If such is the rule, what skater would not accept the offer? Most of these skaters won't leave the ice early unless on a stretcher! It is the rule that doesn't make much sense.
BTW you can see why Gabriela stopped just before the circular step sequence. The one-foot section of the steps were on her injured foot! Ouch! She's so brave to have completed it. Any updates on her injury?
As far as I can tell, the referee followed the rule.Rule 551
Allowance of a Delayed Start or Restart
1. If the tempo or quality of the music is deficient, the Competitor/s may restart the program from its beginning, provided the Referee is informed within 30 seconds after the start of the program.
2. If an interruption or stop in the music or any other adverse condition unrelated to the Competitor/s or his/their equipment, such as lighting, ice-condition etc. occurs, the Competitor/s must stop skating at the acoustic signal of the Referee. The Competitor/s shall continue from the point of interruption immediately after the problem has been solved. If, however, the interruption lasts longer than ten minutes, there shall be a second warm-up period according to rule 549, paragraph 2.
3. If a Competitor gets injured during the performance or another adverse condition related to him or his equipment (such as health problems or unexpected damage to his/their clothing or equipment) impedes his/their skating, the Competitor/s must stop skating. If he/they don’t stop, they will be ordered to do so by an acoustic signal of the Referee. The Competitor/s shall continue from the point of interruption immediately, if the adverse condition can be remedied without delay. If this is not possible, the Referee will allow an up to three (3) minutes period for the Competitor/s to resume skating from the point of interruption. This time period commences immediately after the Competitor/s stops skating or is ordered to do so by the Referee, whichever is earlier.
If the Competitor/s does not resume skating his/their program within the three minutes period, he/she shall be considered withdrawn.
I'm not sure that three minutes would necessarily be enough time to have someone examine the skater and diagnose any injury even if that were the purpose of the rule in the first place.
I agree that skating is now much more physical and athletic. I also agree that what the skaters are doing in all disciplines right now is way more athletic and difficult than in the past and that the rules should keep up with and reflect those changes. However, how to ensure that it is fair for everyone if some couples will stop and some won't? In tennis you can't have one stopping and the other one not, so if they stop, they both have the same advantage. In skating you would have to make everyone stop (or at least tell them that they can stop if they choose to, because someone else have already stopped).
Hanca, I think you're implying that the rule is "open" to abuse and I'm sure you don't mean that was the intent of anyone this season. It appears to me that all 3 teams were at a disadvantage, be it skating with a sprain or continuing after only a 3 minute delay for a cramp or spasm (I know for myself, I'm limping for an hour or so after one of those charley horses).
For what it's worth, I asked my skater (currently competing with these rules) and they didn't have a problem with any of the situations. In fact, they said it's not easy picking up a program after any type of interruption. Just food for thought too, a withdrawal shortly into a program could actually put the following skater at a disadvantage. If they are called earlier than expected to the ice, it could interrupt their normal preparation.
Tammi, that's exactly what I am implying. That it is open to abuse. I am not saying that any of the three couples did abuse it, but if something is open to abuse, I believe that sooner or later someone will start taking advantage of it.
Your skater may not have problem with the situation as such, but maybe would have a problem if he/she lost a medal because several couples who stopped beat her/him. Especially if your skater would perhaps have a very bad fall, get up and continue whereas someone else would stop without any obvious visible injury.
The question is, is the rule actually working to its logical conclusion and the intended consequences? How do the skaters feel about it? If the rule is working, is the possible negative perception enough reason to change it? I mean, in gymnastics they have the federations give money to the referee if they want to change the results, which I think makes it look like a mockery, and it happened with controversial results at the Olympics and AFAIK they didn't change anything.
The rules need to be specific enough that everyone understands those, with the risks and rewards. If it's something obvious like an object on the ice, a skater does not need to be penalized for it. However, if a skater has leg cramps or any other physical problem, it needs to be treated like any sport, which means it could result in a withdrawal, but it needs to be the skater's decision. It does not mean that skater is hated or that the intent is to create problems for that skater or any other skater, but 'no deduction for a break in the program' is open to potential abuse. The rule must discourage skaters from using the break except in extreme circumstances -e.g. risk of serious injury- and that determination needs to be made by the skater, and not by the observers because they don't know what the skater is feeling. A rule specifying the deduction gives the skater an opportunity to evaluate risk vs reward.