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Thread: Hypothetical question: What "formula" could be used for U.S. Olympic team selection?

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    Question Hypothetical question: What "formula" could be used for U.S. Olympic team selection?

    Here's my attempt at starting a thread on this topic based on the following posts from the McLaughlin/Brubaker Split thread:
    Quote Originally Posted by PolymerBob View Post
    Technically, that is what happened at these Olympics. The problem is that the [U.S.] team in all 4 disciplines exactly matched National results, so we don’t know if anything else was considered.

    I think that a more inclusive system could work, but only if was an exact formula that took into account scores and placements from ISU events. It should not be left up to the USFSA to interpret results as they see fit.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tonichelle View Post
    um, why shouldn't it be up to the team to choose who's on the team? that's how it's done. would you rather the ISU pick who goes and who stays?
    Quote Originally Posted by PolymerBob View Post
    A couple of things. First, I did not write "must be", nor "should be"; I wrote "could work". There is a subtile difference. Secondly, the ISU cannot pick our international teams, but their result can be used. If ( and only if ) ISU results are used, USFSA officials should state ahead of time what formula is used. If they want to add the base 10 logarithm of the Grand Prix Final score to the hyperbolic tangent of the placement; then add that to the Nationals score, that's fine. But the formula should be stated ahead of time. That way there's no argument.

    And if they want to keep things the way they are, then that's fine too.
    Have at it!

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    Re: Hypothetical question: What "formula" could be used for U.S. Olympic team selecti

    Originally Posted by PolymerBob
    If they want to add the base 10 logarithm of the Grand Prix Final score to the hyperbolic tangent of the placement; then add that to the Nationals score, that's fine. But the formula should be stated ahead of time. That way there's no argument.


    WHAT?????

    Hmmm...I would love to be involved in this discussion. I hear formula, I think math, I go running!!

    But I think no matter what the formula is...there will always be someone that is not happy.

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    Re: Hypothetical question: What "formula" could be used for U.S. Olympic team selecti

    Sounds fair, let me take a stab. You would want to include the important points of the ISU results, which are the scores and placements. But how do you include both? Let's start with the events. We can't go back too far, so let's say previous seasons 4CC, Olympics ( if any ), Junior Worlds, Worlds, and this season's Grand Prix Final. To each event, apply a weight factor ( F ). So let's say:

    1) Four Continents ... F = 0.035
    2) Olympics ........... F = 0.040
    3) Junior Worlds ...... F = 0.045
    4) Worlds .............. F = 0.050
    5) GP Final ............. F = 0.055 ( You might not agree on the exact numbers, but this is just an example. )

    Now for each event, take a skater's score, divide by placement, then multiply the result by that event's factor. And this is the allowance added to the national score for the purpose of picking World / Olympic teams.

    So Jeremy Abbott was 5th at Worlds with a score of 232.10. The factor for Worlds is 0.050. So Jeremy's allowance is 0.050 x 232.10 / 5 = 2.32 points.

    Jeremy was 9th at the Olympics with a score of 218.96. The factor for the Olympics is 0.040. So Jeremy's allowance would be 0.040 x 218.96 / 9 = 0.97 points.

    Evan won the Olympics with a score of 257.67, so his allowance would be 0.040 x 257.67 / 1 = 10.31 points.

    These allowance points would then be added to a skater's or team's National score for the purpose of picking World / Olympic teams. They do not count as far as official records go, just in picking teams.

    Not bad for a first attempt.
    Last edited by PolymerBob; 06-24-2010 at 02:43 PM.

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    Re: Hypothetical question: What "formula" could be used for U.S. Olympic team selecti

    I know it's not complicated enough, but I wish we could just use common sense in picking our Olympic team. Who are our top skaters on the international scene? Which skaters score the best and are the most well received by the judges worldwide? Did those skaters look to be in good form at Nationals? Send them to the Olympics. What if one of the favorites messes up badly at Nationals? What if Lysacek bombed Nationals (which he clearly stated he wasn't going to peak for)? Well, he had just won the Grand Prix Final, had done well in his Grand Prix events, and obviously had strong potential to win an Olympic medal. Send him to the Olympics rather than someone who may have beaten him at Nationals, but doesn't have the same scoring potential and maybe was just a little lucky that day.

    That's how I would do it. Common sense. Now, if there is a mathematical formula that can be formed that resembles common sense, then I'm all for it.
    Last edited by gold12345; 06-24-2010 at 03:47 PM.

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    Re: Hypothetical question: What "formula" could be used for U.S. Olympic team selecti

    PB= all fine and dandy, but how does one take into account score difference between events? I suppose one can play around with the weights but it sounds like what you're proposing is a lot more complicated than it should be. It should be simple enough to explain to a layperson, yet fair enough to give everyone an equal chance. I think the current system (Nationals for qualifying) is fine. Sure, it puts extra weight on Nationals, and may be unforgiving if a skater has a stellar season and then a bad performance at Nationals, but isn't that the way it is in other sports? In a way, it's also a test of how well you can handle pressure. If you can't handle it at Nats, there's NO WAY you'll be able to withstand the Oly pressure.

    If you want to take a skater's entire season into account, perhaps a simple average of numbers works out? Then again, one runs into the problem I mentioned above. No method is perfect.

    Just my 2 cents. Or maybe 2 dollars.

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    Re: Hypothetical question: What "formula" could be used for U.S. Olympic team selecti

    Quote Originally Posted by gold12345 View Post
    I know it's not complicated enough, but I wish we could just use common sense in picking our Olympic team. Who are our top skaters on the international scene? Which skaters score the best and are the most well received by the judges worldwide? Did those skaters look to be in good form at Nationals? Send them to the Olympics. What if one of the favorites messes up badly at Nationals? What if Lysacek bombed Nationals (which he clearly stated he wasn't going to peak for)? Well, he had just won the Grand Prix Final, had done well in his Grand Prix events, and obviously had strong potential to win an Olympic medal. Send him to the Olympics rather than someone who may have beaten him at Nationals, but doesn't have the same scoring potential and maybe was just a little lucky that day.

    That's how I would do it. Common sense. Now, if there is a mathematical formula that can be formed that resembles common sense, then I'm all for it.
    I'm in agreement with this. I mean, say Ryan Bradley at nationals put up a clean SP on top of the great FS he delivered. If that had happened, I could maybe see sending him instead of Weir (who had also not had awesome results recently) but certainly not in place of Lysacek, who had done well all season.

    The same could be said of sending Czisny over Flatt just because say Czisny did well at nationals and got scores she'd never come close to in international competition. In terms of the ladies, I think it was a good choice to send Mirai. Rachael I knew was pretty much a lock, and the other spot basically was going to Sasha, Ashley or Mirai. Alissa is kind of in the Ryan Bradley category in that she doesn't have the international results going for her and has never really put up a great score internationally. So Mirai had issues last season, but she's at least been pretty consistent in terms of not falling, so picking between her and Ashley and a questionable Sasha wasn't really a huge deal.

    The point I'm trying to make is that for each discipline, there should have been one pair/skater who was essentially locked for a spot on the Olympic team. For men, that would be Lysacek, for ladies, Flatt, for dance, Davis/White, and for pairs, McLaughlin/Brubaker. The remaining 1 or 2 spots for each discipline could then be determined by who did best at nationals, but I do think at least one spot should be reserved for the skaters/pairs who have consistently had the best recent international results.

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    Re: Hypothetical question: What "formula" could be used for U.S. Olympic team selecti

    Quote Originally Posted by silverlake22 View Post
    The same could be said of sending Czisny over Flatt just because say Czisny did well at nationals and got scores she'd never come close to in international competition. In terms of the ladies, I think it was a good choice to send Mirai. Rachael I knew was pretty much a lock, and the other spot basically was going to Sasha, Ashley or Mirai. Alissa is kind of in the Ryan Bradley category in that she doesn't have the international results going for her and has never really put up a great score internationally. So Mirai had issues last season, but she's at least been pretty consistent in terms of not falling, so picking between her and Ashley and a questionable Sasha wasn't really a huge deal.
    Flatt was not a lock. If she performed like she did last year, or at Cup of China she would be staying home while Nagasu and Wagner went to Vancouver. But I agree that she was the most likely to get a spot. Nagasu was the wild card...I'm really not surprised that she got the 2nd spot.

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    Re: Hypothetical question: What "formula" could be used for U.S. Olympic team selecti

    evan would not have been left off the team. Plain and simple. Theyd have broken with tradition on that one.

    as for the dream team in pairs, its not like they had been knocking it out of the park anyway. If she quit skating because of it thats her choice and not the responsibility of the usfsa. Hand holding shouldnt be a factor. They arent the only ones who packed it up and went home after being left off the team.

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    Re: Hypothetical question: What "formula" could be used for U.S. Olympic team selecti

    Quote Originally Posted by Tonichelle View Post
    evan would not have been left off the team. Plain and simple.
    That's probably true. But the one thing we will never ( never, never, never, never, never, never ) know is, how would they have put him on the team had be been 4th or 5th best at Nationals? Would they have passed over a higher finisher, or would they have jury-rigged the results to put Evan in the top 3?

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    Re: Hypothetical question: What "formula" could be used for U.S. Olympic team selecti

    they would have judged it accordingly judging by the fairness that that week held scorewise (even with inflation) and then put him on the team based on his achievements over the season and the fact that he was reigning world champion. That has always been their right and an option. Theyve just never has a reason to use it.

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    Re: Hypothetical question: What "formula" could be used for U.S. Olympic team selecti

    Quote Originally Posted by Tonichelle View Post
    That has always been their right and an option. Theyve just never has a reason to use it.
    When Alissa had a strong '08 Grand Prix season, then landed 3 clean triples in her long at Nats, was that a good reason?

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    Re: Hypothetical question: What "formula" could be used for U.S. Olympic team selecti

    Quote Originally Posted by PolymerBob View Post
    When Alissa had a strong '08 Grand Prix season, then landed 3 clean triples in her long at Nats, was that a good reason?
    Alissa's 09 national title was a consolation prize because the USFSA knew that she would not be on the 2010 Olympic team unless she pulled some sort of huge upset or miraculously got her nerves and jumps together in such a short period of time. Plus, now her bombing at this year's nationals can be excused, because she had added pressure of being defending national champion. Plus, last year's event was a little lackluster.....I would have had Maxwell on the podium but clearly the judges think differently.

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    Re: Hypothetical question: What "formula" could be used for U.S. Olympic team selecti

    I think trend is hugely important-- and also Nationals, so that a lights-out performance by someone who hadn't been the most dominant may still give that underdog a shot (so as to preserve the 'magic' of Nationals).

    I would say scores should be weighted:
    Nationals: 45 %
    Previous 5 international outings in order from most recent to oldest weighted: 25, 15, 10, 5 % .

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    Re: Hypothetical question: What "formula" could be used for U.S. Olympic team selecti

    Quote Originally Posted by cornell08 View Post
    I think trend is hugely important-- and also Nationals, so that a lights-out performance by someone who hadn't been the most dominant may still give that underdog a shot (so as to preserve the 'magic' of Nationals).
    Absolutely; there must always be a chance of making the team, even for the skaters who haven't had any international experience. Otherwise, why compete at Nationals?

    I guess the only thing I will insist on is the procedure be followed. If the USFSA wants to include ISU results, then the formula should be stated and followed. They should not be allowed to seal themselves in a locked room and pick whomever they want with no rules.

    Likewise, if the USFSA wants to use Nationals as the only criterium, then that's fine too. I have no problem with that. But then don't shave points because this skater did better than that skater at such-and-such ISU event.

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    Re: Hypothetical question: What "formula" could be used for U.S. Olympic team selecti

    Quote Originally Posted by PolymerBob View Post
    Likewise, if the USFSA wants to use Nationals as the only criterium, then that's fine too. I have no problem with that. But then don't shave points because this skater did better than that skater at such-and-such ISU event.
    Do we have PROOF that that is being done, though? In the end, it's nothing but fan speculation. Sure, the judging can be "weird" sometimes, but who are we to connect it to GP results?

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