Here's Sonia's latest article:
Here's Sonia's latest article:
Excellent review. She and I would get along just fine. I particularly like:
No surprise, however. Only more and more depressing. Flawless, or even relatively clean, is impossible nowadays. The sport has turned into a combination of acrobatic movements more suitable to a circus than a skating arena. The poor skaters are just rushing from one place to another, their main objective being to stay upright, while repeating the same few contortions required by the new judging system.
Acrobatics and Circus is what figure skating is - not Ballet!
Like Hersh, I think she makes some good points but tends to disregard or discount any evidence that does not support her argument (it's a well-known psychological process, called confirmation bias IIRC) - an argument that essentially boils down to "CoP sucks and is ruining figure skating". Yes, 2008 TEB was pretty awful, and the ladies have mostly disappointed this year. But there have also been some really exciting performances on the GP circuit, including some real breakthroughs.
We often look at the past through very rose-tinted glasses. CoP has brought a lot of problems with it, sure; and there's a lot that can be changed for the better, as we've discussed here on GS before. But were skaters doing that much better under 6.0?
The first part of the "bad CoP" argument is that there are now more mistakes. But under 6.0 there were plenty of mistakes made as well. I'll take the Olympics as an example because it's easier to look up. At 2002 Olys the men's silver medalist fell in his SP and made mistakes in his LP; no lady skated two clean and strong programs; and the pairs, well, obviously one gold medal team made mistakes (though let's not revive that controversy in this thread). In 1992, every medalist in the ladies fell at least once. In 1998, only Kwan and Lipinski went completely clean in the ladies, and that, we can all agree, was some pretty special figure skating. I believe the men all made mistakes or purposely downgraded jumps except for Kulik. Really, even the best skaters have their off days or even off-years.
Argument two, with which I agree to a point, is that programs are less creative and less interesting under the current system. Of course CoP needs work, and the skaters have to go with programs that are very difficult to execute well. But some of them do skate them well, even if not always, and the programs are much more packed with content and transitions, not the jump-stroke-jump-stroke-mediocre spin we used to see once you got past the top three or four skaters in each discipline. When I look at older programs some were more creative, but many were also more boring. I think the top people will shine no matter the judging system.
I don't believe it's ever been that common for skaters to skate two programs that are creative, technically strong, and 100% mistake free.
The second place went to Maria Mukhortova and Maxim Trankov, Russia. They had many failures and she fell in the triple Salchow. Their program, in my opinion, has nothing to do with the music chosen and it is difficult to understand what they want to express. Not to speak of her costume which I would define as grotesque, to say the least.
This is my favorite quote. Can someone post a link where I can find a picture of this costume? I would really like to see what she is talking about.
The creative side suffered to some extend, that is true, several skaters have to work against their strengths (e.g. Weir). But one of my alltime favourite programs, the Lambiel-Flamenco was designed under COP and got massive PCS most of times, even when the performance was marred by falls and stumbles.
I really don't think it's all black and white.
Still, I think Ms. Bianchetti's central argument is exactly right and comprises an indictment against the whole "point total" approach to judging figure skating contests.
Under ordinal judging, I won because I skated better than you, and you got silver because you skater better than the others.
Under CoP judging, I won because I got more points than you, and you got silver because you got more points than the others.
I think this is a profound difference in philosophy. Ordinals say, "skate well." CoP says, "get points."
Last edited by Mathman; 12-08-2008 at 07:17 PM.