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Rules to help skating's popularity?

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

  1. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    Well if Sarah were really that far behind on points after the short, we wouldn't expect her to pull up to a medal unless we want what the skaters actually do during the short program to be irrelevant to their final results.

    However, if the scores were
    Kwan 60
    Skutskaya 59
    Cohen 58
    Hughes 56

    then she could easily win just by skating clearly the best, regardless of what order the other skaters finish in.

    With these particular skaters, we also have to consider how heavily the system penalizes things like underrotation and wrong-edge takeoffs, which would make a big difference in how far real-life 2002 Sarah Hughes might have been behind in the short program and how far she could have outscored the other medal contenders in the long.

    As a hypothetical example, if we're talking about four or five "clean" short programs with comparable tech content, then we would expect the SP totals to be close together, differentiated primarily by which skaters had the most strengths in basic skating, presentation, and positive grades of execution.

    But if we're talking about three skaters who all skated well, and the next best skater and everyone below either completely bombed and/or were in a completely different league on quality and difficulty, then we would expect the top three to stay ahead of the pack and fight it out for the medals among themselves.
    TheIronLady and (deleted member) like this.
  2. mag

    mag Well-Known Member

    Talk about choosing data to make a point ;)
    With COP, you can be in 7th after the short and still win, or not. There is a lot more movement possibility in general with COP than with 6.0.

    As for training fans, I think they did an excellent job at Worlds. There were dozens of short segments shown on the jumbotron before and during the competition. They explained the scoring, GOE's, under rotations, downgrades, spin levels, PCS, and more. I think one of the biggest problems is that watching skating on TV or a computer is completely different than watching it live. To the point where you really can't compare what you see through live streaming to what the judges score. IMHO, often what looks the best on TV doesn't really look that good live. That is not to say that every mark and every score is perfectly done. I do think that the judges and technical people do need to be identified by name and country affiliation. I think that the protocols should indicate which elements were reviewed by the tech panel and what the outcome was, ie. was it unanimous or did the controller have to break a tie. Finally, while I don't think all falls are equal, I do think that a fall should be an automatic -3 GOE across the board. In fact, the tech panel should enter the fall and the computer should be programmed to automatically enter the -3 so there aren't and data entry mistakes made by judges.
  3. Iceman

    Iceman Well-Known Member

    If there is a difference of less than, say 1.5 points, between the scores of the medal contenders, the skater with the least number of falls triumps. This addresses the probability of random error somewhat. If they have the same number of falls, then the skater with the highest tes receives the higher medal.
    Tied scores is already addressed in the rules.

    There was one year when the skaters in the GP (the final I guess) had to skate two long programs. I would say do that and drop the short program. In stead of adding the the scores together though, the average or median of the two scores would be used to determine ranking. A second long program would not inordinately add to the length of the competition.
  4. Mathman

    Mathman Active Member

  5. Iceman

    Iceman Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the clarification, Math. Do you remember what year it was that two longs were required? I just remember Irina and Michelle dukeing it out.
  6. Mathman

    Mathman Active Member

    ^ It was the 2000 Grand Prix Final. There was a short program and a long program and then first and second had a skate-off (another long program) for first, third and fourth had a skate-off for the bronze medal, and , and fifth and sixth had a skate-off for fifth.

    Irina beat Michelle in all three segments. Michelle did the Red Violin as her first LP, then reprised the previous year's Ariane in the skate-off. This format did not go over well, and the ISU never used it again.

    Personally, I am fine with the SP and LP format. If anything, I would rather have two short programs and no long -- four minutes taxes my attention span :) )

    IMHO, one of the strengths of 6.0 was that the skaters knew going in that if they wanted to win they had to skate two strong programs. Once in a while something unusual would occur, but by and large the deal was, top three in the short then win the long = gold medal.
  7. Domshabfan

    Domshabfan A proud P/C fan

    I think ISU should fix the judging system. They also should stop redefining things, ISU seems call somethings an Elephant and when you go into details provided it sounds more like an ant. So, Performance/Execution should mean performance and execution of the routine and not something else. A fall is hugely disruptive and should be deducted from this score. When after 2 falls and a near fall on another an athlete scores 9.00 for P/E from a judges, then the whole scoring system reputation is compromised.

    Falls should be penalised more in general, I was reading somewhere of relative deduction for a fall in FS. At present an athlete loses a point for a fall. If it happens on jump an addition 2.1 to 3 points are taken out (assuming a fall happens on a triple or a quad). So for a men's program where an athlete could score say 160 points, the maximum deduction in program for a fall is 4/160 roughly 2.5%. I think this is way too low. More fall there are in the program more disruptive they are, so they variant a larger deductions. I think first falls should get a 2 point deduction, 2nd fall an additional 3 point deduction (so a total of 5 point deductions for 2 falls), 3rd a 4 point additional deduction and so on...

    A fall should also incur deductions in all the components to a varying degree. P/E should suffer the most, in between a 0.75 - 1.00 automatic deduction per fall. Interpretation and S/S should also suffer 0.5 point deduction per fall . A fall is not a great choreography nor is a beautiful transition they both should also bring in deductions for a fall.

    I understand that ISU may have to increase the value of jumps a little with these rules, so that athletes actually take risks. However they really do need to do something about the rules.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2013
  8. ltnskater

    ltnskater Active Member

    I actually kind of like this idea, accumulating deductions for # of falls. Under the current system, perhaps not so harsh and start with the first fall getting 1 point deduction, then the 2nd fall getting 2, and the 3rd getting 3.
  9. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

    I've often wondered why skating doesn't award individual event medals and an all around medal the way other sports do. It might make the sport more understandable if the skaters who have the best skate in either the long or the short get the event medals, and then the skaters who accrue the most points overall get the overall medal.

    I know there is a non-public "small" medal ceremony, but that is not the same for either the skaters or the fans.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2013
  10. Sylvia

    Sylvia Prepping for club comp. season!

    Re-posting from the 2013 Worlds videos thread in Kiss and Cry...

    Free program small medals public ceremony videos:
    Pairs (full ceremony)
    Men (full ceremony)
    Dance (comments by the medalists plus fun moments with a late arriving Soloviev!)
    Ladies (brief comments by the 3 medalists)

    (If anyone finds longer videos for dance and ladies, please post the links.)

    ETA: Found a ladies video with Korean subtitles: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EZ9vuwW1Bk
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2013
  11. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

    Well there you go. I didn't know they did a public ceremony for the individual event winner. I've also never heard an individual event medalist referred to as an Olympic or World medalist. When Ten's placement came up on the scoreboard it didn't show his long program placement (1), but only his overall placement (2) as if that was the only placement that matters, which is pretty much the case in skating.
  12. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    There were three years of the three-program Grand Prix Final.

    In 1999-2000, after the short program and first long program, the 5th and (for singles) 6th place finishers were eliminated. The 3rd and 4th place finishers skated against each other for bronze. The 1st and 2nd place finishers skated against each other for gold and silver.

    2000-2001 was as you describe -- three rounds with all. The 5th and 6th place finishers (now 6 qualified in all disciplines including pairs and dance) were not eliminated and got to skate the third program they had prepared against each other, although they were not in medal contention.

    In 2001-2002 all six finalists in each discipline skated against each other for all three rounds.

    In the ladies' event, the factored placements were:

    1 Irina Slutskaya Russia 2.0 1 1 1
    2 Michelle Kwan United States 4.4 3 2 2
    3 Sarah Hughes United States 6.4 4 3 3
    4 Maria Butyrskaya Russia 7.2 2 4 4
    5 Yoshie Onda Japan 11.0 6 6 5
    6 Tatiana Malinina Uzbekistan 11.0 5 5 6

    I think the factors were 0.4 for the short, 0.6 for the first freeskate, and 1.0 for the final freeskate.

    (Slutskaya made more mistakes than Kwan in the final freeskate, leading many fans to argue that Kwan should have placed ahead in that program. Hughes had the cleanest final freeskate so there were also arguments that she should have won that round.

    Yes, programs with several visible errors did sometimes beat cleaner programs under 6.0.)
  13. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    Okay I have an idea. Elements should only get value for the amount of time it takes to do them, ie the percentage of program time.

    As jumps only take .08 of a second they shouldn't be worth much because they hardly take any time to do. Although you would probably need to take into account the entry and landing. Although do telegraphed jumps get more value because they mean more of the program percentage is related to jumps?
    As step sequences take the longest to do out of all the elements they should be worth the most.
    The longer a spin the more value it is worth.

    Everything else in between are the PCS.
  14. Iceman

    Iceman Well-Known Member

    The Gp with two lp's was the one where Michelle's first lp was the "Black Swan" and her second lp was "the Miraculous Mandarin", which was skated below her usual standards. The latter could have been another masterpiece for her imo, but she never skated again.

    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013
  15. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    Again, there were THREE Grand Prix Finals with two long programs: 1999-2000, 2000-2001, and 2001-2002.
  16. Jun Y

    Jun Y Well-Known Member

    Figure skating is a sport with inherent contradictions, unlike, say, track and field. I am not convinced that it is possible to create a set of rules or circumstances to keep all parties happy: casual fans, long-time fans, judges, skaters, coaches, skating parents, ISU and federations, etc. To satisfy one group would necessarily lose some others. That's just the nature of the sport.

    So the question is, who are the most important group in the survival and viability of figure skating as a sport that should be satisfied FIRST? I think it is the skaters. Without the thousands and thousands of skaters who spend their (parents'?) money and time and sweat and tears on ice must have the most important and loudest voice. Without them there will be no judges, no audience, no ISU. I have no idea whether skaters are happy with the current rules and, if not, what they want to change to make them happier. I don't mean that we should do away with things like penalties for underrotated jumps, because I don't believe skaters who can fully rotate jumps want to see those who cannot be rewarded.

    Of course, here you run into conflicts among skaters. Some love skating skills or spins more than jumps. Others want to be rewarded for being a great jumper. Still others love to express themselves. However, I am fairly convinced that the vast majority of skaters, if they are given the opportunity to think about what is good for the sport --- not whether "I will win OGM next year" --- would come up with reasonable requests. I also think (haven't asked any skater) that they want a set of rules that reward good skating, good techniques, FAIRLY AND CONSISTENTLY APPLIED. Perhaps we should ask retired skaters to think about this objectively and average their answers, which, I bet, would be good for the sport.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013
    gkelly and (deleted member) like this.
  17. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    Yes, I agree that it would be best to get as close a consensus as possible among current and former skaters (including those now working/volunteering as coaches and choreographers, judges and other officials, commentators, performing pros, etc.).

    And after there's agreement on what the goals of the rules and scoring procedures should be, then the challenge is to figure out the best processes to achieve those goals.
  18. patinage

    patinage Member

    I like this idea. The more falls, the bigger bite gets taken out of the score. Though I would feel really bad for those who fall 4 or 5 times.

    I would like to see 6 elements in the SP and 12 in the FS for men, ladies and pairs.

    Singles SP: 3 jump elements, 2 spins, 1 step sequence
    Pairs SP: same elements as previously, minus the death spiral

    Singles FS: Men do the same number of jumps as ladies. Why? So that men are encouraged to perform quads, and still be able to skate cleanish programs. Too much is required of the men these days. I think that is what is harming the men's event in particular.

    Fewer elements would also allow more room for the performance aspect, which many think is lacking under IJS (I'm not one of them).
  19. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    That could also work.

    I think if the total number of jump slots is reduced, we'll end up seeing more men who leave out at least one of the basic jump takeoffs.

    There are always tradeoffs.
  20. Tony Wheeler

    Tony Wheeler Well-Known Member

    Four ;) 2002-2003 also had the two-free skate system.
    gkelly and (deleted member) like this.
  21. Spun Silver

    Spun Silver Well-Known Member

    What can be done about what has happened to spins? Between the repetitive way they are used from program to program and the hideous piling on of variations until the skater looks like a golf ball slowly, eeh-eeh-eeh-UGH squeaking away from the hole, I can't believe they are doing anything but contributing to the sport's decline. Spins (like everything else in skating IMO) should convey a sense of exuberant, breathtaking freedom. Anything that encrusts them and slows them down is bad. Remember when speed was good?
  22. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

    *imaginary like button*

    Recently in pro Latin dancing, a lot of events, including Worlds, have added a requirement that in a particular dance, usually Rumba, the dancers have to do certain basic figures, the kind of stuff you'd see at low-level syllabus but which are the foundation of learning the dance. They're judged in part on who executes those figures best. It's a response to some of the dances getting so far into tricks and showmanship they weren't looking like the dances. I would love to see something like this required for spins--yes, it's impressive someone can do four different positions in a single (painfully slow, awkward-looking) spin or that girls are getting increasingly triple-jointed to try and do as many (weird, somewhat disturbing) bendy positions as they can, but why not require that one spin be a single position (offer a choice between basic ones with no variations allowed--sit, camel, layback in their basic positions--to avoid point-racking with Beilmans, catchfoots, butt-in-the-air, etc) and judge it purely on position, speed, and centeredness.
  23. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

    I would like to see the short program have required elements- you must do a triple loop, you must do a basic camel with 8+ revolutions, etc. Then the free program can be slightly more free in comparision. I do think the choreo step sequence was a good move.

    Otherwise, what is the point of two programs? They are essentially the same thing. One just requires more stamina.

    I personally find most free skates boring- they are just way too long for my attention span. I love watching short programs, even of low ranked skaters.
  24. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    Well, maybe everything else in freeskating. Precise tracing was more important than freedom when it came to school figures. But even there executing them with speed and ease was a plus.

    I would guess that the average speed of all spin revolutions in a 2013 program is higher than the average speed of all spins in a 2003 or 1993 program. It's not as if, e.g., Kurt Browning or Michelle Kwan, or Angela Nikodinov, were known for the speed of their spins.

    What we do have a lot more of is spins that start fast and then slow down noticeably, which introduces emotions of disappointment and annoyance into watching a program that wouldn't be there if the spin started relatively slow and ended soon. Especially if the quality of the positions and/or centering also decreases.

    Well, not every senior-level skater can do every triple jump. It's not really realistic to require it.

    What could be done is to require a certain takeoff -- either double, triple, or quad -- that rotates each year, similar to the way the required junior solo jump specifies either double or triple.

    When specific takeoffs were required in the short program in the 1980s, they were always double jumps. Average jump content has increased enough since then, especially for ladies, that it would make sense to allow and encourage triples. But for non-world-class seniors, just doing any two different triples in the SP is a challenge -- specifying which ones, especially the harder ones, each year will mean that certain skaters will be at a significant disadvantage one year and maybe have a much bigger advantage the next year.

    Even at the elite level, requiring a certain jump will mean that some potential medal contenders will always have to dig themselves out of a short program hole for the whole season, whereas the next year the jump selection may give them an advantage over their closest rivals. Even if the rotation is determined completely randomly, people would complain about politics in the required jump choice during an Olympic year.

    The way things stand now, that is very true.

    Which is why I think it may make more sense to divide things up so that one program privileges difficulty in the form of level features and the other privileges quality. I can think of a couple of different ways to define the two different programs.
  25. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

    I'd be fine with the required jump changing each year like it does for juniors and the number of revolutions being left to the individual skater. Heck, require two specific jumps, one an edge jump and one a toe jump each year. Yes, there will be complaining, but elite skaters should have mastered all the jumps to at least doubles. If they can't do triples, they need to find the points elsewhere.

    There was an interesting blog article recently about how edge calls for flip and lutz basically allow skaters a work around of the Zayak rule for their prefered jump- do 2 flips and then get an edge call on the lutz. But if you did 3 toe loops, one doesn't count for anything, but an edge call on a flip or a lutz still gives you more points than doing an easier jump like toe or sal. That was a really interesting point, and I wonder if the ISU will ever address this, or if they think edge calls are doing their job well enough.
  26. Spun Silver

    Spun Silver Well-Known Member

    ^^ Gkelly, you are right about the loss of speed within a spin being the worst offender. Re: average speed of spins, who knows, but even scratch spins (rare as they have become) are slow now. Where is our Ruh, Lambiel... or Nepala? I am more concerned about the last two flights of skaters than the average of novices through seniors. Not saying mine is the only criterion but the popularity of skating depends more on the top skaters than the junior ones. JMO.

    ETA: Sorry, mistake about Nepela. I have a recent image of a blindingly fast scratch spin in my memory and thought it was his, but it wasn't. Hmmm.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013
  27. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I would be fine with that also.

    I can't speak for the ISU, but I'm relatively happy with the current details.

    If you want to do two flips and one flutz, you have to make sure that the tech panel will identify your lutz attempt as such. Which probably means going into it on a back outside edge curving (however shallowly) opposite to the jump rotation and then changing at the last second. Which is a different technique than turning into it like a flip. So you're still showing different jump-approach skills, even if your lutz takeoff technique is flawed. Because of GOE reductions, the flutz will still be worth no more than a flip or otherwise comparable quality, and likely less.

    With toe loops, the obvious comparison would be doing two toe loops and one toe walley, which wouldn't be allowed even if you do the toe walley correctly from the inside edge. But the attempt at counterrotation is much less obvious for toe walleys because they're usually done from a natural direction three turn and a step to the back inside edge. If there were a clearly counterrotated approach to the toe walley, it would probably have remained legal as a distinct jump from the toe loop.
  28. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    Or Ronnie Robertson?

    Ruh and Lambiel were hardly known for their forward scratch spins, which were pretty much gone from the typical high-level skating repertoire long before IJS. Back scratch especially at the end of a combination and/or with variations like headless position were more common.

    If we want to see fast simple scratch spins, forward or backward or skater's choice, make it a required element in the short program.

    Well, juniors and novices already have some rule differences, and there could be even more.

    But you can't have different rules for the seniors who are going to be top 12 in the world and the seniors who don't have a hope of reaching that level. Because in between there are a lot of skaters who do have a hope of getting to Worlds, of qualifying for the freeskate, and who on a good day might even crack the top 12 in the short.

    At their nationals (and domestic qualifying competitions if relevant), at Grand Prix and senior B events, at Europeans and Four Continents, and in the Worlds short program, they all need to compete under the same rules. The skaters who could end up anywhere from 10th to 30th at Worlds have to compete against everyone else in that category, as well as the other senior skaters who aren't quite as good but could beat them on a good day if our elite-hopeful skater has a bad day, and also the same rules as the previous medalists that the elite hopefuls hope to challenge.

    Not to mention that the top 12 skaters in the world more likely to be the very best skaters or the very best jumpers, but not necessarily the best spinners. There just aren't enough spin points available in the current format -- or the 6.0 well-balanced program format -- to lift an average skater or jumper with great spins into the elite category. Even Lucinda Ruh made it to top 12 only once, and Nathalie Krieg never did.

    So if you're looking for rules that will allow the elite skaters and jumpers to look less painful when they're spinning, you'll probably be putting the great spinners who are average skaters/jumpers (e.g., Alissa Czisny) at even more of a disadvantage.
  29. Marco

    Marco Well-Known Member

    I am actually fine with the way COP made skaters work on spins. They used to be such throw away elements (Baiul and her non-spins!!!) but now every skater has to hold their spins. And because skaters are essentially doing harder spins, they have to become better spinners to even keep up with their spinning quality.

    However, I just hate that all the spins look the same now because all skaters look for the same short cut to get to level 4. If there are more features (or if features can count twice again) or less levels, we will probably see more varied spins.
  30. Jun Y

    Jun Y Well-Known Member

    Everyone (even insiders) has a different idea about what is "good skating", and "difficulty" is not always easily measured in figure skating. For example, is it more difficult to achieve 4 different positions in a spin or hold 16 revolutions in a basic position without losing speed ... much?

    I am the kind of person who believes an effective and friendly system needs to embrace simplicity. The endless and ballooning patchwork in the judging rules does more harm than good. I would rather implement something simple but elegant and effective, and definitely not micromanagement.

    I want to see the free program be extended in length in both men's and women's competition, with the same or FEWER "required" elements. This would really separate skaters in terms of skating skills, stamina, transitions, but also allow skaters determine their own strategy (rather than having the program layout dictated to you by the rules). Wasn't the men's free program 5 minutes at some point?

    I think a simple change like this can introduce diversity in strategy and program construction and reduce the monotony. We'll see some bad programs, I'm sure, but we will always see some bad programs. That's how competitions work --- separating the good from bad into various ranks.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013