The volatility in results in the IJS - in all the disciplines - is one of the things I've most appreciated about the change.
The volatility in results in the IJS - in all the disciplines - is one of the things I've most appreciated about the change.
Disclaimer: The post contained herein represents the opinions of a fan and may or may not bear any relation to reality.
Some people would consider flipflops or the loss of margin of victory in the short program to be problems, and others (including myself) would argue that those are the price we pay for the positive effects of ordinals and factored placements.
OBO was a hot topic ca. 1998. I don't think any fans really thought it was improvement -- if they were bothered by flipflops, it didn't go far enough to prevent them.
Some fans thought the pro competition method of adding up technical scores and adding up artistic/presentation scores would be an improvement over ordinals. I argued that it wouldn't.
I recall participating in discussions with at least two fans about the possibility of a points-for-elements system. The discussions started on Skatefans but may have been taken to private e-mail before they got very detailed.
I had very detailed discussions -- again, probably mostly privately once they got going -- with one Skatefans member about potential protections against national bias such as subbing in the substitute judge's marks for the home country skater. I argued that that would be meaningless in an ordinal context because the sub judge might be marking on a higher or lower scale so higher marks from the sub judge don't necessarily mean that judge thought that skater was better.
Ca. 1998, some ISU officials were floating the idea of having separate panels judge technical merit and presentation. Again, I'm sure this was at least mentioned in fan discussions, and again I argued that it would be meaningless in an ordinal context. But that idea might have been a forerunner of the tech panel vs. judges division we eventually ended up with.
Why not? I think it's a lot easier to have a meaningful discussion about "I disagree with 9.0 for Yuna Kim's Transitions -- I would have given her 7 or 7.25 because..." than to say "I disagree with 5.9 for Yuna's Presentation -- I would have given her 5.7."Under COP the argument is a lot more about the system itself... errrr, scratch that. Actually, it's only about the system itself. Because only the sekret komputer knows which mark belongs to which judge and which marks were thrown out. So we can't effectively debate individual GOEs or PCS.
For those kinds of discussions, it's not really relevant who gave the 9.0 if you want to argue on the merits of the skating. It's only necessary if you're more interested in detecting national or other biases.
If judging the judges is more interesting to you than judging the skating, you might want to focus on junior internationals and domestic events, at least in the US, because there the scores are not scrambled for anonymity and you can identify that all the scores in column 1 were given by Judge 1, etc.
And if you're still worried about marks being randomly thrown out by the sekret computer, get up to date; that hasn't happened for years.
That's probably true at the senior international level where the scores are anonymized.Quite frankly, the ISU achieved it's goal of effectively sweeping any discussion of corruption under the rug by discouraging scrutiny of individual judges' marks for bias, corruption, or incompetence,
I don't think that's the case. If I look at a protocol and see that a decision was close in points, I can then look for specific GOEs and PCS I disagree with -- or even specific tech panel calls that were borderline, if I bother to learn the criteria, which I have done for singles but not so much pairs or dance. It's easy to say "If X hadn't had three jumps downgraded she would have won" or "I think Y didn't get enough credit in Choreography and Interpretation for his incredible musicality -- just 1.57 more in PCS would have done it for him."and they effectively discouraged any sense that a decision could have gone one way or other and either decision was justifiable.
I can easily know where the scores came from -- points earned with higher levels, rotated jumps, positive GOE, high average components.If you mine back through all these threads and others, there are a lot of people making statements along the lines of, "at least now I understand the score. I understand where the 143.56 came from but I never understood where a 5.4 came from." Folks who say this infuriate me. How can you when the GOE and PCS are all over the map and no one knows who assigned which mark?
It's easy to say "Skater P won the technical elements score, despite easier jumps, because of better GOEs on the jumps and better levels as well as GOEs on the spins and steps. But even though skater Q had the same Skating Skills score as P, P was weaker in all the other components whereas Q was on par for Transitions and stronger in Performance/Execution, Choreography, and Interpretation. I.e., Q won it on the second mark."
What I don't know, in senior internationals, is who each of the scores came from -- I don't know which judges overmarked this element or this component in my opinion, which of them undermarked it, and which agreed with me. But I'm more interested in the what than the who, so that doesn't bother me.
Expense is, or should be, not much of an issue at major championships. It wouldn't cost much more to have 5 technical judges and 5 component judges than to have 9 judges judging everything. And it could probably be justified to support up to 7 on each panel for a total of 14 at the most important events.Along these lines, one the most puzzling things to me about the evolution of the IJS is that a trial with a split panel - one for TES and one for PCS "failed." I've seen it suggested over and over, with most serious fans not even realizing that it was tried. IIRC they tried it once at Nebelhorn and declared it a failure with very little said or published. (IMO because it's too expensive to have so many judges, )
But even at the GP and JGP level sometimes have only 7 or 8 judges for dance. Senior Bs, US regionals, etc., often have only 5 or 6 judges on an event. So getting enough officials to fill two separate judging panels at those events would add significantly to the cost of running these events that do not bring in income from media rights and ticket sales. Using only 3 judges per panel would significantly compromise the accuracy.
One response could be to separate the panels at the big important events and to keep combined panels at the smaller less important ones.
That would make sense from the perspective of expense. But the judges at the smaller events tend to be less experienced than those at the championships. So from the perspective of providing good judging, does it really make sense to ask more of the less experienced judges and to ask less of the most experienced?
What stuck in my mind from the feedback of that Nebelhorn experiment was not the cost issue, but rather that the judges who were doing only GOEs were extremely bored. They originally trained to consider difficulty and quality of elements and of the program as a whole and integrating all those assessments into 2 marks and rankings.With so much to recall about what makes a -1 vs a +2 and so much to recall about what might make good PE and IN ... all while you're judging GOE, maybe looking down, missing a TR or two... seemed like a major improvement would be to split the panels. Let one set of judges get really clear about the criteria for technical elements and assign GOE without concern for assessing timing and rhythm to the music or choreographic nuances that properly highlight the theme. And let another panel watch the program as a whole, and at the end assign the PCS based on the overall observation without having to worry about if the skater did adequate steps into and out of the a jump to warrant a +2 or +3. It's just way too much for the human mind to assess it all.
Under 6.0, the best judges were completing a very complex task (most of which happened entirely in their heads and was hidden from the skaters and the public, because the old scoring system didn't give them a means to show the process). They were already evaluating all these things; they just didn't give them separate numbers. Which allowed them to focus on whatever was most important to them personally.
IJS took most of the difficulty determinations away from the judges, giving them to the tech panel and building them into the Scale of Values. In some ways, they made the judging task much less complex than it was under 6.0, and I know some judges who miss the process of integrating all the different aspects into decisions about rankings.
Splitting the judging panel into GOEs vs. PCS takes all the whole-program assessments away from the GOE panel and leaves them with literally nothing to do between elements.
If it is determined that focusing on elements gets in the way of evaluating five different holistic aspects of the whole program separately and accurately, then if a split panel is the solution, maybe it would be better to let one panel do GOEs plus Skating Skills and Transitions (i.e., the technical judges) and the other panel do Performance/Execution, Choreography, and Interpretation (artistic judges).
Or get rid of levels -- which would give the tech panel much less to do -- and have the GOE judges also consider the difficulty of the elements as well as the quality.
With 6.0, it was easier for judges to "hold down" a skater on the second mark even with greater tech content -- if you want to use Michelle Kwan as an example, look at 1995 Worlds.
There have been plenty of newcomers making a mark under IJS on the strength of clean programs or otherwise greater technical content. Under 6.0 I think it would have been a lot less likely that Gracie Gold, or Kaetlyn Osmond, or Max Aaron, or Denis Ten would have achieved what they did this year. But that's just speculation either way.
That's not even getting into ice dance, in which the opportunities for newcomers to defeat veterans and for standings to change between competitions and competition segments has increased exponentially under IJS.
Last edited by gkelly; 03-23-2013 at 10:07 PM.
The scoring system may or may not be a dud, in terms of generating fan interest in the sport. IMO, it has nothing to do with the conclusion reached by Brennan in the article.
According to Brennan’s article, the ISU and Skate Canada are supposedly shocked that Worlds wasn’t a landslide sellout. Brennan blames the judging system and concludes this proves the decline of figure skating.
But there is a simpler explanation, one that Brennan doesn’t even consider, much less address .
Look no further than the truly stupid decision to hold Worlds in a city with a small arena and limited hotel space. Unlike previous Worlds with tiered pricing for ticket packages, tickets for Worlds 2013 had two categories – Expensive and Very Expensive. Tiered pricing accommodates a wider range of fan budgets.
The unsold tickets mentioned in the article were most likely 300 level seats priced around $200 each. That’s a tough sell. For a competition like Worlds, tickets are mainly purchased by a core base of fans who travel to events or locals who may decide to check out a big event in town.
How many people on this board alone would have attended Worlds but for the cost of the tickets? Of those who could afford tickets, how many more would have gone but for the ridiculous hotel situation in London? Skate Canada and Tourism London seemed unconcerned that some out-of-town attendees would have to commute (even up to an hour) from surrounding towns because of lack of hotel space in London. That’s a far more serious, off-putting hassle than the mysteries of COP.
Now consider the situation of someone living in London with a casual interest in figure skating. The cost of an outing for a family of four to have attended *one* event at Worlds would have been almost $1,000 once you factor in tickets, taxes, parking, food, etc. For nose-bleed seats. That’s just unaffordable for most folks, especially in a smaller city.
Sure, London sold out for Canadian Nationals. But the cost of an entire ticket package for Nationals was about the same as *one* Worlds ticket. Our hypothetical family of four could have a night out at Nationals for about $200-300, even assuming a single event nationals ticket is $50. Big difference.
Precise headcount for an event cannot be predicted. So, if you have a sellout, it is virtually certain that people who wanted to attend were turned away. At least with a larger arena, you can always sell more tickets. If creating a more “intimate space” in the venue is important, just cover/black out the upper levels, like they do with the rows behind the judges. If the sport needs to attract new fans, you have to have the space to accommodate them. But apparently, Skate Canada would prefer to have 6,000 fans in a 6,500 arena than 50% more people (say, 9,000 in a rink with a capacity of 15,000) in a larger facility. Makes no sense at all.
True, a larger rink may be more expensive to rent– but let’s face it, Worlds 2013 was heavily subsidized with public money anyway. Way to spend tax dollars - use the grant to rent a facility and then price tickets out of reach of many middle class folk.
IMO, Worlds 2013 was all about creating an opportunity for *Fake London* to cash in from the influx of “affluent” figure skating fans (that means you). That’s it. Once that political decision was made by Skate Canada (to hold the event in fake London), the rationale for doing it was constructed. Not the other way round.
I probably would have gone to Worlds had All-Event tickets been somewhat less expensive.
Adding hotel/airfare from FL to those inflated prices discouraged me from seriously considering the trip.
I really wanted to go.
Ticket prices were really the ONLY reason I didn't go which was a real darned shame since I live so close to London. My other concern was about eating -- I have a medical condition and can't eat gluten. As for somewhere to stay, well I wasn't quite as concerned. I'm sure as long as I had somewhere to lay my head, it would have been fine.
Even with the 3-ticket package, I wasn't impressed with the choices nor, once again, the cost. The single ticket prices were just as bad.
A real pity, because I don't think World's will ever be so close to home for me.
Oh yeah, count me in as another who was not impressed with some of the comments about figure skating fans and how much they can afford. You certainly wouldn't see/hear/read about such comments when London goes after the Memorial Cup again. It's a hockey playoff competition and London IS very much a hockey driven city when it comes to sports.
Crazy about sports!
This isn't the best example but it's all I have .. Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre: seats range from $63.75 to $424.75 and the arena is pretty much full most games even in all the years they're been crappy. In contrast, Stars on Ice tickets range from $38.75 to $168.75, and in a metropolitan area of 5 million plus, they won't even sell out the lower bowl.
Another example: I polled all my female workmates when single event worlds tickets went on sale for worlds. Of 18 in my office, 2 people (including me) bought tickets to worlds and 11 have put their names down for Memorial Cup hockey tickets. Reason: some would have gone to worlds but kids/husbands, etc., wanted to see hockey and they couldn't do both.
I always go to Worlds when it is in the USA or Canada. This is the first time since 1996 that I opted out due to super high ticket prices, inconvienient to get to location and limited hotels. I still love figure skating and wanted to go. I went to U.S. Nationals in Omaha instead. It was cheap, fun and I had a fantastic time. USFS put on a great event in Omaha this year.
^^So have I gone to all Worlds in NA over the last 30 years but we're in the minority of sports fans in NA (not that I like that .. I think everyone should love figure skating!
Thinking back to the theme of this thread, I don't think figure skating is dying and that judges are to blame; IMO if there are less people becoming involved in figure skating, it's because there are so many other sports competing for time and attention.
Way back, viewing options were dictated by network television. Everyone was familiar with the major network TV programs, and there was always good old "Wide World of Sports" on the weekend to provide a variety of amateur sport coverage. Figure skating had its timeslot, for major competitions like Nationals, Worlds, and Olympics. Now, a person can't find it, unless they are really searching it out. (Much like music - listener groups are fragmented, by genre.)
There was a brief heyday in the 90's due to an unusual confluence of factors, and a lot of pro events took place at that time, but that was a blip. Cable options were already eroding the mass viewing audience, and that accelerated with the increasing dominance of the internet.
I don't know the solution, but I don't think the judging system is the problem (though yes, it could be tweaked and improved). In fact, if we still had 6.0 there'd be even more dissatisfaction in today's very verbally opinionated online world, IMO.
Speaking of hockey, I wonder how much the growth of women's hockey in Canada has affected the popularity of figure skating. I know several girls in our neighbourhood who started off with figure-skating lessons (one looked quite promising, in fact) but then moved into hockey.
I am interested in going to Worlds again soon.
I live on the eastcoast of Canada, and honestly, it is just as cheap and sometimes easier for us to travel to Europe or USA for skating competitions as it is to go to Ontario or Western Canada....plus in Europe or USA you usually get the bonus of being in a really cool, fun, interesting city as opposed to say (Fake) London.
I can see why (Fake) London would sell out for Nationals though....you have so many competitors and their families and friends in Ontario and Quebec who could drive there that a sell out would be almost guaranteed.
I'm not spoiled...I deserve all my stuff.
I did not know that Worlds in fake London was "heavily subsidized with public money". Are there financial statements or other disclosures from the city or the region (wherever the public money came from) to show how much? A freedom of information request might be interesting.....
I'm shocked tickets for worlds are that expensive-its ridiculous.
Over 2 million in federal money and 1.5 million in provincial money alone....
Well found, thanks for posting those.
The Coast Guard station in Vancouver harbour just got shut down because it was "too expensive" to operate. Much as I love skating and am happy that Worlds was in Canada this year, the feds have their priorities seriously out of whack if they can spend $2.2 million on Worlds but "can't afford" to operate a rescue service at one of the country's major ports.
We're just beginning to see the fallout from revoking HST.
"The team doesn't get automatic capacity because management is mad" -- Greg Smith, agile guy
I do agree with Brennan on this quote
The music chosen by the coaches for some these skaters to use is so freaking dated. How many of the ladies skating were skating slow, ballads. Classical ballads. Only a few ladies used upbeat, melodically different music. Same with the pairs team.While the sport still is thriving in Asia and Russia, it feels way too old in North America and Europe. The sport's leaders will never vote themselves out of office, but they should, to be replaced by a younger, fresher team that understands technology, TV and appealing to an audience that isn't almost entirely over 50.
Ice Dance is the most creative, modern discipline. The Ice dancers push the envelope of creativtity in their dress, makeup, music and choregraphy. The US and Canada some of the best ice dancer in the world; yet it's not billed as the premiere discipline. I couldn't believe has NBC billed the ladies free skate in their World's broadcast this past weekend. They need to be showing top 6 ice dance teams; don't show any USA pair teams.
"“My bronze feels like gold,” said the bronze medalist Carolina Kostner
I complete agree with Snobben2325 post.
They need to choose a location with a good hotels, a large amount of lodging in general. an Internatial airport, a location that many folks would like to visit and tourist city that skating could perhaps pull in visitors that normally would not go to a skating event.
I wish a city like Atlanta, Chicago, Detriot or Miami would get a bid.
"“My bronze feels like gold,” said the bronze medalist Carolina Kostner