View Poll Results: Is it time to get rid of COP/IJS?

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  • No

    136 67.66%
  • Yes - bring back the 6.0 system (either as was or with improvements)

    36 17.91%
  • Yes - but replace it with a completely new marking system (i.e. not the 6.0 system)

    29 14.43%
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  1. #1

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    2002 Judging Scandal: Has The Medicine Done More Damage Than The Original Disease?

    Interesting article in the Washington Post which marks the 10th anniversary of the 2002 Olympic Judging scandal.

    Article reads:-

    Ten years after the pairs judging scandal rocked the Salt Lake City Olympics, some say figure skating has yet to recover. Interest in skating in the United States has faded, and critics say a judging system adopted to prevent cheating has not only failed but has stripped the beauty from the sport. “I really don’t think it was that worth it, all the hubbub after Salt Lake City,” Johnny Weir said...Critics say the current system has flaws. There is room to manipulate marks or prop skaters up through the component scores, largely still a matter of personal opinion even with established criteria to judge the individual components. A judge with a music background, for example, may view a skater’s interpretation of “Tosca” very differently than someone without, and it’s hard to challenge their interpretations. Another criticism is that the points system doesn’t penalize mistakes enough. Reigning world champion Patrick Chan had to put both hands down on a quadruple toe loop in the short program at Four Continents last Thursday, but it wasn’t counted as a fall so he didn’t receive a one-point deduction off his total score. He did get the maximum negative execution scores for the element, but the 7.30 points he received for the quad were still a point higher than Ross Miner got for a clean triple flip. “To get more points, the skaters execute elements beyond their capabilities. As a consequence, the programs are filled with errors and falls which, of course, damage the general presentation,” Sonia Bianchetti, a former Olympic-level judge and the first woman elected to an ISU office, said in an email. “Is it better to see a beautiful program, with a good choreography, skated to the music with good speed and flow and maybe an easier jump or jump combination, less-intricate footwork or more simple spins? Or rather programs with two or three falls on quads or triple-triple combinations, with travelled, slow and ugly spins or step sequences? “To make the sport too difficult and demanding means that in a field of 30 skaters, let’s say, maybe only a couple can do a decent program. The rest of the event is a falling contest,” she added. “Is this good for our sport?” Fans also have struggled to grasp what are good scores and what are not. Under the old system, even the most casual of fans knew that the closer a skater was to 6.0, the better the program was. Now, even the die-hards don’t always know what to make of a 200 — a near-record for the women or pairs, not even good enough for a man to crack the top 10. That complexity, in a sport once known for its simple beauty, coupled with the lack of a female American star, has been blamed by many for the drop in interest in skating in the U.S. Ten years after “Champions On Ice” alone had a schedule of 90-plus shows, “Stars on Ice” is the only U.S. tour left and has just 10 dates, beginning Saturday in Salt Lake City. Stars also will do 12 shows in Canada. At last month’s U.S. championships, there were empty seats for most of the sessions, even with portions of the arena curtained off. NBC’s prime-time coverage of the women’s final Saturday drew a 2.4 rating and 3.7 million viewers. The men’s final on Sunday afternoon had a 1.8 rating and 2.8 million viewers. “The perception of skating, it changed a lot,” Pelletier said. “It had such a bad rap and I think it was well-deserved, the bad rap. I think it could have been avoided. “But at the same time, skating was never as bad as what people made it seem. Every sport has its problems,” Pelletier added, pointing to concussions in hockey and football and an entire era of baseball tainted by performance-enhancing drugs. “The ISU did the best they could to clean whatever they thought the mess did. It’s not my place to say if they did it the right way.”
    So, has the medicine done more damage than the original disease and is it time for COP/IJS to go?
    Last edited by Maofan7; 02-14-2012 at 11:02 PM.

  2. #2

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    Just wanted to clarify that this article was written by Nancy Armour of the Associated Press (she covers gymnastics in addition to figure skating and other Olympic sports).

  3. #3
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    I don't see how FS can get rid of COP and stay in the Olys. The IOC basically told the ISU "make it more a sport and less an art or walk" so they really didn't have a choice.

    Even if The Artist wins best picture, the old B&W glory days of hollywood are never coming back, and neither is 6.0

  4. #4
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    COP has it's problems, but almost all the quotes from Bianchetti criticizing COP could be applied to 6.0. Tons of 6.0 events had skaters attempting more difficulty than they are capable of and a lot of those turned into splat fests too. And no, people didn't always understand why a mark was given, no matter where it was in relation to a perfect 6.0. Unlike COP, you aren't even given the opportunity to see the breakdown of the marks to help understand how they came about.

    I wouldn't mind of significant retooling of the system to address the concerns about spins and footwork, and the lack of range in PCS. (I.E the idea about one panel trained for TES, one trained for PCS) But bringing back the vagueness of 6.0 would be a mistake. If the idea of 6.0 is so important to people, you could have each PCS category be marked out of a 6.0 as a compromise and display each mark on the screen so people could see the 5.9's or 6.0's. You could change the P/E mark (since it's so badly named and misunderstood) to an overall artistic impression mark which would make 6.0's more common.

    No way would I want to go back to skaters having no clue if they are being rewarded for good spins, or having more than three skaters skate a good sp and the ones out of the top 3 having a huge disadvantage even if the difference in the actual performances are minor.

    But I did love this line though...
    Scott Hamilton’s howl of protest on the NBC broadcast could be heard clear across the country,
    Because, really.
    Last edited by casken; 02-15-2012 at 02:08 AM.

  5. #5
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    I think CoP is a zillion times better than 6.0, but it's also very far from perfect. It has its own flaws and its own ridiculousness.

    It leaves very little space for creativity. All the programs are so similar.
    It kills the real artistry in the name of transitions.
    It makes people do ugly things just to get higher levels on elements.
    It kills ice dance big time.
    The judging stays subjective anyway.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by casken View Post
    COP has it's problems, but almost all the quotes from Bianchetti criticizing COP could be applied to 6.0. Tons of 6.0 events had skaters attempting more difficulty than they are capable of and a lot of those turned into splat fests too. And no, people didn't always understand why a mark was given, no matter where it was in relation to a perfect 6.0. Unlike COP, you aren't even given the opportunity to see the breakdown of the marks to help understand how they came about.
    She didn't say thought that people didn't understand why a mark was given but what the marks mean, as was mentioned as an example, that a 200 ist just a number and what it's worth is only revealed at the end of the competition whereas it was instantly obvious that a skater with loads of 5.9s was going to place pretty well.

    As to whether or not COP is better than 6.0 ... I don't really think either is better. Going back though would be absolutely nuts. Especially with all the money which went into establishing COP.

    As for blaming COP for the lack of attendance, I disagree. It might be an issue but ten years ago there was a Michelle Kwan, and ten years ago people seemed to have more money. Whether they actually did, I don't know but ticket prices are through the roof, for Nationals and COI and people just can't afford it anymore. Both, the lack of names and ticket prices are probably more important than COP or are at least an equal factor.
    The problem is, the fewer people attend, the fewer media coverage there is, so it's really vicious cylce until, maybe, another Michelle Kwan pops up, I guess.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mia joy View Post
    I think CoP is a zillion times better than 6.0, but it's also very far from perfect. It has its own flaws and its own ridiculousness.

    It leaves very little space for creativity. All the programs are so similar.
    It kills the real artistry in the name of transitions.
    I disagree.

    Especially at the non-elite levels, the programs are so much more interesting to watch at the local non-qualifying competitions. I remember kicking back at 1996 Regionals, my first competition to watch countless BIG level skaters (ie: Juvenile-Senior), and was so bored out of my mind except for maybe 5% of the skaters. Pretty depressing really. Now I can sit through those levels at a local non-qual, and often be entertained. I see plenty of nteresting spins, transitions, more focus on musicality and developing the PCS side, and an earnest attempt seems to be in place to play up one's strengths and best quality of elements -- rather than just skate from end to end and jump, jump, jump and hope to stay on one's feet regardless of the the under rotations, bad technique (leg wraps, even more severe edge changes, etc) that seemed rampant in the 90s.

    Now considering the elite skaters: I go back and watch videos from the 80s, 90s, through 2002 frequently... and am always taken aback at how bland some of the elite performances were. There were some fabulously interesting and innovative programs, particularly in the 60s and 70s (50s coverage is a bit harder to find online, of course). In the late 80s and 90s where the focus was so heavy on the jumps, that a lot of the programs lost some of the beautiful, intricate, stylized, unique choreography and performances. It was much more opening poses, jump, cross overs, jump, cross overs, flail an arm, simple steps, jump crossovers, 6 revolution flying sit spin, cross overs, pose pozzzzzze ZZZZzzzzz... especially among the men.

    Fast forward to today... and do many of you really feel that there are far less creative, artistic performances out there now compared to, say, 1994-2002? I'm genuinely interested in all opinions to this question.

    Because I feel I'm seeing more interesting, artistic driven programs by the elites than I recall seeing 1994-2002.
    Last edited by Rochelle; 02-15-2012 at 01:03 AM.

  8. #8
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    Most definately without a doubt yes. There was waymore artistic variety and expression under 6.0. And way more medals awarded on taste. No wayin hell would Oksana even win under cop but my god was Nancy's lp dull. But it's a sport first and cop let's that happen more easily.

  9. #9
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    Just wondering are any of those judges still around? I would hope not. Hoping they were banished to detriot or siberia.

  10. #10
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    I doubt we'll ever have 6.0 back .. I think the decline in skating though is more complicated then that. What were the ratings prior to the Harding/Kerrigan scandal?

  11. #11
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    I don't think the artistry is better or worse under COP. It depends on the skater. A skater with good expression and emotion in their skating could make a 6.0 or COP program enjoyable.

    As for the program construction, both have advantages and disadvantages. I like that transitions seem to be valued more under COP, but the ugly moves skaters do to get levels are distracting.

  12. #12

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    IMO, such things as which system produced better programs is a separate question from which system is better at preventing cheating or restoring confidence. Even if CoP produces better programs and provides more information, I think the fact that the judges are the same people who caused the disputes under 6.0, now protected by anonymity, reduces the value of the CoP as a "cure" for the pairs scandal.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by winterone View Post
    Just wondering are any of those judges still around? I would hope not. Hoping they were banished to detriot or siberia.
    At this point I don't think detroit could be too terrible from a fs standpoint. Better to hope for eternal siberian torture.

    On a more related note, I can't personally compare COP with 6.0, but CoP definitely needs adjustment so it better reflects aesthetics. Undo quad promotions, or at least make penalties for mistakes higher; watching skaters fall all over the place is neither fun nor entrancing, it's downright sickening. I'm a bit biased, but I think only the skaters that can do quads and make them look pretty should attempt them (ex. Javier Fernandez). That's why I say that CoP should reward quads as highly as now, but increase the risk. That would hopefully keep programs cleaner.

    Do people think the CoP problems show up mostly in Men's skating and the undefeatability of Patrick Chan, or are there other prominent examples?
    Last edited by rosebrallier; 02-15-2012 at 02:55 AM.

  14. #14

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    I just don't get why people think going back to a system that had absolutely no transparency is the way to go. And it was really just a placement system. Whether you think PCS are being misused or not, they are laid bare for all to see (boy it just gives fans more to complain about so everyone should be happy). And people seem to forget that the system is for the skaters, coaches and judges, who are the ones that are really affected by it.

    At the end of the day it is a system that was created by humans which is used by humans for what is really a subjectively judged sport that is very difficult to put exact measureable outcomes on. As a result you are never going to make everyone happy. Because there are too many human factors that come into play in it's creation and application.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  15. #15
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    Jump quality, spins and steps have become much more important under COP, and that's nice to see. The only problems I have with COP is the cooker cutter spins and the slooow footwork which the ISU has yet to deal with.

    Judging (PCS) remains questionable at times, but this isn't a new problem with COP so much as COP can not deal with this old, long-standing problem.

  16. #16
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    YES.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Willy View Post
    I just don't get why people think going back to a system that had absolutely no transparency is the way to go. And it was really just a placement system. Whether you think PCS are being misused or not, they are laid bare for all to see (boy it just gives fans more to complain about so everyone should be happy). And people seem to forget that the system is for the skaters, coaches and judges, who are the ones that are really affected by it.

    At the end of the day it is a system that was created by humans which is used by humans for what is really a subjectively judged sport that is very difficult to put exact measureable outcomes on. As a result you are never going to make everyone happy. Because there are too many human factors that come into play in it's creation and application.
    this

    and this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Marco View Post
    Judging (PCS) remains questionable at times, but this isn't a new problem with COP so much as COP can not deal with this old, long-standing problem.
    I was really upset for Takahashi/Tran this weekend...I really don't understand how their PCS marks could be so low. But I think the Artistic Impression category of the 6.0 system would have produced the same result. And at least newer, lesser-known or lower ranked teams can earn points for their elements by getting their levels. I know there is the potential for tech specialists to be harder on some skaters than others, and for the judges to withhold higher GOEs when it comes to relatively unknown teams, but it sure was encouraging to see Yu/Wang get a level 4 for their first rumba sequence.

    and I remember a lot of incorrectly executed jumps being rewarded under 6.0. If a fall shouldn't get a skater the points, should an underrotated jump or that done with an incorrect edge?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by mia joy View Post
    I think CoP is a zillion times better than 6.0, but it's also very far from perfect. It has its own flaws and its own ridiculousness.

    It leaves very little space for creativity. All the programs are so similar.
    It kills the real artistry in the name of transitions.
    It makes people do ugly things just to get higher levels on elements.
    It kills ice dance big time.
    The judging stays subjective anyway.
    I really disagree with that. Sitting at nationals, I watched Rudy's winning FS on the jumbotron and realized how far skating has come. Honestly, Josh Farris' programs are more interesting than Rudy's was. Sure at the time he was great, but skating has progressed so far. Skaters are learning to do transitions AND be artistic at the same time. Skaters who just do the transitions (like Angela Wang) without the artistry still get punished in the component mark; while skaters like Ashley Cain who have beautiful artistry and no transitions, still end up with some of the highest component marks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by attyfan View Post
    I think the fact that the judges are the same people who caused the disputes under 6.0, now protected by anonymity, reduces the value of the CoP as a "cure" for the pairs scandal.
    I agree. And CoP provides a bigger smoke screen. Complicated reams of numbers and factors and +/- GOEs can be used to justify any outcome.

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    For the 100th time, I'm very sympathetic to a lot of the ideas behind CoP but ... there's so many things wrong with it...

    One random thing I hate, hate, HATE! is the idea that good footwork requires a lot of upper body movement. This seems to fly in the face of a 100 years of tradition stressing upper body control (no matter what the skates are doing).

    Also the scoring for jumps and spins is too similar, they're very different kinds of skills and the scoring needs to reflect that.

    Also, there's a huge amount of evidence that different skaters find different jumps to have different levels of difficulty so having scoring them as if all skaters found the lutz harder than the flip (when IIRC the flip has a significantly higher failure rate in competition) doesn't make much sense.

    There's more .... without even getting into the damage it's done to pairs.

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