## View Poll Results: What would it mean to score PCS correctly?

Voters
88. You may not vote on this poll
• Some judges do it right, too many do it wrong

38 43.18%
• No one official does it right, but it can be done.

9 10.23%
• The rules need to be written better.

23 26.14%
• Can't be done right, so don't do it at all.

2 2.27%
• Can't be done right, so just use one number.

3 3.41%
• Right vs. wrong is meaningless -- but there is better vs. worse

13 14.77%

# Thread: PCS used correctly

1. Originally Posted by skateboy
Agreed overall. The part I bolded: you've said this before, but I'm not sure why. Under 6.0, you simply entered your scores for each skater, just as in IJS. The results determined the ordinal placements, not keeping track of math throughout the event.
Sorry but it is not that simple and totally keeping track of the math during the event. 6.0 does my head in. Particularly with the technical score because you had to allocate a base score and then apply the deductions.

So you may give a skater 3.6 initially for technical, but then take off all the various deductions and you could end up with a technical score of 2.2. Because if they fell that is .4, then 2 foot landing could be .2 and so on.

Then you had to total your score for each skater. So 2.2 tech and 2.7 presentation = 4.9.

And then with all the other skaters you are doing the same and considering those previous scores you gave other skaters, you are actually coming up with a total score for each skater which then slots the skater into position.

We still use this for our beginner levels and whilst their may not be deductions on jumps per say, we do have rules such as they can't do an element from a higher level which requires a .2 deduction. When you are judging a field of say 10 skaters, as each skaters goes along, you are constantly working out if that skater was better than a previous skater or worse than a previous skater, then trying to allocate a score that fits in with that skater's position. Seriously it is a pain in the arse system.

2. Originally Posted by Susan M
The other problem mentioned upthread is that the judges are still allowed to go to skating events and hobnob with each other and with federation officials, selling the wonders of their skaters, highlighting any perceived weaknesses of their rivals.
Well, of course they are allowed to go to skating events. It would be pretty hard to judge skating events if they didn't go to them.

As for socializing with each other, the positive aspect is developing common standards and common understanding of the rules. The communication is not only from the top down, ISU technical committee to referee to judges as individuals, but also lateral among judges and back up the hierarchy back to the referees and potentially back to the technical committee. So if specific rules are problems, talking about them is better for identifying them and finding solutions than not being allowed to talk.

Certainly if fans go to skating events and talk about the skating to other fans, they will become more knowledgeable and come to appreciate other points of view and details they hadn't noticed on their own than if they are not allowed to talk to each other.

Same for judges. Although to avoid the potential for prejudging or appearance thereof, saving the conversations for after the event would be preferable.

They also are still allowed to stand at the boards and watch practices, getting a mental picture of who ought to place where before the event even starts
This is one reason why I prefer IJS to 6.0 -- the judges can't control who places where, so all they can do is notice and maybe discuss who should be scored high or not so high, but which elements they actually get credit for on the day will make a bigger difference in their placements.

I can think of a few reasons that judges watching practices would have been beneficial under 6.0 but less useful under IJS:

*Being familiar with the programs would make it less likely that a judge would fail to recognize some unexpected difficulty during the competition if that was the first time they saw the program. Now most of those areas are taken care of by the technical panel, so for that function it's more important for the tech panel to watch in advance to know what to expect. The Planned Program Content Sheets also provide advance warning of some unexpected elements or element order.

*With 6.0, the actual numbers used tended to be more fluid depending on the depth and and average skill level of the field. So it was useful to know what to expect from the field as a whole in order not to start the scoring for the first skater too high, or scoring the first two skaters too close, and end up not having enough room to fit in everyone else yet to skate. This is much less of an issue with IJS since the judges aren't ranking the skaters and the numbers are supposed to relate to each judge's mental image of a consistent standard for all competitions, not specifically to the other skaters in this event. No, the standards aren't completely absolute, but they're not explicitly relative as they were under 6.0.

However, there is one argument in favor of judges watching practices that does still apply: Most judges will already be familiar with the skaters from their own home country, or geographic area, whom they will likely have judged many times in the past. And they will be familiar with veteran skaters from elsewhere if they have judged them before at events like this one, or seen them on video. But they will never have seen the newcomers before. So if they go into the competition day with strong expectations about the skaters they already know -- perhaps based on how they were skating last year and not this week -- and no expectations about the skaters they've never seen, they will be likely to underscore the unfamiliar skaters -- especially in seeded short programs where the newcomers skate early. If the judges had seen everyone in practice this week, then the expectations would be more equitable across the board.

Of course sometimes it is not practical for a judge to watch practices -- e.g., if the same judge is assigned to both the pairs and the men's event, she might be busy judging pairs while the men are practicing and thus not get a chance to watch.

They also are still allowed to accept gratuities from federation officials whose skaters they will be judging. It has never ceased to amaze me that some judges will still defend these practices as necessary for good judging.
Are they? I don't see any good reason for that.

3. Originally Posted by gkelly

As for socializing with each other, the positive aspect is developing common standards and common understanding of the rules. The communication is not only from the top down, ISU technical committee to referee to judges as individuals, but also lateral among judges and back up the hierarchy back to the referees and potentially back to the technical committee. So if specific rules are problems, talking about them is better for identifying them and finding solutions than not being allowed to talk.
I think what you are saying makes sense, but it perhaps contradicts the implied goal of having panels consist of different federation representatives. Should the judges be cooperating, collaborating, and conferring? Perhaps they should. I think this is the fundamental question. Do we want judges to be representative of pluralism or do we want them to be professional and more homogeneous?

4. Originally Posted by Susan M
The other problem mentioned upthread is that the judges are still allowed to go to skating events and hobnob with each other and with federation officials, selling the wonders of their skaters, highlighting any perceived weaknesses of their rivals. They also are still allowed to stand at the boards and watch practices, getting a mental picture of who ought to place where before the event even starts (usually again with other judges so they can lobby each other to support their skaters at the expense of someone else). They also are still allowed to accept gratuities from federation officials whose skaters they will be judging. It has never ceased to amaze me that some judges will still defend these practices as necessary for good judging.
If you are going to claim this sort of thing then you need to provide proof of it happening. Have you actually seen this happening? Have you been nearby and overheard the conversations? Or are you just assuming?

5. Originally Posted by TheIronLady
I think what you are saying makes sense, but it perhaps contradicts the implied goal of having panels consist of different federation representatives. Should the judges be cooperating, collaborating, and conferring? Perhaps they should.
I think they should share thoughts on the best ways to use the tools the system gives them to reward good skating. And thoughts about what they consider good skating worth rewarding.

What I don't think they should discuss is who they think should win this competition, or any future competition.

It's a lot easier to separate the former from the latter with the scores broken down into separate pieces -- they can discuss each piece separately.

Same as I hope we discuss here, judges could share thoughts on alternative rules they think might work better. I hope (but unfortunately don't trust) that the technical committees are listening to feedback and suggestions from officials in the trenches, as well as from skaters and coaches who are affected by the rules.

But meanwhile the official judges need to follow the official rules as written.

I think this is the fundamental question. Do we want judges to be representative of pluralism or do we want them to be professional and more homogeneous?
I don't think those are mutually exclusive.

You're never going to get two people to see an object as complex as a figure skating program exactly the same way. Different judges will have different pet peeves, they'll bring different outside knowledge, or prior knowledge of what's been done in skating before.

Since it's a global sport, and most of the training takes place in each judge's home country long before they reach the level of international judging appointments, they will all have regional experiences. Some might come from skating cultures that privilege precise jump technique, or complex steps, or speed, or beautiful body positions, and measure all skaters by the standards they came up with.

Some judges will have backgrounds in performing arts techniques and histories. They will have different genres of music that they like to listen to for personal pleasure. They'll have exposure to different TV programs and movies that skaters might use soundtracks from. Some will have professional knowledge of anatomy or psychology or other areas that might be relevant. Some will have been experts in school figures when they were skaters themselves or had different areas of technique they especially focused on.

So they're not all going to come up with the exact same numbers for the same performances, no matter how standardized the training.

I think it's a good thing if judges can talk about things like "I really liked the way Skater Q adapted some of the original stage choreography from that ballet/musical onto the ice" or "Wow, she really felt the syncopation in that step sequence" or "I've only seen that kind of entry into a salchow many years ago with doubles, but never with a triple before!" or "I can't believe she changed edge in that position -- the balance must be so difficult!" etc. etc. Or "Choreographer K did this program? I knew it! K skated to those exact music cuts with the same arm gestures 20 years ago when he was competing."

They might also say things like "I'd never given an 8 to a junior before, but at the last JGP I judged skater Z was just so wonderful, I had to go there." Or "Did you see that layback? I came up with 7 positive bullet points, so I didn't even think twice about giving it +3." Or "Those jumps were really impressive. And she was kind of feeling the music. But all she did was skate around in circles setting up those jumps, so I really dinged her on choreography."

The judges won't all suddenly achieve the exact same knowledge or see the exact same things. But they may each learn something here or there when another judge points it out that would inform their evaluation of the programs in the future.

Before the competition starts it's trickier not to say things about specific skaters in this event that might come across as trying to influence the way other judges score them, since that would start to verge into impropriety.

6. Originally Posted by Aussie Willy
Sorry but it is not that simple and totally keeping track of the math during the event. 6.0 does my head in. Particularly with the technical score because you had to allocate a base score and then apply the deductions.

And then with all the other skaters you are doing the same and considering those previous scores you gave other skaters, you are actually coming up with a total score for each skater which then slots the skater into position.
Fair enough, but I would think the experienced (and for argument's sake, let's say unbiased) judge had much of the math scheme worked out well in advance of a competition. In the case of an elite event (let's consider 24 skaters), the top eight competitors were likely to score in the 5.4 - 6.0 range. The middle eight would probably score in the 4.7 - 5.3 range and the bottom eight in the high 3s to 4.6. Or something like that.

With that said, here are scoring possibilities from 5.4 to 6.0 (let's assume this is the long program):

6.0/6.0 = 12.0
6.0/5.9 (or vice versa) = 11.9
6.0/5.8 or 5.9/5.9 = 11.8
5.9/5.8 = 11.7
5.9/5.7 or 5.8/5.8 = 11.6
5.9/5.6 or 5.8/5.7 = 11.5
5.8/5.6 or 5.7/5.7 = 11.4
5.8/5.5 or 5.7/5.6 = 11.3
5.7/5.5 or 5.6/5.6 = 11.2
5.7/5.4 or 5.6/5.5 = 11.1
5.6/5.4 or 5.5/5.5 = 11.0
5.5/5.4 = 10.9
5.4/5.4 = 10.8

So right there, you have thirteen possible outcomes for, say, eight skaters (there are, of course, other possibilities within that range). With just a little homework, it's not hard to memorize those numbers. If an early competitor skated lights out (who would be in the final flight or close to it)--meaning that they gave a very possible gold medal performance--you could give them say, 5.8/5.8 with room for a skater or two that might (unlikely) surpass that. If no one skated better, you scored the other skaters lower than 5.8/5.8. It's not that hard.

(That's what happened with Sarah in SLC, with the five judges who placed her first. She got nothing higher than 5.8 from any of them. Michelle, Irina and Sasha were still to skate.)

After the top five or six skaters, it wasn't so necessary for 6.0 judges to keep track of anything. They simply made the deductions and scored accordingly. If one judge had a skater in 12th and another in 16th, so be it. In most cases, there wasn't THAT much discrepancy in ordinal placements (Sarah Hughes SP in SLC being a notable exception).

Not necessarily defending 6.0 here, just making a case that it wasn't particularly more difficult, in terms of judging, than IJS. But it certainly was a different system.

7. Ummm you were the one who said there was no maths involved. What about a field of 30-35 skaters who are all about the same level (average ability)? That is what most judges end up judging. Very few judge at the Olympics or even Worlds.

8. Originally Posted by Aussie Willy
Ummm you were the one who said there was no maths involved. What about a field of 30-35 skaters who are all about the same level (average ability)? That is what most judges end up judging. Very few judge at the Olympics or even Worlds.
I guess I was wrong. As for your second sentence, I concede.

But I would think, even judging 30-35 skaters at an average level (something I did a lot of in roller skating, with a 10.0 system), you'd still just score and let the ranking come out the way it comes out. As a judge, I could still figure out the top 5 skaters. After that, it was just scoring as one would score any performance.

Another question: with IJS, do judges even know which skaters they're putting in 1st, 2nd or 3rd? Seems like it would be very difficult, math-wise, to figure that out. And if that's not a factor, isn't it odd for judges to simply enter scores without knowing their own personal ranking? As a judge, I would feel a bit strange not knowing how my individual scores came out, in terms of my own skater ranking.

9. Originally Posted by skateboy
Another question: with IJS, do judges even know which skaters they're putting in 1st, 2nd or 3rd? Seems like it would be very difficult, math-wise, to figure that out. And if that's not a factor, isn't it odd for judges to simply enter scores without knowing their own personal ranking? As a judge, I would feel a bit strange not knowing how my individual scores came out, in terms of my own skater ranking.
Like any sport you will have your cream that rises to the top and of course you are going to give them higher scores because they are the better skaters. But I like the fact that you put your marks into the system and whatever will be comes out. A number of times I have looked at the results of events I have judged at and it wasn't what I was expecting but I don't have a problem with it because then I look at the protocol and understand how it happened. But that is what you get when you are looking at each element individually.

One of the jokes some of us judges do have after an event is too look at the protocol and say whether you were the eville judge or the nice judge.

10. Originally Posted by gkelly
They might also say things like "Those jumps were really impressive. And she was kind of feeling the music. But all she did was skate around in circles setting up those jumps, so I really dinged her on choreography."
Okay, here's my problem with that: in such a case, DO the judges actually ding the skater for choreography?

Let's say judges appreciate the skater's impressive jumps and give +3 for them, fine. But if the skater is really just "skating around in circles" setting up those jumps, then what score is given for choreography (when there isn't any)? In the 5s, or say, in the 2s or even 1s?

And what about transitions? If someone does nothing but crossovers, what would be an appropriate score (regardless of any other good qualities in the skating)?

What score would you give, gkelly?

This comes down to a pet peeve of mine, regarding PCS. It's fine to have all those categories, but then score them as such. From what I've seen, most judges don't. So how is this system considered so great?

11. Originally Posted by skateboy
Okay, here's my problem with that: in such a case, DO the judges actually ding the skater for choreography?
Well I know I certainly look at it and will give lower components if the skaters do not use the music or skate around in circles but I am only one judge.

However you are commenting on the system when it is not the system, it is the application of it, that is the issue.

12. Originally Posted by skateboy
Okay, here's my problem with that: in such a case, DO the judges actually ding the skater for choreography?
As far as I know, some do and some don't. I think most would if they notice, but some are more attuned than others to noticing that particular aspect of the choreography.

Let's say judges appreciate the skater's impressive jumps and give +3 for them, fine. But if the skater is really just "skating around in circles" setting up those jumps, then what score is given for choreography (when there isn't any)? In the 5s, or say, in the 2s or even 1s?
Impossible to say, given only that information.

In the first place is "all she did was skate around in circles" literally accurate, or is it hyperbole?

Were the circles at least different sizes, maybe some more like ellipse shapes? Did at least one circle (to set up a lutz) travel in the opposite direction?

Since the relevant criterion is phrased as "Pattern and Ice Coverage" -- how was the ice coverage on those circles? Did they fill the width of the rink? Did they happen toward both ends of the rink and in the middle, or all only in the same one-third of the ice?

And then there are all the other criteria under the Choreography component. Did the timing of the circles and of the elements match the phrasing of the music? Was there skating content other than crossovers during the circles (mohawks, three turns ... anything more?)? Both forward and backward crossovers? Were there arm gestures, free leg gestures, other body shapes during the stroking and during elements and if so was there any thematic purpose tying them together (even if as generically obvious as basic ballet positions to ballet music or paw gestures when skating to Cats -- not worth a whole lot, but more than skating with the arms stiff and straight the whole time)? Was the (circular?) step sequence well choreographed to reflect a theme and the rhythm of the music and to show some variety beyond just ticking boxes to earn levels? Or was it as simple and generic as possible?

And what about transitions? If someone does nothing but crossovers, what would be an appropriate score (regardless of any other good qualities in the skating)?

What score would you give, gkelly?
Again, I can't say without seeing the program.

Quality is one of the criteria for Transitions, so if the only thing between the elements is crossovers, then the quality of those crossovers will make a big difference. Deep curves at up to 25 mph or more, or stiff knees practically on flats at less than 5 mph even at the skater's top speed, or any skill level in between?

If there's nothing but crossovers between the elements, presumably there's extremely little Variety or Difficulty, and not much Intricacy either. But there could be some intricacy, e.g., transitioning directly from the step sequence to a spin, or from a jump to a spin. Or there could be the opposite of intricacy -- every jump and every spin telegraphed with a long pause to position the body between the last crossover and the actual element.

And is there variety in the crossovers -- both forward and backward, both clockwise and counter clockwise? Different rhythms? Different uses of the upper body and free leg?

This comes down to a pet peeve of mine, regarding PCS. It's fine to have all those categories, but then score them as such.
Take a program and tell us how you would score it and why. I'd really like to get input from several different posters on this thread about the same program(s), so we can brainstorm what considerations should go into the scoring according to the existing rules and maybe each learn from others pointing out details that we missed, as we each focus on what's most important to us.

13. Originally Posted by skateboy
Okay, here's my problem with that: in such a case, DO the judges actually ding the skater for choreography?

Let's say judges appreciate the skater's impressive jumps and give +3 for them, fine. But if the skater is really just "skating around in circles" setting up those jumps, then what score is given for choreography (when there isn't any)? In the 5s, or say, in the 2s or even 1s?
It depends on the judge obviously, but I have seen programs I would have given scores in the low 2s for choreography for Junior and Senior level skaters who had literally almost no program and just skated from jump to jump for almost the whole program and finally did some choreographic transitions of decent quality after the jumps were just about over and the step sequence may have gone to the music in a very, very vague way (as in, "that's the right section of music for the step sequence" but didn't really use the details of the music), which kept me out of the 1s. Most skaters, though, even if they don't have great, memorable programs and sometimes skate from jump to jump do have SOME attempt at choreography. The program I'm thinking of really stood out as notably MUCH weaker than all of the other skaters in the event, and it wasn't an International or World level event (though there were some very strong skaters in it). I have also seen a couple of cases where the skater literally did just skated in circles for almost the whole program in the middle third of the rink and didn't use the full ice surface at all, but it was so blatant that it really stood out and most skaters aren't nearly that bad even if they could improve their layout and ice coverage.

Originally Posted by skateboy
And what about transitions? If someone does nothing but crossovers, what would be an appropriate score (regardless of any other good qualities in the skating)?
The good qualities in the skating that are demonstrated in between the elements, even if they are just crossovers, should not be ignored in the transitions mark because quality is an important criterion (I would argue the most important) for the transitions mark. Secondly, almost no skaters literally do nothing but crossovers through the whole program.

I try to weigh the quality at about half the transitions mark and the difficulty, variety, and intricacy together at about half the mark (and have tried unsuccessfully to come up with a "magic formula" for coming up with a mark ). The quality side will probably be somewhat close to, but could definitely deviate somewhat, from the skating skills mark. The transitions that are done on the ice are going to be largely reflective of the qualities in the skating skills mark-- speed, flow, depth of edge, etc., but some other qualities of the transitions wouldn't be, like positions in spirals, split jumps, etc. So if a skater did 0 difficulty/variety/intricacy, and the quality was on average at the level of the overall skating skills mark, then I would be looking at a transitions mark roughly half the skating skills mark. (But you can't give a 0 for a component mark and 0 difficulty would probably mean just standing in one place. ). This is just one rough guideline I've come up with to think about the marks that makes sense to me and is in no way "official." But taking an example of a skater who demonstrates 5.0 skating skills in a program, giving them only a 1.0 for transitions probably wouldn't be appropriate (IMO) even if the in-between content was very, very simple, because there would have to be some decent quality there if I ended up at a 5.0 for skating skills. The 1.0 for transitions should be reserved for a skater who does very, very simple/non-varied/non-intricate content and ALSO does it at a very, very low quality. OTOH, a 5.0 for skating skills and mark in the 3s for transitions could be reasonably, reflecting that that the non-quality aspects of the transitions were significantly lower than the skating skills, but not overlooking the quality entirely.

14. Thanks for the post, RFOS. You too, gkelly.

Originally Posted by gkelly
Take a program and tell us how you would score it and why.
Personally, I would prefer if you did that. I've never been an IJS judge and, while I can watch a skater and could come up with my ideas of what they should score, I feel it would be more informative if someone such as yourself gave your assessment of a program, in order to better understand the current system.

I'd like to know what I'm missing.

15. Hmmm skateboy - you are the one who is commenting that you get angry about the PCS not being used correctly. It might be best if you have an example of a program where the scores that were given were ones you did not agree with. That actually might be a better strategy for you to get the answer you want.

16. Originally Posted by Aussie Willy
Hmmm skateboy - you are the one who is commenting that you get angry about the PCS not being used correctly. It might be best if you have an example of a program where the scores that were given were ones you did not agree with. That actually might be a better strategy for you to get the answer you want.
I'm not the "one" that complains about the way PCS is used, it's actually quite controversial amongst many coaches, skaters, fans, etc.

But I get what you mean. I'll have to rewatch, dig up protocols and post video links: give me two or three days.

17. Originally Posted by gkelly
Take a program and tell us how you would score it and why.
Originally Posted by skateboy
Personally, I would prefer if you did that. I've never been an IJS judge and, while I can watch a skater and could come up with my ideas of what they should score, I feel it would be more informative if someone such as yourself gave your assessment of a program, in order to better understand the current system.

I'd like to know what I'm missing.
OK.
A week or two ago I had come up with some scores and explanations for the programs I linked in post #27, but I waited to post in hopes that others would also do so and we could compare notes.

So for those who want to give it a try, please come to your own conclusions before reading mine. I'll look forward to seeing what you come up with.

Originally Posted by gkelly
I chose programs that were judged under 6.0 in real life so that there wouldn't be any "correct" answers in a protocol somewhere and we could all share our thoughts with equal value. I also chose performances by skaters who were not well known so that we wouldn't approach them with prior expectations about the sorts of scores they "should" deserve. And I chose these particular performances because I thought there were some interesting contrasts in what each of the skaters did well or not so well. The first two, anyway. When I looked closer at the third skater I was less interested than I expected to be. So anyone who wants to give it a try, feel free to skip the third skater.

Meanwhile, here are my scores and explanations.

Abrasheva

The first thing I notice about this skater was good posture, which I'll get to under Performance/Execution.

Skating Skills 4.5
Generally steady on her blades -- good balance. In part, though, I think that's because she's not taking any risks. The spiral edges were small and not especially secure, nor were the positions challenging. The power and depth of edge are not quite up to what I would consider senior level. Quite a bit of two-foot skating, including during the step sequence. Very few difficult steps or turns -- there were some reversing choctaws at the beginning. Very few clockwise turns -- I counted only three in the whole program (only one during the steps) and she was on two feet almost immediately afterward.

Transitions 3.5
OK on variety -- she had turns and steps, toe turns, hops, a little attitude position, some arm movements. Not much intricacy -- practically nothing leading into the solo jump. Not much difficulty -- only the choctaws (which weren't connected to anything) could really be considered even moderately difficult. Quality was commensurate with her skating level, nothing special.

Performance/Execution 5.5
She maintained her involvement to the program throughout. Not a lot of energy, but no dropping out either, unless you consider brief hesitations with the slight balance struggles at the end of the combo spin and in the first spiral position. Carriage was good, clarity of movement generally good -- most of her positions were pleasant, with nice stretched free leg when applicable. Layback position just OK, and the wrapped free leg in the jumps was slightly distracting. The style of movement was appropriate to the music. Some variety/contrast between staccato and legato movements, though no extremes in either direction. Not a lot of variety in tempo, force, size, shapes, or angles though. Projection OK -- she was presenting the program outward, but not on a large scale.

Choreography 5.25
There was purpose and unity to the program defined in relation to the music style, and the movement phrases matched the musical phrases. Proportion fine -- nothing seemed to be under- or overemphasized. As far as I could tell from the video she did not significantly favor one side or end of the arena. However the patterns seemed very standard and unoriginal. Final position of the combo spin was a little unusual, and I liked her use of the arms to the music in the layback. Ice coverage suffered from her lack of speed and edge depth.

Interpretation 5.5
She was aware of the musical style and rhythm throughout. I wouldn't characterize her movement as either effortless or effortful. There were some details and nuances throughout -- more in the opening section. Arm movements contributed the most to the expression, but there was also some use of rhythm in the steps and some nice sharp head movements. Not much use of the body core.

Ivanova
Skating Skills 6.5
The speed/acceleration was refreshing -- I especially enjoyed the way she gained speed through that forward outside three a little before the axel attempt, and kept good speed through the step sequence -- and the edges and knee bend fairly deep. Not many clockwise turns though. Other criteria seemed neither to be strengths nor weaknesses.

Transitions 5.5
I particularly took note of the clockwise back turn into the spiral sequence, the full rink worth of varied moves (quick mohawks/"Scottie" turns with nice rhythmic knee action, outside spread eagle, more quick turns, half-flip) into the double flip and the step directly from the flip into the layback as examples of variety and intricacy. I suppose we could also consider the Ina Bauer within the spiral sequence as a transition between spirals. The other jumps, and the combo spin, were a bit telegraphed (although the long entry to the combo spin fit the musical phrasing well). Difficulty was commensurate with her overall skating, as was quality, especially in maintaining good speed. Ideally I would have liked to see fewer crossovers, though, as strong as they were.

Performance/Execution 5.25
Well, the waxel was a complete failure that disrupted the program for just about 5 seconds, more than a typical fall, and the layback was notably shaky. I thought the flying camel was especially strong on speed and energy.

Otherwise, her involvement in the program seemed reasonably good -- she skated with energy and attack and mostly maintained the character of the music. Carriage and clarity seemed adequate to me but a relative weakness compared to her other qualities.

Choreography 5.25
The use of the music was generally fine but kind of generic in my opinion. I'd give more credit for "phrasing" than for "purpose."

The fact that she included a triple lutz at a time when only a few dozen ladies in the world were doing that jump, and the time she needed to set it up, may have given it undue weight compared to the other elements. The axel also took disproportionate attention on account of its complete failure.

I did like the choice to open with the flying camel, which was a strong element for her, and checked out right in time with the musical phrase.. The final combo spin position (would you go so far as to call it a back layback, or just a back attitude spin with epaulement?) was fairly original. Ice coverage was pretty good on account of her power, and the patterns a little bit surprising at least in the entry to the spiral sequence.

Interpretation 5.0
Again, there were some details and she never lost complete connection with the music except for those few seconds of waxel recovery, but the nuances were small and generic IMO; not much in the way of subtlety.

Zhao
Skating Skills 4.75
Her speed looked adequate, but far from effortless. She wasn’t really down into her knees, and she didn’t use very deep edges. And there was some extranous upper body movement or pumping in her back crossovers. Lost speed on jump landings. There were a number of clockwise threes scattered throughout, so some multidirectional skating. The step sequence seemed to complete only about 3/4 of a circle, and the knee action on the forward and backward inside threes was nicely rhythmic but mechanical.

Transitions 3.0
There were steps into the solo jump as required, though nothing very impressive. Occasional three turns and mohawks, some arm movements, but no real difficulty or intricacy, not much variety or quality.

Performance/Execution 4.5
Physically she seemed sufficiently engaged in the program, but there wasn’t a lot of emotional or intellectual involvement evident most of the time. Carriage OK but a bit stiff -- lacked fluidity in her back and knees. Not much variety in her use of the body, except some lyrical arm movements in the spiral sequence. Projection mediocre, clarity of positions mediocre. Just kind of “eh” all around.

Choreography 3.25
I saw some purpose in the connection between movement and music in the steps at the very beginning, in the arm movements during the spiral sequence, and in the poses. Otherwise the program seemed to be almost entirely about executing the technical elements. The music cuts were jarring and therefore the program seemed to lack unity and threading between the separate sections. Ice coverage was OK, patterns fairly predictable.

Interpretation 3.25
See above. Aside from those few sections I mentioned that seemed to use the music well, she didn’t seem to be aware of what she was hearing during the rest of the program. At best there was some acknowledgment of different types of movement to powerful/rhythmic vs. lyrical music on the scale of whole sections of the program, but rarely any acknowledgment of the shape of four-measure phrases, let alone of the accents within each measure.

18. I'm another in agreement that they should combine some or all of the Components. I think part of the reason that scores are so similar for each of the marks is that so many of the components overlap. You transitions are part of the choreography, so a low mark on transitions should automatically lower the mark on the choreography. Choreography is also the primary means by which the skater interprets the music, so a badly choreographed should automatically lower the interpretation score. A persons skating skills affects the types of transitions & choreography that they can handle so will either affect the CH/TR mark if too easy, or the PE mark if the choreo is too difficult for them.

I don't think you can compartmentalize the 2nd mark like you can the technical score its components are far to interwoven.

19. Okay (especially gkelly and Aussie Willy), I gave it some good thought, as to what program(s) to consider, in terms of my beefs with the way PCS is scored. I almost chose Chan and Ten's FS at this year's Worlds, as the end result has caused such a ruckus amongst many fans, but I really didn't want to open up that can of worms. So I've chosen Michal Brezina's FS at this year's Worlds. He had a lot of techincal errors, falls, etc. and was punished for them in TES (he ended up 11th in the free): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qglHd7F9hI

But we're talking about PCS here, so here's my assessment.

Skating Skills: He covers the ice pretty well, has decent speed and is capable of nice deep edges, sometimes. Turns in the first footwork sequence were executed quite well (unlike some higher-ranked skaters whose brackets, rockers, counters, etc., were quite shallow). Second sequence not so much. Body carriage and line goes from fair to okay, flow out of jumps okay but not exceptional. The falls should detract from the score a bit.

My score: 6.75. The actual scores given: 8.00 8.00 7.75 8.00 8.50 7.75 7.75 8.25 7.75

Transitions/Linking Footwork: Not much creativity here. Some elements connected by nothing more than crossovers (and not particularly notable ones). The transitions that do exist are nothing particularly exceptional or difficult. Overall, disappointing.

My score: 5.00 The actual scores given: 7.75 7.75 7.75 7.75 7.75 7.50 7.50 7.75 7.25

Performance/Execution: Not great. Many errors mixed in with a few good things here and there.

My score: 6.00 The actual scores given: 7.75 7.75 7.75 7.50 7.50 7.75 7.75 8.00 7.25

Choreography/Composition: Here's where I start going nuts and will do so even more re: "Interpretation." This is a HORRIBLE program. The music is awful for a competitive program, as it so monochromatic as to have no real high points. I believe I counted all of one jump that even landed on any kind of a beat at all. A clear case of "any music could have been playing, it wouldn't have mattered." Absolutely awful. The judges' scores for this dreck, are ludicrous.

My score: 3.25 The actual scores given (are you freaking kidding me???): 7.75 7.75 8.00 8.00 8.00 7.50 7.50 8.25 7.50

Interpretation: Interpretation of what? Horrible, horrible music for a skating program. Still, the two footwork sequences did fit, a little bit, with the character of the music. And--ooooohhh--he slowed his skating down a touch and seemed, at least for a few seconds, to "really feel" the middle "lyrical" section (I'm being somewhat facetious here, but the awful music did slow down in the middle). Oh, and he had some quirky hand gestures at the opening and close of the program and he finished on time with the music. Fatigue was a factor for the second half of the program, he was obviously tired.

My score: 5.00 The actual scores given (in what universe does this score in the highs 7s and 8s?): 8.00 8.00 7.75 7.75 7.75 7.50 7.75 8.25 7.50

By the way, I don't hate Brezina at all. He's a fine skater, seems to be a likeable guy and I'm sorry he had a bad skate here. But I did hate the program, because it WASN'T a program. I've seen novice competitors with much better programs. And while Brezina was deservedly dumped in TES, his PCS here was scored higher than, among others, Takahito Mura and Misha Ge. No, no, no, no, no!!!!!

So there it is (for starters). Someone convince me I'm wrong here. I'm not being sarcastic, I'm serious. I would like to understand how, in the name of the skategods, these scores are appropriate. Thanks!

20. Comparing the components of Chan, Ten, and Brezina in the FS:

SS 9.11 8.54 7.93 Brezina to Chan: -1.18 (-13%); Brezina to Ten: -.61 (-7%)
TR 8.96 8.43 7.68 Brezina to Chan: -1.28 (-14%); Brezina to Ten: -.75 (-9%)
PE 8.61 8.89 7.68 Brezina to Chan: -.93 (-10%); Brezina to Ten: -1.21 (-16%)
CH 9.0 8.86 7.79 Brezina to Chan: -1.21 (-13%); Brezina to Ten: -1.07 (-12%)
IN 8.96 8.86 7.70 Brezina to Chan: -1.26 (-14%); Brezina to Ten: -1.16 (-13%)

Ten: 43.85
Brezina: 38.78
Difference: -5.07 (-12%)

Was Ten only 12% better than Brezina in components?

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