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Thread: Rachael Flatt: Complete Profile

  1. #46
    Tripping on the Podium
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    Rachael's work ethic is truly impressive, and I wish, wish another coach or choreographer had been involved earlier in her career. Perhaps she would not have gotten anywhere without Tom Zakrajsek teaching her jumps, but imagne her consistent jumps and work ethic added on to better speed, line, posture, or at least to more creative choreoagraphy.

  2. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    Well, this is Mathman's theory. Whether it's true or not is another question.

    When it comes to the psychological effects of skate order (as opposed to the intentional cheating that he implies), all we can do is speculate, and all the rulemakers and officials can do is try to counteract natural human tendencies as far as possible.
    I will try again, using less accusatory language.

    Judges and technical specialists, even more so than knowledgable fans, come into a competition with certain expectations abut how things will unfold. It is psychologically pleasing when one's expectations are met, and potentially jarring when they are not.

    At the 2010 Olympics the expectation was that Yu-na Kim would give a performance fit for a queen, with Mao Asada ably stepping up to the role of the loyal opposition. Joannie was already the home town girl feel-good story, even setting aside the unexpected tragedy.

    Did this expectation cause the tech panel to see things that weren't there in Rachael's performance, with a corresponding relaxation of vigilance for the last skater?

  3. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    Did this expectation cause the tech panel to see things that weren't there in Rachael's performance, with a corresponding relaxation of vigilance for the last skater?
    If there was a downgrade/underrotation (same thing in 2010) and/or edge call, we know that the tech panel chose to review. If there was no call, we don't know whether or not they reviewed.

    Were Flatt's jumps given extra scrutiny ("review" calls) during the program because the tech panel wanted to be extra sure to look for problems from a skater who was not one of the expected medalists but was in position to pose a threat to those who were?

    Or were all skaters' jumps given extra scrutiny because it was the Olympics and the panel wanted to make sure to be as accurate as possible?

    We don't know whether Nagasu's nondowngraded jumps were reviewed or not. One possibility is that even more of her jumps were reviewed, but upon review there was less evidence of underrotation than for Flatt's flip, so they weren't downgraded.

    Another possibility is that the tech panel was so mentally exhausted and desperate for the restroom by the time she skated that they forgot to call reviews during the program and therefore didn't review and couldn't downgrade.

    I'm sure we can make up lots of other possible stories, but presenting them as factual explanations for the known facts is irresponsible.

    If there was a call, there are basically three possibilities:

    *All three, or at least two, of the tech panel members saw the underrotation on their video when they reviewed it. (honest and correct according to what they saw)

    (Remember that their camera angle will be at least slightly and may be significantly different from that of the broadcast videos that show up on youtube. Without omniscience, or at least supersensors that have not yet been invented and put into use, we can't know whether the tech panel video angle or the broadcast angle is closer to the "truth" of how the jump was actually executed. But we do know that the resolution and replay capacities of youtube videos are significantly weaker than the systems used at international events, or even than watching and rewinding a DVD on your own large-screen TV.)

    *Two of the tech panel members thought the rotation of the jump was within 90 degrees of what it should be. The one member with the most dominant personality saw (or pretended to see) an underrotation and convinced at least one of the others to go along by force of personality. (dishonest if there was pretense, not the way the balance of power in the tech panel is supposed to work even if there wasn't, but that's the human factor)

    *None of the tech panel members saw a problem with the jump, but at least two of them reached an agreement, by prior collusion or right there on the stand in real time, to lie and call an underrotation that they knew perfectly well they didn't see. (blatantly dishonest)

    I think what you're arguing is a fourth possibility:

    *Because all three members of the tech panel expected other skaters to medal, in calling the program of a skater who was not so favored but who posed a threat to those who were, they were extravigilant in calling reviews and then when reviewing those jumps, they consciously or unconsciously gave her the opposite of benefit of doubt. If it was borderline 90 degrees short as they saw it, they called the underrotation, whereas for a skater who they did want/expect to win (or who didn't threaten those they did) they would have given extra benefit of doubt.

    Maybe. No way of knowing. It's a theory, but we could make up lots of different stories about the tech panel's psychology, and it's even several conflicting ones could be true at the same time (three panel members had different thoughts; one individual had conflicting thoughts).

  4. #49
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    We don't know whether Nagasu's nondowngraded jumps were reviewed or not. One possibility is that even more of her jumps were reviewed, but upon review there was less evidence of underrotation than for Flatt's flip, so they weren't downgraded.

    Another possibility is that the tech panel was so mentally exhausted and desperate for the restroom by the time she skated that they forgot to call reviews during the program and therefore didn't review and couldn't downgrade.

    I'm sure we can make up lots of other possible stories, but presenting them as factual explanations for the known facts is irresponsible.
    In the absence of any official explanation, observers are left with no recourse but to grasp at straws. Under 6.0, if judge number 5 liked Billy's skate better than Tony's, well, there may be a lot to criticize in such a scoring system but the one thing you can't say is, "No, something is wrong here, judge number 5 did not really like Billy's skate better."

    But in CoP, when the tech panel says that Rachael's flip was under-rotated when it wasn't, and it's right there on the video tape for all to see without ambiguity, then people will be scratching their heads trying to come up with an explanation, however fanciful.

    OK, here is another theory. The tech specialist flagged Rachael's 3F+3T because of the questionable rotation on the triple toe part, but by computer error the < sign was placed after the 3F instead of the 3T.

    May I ask if you looked at the videos that were posted? The jump at issue is at 1:20 in Rachael's long program. The camera angle was perfect.

    Now compare that landing edge with Mirai's triple flip at 2:00. Under-rotated or not? It looked to me like it was, but someone else might have a different opinion.

    In Rachael's second triple flip, at 3:05, the landing was maybe 45 degrees short, but it might have looked like more in real time because she kept turning into her double toe.

    For contrast, how about Mirai's double Axel at 3:50? (Great spread eagle entrance, though!)

    Now, if I am factually wrong -- if Rachael's flips really did deserve to be downgraded -- then, OK, that's the end of the matter. But I do not believe the technical panel and the judges should automatically be let off the hook with, well, they have a better camera angle, it takes two out of three, they have lots of training, etc.

  5. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    May I ask if you looked at the videos that were posted? The jump at issue is at 1:20 in Rachael's long program. The camera angle was perfect.
    I did. On my home computer there's a popup every time I try to pause, so it's not very useful for scrutinizing. I watched on my office computer this morning, but I won't be back there until next week.

    I'm not a trained technical specialist. But if I were, watching in real time from the angle of this camera, I think I'd have been more likely to call for a review on Nagasu's flip than on Flatt's.

    However, whatever the reason any jump was called for review, what matters is what the panel sees on the review.
    This video does have a slow-motion replay of Flatt's 3F+3T after the program, from the same angle as the program. What I see there is the following:

    She set up the combination traveling down the long axis of the rink toward the short barrier on the left of the screen, let's call it West.

    The curve of the edges before and especially after the three turn curved the direction of travel by approximately 90 degrees so that by the time she took off for the flip she was traveling pretty much straight at the camera (South); along the short axis of the rink, perpendicular to the approach along the long axis.

    At the time she landed, the blade was facing back down the length of the ice (front of blade facing East, traveling backward West).

    Then the landing curved around (on a nice big fast landing curve, not the hook we generally associate with a cheated jump) until she was coming back South toward the camera for the toe loop takeoff).

    So, technically, the direction of travel (West) at the point of landing was approximately 90 degrees short of where full rotation would have been if she'd rotated exactly 360 x 3 degrees from the direction of travel (South) at the point of takeoff.

    From this angle, with this speed on the landing, I would still consider this a good jump. If I'd had to review it from this angle as a member of the technical panel, I would have said it was within the 90 degrees tolerance and called it fully rotated.

    But what would I have seen on the review from the official replay camera angle, with full slow-motion and pause capability? That's what we don't know.

    Since the youtube videos are not conclusive, I don't have a problem accepting the Occam's razor simplest solution: from the tech panel's angle, Flatt's jump looked >90 short to at least 2 of the panel members, and Nagasu's didn't (or they didn't bother to review it).

    Maybe they did indeed get it wrong; maybe their camera angle was deceiving. Or maybe they saw that the blade was actually heading slightly West-Northwest at the point of landing making it just enough more than 90 degrees short of an acceptable landing for a South-traveling takeoff.

    But since I only have another angle and not an omniscient view to compare it to, I'm not prepared to commit an opinion as to which call was objectively right or wrong.

    Now, if I am factually wrong -- if Rachael's flips really did deserve to be downgraded -- then, OK, that's the end of the matter. But I do not believe the technical panel and the judges should automatically be let off the hook with, well, they have a better camera angle, it takes two out of three, they have lots of training, etc.
    All we have to go by is camera angles. Even if we could compare the two different angles side by side, if one looks like ~80 degrees short and the other looks like ~100 degrees, how do we know which one is factually right or wrong?

  6. #51
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    The curve of the edges before and especially after the three turn curved the direction of travel by approximately 90 degrees so that by the time she took off for the flip she was traveling pretty much straight at the camera (South); along the short axis of the rink, perpendicular to the approach along the long axis.
    Gosh, it was impossible for me to see that, even in slow motion. I don't know how many frames per second the youtube is, but all I can make out is a blur of skates right at the moment of take-off. Would you say this is pre-rotation, then? She is going West but doesn't actually leave the ice until her blade has turned around to the South?

    To me, it looked like if she had done an extra quarter turn and landed South instead of West she would have over-rotated her East-West axis and fallen.

    This is too hard.
    Last edited by Mathman; 05-10-2012 at 02:50 PM.

  7. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    Gosh, it was impossible for me to see that, even in slow motion. I don't know how many frames per second the youtube is, but all I can make out is a blur of skates right at the moment of take-off.
    So, given these inherent limitations of online videos, why would you insist they're more reliable than the official ones?

    Would you say this is pre-rotation, then? She is going West but doesn't actually leave the ice until her blade has turned around to the South?
    Kind of. More that the angle of travel on the ice changes over the course of both edges of the three turn. But she still has so much "westward" momentum from the approach that she's traveling more west than south in the air even though her blade was already pointing south on the takeoff, which makes it look like a jump that should land going west, as indeed she did.

    As I said, from this angle it looks to me like the amount of rotation was within the acceptable tolerance, so I would not have downgraded it.

    BUT I don't jump to the conclusion that because it looks good to me on a blurry online video, therefore anyone who said otherwise must have been basing their call on the results they wanted to manipulate. In the absence of evidence to the contrary (and blurry video from a different angle doesn't count), I assume they based the call on what they actual saw right in front of them including perhaps recognizable tracings on the ice and on their better quality video from a different (though not necessarily better) angle.

    From an omniscient point of view the call might not have been correct. But there's no reason to assume it wasn't honest.

  8. #53
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    OK, I accept that. I apologize to the Olympic technical panel.

    This judging system places too much burden on would-be fans.

  9. #54
    Skating is art, if you let it be. Blades of Passion's Avatar
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    You shouldn't apologize. Tech callers have definitely relied partially upon reputation/momentum to do their jobs for them. It's easy to call someone out who has repeatedly made certain mistakes in the past and it's hard (for some of these people, anyway) to call out mistakes by the anointed skaters who are the favorites to win.

    Even aside from the stress these callers feel to not make themselves look like fools, I wouldn't put it past certain ISU officials to sit the tech specialists down before big competitions and say "Look, this is the result we want, so make it happen unless our chosen skaters clearly screw it up so bad that they can't possibly win." Then there is of course the issue of bribes from federations or wealthy supporters of the individual skaters. It's a real thing.

  10. #55
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    Intriguingly, I think the Olympic ladies podium was the only one Blades actually agreed with (though I believe he had Nagasu in 3rd in the LP, 4th overall).

  11. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    I will try again, using less accusatory language.

    Judges and technical specialists, even more so than knowledgable fans, come into a competition with certain expectations abut how things will unfold. It is psychologically pleasing when one's expectations are met, and potentially jarring when they are not.

    At the 2010 Olympics the expectation was that Yu-na Kim would give a performance fit for a queen, with Mao Asada ably stepping up to the role of the loyal opposition. Joannie was already the home town girl feel-good story, even setting aside the unexpected tragedy.

    Did this expectation cause the tech panel to see things that weren't there in Rachael's performance, with a corresponding relaxation of vigilance for the last skater?
    this is exactly what happened. no accusatory language-mm is pc plus as a mod-he may be elitist-sorry mm-most gsers seems to be-they go to wc, oly, gp events or so it seems...i think gkelly has it wrong here-you never accused anyone of cheating. afa I see-you are accurately insightful re vancouver placements and how things work-gkelly is personalizing you as you take the high road. maybe past disagreements were contentious? All the expert were surprised at Flatts 7 instead of 5. rewatch 1-7 if you can find them. Flatts jumps seemed perfect really. Miki was held up as the veteran WC and I'm not sure but Lepisto is preferred over Flatt by intl judges. The judges and many fans don't like Flatts body even at 2010 weight. She looks thick/unathletic per the "rules"-be skinny or be ripped a la Wagner. Fleshy look is disdained. She is slow compared to top skaters-even at her perkiest there is a laboredness about her skating-a bit behind the Benny Goodman perky music. Mirai was smaller/thinner/faster/cuter-better lines because she is more flexible. She deserved to be ahead of ando, lepisto,flatt. Heck, one could argue she deserved bronze. RF does not get the intl respect she deserves for some reason. That is why she should call it a day, skate for fun and move on with school. Her best day is behind her unless she quits school and she won't. She should not of course.

    Placements are still figured out as in 6.0-skate order and judges expectations are still super important, that will never change. I see MM's logic-why do you put words like "cheating" in his mouth gkelly-I think you misunderstand. MM explains himself better than me! Anyone who sees the glaring faults of CoP is kinda called old here. Or too dumb, lazy, fill in the blank to study 200 page rule books. It takes debates by very knowledgeable skaters/fans to explain many results.

    It is simply too complicated for the majority of fans-they do not want to study rule books in US. Poor commentary is also killing this once popular TV sport. Ffor most of us competition-big time is seen only on TV. It gets more complicated, and the few comps on TV in US get no explanation re scoring. Can't blame them-big can of worms with no time to spread out the worms.

    But if jumps now get downgraded by slo mo cameras, very few skaters are going to 'do well.' Flatt was never embraced by intl judges-they don't care that much for her skating. No where to go but down.
    Last edited by skateluvr; 05-10-2012 at 10:51 PM.

  12. #57
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    ^ Thanks for the post, skateluvr.

    mm is pc
    The sense in which I am pc, I hope, is that I like all skaters uncritically. Anyone who laces up their boots and goes out there sink or swim in front of nine grim-faced judges and thousands of nit-picky fans who don’t like their costume -- that person is all right by me.

    he may be elitist-sorry mm-most gsers seems to be-they go to wc, oly, gp events or so it seems...
    Can’t afford it. But I have been to Skate America twice. Emily Hughes did a huge triple Lutz at Atlantic City and almost landed in my lap in the front row.

    maybe past disagreements were contentious?
    For my part, no. Genekelly has a remarkable reservoir of forbearance and patience and always backs up her opinions with extensive research and examples from actual competitions. I think I may exasperate her by saying the same things over and over no matter how many times I am wrong.

    This discussion is a good example. I looked at Rachael’s perfect landing edge a dozen times but never thought to look at her take-off edge in evaluating rotation.

    It is simply too complicated for the majority of fans-they do not want to study rule books in US.
    I think the main problem is this. A spectator sport has failed if the audience leaves the arena abuzz about the referee’s call instead of about he performances of the athletes. We cannot see, even two years later and equipped with all the resources of youtube, why Rachael’s performance did not score higher. In the best of all possible worlds we ought to be able to design a scoring system in which the game is decided on the ice, not by post hoc divine intervention by some sort of protractor-ex-machina. The present scoring system makes me feel like I am too dumb to deserve an opinion about whether I liked a performance or not.

  13. #58
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    to Mathman!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post

    The present scoring system makes me feel like I am too dumb to deserve an opinion about whether I liked a performance or not.
    Since the capacity for English words is very limited for me with kindergarten level of vocabularies , no space for any negative or nasty words in my dictionary. So I have no idea what 'dumb' means , but if Mathman is to confess him/herself 'too dumb to deserve an opinion', 852963417 members here deserve to shut up first, before Mathman. At the end of the day there is no one discussing on GS Forum...

    I have always loved your posts during my lurking days, and I want to hear more and more of good hearted and positive opinoins from you, Mathman!

    Besides we need you...because, according to blue, we need an endorsement from you for my contract.
    Last edited by deedee1; 05-11-2012 at 03:51 AM.

  14. #59
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    Nagasu was great and standing O at nationals and then almost not there at all because of URs. It used to be that discussions were about all the URs that skaters got away with based on seeming clean and getting all the crowd love. I can't believe all the time Canadian TV spent completely dissecting all of Sarah Hughes jumps at SLC. Just ripped them up and that CTV or CBC crew if they were a technical panel would have been all < over HUgest. Just < everywhere according to 2010 rules if it was 2012 rules << everywhere!! It was the same thing with judges deciding and being criticized for not downgrading or getting swept up with things looking good. Judges decided technical merti and artistic merit and you knew who they were and their face and country and everything and now for some reason even the technical caller is right by the judges the TV people still act amazingly like the judges decide and show the judges and not the technical caller. Maybe they should go back to the judges and ONly the judges because they are the official judges judding the technical merti and even the base technical merti!!

  15. #60
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    I don't know what the big deal is with Rachael finishing behind Mirai at the Olympics. Most people came away from Nationals thinking Mirai had won and was a better overall skater and after Vancouver almost everyone thought Mirai was the future of US skating and that Rachael just was not championship material no matter how well she skated.

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