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Figure skating is dying, and judges can't prop it up

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by Sugar, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. modern_muslimah

    modern_muslimah Thinking of witty user title and coming up blank

    *raises hand* I still get the salchow and the loop mixed up sometimes. I can tell the lutz and flip in slow mo but usually get them mixed up in real time. I've been watching skating since the Nancy/Tonya scandal and I still get the jumps mixed up.

    However, CoP is not very difficult to understand. I can usually tell what level a spin will get, what level footwork will get, etc. Telling the jumps apart and understanding CoP are two different things.
  2. tarotx

    tarotx Well-Known Member

    I think we learn the sport either by being involved in the sport or a lot of us by watching on TV. Since COP the commentators need to not get emotional over things like barely hung on jumps that will be at least dinged as under rotated or maybe even down graded. This is where the audience is really hurting in understanding the sport. We need trained technical caller's commentating. The audience needs to know the likelihood of a skaters actual potential score.

    The audience needs to be educated by the commentators so they can have an informed bases to their need for a general impression of who is actually going to win or lose.

    Yes I know there are a few other problems to be addressed but I think getting the commentators, fans and causal viewer knowledgeable of what is actually happening on the ice is a big step.

    I think the sport or even the broadcast need to use the popularity of smart phones and aps to create a live look into what the judges are actually scoring at the time or at least what trained caller commentators guesstimate skills and levels will be called.
    gkelly and (deleted member) like this.
  3. Prancer

    Prancer Slave to none, master to all Staff Member

    Which they disagreed with all the time. And usually cited the artistic impression/presentation score as the problem, just as we have endless arguments about inflated PCS after every competition.

    When we had 6.0, I didn't see people forgiving it for anything. I saw people complaining endless that the system needed to be fixed.

    Please, someone remind me again of why we got rid of 6.0 when everyone liked it so much.
  4. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

    True, but is it really much different now? What I see is that COP is giving us more tools to pick fights about with the disagreements being just as passionate.

    Maybe the reason why some are romanticizing 6.0 is because we've gone through 9 seasons of COP and those people are deciding they like the 6.0 approach more for a number of reasons.
  5. Mafke

    Mafke Well-Known Member

    I'm not here to defend 6.0 and, again, I've very sympathetic to some of the ideas behind IJS. I think posting protocals is a wonderful wonderful idea for example.

    What I hate about it is the presentation. They dumped the one thing that 6.0 was really good at (providing an immediate emotional connection for most viewers) and replaced it with a single number or two numbers or a bunch of numbers that don't mean anything to the audience. And that's at least because the specific numbers can't be traced to specific judges and things like TEs aren't divided (in any competition I've seen) into the the natural divisions like : Jumps 36.9 Spins 25.6 Footwork 22.8 but a single lump sum. Sometimes PC scores are listed separately but those seem to overlap too much and be entirely too impressionistic to be worth anything.

    That's not even getting started on secret judging - and please tell me no fairytales about it preserving judgng integrity. I'll repeat the ISU's reaction to 2002 was as if the Tour de France reacted to doping scandals by stopping drug tests (or going back to drug tests that can't detect the juice that current riders use or just keeping the results secret and ignoring them). Judging in the sunshine folks, if the light of day hurts the pocess then just close up shop - things aren't worth saving.

    I'm sure that even with the current system the results could be displayed in a way that captures the public imagination and draws them in (as much as 5.7 from the Austrian judge, 5.8 from the Japanese judge etc.)
  6. Asli

    Asli Well-Known Member

    I sure hope the scores vary from competition to competition! :eek:
    As for every judge not giving the exact same score, that is the case also for the marks that you consider "objective", such as the GoE for the jumps. We rarely see a row of straight 1's or straight 2's for any of the elements.

    Not to say that the program components are always used well, but most of these are strictly technical marks, based on objective criteria.

    Have you seen the warm-up of the final group at the Worlds this year? Especially when they are all on ice, the difference between the skaters is glaring. During the performance, you need to be in the arena to really judge the speed, but it is also visible on TV if you are used to looking for it.
  7. Asli

    Asli Well-Known Member

    Several people have raised the issue of the emotional impact of seeing a perfect or near perfect score. Maybe broadcasters should address this issue and show the five PCS on screen. Viewers would know that these scores are over 10.0, so they should have the same emotional impact as the 6.0 scores.

    Also, the scores needed to beat the current 1st, 2nd and 3rd place skaters could be displayed on the screen, before the actual score of the skater. Just like the "time to beat" displayed in skiing.

    However, at the Worlds last week, the audience were screaming their heads off when a high score was shown, even before seeing the placement. So they must understand the score and it must have some emotional impact. :)

    With the current elements, around 110 is a gold-medal contender's score and 100 is a medal contender's score at the Worlds. In general you can simply go to the ISU's site and look at the scores given at the previous competitions of the season. Anyone who doesn't make such a minimal effort can still enjoy watching the skating, but has no right to complain that he can't tell what a good score is.
  8. caseyedwards

    caseyedwards Well-Known Member

    NBC has moved to tell audiences that if you are man and get over 80 that is great! 70 is good and below 60 probably bad. But it can change competition to competition because 95 can win a sp or 85 can.
  9. IceIceBaby

    IceIceBaby Active Member

    It annoys me that people keep on discussing on this topic and giving suggestions to help this situation of our beloved sport and then the ISU does nothing. Do they read message boards? Do they care what is happening?
  10. Seerek

    Seerek Well-Known Member

    What's interesting is that Ashley Wagner was blogging on the espnW site yet the network wasn't actually covering any events (espnW seems to showcase WNBA as its marquee event, with women's college basketball next in importance)
  11. Iceman

    Iceman Well-Known Member

    Those people probably don't read Brennan.
  12. Mathman

    Mathman Active Member

    I think that for any topic you can name, 90% of posts to the Internet about it will be negative, It's just human nature. A person does not rush to the computer and pound furiously away at the keyboard to say, "Oh, I think everything is going along pretty well, No complaints here."

    IMHO the audience that skating has lost is not the people who are into skating enough to post in skating forums. It is people like my mother. Mom never missed a skating program on TV (unless it conflicted with her Lawrence Welk), and she went to live events whenever they came to town. She liked to see the girls in their pretty dresses, the boys leaping nimbly about, and the couples gliding gracefully on the ice. I don't know if she specifically bought the products of companies that sponsored figure skating, but when they made charitable appeals for breast cancer research or UNICEF or the Humane Society she often sent a small check.

    Mom knew two things about skating. A 6.0 was good and a fall was bad.

    How times change. ;)
  13. Bosha

    Bosha Active Member

    Writing from the US, I think that skating's popularity here has been hurt by the failure of a new Kwan or Cohen to emerge. US skating coverage really does focus on the top 1, 2 or 3 ladies, and when they do well, skating does well. Unfortunately, the US ladies have had a drought in the medals at Worlds and Olympics since 2006. The current crop of ladies is very good, in my estimation, but none of them have won World or Olympic medals yet. There may be a good rivalry between Ashley and Gracie developing, and if either of them should start winning Worlds, I expect that interest in skating here in the US will improve. We must have a queen or at least a princess to rule skating here. Of course as far as I'm concerned, Charlie White may rule for as long as he likes. ;)

    I'm also looking forward to seeing programs in all disciplines using vocal music starting in the 2014-2015 season. The vocals have been very popular in ice dance, and they may prove popular in pairs and singles, too, so long as vocals don't mean doing the operatic version of Carmen rather than one of the instrumental arrangements.
  14. modern_muslimah

    modern_muslimah Thinking of witty user title and coming up blank

    I admit that I like a lot of things about CoP but in some ways this system has probably isolated some casual fans. I went with a friend to the Ladies Finals of US Nationals a few years back. She's definitely a casual fan who doesn't go looking for internet feeds or post on forums like this. She saw that the competition was in town and she wanted to go (just like your mom). When she went, she was rather disappointed. She asked why so many spins looked similar now and why so many skaters were doing other similar moves. She also thought that a lot of the moves being done by the ladies didn't look nice. She was especially disappointed that seemingly clean performances (ones with URs, etc.) were getting beat by messier ones (this was the year that Czisny won her first US title). I knew why Czisny won and how the results came about but for my friend, the competition didn't make a lot of sense.

    Again, I like CoP but I think gkelly is right that there needs to be a scoring system that is good for skaters but also doesn't alienate fans. I love that skaters can get rewarded for doing great spins or wonderful footwork now. However, as the system is right now, the parts are greater than sum. Good for skaters and die hards like us. Not good for fans like Mathman's mom or my friend. Die hard fans are great but if we can, we should try to keep the interest of those casual fans too.
  15. giselle23

    giselle23 Well-Known Member

    The point is not love for the 6.0 system. What needed fixing was the judging. Instead of addressing corrupt judging, the whole system was thrown out in favor of a system that still doesn't address the judging problem. It just makes the results more difficult to understand and cheating more difficult to uncover. There is nothing in the new system to stop judges from colluding to give high or low GOE's or, especially, high or low component scores. In fact, the judges are now anonymous, so only Speedy and his minions would be able to ferret out cheating, if it occurred. I suppose that is the way they want it...
  16. Prancer

    Prancer Slave to none, master to all Staff Member

    I just don't understand how one arbitrary number that doesn't mean anything is more emotionally satisfying or inspiring than another. A 5.7 means nothing; it can, depending on the judging, mean exactly the same thing as a 5.8 or a 5.3 or any other number. What is it that you find so appealing about those numbers?

    What should they do?

    Do people actually expect the ISU to change their system to make the casual fans happy on the off chance that they will suddenly drop everything else they've been doing all this time to return to skating?

    You know, I remember being at competitions where people booed the judges for placing skaters who had messy performances over skaters who had seemingly clean ones under 6.0 as well. We all do. It happened all the time. That's not an IJS problem; that's an inherent issue with a complex judged sport.

    Now the boring programs? That makes sense to me. The criteria pretty much demands that skaters all aim for the same things. So many programs are similar. And that won't change much under IJS.

    But that has nothing to do with this fondness for factored placements.

    What exactly was the attendance at Worlds?
  17. demetriosj

    demetriosj Well-Known Member

    Yah, the knee-whack heard round the world was really classy stuff!
  18. demetriosj

    demetriosj Well-Known Member

    Oh, yah, that's a great thing for kids to emulate....Good advice! No wonder our country is going to hell in a hand basket.................
  19. demetriosj

    demetriosj Well-Known Member

    Idiotic knee-jerk reaction to cheating judges.............
  20. Mafke

    Mafke Well-Known Member

    It wasn't one 5.7 divorced of context (see you're so brainwashed by IJS you're used to numbers divorced from context). It was a row of scores that could be traced to judges (and debated)

    You can argue that 6.0 wasn't very exact and I'll agree, but as someone said it drew audiences in while IJS scores mostly keep them at arms distance unless they want to pour over protocals (again posting protocals is a wonderful thing, I just don't like the secrecy. It's almost as if judges were ashamed to be associated with their scores. If I were a judge I would insist on my scores being public and standing behind them.
  21. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    For me it would be ideal if the judges were not anonymous, the columns on the protocols not scrambled. Heck, they could even put flags above each column of numbers to help remember who's who without flipping back to the cover page that lists the judges' names (in order!).

    But there's too much information in the protocols to announce in the arena during the event (Kiss&Cry time).

    What is most useful to see and hear during that quick announcement when we learn the current standings and anticipate the start of the next skater's program?
  22. Nomad

    Nomad Celebrity cheese-monger

    How exactly did 6.0 "draw people in"? It was the only scoring system most people knew, but I don't see how that drew people in. I never liked it, and quite a few fans I knew didn't like it, either, for reasons already discussed at length.
  23. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

    People keep repeating over and over and over that 6.0 was favored by fans and that its replacement has caused a decline in interest in figure skating (in the US, though usually not stated so). But no one has presented any actual data or evidence to back up this assertion.

    Its basically people projecting their own views onto the public as far as I can see. Prancer presented some anecdotal evidence against it, but it seems more to be a matter of faith on the part of those who dislike the current judging system that the change of judging systems is responsible for the decline in interest in figure skating. It could be the factor or a factor, but just arguing why one thinks it is the factor does not show any actual evidence that it is.

    This is actually bugging me a lot. There are problems with the current judging system; people particularly perceived a problem with a result at 2013 Worlds. From those realities people jump to the conclusion that the replacement of 6.0 with IJS caused the decline in figure skating interest in the U.S. That simply isn't a valid argument.

    Just to be clear I am not arguing that what is being claimed is not the case, I am arguing that no evidence has been presented that to show that it is the case.
  24. OliviaPug

    OliviaPug Well-Known Member

    But what would be far more interesting and telling is finding out what these same folks think of the IJS. People like to complain ... about anything and everything. There are plenty of complaints on boards about COP. I think there would be a lot of "Be careful what you wish for" if these same folks were questioned about the state of figure skating and judging today.

    Fans are never happy, so it seems. That's part of watching sport. No bitching = not sport.

  25. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

    I guess I don't know why 6.0 has to be part of the discussion. Let it go. It isn't coming back. The discussion needs to be how to reform this system to help the sport stop hemorrhaging fans and make results more comprehensible to everyone. And "education" is not the answer any more than "bring back 6.0" is. On top of those two issues, the ISU needs to be having the discussion with its skaters and coaches, not us.
  26. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    If the goal is to attract fans, they need to listen to fans. But those of us here are already attracted. They'd need to do market research with casual fans, former casual fans, members of the general public especially those in demographic groups most likely to be attracted.

    If the goal is to create a better and fairer sport for the athletes, they need to listen to the skaters and coaches.

    Ultimately, if the desires of the two groups conflict, I think those of the skaters and coaches should take precedence.

    And if the sport needs money from broadcast rights, ticket sales, and sponsorships to support what the skaters need, then the ISU would need to find ways to give both groups what they want. Which might mean two (or more) different kinds of elite events.
  27. kathy sullivan

    kathy sullivan Well-Known Member

    Well if you're looking for statistical evidence and group data - don't know how we would ever get that. But you have many individuals on this board who are much more than casual skating fans - ie, post on skating boards, watched on TV and followed skaters FOR YEARS and even attended competitions and events saying they essentially stopped watching as much, and lost interest in watching, mostly because of the redundant regimented programs that have been the rule since the initiation of IJS. That is a least some pretty convincing evidence that IJS has contributed to a decline in the interest of - at a minimum - many ardent fans who absolutely loved figure skating before
  28. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

    This board has grown vastly since IJS was adopted. I don't think you can say that's because of IJS but it doesn't show any decline here. We've seen a few people say they aren't watching anymore but I'd guess most people who post here are still watching.

    Its likely true there isn't any systematic data available but that doesn't alleviate people making claims of needing to provide it. If you can't provide data, then you are speculating which is fine but I think a lot of people think there is a factual basis for the claim that figure skating has declined because of IJS. None has been shown and there are other arguments that can be made, first and foremost that IJS failed to save figure skating which had already been irreparably undermined by scandals under 6.0. How do you know which it is? Did the decline happen only because of IJS, or were scandals like SLC responsible for undermining any credibility for the sport and IJS failed to restore the credibility? How do we know?
  29. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

    I don't think it's even so much that, though the ability to link marks to judges helped (even helped people who liked to argue and claim 'wuzrobbed.') But whether it's a 10 or a 6.0 or whatever maximum possible value is assigned, there was an easy, obvious standard of perfection. Take T&D's Bolero--the INSTANT those marks came up, everyone knew the score was perfect. They didn't have to sit there and do math, or try to remember what the highest previous score ever given was, everyone watching just knew. Viewers of something like skating (that isn't a timed sport, or adversarial like football et al) like knowing what perfect or at least the best possible score is.