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Hypothetical alternative structures and qualifying processes for Worlds

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by gkelly, Jun 14, 2012.

  1. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    In the ISU thread, RUKen wrote:

    How could Worlds and the process of qualifying be structured to accomplish this goal and also to give all federations and all sufficiently skilled skaters a fair chance at participating in the international skating season and at qualifying for Worlds according to their ability?

    I can think of a couple of different ways that might be significant departures from how the Worlds and the skating season as a whole have been structured in the past. I'll just mention some now:

    1) Direct entries to Worlds for all reigning medalists from last year's Worlds, most recent Olympics, this year's Euros/4Cs, this year's GPF. That's a maximum of 15, minimum of 6 direct entries per discipline. All federations are entitled to enter 1 skater (or 1 additional skater if they have any direct entries) in preliminary rounds at Worlds. Top finishers in the prelims advance to short program -- however many needed to make up a maximum of 30 in the short? Or 20 or 24 advance no matter what and the total number in the short will vary depending on the number of direct entries.

    2) Open entries in a full season of many large early-season events around the world, on the basis of which the top skaters earn entry to semifinal qualifiers (Euros/4Cs?), from which the top 30 qualify to World Championships

    3) Open qualifying at Worlds, hundreds maybe thousands enter the qualifying rounds in an tournament elimination structure, top 30 or so advance to a final

    I can expand later when I have time. Meanwhile, feel free to share your own thoughts.
  2. RUKen

    RUKen Guest

    Thank you, GKelly, for starting a new thread using my opinions as a springboard and offering thoughtful ideas. I was a bit worried, at first, when I saw that you were moving this discussion to the "trash can"!

    I think that any of your ideas would be an improvement, but #3 is probably not feasible for the hosts of Worlds. I suggest a modification of #2, in which a minimum score achieved at any GP event, Euros, or 4CCs qualifies a skater to Worlds in addition to at least one skater per federation, provided that each skater has achieved the minimum score at some ISU event (including Bs).
  3. barbk

    barbk Well-Known Member

    Would you let Japan send 32 skaters in singles?

    I'm not sure how these systems would work unless you relaxed the number of competitors limit per discipline per country. Four? Five? Six?
  4. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    So would there be two different minimum scores?

    E.g., any lady who earns a total combined score (SP Total Segment Score + FS TSS) of, say, 170 or greater at any international event earlier in the season is guaranteed entry to the Worlds short program?

    For everyone else, as long as they have a short program Technical Element Score of at least 15 and a long program TES of at least 25, not necessarily at the same event and regardless of component scores or deductions, they are eligible to enter the qualifying round by their federation, which automatically has 1 and possibly 2 qualifying round slots?

    I like my suggestion 1) best. It doesn't put an absolute cap on the number of skaters from a given country.

    In theory, a strong country could have swept the podium at the last Olympics and at last year's Worlds and at this year's GPF and applicable continental championship with three different skaters in each of those events, which would give a maximum of 12 prequalified skaters from that country plus one qual round entry for an absolute maximum of 13.

    In practice, no country is going to be that dominant with 12 different skaters who have consistently beaten everyone else in the world, and 1 more who gets through the qual round. Some of the same skaters will have appeared on 2 or 3 or all 4 of those previous podiums. And at least one other country is likely to have earned a few medals as well. So maybe in a particular strong year for Japanese (or Russian or American) ladies there might be 5 prequalifiers plus 1 qual round entry.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2012
  5. maatTheViking

    maatTheViking Danish Ice Dance! Go Laurence & Nikolaj!

    How about modeling a bit on something like Ice Hockey? in hockey, there is an 'A' and a 'B' world championship. The top finishers from B gets to go to the A championships next year, the last ones in A gets to go to B.

    Maybe every nation can send 1 skater to B, unless they have skaters in A.
    The top 5 nations in B gets an entry to A next year.

    To A, all skaters with a certain qualifying score in an ISU competition this year, + last years Euro, 4CC, worlds and olympic top 5.

    the lowest placed 5 nations gets to send their skaters to B, unless a skater from their country otherwise qualifies for A.

    Of course, the issue with this who wants to host the B championship, who will be watch it - all the powerful nations with many skating fans would arguable end up in A in all or their most powerful/popular skaters.

    I kind of like the idea of having Euros/4CC be semifinals - and the structure in general similar to sectionals/regionals/nationals.
  6. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

    I've wondered for a long time, if there's shouldn't be some kind of test that skaters MUST pass before they can compete at the world level, establishing a minimum standard perhaps based on previous years' competitions. If a country's top skaters can't meet the standard then do they really belong at a World Championship level?
  7. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    What would the test consist of? Who administers it and makes sure the skaters have passed?

    That's kind of what the minimum scores are meant to achieve. Do those scores need to be higher? More specific?
  8. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    Currently, federations, particularly the strong ones, use 4C's and Euros to spread the wealth to give more skaters a SB that can qualify the skater for the following year's GP or, less frequently, as an internal qualifier for Olympics and/or Worlds. It's very possible that having the opportunity to have more skaters at Worlds would remove any objection to a system where individual results determine spots.

    Although I think it would be interesting to allow the top X skaters to qualify to Worlds regardless of the country's results at prior year's Worlds, I don't think Federations would accept spots being earned individually in international competition, as it diminishes the value of their national championships and takes away their ability to send who they want to Worlds based on their internal criteria, politiks, etc. and puts it in the hands of the international judges. They would have to take the radical step, like Russia did for Sokolova and Canada did for Sandhu, to "retire" them by not submitting their names for GP, even though they were guaranteed spots, or for skaters without guaranteed spots, to lobby against host nations choosing them.

    Using Euros and 4C's as any kind of qualifier should mean having spots for 4C's and Euros determined by the same criteria: either every nation can send three for each discipline, or spots should be determined by the prior year's results. I'm not sure if TPE or HKG or PHI care if they can send more than one, but the number of smaller nations who'd be voting have some cards to play for their votes, unless, of course, the ISU Council rams through a change without a vote.

    In general, if there is a qualifier, and especially if the qualifier is a SP, I believe, and have posted before, that I think the SP is about required elements, which should be compulsory and failed -- for jumps, those called as lower revolutions and falls -- and not completed/skipped elements should receive zero score. I also think that besides a minimum score, that every skater who appears at Worlds have already completed each of the required elements at least once in international competition -- not necessarily the same competition -- prior to entering Worlds. If a skater cannot do a 3/2 combination and/or a solo triple, the usual suspects, I think that skater should compete in juniors or Senior B's through Euros/4C's until s/he does. A skater competing at Jr. Worlds is getting a very good taste of top-notch competition.
  9. RUKen

    RUKen Guest

    Agreed--the limit on the number of competitors per discipline per federation would have to be eliminated (not just relaxed). If 36 Japanese skaters meet the qualifications, then yes I would let them all compete. The same for Russians and Americans--why force them to align with a former Soviet Republic or the land of their ancestors where they may have never set foot?
  10. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    What are "the qualifications"? Having proven to be the best 36 skaters in the world (or 36 of the best 48 or whatever)? Possible, but highly unlikely. And already more skaters than we want in the final round.

    But if there's a minimum standard and 36 Japanese skaters and 30 American skaters and 20 Russian skaters all meet it, as well as say 3 Finns and 2 Swedes and 1 French and 2 Canadians and 1 Korean and etc. etc., then we're back where we started -- too many skaters for one event, so there will need to be eliminations somehow.

    If there are 36 Japanese skaters who are all better than the very best non-Japanese skater in the world, but only 24 spots in the final, then 12 of those Japanese skaters are going to get eliminated along with everyone else in the world.

    Should the eliminations happen through earlier-season international events? Through a preliminary round at the Worlds venue?
  11. RUKen

    RUKen Guest

    There is a limiting factor--the number of skaters who have been sent to an ISU competition (to get a qualifying score) in the season leading up to the World Championships. I don't know what that number is, but I am doubtful that it is 36, if only the senior events are counted. Does anyone reading this thread know how many skaters are sent by the US, Japan, and Russia to all ISU senior comps in a year?

    I realize that there is some maximum number of skaters that could be handled at any event; I just think that the current means of holding down that number (1 skater from most federations, 2 or 3 from the others) does not produce the ideal "world championship". If there were ever a decision by the ISU to invite the top skaters regardless of affiliation to the World Championships, and they had to limit it to 24 or 36 or 48 skaters per discipline, I wouldn't quibble too much about the means of determining the cut-off. (Well, I probably would, because that's what we do here, but I would be a more satisfied quibbler than I am now.)
  12. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    For example, there are 128 ladies currently listed in the Seasons World Ranking page for 2011-12. This includes results from junior as well as senior competitions.

    Of those 128 skaters, 16 represented Japan, 17 USA, 15 Russia.

    In the top 30, 6 were from Japan, 5 from USA, 7 from Russia.

    Those countries might have even more skaters who are good enough to have been sent out, but not to finish in the top 30.

    Theoretically a ranking such as this could be used to determine who gets to compete at Worlds. Of course, there would need to be a better method of assigning the rankings, so that purely junior skaters wouldn't be included in the senior rankings and so that participating in senior B events plus decent GP results wouldn't count for more than no senior Bs plus better GP results.

    The numbers of skaters from the top countries that would qualify by world ranking is probably not much different from what my direct entries for medalists proposal would achieve if federations strategized their Euros/4Cs entries to try to gain more spots. The specific skaters might vary slightly.

    The question is whether, of the skaters who are approximately 30th best, the cutoff should be made by looking at rankings across the whole season, or based on how they skate directly against (some of) each other at some interim international qualifier(s) during the winter or during the week of the championships.
  13. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    Since except for the Senior B Olympic qualifier and the Youth Olympics, only ISU comps are on the SB list, it's a pretty good indicator of how many each country might send. I did quick counts and might be +/- 1.

    For example, in Ladies:

    • Four senior Ladies (Asada, Suzuki, Murakami, Imai, Ishikawa) who earned their SB at a senior ISU event, plus the returning Ando. Ishikawa was way down the SB list at 78, and wouldn't be considered among the best.
    • Assuming that all of the juniors earned the championship TES minimum, 10 Juniors, none of whom competed at the senior level.

    • Eight seniors in the top 75 SB (Wagner, Czisny, Zhang, Nagasu, Zawadzki, Gao, Flatt, Forte) plus Gold turning senior, and presumably she'd earn it through Fall competition and/or 4C's. Forte is 51 on the SB list.
    • Eight juniors in the top 75.

    • Six seniors (Leonova, Tuktamysheva, Sotnikova, Biryukova, Korobeynikova, Makarova) and two (Lipnitskaia and Shelepen) going Senior this year, in the same boat as Gold.
    • Three juniors in the top 75

    That's a total of 22 from the three strongest single Ladies nations, including some skaters above 30 in the SB list. Only RUS has all of its senior and turning-senior skaters in the to 24 SB.

    I'm sure the strategy would change and the host lobbying would get crazy to get as many skaters into GP with one to try to achieve whatever the minimum is to qualify for Worlds, but I don't see 30+ from one nation anytime soon.
  14. essence_of_soy

    essence_of_soy Well-Known Member

    It's an interesting concept, like a Grand Slam tennis event where the best are sent on accumulated points and SB scores alone.
  15. skatefan

    skatefan home in England

    How about considering actual technical content rather than a minimum score, eg the skater must have a ratified 2A from an IJS event with a formal technical panel to be entered into the short programme?
  16. b-man

    b-man Well-Known Member

    I would like some formula based on direct entries from seasons best scores. I don't like direct entries based on previous world's results alone, or on world rankings which are based too much on senior B's. I would like either everyone with a top 25 SB guaranteed an entry, or the country limit raised from 3 to 5 for those with a top 25 SB. More details would need to be worked out, but either formula would result in a much more interesting Worlds. This would not add too many additional skaters and I would like the total entries increased to accomadate this addition.
  17. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

    This is sort of what I was thinking of: a demonstration of minimum world-level skill. It wouldn't take a lot of study to review the protocols from the last couple championships and see what the median level of diffiuclty was. And then require that skaters entering the World Championships have demonstrated that level somewhere, either through competition or testing. They could even submit a video of the skater performing the required elements.

    I'd just like to see there be SOME standard of skating skill, not just being the "best" in your country.
  18. essence_of_soy

    essence_of_soy Well-Known Member

    Setting a minimum short program content standard (meaning meeting the minimum jump elements required, 2 different triples and a double axel that skaters have actually landed and had ratified in qualifying national or international competitions prior to the event) would be a great start.

    Make a world championships feel special like a world championships.

    Otherwise, you're going to see tremendous drop - off in skills after 24th place.

    I have been in intense discussion with several posters in the National Testing Requirements around the World thread regarding sending skaters to international events that don't meet the above jump requirements.

    My argument is that they are only going to be set up for disappointment instead of serious competition unless these skaters are event ready. Their argument is that everyone is entitled to have a go and it isn't about winning medals, but satisfying their own goals.

    I remember attending Worlds in 2006 and in the qualifying rounds especially, the last two ranked groups of ladies could barely land anything above a shaky double flip.

    In future, if it is about everyone having a go, perhaps Europeans and Four Continents should be treated ultimately as the qualifying rounds (where all nations are still participating and gaining experience), and Worlds can be like a Grand Slam final.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2012
  19. margiemo

    margiemo New Member

    Skaters have to start somewhere for exposure.Look how far the Chinese have come in pairs.I believe the teams late 70's early 80's looked at videos and the rulebook.The smaller federations get little exposure to big competitions.
  20. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    The first generation Chinese Pairs coaches watched Soviet Pairs videos for instruction, which is why I've always been amazed that they seem to have missed the posture, control, and unison of those pairs. The men, for example, were trained to have that outrageous kick when they throw their partners, and they didn't pick that up from Soviet Pairs teams.
  21. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    No, but it sure allowed them to throw that girl a loooong way :D

    Skaters can start in junior comps, and senior B's, and 4CC and Euros to get exposure. Then if they have the money, the support, the drive and the talent they'll make it to senior worlds. Like Yuna. They don't need to start out at senior worlds. There's lots of other places to get competition experience. If they're not good enough, or are but don't have the means, or whatever, to get to be good enough to compete at senior worlds so be it. Many a skater has fallen along the wayside due to lack of talent or lack of funding or lack of the right kind of personality but they shouldn't be competing at the highest level and most important competition of the season just because. They should be good enough skaters to deserve to be there.

    I like the idea of proof of being able to meet SP tech criteria minimum standard - 2 triples and 2A.

    Also like the idea of using SB scores to determine who will compete. I want to see a competition of the best skaters, even if none of them are from Canada, and seven are from Russia, and 6 from Japan.
  22. sk8erluv88

    sk8erluv88 New Member

    that makes sense but at the same time...sometimes skaters from smaller countries aren't even exposed to what a higher level of skating is. going to a competition like worlds is an eye opener and allows them a chance to see what else is going on in the sport outside of their country. no, you do not get this same exposure at a four continents or europeans because they are just that, they're restricted to either competitors from the four continents or european nations, it's not the same as the world scene.
  23. gingercat

    gingercat Active Member

    Excuses don't cut it. Skaters watch Youtube ALL the time to learn. If they are trying to do Senior and do not have an idea of what a Senior program should be like that is VERY sad. There is so much video and information for them to learn from. You can Google anything - try it! Google Triple Flip, Triple Toe... You too can watch and learn. You can watch programs from any time period. If you are really trying to be a Senior skater there is TONS of info to see and understand right on your computer.
  24. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    And following on from what gongercat said, 4CC and Euros is plenty enough exposure until you can prove you're a good enough skater to make it to the top competition.

    I've just been watching ladies SP's from worlds, and although I thoroughly enjoyed Clara Peters (what a sweetie!), and really thought Min-Jeung Kwak was robbed (beautiful skate - yeah, I know, too many UR's), I would happily give this up to see the really best skaters in the world go head to head.