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

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  • 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%
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  1. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by skateboy View Post
    I have a question:

    What percentage do jumps and spins have in the score of a program?

    I posted this in another thread, but it seems appropriate here. While I am all for "complete skaters," "artistry" and a "balanced program," it is specifically jumps and spins that make singles skating what it is. Without them, it really is ice dancing (and I am NOT siding with Plushenko here, in that no quads = ice dance!). So at least to me, it seems only right that scoring for jumps and spins should make up the majority of the score. (As opposed to footwork, spirals, skating skills, etc.)

    So do they and, if not, why not? And with talk of restructuring IJS, might that not be a good place to start?

    (Yes, I understand IJS. But I've never figured out the percentage of the weight given to jumps and spins and am wondering if anyone else has done so.)
    Figure skating has always been an artistic sport, and skating itself has always mattered a lot in it. No one forced you to follow such a sport. You could/can choose another sport where only technique is important if you don't like that.

    You say that you are all for complete skaters, artistry and balanced programs, but such a statement is contradictory to the view that jumps and spins should make up the greatest part of the score. Because, if it were so, then there wouldn't be such things as complete skaters, balanced programs and artistry in singles skating.

    Also - skating skills and footwork are technique in figure skating.
    Last edited by lauravvv; 05-21-2013 at 12:48 AM.

  2. #82

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    Quote Originally Posted by lauravvv View Post
    Figure skating has always been an artistic sport, and skating itself has always mattered a lot in it. No one forced you to follow such a sport. You could/can choose another sport where only technique is important if you don't like that.

    You say that you are all for complete skaters, artistry and balanced programs, but such a statement is contradictory to the view that jumps and spins should make up the greatest part of the score. Because, if it were so, then there wouldn't be such things as complete skaters, balanced programs and artistry in singles skating.

    Also - skating skills and footwork are technique in figure skating.
    That was rather bitchy of you, why?

    Yes, I enjoy beautiful skating, artistry and choreography. Anyone champion-worthy should be an exceptional athlete combined with beautiful artistry. But in the end, this is not ballroom dance, it is an Olympic sport. An artistic sport, yes, but nevertheless a sport. And I do feel that the athletic side of singles skating should carry more weight than the artistic. NOT saying the artistry shouldn't be there. And, for the record, an artistic and beautiful skater with inferior technical content is not a balanced skater, either. Sheesh.
    "I hit him with my shoes... if he had given me the medal like I told him to, I wouldn't have had to hit him!" -- 8-year-old Rhoda Penmark in "The Bad Seed"

  3. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by skateboy View Post
    That was rather bitchy of you, why?

    Yes, I enjoy beautiful skating, artistry and choreography. Anyone champion-worthy should be an exceptional athlete combined with beautiful artistry. But in the end, this is not ballroom dance, it is an Olympic sport. An artistic sport, yes, but nevertheless a sport. And I do feel that the athletic side of singles skating should carry more weight than the artistic. NOT saying the artistry shouldn't be there. And, for the record, an artistic and beautiful skater with inferior technical content is not a balanced skater, either. Sheesh.
    I agree that I was a bit harsh, but "bitchy" is an overstatement. And I no taking my words back.

    Also, I must remind that you weren't talking just about artistry. Skating skills, step sequences and transitions are not artistry. That's technique in figure skating. Plus, I am not sure why did you choose spins as the other most important element in singles skating. I wouldn't say that spins are really what defines singles skating. There are spins also in pairs skating and ice dancing. Sure, they are different. But the requirements for step sequences in pairs skating and ice dancing are also different than in singles skating, so why not step sequences?

    And where did I say that artistry is more important than technique?

  4. #84

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    Quote Originally Posted by lauravvv View Post
    I agree that I was a bit harsh, but "bitchy" is an overstatement. And I no taking my words back.

    Also, I must remind that you weren't talking just about artistry. Skating skills, step sequences and transitions are not artistry. That's technique in figure skating. Plus, I am not sure why did you choose spins as the other most important element in singles skating. I wouldn't say that spins are really what defines singles skating. There are spins also in pairs skating and ice dancing. Sure, they are different. But the requirements for step sequences in pairs skating and ice dancing are also different than in singles skating, so why not step sequences?

    And where did I say that artistry is more important than technique?
    Well, I'm not taking my words back, either.

    Spins: the one spin incorporated into dance routines is relatively new and still, dance teams don't so laybacks, Biellmanns, A-spins, etc. Spins are a big part of what defines singles skating, always has been, even before difficult jumps entered the picture.

    You say that skating skills and transitions are not artistry, yet they factor into PCS rather than TES. So which is it?

    All steps in skating is technical, even crossovers. Everything has to be learned through technique.

    Pairs differs from the other events, specifically because of overhead lifts and throws. In dance, there are the few lifts and one spin element, but other than that, the whole routine is made up of step sequences (and rightly so). Singles differs from pairs and dance primarily because of multiple jumps and spins. It is my opinion that those elements should carry extra weight in the score. Some may agree with me, some may not.

    Even if jumps and spins carried more weight in a program, that would not exclude the other technical and artistic qualities from being paramount to a stellar performance. A skater with nothing but jumps and spins would have a difficult time winning against someone with the complete package. But I don't believe that skating skills and transitions should be able to override falls and major mistakes on jumps and spins. This happens under IJS.

    And where did I mention that you said artistry is more important than technique?
    Last edited by skateboy; 05-21-2013 at 10:07 AM.
    "I hit him with my shoes... if he had given me the medal like I told him to, I wouldn't have had to hit him!" -- 8-year-old Rhoda Penmark in "The Bad Seed"

  5. #85

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    Quote Originally Posted by skateboy View Post
    You say that skating skills and transitions are not artistry, yet they factor into PCS rather than TES. So which is it?

    All steps in skating is technical, even crossovers. Everything has to be learned through technique.
    Skating skills = skating techniques.

    To my mind, these are the most important thing in a figure skating competition. They underlie everything that happens on the ice -- or everything that the competition is supposed to be about.

    On the TES side, skating skills are mostly measured in the step sequence, which rewards a variety of turns and steps and multidirectional skating and speed and flow and deep, secure edges (and also in the choreo sequence, and some other pair and dance elements).

    All those things are also rewarded throughout the rest of the program, between elements, and going in and out of jumps and spins.

    The PCS in general are meant to reward qualities that happen across the whole program, not specifically "artistic" qualities. Some of the criteria of some of the components have everything to do with artistry and some have little to do with artistry and are solely or primarily about technique.

    The Skating Skills component is all about technique. Definitely a skater with stronger skating skills is in a better position to use those skills for artistic purposes, and will probably be more aesthetically pleasing to watch even if not trying to be artistic. But that component is not designed or intended to measure artistry. It's measuring actual skating ability, apart from the tricks (elements) as well as within the elements as relevant.

    The criteria for the Transitions component are variety, difficulty, quality, and intricacy. Aside from the difficulty of individual non-element moves, variety and intricacy also relate to the difficulty of the program -- the number of different kinds of skills exhibited, and the added difficulty of connections between moves which generally makes them each harder than if done isolation. Quality of transitions would reflect the level of technical mastery.

    Primarily what's being measured in that component is technical skills. Of course, moves performed with good (or bad) quality would affect several of the Performance/Execution criteria as well. Variety and intricacy would affect several of the Choreography criteria. So in those ways the transitions do have an effect on the artistic impact of the performance, just as the elements themselves do. But the artistic aspects of the non-element moves are measured primarily in these other components, and the technical aspects in the Transitions component itself.


    What I would not like to see is losing or devaluing the contribution of Skating Skills and Transitions to the scores outside of the element scores and the "artistic" components. To my mind, Skating Skills should indeed be the single most important score for the program. And the skills rewarded in Transitions are important enough that I would prefer not to see this component subsumed into Skating Skills (and Choreography).

  6. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by skateboy View Post
    I have a question:

    What percentage do jumps and spins have in the score of a program?

    I posted this in another thread, but it seems appropriate here. While I am all for "complete skaters," "artistry" and a "balanced program," it is specifically jumps and spins that make singles skating what it is. Without them, it really is ice dancing (and I am NOT siding with Plushenko here, in that no quads = ice dance!). So at least to me, it seems only right that scoring for jumps and spins should make up the majority of the score. (As opposed to footwork, spirals, skating skills, etc.)

    So do they and, if not, why not? And with talk of restructuring IJS, might that not be a good place to start?

    (Yes, I understand IJS. But I've never figured out the percentage of the weight given to jumps and spins and am wondering if anyone else has done so.)

    No! No more points for jumps, LOL. You think Patrick Chan won because of his superior SS? Actually I feel it's because the system is way too generous towards the falls. Look at the protocol, his two FAILED TRIPLE JUMPS worth a LEVEL 4 STEP SEQUENCE. That's the most ridiculous thing to me. And before Patrick Chan started landing quads consistently in competitions, he usually got same PCS and same SS score as Brian Joubert (anyone can justify this).

  7. #87
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    So at least to me, it seems only right that scoring for jumps and spins should make up the majority of the score. (As opposed to footwork, spirals, skating skills, etc.)
    The jump elements are worth a lot more points than spins and fw. Base values of Triple jumps range from 4.1 to 8.5 and there are 8 jumping elements (incl up to 3 combinations/seq). Base value of the hardest spins are about 3.2 points and there are three of them. The base value for the two fw sequences is at most 6 points. More significantly, the lower scoring elements do not have as many GOE points available and the spread in points for these elements between the best skaters is pretty small.

    The idea in skating judging has historically been that the technical and artistic/presentation aspects should be equally valued. In the first iteration of the point system, the developers tested it by applying their system to the recently completed 2002 Olympics. When they saw Tim Goebel would have won (because he actually outjumped everybody else at this event) they decided putting too much value on jumps did not produce results that fit the values they wanted in skating.

    When the current judging system was first adopted, the ISU was very conscious of adjusting points up or down to try to keep that balance between TES and PCS points. I think that is why we see the PCS marks multiplied by two. At the recent Worlds, for example, if you look at the men with the best presentation marks, the PCS points are still fairly close to even with the TES points. As you look down the list, the skaters are getting distinctly more points for the Technical Elements.

    They also tried to keep the ratio of points earned in the SP and FS at the traditional 1:2 weight of the 6.0 system that preceded it. Again, they are still coming reasonably close to hitting this ratio in the men's event. (I didn't look at the others.)

    As someone suggested upthread, you could see how these things play out if you take a good study of the protocols (the pdf files with the detailed scoring). For 2013 Worlds, you can find them from this page by clicking on the links in the far right column.
    http://www.isuresults.com/results/wc2013/

  8. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    How does one define "what is accurate"? I.e., what are the correct criteria?
    I'm by no means a couple expert, but I would rank these skaters in the individual categories as such with respective justifications.
    SS: Hughes and Liang have good basic skating, Meissner and Czisny's was relatively mediocre.
    TR: Hughes and Liang had more difficult transitions, I would put Meissner last here.
    EX: Liang, then Hughes (who skated well but had some unpolished, rough sections), then Czisny/Meissner.
    CR: Liang, Hughes, and Czisny had fairly good CR (I would give Liang the edge here out of personal preference, but it's subjective). Meissner's was relatively lacking.
    IR: Liang and Hughes both sold their programs and had outstanding interpretation, especially Liang. Czisny had good interpretation but the two falls marred the overall interpretation. Meissner is also most lacking in this area.

    Even more egregious is the fact that Liang skated the same SP at 2007 Nationals even better, but for some reason got worse PCS. That doesn't make any sense either.

  9. #89
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    You say that skating skills and transitions are not artistry, yet they factor into PCS rather than TES. So which is it?
    I think it is a mistake to equate PCS with artistry. I think we all fall into that trap sometimes (including me) but both the Skating Skills and Transitions components are really primarily judging technical skills and content. Once they were done creating the TES, somebody realized there are other moves and technical skills that need to be credited somewhere, so they put those into those two Components. Under the 6.0 system, stroking quality and transition moves would have been included in the technical mark. (This is why Surya Bonaly's tech mark often seemed low when you look at just her elements and why some skaters seemed to have a tech ceiling of about 5.6 or 5.7, regardless of their jumps.) I think under 6.0 they did move speed more than once between tech and presentation.

  10. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by shady82 View Post
    I'm by no means a couple expert, but I would rank these skaters in the individual categories as such with respective justifications.
    SS: Hughes and Liang have good basic skating, Meissner and Czisny's was relatively mediocre.
    TR: Hughes and Liang had more difficult transitions, I would put Meissner last here.
    EX: Liang, then Hughes (who skated well but had some unpolished, rough sections), then Czisny/Meissner.
    CR: Liang, Hughes, and Czisny had fairly good CR (I would give Liang the edge here out of personal preference, but it's subjective). Meissner's was relatively lacking.
    IR: Liang and Hughes both sold their programs and had outstanding interpretation, especially Liang. Czisny had good interpretation but the two falls marred the overall interpretation. Meissner is also most lacking in this area.

    Even more egregious is the fact that Liang skated the same SP at 2007 Nationals even better, but for some reason got worse PCS. That doesn't make any sense either.
    This post makes me want to toss the components categories in the rubbish bin. Perhaps in other languages these distinctions have more logic and a clearer emphasis. That's one guess I can make about why the overlapping, fuzzy, and wordy jargon has not been revised. Probably the categories are superior to alternatives that were proposed, but I still would have expected this scheme to be modified by now.

  11. #91

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    So can you suggest clearer ways to define them?

  12. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    So can you suggest clearer ways to define them?
    I'm beginning to think that maybe the problem is that great skating defies definition (or as Justice Stewart said about laws trying to define what is obscene): "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it,..."

    I think about one great skater and come up with terms that describe his/her/their skating, but when I take those criteria to other great skaters, it turns out they were not always best at the same things. By the time you eliminate the variables and get down to the lowest common denominator, you end up missing the real picture.

  13. #93

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    So, I'm still curious whether anyone wants to take a stab at judging PCS "correctly" for these programs under the current rules, especially the first two. Or rewrite the rules so that they could do a better job of reflecting the strengths and weaknesses of these skaters.

    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post

    Or other skaters, other performances of your choice.

  14. #94
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    I'm no insider to the international skating community, and maybe what i'm saying is not true and every judge is as subjectively objective as they can possibly be, but I have to say that I really don't believe this system is too good for figure skating judges, the majority of whom are ex-skaters or choreographers in their 40s and beyond, not math genius or particularly very quick-witted. I've actually paid some attention to how the judges work in live events. It seems to me that there is barely enough time for them to judge every element. I've seen judges looking down on their desk during a jump. I've also seen judges talking to each other. I can imagine under such stress of watching 30+ routines in a roll, it's very difficult to accurately put down five subtly different marks in PCS. Keeping them "in line" is anyone's way to go. IJS was probably well thought-out by some engineer, but I find it way exceed human abilities to handle. Plus, this is something I would like to check out one day. I think judges do go to hotel bars. To say socializing with a cause doesn't happen would be in my opinion quite an idealism.
    That being said, I do think the biggest problem right now is that falls account for too little. 3-5 points deduction is more appropriate. That's at least easier to fix.

  15. #95

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    So you're saying that judges aren't quick-witted, because they're in their 40s or older? Or are you saying that ex-skaters and choreographers are simply not that bright? Either way, wow.

    I do, however, agree with your statements below. (Falls: I believe 3 points per fall seems about right.)

    Quote Originally Posted by analia View Post
    It seems to me that there is barely enough time for them to judge every element. I've seen judges looking down on their desk during a jump. I've also seen judges talking to each other. I can imagine under such stress of watching 30+ routines in a roll, it's very difficult to accurately put down five subtly different marks in PCS.

    That being said, I do think the biggest problem right now is that falls account for too little.
    Last edited by skateboy; 05-25-2013 at 11:43 PM.
    "I hit him with my shoes... if he had given me the medal like I told him to, I wouldn't have had to hit him!" -- 8-year-old Rhoda Penmark in "The Bad Seed"

  16. #96

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    Quote Originally Posted by Susan M View Post
    I'm beginning to think that maybe the problem is that great skating defies definition (or as Justice Stewart said about laws trying to define what is obscene): "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it,..."

    I think about one great skater and come up with terms that describe his/her/their skating, but when I take those criteria to other great skaters, it turns out they were not always best at the same things. By the time you eliminate the variables and get down to the lowest common denominator, you end up missing the real picture.
    And there it is. Thank you.
    "I hit him with my shoes... if he had given me the medal like I told him to, I wouldn't have had to hit him!" -- 8-year-old Rhoda Penmark in "The Bad Seed"

  17. #97

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    Quote Originally Posted by analia View Post
    I'm no insider to the international skating community, and maybe what i'm saying is not true and every judge is as subjectively objective as they can possibly be, but I have to say that I really don't believe this system is too good for figure skating judges, the majority of whom are ex-skaters or choreographers in their 40s and beyond, not math genius or particularly very quick-witted. I've actually paid some attention to how the judges work in live events. It seems to me that there is barely enough time for them to judge every element. I've seen judges looking down on their desk during a jump. I've also seen judges talking to each other. I can imagine under such stress of watching 30+ routines in a roll, it's very difficult to accurately put down five subtly different marks in PCS. Keeping them "in line" is anyone's way to go. IJS was probably well thought-out by some engineer, but I find it way exceed human abilities to handle. Plus, this is something I would like to check out one day. I think judges do go to hotel bars. To say socializing with a cause doesn't happen would be in my opinion quite an idealism.
    That being said, I do think the biggest problem right now is that falls account for too little. 3-5 points deduction is more appropriate. That's at least easier to fix.
    As a judge who is 46, no I am not a maths genius what does being quick-witted have to do with it? And going to a hotel bar? Under 6.0 you needed to be a maths genius but under IJS, maths has nothing to do with it (which is why it is a better system!)

    Maybe instead of making assumptions about what judges do based on observation, why don't you actually talk to them about what they do and find out the truth. I think your perspective would be changed.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  18. #98

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Willy View Post
    As a judge who is 46, no I am not a maths genius what does being quick-witted have to do with it? And going to a hotel bar? Under 6.0 you needed to be a maths genius but under IJS, maths has nothing to do with it (which is why it is a better system!)

    Maybe instead of making assumptions about what judges do based on observation, why don't you actually talk to them about what they do and find out the truth. I think your perspective would be changed.
    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.
    "I hit him with my shoes... if he had given me the medal like I told him to, I wouldn't have had to hit him!" -- 8-year-old Rhoda Penmark in "The Bad Seed"

  19. #99

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    I don't think you needed advanced math skills to judge under 6.0.

    You did need to be able to keep track of the ordinals so you didn't tie skaters or put them in the wrong order than you intended or box yourself in so that it was not possible to put skater C between A and B. But the actual amount of math involved was minimal.

    In IJS, the computer does a lot of calculations that the judges don't need to worry about. They're not supposed to try to keep track of how they're ranking the skaters, and they don't have enough information to do more than guess. If they're deliberately trying to achieve specific results, they would need to be good at guessing/estimating so they could inflate or deflate scores appropriately. Otherwise

    Would PCS be more intuitive if judges had visual analog scales with sliders to indicate how good they thought each program was on each component, so they wouldn't need to think in terms of numbers at all? For GOEs as well?

    But that wouldn't work for low-budget events where judges record scores with paper and pencil, or if there were technical difficulties at an event with computers where the judges need to keep track of scores manually until the system is repaired.

  20. #100
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    Under 6.0, you simply entered your scores for each skater, just as in IJS.
    I was not nearly as simple as that, because 6.0 was an ordinals based system. That means the scores each judge gives serve only to rank the skaters on that judge's card. So, when you (the judge) scored each program, you also had to think in terms of the numbers you had already given out and the numbers likely to be earned by skaters still to come (bearing in mind you were not allowed to give the same marks to two skaters).

    Say you gave Skater X marks of 5.6-5.7. Then Skater Y does the same jump list, but his jumps were bigger and cleaner or maybe he had better spins, fw and speed, but he was young and his presentation was still not quite as polished. So, you think simple, this guy gets 5.7-5.6. Oops, you meant to place Skater Y ahead of Skater X, so you make it 5.7-5.7. Oops, you already gave Skater T 5.7-5.7, so you have to make it something else. Then think do I want to place Skater Y ahead or behind Skater T. If behind, you maybe mark him 5.8-5.6, if ahead then you need to give Skater Y 5.8-5.7.

    That is why under 6.0 we always heard announcers talking about judges "leaving room" in their marks for skaters yet to come.

    I don't understand what over 40 has to do with it, but I don't think it is a dis on judges' intelligence to say they couldn't keep up with all the math needed to figure out overall points they are giving on the fly. Personally, I have always assumed that was part of the appeal of this system to the ISU. Bearing in mind, this whole system was adopted as a way to address cheating and deal-making judges, so they made it so complicated with so many different scoring bits multiplied and added, hoping the judges would just give up their cheatin' ways and mark the skaters.

    The problem is that the judges are still human. They still owe allegiance to their own federations and (at least some of them) still know they will not get plum assignments if their fed is not pleased with their marks. So, they content themselves with giving their skaters an extra GOE on some elements and an extra .5 or so on some components, while taking off a few points in marking their skater's rivals. Just to make sure they are not caught up in national bias accusations, they also might even nudge a few points off their own #2 or #3 skaters, and maybe give a little extra to the #2 and #3 skaters from the rivals' countries.

    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.
    Last edited by Susan M; 05-26-2013 at 01:48 AM.

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