As the 2011-2012 figure skating season closed with one of the most scandal-ridden world championships in the sport’s history, you would expect the sport’s governing body to go back to the drawing board and seek ways to restore public confidence in the integrity of figure skating. Instead,......they pulled off a stunt worthy of any dictatorship...On the agenda was the infamous Resolution No. 7 — an unprecedented and illegal request by the president of the skating union, Ottavio Cinquanta. Because he is age-ineligible to run for reelection at the ISU Congress in 2014, he asked that the ISU simply extend his term in office and that of other office holders by an additional two years, till 2016.....But at the ISU, as always, the members bowed to the chief and granted his wish......This action is in clear violation of ISU’s constitution and demonstrates the ISU members’ abject lack of shame and indifference to world opinion......Cinquanta has locked in sweeping new rules that changed the way the sport is both judged and performed. No one ever messed with figure skating in any way resembling the new judging system. The resulting plunge in the popularity and credibility of figure skating is becoming harder and harder to explain away. Cinquanta presides over a sport adrift and suicidal. With the passage of the Cinquanta Resolution, the ISU made sure skating remains mired in incompetence, indifference, and corruption. The impact of this action will be felt for at least the next two Olympic cycles and most likely far beyond. With a new president to be elected just two years before the 2018 Games instead of the normal four, it is highly unlikely anything will change until after his reelection that year. For a sport already spiraling into oblivion, this decision may just represent the kiss of death for figure skating. And why exactly is figure skating going the way of the dinosaurs? After all, during the 1990s it ranked as one of the most popular and lucrative sports in the world. But then came the infamous pairs scandal at the 2002 Games, which gave the ISU a pretext to turn figure skating completely on its head. The new judging system introduced by Cinquanta in 2004 delivered a near-mortal blow to skating. Not only did it strip figure skating of its artistry, but of its accountability as well. With secret judging and an impossibly convoluted point system that no one in the audience can understand, judges have more freedom then ever to do as they please. Everyone used to know what a perfect 6.0 meant. Now the equivalent may be a combined score of 187.9. Clear as mud.....Now, with sport largely ignored by the media, glaring judging bias in favor or against certain skaters goes under the media radar screen, with the results allowed to stand unchallenged. The most corrupt competition yet may have been this year’s world championships in Nice, France. Results in both the dance and men’s competitions had everyone up in arms. Following Patrick Chan’s indefensible win over Daisuke Takahashi, the audience erupted in spontaneous jeers – first when the result was announced and later on when the referee and technical controller were introduced during the award ceremony. No wonder “Chanflation” has become part of the common skating jargon thanks to the judges’ regular practice of awarding an extra 20 to 30 points to the Canadian champion merely for showing up. As Johnny Weir recently said, “Patrick Chan can fall down four times and still win by 30 points … No one has a fair shot if [he] is in the competition.” As for the dance, a Reuters report stated, “On Thursday, every man, woman and child sitting inside Nice’s Acropolis Arena thought the Americans [Merlyn Davis and Charlie White] won. That is, everyone except the experts who made up the judging panel.” The sentiment was shared by fans and the press worldwide. How ironic that supporters of the new judging system have always defended it for its presumed fairness. “Yes, maybe the sport is becoming more technical than artistic,” runs their argument, “but the point system makes it foolproof against corruption. Points don’t lie. Scores are ‘absolute.’ No more predetermined results.” Tell that to anyone who has watched competitions over the last few seasons. Figure skating today makes professional wrestling look like an honorable endeavor. And the two sports are just about as artistic much of the time. Slight exaggeration, but the creative flair that used to be the hallmark of figure skating is being discarded as unnecessary. The Cinquanta judging system generously rewards outright falls, but ignores everything that once made the sport beloved around the world: emotion, musicality, flow, positions that are held for more than a split second, and most of all, that intangible ability to move audiences to their feet. In short, the system measures everything but what Janet Lynn called “the ability to lift the human spirit.” The results (with a few notable exceptions) are cookie-cutter programs and a frantic style of skating that does little to enchant a crowd. Not surprisingly, fans are deserting the sport in droves, many competitions are held in nearly-empty arenas, shows fold right and left, the once-thriving professional scene is but a distant memory, and fewer young people are attracted to the sport. TV ratings have reached rock bottom and TV networks are not bothering to cover competitions any longer. Meanwhile the ISU pats itself on the back for a job well done and rewards Cinquanta with of two more years of the same. With this decision skating has lost its last shred of credibility.....RIP figure skating.