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Thread: Figure skating needs CPR

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    Keepin' it real gsk8's Avatar
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    Figure skating needs CPR

    by Tammy Karatchuk of the Edmonton Journal

    The judging system in figure skating is leading the inevitable demise of our sport. That’s probably what some people thought after 2013 World Figure Skating Championships.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Ms. Karatchuk answered her own question:

    (T)here are some [fans, etc.] who won’t education themselves about the sport.
    Casual fans do not want to be assigned a homework lesson. People do not watch sports in order to become educated.

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    Chan did lose the fs to ten so was his second place too high and how would it have been lower? How could he have gone so low as to wipe out his sp lead. So you make the sp worth less? Maybe you must have a system that has mandatory deductions not just in Tes but pcs. Whatever system there is has seen elements of the scoring system lead to people winning aren't seen as now deserving!

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    If only commentators were given more time to explain the sport to the audience. Maybe a pre game show and an after show analysis. They do it all the time with other sports. It doesn't need to take an hour but 15-30 mins before an event will give commentators time to do some analysis, explain more about the sytem, maybe even a couple of extra fluff pieces-skater profiles etc. it's possible and doing something as simple as that will really help the sport.

    Also, continue to encourage fans to use social media to reach the casual fan. It's a great way to interact when there is not a lot of time to say something on air. Also, as Phil Hersh said in a podcast, we need a reporter at the judges desk to find out what in the world happened!! Have this reporter get some answers and report back to the main commentators in the short interlude between skaters leaving the ice to getting their scores. Its tight but again its possible. The judges need to open up and not be veiled under so much secrecy.

    Also for the super fan, the protocols need to be revealed skater by skater, without this 'random order' business. The action of the judges need to be scrutinised. It's harsh but that is what they signed up for. If they made a controversial decision they have an obligation to tell why they made that decision in that moment. And if thy did make a controversial decision they too have a right to defend themselves. This divorce between the judges and the audience is choking the sport.

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    It is not just the system, it is also about the quality of judging and the conditions necessary for them to universally agreed and stand up to public scrutiny. If it annoy the uber fans of the sport, what hope is there to attract new fans and therefore new sponsors?

    - Accountability
    - Verifiability
    - Recalibration between different competitions to minimize home competition slants and false benchmarking.
    - Evidence and facts supported analysis
    - Public inquiry/presentation/transparency.

    Visual aids, sport technology should be used in additional to human judging to minimize human error and educate the casual observer.

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    I think the problem goes beyond educating the public and holding judges accountable. When the average fan sees one skater clearly outskate another, yet the other guy wins, explanations of where the winner picked up the necessary CoP points to come out on top will not make that fan like the sport any better.

    Likewise, if fans see a skater fall all over the place, but then get 8.5's in performance and execution, it does not do any good to ask the judges why they gave the scores that they did. They will just say, well, this skater exhibited musicality, plus he satisfied bullets two through eight on page 328 of the ISU rule book.

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    to this!

    Quote Originally Posted by GF2445 View Post
    If only commentators were given more time to explain the sport to the audience. Maybe a pre game show and an after show analysis. They do it all the time with other sports. It doesn't need to take an hour but 15-30 mins before an event will give commentators time to do some analysis, explain more about the sytem, maybe even a couple of extra fluff pieces-skater profiles etc. it's possible and doing something as simple as that will really help the sport.

    Also, continue to encourage fans to use social media to reach the casual fan. It's a great way to interact when there is not a lot of time to say something on air. Also, as Phil Hersh said in a podcast, we need a reporter at the judges desk to find out what in the world happened!! Have this reporter get some answers and report back to the main commentators in the short interlude between skaters leaving the ice to getting their scores. Its tight but again its possible. The judges need to open up and not be veiled under so much secrecy.

    Also for the super fan, the protocols need to be revealed skater by skater, without this 'random order' business. The action of the judges need to be scrutinised. It's harsh but that is what they signed up for. If they made a controversial decision they have an obligation to tell why they made that decision in that moment. And if thy did make a controversial decision they too have a right to defend themselves. This divorce between the judges and the audience is choking the sport.

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    The isu also need to play their part and implement rules to make sure that a skater who make mistakes are properly punished not only in the technical mark but the presentation are as well. Yes the system is a points game but going out and doing a program out of your depth and for the sole purpose getting points needs to be discouraged.

    I propose it that if a later makes an error, a mandatory deduction in the presentation score should be applied across all components and across all the judges:
    For each small mistake (an obvious stumble, doubling or singling jumps, or small noticeable error, small falls that don't affect the program that much. If its an unnoticeable error, like an under rotation or a slight two foot, it should only be deducted in the technical score, which judges do right now.)- 0.25pts should be taken off for ALL five components marks a judge inputs.

    For example if skater A made one small error, if the judge for the presentation score awarded skater A
    6.00 for skating skills
    5.50 for transitions
    ....
    The computer should automatically deduct 0.25 for each component so it would read in the protocol that the judge gave skater A
    5.75 for skating skills
    5.25 for transitions etc.

    And for big mistakes- deduct 0.5 from each component. if you take a risk and it fails you should be even more harshly punished. Big falls and big mistakes are unacceptable for a top skater.

    Let's use Patrick chans performance at 2013 worlds. If a judge gave Patrick a 9.00 for skating skills, he made 3 big mistakes (2 large falls and one big stumble) and one small error (doubling a triple lutz). that means that his 9.00 for skating skills should change to a humble 7.25. Yes his skating is beautiful and yes it seems that I'm being harsh and I love Patrick Chan as a skater, competitor and person but I care more about the integrity of the sport and making it more understandable for the casual fan.

    Yes, this could be another confusing rule for the fan but all a commentator has to say that the ISU made changes which further penalise skaters to making mistakes in their presentation mark and that is completely reasonable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gmyers View Post
    Chan did lose the fs to ten so was his second place too high and how would it have been lower? How could he have gone so low as to wipe out his sp lead. So you make the sp worth less? Maybe you must have a system that has mandatory deductions not just in Tes but pcs. Whatever system there is has seen elements of the scoring system lead to people winning aren't seen as now deserving!
    EVEN I am getting tired of rehashing this, but it needs to be drilled into peoples heads. Chan's win showed us that you can win on the strength of your short. (Sure there were other factors, the other favorites having lackluster or disastrous shorts.) Yuna is another good example. Sure, she decimates the competition because she performs in the free, but she's got a nearly insurmountable lead after the short. It's a flaw in the system. The fact that scores aren't placements but rather a sum of points means that people CAN win on the strength of their short programs (It's basically what happened with figures + short back in the day. People won on the strength of their figures and tech programs, even though they consistently lost the free.) This means that the short program is OVERvalued under IJS. Which is why, factored placements, in some form, shape or fashion, needs to come back. I would say that it should be only in the short, so that people can't get too far ahead of the pack.

    No person, regardless of who or where they're from, should be able to win a World Championship after having made mistakes on nearly half of their jumping passes (in the free). I don't care if your edges can cure cancer. (BTW, Chan won on the strength of his quads + his edges as well as some ridiculous PCS.)

    I dislike this article, she's basically calling casuals lazy, and putting the onus on THEM. No, ma'am, they are the consumer, and if you put out a product that is overly complicated, it won't mean anything, people aren't going to get emotionally invested. I would say I'm as versed in this system as any other hardcore fan, and honestly, it IS complicated. Sure, figure skaters get good feedback from the levels and the breakdown of the scores, but honestly, that's what coaches are for NOT judges. Also, she misses the big pink elephant in the room: JUDGES. She says at the end that the scores are based on what is put out on the ice and not who and where they're from.... and she couldn't be more wrong. Reputation judging still occurs, its just a bit harder to spot.

    ANY judging system is going to not work when the PEOPLE who are judging aren't doing it properly or uniformly and are doing it anonymously.

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    One thing I am sick of is the general attitude of "fans are complaining about the results because they're too stupid to understand the scoring system".

    (This seems to be a particularly prevalent attitude of Chan fans - not neccessarily here - who just stick their noses in the air and say "you're too stupid to understand Chan's marks!!!!!!")

    1) Plenty of us understand the scoring system quite well, thankyou. That doesn't mean we have to like it or the way it's used.

    2) Maybe there's something wrong with the scoring system if you have to have a university degree to understand it...

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    The discussion of placement vs points is an interesting one.

    We do sometimes get situations where a skater has such a lead after the short that it is unlikely they'll be overtaken. But we also get situations where a skater in 7th or 8th can skate an amazing long, and pull themselves onto the podium. It's one of the aspects I like about CoP.

    I think the system is OK. The problem is that I disagree with the judging, and by that, I mean even after reviewing the protocols.

    People complain about PCS, but I'm often left scratching my head at the GOE on technical.

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    IJS is the system now. There is nothing we can really do to radically change it. Changing back to another system is really going to unsettle the technical progress skating has seen since IJS's implementation. It had to be done. It was a hard pill to swallow but it had to be done or else our sport would've been seen as a joke with predetermined judging. and yes, One of the many problems that fans worry about is the system confusing people, and yes it does confuse many of us.

    I come from a nation where most people can only associate figure skating to Blades of Glory and Steve Bradbury's fluke victory at Salt Lake City in short track (its not even figure skating!). In the lead up to the games, I began talking to people about my interest of watching skating and I was given a great opportunity to talk about how the sport works and how the judging system works. Over time, I was able to find ways to explain our sport in the simplest way possible.

    Despite most of them had no clue how it worked specifically they generally were able to somewhat understand the process of marking. They generally understand that each element is identified and valued by a tech controller and then judges mark the execution of it and that judges also rate the presentation under categories (Skating skills etc.). They generally know that a skaters mark starts at 0pts and builds up. I also showed them a couple of videos (Yuna's FS at 2013 Worlds!) with the protocol. They were confused but they liked it as a general spectator. They also suspected how easily abused a system like that could be and then I showed and explained the situation with Chan and Ten and how its not a matter of the system, its how the judges use the system. Its like the judges are given the ingredients for the best chocolate cake but they don't know how to cook properly. Even with this slight turn off, they still found this sport fascinating.

    As a fan, we have to, in some minimal respect, need to tell others about skating. If the Winter Olympics comes up in a conversation (for me sport comes up alot)...Perfect opportunity to tell people the back stories, rivalries, stories of athletes defying adversity and people to look out for. Gradually entice them and make it fascinating for them!

    If I could get other Aussies to grasp something about the system, anything is possible if you come from a nation with a better skating reputation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by karne View Post
    One thing I am sick of is the general attitude of "fans are complaining about the results because they're too stupid to understand the scoring system".

    (This seems to be a particularly prevalent attitude of Chan fans - not neccessarily here - who just stick their noses in the air and say "you're too stupid to understand Chan's marks!!!!!!")

    1) Plenty of us understand the scoring system quite well, thankyou. That doesn't mean we have to like it or the way it's used.

    ...
    This article says a lot about what is wrong with the sport but not in the way that the writer of the article intended. It works off of the assumption that everything is being done correctly and that the only people who are complaining are the ignorant. <<<<<<< It is that perspective that is killing the sport. Just listen to the complaints from people who do follow the sport. Maybe she can start by listening to Frank Carroll's interview just to get a viewpoint of at least one blatant disconnect between judging and performance at last year's worlds. The example was pretty specific and his position pretty solid. I don't think Mr. Carroll is ignorant. I also don't think that Plushenko or Weir is ignorant. But what is most frustrating is this attitude that everything was done right and only the ignorant are complaining. That is what is really turning people off the sport. Bank on it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zschultz1986 View Post
    EVEN I am getting tired of rehashing this, but it needs to be drilled into peoples heads. Chan's win showed us that you can win on the strength of your short. (Sure there were other factors, the other favorites having lackluster or disastrous shorts.) Yuna is another good example. Sure, she decimates the competition because she performs in the free, but she's got a nearly insurmountable lead after the short. It's a flaw in the system. The fact that scores aren't placements but rather a sum of points means that people CAN win on the strength of their short programs (It's basically what happened with figures + short back in the day. People won on the strength of their figures and tech programs, even though they consistently lost the free.) This means that the short program is OVERvalued under IJS. Which is why, factored placements, in some form, shape or fashion, needs to come back. I would say that it should be only in the short, so that people can't get too far ahead of the pack.
    This is not subject of this post. I had a little frustrating and I decide to write.

    Patrick Chan is not a strong skater much in SP usually, It was in only 2013 world championship .

    Kim Yu Na was always a strong skater with sp since her debut, FS was weak proportionally because of problems of her stamina. It is certain that Yuna usually earned huge score from the SP, but fs also always almost was stronger than other skaters.
    Can you give me an example, when she received a big score in SP, and she mess up FS, and abled to win at least once?

    How can you say "her case is a matter of system, too"
    Do you think that Hanyu yuzuru's case is also a problem of system?
    I will tell you in advance, I love his skating and he's my favorite men's skater.

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    Quote Originally Posted by venlac View Post
    This is not subject of this post. I had a little frustrating and I decide to write.

    Patrick Chan is not a strong skater much in SP usually, It was in only 2013 world championship .

    Kim Yu Na was always a strong skater with sp since her debut, FS was weak proportionally because of problems of her stamina. It is certain that Yuna usually earned huge score from the SP, but fs also always almost was stronger than other skaters.
    Can you give me an example, when she received a big score in SP, and she mess up FS, and abled to win at least once?

    How can you say "her case is a matter of system, too"
    Do you think that Hanyu yuzuru's case is also a problem of system?
    I will tell you in advance, I love his skating and he's my favorite men's skater.
    2007 GPF (1st SP, 2nd LP, 1st overall), 2008 4CC (1st SP, 3rd LP, 1st Overall), 2009 SA (1st SP, 2nd LP, 1st Overall)

    Yuna is more a case of insurmountable leads in the short than Chan is, over her career. I'm not saying she didn't deserve her victories. I can't recall 2007 GPF or the 2008 4CC, but I did watch 2009 SA, and she did deserve to win there, she wasn't in second by that much in the long, compared to a clean Rachael Flatt.

    Also, I understand IJS is the system now... as I have stated repeatedly, people want to knock 6.0 for it's problems, when the problems were never the judging system itself, but the judges. Sure, IJS breaks down scores more, and if you know what you're looking at, there's more to understand the difference between skaters and why skaters got this score. However, what people don't understand is that 6.0 was never about scores, it was about placement. Someone could potentially win with a 5.2/5.5 performance, if those are the best scores given out. There's TONS more ways to be less obvious about shady judging in IJS than under 6.0. The reason results were more "discussed" under 6.0 is because the cheating was right there in your face, and you could spot it. (I.E. Bloc Judging) With the IJS, that is not the case. you have to go digging through the protocols to find correlations, and even then, the judging is anonymous, so you don't know which judge, from which country, gave what score.

    BTW, there is a way to make placements and the ability of someone to jump spots from 7th to first or from 9th to first, which would be to devalue the placements received in the Short and put greater weight on the free. However, if 6.0 was always done fairly, then this wouldn't be a problem. The problem was never 6.0, it was that judges would place people so low so that, even IF they won the free, they wouldn't move up. That people in earlier flights would end up being lower because "room" was being left, and then people who came later, who may have had better reputations, or stronger Federations, would sometimes receive unfairly high marks for something that should have been rightly placed below that earlier skater. There should be some reward for winning the short, you've won one portion of the event, you should have some room to still land on the podium. As usual, people want to blame 6.0, when it was the judges' use of 6.0 that was the problem.

    The problems have NOT gotten better since 2002, I'm sorry to disappoint all of you IJS defenders. All it did was throw a veil of complexity over a corrupt sport to hoodwink people.

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