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Thread: What if Olympic medals were decided by a three year average?

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    What if Olympic medals were decided by a three year average?

    ...instead of by a single performance?

    This question came up on the U.S. Nationals thread. Who would have won the Olympics if prizes were given out for consistency and excellence in the three-year period leading up to the big show? Just for fun, I looked at the World Championships, giving 10 points for first, 9 for second, etc. (I left out the World Championship immediately following the Olympics, because sometimes the old champion competed and sometimes not.)

    Here is how it would have turned out for ladies.

    1952 Jeannette Altwegg (Oly champ)
    1956 Tenley Albright (Oly champ)
    1964 Sjoukje Dijkstra (Oly champ)
    1968 Peggy Fleming (Oly champ)
    1972 Beatrix Schuba (Oly champ)
    1976 Dorothy hamill (Oly champ)
    1980 Linda Fratianne (lost to Annett Poetzsch in a controversial decision)
    1984 Elaine Zayak (6th at Olys, Katarina Witt won)
    1992 Midori Ito (lost to Kristi Yamaguchi)
    1994 Oksana Baiul (Oly champ -- only one year of data, 1993, was considered)
    1998 Michelle Kwan (Tara Lipinski won)
    2002 Michelle Kwan (Sarah Hughes won, Kwan was third)
    2006 Michelle Kwan, with a first, a third and a fourth at 2003, 2004 and 2005 Worlds (Kwan withdrew, Arakawa won)
    2010 Tie: Mao Adada, first, second, fourth; Yuna Kim, first, third, third (And the Oly winner is...)
    Last edited by Mathman; 12-31-2009 at 09:02 PM.

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    But the beauty of the Olympics is seeing who can hold their nerve the best, right?

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    No, the beauty of the Olympics is that Michelle is supposed to have four Olympic gold medals -- counting 1994, where she should have gone instead of Tonya Harding, and she probably -- if there were any justice in the world -- have beaten Oksana Baiul and Nancy Kerrigan.

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    Tanguera feraina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    ...instead of by a single performance?

    This question came up on the U.S. Nationals thread. Who would have won the Olympics if prizes were given out for consistency and excellence in the three-year period leading up to the big show? Just for fun, I looked at the World Championships, giving 10 points for first, 9 for second, etc. (I left out the World Championship immediately following the Olympics, because sometimes the old champion competed and sometimes not.)

    Here is how it would have turned out for ladies.

    1952 Jeannette Altwegg (Oly champ)
    1956 Tenley Albright (Oly champ)
    1964 Sjoukje Dijkstra (Oly champ)
    1968 Peggy Fleming (Oly champ)
    1972 Beatrix Schuba (Oly champ)
    1976 Dorothy hamill (Oly champ)
    1980 Linda Fratianne (lost to Annett Poetzsch in a controversial decision)
    1984 Elaine Zayak (6th at Olys, Katarina Witt won)
    1992 Midori Ito (lost to Kristi Yamaguchi)
    1994 Oksana Baiul (Oly champ -- only one year of data, 1993, was considered)
    1998 Michelle Kwan (Tara Lipinski won)
    2002 Michelle Kwan (Sarah Hughes won, Kwan was third)
    2006 Michelle Kwan, with a first, a third and a fourth at 2003, 2004 and 2005 Worlds (Kwan withdrew, Arakawa won)
    2010 Tie: Mao Adada, first, second, fourth; Yuna Kim, first, third, third (And the Oly winner is...)
    Hmm, so obviously this 3-year average worked better further past in history than in recent years. Maybe this means the winner will be neither Mao nor Yuna. :P

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by feraina View Post
    Hmm, so obviously this 3-year average worked better further past in history than in recent years.
    Seriously, I think it does mean that the sport is more competitive now than in the past. Back then, I think a consensus developed about which skater traced the best figures and that consensus pretty much held up throughout the Olympic cycle.

    Then the champion retired and the next generation moved up a notch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    Seriously, I think it does mean that the sport is more competitive now than in the past. Back then, I think a consensus developed about which skater traced the best figures and that consensus pretty much held up throughout the Olympic cycle.

    Then the champion retired and the next generation moved up a notch.
    I was going to say that in the past figures counted for 50% of the overall mark, things did not change until Karen Magnussen and Janet Lynn were going head to head with the greatest figure skater of all time - Trixi Schuba. In the 1970s the short program was introduced and the figures marks were reduced. Trixi was no match in the free skating portion for neither Karen nor Janet. Now of course it's all changed again. Interesting idea though.

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    Lol interesting idea but how would you rank returnees like Shen/Zhao and Plushy?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    Seriously, I think it does mean that the sport is more competitive now than in the past. Back then, I think a consensus developed about which skater traced the best figures and that consensus pretty much held up throughout the Olympic cycle.

    Then the champion retired and the next generation moved up a notch.
    I have to wonder if in today's climate of reputation scoring that Sarah could have won in 2002. Or Tara in '98. I seriously doubt it.

    I get the feeling that ISU would have made sure that either Michelle or Irina won in 2002 just as Michelle's better reputation would have won her Gold in '98.

    This looks to be what happened at the GPF this season and it is hard to forget some of the things Scott said watching Miki's skating and also how Akiko's marks were kept down so she could not pose a serious threat to Yuna or Miki.

    Watching how the top skaters have been protected this season makes it apparent the scoring is biased and that a struggling ISU is determined to protect it's top skaters whether they skate well or not.

    With so much reputation scoring determining the outcomes it doesn't feel very competitive to me. It feels more like we see alot of manipulated results.

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    Hey, this is a bizarre, strangely mathmatical, I-wish-my-dreams-had-come-true topic and I knew it's you before opening the thread, Mathman Kwan may be happier to have dedicated fans like you than to have three OGMs. The most important things cannot be seen, as someone says.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    I have to wonder if in today's climate of reputation scoring that Sarah could have won in 2002. Or Tara in '98. I seriously doubt it.
    I don't think that reputation scoring is any worse (or better) under CoP judging than with 6.0. In any scoring system the skaters are at the mercy of the judges, no matter what they do.

    What I think happens a lot, in any scoring system, is that certain skaters are really, really good in ways that are not noticed by casual fans watching on TV. Things like edging and power stroking, for instance. So when we see a skater with a big "reputation" receive high scores for Skating Skills and Transitions, this is a legitimate reflection of their performance even if they make mistakes on elements.

    In other words, first and foremost they are good skaters. Because they are good skaters, (a) they acquire a reputation for being good skaters, and (b) they get good marks in areas like skating skills.

    About previous Olympics, I don't think that Sarah Hughes would have won the Olympic gold medal in 2002 under the present scoring system, but not because of favoritism or the reputation of her competitors. She would have received underrotation calls on both of her triple-triples and edge calls on her Lutzes.

    In 1998, I think it could have gone either way, under either scoring system. Tara was reigning World Champion and Michelle in 1998 had not yet achieved the iconic stature that she eventually arrived at. (She had only one world championship under her belt, 1996, at the time).

    By the way, I really like Miki Ando. I think she is an outstanding skater. I don't see what Scott Hamilton and other commentators are constantly harping about. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    I have to wonder if in today's climate of reputation scoring that Sarah could have won in 2002. Or Tara in '98. I seriously doubt it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    I don't think that reputation scoring is any worse (or better) under CoP judging than with 6.0. In any scoring system the skaters are at the mercy of the judges, no matter what they do.

    What I think happens a lot, in any scoring system, is that certain skaters are really, really good in ways that are not noticed by casual fans watching on TV. Things like edging and power stroking, for instance. So when we see a skater with a big "reputation" receive high scores for Skating Skills and Transitions, this is a legitimate reflection of their performance even if they make mistakes on elements.

    In other words, first and foremost they are good skaters. Because they are good skaters, (a) they acquire a reputation for being good skaters, and (b) they get good marks in areas like skating skills.
    I totally agree with Mathman on this point.

    If anything, I think "reputation scoring" played a much larger role in the results under the old judging system than the new one. However, even most of that can be attributed to judges rewarding subtler skating skills that casual fans don't take into account (and that even knowledgeable observers can't adequately perceive via video).

    About previous Olympics, I don't think that Sarah Hughes would have won the Olympic gold medal in 2002 under the present scoring system, but not because of favoritism or the reputation of her competitors. She would have received underrotation calls on both of her triple-triples and edge calls on her Lutzes.

    In 1998, I think it could have gone either way, under either scoring system. Tara was reigning World Champion and Michelle in 1998 had not yet achieved the iconic stature that she eventually arrived at. (She had only one world championship under her belt, 1996, at the time).
    It's really hard to answer these "what-if's" because even changing just one thing would end up changing a lot. And when we say "in today's climate," does that mean all of today's rules?

    If these skaters had grown up competing under IJS, they would have developed some aspects of their skating differently. And so would their competitors. So a lot of results would have been different, perhaps in unexpected directions. Including at qualifying competitions that allowed these skaters to get to the big events, or in previous years' events that would have affected the reputations that they brought to the Olympics.

    Also, "what if" the age rules had been the same as they are now?

    Baiul and Lipinski would have been making their debuts in major senior competition in 1994 and 1998, respectively, so they wouldn't have been reigning world champions or had the reputation halo that comes with that title at their respective Olympics.

    Kwan and Hughes would have made their senior championships debuts in 1997 and 2001, respectively. Would they have medaled at their first Worlds and gone to 98 and 02 Olympics as reigning medalists?

    Would they all have racked up more junior credentials, especially if the JGP had existed while Baiul, Kwan, and Lipinski were 13/14/too-young 15?

    Would they, especially Baiul and Lipinski, have burnt out physically or mentally/emotionally before they even got to seniors, or would they have paced their careers differently?

    Who knows?

    We could ask the same questions about other skaters, e.g., Carol Heiss, who were able to enter world competition at younger ages than is now possible and to win medals in what would have been their first or second year of age eligibility under today's rules.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marrymeyunakim View Post
    But the beauty of the Olympics is seeing who can hold their nerve the best, right?
    History has proved that it was not a beauty. It was almost "tragedy".

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    Since emotion is a factor for some and not so much for others, I guess we could say how fortunate the Olympic Figure Skating athlete is that has an underdeveloped emotional nervous system in the brain. And how unfortunate those are that have over developed brains in those brain structures.

    Maybe athletes should have MRI’s and emotion tests where an ‘Emotion factor” could be developed. We could apply the “Emotion Factor” to the Olympic scores and the real winner ……….. no, we wouldn’t like that either.

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