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Thread: U.S. National inflation

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    U.S. National inflation

    There has been much discussion on national inflation, the belief that national scores are inherently higher than ISU scores. I decided to do a survey by taking the top 5 finishers from the last 2 US Nationals in all 4 disciplines. I list that skater's/team's national score, their score from their next ISU event, and the difference. ( The * means that skater/team has not had an ISU event since Nats, so I had to take the previous ISU event. ) Here is what I came up with.


    Men

    skater ........ Nats score ..... next ISU .... difference

    2008

    Evan Lysacek .... 244.77 ........ 233.11 ....... 11.66
    Johnny Weir ...... 244.77 ........ 221.84 ....... 22.93
    Stephen Carrier . 228.06 ........ 218.30 ........ 9.76
    Jeremy Abbott .... 221.85 ........ 206.40 ....... 15.45
    Ryan Bradley .... 221.31 ........ 212.75 ........ 8.56

    2009

    Jeremy Abbott ... 241.89 ........ 216.94 ....... 24.95
    Brandon Mroz .... 229.70 ........ 196.78 ....... 32.92
    Evan Lysacek .... 229.10 ........ 237.15 ....... -8.05
    Ryan Bradley ..... 221.40 ....... *175.62 ....... 45.78
    Johnny Weir ...... 203.99 ....... *215.50 ....... -11.51

    Ladies

    skater ........ Nats score ..... next ISU .... difference

    2008

    Mirai Nagasu ...... 190.41 ........ 162.89 ....... 27.52
    Rachael Flatt ..... 188.73 ........ 172.19 ....... 16.54
    Ashley Wagner ... 188.56 ........ 152.46 ....... 36.10
    Caroline Zhang ... 173.16 ........ 171.84 ........ 1.32
    Bebe Liang ........ 164.87 ........ 144.25 ....... 20.62

    2009

    Alissa Czisny ..... 178.06 ........ 159.81 ....... 18.25
    Rachael Flatt ...... 173.78 ........ 162.83 ....... 10.95
    Caroline Zhang ... 171.08 ........ 171.22 ....... -0.14
    Ashley Wagner ... 165.33 ........ 153.57 ....... 11.76
    Mirai Nagasu ...... 159.99 ........*124.22 ....... 35.77

    Pairs

    2008

    team ............... Nats score ... next ISU .... difference

    McLaughlin/Brubaker .. 190.74 ...... 172.69 ........ 18.05
    Inoue/Baldwin .............. 183.17 ...... 156.00 ........ 27.17
    Castile/Okolski ............ 175.07 ...... 159.00 ........ 15.08
    Vise/Trent .................... 161.20 ...... 134.41 ........ 26.79
    Evora/Ladwig .............. 158.94 ...... 138.14 ........ 20.80

    2009

    McLaughlin/Brubaker .. 178.76 ...... 164.01 ........ 14.75
    Denney/Barrett ............ 176.27 ...... 161.69 ........ 14.58
    Inoue/Baldwin .............. 171.08 ...... 157.38 ........ 13.70
    Evora/Ladwig .............. 159.95 ..... *143.88 ........ 16.07
    Castile/Okolski ............ 157.01 ..... *146.03 ........ 10.98

    Ice Dance

    2008

    team ............... Nats score ... next ISU .... difference

    Belbib/Agosto ............. 216.07 ........ 203.00 ....... 13.07
    Davis/White ............... 206.82 ........ 199.45 ........ 7.37
    Navarro/Bommentre .. 187.94 ........ 180.65 ........ 7.29
    Samuelson/Bates ...... 175.16 ........ 181.66 ....... -6.50
    wester/Barantsev ....... 169.37 ........ 141.06 ....... 28.31

    2009

    Davis/White ................ 201.68 ........ 192.39 ........ 9.29
    Samuelson/Bates ...... 181.64 ........ 180.79 ........ 0.85
    Navarro/Bommentre .. 176.30 ........ 151.82 ....... 24.48
    Hubbell/Hubbell .......... 171.51 ........ 161.34 ....... 10.17
    Matthews/Gislason ...... This team has no ISU events.

    As you can see, there were only 4 instances out of 39 where the ISU score is higher. This indicates there is some kind of inflation going on. The average inflation of the 39 samples is 15.47 points. This is fairly significant. I don't know if this is actually a "problem" of any kind, it's just very interesting.

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    What's more interesting is the skaters/teams that got less than the usual inflation. Sometimes it indicates the skaters are not at their best at Nationals (Johnny Weir actually skated a lot worse at Nationals).

    And Samuelson / Bates, who seem to have a complex about Nationals and make errors there, scored the same or less in both years.

    It would be more interesting to look at their previous ISU event rather than their last one. While ISU events affect the view of a couple in the eyes of National judges, I doubt that the reverse occurs as frequently.

    Also, there is often inflation between 4CC's& Europeans and Worlds, systematically, in fact.

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    Custom Title antmanb's Avatar
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    I think the figures alone will not show you the complete picture though because they would have to be comparable skates. If skaters tend to peak at nationals and choke at worlds (I'm not saying that they do but just saying that if that did happen) then the figures might simply show that for teh last two years the topd finishers at nationals have performed better at nationals than they did at worlds.

    Ant

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    Custom Title heyang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by antmanb View Post
    I think the figures alone will not show you the complete picture though because they would have to be comparable skates. If skaters tend to peak at nationals and choke at worlds (I'm not saying that they do but just saying that if that did happen) then the figures might simply show that for teh last two years the topd finishers at nationals have performed better at nationals than they did at worlds.

    Ant
    I agree. Just comparing the scores won't work unless you adjust for elements missed between the 2 events.

    Besides, it's still relative.

    You also have to observe if the other non-US contestants are also elevated at their Nationals,too.

    It could just indicate that you can't declare a 244 at someone's nationals to be the highest score in the history of COP vs a 233 at World's if there is truly inflation at all nationals. It doesn't actually change who wins that particular event though.

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    Just a few observations. Top American pairs all receive double digit inflation. Top ladies all get double digit inflation except one. Men's inflation is significant, but varies widely. Dance seems to get the least inflation.
    Last edited by PolymerBob; 07-21-2009 at 10:19 AM.

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    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    men's varies because their skates vary... Ryan Bradley being a prime example... the show is always on, but not always the jumps.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Cool. Thanks for the figures. Math rules.

    Statistically speaking, there is one systemic bias built into this study. Namely, by including only the top finishers at U.S. Nationals, you are selecting data pairs where the first mark is already guaranteed to be extra-high, while the second one is more random.

    In other words, if someone does well at U.S. Nationals but bombs at Worlds, that skater's marks show a lot of "national inflation." But a skater who bombs at U.S. Nationals and might do great at his/her next ISU event is excluded from the study (not to mention being excluded from the next big ISU event altogether.)

    Anecdotally, national skating federations aim at about a 10 point inflation. Supposedly the purpose for this is to give their skaters a pat on the back heading into worlds. Maybe they also hope to scare the other country's skaters (but that doesn't work, since the other skaters just got a 10 point boost, too), or to alert to the international judges to take notice of this kid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    Statistically speaking, there is one systemic bias built into this study. Namely, by including only the top finishers at U.S. Nationals, you are selecting data pairs where the first mark is already guaranteed to be extra-high, while the second one is more random.
    I thought about that, but I figured skaters who bomb at Nats don't get sent anywhere else. Just for fun, let's take Katrina Hacker last year. She finished 6th at Nats with 158.28. Then she went to 4CC and also finished 6th with 153.86, but finished as top American lady. So I'd say she got little if any inflation at Nats.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    Anecdotally, national skating federations aim at about a 10 point inflation. Supposedly the purpose for this is to give their skaters a pat on the back heading into worlds. Maybe they also hope to scare the other country's skaters (but that doesn't work, since the other skaters just got a 10 point boost, too), or to alert to the international judges to take notice of this kid.
    Well, the judges at this year's 4CC were not very impressed with Alissa's 178.06 she got at Nats, but were totally dazzled by Caroline's 173.16 .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    there is one systemic bias built into this study. Namely, by including only the top finishers at U.S. Nationals, you are selecting data pairs where the first mark is already guaranteed to be extra-high, while the second one is more random.
    Yep.

    I guess someone could go through each skater and compile an average national score, compared with an average ISU score. Alternately, use national score vs. average ISU score for that season.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PolymerBob View Post
    There has been much discussion on national inflation, the belief that national scores are inherently higher than ISU scores. I decided to do a survey by taking the top 5 finishers from the last 2 US Nationals in all 4 disciplines. I list that skater's/team's national score, their score from their next ISU event, and the difference. ( The * means that skater/team has not had an ISU event since Nats, so I had to take the previous ISU event. ) Here is what I came up with.


    Men

    skater ........ Nats score ..... next ISU .... difference

    2008

    Evan Lysacek .... 244.77 ........ 233.11 ....... 11.66
    Johnny Weir ...... 244.77 ........ 221.84 ....... 22.93
    Stephen Carrier . 228.06 ........ 218.30 ........ 9.76
    Jeremy Abbott .... 221.85 ........ 206.40 ....... 15.45
    Ryan Bradley .... 221.31 ........ 212.75 ........ 8.56

    2009

    Jeremy Abbott ... 241.89 ........ 216.94 ....... 24.95
    Brandon Mroz .... 229.70 ........ 196.78 ....... 32.92
    Evan Lysacek .... 229.10 ........ 237.15 ....... -8.05
    Ryan Bradley ..... 221.40 ....... *175.62 ....... 45.78
    Johnny Weir ...... 203.99 ....... *215.50 ....... -11.51

    Ladies

    skater ........ Nats score ..... next ISU .... difference

    2008

    Mirai Nagasu ...... 190.41 ........ 162.89 ....... 27.52
    Rachael Flatt ..... 188.73 ........ 172.19 ....... 16.54
    Ashley Wagner ... 188.56 ........ 152.46 ....... 36.10
    Caroline Zhang ... 173.16 ........ 171.84 ........ 1.32
    Bebe Liang ........ 164.87 ........ 144.25 ....... 20.62

    2009

    Alissa Czisny ..... 178.06 ........ 159.81 ....... 18.25
    Rachael Flatt ...... 173.78 ........ 162.83 ....... 10.95
    Caroline Zhang ... 171.08 ........ 171.22 ....... -0.14
    Ashley Wagner ... 165.33 ........ 153.57 ....... 11.76
    Mirai Nagasu ...... 159.99 ........*124.22 ....... 35.77

    Pairs

    2008

    team ............... Nats score ... next ISU .... difference

    McLaughlin/Brubaker .. 190.74 ...... 172.69 ........ 18.05
    Inoue/Baldwin .............. 183.17 ...... 156.00 ........ 27.17
    Castile/Okolski ............ 175.07 ...... 159.00 ........ 15.08
    Vise/Trent .................... 161.20 ...... 134.41 ........ 26.79
    Evora/Ladwig .............. 158.94 ...... 138.14 ........ 20.80

    2009

    McLaughlin/Brubaker .. 178.76 ...... 164.01 ........ 14.75
    Denney/Barrett ............ 176.27 ...... 161.69 ........ 14.58
    Inoue/Baldwin .............. 171.08 ...... 157.38 ........ 13.70
    Evora/Ladwig .............. 159.95 ..... *143.88 ........ 16.07
    Castile/Okolski ............ 157.01 ..... *146.03 ........ 10.98

    Ice Dance

    2008

    team ............... Nats score ... next ISU .... difference

    Belbib/Agosto ............. 216.07 ........ 203.00 ....... 13.07
    Davis/White ............... 206.82 ........ 199.45 ........ 7.37
    Navarro/Bommentre .. 187.94 ........ 180.65 ........ 7.29
    Samuelson/Bates ...... 175.16 ........ 181.66 ....... -6.50
    wester/Barantsev ....... 169.37 ........ 141.06 ....... 28.31

    2009

    Davis/White ................ 201.68 ........ 192.39 ........ 9.29
    Samuelson/Bates ...... 181.64 ........ 180.79 ........ 0.85
    Navarro/Bommentre .. 176.30 ........ 151.82 ....... 24.48
    Hubbell/Hubbell .......... 171.51 ........ 161.34 ....... 10.17
    Matthews/Gislason ...... This team has no ISU events.

    As you can see, there were only 4 instances out of 39 where the ISU score is higher. This indicates there is some kind of inflation going on. The average inflation of the 39 samples is 15.47 points. This is fairly significant. I don't know if this is actually a "problem" of any kind, it's just very interesting.

    What is the "next ISU event" for the skaters? 4CC (IMHO, too close to US Nationals in date, and most US skaters do not have the same level of performance at 4CC as compared to US Natls). Or Worlds?

    PB....can you notate what the event is for each skater/team? I think that makes a difference if the skater has had time to recover from US Natls.

    Going back to the US Ladies in 2008...what was the next event for Nagasu, Flatt and Zhang? Was it JW's? Jr programs vs Sr programs? OR was it their SGP event in the autumn of 2008? If so, completely different programs. So, not sure this is a good comparison.

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