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Thread: Could Skating take a page out of Gymnastics book?

  1. #1
    Tripping on the Podium
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    Question Could Skating take a page out of Gymnastics book?

    Looking at the results of the recent Gymnastics World Championships, it seemed that there was very little "holding up" , making a newcomer "wait their turn", or Bloc judging. This could actually help the sport to regain its popularity that it lost after the Atlanta Olympics.

    There are drawbacks to the sport. Artistry and Choreography don't semm to count for much in the COP. The sport is more injury infested than skating or even Football.

    Once upon a time in Gymnastics, the event outcomes were almost as predetermined as Ice Dancing particularly the team events. Whatever countries were on the technical committee seemed to mirror World podiums. East Germany, for years, always finished 3rd in the team divisions no matter the quality of their gymnsatics. During all of those years Ellen Berger(sp?) of East Germany was president of the Technical Committee. This year Germany wasn't even a team finalist in Mens or Womens Team divisions. The same is going on in skating today. I don't think a certain Dance team would have ever been near the podium if the ISU president wasn't from the same country.

    It was great that there was an all English speaking podium for the Uneven Bars. A gymnast from Brazil won the Floor Exercise Gold. Could this even happen in skating today? It would be difficult to imagine a skater or team from Belgium(randomly picked never medalled nation) coming out of nowhere to win the Gold.

    I am all for letting the chips fall where they may in a given competition. It gives one less argument for skating detractors who are of the opinion that skating is not a sport. After all, if Venus or Serena Williams are having an off day do TPTB advance them to the Finals of Wimbledon based on their past achievements?

    If letting the chips fall where they may might hurt skaters from countries that have always been held up well it'd be an adjustment. It seems that all of the Russian skaters get the judging benefits of SWR(Skating While Russian). The US Ladies also get some benefit(only a major meltdown or tragedy such as the 1961 plane crash has kept them off the podium), as for the most part they have almost never finished less than 3rd at Worlds or Olympics.

    As it is it seems the ISU is trying to apply the worst of both worlds: A COP that encourages figure jumping and an anonymous judging system where Bloc judging can take place ith impunity.

  2. #2
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    I know a gymnastic judge and I am told that the sport is continually cracking down on anything that they consider unfair.

    Regardless of the COP, we are stuck with Speedy's rules. At this point we'll just have to wait and see. As for unfair judging, some cultures see no problem with that. Speedy sees his job as to protect the sport and sweep unfair judging under the rug.
    Not nice but that's they way it is in the Emerald City.

    Joe

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    OT -- Hi Alice Louise, glad to see you at the new board!

    About the Italians, I liked Fusar-Poli and Margaglio in the 1999-2000 season, when they were up and comers. I don't know whether there was some sort of a deal to hold them up in 2000-2001. What competition was it where Mr. C. threw such a public hissy fit when they were marked down? I read recently that Boris Chait was elected to be the new head of the Israeli Skating Federation. This is certain to raise more questions about how the judges treat Chait and Sakhnovsky.

    All of this is a shame, because Barbara Fusar-Poli and Sergei Sakhnovsky are two of my favorities -- it would be cool if they skated together.
    As for unfair judging, some cultures see no problem with that.
    And some individuals from whatever culture. So true. If you are a liar and a cheat you tend to assume that everybody else is a liar and a cheat, too (or else a sucker who deserves to be lied to and cheated). So it is your job to "play the game" better than the other side -- indeed, it is praiseworthy to outcheat your opponents and go home with the gold medal.

    Mathman

  4. #4
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    I would like to start watching gymnastics and understand it better.
    Are their any good sites to help with this.

  5. #5
    Tripping on the Podium
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    judging

    Originally posted by Joesitz
    I know a gymnastic judge and I am told that the sport is continually cracking down on anything that they consider unfair.

    Regardless of the COP, we are stuck with Speedy's rules. At this point we'll just have to wait and see. As for unfair judging, some cultures see no problem with that. Speedy sees his job as to protect the sport and sweep unfair judging under the rug.
    Not nice but that's they way it is in the Emerald City.

    Joe
    Skaters from cultures accept unfair judging as long as they are the beneficiaries. However, if they don't win the are the first to squawk about unfair judging. I will refrain from saying who "they" are so as not to be accused of bashing any skater or group of skaters.

    Who says we have to put up with Speedy? It's only because the USFSA and perhaps the skaters don't have the cojones to walk and join the new skating league that was started by Mr. Pfennig.

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    I hope figure skating isn't going in the direction of gymnastics. I've only been a casual fan of gymnastics but these last years I've lost interest. Aside from Svetlana Khorkhina and a few others, its a parade of 13-16 year olds trying to cram in as many jumping passes as they can. Where is the art in that? Isn't it called "Artistic Gymnastics"? I did watch Worlds this year and there were some great moments but the trend continues. Little girls contorting themselves into even tighter and smaller pretzels, all the while popping tendons and tearing muscles! If they're lucky they'll be around for 1 or 2 major seasons, then its off to rehab for the rest of their lives! LOL...a bit dramatic I know, but I hate to see young girls work so hard for a dream that often ends in serious injury and disappointment. The 3/3 trend has produced some of the same results in figure skating, but at least with the previous judging system there was still a formidable group of mature, seasoned skaters able and willing to compete. I'm thrilled that this underdog US team won Team Gold, but come on, doesn't it bother anyone else that half of the original team was at home (or on the sidelines) in braces and casts? Certainly some will argue that this is the nature of gymnastics, but I disagree. Difficult tricks are awe inspiring...but gravity reigns supreme and one can only fit so many revolutions into one pass, or so many tricks into one beam routine, etc. Enough is enough! Let's see these girls work on poise and posture, artistic impression, etc. and balance that with some tricks. But, as long as the judges reward extreme difficulty and place the emphasis on that, I'm affraid the US better send alternates for the alternate's alternates.

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    Tripping on the Podium
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    Kerri Strug will always be my hero!

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    I think skating could take a few pointers from gymnastics on how not to judge. The points system, start values and bonus points are totally confusing even to the most attentive viewer. It's not like anyone of us can watch a beam routine and say "oh, that was definately a 9.241 performance."

    I'm afraid this is what is going to happen with the CoP system.

  9. #9
    Rinkside
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    Gymnastic scoring sytem is better

    I think those of you that don't watch gymnastics (I used to train in it as a kid) might not understand the enormous difference that the cleanup has made on the sport.

    Instead of abadoning their 10.0 scoring system, they decided that based on the elements a base mark for each gymnasts routine is evaluated and known by all who are judging before the routine. Every little movement (not just tumbling passes or fancy bars moves) has a value. The beauty of this is that it makes it so much more difficult to cheat, the competitors know what is the possible top mark they can get as does the audience.

    If skating had taken this model instead, the 6.0 system would not have to be thrown out and it would make it easier for everyone to understand the limits and what they need to work on. In skating a base mark is implied but not pre-determined or enforced so cheaters take advantage of that by awarding marks that were not earned. By the way gymnasts can appeal if they included an unexpected element and appeals are actually heard and results have changed.

    Also, the mark is not instaneously posted, there is time to evaluate the performance and it is on that individuals performance, ties can happen. We all know of situation where two skaters with different styles were about equal (for example Jamie & David, and Elena and Anton at the Vancouver Worlds).

    Lastly, by using this base mark system they have forced innovation in the sport. Every Olympic year, after the world championships, the value for elements is reduced so that forces innovation by the athletes. I know this would have helped progress ladies skating, it should not have been 10 years between the first triple-axel to the second! This innovation includes dance moves and artistry.

  10. #10
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    I'm not known for being wishy-washy (at least I don't think so, lol), but in this case I agree with BronzeisGolden and Rbtay's points almost equally. I too feel that gymnastics has lost a lot of the artistry and flow that made it both exciting AND beautiful to watch since the changes in the COP. It seems that the gymansts, both men and women, are forced into trying to cram in harder and harder tricks to pack their routines with bonus points. They just cannot afford to do lot of the simpler transition moves where you could see the gymnast's style and personality come out. The floor routine used to be the highlight for me because every so often you would get a gymnast like Svetlana Bouginskaya or Lilia Potkopiava (sp?) or even Shannon Miller who moved so incredibly beautifully through the routain while also doing magnificent tumbling. Now all the points are in front tumbling, which while certainly more difficult does not flow as well as back tumbling. Of course it's great to see front tumbling; I just wish there could be more variety in the routines.

    OTOH, re Rbtay's position, yes, it is true that the COP and emphasis on clean judging has allowed a "global village" of gymnasts to medal at major competitions instead of always the Romanians, the Russians, and a couple of other countries. This is truly great to see. Fairness is always great to see. But I do so wish that there was a way to rework the COP so that the sport was not so brutal on the girls' bodies. With the men, they have matured pretty much by the time they become elite, ie, at least 18. They have the maturity to make choices. Also, somehow men's gymnastics has not become as "pretzel oriented" as women's. Elite women's gymnastics is really teenage girls' gymnastics and coaches of elite level gymnasts will tell you outright that they try to delay the onset of puberty in their gymnasts for as long as possible by keeping their percent body fat as low as possible. You have girls living on starvation diets from the age of six. It scares me from a health perspective.

    Anyway, as for skating taking a page from the gymnastics' approach to judging, 100% yes on the crackdown on bias, unfair judging, and funny business going on behind the scenes. Yes, we have Speedy but there are choices to be made in figure skating and Mr. Pfenning's organization is one of them. But clearly nothing is going to change as long as the big federations like the USFSA are in bed with the ISU. Until there is the right person in the right position to stage some kind of coup, we're stuck with Secret Speedy.

    In terms of the COP, I've just got to wait and see how things go this year and probably the next. I certainly hope the COP does not turn FS into a jumping contest. If it does, it will have one less fan from this computer. Jumping beans and anonymous judges -- yeah, I really want to watch that...NOT!

    I so hope the COP will promote the kind of skating Michelle did this year. Now watch, just when I start to truly love Michelle's skating, the COP will wreck it. Just kidding. I think Michelle will keep skating the way she wants to no matter what the COP rewards. It's all the other skaters I'm concerned about.

    So yes on some things from gymnastics judging; no on others.
    Rgirl

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