# Thread: Janet Lynn on COP and the decline of figure skating

1. Originally Posted by skatesindreams
^^^
Who knows whether the 10's would count anyway, were they given?
If every judge gave a 10 for say PE then it would come out as a 10 regardless of which judge was dropped. It will happen one day - probably in ice dance first.

2. Originally Posted by PDilemma
Here's the difference between CoP and 6.0 in terms of understanding. It isn't that difficult to see, really, if you think:

In the 6.0 system, there was a maximum score which was the benchmark for "perfect". That score was 6.0. As a casual viewer, you then understood quite easily that the scores closest to 6.0 were the best scores. If a skater's scores were in the range of 5.4 to 5.6, a casual viewer could think "hmm....that is good but not the best" by the relation of those numbers to the number 6.0. There is no benchmark in CoP. So a skater gets 121.89 and the casual viewer says (as my husband does if he pays attention) "is that good or not?" And, yes, the announcers can start explaining that this jump = these points and a UR call means x amount of points lost....but sports fans don't really want to think that hard or look that hard. Most people watch sports to relax on the weekend. Mathematical computation is not relaxation for the majority of the population.

I have thought all along that the answer was not a complete overhaul. The answer should have been a new system of mandatory deductions for tech errors in the 6.0 or a similar system. Perhaps increasing the max for tech scores to 10.0 and adding mandatory point deductions and creating levels of difficulty for elements within that point basis. This system judges the parts and never the whole and the result is a loss of creativity, musicality and artistry as Lynn wrote.
OK so first of all I'm not a long time skating fan (started after 02 Olympics) so don't have a lot of nostalgia or historical baggage so to speak, but why does an audience need to know whether a score is "good enough"? The numbers are meaningless if you are the sole competitor in the field. The whole point is to compare your score with others. Basketball doesn't have maximum score, neither does baseball or soccer. The rule is as simple as that - if you score more points than your competitor then you win. How hard is it to understand this? I've seen judges give 6.0 for less than perfect performances (even ones with falls), and if I were a casual audience and was told 6.0 was for "perfection" I would be totally , and skating fans would then tell them that the numbers were just placeholders, and the judges simply ran out of room and need to place that skater ahead of previous ones And what about those damned flip flop of placements. Those numbers inside the parenthesis detailing individual judges' placement and how it add up to the overall placement of skaters used to make me dizzy just skimming through them. Now "that" was mysterious and complicated for me, and didn't 6.0 already implemented a set of mandatory deductions for errors?

What I like about CoP is it tallies up points for the tech elements. Everything you do actually counts, and you also get the presentation scores broken up into 5 categories that evaluate the performances holistically and makes up 1/2 of your total score. It still needs a lot of tweaking to get rid of contorted positions/ugliness and strike a healthy balance between overall impression and the sum of tech elements you completed, but it is definitely on the right track to help people compare apples to apples.

The rest is summed up eloquently by jl, Margaret, et el.

3. Originally Posted by julieann
I think she is being over dramatic.
Much as I like and respect Janet, I must say I agree with you.

4. Originally Posted by doubleflutz
I'm really tired of these Amerika-centric laments about the death of FS, and I am American. It seems like the sport is still as strong as it ever was in Canada and Russia, it's super popular in Japan, and China and Korea seem to be gaining a lot of momentum, although we'll see how it lasts. America is not the entire world.
Oh my gosh. Thank you. I've really enjoyed watching Cup of China and NHK and seeing the packed stands and hearing the crowds' reaction to every thing the skaters do. USFS needs to look at how skating is marketed in Asia.

Two things I really like about IJS: skaters can come back after a less than perfect short program and you don't hear so much about the first skater in the group "being forgotten".

And I bet a lot of casual sports fans in America while away many a Sunday on one of the most complicated sports known to man: Football. I personally think figure skating is waaaay easier to understand.

5. Originally Posted by doubleflutz
I'm really tired of these Amerika-centric laments about the death of FS, and I am American. It seems like the sport is still as strong as it ever was in Canada and Russia, it's super popular in Japan, and China and Korea seem to be gaining a lot of momentum, although we'll see how it lasts. America is not the entire world.
I would rep you if I could. I'm an American too, and I can't pinpoint how and why skating is in rapid decline here (other than that it is generally considered a pwetty princess with pwetty dress sport), but until someone gives me a couple of strong examples why people can't understand 131 > 122 I think the scoring system is the least of USFS's problems. The fact that Bolero couldn't be scored in a string of 6.0s, with all due respect, is something that can only come out of a long time skating fan lamenting the loss of the "good ole days".

6. Originally Posted by jl
I think that you can't say it be more holistic and keep it in the Olympics as a sport.
It was a sport before, and would have remained so. It is the premier event of the Winter Olympics. Making it "more holistic" does not mean anything goes. The 6.0 system was perhaps more subjective than CoP but it was by no means a crap shoot.

Oh, and maybe you should brush up on your Olympic history since the ancient Olympics included competitions for poetry, music, dance, etc...

Figure skating is a competitive athletic event. That makes it a sport. Period.

7. Just like every other commentary by 6.0-era skaters that glorifies 6.0 and blames IJS for the decline in figure skating's popularity (IN THE U.S.!!), this article is total B.S. If people just didn't like IJS judging or IJS-style skating, they would be skipping the competitions but still flocking to the ice shows, where skating is still free, expressive, and not based on "math". That isn't happening. Not in the U.S., anyway.

8. I think she is being over dramatic.
Julieann, Janet is expressing her sincere belief, as many here have.

9. Originally Posted by Doubletoe
Just like every other commentary by 6.0-era skaters that glorifies 6.0 and blames IJS for the decline in figure skating's popularity (IN THE U.S.!!), this article is total B.S. If people just didn't like IJS judging or IJS-style skating, they would be skipping the competitions but still flocking to the ice shows, where skating is still free, expressive, and not based on "math". That isn't happening. Not in the U.S., anyway.
I was going to post this but then the thought that what if competitions create the stars that drive people to shows and because people don't watch the competitions they don't know who they like to go to shows came to mind.

10. Here's the thing - how can those attributes that Janet alluded to be integrated in Code of Points (if at all)? Should poor body line or a lack of a toe point get -1 GOE on elements such as spins and footwork? Or should these attributes be more reflected on components scores?

I think additions such as only 7 elements in the SP and a choreographic step sequence in the long program are steps in the right direction. I think a level 1 choreographic spin would help as well.

In my books, ordinals and judges in favour/One By One + factored placements had its own complications as well.

11. Originally Posted by doubleflutz
I'm really tired of these Amerika-centric laments about the death of FS, and I am American. It seems like the sport is still as strong as it ever was in Canada and Russia, it's super popular in Japan, and China and Korea seem to be gaining a lot of momentum, although we'll see how it lasts. America is not the entire world.
Ain't that the truth. US is losing the edge as the 'power house' in singles and some people are not happy about it.

I don't see Janet complaining what IJS did to ice dancing. But guess what? Marina did!

12. Originally Posted by skatesindreams
Julieann, Janet is expressing her sincere belief, as many here have.
I agree, but I have the right to express mine as well, we all do. When you put your opinions out in print like she she did she needs to be prepared to have them scrutinized.

13. Originally Posted by Triple Butz
It was a sport before, and would have remained so. It is the premier event of the Winter Olympics.
The IOC was about ready to kick ice dance out of the Olympics, and maybe the rest of FS along with it. The IOC can and will drop subjective sports if they can get away with it. It is not the premier event of the Winter Olympics everywhere, or even in most places, and it may not even be in the US anymore, or for long, so that argument falls short, if you're holding it out as a reason why FS will always be in the Olympics. Yes, it gets a lot of TV coverage in the US right now and that brings in the \$\$ for TV rights, but that's a historical artifact and not a reflection of the current level of popularity and viability of the sport, and it's certainly not true of the entire rest of the world. Look at how many skating tours with long histories in this country have died in the past twenty years. The United States can't even sustain the flippin' Ice Capades and Ice Follies anymore, both of which had over half a century of history. Why would the IOC bank on FS as a sport to pull in the \$\$ in the long term?

Just to give two examples from Vancouver: we only have Yuna Kim in FS because of the popularity of short track in South Korea, because there were no FS-only facilities in the entire country when she was coming up, and even though Evan Lysacek was on Dancing with the Stars, Shaun White still has higher name recognition and is making way more money. Snowboarding will almost certainly eclipse skating in the long run in the US, for a whole host of reasons. The IOC can find plenty of cash cows for the US market that don't have the same "baggage" as skating.

14. Originally Posted by Triple Butz
It was a sport before, and would have remained so. It is the premier event of the Winter Olympics. Making it "more holistic" does not mean anything goes. The 6.0 system was perhaps more subjective than CoP but it was by no means a crap shoot.

Oh, and maybe you should brush up on your Olympic history since the ancient Olympics included competitions for poetry, music, dance, etc...

Figure skating is a competitive athletic event. That makes it a sport. Period.
So then why aren't poetry, music, dance included in the modern Olympics? Because the definition of Olympic has also changed. Maybe they should be included but then you're trying to completely reword the definition of Olympic. As such, I don't think the historic definition of Olympic need necessarily apply. If it did, I wouldn't be averse to having X-Factor, the Olympic event. So why would brushing up on Olympic history apply?

And "premier event" does not mean that it's a sport, either. Arguably, the premier event of all Olympics are the opening and closing ceremonies, because they are the most watched and also are the most universal since all people are allowed to be a participant. They're not sportive to me, either, but are perhaps the most poignant events since it is representative of a celebration of all peoples.

I don't think that you can separate yourself from holism if you evaluate figure skating, nor should you, but I think you need to be able to break down the whole experience into collective parts. The ability of figure skating to be athletic and demand precision, combined with the requirement to present these abilities, can't be discounted. That being said, the breakdown in 6.0 appears to me to be more arbitrary, because even technically you could be "perfect", which isn't really possible given that you should be able to exceed the bounds. While you can point to PCS in COP in the same way, I think it is a case of where the PCS has to be ascribed on such a scale but the TES is decoupled, which to me, makes it easier for people to determine at least, on one perspective, what made a skate "better" than the other.

The other question that I think COP better addresses is the SP/FS arbitrariness that sometimes happened in figure skating. Technically, you could end up so many spots behind first place for one error in the SP, but even if you outskated everyone (e.g. everyone else falls on every other element or forgets programs or whatever), if you don't finish X spots above first in the FS, you can't win. I believe that COP may afford too much equality between the SP and FS so far (since there is the argument the SP is a mini-FS now), but it at least affords the potential for someone who clearly outdid everyone on the second day to make up for their potential shortfall in the SP (Sandhu at SC comes to mind).

Figure skating is a competitive athletic event. So is speed typing, because without certain physical traits (hand agility, physical endurance, etc) you can't be as good as others. Maybe it's a sport too, but I don't think it fits the spectrum. That being said, I don't know where the distinctive line then exists by your words.

15. Originally Posted by skatesindreams
Julieann, Janet is expressing her sincere belief, as many here have.
Thank you.

16. Those of us who bemoan the loss of beauty in FS are not unable to do math. Several people here have acted like we're morons if we don't like COP. I understand if one skater gets more points than another, (s)he will win. And I don't think 6.0 was a perfect system either. But COP has plenty of problems of its own, AND the result is loss of some of the really beautiful moves in skating while maintaining the cheating aka holding up certain skaters thru use of PCS which at this point is completely meaningless.

How many points would a really beautiful skid spiral get? Probably none at all & would only count as a transition. How long has it been since you've seen one?

17. Originally Posted by PDilemma
Here's the difference between CoP and 6.0 in terms of understanding. It isn't that difficult to see, really, if you think:

In the 6.0 system, there was a maximum score which was the benchmark for "perfect". That score was 6.0. As a casual viewer, you then understood quite easily that the scores closest to 6.0 were the best scores. If a skater's scores were in the range of 5.4 to 5.6, a casual viewer could think "hmm....that is good but not the best" by the relation of those numbers to the number 6.0. There is no benchmark in CoP. So a skater gets 121.89 and the casual viewer says (as my husband does if he pays attention) "is that good or not?" And, yes, the announcers can start explaining that this jump = these points and a UR call means x amount of points lost....but sports fans don't really want to think that hard or look that hard. Most people watch sports to relax on the weekend. Mathematical computation is not relaxation for the majority of the population.

I have thought all along that the answer was not a complete overhaul. The answer should have been a new system of mandatory deductions for tech errors in the 6.0 or a similar system. Perhaps increasing the max for tech scores to 10.0 and adding mandatory point deductions and creating levels of difficulty for elements within that point basis. This system judges the parts and never the whole and the result is a loss of creativity, musicality and artistry as Lynn wrote.
My problem was, though, that even the most perfect program in the world, *if* it was put out early in a group and *if* it was skated by a skater without political favor, would NOT get 6.0 because the judges were "saving room" for later skaters. 6.0 did NOT, then, indicate perfection at all times. Nor did 5.0 *necessarily* indicate a lot of errors or a lack of skating skills or difficulty. That is my biggest problem with the 6.0 system.

ETA: I see Triple Butz has said more or less the same thing.

Also, the few times that the American commentators have been helpful and not all "oh my gosh, IJS is soooo complicated" they've provided helpful info like "Okay, it's the men's SP; a score below 60 is not that great, 60-70 is fair, 70-80 is good, anything above 80 is quite, quite good" and that sort of thing. So the numbers don't "mean nothing."

18. Originally Posted by DinDonShamu
I would rep you if I could. I'm an American too, and I can't pinpoint how and why skating is in rapid decline here (other than that it is generally considered a pwetty princess with pwetty dress sport), but until someone gives me a couple of strong examples why people can't understand 131 > 122 I think the scoring system is the least of USFS's problems.
I wonder if the lack of a competitive American ladies skater has affected viewership and interest? Like it or not, the ladies competition is the bread and butter of US figure skating. The public has a long tradition of investing in skaters like Fleming, Hamil, Lynn, Yamaguchi, Kwan etc. I don't think the general public knows or cares about Czisny, Nagasu, Flatt or Wagner so they don't tune in. There hasn't been personality or competitor that the general American public can latch on to IMO.

19. Janet Lynn for ISU President! "The system no longer assures knowledge, security, individuality and freedom on ice." She is so spot-on about that! That is not to say that I want a return of 6.0, which also had more than its fair share of problems. I would prefer some type of hybrid that combines the best of both judging systems.

20. Originally Posted by taf2002
Those of us who bemoan the loss of beauty in FS are not unable to do math. Several people here have acted like we're morons if we don't like COP. I understand if one skater gets more points than another, (s)he will win. And I don't think 6.0 was a perfect system either. But COP has plenty of problems of its own, AND the result is loss of some of the really beautiful moves in skating while maintaining the cheating aka holding up certain skaters thru use of PCS which at this point is completely meaningless.

How many points would a really beautiful skid spiral get? Probably none at all & would only count as a transition. How long has it been since you've seen one?
I would like to clarify that I can do math. I managed to get through three years of high school math, a semester of college math, and pass a required math test (through advanced algebra) to get a teaching license. I just don't want to be required to do math to fully comprehend any sport. Not that many people do. Maybe my father. Calculating proportional PCS scores for a short program would probably give him an accounting rush if we showed him how the scoring works. But not every single person's mind works that way. A hell of a lot of people (Americans and otherwise) will tune out complicated formulas involving proportions and decimal points. The argument made here for CoP is "it's great because if you study the numbers the scores totally make sense!". You don't have to be completely unable to comprehend math to not find studying a sheet of numbers an entertaining way to spend your free time.

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