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Should a break in a program be severely penalized?

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by Maofan7, Mar 2, 2013.

  1. judiz

    judiz Well-Known Member

    But isn't it the skater's responsibility to make sure their laces are properly tied before taking the ice and why should they be alllowed to stop if they neglected that responsibility?
  2. Tammi

    Tammi Nana


    I had two trains of thought going there and probably didn't explain them very well. The first was if the penalty should be waived due to the referee calling an unsafe condition, as opposed to the skater stopping themselves due to injury. Just trying to point out that there could be some crossover there, with a cut being both an injury and an unsafe condition. Second train of thought was in response to your suggestion that if an injury is bad enough to stop, then the athlete should be forced to withdraw. I would heartily agree if this was soccer (those apparent dives and being miraculously cured by the magic water is beyond frustrating) and maybe it's just semantics, but I don't think that all injuries which require a stoppage, can't be overcome enough to finish a program (ie. is it an "injury" or "medical condition").

    Probably still haven't put my thoughts well enough into words, so I'm just going to say that I'm on board with gkelly's suggestion :) . Isn't there currently a .5 mandatory deduction from SS for a fall? Maybe it would be similar.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2013
  3. Susan M

    Susan M Well-Known Member

    What event were you watching? At the recent 4CC, V-M skated thru their planned lift without doing it, glided about aimlessly talking for several seconds until Scott left Tessa at center ice and skated towards the boards. http://youtu.be/iaSoVxk4zLc?t=3m4s
    The music was not stopped until he had nearly reached the boards, about 30 seconds after they stopped executing the program choreography.

    But this discussion is not about criticizing or defending V-M, because that was just one example. To me, it should not matter who the skater is or why a skater has to stop. I agree it is just not practical to try to distinguish between pre-existing condition, illness or a new injury. Even in the case of a bad fall, it seems weird that the skater is better off falling badly enough to stop skating, rest a bit and regroup than to have a less serious jump error where they just get up, chase across the ice to catch up with the choreo and resume the program. I mean, this is supposed to be big-time sports, not elementary school.

    I'm not even convinced it should matter whether the break is due to an equipment failure or a medical time out, it is still not fair to allow one competitor to have a rest break part way through their program. The stamina to compete the whole program all the way through is part of what is being tested in this sporting event. I think that's probably why the old rule required a re-skate from the beginning.

    The problem with the old rule was that skaters were abusing it in order to get to re-try failed elements. Maybe they need to combine the two approaches. The skaters should have to re-skate the entire program from the beginning, but are not allowed to improve their scores for elements already marked the first time. Of course, then you would have the problem of skaters not really bothering with the elements previously completed. Maybe they should get the lower value of the two efforts for reskated elements.

    I think my preference would be to eliminate altogether the concept of restarts after a skater initiated stoppage. When the skaters stop, the music should keep playing so they can pick up the program wherever the music is at that time, stopping only once the skaters notify the referee they are withdrawing. I'm thinking the referee should take the initiative to stop the music only if there is a problem that has nothing whatever to do with the skater (like the lights in the building going out). The idea of everyone sitting around for 3 minutes while people race around looking for a new bootlace for Tonya Harding was just absurd. (Once again, I am back to "this is the Olympics, not grade school." Or was that one waiting for people to run around looking for a screwdriver/bigger screw so she could tighten a loose blade?) The athlete should be held responsible for the condition of his own costume and equipment. I know there will still be the freak occurrence like breaking a blade, but I'd rather see that filed under "sh*t happens" than try to make some kind-hearted rule that will sooner or later be abused.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2013
  4. Eislauffan

    Eislauffan Well-Known Member

    There was a penalty for interrupting a program and then the ISU took that change back. They probably felt it was unfair to the skaters to get that deduction when they were injured. I honestly don't know what prompted them to change the rule again. I don't think that someone really will abuse the rule, but I can see that others might think it is unfair.

    As for other sports, there are penalty-free injury breaks in combat sports such as judo and taekwondo.
  5. hanca

    hanca Well-Known Member

    Maybe you are right. Maybe there are injuries where you can continue. That's why I would put in place severe sanctions (such as deduction one point per minute) rather than telling them automatically to withdraw although in other sports they wouldn't have this luxury - they would have to withdraw. But interrupting program for injuries should be seen as it is - a luxury, which is penalised by deduction. I know that it feels horrible to those who are injured, but what about those who are injured and decided not to compete to give a chance to other skaters from their country? How fair it is to them? Maybe they would manage to skate their program, if they had it cut in two pieces. We really don't want to get as far as the skaters arriving at competitions with a sick note from their doctor!
  6. hanca

    hanca Well-Known Member

    You are making a lot of sense! I like it!
  7. The Accordion

    The Accordion Well-Known Member

    Tracy Wilson just said in the Junior Worlds coverage that she believes that if skaters have to stop they should not be allowed to re-start - that is should be considered a DNF - did not finish. She also emphasized what many have said here - that it would be a "travesty" if that were to happen at the Olympics - a sport among sports.

    I don't understand people who believe that this should be true for injuries but not equipment problems. Making sure your skate laces don't come undone, that your laces are strong enough not to break, to make sure your elastics holding your pants down are done up well enough to stay done up is the athletes' responsibility. If something going wrong with equipment causes a danger - I don't see how it is any more risky to go on with that than with certain injuries. I also think it is s slippery slope if we start judging which injuries count and which don't

    Problems with the venue would be a different story IMO.
  8. hanca

    hanca Well-Known Member

    The thinking behind it was that at least you can prove that you had a broken lace on your boot, or blade got unattached from the boot, or you can pick a lot of stones from the ice if you want to prove that the ice was not in a great condition. whereas you can't really prove an injury, so there is nowhere to draw the line with injuries (unless you want the skaters arriving to the championships with their doctors medical note). Does person X have really back injury or do they just say so because they messed up entrance to the lift? Some injuries are obvious - e.g. cutting your hand on the blade, but some (such as back problem) could be easily abused.
  9. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

    This forum exploded with indignation when V/M did it at 4CCs so I'm not sure what your point is here.

    Sometimes laces come undone even if you've done everything right.

    That's one line of thought. My own line of thought is that anything that is not under the control of the athlete should be allowed. It's not one dance team's fault that the team ahead of it dumped crystals all over the ice, for example. It's not a skater's fault that the fire alarm went off in the middle of their skate. Those kinds of interruptions should be allowed with no penalty other than what naturally comes from interrupting a program (it interrupts the flow).

    Equipment malfunction is not as black and white but because of the safety issues and because of the culture of figure skating, I would allow it within certain predefined criteria for how long the interruption is and what kinds of malfunctions allow the program to be restarted.
  10. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

    It has happened in recent Olympics - most famously when the Zhangs needed to stop after she hurt herself on the throw (and I think most people admired their sportsmanship and commitment) but also when Oda had issues with his skate laces. Skating survived. It's also happened at other major events: V/M's stop at 4CCs this year, Trankov's costume surgery at 2008 Worlds, Ladwig's skate adventures at 2011 4CCs... I just don't think it's all that damaging, other than to the skaters whose program is interrupted. Skating is not the only sport in which there are breaks or timeouts. Personally, I think gkelly's suggestion is the best one in this thread.
  11. Cherub721

    Cherub721 YEAH!

    I think it would help if at least they only allowed restarts from the point where the music stopped, and not from the element that was missed. V&M didn't abort a lift (it never went up) but they did skate through it. They should have been allowed to start the program when the music had stopped and then it would be their choice to resume the program (and skip the lift) or to try to cram in the lift in a different section of the music (and risk messing up their timing on all the other elements). BTW, they had a big enough lead over Chock/Bates that they would have had silver even if they didn't get the 10+ points the lift was worth.

    I also find the referee's reaction the French team curious, although well-intentioned I am sure. I don't think the intent of the rule is "oh dear, don't withdraw, you have 3 minutes to rest!" I thought the 3 minutes was there to limit the time (I can't find a video of the Zhangs but I think their stop was substantially longer), basically to say if your problem is so big that it can't be resolved in 3 minutes, you're done. I expect that at least the ISU will issue clarification there, and more likely, they will come up with either a deduction or rule change.
  12. Asli

    Asli Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't call that polite discussion "exploding with indignation". Many people understandably questioned the rule/decision and said that there should be a deduction for an interruption, but noone cried politics or :blocjudge and there was hardly any vitriol against the skaters, fortunately.

    I hope no such situation arises at the Worlds. Three times in one season is too much. If a skater has a cramp, that is her/his problem.

    ITA with you.

    Judo and taekwondo don't have uninterrupted routines though. They are already start-stop. Besides, the injury break gives the opponent the same amount of rest, so it is not unfair.
  13. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

    It's true that other sports allow stops. But other sports aren't a performance either. Stopping breaks the flow of a performance in the way that matters compared to a sport like football where stopping is built-in and expected and even part of the strategy.

    I think there are a number of considerations for how breaks should be handled. Safety of the athletes should be #1 IMO. Next is fairness. Third would be that athletes want to win based on beating their competitors, not on technicalities. The final and least important consideration should be the audience/fans and how it impacts us.

    I think the current rules in figure skating are fine when it comes to athlete safety. I'm not so sure they are fair though. And they definitely don't do it for the fan/audience.

    How about that "winning on a technicality" thing? If I won a competition because one competitor's crystals fell on the ice and the next competitor wasn't allowed to stop and make the ice people clean them up so either fell or withdrew, I'd be pissed. Especially if they were my biggest rival. The same if their boot lace came loose or a strap on their costume and ref made them stop for safety and then they had to withdraw because that was the rule - no stopping. That's not how I want to win and I think that's not how skaters want to win.

    In other sports, especially team sports, winning on technicalities is more acceptable, I think. But in individual sports, it seems to be less acceptable.

    We were all QUITE indignant though. Quite. And we exploded with the exact same discussion we're having now only with about 10x the passion because it had just happened. :D
  14. Lacey

    Lacey Well-Known Member

    If I am not mistaken, Scott did a double take with his head when he realized that the ref would permit them to redo the lift, basically start that portion over.

    If one of the partners does not initially do the lift, then it should be scored a zero, IMO.
  15. Asli

    Asli Well-Known Member

    O.K. Indignation noted. :) Maybe I would have felt the strength explosion if I had read the thread live.
    MacMadame and (deleted member) like this.
  16. hanca

    hanca Well-Known Member

    I agree with that, but then one can argue that injuries are out of the skater's control. So I would clarify this rule, anything that is not under the control of the athlete should be allowed, except of injuries. (and then reason for that is as I wrote above- because it is not possible to fairly distinguish who is really injured and who isn't.)
  17. hanca

    hanca Well-Known Member

    Winning on technicality - I don't think that anyone really cares. A few fans may remember that person A won on technicality but that in reality maybe person B should have won, but in a few years time the fact remains that the person A was better than person B. It is the same as if you win only with 0.301 score. For a year or two maybe someone may remember that it was more like a joint first place rather than a second place, but in a few years time no one will know. Second place is second place, no matter if it was on technicality or just 0.01 mark lower than the first place.
  18. lauravvv

    lauravvv Well-Known Member

    I think skaters can be allowed to restart if they can. I agree that there should be no fixed penalty if it's something outside of skater's control (although that's not a precise term, as a skate/costume malfunction can also be outside of skater's control, as can a temporary medical condition that is not a consequence of previous injury), but perhaps it can be added in the description for PCSs requirements that judges can detract from PCS if they feel that it really spoiled the impression of the program. If an interruption happens because of an injury (which can't be proved right away), or because the skater hasn't been careful enough in regard to his/her skates/boots/laces or costume, then they should be penalized. But not by so much that they could loose to a skater/team that did the technical elements at a much lower level. Perhaps by so much that they could loose to someone who is really close. I can't tell precisely right now.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2013
  19. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

    In most equestrian events, which aren't (except, kinda sorta, the Kur phase of GP dressage) performance, if you have an equipment failure, you fall off, your horse stumbles or loses a shoe...too bad, so sad. You're excused. Everyone understands that these things happen, that in most cases it's not really in the rider's control (even things like the shoe can happen when they appeared fine beforehand), but if it happens in the jump-off at the Olympics, or in the Kur (musical freestyle, the final round of Dressage) at the WEG...too bad, so sad. That's part of the job, sometimes you go out, crap happens, it's not fair to the other competitors riding before you or after you if you get a do-over.
  20. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    I think the following situations should be considered in the skater's sphere of responsibility, even if not in their immediate control, and thus subject to penalties:

    equipment or costume failure
    mental lapse
    music failure if and only if the problem is clearly with the media provided by the skater and not with the equipment provided by the organizers (or human error by the music operator)

    So I would think only those kinds of problems would be subject to official penalty. Anything else is too bad and will probably have a negative effect on the judges' overall perception of the performance, but there's no reason to build in a penalty.

    The only time I would consider injury outside the skater's responsibility would be they were hit by something falling from the ceiling or shot or thrown by someone in the audience in the middle of the performance.
  21. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

    The athletes involved care. That is why I said "athletes don't want to win on a technicality" and not "fans don't want athletes to win on a technicality." I did later clarify that to say it's mostly athletes in individual sports who care.

    I will give an example outside of skating... the year Chrissie Wellington defended her Ironman World Championship, she got a flat tire and when she was fixing it, she messed up her CO2 canister or it was defective or something. Anyway, she had no air to put back in her tire and the SAG wagon was very far away. So the word went out on the course and one of the gal pros threw her a CO2 canister as she was riding by. Chrissie finished fixing her flat and went on to win the race. After the race, people did ask the pro who helped her about that... why'd you give Chrissie your canister? She said she didn't want to win because Chrissie had a flat. She wanted to beat her on the playing field. But most people didn't even ask because that's the culture of that sport. OF COURSE you give the other pro your canister. Or your spare goggles. Or tell them they are about to go off course and run an extra .5 miles.

    Skaters mostly seem to be like that from what I've seen. You don't see skaters whining about rules that let them stop if their bootlace comes undone and no skaters who came in behind V/M at 4CC whined about them stopping either. It was all the fans doing that. The stopping thing bothers us much more than it bothers the athletes. (So maybe they do think the rules are fair?? Interesting idea. I will have to noodle on that.)

    Well one can argue anything. But I have a hard time swallowing the argument that a skater's body breaking down is the same thing as someone in the audience pulling the fire alarm as a joke and the building being evacuated. It's the job of the skater to show up ready to compete. If they show up with an injury or they get injured during a performance, they haven't done their job and shouldn't get a do-over.
  22. iNap

    iNap Active Member

    I don't think any skater should be penalised. This is good idea for ISU and sponsers. All skaters could do this for future. Sponsers can put advertissementes for all breaks. Why only one break?? maybe 2 or 3 or 4. Some program are boring and some people can use bathrooms during this time also :D
  23. Rob

    Rob Beach Bum

    I didn't like it when Zhangs won Silver in Torino with a fall and a beak, and I still don't like breaks in the program.
  24. AlexDSSF

    AlexDSSF Member

    What would happen if a skater had a wardrobe malfunction during a performance but continued to skate anyway? For instance, if a female skater's top popped off and her breasts (or at least her bra) were shown, but she chose in a split-second to finish the routine, would she be penalized for NOT stopping?
  25. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

    Didn't an ice dancer once do half of a compulsory with her breast hanging out? I think that scenario has already happened.
  26. Mayra

    Mayra Well-Known Member

    Sorry but if you sustain an injury during your program to the point that you need to stop and regroup, then you shouldn't be allowed to continue. No excuses. Got a cramp? Better luck next time. Here's the exit, let me hand you your skate guards.

    The fact that this has happened 3 times this season in ice dance is a joke and really doesn't help the reputation of the discipline IMO.
  27. dinakt

    dinakt Well-Known Member

    Define "severely penalized".
    IMO, injury breaks should be allowed, but with a deduction of "-3", plus not being allowed to repeat any elements that were aborted by the stop; the element not executed the first time gets an automatic 0. Certainly re-doing any elements and counting them should be out of the question.
    I also wonder if a distinction of "hazardous" injury is in order... If there is blood involved, more time might be allowed to tend to the would, with a doctor present on ice. In case of the currect crop of injuries ( not disputed by me at all, but impossible to assess), a stricter time limit might be necessary. 3 minutes is a long time.
  28. rayhaneh

    rayhaneh Well-Known Member

    Except for skaters "next time" could mean next year, or could have much larger repercutions on their middle term career should that happen at Nationals in certain countries as this could determine their chances of getting international assignments for the following season. I think the penalty here is too heavy and an athlete should be allowed to have a chance to continue, although any cut to the program should be penalized, unless the organization actually bears responsibility for the cut (defective audio equipment, electricity cut, etc - we got a few examples of what could go wrong at the Junior Worlds in Milan this week actually:lol:)

    As a runner, I've had, on the rare occasion, cramps that were powerful enough that I was not able to continue right away. Not because I can't push through pain, but because the cramp was violent enough that I couldn't move my leg properly anymore. But usually that kind of cramps go away pretty quickly and I was able to resume after a couple of minutes. To be honest, I've never taken part to a race where simply stopping automatically disqualifies you, and that includes nationals. I don't see why skaters should be more penalized than we are :huh:

    In the case of running, the penalty is automatic as you simply lose the time you need before you can resume running, plus the time to go back in your race rhythm. I'm sure we can come to have fair penalties depending on the various possible reasons for stopping - what would hurt the sport is not the possibility of stopping the program, but rather the perception that skaters are not treated equally as far as consequences for a break in the program are concerned
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2013
  29. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

    I don't think an injury/emergency stop should get a penalty, but I don't think the element that was aborted should be allowed to be repeated.

    I recall a singles skater (maybe a Fin?) crumpling into the boards after sliding on a fall. She was given an amount of time to get of the ice and regroup, and I think she started skating again. She was obviously hurt, as the rest of her program wasn't fabulous.

    I'm all for that. If a skater is hurt, but thinks they can continue, they should get to. But if they abort a lift or hurt themselves on a fall, they should pick up from after the element. I'd also be okay with from where the music was stopped- that way skaters need to signal to the referees quickly to that they are stopping (though if you are in a crumpled heap after a fall, that may not be fair...).

    For a broken blade, lace, pant strap- etc. You start from where the referee whistles for you to stop, or from where you signal that you need the music to be stopped.
  30. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

    It really is simple to solve.

    If there's a costume/safety issue, referee whistles = no deduction

    If skater runs out of breath and stops on his own = deduction

    I guess that could lead to skaters tearing pieces of their costumes off if they wanted a break. :p