Over the past 20 years that I've been obsessing about figure skating, I've often heard (and occasionally made) the observation that skaters "need" certain elements to be competitive at a given level.
The specifics vary depending whether we're talking about men or ladies, about world or Olympic medals or about deserving a spot on the Junior Grand Prix or anywhere in between, or domestically at lower skill levels.
Usually these observations are predictions going into an event: Most skaters contending for this prize will probably have this quality or attempt this element and the winner will probably be the one who succeeds the best. But there are no official rules that any one quality or element is required to be demonstrated successfully in order to win (what if no one demonstrates it? then does no one win?). So the predictions don't always come true and sometimes someone does win without the expected element.
There are two questions here:
1) What's the minimum standard expected to be considered for entry to certain events (subject to limits on the total number of skaters or number of skaters from a given federation)?
2) What's the most important minimum standard for the highest prize at that level, the sine qua non of a deserving champion?
For this thread, I'm more interested in 2).
We've had a number of threads and debates here about what should be most important. Posters sometimes explicitly state that they hate to see world or Olympic medalists with any falls or more than X number of falls, with multiple sloppy landings, with more double than triple jumps, without a triple axel, without a quad, (or triple lutz or triple-triple combo for ladies), with weak skating skills, with bad posture, with no transitions, with no expression, etc., etc.
Under 6.0 judging, each individual judge could have his or her own dealbreaker when deciding between performances otherwise at comparable skill levels, but that information would have been private, maybe not even consciously articulated within the judge's own mind. Of course judges couldn't control more than their own rankings, but they could control those absolutely and could consistently refuse to give first place to a skater who didn't meet their primary expectation for a champion.
Under IJS, it's harder for judges to control even their own placements on the basis of a single element or quality. If they so desire, they could inflate or deflate other marks to nudge the scores in favor of a skater who has that quality or against one who doesn't. But the system itself, the Scale of Values and the factors for the PCS, builds in priorities in ways that individual officials can't control. At most, when there is a consensus that certain qualities or elements seem to be receiving too much or too little weight, the ISU tweaks the rules to try to correct the trend.
And even so, there is always the possibility that some days all the skaters who can meet that standard fail to come through and the one who gives the best ovefrall performance that day happens to be deficient in that one particular area.
So what's most important to you? What's your dealbreaker?
You may want to specify what discipline and what level of competition you're focusing on.
Is it the kind of thing that IJS rules could be written or rewritten to support? Care to suggest how?
Or would it require different rules for different levels of competition, too many variations to be worth legislating?