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  1. #41

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    Just popping in here from Australian Nationals where I am attending an ISU Judging Seminar. Currently looking at the components with examples from an official ISU DVD on components.

    Funny thing is Surya Bonaly and Tonya Harding are used as example of poor skating skills. Lack of edge quality, toe pushing, lack of complexity in what they do.

    So far have seen the Skating Skills and Transition portions which are very interesting. They do a comparison Shen and Zhao from 2001 to 2004 in relation to their transitions which really shows how they developed into the wonderful skater that they are.

    They also showed quite a lot of Brian Orser and the transitions he had like one foot axels and walleys. And also used video of Chan and Buttle to show excellent transitions.

    When Nationals are over I will have time to probably relate more about what we have done at the seminar but I have been working over 12 hour days here at Nationals in the Operations room and pretty stuffed at present.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post

    Schultheiss 2010 Skate America SP

    Power and edges so-so for this level

    Variety of turns/steps with some multidirectional but not great quality, no real highlights or intricacy

    Telegraphed axel
    Thanks for doing this one! I was half-joking when I suggested Schultheiss. Being a uber does not prevent me from seeing reality. Schultheiss' skating skills is a big weakness.

    "Power and edges" are at least closely associated if not entirely overlapping with skating skills.

    What is most difficult, I think, is to set up reasonably separate, nonoverlapping components, and then judge them separately. As a pessimist, I don't see how it can be achieved and strictly enforced in figure skating any time soon. People iare so entrenched in the habit of thinking everything at once that it is hard to train judges to assess interpretation/expression separately from skating skills and edge quality and jumps, etc. So far, it's been hard enough for people to separate skating skills and landing jumps.

    It is entirely possible to have relatively low SS and high interpretation (maybe not as extreme as SS2/IN9) --- if the skater chooses to skate an easy program with few jumps and limited transitions. A "artistic program" as in professional competitions 10 years ago, for example. Or Laura Lipisto's or Carolina Kostner's program.

    ************

    Here's how I look at separate components: If music interpretation and performance/expression (not execution of the technical skills) are considered less important than skating skills, this component can be factored at half of the SS score, or a third, or a tenth.

    The point is, if you make it count, you have to let it count. You cannot penalize someone in interpretation/expression only because he is slow, or lacks power, or has stiff knees, because you have already punished him for these things in the SS score. If Shawn Sawyer hits 75% of all the notes in Assassin's Tango, if Schultheiss plays crazy extremely well and to the music, if Ryan Bradley can tickle everyone in the arena with Mozart, they should be rewarded according to the pre-specified criteria and scale without reservation. Don't deduct points for IN because of SS. Conversely, someone with soft knees, effortless bidirectional skating, and high speed should not be disproportionally rewarded in the IN score if he or she cannot interpret musical details or relate to the audience. Can this practice be realistically and fairly implemented? Some fans will probably be aghast that a skater could potentially get SS=2 and IN=9. However, there will always be some fans aghast about practically anything in figure skating.

    Say what you mean. Do what you say. Otherwise it is hypocrisy. Judge every skater the same way. Otherwise it is unfair.
    Last edited by Jun Y; 11-27-2010 at 09:44 PM.

  3. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jun Y View Post
    "Power and edges" are at least closely associated if not entirely overlapping with skating skills.
    They're a big part of the definition of Skating Skills.

    The title of this thread is "Hypothetical question on TR and SS," so I've been trying to address the SS in my analyses, even though it's hard to get a real feel for them on youtube compared to up close in the arena. So take those comments with a grain of salt.

    What is most difficult, I think, is to set up reasonably separate, nonoverlapping components, and then judge them separately.
    And obviously the definitions of the components have not been written in such a way as to ensure that they're nonoverlapping. I'm not sure there was ever any intention or desire to do so.

    Even for Skating Skills vs. Interpretation, which seem like the furthest away in terms of overlap, not just the order in which they're listed, there is overlap in the "Effortless movements in time to the music" bullet point under Interpretation. Hard to have effortless movement with weak skating skills.

    Actually, maybe Transitions and Interpretation have the least in common. But they're both significantly related to Choreography.

    So maybe it's not so much that the designers of the system intended the five components to be completely separate and judges are failing at living up to their expectations. Maybe they just wanted to break the full-program aspects of the performance (both the technical aspects of the "in-between" skating and all the criteria of the old Presentation mark) into manageable chunks, which could be factored to add up to approximately half the total program score. I don't know how carefully they considered the fact that it's the gaps between the scores rather than the base scores themselves that determine the rankings, and that a gap in total PCS that's equal to one triple jump in a short program is worth two triples in the long.

    Using five separate marks can allow for distinctions between the different chunks when appropriate better than lumping it all into one or two marks. And probably judges could and should be trained to do a better job of making those distinctions.

    But I think it's a fallacy to assume that because it's possible to make large distinctions between components for a single skater when appropriate, the expectation is that it will often be appropriate to make those large distinctions. I think of the separate components more as a way to make fine distinctions. To let skaters know "Well, your overall skating and performance were at approximately a 5.0 level. But your interpretation didn't quite live up to your choreography."

    Or in comparing skaters, "Both of you have similar skating skills, so I'll give you both 5.0 there. But Gene had a good program and made the most of performing it, so 5.5s on some of the other components. Kelly's program didn't live up to the skating skills, so 4.5s there." Only 0.5 range for each of those skaters, but 1.0 range between most of Gene's marks and most of Kelly's.

    It is entirely possible to have relatively low SS and high interpretation (maybe not as extreme as SS2/IN9) --- if the skater chooses to skate an easy program with few jumps and limited transitions. A "artistic program" as in professional competitions 10 years ago, for example. Or Laura Lipisto's or Carolina Kostner's program.
    But the point is that those skaters do have good skating skills, even if they don't include a lot of difficult jumps in the program. Jump difficulty is not one of the criteria for Skating Skills. (Although some judges do take it into account, I'm sure)

    Maybe something like this? Not quite the edge quality or speed we expect from elite competitors -- maybe Skating Skills in the 4s? -- but Performance/Execution and Interpretation much higher than we expect from a competitive performance -- 8s or 9s?

    Now imagine a similarly accomplished ballerina or other professional dancer with less than half of Healy's skating training. Would they even be secure enough on their blades to achieve those positions?

    You just don't tend to see such extreme strengths and weaknesses in a single competitor.

    More likely the other way around. Sometimes good skaters are so focused on executing their technical content that they don't bother to perform. Sometimes they're having a really bad day and it's obvious they know it. P/E should be much lower than SS in those cases. But how much lower? As low as a bad skater having a similarly bad day?

    Of course, the good skater having a bad day might deserve PE lower scores than the bad skater having a good day. But it might depend how bad they are.

    You have to watch a lot of bad and mediocre skating (i.e., most skaters in the world, who never get near an international competition) to get a sense of where those scores in the 1s, 2s, and 3s belong.

    On my very best day, I'd be thrilled to get PCS in the 2s for my skating, even for interpretation if I leave out everything difficult for me so I can concentrate on interpreting. Any senior-level skater phoning it in is going to look better than me.

  4. #44
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    I do not disagree that perhaps it is impossible to assess these 5 domains/aspects of figure skating as distinctive elements. If it's impossible to think of these qualities/requirements separately, they should not be given their own components to judge, which creates this illusion that the 5 components are entirely different considerations. There seems to be a misconception that the more complicated (i.e., lots of numbers flying around) the system is, and the more digits after the decimal point, the more "accurate" or "scientific" the system is.

    This is also why after much thought I had proposed only 2 components for the second score: Blade skills and Expression. The highly overlapping and correlated elements can be grouped together, and the judges should be allowed to recruit their "instinctive" neurons to form a holistic impression of the sum of these qualities.

    The problem with the current components is that nobody knows for sure how much, for example, a person's skating skills or ability to interpret music is factored into his or her score and placement. How much should skating skills count? If it counts for 75% or 90% of the PCS, that's fine, as long as it is spelled out and applied the same to every skater. Right now it is simply unknown. As long as the actual allocation/weighting is unknown, the proportions of elements can never be pinned down and applied consistently and fairly. It's an endless circular argument of "so-and-so does not deserve to be placed 1st because he can barely hear the music," and "but his skating skill is so fabulous!"

    Even a single judge may apply different proportions to different skaters. For a skater with a huge reputation for expression, for example, the judge may pay more attention to this quality and see it more clearly and therefore reward him more heavily in the IN score; but for a skater who has no reputation but nevertheless has originality and musicality, the judge may totally miss it and just give out an IN score similar to the SS score. Again I point to Adrian Schultheiss as a relatively extreme example because he does not perform in a conventional way, but what else is the "Crazy" program but a highly conceptual, original, and interpretive program?

    Ultimately, for me it is an issue of transparency and fairness (i.e., consistency). However, these ideals seem quite impossible to achieve in a sport where the major appeal to most spectators is to emotionally identify with a few skaters and expect them to be highly rewarded simply because "I love so-and-so." Even if an objective and fair system were implemented, you'd hear a public outcry the first moment some popular star is not rewarded as expected (or some unpopular skater is rewarded as unexpected).
    Last edited by Jun Y; 11-29-2010 at 04:41 PM.

  5. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jun Y View Post
    This is also why after much thought I had proposed only 2 components for the second score: Blade skills and Expression. The highly overlapping and correlated elements can be grouped together, and the judges should be allowed to recruit their "instinctive" neurons to form a holistic impression of the sum of these qualities.
    That would be great. Overall impression should be what matters, an "informed overall impression", that is.
    TES being compartmentalized should suffice to make the system relatively objective.

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