I agree that the possibility of comebacks in the standings is a benefit of CoP. I too remember how frustrating it was to see a dynamite free skate in 6.0 from someone who had to depend on some impossible combination of wins and flubs from someone else in order to benefit from that skate.

But the system has caused skating to become so mechanistic as skaters try to boost points by adding extraneous elements. Somehow that doesn't bother me as much in gymnastics, where they're not trying for an artistic result as well as an athletic one.

An example of how mechanical demands can make for less interesting skating is the 1994 finals of ice dance. I know they were 6.0, but bear with me. That was the year ice dance rules demanded that teams use only music that could be danced to. It was the year Torvill and Dean came back to try for another gold. This innovative team, that could make audiences stop breathing for four minutes and more, were restricted to doing a routine to Fred and Ginger dance music. I love Irving Berlin, but as a basis for artistry, it was far below what Torvill and Dean could have explored given the chance. So the judges decided that Dean did an illegal lift and penalized them, and they came in third to--ugh--a cheery rendition of "Rock Around the Clock" performed at frenzied speed. A piece of music that consists of three notes played over and over again gave the winning team the advantage. The rules were so constricting that perhaps the greatest ice dancers ever couldn't win a competition.

The music requirement for that year was made not to benefit the skaters but to benefit the judges. It was made so that judges would be able to compare different ice dancers more accurately. That's one of the reasons the CoP was worked out: to be able to quantify elements of a program accurately in order to compare skaters' performances. Is it a necessary evil, or just an evil? Maybe it just needs recalibration, but I don't think it's so great for skating as it stands right now.

For this reason, I am getting more and more uncomfortable with using it to measure the great skaters of the past. If Michelle or Dorothy or G & G would have done less well under CoP, does that mean they are not good skaters? Heaven forbid!