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  1. #1
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    Why Have a Short Program At All?

    Under the current competition format, it is unclear to me why we need to have a short program in addition to a free skate. Sure, the short program rules mandate skaters to perform certain jumps, and for senior/junior men and junior ladies they are now required to perform triple jumps in the short program, because fewer rotations will result in no credit. However, the types of technical elements required in the short program are no different from those "recommended" for a "well-balanced" free skate. Who's going to leave out anything from the "well-balanced" element list unless they absolutely cannot do it? Free skate is not really free, and the short programs simply have fewer jumps and fewer spins.

    What I'm wondering is why we need two separate programs/performances to judge and rank the excellence among skaters. What is in the short program that is not in the free skate? If the answer is nothing, then having two programs is essentially redundant and serves no other purpose of selling more tickets, it seems to me.

    If we are set to require each skater to perform two programs, and figure skating has no shortage of variety of skills and qualities worth evaluating, why not break it up and require very much different skills in two programs? For an extreme example, why not have one program in which he does jumps but no step sequences and the other step sequences and spins but no jumps? Then add up the total. Or maybe evaluate technical proficiency in one program and creativity in the other. Or have 4 jumping passes, all combo jumps, in one program and 4 jumping pass, all single jumps, in the other. Breaking them up would at least give skaters more time to show off skills not on the "well-balanced" element list. I don't know. I'm just making it up randomly. But you get the idea.

    I think it makes no sense that we get two programs that are very very similar and measure almost exactly the same thing (the only difference they really measure is stamina). Nowadays the short program is just half of a free skate.
    Last edited by Jun Y; 07-22-2014 at 06:15 AM.

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    They are rather redundant when compared to the make it or break it importance of the short in the 6.0 days. It is a new system mapped over an old format. I would like to see the short really test something... Like the required sequence in dance.
    DH - and that's just my opinion

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    They've already gotten rid of compulsory figures; now you want to eliminate the SP! So I guess you wouldn't mind some slug having the skate of their life on that one night and taking a major event? I think they should go as far as the old format of the GP Final with 3 performance; 1 SP and 2 LP! That weeds out the riff raff and makes sure the best skater wins!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jun Y View Post
    Sure, the short program rules mandate skaters to perform certain jumps, and for senior/junior men and junior senior ladies they are now required to perform triple jumps in the short program, because fewer rotations will result in no credit.
    Fixed it for you.

    Free skate is not really free, and the short programs simply have fewer jumps and fewer spins.
    Same number of spins. More restrictions on what's required in the SP spins.

    What I'm wondering is why we need two separate programs/performances to judge and rank the excellence among skaters. What is in the short program that is not in the free skate? If the answer is nothing, then having two programs is essentially redundant and serves no other purpose of selling more tickets, it seems to me.
    And rewarding consistency over two performances. Whether that's enough of a reason is up for debate.


    If we are set to require each skater to perform two programs, and figure skating has no shortage of variety of skills and qualities worth evaluating, why not break it up and require very much different skills in two programs? For an extreme example, why not have one program in which he does jumps but no step sequences and the other step sequences and spins but no jumps? Then add up the total. Or maybe evaluate technical proficiency in one program and creativity in the other. Or have 4 jumping passes, all combo jumps, in one program and 4 jumping pass, all single jumps, in the other. Breaking them up would at least give skaters more time to show off skills not on the "well-balanced" element list. I don't know. I'm just making it up randomly. But you get the idea.
    Yeah. My thoughts were that there could be a shorter Compulsory Program in which very specific skills are required, with variations each year, and any other "features" or types of elements would be ignored or penalized. No levels, but some skills that now count as features would be required. And then a Well-Balanced Free Program in which skaters have a wider range of types of elements than currently available, a wide range of possible features to earn extra points/levels on each, and more flexibility in how many of each to include than in the current well-balanced program rules.

    Or, perhaps, a full-length Technical Program in which the goal is to include as much difficulty as possible (maximum jump content the skater is capable of within Zayak restrictions etc.; highest level possible on spins and steps and applicable pair moves). And then a (shorter?) Free Program in which fewer elements earn points, all spins/steps/etc. are "choreo" and earn only base mark +/- GOE, and PCS usually determine the winners.

    The last type of free programs would probably appeal to general audiences best but would be more subjective/less sporty in results.

    But I could see either approach making sense if the rules were defined consistently.

    Skaters themselves may prefer being able to train the same types of skills for both programs though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jun Y
    Sure, the short program rules mandate skaters to perform certain jumps, and for senior/junior men and junior senior ladies they are now required to perform triple jumps in the short program, because fewer rotations will result in no credit.
    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    Fixed it for you.
    I've not read through all of the new rules yet, but i'm just wondering about this - do the junior men really have to do the mandated solo jump as a triple? I can imagine that being really tough on the lower level junior skaters who didn't have the reliable triple and did the double.

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    Why have the SP?

    I think the SP is more part of skating than the judging system.

    I do wish the SP was more compulsory while LP was more free.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AxelAnnie View Post
    They are rather redundant when compared to the make it or break it importance of the short in the 6.0 days. .
    Yes.

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    A bunch of different possibilities regarding ways in which the SP could potentially be changed and why or why not were discussed in this thread a few months ago. There are other sports where competitors do the exact same course/routine multiple times (both judged and not judged), like halfpipe and luge. Technically the types of skills/elements executed in the SP and FS are similar but there are some different requirements, the FS is longer, and gives opportunity to interpret a different piece of music, possibly in a different style. There were also some other changes this year that will it be interesting to see whether skaters take advantage of-- like allowing single and double jumps within the choreographic sequence in the FS, and allowing for that element to come before or after the step sequence. Also, the discounting/asterisking of jumps that don't meet the requirements in the SP will make it hurt a bit more to miss a requirement (though not too much, because missed jump requirements already didn't earn many base value points and required a -3 GOE).

    The Junior SP retains a "compulsory" aspect in requiring a specific solo (non-axel) jump takeoff that isn't required at any other level in the U.S., and a specific flying spin air and landing position. All levels require an axel-type jump in both SP and FS, and for ladies novice through senior SP requires a layback spin as the "solo"/non-combo/non-flying spin.

    http://www.fsuniverse.net/forum/show...Short-Programs

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    The short program could include some spectific jumps to be done, with a change each year, like the death spiral in pairs SP if I recall. That way the hability of skaters to do all triple jumps would be rewarded, and for those who can't do some jumps, they still would have the FP to earn points. Skaters would be pushed to work on all triples and perfect their overall jumps technic.
    There would be an issue with the luck factor. Some skaters would be advantaged some years vs others who wouldn't, but if figure skating is about various skills, then this vision should be encouraged. And since it's impossible to work on a specific jump only for a season (jumps skills require years of training), skaters would have to train on all jumps throughout their career.
    And for those who get injuries because of certain jumps, well, this is life, and it is fair to reward skaters who can do all jumps.
    Last edited by Artifice; Yesterday at 12:12 PM. Reason: corrections

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by RFOS View Post
    A bunch of different possibilities regarding ways in which the SP could potentially be changed and why or why not were discussed in this thread a few months ago.
    http://www.fsuniverse.net/forum/show...Short-Programs
    I did not see that thread. No wonder the question of "what is the short program for" is cringe worthy. However, asking "what is the short program for" or "why do we have two programs" is not the same as advocating for the elimination of one program.

    I can see where Cinquanta is coming from. As a quantification-minded person, he has probably looked at the way the short program and free skate are structured and judged, and also wondered "why have two programs that measure basically the same skills?"

    Putting on the hat of an educated outsider with no emotional attachment to figure skating, the current differences between SP and FS as you mentioned seem small enough that they can be combined into rules for just one program. And the fact that other sports in which competitors do the same thing multiple times is not a very strong argument. The quantifiable sports are sufficiently different from judged sports (eg, track and field, speed skating) that they are not that comparable. For example, running two or three heats are necessary for elimination purpose. In judged sports, like gymnastics, performing several times often serve different purposes, such as qualifying rounds, or team versus individual competitions.

    This is not to say that I personally want to watch only one program in figure skating competitions. I personally think, given the large range of skills and qualities important to measure "good skating," skaters need more room, not less room, to display them and be judged for them. So indeed two or more programs would be preferable for me as one who want to see more, not less, content. My argument is that they should be broken up if the format requires two or more programs in a competition. I think it's a waste of time and effort for skaters to perform and be measured for essentially the same skills, for judges to judge essentially the same issues, and for viewers to watch the same skills. Why not make the two programs more radically different and introduce more space to allow skaters to differentiate themselves from each other?

    To keep the competition exciting and unpredictable or make it even more unpredictable than it is now, one could split up jumping passes or types of jumps (eg, edge jumps vs. toe jumps) between 2 programs, or have the nonjump program first.
    Last edited by Jun Y; 07-22-2014 at 03:40 PM.

  11. #11

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    I'm not so certain one can put on the hat of an educated outsider with over a thousand posts over almost a decade as a registered user here ...

    However, my response would be that having two phases does serve a purpose. It allows some of the bias of politics and preferential treatment to be shaken out before a winner is chosen. I think a one phased competition would lead to more obviously inferior winners. It's sad to say but true.

  12. #12
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    I really miss the do or die nature of the short program under 6.0. I wish there were more of a way to integrate that into IJS. I know they have stricter -GOE for jumps than in the free skate (i.e. automatic -3 for popping a jump) but it's just not the same, IMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jun Y View Post
    To keep the competition exciting and unpredictable or make it even more unpredictable than it is now, one could split up jumping passes or types of jumps (eg, edge jumps vs. toe jumps) between 2 programs, or have the nonjump program first.
    I guess I disagree that that would make it more exciting. Many advocated for a more "compulsory" type in ways that I don't think would be exciting for the casual viewer, like requiring extremely standardized and simple elements in the SP. One reason compulsory figures and compulsory dances were eliminated was that they were considered boring by the casual viewer and didn't make money, and except for the extreme die-hard fans, I don't think most people want to watch skaters doing exactly the same thing. As a die-hard fan I wouldn't mind watching such an event, but I wouldn't find it preferable to the current competition format.

    Quote Originally Posted by danafan View Post
    I really miss the do or die nature of the short program under 6.0. I wish there were more of a way to integrate that into IJS. I know they have stricter -GOE for jumps than in the free skate (i.e. automatic -3 for popping a jump) but it's just not the same, IMO.
    Popped jumps that don't meet the requirements now get no value in the SP (so far they have earned a base value but required a -3 GOE). However, single jumps also won't earn points anymore in the Junior/Senior free skate either, which I personally don't agree with.

  14. #14
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    Most sports have 2 or more rounds. They could just have 2 rounds of the same program but having 2 distinct programs, if nothing else, is more entertaining for an audience (and remember the judges are apart of the audience ) Though having only one program a year would be cheaper and mean less time on the ice perfecting a second program.

    Very rarely was the short program actually completely do or die. It might have took you out of the gold but a bad short can still do that.

    Still to this day there are good short and good long program skaters so having two programs still at least test different things mentally/endurance.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by antmanb View Post
    I've not read through all of the new rules yet, but i'm just wondering about this - do the junior men really have to do the mandated solo jump as a triple?
    No, they have a choice between a double or triple for the solo jump (and the solo axel). But the junior men must do at least one triple in the jump combination, whereas the junior ladies have the option to do a double-double combination.

    Quote Originally Posted by danafan View Post
    I really miss the do or die nature of the short program under 6.0.
    There was never any inherently do-or-die nature of the short program under 6.0. It all depended on how the rest of the field performed and what the judges chose to reward.

    In the earlier years of the short program (when figures were still around so the SP was worth less overall anyway), missing the jump combination completely (and maybe one or more pair moves?) had a mandatory deduction of 0.7, so missing that particular element could make a difference of many places for a would-be medal contender in a deep field.

    Deductions for other elements were smaller even for complete failures, as long as they were attempted.
    And a top figures placement could provide a cushion.

    By the end of the figures era the largest deduction for an attempted element was 0.5 and by the mid-1990s the largest deduction was 0.4 for an attempted element, even a popped less-than-single solo jump in place of the intended jump combination, with or without a fall, and 0.5 for a complete omission.

    However, in a small field such as a Grand Prix event, top 3 and control of one's destiny was still possible with one major mistake in a short program. Even at larger events, top skaters who otherwise earned good base values and presentation scores from the judges before the deduction could easily be within reach of a medal with one big mistake, although they might not control their own destiny for gold if at least one other top skater went clean in both programs.

    Multiple major errors in the SP would of course be more costly. Just ask Kurt Browning -- or Mao Asada.

    I wish there were more of a way to integrate that into IJS. I know they have stricter -GOE for jumps than in the free skate (i.e. automatic -3 for popping a jump) but it's just not the same, IMO.
    Well, as of this year they won't even get base value and -3 for a popped jump -- they'll get no points at all for that element.
    Still, a skater who does well on the other 6 elements and on PCS might still be in good position even with 0 points for one of the required elements. But that was true under 6.0 as well. It all depends what everyone else does.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFOS View Post
    I guess I disagree that that would make it more exciting. Many advocated for a more "compulsory" type in ways that I don't think would be exciting for the casual viewer, like requiring extremely standardized and simple elements in the SP. One reason compulsory figures and compulsory dances were eliminated was that they were considered boring by the casual viewer and didn't make money, and except for the extreme die-hard fans, I don't think most people want to watch skaters doing exactly the same thing. As a die-hard fan I wouldn't mind watching such an event, but I wouldn't find it preferable to the current competition format.
    Yeah, I probably should not have introduced the issue of excitement or entertainment value in the competition format. It's a separate issue from measuring good skating.

    Well, we don't know whether a more compulsory type of, let's call it a technical program rather than short program, with required types of skills, eg, edge jumps only plus several spins, set to self-selected music, would be less exciting than the current free skate program. Take out the step sequence, which has more to do with skating skills and less "risky." Skaters still have more room to put in transitions before jumps or after spins or whatever. I think that's pretty exciting for the casual audience. The other program can focus on skating skills and non-listed techniques (with or without musicality/originality). Of course, I'm sure Cinquanta would hate the latter part because it is more difficult to judge and less quantifiable. And the audience might hate it too for the greater likelihood of not understanding or disagreeing with the results or konspiracy. Still, I think it IS possible to make the skating skill measurement more quantifiable to judges and die-hard fans and indirectly encourage good basic skills (and a diversity of other techniques currently not measured, like school figures) in the training of younger skaters. Even if such a program may look boring to the audience (I doubt it though if you allow more choreographic freedom), I do think it can be good for the sport in the long run.

    On the one hand I don't think the SP needs to necessarily have a "do or die" effect. On the other hand, I find it often very difficult to differentiate skaters in a short program, especially in a fairly large field (n=20+) like the US nationals or a regional competition with many skaters capable of landing the jumps reasonably well (eg, junior and senior ladies). The program length is too short to allow each skater to show off skills beyond the 3 jumping passes and 3 spins. When the scores come out, you may have 5 to 10 skaters clustered within a 5-point range, so close as to being meaningless. More important, the current SP format necessitates that the program layout to be almost the same for most skaters and rendering this portion to be pretty boring if you go through all 20+ skaters. Now that the FS layout is also becoming more similar than different, this is not good.
    Last edited by Jun Y; 07-22-2014 at 06:21 PM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by bardtoob View Post
    I'm not so certain one can put on the hat of an educated outsider with over a thousand posts over almost a decade as a registered user here ...
    I try. Maybe I can't do it too effectively, but I think it may not be a bad thing for long-term figure skating insiders (with more power than I have) to try out an outsider's viewpoint from time to time, in order to better understand the state the sport is in and what can be done to improve it.

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    I apologize if someone mentioned this in this thread but I didn't see it.

    The new rules for the SP make the penalties for missing required elements a bit harsher. I believe - but might be mistaken - that if you double the solo triple from steps, you get a zero. Not sure what happens if you don't get at least 6 revs in the flying spin, or make it to the 2nd foot in the combo spin.

    I'm not sure what is accomplished by this, as it is only eliminating the value of seriously flawed elements. So scores under these rules will only be 1-2 points lower than what they would have been last year.
    Keeper of Nathalie Pechelat's bitchface.

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    One reason compulsory figures and compulsory dances were eliminated was that they were considered boring by the casual viewer and didn't make money, and except for the extreme die-hard fans, I don't think most people want to watch skaters doing exactly the same thing. As a die-hard fan I wouldn't mind watching such an event, but I wouldn't find it preferable to the current competition format.
    Yup, I was going to say this as well.

    CDs and figures were eliminated partially because they were unpopular with audiences, and I believe I read CDs were the most poorly attended part of any competition. Now people are complaining about how merging the CD with the OD has made that portion of the competition a lot less fun and interesting, and the ISU is already experimenting with requiring specific steps instead of a second pattern in the Short Dance this coming season to give the skaters a bit more freedom.

    I also read that a major reason compulsory figures were eliminated was because the figures were impossible to see on television at the time, not to mention they didn't have the entertainment value of the free program.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coco View Post
    The new rules for the SP make the penalties for missing required elements a bit harsher. I believe - but might be mistaken - that if you double the solo triple from steps, you get a zero.
    Yes (for seniors -- juniors can do either double or triple).

    Not sure what happens if you don't get at least 6 revs in the flying spin, or make it to the 2nd foot in the combo spin.
    There doesn't seem to be a new Technical Panel Handbook published yet to clarify how to handle the new requirements.

    The required number of revolutions in the flying spin in the junior and senior short program is 8. According to last year's rules, as I understand them, if less than 8 total revolutions are attained, but at least 3 total with at least 2 in a basic position, then the spin is called as intended and the judges give -GOE.

    If there are fewer than 3 total revs or fewer than 2 in basic position or in the junior short if the skater doesn't even attempt to achieve the required air position, then the spin gets no level and no points.

    If the combo spin (or change-foot sit or camel in the men's SP) is interrupted before/during the change of foot, then it would be called as CoSp or SSp or CSp instead of CCoSP or CSSp or CCSp as required, and the spin would get no credit since it doesn't fill a required box in the short program.

    These shouldn't change for 2014-15.

    I'm not aware of other spin errors that might allow level B or level 1 in 2013-14 but no level in 2014-15, but I haven't memorized the new rules so there might be.

    I'm not sure what is accomplished by this, as it is only eliminating the value of seriously flawed elements. So scores under these rules will only be 1-2 points lower than what they would have been last year.
    It won't make a huge difference especially at elite levels. The biggest effect will probably be for senior ladies who can't rotate triples who chose to aim for clean programs with double jumps for the solo and combo jumps and take their automatic -3 GOEs.

    My guess is that this is an attempt to prevent such skaters at senior B events, maybe Euros/4Cs, of skaters not even attempting the required elements skating clean and placing ahead of skaters who attempt the required triples and failed.

    Now they'll have more incentive to attempt triples they can't do cleanly, in hopes of at least staying on their feet and earning credit for an underrotated triple.

    If they're likely to get a downgrade and a fall, now they'd be better off not even attempting the element at all.

    Either way the point difference between getting credit for a double with -3 vs. no credit for the element isn't huge, but it is more significant in programs without triples in the base values.

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