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Thread: Judging scandal in Torino?

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Judging scandal in Torino?

    Critics of Mr. Cinquanta and the ISU worry that the New Judging System is a train wreck waiting to happen. With secret judging and the ability of judges to manipulate program component scores, it is just a matter of time before the next scandal comes along and finishes off the sport of figure skating once and for all.

    (a) Do you think that there might be a judging scandal at the Torino games?

    (b) Do you think anyone would care one way or another if there were, or is the occasional judging controversy merely part of the charm of figure skating?

    MM

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Well, Mathman, since you asked, here's what I think.

    (a) No. I think the New Judging System will prove quite successful in its main purpose, which is to prevent future judging controversies from becoming public.

    Consider the 2002 pairs controversy. If CoP judging had been in place, the ISU would have had a perfect defense to critics who cried foul on the basis that Anton S. stumbled a little on his double Axel, while the other guys skated clean. All they would have to do is show everyone the judging protocols where, yes, B&S correctly received a negative GOE mark on that element, but they made it up over here in this column with more intricate connecting steps.

    The second thing is that Madame Le Gougne -- by all accounts an emotionally high-strung lady -- would have been insulated by anonymity and would not have felt herself surrounded by enemies and plagued by self-doubts, so there would have been no reason for her to blurt out a tearful confession. If anyone raised a question of impropriety, the ISU could simply have said, we will examine the judging as part of our continuing review to insure the integrity of the sport, and will issue a report next summer.

    In the mean time the Olympics games are over and the U.S. sports audience moves on to March Madness.

    MM

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    Down With It
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    a) It's very possible these days. With skaters apparently still getting "bonus points" for reputation through their "PCS" marks, it's not out of the question for there to be some holding up in Torino. Not only of Irina (although I think she's the primary target here), but all the top skaters. I think Cohen to some extent is held up a little too.

    Now, this is what "worries" me the most. Look at what happened at 05 Worlds. Irina was held up MAJORLY (IMO), but here's the thing she deserved the win. This leaves barely any room for argument. In order for there to be a real scandal, IMO a person has to win that does NOT deserve to, or a person has to be held up to the point where it's obvious to EVERYONE in the room. The other way it could happen is if there is a big stink made from one of the federations, etc. If Irina skates well in Torino there's no reason for me to not believe that she'll be held up to the sky. And if she doesn't skate well....I think she'll STILL be held up. Come on judges...

    b) Judging scandals can't possibly help skating in the long run. It might bring in more TV viewers (or drive away TV viewers) in the short run (for the duration of the competition), but how can skating be respected as a sport if the winners are pre-determined before the competition begins? Oh, I think people WOULD care. This would be the second Olympics in a row that a scandal has happened in FS. IMO, the judges need to be very careful not to let such a thing happen this year. Skating is already in trouble, and the last thing it needs is another embarrassment on the world stage (Olympics). I think it would really be the nail in the coffin right there.

    JMO.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    I don't believe there will be any scandal in Torino with regard to Mathman's untiring thought of conspiracy posters, lol.

    BTW, a 20 second stumble is not a little stumble but a big one and unfortunately the other team had no stumbles. I still consider B&S the better team but just not that night.

    This Olympics, hopefully, will be the turning point for figure skating. I think Cinquanta wants that too. Figure Skating has been suffering since SLC and it's time to get it back into mainstream thought.

    Cultural bias is a natural form of favoritism. Nothing much one can do about it and it will show favoritism in the scores. Fifteen judges from which 6 scores will be dropped will give us the required judging. It helps to keep cultural bias down. But why not show who the judges were after, or even during, the event? What is there to hide?

    How many of those Muslim judges will there be in any given contest?

    Joe

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    BTW, a 20 second stumble is not a little stumble but a big one and unfortunately the other team had no stumbles.
    What are you talking about? Who ever had a "20-second stumble"?

    20 seconds is LONG time on the ice. Most elite skaters can complete a whole straight-line step sequence in well under 20 seconds, maybe a whole circular sequence, and a whole, complicated combination spin.

    Occasionally a pair or dance team will miss 20 seconds of their program if one partner falls and the other partner skates away and it takes that long for them to catch up to each other. Probably a whole element or two will have been omitted

    That would be a huge disruption in a program, and in the rules that have been in effect for dance since right after the 1998 Olympics would lead to a huge deduction. (The team that finished last in the free dance at 1998 Worlds was the first victim of this deduction -- and I think their program was "only" disrupted for 10 or 15 seconds, which is still a lot -- long enough for one partner to be at the far end of the ice before the other caught up.)

    A single stumble would not cause that kind of disruption. Even a stumble out of an element and some more stumbling around trying to recover before finally regaining balance or finally falling and then getting up will only take around 5 seconds. A bad fall and awkward recovery will probably only take about 5 seconds. If it takes longer than that, especially with a single skater so that catching up to the partner is not an issue, the skater is probably injured and/or disoriented from the fall.

    On the rare occasions when I've seen program disruptions in excess of 10 seconds, medals were not in question. The safety of the skater more often was.

    Of course, if you take a 1- or 2-second stumble and show it over and over again in slow motion replays, it might come to feel like 20 seconds, but that's a false perception of the actual impact in the whole program.

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    average opinionated skate fan
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    I pray the prevailing thought in Turino will be that "this is our chance to get it right and show the world we aren't crooks" (you may agree or disagree about whether they ARE crooks, but I'm only expressing sentiment here). I think the usual suspects will be held up...Kwan, Slutz, Cohen, perhaps Arakawa in the ladies.

    The problem I see is that some of the CoP scores have been subject to overinflation of ALL marks. What I mean by that is are we going to have "benchmarks" of total scores, Say, Irina's personal best is 211.00 (for laziness sake, I don't wanna find out what it really is)....will all Olympic medal scores need to be near that number if she wins with a score of something near that this year?

    My major objection to the system will NEVER be addressed, though. I think CoP is a fairly well thought out system but needs almost an extra day to be completely accurate. Only upon review of the skate can true accurate points be given, I don't think hidden flutzes can always be caught by "specialists" and I don't think a clean lutz should lose to a cheated one. Those are elements that can only be fairly judged by replay and that would slow down the comps as to run like molasses if done in real time.

    By the way, I think those jumps should be called "Zips" not "Flutzes"....the jump starts off on an outside lutz edge and rocks over to a flip entrance. By definition, a "flutz" would have to be a jump that started from an inside edge and rocked over to an oustide takeoff edge ( I don't even know if that's possible on a triple)

    So tell all those ladies not to ZIP when they attempt a lutz.

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    Down With It
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    About replay - what if there was a sort of "waiting period" (and I mean a 10-20 min. one) while the judges analyze the performances in the name of fairer and more accurate judging? It's easy to nitpick the judges and the system (I'm talking errors, not cheating here), but they only have a limited amount of time to make a decision and give out marks. We skating fans have all day. Who knows if nine of us were to sit on a judging panel and judge a comp., whether we really would be better at it? Just food for thought.

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    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz
    How many of those Muslim judges will there be in any given contest?
    After all the qualifications, Uzbekistan has 1 entry in Pairs, and Azerbaijan has 1 entry in ice dance. After the judges draw, both of those countries will have judges on those panels. No other predominantly Muslim country is sending any skaters to Turin.
    Last edited by Ptichka; 11-12-2005 at 01:35 PM.

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    Remember in Moscow, when the base scores were set incorrectly and it was thought that Wier was ahead of Chienjiang Li in the qualifying group, but hours later the error was discovered and they switched their places? I can just see this (entirely too easily, I'm afraid) happening in Torino, possibly more than once, and what if it happens in regards to medal positions AFTER the medals have been awarded? I can just see another "redo" of a medal ceremony after what happened in SLC, further eroding an already questionable credibility ranking of the sport in general.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz
    I But why not show who the judges were after, or even during, the event? What is there to hide?
    The anonymity is still in place to protect the judges from undue pressure from whatever source, be it other judges, their own federations, etc. Keeping the anonymity of who gave what scores AFTER the event ensures that there is no 'retribution' against any of the judges.

    I think there will come a time when the need for anonymity will no longer exist, but that's several years down the road because the 'old guard' still exists to some degree and needs to be replaced by judges and other officials who are younger and aren't tied to 'tradition' that's so long been a part of protocol judging.

    CoP is helping to address many of the manipulation concerns, but until the judges all get more proficient at using PCS, there will be questions and cries of 'skandal.' The trimmed mean certainly removes much of the ability to try to form a block because no one is sure whose scores will get included or dropped.

    If there IS a scandal at these Games, I believe it will be a fabrication of the (likely American) media, not a fault of the judges or the system.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly
    What are you talking about? Who ever had a "20-second stumble"?

    20 seconds is LONG time on the ice. Most elite skaters can complete a whole straight-line step sequence in well under 20 seconds, maybe a whole circular sequence, and a whole, complicated combination spin.
    Winkler/Lohse in Malmo. A fall at the beginning of their diagonal footwork made them miss nearly the entire pass; they didn't catch up with each other or the program until the very end. However, it didn't affect their placement over Chait/Sakhnovsky in the segment or overall.

  12. #12
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    It took time, unfortunately, for S to catch up to B. I figured it may have taken 20 seconds. She took the lead and I would have given them extra credit for that. Great play by Elena - keeping her cool while he got himself adjusted.

    Joe

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    My Opinion

    I agree with Joe that I don't think there will be a scandal in 2006 at the Olympics but I sure don't agree with him about B & S. They had a more difficult program and much better artistry and finesse than S & P. It was like looking at champagne and cheap wine in a bag. The main difference that the cheap wine in a bag had a clean skate.

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    Uzbeki judges are Raisa Gagarina, Rimma Orlova and Evgeny Rohkin. I believe only Rohkin is an ISU judge, and is Russian, and most likely NOT Muslim.

    Azerbaijani judges: Evgenia Bodanova (ISU) and Irina Kireeva. Bogdanova is Russian.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Lee - Really well thought out post on scandal. and secret judging.

    I understand the rationale behind the undue pressure which leads me to believe that such pressure still exists. Hopefully that is cleared up in the future. It's a blot on figure skating, imo. Until then I would like to study the different judges scores in the future and asap.

    I agree even a hint of scandal will make the American press go bananas for upping the daily circulation, but I also think it will make the press of every country, and they too, will likely fanfare it. It's easy to read articles in english in america, but how many will be able to read the japanese, flemish and lithuanian articles?

    Joe

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