ISU Congress: Proposal to overhaul PCS

seabm7

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A team lead by Alla Shekhovtsova is proposing to simplify the PCS system by decreasing the number of categories from 5 to 3. If I understand this article correctly, their proposal is

Men
SP: 3 categories * 10 points * scale factor 1.67 = 50.1 (currently 5 categories * 10 points * scale factor 1 = 50)
FS: 3 categories * 10 points * scale factor 3.33 = 99.9 (currently 5 categories * 10 points * scale factor 2 = 100)

Women and pairs
SP: 3 categories * 10 points * scale factor 1.33 = 39.9 (currently 5 categories * 10 points * scale factor 0.8 = 40)
FS: 3 categories * 10 points * scale factor 2.67 = 80.1 (currently 5 categories * 10 points * scale factor 1.6 = 80)

Ice dance
RD: 3 categories * 10 points * scale factor 1.33 = 39.9 (currently 5 categories * 10 points * scale factor 0.8 = 40)
FD: 3 categories * 10 points * scale factor 2.00 = 60.0 (currently 5 categories * 10 points * scale factor 1.2 = 60)
 
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VGThuy

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I actually thought ice dance should have different kinds of PCS that made sense with its unique discipline not the same but less. Like complexity of hold and line, etc. Maybe even different PCS across the rhythm dance and Free Dance to differentiate them more since the RD should be more about strict rhythm, timing, and the pattern steps and partial step sequences.
 

Karen-W

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Here's a tweet detailing several proposals - https://twitter.com/twistandtwizzle/status/1496528535212679168/photo/1

1. Maximum age for ISU officials to be increased to 80

2. Russia proposed to allow skaters names on the uniforms & increase the number of advertising slots on uniforms up to 6

3. Russia proposed to make it harder to transfer countries. Will need to obtain permission from the previous country and not compete for one year.

4. Hungary proposed to spend 60% of the budget for Euros/4CC on a Junior Euros / Junior 4CC (!!)

5. Qualifying round at Worlds from 2024-25 where skaters will just skate their free programs

6. Decrease components to only 3 categories - skating technique, composition and presentation

I don't hate that idea, to be perfectly honest, in reducing the PCS categories.

The other proposals... So, basically, Russia wants to impose the rules it has on its own skaters transferring countries to the rest of the ISU. Fat chance of that passing, methinks. I can't see the Hungarian proposal for a Junior Euros/4CCs happening either, at least not if it's taking 60% of the current Euros/4CCs budget. And, please, don't bring back QRs!
 

VGThuy

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I will kind of miss having five because sometimes the numbers work out in a way where some skaters/teams will surprisingly outscore a favored team or score close in one or two out of five PCS categories as a way for the judges to show them that they’re in the right direction. Maybe that’ll happen less with 3 categories and judges still treating PCS like the 6.0 ranking system. I dislike The Russian proposals, especially the one that makes it harder for countries to transfer. I’m more about more agency for skaters, not less.
 

Willin

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I don't think this will change anything. The problem with PCS is that it's far too vague. There's no clear bullet points or even scales/examples/clear cut rules. For instance, my coach was told back in the day that a skater cannot get >8 Transitions if they have >2 crossovers in a row. I think that's a good rule, but it's nowhere official and skaters who have 5+ crossovers together per transition are getting scored 9+! Or all turns in and out of a step sequence must be clean to get an 8+ in skating skills, 75% must be clean to get a 6-8, 25-50% to get a 3-5.

Unless these three categories are much more clear cut they will be just as easy to abuse as the old categories and I see no point in the change. "Simplifying" PCS doesn't mean anything unless you make hard rules for people to follow about judging. Because right now the judges are quite obviously judging PCS not by what's put out on the ice but rather by what coach/fed/skater/jumps they like best and there's no way to hold them accountable if there's no clear standard to judge PCS by.
 

Karen-W

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I dislike The Russian proposals, especially the one that makes it harder for countries to transfer. I’m more about more agency for skaters, not less.
I don't care one way or the other about the uniforms and advertising space proposal - it's not going to have much of an impact, I don't think, on figure skating - that's more likely to impact the short-track and speed skating side of the ISU than FS or synchro.
 

MacMadame

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I actually thought ice dance should have different kinds of PCS that made sense with its unique discipline not the same but less.
Now you are making me doubt myself but I was sure in the early days that they did. I remember writing scores down at US Nationals and they were different.

I think IN PE and CH should be combined. If that's what they do, I'm all for it.
 

On My Own

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Does anyone have the full pdf of the proposals they had published earlier this off-season (or late last season, whenever it was)?
 

seabm7

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Does anyone have the full pdf of the proposals they had published earlier this off-season (or late last season, whenever it was)?

I don't think they have published the updated proposal book to the general public. Older documents are here,

 

On My Own

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I don't think they have published the updated proposal book to the general public. Older documents are here,

Thanks for that. I'm not sure if I recollect correctly if they were the proposals for this coming congress or some other time.

But er, I found the link somewhere (they were the provisional agenda), and it seems they were deleted...

https://www.isu.org/docman-document...25790-congress-2021-provisional-agenda-1/file

I remember discussion on goldenskate and twitter (search says early May 2021) about some of these, it had proposals about changing the way sequences were scored...

Maybe it overlapped with the ones here, and the ones I remember simply weren't passed (or were postponed), though. https://www.isu.org/docman-document...u-communications/25943-isu-communication-2403
 

zigzig

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I don’t think going to 3 PCS categories is going to change anything because the problem is that the judges basically keep them in a range for each skater rather than letting them vary based on the actual skate. I understand the idea behind dropping the categories so judges only have to produce three, more intentionally considered scores but the reality is that the range of scores is still going to be in a 0.0 - 0.75 range based on rep and skate order.
But I would be thrilled to be proven wrong.
 

Cherub721

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I don't understand the difference between the proposal and the current rules for switching countries. I thought they already had to get a release from the original federation and sit out international competition for one year. The proposal is saying they have to get "permission" and sit out one year. It sounds the same but with different words.
 

seabm7

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I don't understand the difference between the proposal and the current rules for switching countries. I thought they already had to get a release from the original federation and sit out international competition for one year. The proposal is saying they have to get "permission" and sit out one year. It sounds the same but with different words.

Old rule: Sit out one year from the last international competition + permission
New proposal: Sit out one year from the last international competition or the last national competition + permission

The new proposal is the current Russian federation rule.

ETD: If the new proposal were to be in effect, Fournier Beaudry & Sorensen would have lost almost all of the 2018-2019 season instead of just missing Challenge and Grand Prix series.
 
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Cherub721

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Old rule: Sit out one year from the last international competition + permission
New proposal: Sit out one year from the last international competition or the last national competiion + permission

The new proposal is the current Russian federation rule.

I doubt it will pass then since the ISU wouldn't want to get involved with issues involving national competitions, though nothing would seem to prevent Russia from enforcing that rule when it comes to granting permission.
 

gkelly

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I don’t think going to 3 PCS categories is going to change anything because the problem is that the judges basically keep them in a range for each skater rather than letting them vary based on the actual skate. I understand the idea behind dropping the categories so judges only have to produce three, more intentionally considered scores but the reality is that the range of scores is still going to be in a 0.0 - 0.75 range based on rep and skate order.
But I would be thrilled to be proven wrong.

I tend to believe that the range of scores tends to be narrower than fans would like because in judges' minds the differences between most skaters' (or each performances') skill level in each category is much closer, compared to all skaters those judges have ever seen and judged, than it is in the minds of fans who only watch elite skating. Even when a skater with less-than-top skills is especially strong in one area (or vice versa), chances are that other criteria in the same component tend to bring the judge's impression of that component closer to the range of the other components.

While reputation and skate order undoubtedly have some effect on the scores, I suspect that most of the judges' conscious thoughts about PCS are indeed about how each component's criteria stack up about that judge's mental standards for 7 or 8 or 9 and the decimal increments between them, and that reputation and skate order are unconscious effects that may be more likely to flatten out the differences within a skater or to push up or down the overall score range in which judges perceive them.

Going to 3 PCS categories will likely keep the 3 components in an even closer range than using 5. I don't think narrow gaps are the "problem" that this proposal was trying to solve, because it's likely to do the opposite.

Even for judges who do try to distinguish each program component from the others, reducing the total number to 3 will undoubtedly make the scores closer together with fewer intentional "outliers" per judge per skater, because the criteria where a judge thinks that the skater is exceptionally strong or weak will end up getting averaged in with other criteria where the judge thinks that skater's skills are closer to the level of the other 2 components.

Also, if there are only 3 components with larger factors, it would probably be a good idea to let judges use increments of 0.1 again instead of 0.25, to allow for finer distinctions between skaters who are close but not identical in abilities for those criteria.

If judges do think in terms of ranking skaters on components, with only 3 components and only 0.25 differences available, they would often be in a situation where they think that skater C is noticeably but slightly better overall than skater A and noticeably but slightly worse overall than skater B, but if they've given A, say 7.75 8.0 8.25 and skater B 8.25 8.0 8.0, they don't have room to score skater C between them. That can also happen with 5 components, but it's much less likely.

And it also happens without judges making conscious comparisons between skaters (thinking in terms of ordinals) but just scoring each component on its own merits, either with wide or narrow ranges within skaters.

If there were 0.1 increments available, it would be easier to reflect fine distinctions between skaters.

I suspect fans might be able to see 8.0 and 8.5 as being a bigger gap psychologically if there were 4 possible scores between them than when there's only 1 intermediate option.



Because there was no ISU Congress in 2020, there were probably proposals that we had heard floated and started to discuss 2 years ago that never made it as far as an actual document to be discussed and voted on.
 
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LeafOnTheWind

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Coco

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I'd support 3 corridors before I'd get behind 3 categories. This would address more of the problem, imo.

What I'd love to see happen is for GOE bullets criteria to be pared down to just technical aspects and then GOE can be assessed by the technical panel. The more performance related bullets criteria (element matches the music, creativity, etc.) should be transferred to whatever component is appropriate. Judges can evaluate the big picture, the overall effect, while the technical panel grades the elements for difficulty and execution.

Components are a big mishmash, as others have said. It would be nice to have something 4 year fans - or at least broadcasters - can grasp, but I'm not going to hold my breath.
 

gkelly

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I'd rather they specify their assessment criteria for PCS more in order to create a proper rubric, not just reduce the number of unspecific categories. Are there no teachers familiar with criterion- referenced assessment in the entire ISU?
Ice Dance publishes more detailed guidelines for scoring program components, buried in a lengthy document that includes information for both technical panels and judging panels. (It's all relevant to the skaters and coaches, of course.)

See pages 24-27 of ISU Communication 2393, available at https://isu.org/inside-isu/isu-communications/communications?own=0

Would it be helpful for Singles/Pairs to develop a similar document, and to make it more easily accessible to interested fans as well as skaters and coaches?
 
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MacMadame

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I tend to believe that the range of scores tends to be narrower than fans would like because in judges' minds the differences between most skaters' (or each performances') skill level in each category is much closer, compared to all skaters those judges have ever seen and judged, than it is in the minds of fans who only watch elite skating. Even when a skater with less-than-top skills is especially strong in one area (or vice versa), chances are that other criteria in the same component tend to bring the judge's impression of that component closer to the range of the other components.
I agree with this. When I see people exclaiming that a certain skate from a top-level skater only should get Skating Skills marks in the 4s, I can see that many fans don't know what the criteria are for each level and also haven't watched many Novice and lower skaters. In the US, IJS is used for levels down to Juvenile and also for Adult championship events. If Trusova is getting 4s, then what score do you give a Juvenile skater?

Now not all competitions use IJS for the lower levels but for qualifying competitions, it's required. So you need some marks for them.

What I'd love to see happen is for GOE bullets criteria to be pared down to just technical aspects and then GOE can be assessed by the technical panel. The more performance related bullets criteria (element matches the music, creativity, etc.) should be transferred to whatever component is appropriate. Judges can evaluate the big picture, the overall effect, while the technical panel grades the elements for difficulty and execution.
That gives too much power to the technical panel which only has 3 people on it who impact the scores (the video operator and data specialist create the data but don't determine elements).
 

Coco

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But the technical panel is comprised of employees, who get rated (presumably) and can be sent down a level if they underperform.

I feel this is far preferable to having politically motivated judges assess GOE. We have seen them be overexuberant and violate written guidelines, often with no consequences.
 

Willin

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I agree with this. When I see people exclaiming that a certain skate from a top-level skater only should get Skating Skills marks in the 4s, I can see that many fans don't know what the criteria are for each level and also haven't watched many Novice and lower skaters. In the US, IJS is used for levels down to Juvenile and also for Adult championship events. If Trusova is getting 4s, then what score do you give a Juvenile skater?

Now not all competitions use IJS for the lower levels but for qualifying competitions, it's required. So you need some marks for them.
Personally, from what I've seen at local comps the lower levels have a lot of variety. The top US Juv/Int/Nov could easily be a 7-8 while the vast majority of everyone at those levels (the non-qualifiers) are closer to 3-5. Even internationally, especially at Senior B's and JGPs you see a lot of Junior and Senior skaters who are in that 3-6 range of SS. When you get to the Top 10ish or the Senior Grand Prix, I don't think below 7 or especially below 6 is correct, but I do think that more 6s and 7s should be handed out. Like, the skating skills of Eteri skaters are not a 9-10. Most remind me of the talented Novice/Juniors I've seen - closer to a 7-8 range.

That's what I don't get. If you've seen enough skaters at all levels you should know what a 9-10 looks like and what a 5 looks like, but that's not what is being reflected in the scores. If they look like that Novice skater you saw who you gave a 6 in SS, give them a 6. It shouldn't matter that they're a Senior - being Senior doesn't automatically make you better than a Junior or Novice at something.
 

Dave of the North

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On this one:

3. Russia proposed to make it harder to transfer countries. Will need to obtain permission from the previous country and not compete for one year.

Once they absorb Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan back into Mother Russia, there will be fewer countries to hop to...

on the other hand, fewer judges from the Bloc.
 
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On My Own

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Apart from there not being a one-to-one correspondence between level of skating and component scores (some juniors have equal or better SS compared to seniors, just as an example), I don't see why international competition needs to restrict itself to scoring all skaters on the same scale.

A junior scoring a 10 on SS in an international junior competition, moving upto senior international competition, and scoring a 7 on SS there gives them worthwhile feedback.
 

Frau Muller

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On this one:

3. Russia proposed to make it harder to transfer countries. Will need to obtain permission from the previous country and not compete for one year.

Once they absorb Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan back into Mother Russia, there will be fewer countries to hop to...

on the other hand, fewer judges from the Bloc.

Or there could be more…if Russia does as the USA does with Puerto Rico, US Virgin Isles, with its own Olympic teams, sports federations, etc. For ex. Free Associated States of The Donbas or Commonwealth of The Crimea.
 
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Karen-W

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On this one:

3. Russia proposed to make it harder to transfer countries. Will need to obtain permission from the previous country and not compete for one year.

Once they absorb Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan back into Mother Russia, there will be fewer countries to hop to...

on the other hand, fewer judges from the Bloc.
That's what I was thinking too, lol.
Or there could be more…if Russia does as the USA does with Puerto Rico, US Virgin Isles, with its own Olympic teams, sports federations, etc. For ex. Free Associated States of The Donbas or Commonwealth of The Crimea.
But it is also up to the international sports federations and the IOC as to whether or not they are willing to allow those "countries" their own teams. I'm not so sure, in light of how this had all played out, that would be something the rest of the world would accept (no matter how far up Putin's a$$ Bach is).
 

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