I'm with MM on this one.
Cynical maybe but no less true. I admire your faith in the judges but the evidence speaks to the contrary. I can give multiple incidences where a skater has had a much better performance than those who placed in front of her (2009, arguably in 2010, 2011, 2012). It's been happening a lot more since the US has been stuck with two spots for the last several years. The judges do a juggling act of sorts whereby the two skaters with the best chance to succeed internationally are maneuvered into those top two spots, regardless of how well they did or did not skate.
As for 2008, nationals was a sea of new faces that year. Kimmie was the top US lady but she'd been struggling all season. On the GP Kimmie narrowly beat Miki Ando at SA (homefield PCS boost) and came in 2nd at TEB, more than 20 points behind Mao with newbie senior Ashley Wagner right on her heels (only 0.11 behind). Despite her good results her scores weren't competitive with the top skaters and her skating got worse and worse as the season progressed. She'd grown and could no longer rotate her 3-3 (not one was ratified that season) and it was clear the rest of the field was leaving her behind. Kimmie imploded at the GPF that year. She fell three times and finished last, more than 18 points behind 5th place. Meanwhile Caroline Zhang came in 4th (about 2 points off of 3rd place), Mirai won both of her JGP events and the JGPF, Rachael placed 1st and 2nd in her JGP events and 2nd at the JGPF, and Ashley in her first year senior placed 5th at one event and 3rd at the other but had been skating well. Kimmie was fading but the newbies were all gaining steam...
Kimmie was in a huge slump going into nationals. Against Mirai, Caroline, Rachael and Ashley she just didn't measure up. All of them had difficult 3-3s, spins and spirals, were cute and energetic and skated well. Kimmie imploded again in the LP and was clearly outskated by not 1, not 2, not even 3, but like 5 or 6 other skaters. If they'd placed her in the top 3 that year it would have been clear as day they were cheating. The judges do try to rationalize their boosted placements but there was no way to rationalize placing Kimmie near the top after the performances she gave. Besides, 3 of the top 4 skaters were too young to go to worlds anyway. Ashley was sent b/c she placed 3rd, Bebe Liang (5th) was the second highest age eligible skater so she got that 2nd spot. The 3rd spot was between Katrina Hacker and Kimmie. Katrina beat Kimmie by less than a point. The decision was made to send Kimmie b/c Katrina was an unknown skater on the senior level. Even though Kimmie wasn't skating strongly she was still the former world champ and the only skater on the team with any big event senior international experience. It made sense to send her...but Katrina did get passed over which proves my point. Placements aside, the one with the better chance to place internationally was given the spot on the team.
Alissa's 2011 TEB FS: 3z, 3f, 1a+2t, 3z+2t, 2a, 3lo+2t, 3lo
As noted in a previous post, Alissa did not often manage to do a 3-jump combo in her FS; the program wasn't clean because she singled the first axel attempt. She won the FS by 1.05 points, but was 3rd by 5 points in the SP with: 3z<<, 3lo-so+2t, 2a. So she wound up with bronze at TEB 2011 behind Tuktamysheva and Kostner.
Her next competition was the disastrous GPF: 3z<, 3t↓, 2a<so, 3z<+2t, 2a↓, 3lo-just, 3lo<-low
Her pre-Nationals performance at the Detroit Skating Club was well below par.
Her Nationals performances:
SP: 3z+2t, 3lo, 1a Scored 63.14, 2nd behind Zawadzki.
FS: 3z(-0.8), 2a+2t, 3f(-0.5), 3z+seq<<↓, 2a(-0.43), 3lo, 3lo+2t+2lo. She got 116.86, with PCS scores 7.82 7.36 7.71 7.9 7.96. Second in the FS behind Wagner and 2nd overall.
I was at Nationals and thought Alissa was way overscored, especially in the SP. She was slow and tentative in both programs and all the -GOE on jumps in the FS illustrate just how shaky her landings were.
Also, I recall that after Nationals, Alissa was left off the 4CC team and seemed very upset about it.
Under 6.0 judging it was not so easy for a judge to give top ordinals to a skater who performed badly and a lower rank to a skater who performed well. The court of public opinion did have something of a restraining effect on judges and federation officials who might have an agenda that ran counter to what the skaters laid down in the competition.
Nowadays, judges can put down any score they want. A favored skater falls down three times -- no problem. You can't blame the judges, it's right here in the protocols. A quarter of a point here, a tenth there -- computers can't cheat, right?
Nationals is Alissa's swan song-her goodbye to all in Omaha and TV land. It's naive to think she can go to worlds again. She/we know it. She was a lovely ice princess who I believe will end this year. A few shows and a new career. That is skating.
^^Many, many times actually. It all goes back to the judges having skaters in mind when they come into a competition. They know which ones are on the upswing, they know which ones aren't doing so well. Based on that the judges have an idea of who will be in the second to last and last group of skaters. The ones in the later groups get better scores than the ones in the earlier groups.
Under COP it shouldn't matter that a skater is in group 3 of 5. If she skates well, she should receive the correct scores. BUT even now we see skaters put out really good performances in earlier groups and yet they don't receive the PCS they'd receive if they were skating in the later groups. COP was supposed to get rid of that whole "leave room at the top" dictum but it hasn't. The random draw thing that happens at nationals now doesn't really help that much b/c the judges know which skaters they're aiming to have in that last group and they are scored accordingly. Every now and then a skater outside of that group has a great performance and is able to sneak in; but the top contenders are usually set especially if they don't have any major errors. Even with errors, the judges do enough to keep them in the mix whereas if we're talking about a skater who isn't on that list of contenders, they'd probably lose a lot more points.
Don't you think, though, that the top contenders are (probably) actually really and truly better than the mid-tier or lower-tier skaters, even with mistakes? Often times, there are reasons that the top skaters are the top skaters that you can likely tell from actually being in the arena that you can't from TV. For example, I have seen Ashley Wagner skate in person (a couple years back at a local competition) and can compare her to Kiri Baga, who I have also seen in person (more recently), and even if Kiri that I've seen here went clean and Wagner (from a couple years back) made a mistake, if I were a judge, I would still have placed Wagner ahead of Kiri because her PCS should have been higher on objective critieria.
She got mostly 5.3s, and as low as 5.0 for technical elements on this program.
Last edited by drivingmissdaisy; 01-09-2013 at 11:11 AM.
Yes, MSkater's point is something it's easy to forget when one is thinking about skaters from the point of view of a TV watcher. The only time I saw a competition live, I was so far away from the ice that all I could see was the tops of everyone's heads, so that quality of edging and stroking were totally lost on me. But the judges (and savvy fans) are right there and can see and sometimes even hear the blade work, as well as all the other elements that make one skater visibly better than another. Certainly speed is well known to disappear on the TV screen. I remember years ago a good skating friend finally got to see Gordeyeva and Grinkov live (in Skates of Gold I, I seem to recall), and she said that Gordeyeva simply flew around the ice--and she was skating only with other Olympic gold medalists. Neither of us had realized before that Gordeyeva possessed this quality.
Czisny certainly doesn't fly around the ice. She is very slow, and IMO it's part of the reason why she has jump problems. Skaters need some degree of speed going into a jump. Those that hesitate---and Alissa at times seems hesitant---can fail.
One hypothetical I'm mulling over is Gracie Gold versus Angela Wang for this year's nationals. I'm wondering if they both go clean, who will place where...
Look at these two SPs:
Gracie Gold (SP, COR): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jx2qm--ZMWA
Angela Wang (SP, JGP Croatia): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWsbicUmFrY
For the record, both programs have a BV of 31.40. What's interesting in comparing the protocols for both events, they basically tied on TES (Angela 34.93, Gracie 34.92). That speaks volumes right there. Angela is equal to Gracie in terms of TES which makes me wonder what will happen if Angela skates her SP well at nationals. Will the judges give her PCS that reflected the strength of her program or will they lowball her? Surely the high 5s Angela averaged here (which is low even for a JGP event) should be high 6s and low 7s similar to Gracie...but then again maybe not.
How do you think the judges will score Angela in terms of PCS if she skates like this?