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Thread: Time for New US World Selection System?

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Time for New US World Selection System?

    Over the past few years and majorly debated over at the 4cc thread between Gold and Gao, the US selection system at worlds has seemed to be take the top two at nationals and be done with it. Whereas the 4cc selection for the US seems to be more flexible. Over the past three years, we've had more medalists at 4CC than at worlds obviously from a competitive standpoint (not all competitors are there), but many times the competitor that medals is not present at worlds (ie Zhang 2012, Nagasu 2011). USFSA needs to re-evaluate its system of selection in order to maximize or world rankings and not base selections for the World team over 1 performance which could be a fluke (both good or bad).

    If I had to create a selection system it would be as follows (for all disciplines):

    1 berth for the National Champion, they have earned it.

    2 and 3rd berth decided as follows:

    Scoring:
    • Senior A events such as the Grand Prix are counted
    • Nationals counted
    • 3 point bonus for 1st place finish
    • 2 point bonus for 2nd place finish
    • 1 point bonus for 3rd place finish
    • 3 point bonus for GPF qualification


    • Add total scores and divide by number of competitions thus calculating mean. Calculate standard deviation. Then add bonuses to the mean.
    • Subtract the standard deviation from the mean with bonus.
    • Rank.


    Competitors with the highest totals and relatively low standard deviations are selected.

    Let's calculate ladies for the past season as our field is rather volatile:

    Mean of Ladies in order:
    • Gao: 167.445
    • Zawadzki: 168.87
    • Gold: 171.0566
    • Nagasu: 171.296
    • Wagner:187.4425


    Bonuses:
    • Gao: 5
    • Zawadzki: 2
    • Gold: 4
    • Nagasu: 1
    • Wagner:14


    Mean + Bonuses in order:
    • Zawadzki: 170.87
    • Nagasu: 172.2966
    • Gao: 172.445
    • Gold: 175.0566
    • Wagner: 201.4425


    Standard Deviations/Measure of Range:
    • Zawadzki: 9.8268
    • Nagasu: 6.94
    • Gao: 9.97
    • Gold: 17.835
    • Wagner: 3.801


    Mean-Standard Deviation (final Ranking):
    • Gold: 157.2
    • Zawadski:161.04
    • Gao: 162.47
    • Nagasu: 165.35
    • Wagner: 197.64


    Based on these set of skaters my world team would be Wagner and Nagasu or Gao.

    Interesting facts or observations:
    After Wagner, Gold has the highest mean scores of the season followed by Nagasu then Gao. (Not including 4CC). However, she is really harmed by her inconsistency.

    Our most consistently scoring skater is by far Wagner despite her falls and then what suprised me was Nagasu came in second in the category. This is what propelled her in front of Gao and Gold.

    Based on raw placement and qualification bonuses Gao, Gold and Wagner have the upper hand.

    What I like about this system:
    • It takes into account entire seasons worth of work
    • Encourages athletes to be ready for Grand Prix events and score well
    • Takes into account consistency


    Criticisms:
    • It does not take into account maximum scoring potential or else Gold would be higher
    • Standardization of scores accross events is hard
    • Some events are stacked compared to others thus making bonuses unfair in some situations


    Any comments? Other ideas? I tried to model this after the US Gymnastics trials process where the top competitor is automatically qualified and the rest of the team is up to discretion.

  2. #2
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Cool!

    The biggest question I have is the use of the standard deviation. Consistency by itself is not especially to be valued unless you are consistently good.

    Interesting, though, how consistent Wagner's scores have been, considering that she has mixed some really good skates in with some bad ones this season.

  3. #3
    At the rink. Again. mskater93's Avatar
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    Didn't JSF use a similar process which resulted in Nakano NOT going to the Olympics and Ando completely tanking in 2006?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mskater93 View Post
    Didn't JSF use a similar process which resulted in Nakano NOT going to the Olympics and Ando completely tanking in 2006?
    It can happen, but in 2010 Ando was sent to Vancouver instead of Nakano (again) but skated really well and placed 5th (4th in SP), probably higher than what Yukari could have done...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    Interesting, though, how consistent Wagner's scores have been, considering that she has mixed some really good skates in with some bad ones this season.
    That is what happens with skaters with high PCS. You can have a couple of bad skates, and your scores won't go down much.

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    I do think the USFSA should consider a different method of selecting the World teams. We need more flexibility. Placements at Nationals are just not producing the best World teams for us on the ladies' side.

    On the other hand, if they could just fix the bizarre judging at Nationals, we wouldn't be having this conversation. You could argue that's the real problem.

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    So this doesn't account for events such as Nationals and 4CC? Another thing is that certain GP events are way harder than others. For example, Gao would have easily placed top 3 at Skate America, but it would have been difficult for her to place top 3 at TEB.

    At SA: Wagner 188, Gao 174, Sotnikova 169, Marchei 159
    At Rostelcom: Korpi 177, Gold 175, Zawadski 166, Murakami 166
    At NHK: Asada 185, Suzuki 185, Nagasu 176, Li 174
    At TEB: Wagner 190, Tuktamysheva 179, Lipnitskaia 179, Gao 165

    Also, does this bear in mind that Gao was actually a replacement for Lipnitskaia who withdrew at the GPF? I technically wouldn't count her 3-point bonus for having made the GPF (where she performed poorly anyways). I also wonder how the results would look if you dropped each woman's poorest showing (so Gracie's SC skate, Gao's TEB skate, and Mirai at CoC). It would certainly benefit Gold, whose SC performance skews her off the World team. Then again, it wouldn't take into consideration Gao beating her at 4CC either.

    They really should do the whole - winner goes to Worlds and the 2nd berth is decided at 4CC. Gao deserves to go, but I think if they skated their bests, Gold has more potential to place higher.

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    Quote Originally Posted by willdu View Post
    Criticisms:
    • It does not take into account maximum scoring potential or else Gold would be higher
    • Standardization of scores accross events is hard
    • Some events are stacked compared to others thus making bonuses unfair in some situations


    Any comments? Other ideas?
    Another criticism or weakness in this system is that it penalizes skaters for not doing well enough last year to get Grand Prix assignments this year, or for being injured or otherwise out of competition in the fall, even if they finish a convincingly strong second at Nationals.

    For example, Max Aaron. No Grand Prix events, although he did win the senior B this summer.
    As national champion he would still get the spot under your rules. But suppose that he had skated exactly the same as he did, but either Abbott or Miner had done one more successful triple in the long program to hold onto a tiny lead, and the other one completely bombed. Would Aaron have no chance of being selected for Worlds over a distant third- or fourth-place finisher who had had the best GP season this year?

    Because there are so many variables, I don't think a strict formula that tries to weight all past results absolutely would be the way to go.

    If you're going to consider past results, then it's probably better to build in some flexibility by allowing a committee to take into account previous competitive results without a precise formula so that they can also take into account factors like injuries, strength of field, etc. Of course, flexibility also leaves room for disagreements.

    If you're going to go with a strict formula, no exceptions, then why not just go with straight Nationals results?

  9. #9
    At the rink. Again. mskater93's Avatar
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    Nationals is the one time you face everybody else who's a candidate to go to Worlds with the same judges for all. They get selected to different GPs which have different scoring (at least borderline URs, PCs, and GOEs) and as they say, you can't really compare scores across events (although I suppose you COULD compare BVs and automatic GOE reducers like falls in an equation of some sort). Also, the pressure was completely OFF Gao at 4C - she KNEW this was her last event of the year and it was her last chance to leave an impression on the international judging community for this year, she doesn't have to continue training for "in season" now versus Gold who knew that 4 weeks later she has to be at her absolute best in order to help get 3 spots back. The question becomes "how would she have skated at 4C if she knew that this was part of the selection process for Worlds?".

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    This is way too complicated and could result in major politicking on every stage. I remember some European gymnasts were suing each other for their country's only Olympic spot last year because of some odd point based system. I think sending 2nd, 3rd and 4th placed skaters at Nationals to 4CC and pick whoever finishes first/top 2 is probably a better idea. Or do some sort of score averaging between the two. At least that's what the Russians did with Kovtun and hopefully what the Chinese would do with Han Yan.
    The only problem is when National champion wants/needs to go to 4CC. Although technically that would only be a problem if there are three spots...
    But all these won't make a real difference if the US judges keep up with their blatant bias toward Asian skaters.

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    USFS could use Four Continents as a skate-off for a second or third world team spot IF they rewrite their rules to allow that possibility and then IF they announce right after Nationals that they are going to hold off naming the world team until after 4Cs. As long as everyone knows what to expect.

    I don't think it would be a bad idea to give themselves that flexibility.

    Some years, especially Olympic years, they wouldn't use it at all. And other years they would only use it for one or more disciplines but not all.

  12. #12
    Custom Title Cherryy's Avatar
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    Would it really have to be so strict? One thing for sure - they could wait with announcing the worlds team after 4cc. I would send the national champion to worlds and the other 1/2 spots could be given after a meeting of USFS's members. They want their best skaters to go so I doubt it would be unfair. They would see who placed best at 4cc and that should remain as the most important factor but consistency and all other competitions would be also considered.

  13. #13
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    This sudden emphasis on Four Continents is quite a departure from tradition. There is no guarantee that a skater who does well at Four Continents will do well at Worlds. Any more than there is a guarantee that a skater who does well at Nationals will do well at Worlds. It's a crap shoot any way you go.

    I confess that I like the idea of one big shoot-out, winner take all (U.S. Nationals). Taking it out of the skaters' hands and putting it in the hands of "The Committee" just begs for politics and favoritism to trump performance on the ice.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    This sudden emphasis on Four Continents is quite a departure from tradition. There is no guarantee that a skater who does well at Four Continents will do well at Worlds. Any more than there is a guarantee that a skater who does well at Nationals will do well at Worlds. It's a crap shoot any way you go.

    I confess that I like the idea of one big shoot-out, winner take all (U.S. Nationals). Taking it out of the skaters' hands and putting it in the hands of "The Committee" just begs for politics and favoritism to trump performance on the ice.

    Until recently, I would have agreed. However, lately, the judging of the ladies' event at Nationals seems nearly as subject to politics and favoritism as any committee possibly could be.

  15. #15
    At the rink. Again. mskater93's Avatar
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    I want to know everyone's proof of this supposed "politics and favoritism" at Nationals. You'd have to have 9 mathmeticians on the panel...

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