but not even close to recovered from say 2004ish.
  17. jjane45

    jjane45 New Member

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    If this kind of result is deemed inappropriate for the olympics (primetime), it is also inappropriate across the board.
  18. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    That may have been the way it worked, but that's not the way it was supposed to work, at least for the technical score. The technical score in the SP was supposed to start with a base and then deduct for omissions and flaws. The technical score in the FS was supposed to reflect accumulated content and how it was performed.

    Typically in the SP, a top skater who made one error would get 6.0 - mandatory deduction, when that skater at the height of his/her performance of the same program with the same content would never be awarded a 6.0. A lower ranked skater with the same content and quality not so far off or having qualities better than the top all-around skater in a number of elements -- Sebestyen or Volchkova's 3Lz/2T combo vs. Kwan's or Cohen's -- would be tenths lower in the tech score.

    That covers the large, if not vast, majority of skaters.

    I agree: until a few years ago, Kostner did not control her speed consistently and she often skated stiffly. Now she had complete control over her speed, has much better choreography (as defined by the criteria, and moves elegantly with her full body, which gives her interpretation coherence and amplitude.
  19. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

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    It was kind of a mix of both, because there were no clear guidelines for how to set a numerical base mark and the range of marks used within a given range of skill level was not consistently scaled.

    The only numbers that were absolute were the required deductions -- everything else was relative to the rest of the field and dependent on skate order.

    Again this often depended on skate order and where the judges wanted to rank that skater with the error against those who had already skated, and on how much room the judges needed to leave for those yet to skate. They were absolutely tasked with ranking the skaters, first and foremost.

    But I think in general the top skaters with top content and quality tended to start with 5.9 for required elements, not 6.0, unless the performance was groundbreaking technically or it was necessary to give 6.0 in order to put that skater ahead of another top skater who had already received 5.9 but in the opinion of this judge had been not quite as good.

    Yes -- because there was only one number for required elements/technical merit for the whole program, including skating skills, so if a judge thought that one skater had superior technique across all the elements and in-betweens, they would give that skater a higher technical mark for the whole program than another skater who might have been better at some of the elements (or have done harder elements) but weaker on other elements and also basic skating. There was no way to reflect in the scores that, e.g., Volchkova's jumps were better than Cohen's if the judge thought Cohen's spins and spirals and steps added up to enough better than Volchkova's to deserve a higher overall technical score.

    I agree with this also. It seemed to me in earlier years that her skating skills were sometimes worthy of low 8s but she often seemed gangly above the blade and not really into the "very good" territory in the other component areas. Although I did like the 2005 LP choreography, for a teenage skater as she was at the time.
  20. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    It often happened before the judges needed to start with a 6.0, though. In a SP with a fall or serious flaw -- which had almost 50% of the number of elements of the FS -- the top skaters were given the benefit of the doubt routinely with a higher start value -- and the PCS would be hiked to hold the skater up.

    I haven't been able to find the list of presentation score bullet points for quite a while, but I seem to remember at least one that was related to skating skills, one that was used in the S/P vs. B/S analysis.

    What wasn't remotely transparent, for example, was that Volchkova's 3Lz was huge and done on a proper edge, while Cohen's was small and clearly flutzed. In a CoP-like system, the difference, if the correct deductions were applied, might be the difference of 3-4 in GOE, and in terms of skating skills, Cohen's couldn't hold a candle to Volchkova's, who could cross the ice in three cross-overs. Volchkova's height and power in the 3F and 2A were superior, and in the SP, that's a lot to make up technically, with fewer elements.

    In the Dortmund SP, Kostner and Sebestyen were wildly superior in technical elements than Kwan, with the exception of Sebestyen's lip, including the spins -- Kwan traveled a continent in one of the spins -- and their speed and power were second to none in that competition, and Kwan beat them in that segment. As far as transitions were concerned, Kwan's program was relatively empty until the big footwork sequence.
  21. giselle23

    giselle23 Active Member

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    No one said it is. What Christine Brennan said in her article--which is what started this thread--is that audiences love a system like this, where numbers are given out and the contestants ranked. And there's certain irony in the fact that skating ditched it at the same time it was being used to draw viewers in on reality TV. Of course, if figure skating doesn't care what audiences think, it doesn't matter.
  22. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

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    http://www.frogsonice.com/skateweb/articles/beauty-contest.shtml

    It used to be that "speed" by itself was part of the second mark in the short program, but that changed sometime in the mid-1990s.

    I'll see if I can dig up some more old documents later, especially regarding the first mark.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2013
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  23. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    What a great technical analysis! ;)

    You know, your arguments agains CoP would would have a lot more credibility if you made arguments like these only in favor of Kostner getting higher PCS back then:

  24. giselle23

    giselle23 Active Member

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    Michelle was hosed in tech in that competition (for the time violation--one judge gave her a 5.1!) so I'm pretty sure Kostner, at least, had better tech scores. Michelle beat them on the second mark.
  25. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    Yes, someone did say that. And DWTS does not use a "system like that" and it isn't the scoring system of DWTS that draws in viewers. It's the dancing and the fluff pieces. They could use any scoring system or none. Just give them feedback and announce who is in the bottom two and people would still watch.
  26. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    No, it's not. Ballroom (except WDSF's current attempt to try and make their own IJS, in their continued quest to get into the Olympics) uses strict ordinals with no scores in final rounds, and elimination systems in the early rounds (you don't get scored in a first/quarter/semi, just an R on the judges' score sheet or no. Depending on how many they're recalling, a certain number of couples with the most Rs move on.) In the final, the couples are each given a placing 1-6, or 1-however there are (usually no more than 8.) In a multi-dance event, each dance is placed individually and then the placings for each dance are combined to
    determine the final.

    Since it gets brought up:

    Here's a typical single-dance event score sheet with four couples and five judges (the numbers 11, 12, 13, 16, 18 are the judges--there's a master list showing which judge is which number; it's not anonymous. I removed the names of the competitors; my pro and I were 144).

    Heat 339: L-A2 Bronze I Cha Cha Final

    No. 11 12 13 16 18 1 1-2 1-3 1-4 Result

    115 3 2 4 2 2 3 2
    130 4 4 2 3 3 1 3(8) 4
    144 2 1 3 4 4 1 2 3(6) 3
    157 1 3 1 1 1 4 1

    No scores other than our rank against each other--ties get broken on the right by how many 1sts, 1sts and 2nds, 1st-2nds-3rds, and 1-2-3-4th you have.

    That is pure ordinal scoring. The odd number of judges USUALLY keeps there from being ties but once in a great while you have a tie where they go to rule 12 and STILL can't break it.

    The reason that this works for dance is all of us are on the floor at once in a final. The judges are looking at everyone in direct comparison, so it's not necessarily "How ideal were those New Yorkers?" as "Whose of the four couples I'm looking at were the best right now?" Works great for dancing, where you can see everyone together, not so much for skating.

    It does, however, eliminate the question of "what do you do with competitors from 7th on down..." They get cut before the final. If it's just fifteen couples, that's kind of annoying for the bottom 9, if it's 50 couples or more (Blackpool can have preliminary rounds with 200 couples) making a quarter final can be a huge accomplishment. Heck, if I were dancing at Blackpool I'd be over the moon to make ONE cut.

    Off to do my part for growing USFS's membership....
  27. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    I just came across the great ballet and classical music impresario Sol Hurok's quote, "If the public doesn’t want to come, you can’t stop them."
  28. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    *clicks imaginary 'like' button*

    The question is, why don't they want to come? I personally think the scoring system is part of it, but it's clearly not ALL of it.
  29. Mathman

    Mathman New Member

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    Thanks for that interesting breakdown.

    Dancing with the stars, of course does something a little different. Only half the score is determined by the judges scores, the other half by the phone-in audience. U.S. figure skating tried it once, and Michelle won in a landslide even though by then she was so crippled up by hip injuries that she could hardly walk, let alone skate.
  30. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    2004 Ladies' SP marks
  31. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    That's interesting because I've seen dance competitions that use raw scores. Maybe they weren't real because at least one of them was in the movie Silver Linings Playbook. :lol: But that was a different federation, I believe. There are a number of groups putting on dance competition (I have friends that do different kinds of dance) and they use different scoring systems.

    And it's the audience voting that brings in the audience. All these shows with audience voting have huge ratings.

    To say DWTS is based on the old 6.0 system because judges give a mark when it's not marks based on a 6.0 system and they are added to an audience score in some mysterious way that is never revealed and so many sports and competitions also give out marks based on a 10.0 system and then claim that DWTS popularity is proof that 6.0 is better than IJS is completely illogical to me.
  32. Mathman

    Mathman New Member

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    ^ OT, but actually one time DWTS did explain how the voting works on the air. Tom Bergeron whizzed through it as fast as announcers go through the list of side effects of the drugs they advertising (usually ending with blindness, insanity and death). I got the impression that there might be some sort of FCC rule that required it. (The judges' scores for each contestant are converted to a percentage of all scores given out, and the same with the votes from viewers. The two percentages are then added.)

    Edited to add: Now that I think about it, maybe the lesson for figure skating is that popular shows like DWTS know that the audience has no interest in being educated about how the scoring system works.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2013
  33. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    I think the lesson is clearly that IJS causes blindness, insanity and death. Or maybe it's just this thread. ;)

    Honestly, I think there is no lesson for skating. DWTS is a silly reality tv show about dancing, not ice skating, that has a competition in there somewhere in a format that is nothing like a skating competition with a scoring system that is nothing like any scoring system ever used by skating. The lesson is that reality tv shows are popular, ballroom dancing is fun to watch and easy enough to learn to a level that's watchable, and Tom Bergeron is a good MC.
  34. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    Since it was 2004, the scores are listed in order from lowest to highest score for technical and from the lowest to highest score for presentation separately, and the columns don't represent scores by individual judges, i.e., the judge that gave her a 5.1 technical could have given her any of the presentation scores and, even if both scores were low, the ordinal would have been based on that judges' other scores.

    From what I understand, the only way to find out ordinals, unless someone published it somewhere online, is from TV broadcasts, where tey were flashed momentarily.
  35. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

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    There were protocols published for 6.0 competitions showing the ordinals, but they weren't published online until the very last few years of 6.0 and in many cases even those pages have expired. So you'd have to work from the scores shown on TV broadcasts -- which could be misleading because if the broadcast skipped showing scores for one skater or even skipped showing that skater's performance at all, you'd only have partial information to work from. And yes, sometimes the ordinals for the 6th-place skater did mix up the medal standings.

    Or you could find someone who had been in the arena and who purchased the official protocol or who wrote down all the scores announced after the skate and posted on the wall afterward.

    Through the 2002 season, all those sources would give you scores and ordinals for each judge.

    As you note, for international events in 2003 and 2004, the technical marks were all listed low to high and the presentation marks were all listed low to high, so you couldn't line up the two marks from the same judge let alone know which judge gave which marks. AND some of the judges' scores were randomly dropped by the sekret computer.

    That was true for the scores as they were announced in the Kiss and Cry on TV and as they were published in the official protocols. No one could know what the actual ordinals were during those except for those with :sekret: access to the computer decisions.

    Just another reminder that anonymity and IJS are two totally separate issues that happened to get introduced about the same time.
  36. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    In the arena, they were shown in a flash and then were gone too quickly for most people to record, but I do remember discussions in the FS about how Kwan won first place ordinals from Arakawa and then how Cohen won Kwan's ordinals and another from Arakawa. I had no idea that there were protocols to be purchased or that would have been my souvenir instead of a key chain.
  37. pp55

    pp55 Member

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  38. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    Many thanks for the link!
  39. Minou

    Minou Member

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  40. giselle23

    giselle23 Active Member

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    Who said it? No one. Here is exactly what Christine Brennan said:

    "In response, they shelved the sport's immensely popular but flawed 6.0 scoring system for an anonymous points-based system that few truly understand to this day. Even though it has produced some fairer results, this was a huge marketing mistake. The 6.0 system was reality TV before there was reality TV. It was Dancing with the Stars before anyone ever heard of the show, with the flags of the judges' countries and their scores superimposed over the skater watching in the aptly named "Kiss and Cry" area. Every TV show on earth wanted what skating had, and skating gave it all away."

    Her article is what started this thread. She doesn't say DWTS is based on figure skating or 6.0. You are reading way too much into what was intended just to be an interesting observation.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2013