ISU documentation on the scoring system
Program Components Overview
Program Components Explanations
Singles and Pairs documents
The link to the latest ISU communication from the ISU Single and Pair Skating documents page prompts you open a PDF, so I can't link to it directly there. Go to the link above and open ISU Communication 1790 (or whichever communication replaces it next time it's updated, probably spring 2014).
The technical panel handbooks are long documents with details on how the technical panels call elements for singles and pairs
US Figure Skating has direct links on their site to pieces of the latest ISU communication:
Singles and Pairs
Scale of Values from ISU Comm. 1790
Levels of difficulty (singles) from ISU Comm. 1790
Levels of difficulty (pairs) from ISU Comm. 1790
Establishing GOE from ISU Comm. 1790
Before addressing specific examples, especially controversial ones, make sure you have a grasp on the general principles of how the scoring system works. I (or Doris or another Golden Skate poster) could summarize in this thread, or you can read the ISU's summary.
We could probably have separate discussions of what the technical panel does, what the judges do in scoring elements, and what the judges do in scoring program components.
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This is quite a substantial undertaking, requiring hours and hours of research even to begin. Speaking for myself, I am not an expert in the ISU judging system, and I don't skate. I do not know what a counter or a Mohawk is. The ISU, through its hundreds of "Communications" publishes continual explanations, clarifications, and changes aimed at technical specials, other skating officials, and coaches. These are virtually impossible to keep up with. How is the choreographed spiral scored? How many revolutions do you have to do in each position to get a "feature" toward a "level"?
For my own use, I have found these two documents to be the most helpful. Communication 1611 has all of the numbers. Base values for all the elements, increments for GOEs, "bullets" for positive and negative GOEs, and features for levels of spins and step sequences. It is lengthy, but not hard to read (mostly just long columns of numbers).
http://www.isu.org/vsite/vnavsite/pa...v-list,00.html (Click on Communication 1611)
The document "Explanation of program components" lists what the judges are supposedly looking for in the program components marks. It is less helpful than communications 1611 for the technical scores. I do not really understand what they are getting at in some of their terminology. Or rather, I shoud say I don't see how the judges are supposed to measure these things.
For instance, one of the features for the performance/execution mark is "the skater radiates energy resulting in an invisible connection with the audience." At the recent worlds the audience booed Patrick Chan, but he got a 9 in this category anyway. I guess the judges thought that he was "emotionally sincere" to an outstanding degree (one of the other bullets.)
(Not to be picking on Patrick, just illustrating the difficulties of explaining or understanding the scoring system.)
http://www.isu.org/vsite/vnavsite/pa...v-list,00.html (Click on "Explanation of program components)
For the benefit of anyone who's new to the whole scoring process, I'll summarize the ISU's summary here.
Originally Posted by gkelly
There are two parts to the scoring for each performance and two groups of officials who contribute to them.
First is the Technical Elements Score
Skaters perform technical elements, with different requirements and restrictions based on competition level (senior, junior, novice), discipline (men's singles, ladies' singles, pairs), and competition phase (short and long program).
Pairs have more kinds of elements that I won't get into right now.
Singles have jumps, spins, step sequences, and currently for senior ladies' long programs only there's also a "choreographed spiral sequence."
Each element has a base value, listed in the Scale of Values, along with the computer code for that element.
As the skater performs, the technical panel calls out each of the elements, to be entered into the computer. There are three members of the technical panel who work together to make these decisions, conferring after the program and reviewing video replay for any elements that were questionable.
Jumps are called according to takeoff and number of revolutions. If a multirevolution jump has less than the defined amount of rotation in the air, then the panel will call it "underrotated" (shown by a < symbol; scored at 70% of the full jump's base value) or "downgraded" (<< symbol; base value of the jump with the same takeoff and one less revolution, e.g., downgraded triple salchow starts from base value for a double salchow). The tech panel will also add an "e" symbol if a flip or lutz takes off from the opposite edge it's supposed to, or if the takeoff edge is unclear/flat.
For spins and step sequences, the panel calls the specific type of element and also assigns a level. Each of these categories of elements has a list of features that raise the level. All start at level 1 if they meet the basic definition of the element. If the skater gets credit for 2 features, the element is called as level 2; 3 features gives level 3; 4 features gives level 4.
The choreographed spiral sequence in the senior ladies' long program and the second step sequence in the senior men's long program no longer receive levels; they are given either a base mark of 2 points or no value if they don't meet the minimum requirements.
There are fine details to what the technical panel does, but that's the general overview.
So most of the technical score comes from the technical panel identifying exactly what the skater did.
The judging panel also contributes to the Technical Elements Score by assigning a grade of execution (GOE) to each element. If the element is satisfactory, they give a GOE of 0, which means the skater receives the base value for the element. If the judges think the element was better than just satisfactory they can give bonus points in the form of positive GOEs of +1, +2, or in rare cases +3. If the judges think that the element was flawed, they give negative GOEs of -1, -2, or -3 to be subtracted from the base value. The GOEs of all the judges for an element are averaged and the average is added to or subtracted from the base.
The Scale of Values lists how much each plus or minus is worth for each element so that the bonuses and reductions are not the same for easy, medium, and hard elements but are roughly proportional to the base values.
The base scores plus or minus GOEs for each element are added together to make the Technical Elements Score (TES).
The second score is the Program Components Score
The Judges each score each whole performance on a scale of 0-10 in five categories. See the program components explanations on the ISU page linked above for details.
The judges' scores for each component are averaged are multiplied by a factor (for junior and senior men's short programs the factor is 1) and all five are added together to obtain the Program Components Score (PCS).
The TES and PCS are added together to make the Total Segment Score (TSS).
Then there can also be 1.0-point deductions for falls and certain kinds of rule violations that are subtracted from the TSS.
The TSS for each segment of the competition (short and long program) are added together for the final results.
Now, if you want to get specific about the scoring of a particular performance, it will help to know whether you want to focus on how the tech panel called the elements, how the judges graded the elements, or how the judges scored the program components. If you're looking at final results, make sure to look at each segment of the competition separately because the overall results may not match the long program results.
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