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Thread: Figure skating needs CPR

  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by heyang View Post
    I think this may have been suggested in other threads, but it would be helpful to cite a 'maximum score'. The skaters would have to "declare" what elements that they will do with perhaps the opportunity to enhance 2 elements. i.e. Skater B could declare 3A with option to 4S. His max score is established. It would help the casual viewer to understand if the skater was as successful on all elements - same thing is done on gymnastics vault.

    It helps the casual viewer to differentiate between a clean program with less difficulty vs a more difficult routine with a fall.
    Given the way things work currently, it would probably make more sense to announce the "planned base value" of the program and to look after the fact at whether the skater achieved that base value, or higher or lower.

    Often skaters will lose points if they don't get the levels they were aiming for on the spins or steps, or the rotation on the jumps (< or << calls, doubling out or popping), even without visible errors, although obviously they lose points for those as well. Or, of course, leaving stuff out or having whole elements disallowed because they don't fit the rules for some reason.

    But they can also get extra points in positive GOE for well-executed elements. So it's useful to be able to point out where the skater made up for mistakes with high quality elsewhere.

    The system is already designed to allow planned base value to be announced before the performance. Using a "maximum" technical score instead would require each skater to pretend to expect not only all level 4s but also +3 GOE from all judges on all elements, which means no one would ever come close to their maximum. Well, maybe Davis/White and Virtue/Moir.

    Anything else based on maximums would mean redesigning the whole system.

  2. #47
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    By the way, on the subject of treating the top flights at world championship events differently from less important situations, there is precedent for that in other sports. In sports like hockey and basketball there is an unwritten understanding that in the last two minutes the referees will put their whistles in their pockets and let the players play. The point being that the championship should be won or lost by the players, not by the referees.

    I suppose the analogy for figure skating would be that the technical panel would be slower to blow the whistle on edge calls and under-rotations when the chips are down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    I suppose the analogy for figure skating would be that the technical panel would be slower to blow the whistle on edge calls and under-rotations when the chips are down.
    I take it you're using "slower" and "blow the whistle" in a figurative sense to support the analogy. Meaning something more like "give the top skaters the benefit of the doubt and don't bother reviewing their questionable elements" or "review the elements just to make sure, but be more lenient in calling wrong edges, underrotations, etc., and in awarding levels, for skaters in medal contention."

    Not sure what you mean by "when the chips are down." When the title is on the line?

    My question is, when would this relaxed scrutiny kick in?

    Hopefully not in short programs! Deciding before the event who is a medal favorite, to be scored more leniently, would be favoritism and reputation scoring, pure and simple, exactly what we want to avoid.

    It could make more sense to have a policy that, e.g., placing top 6 in the SP and qualifying for the final flight of the freeskate earns you the privilege of more lenient calling. But again, that makes it harder for a skater to come from behind after a flawed short that places him/her 7th or lower, even if they win (or clearly deserve to win) the freeskate.

    The only way I can see to implement something like that that wouldn't be blatantly unfair would be to change the competition format entirely in one direction or another. I can imagine potential formats in which it would make sense, but I personally would not prefer them.

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    I guess I was thinking more of psychology. Suppose you are the technical specialist. The last guy hits his last triple Lutz. If you let it go he wins the gold medal. If you slap him with a downgrade he loses, and you win the distinction of being the no good so-and-so who costs Alex Axel the Olympic gold medal that he so obviously deserved.

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    Figure skating needs multiple organ transplants, probably too many to find matches or willing donors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    I guess I was thinking more of psychology. Suppose you are the technical specialist. The last guy hits his last triple Lutz. If you let it go he wins the gold medal. If you slap him with a downgrade he loses, and you win the distinction of being the no good so-and-so who costs Alex Axel the Olympic gold medal that he so obviously deserved.
    But what about the second place finisher Bob Lutz who is more deserving of gold since he actually has his edges right and his rotations complete and stayed on his feet? Are you going to give the gold to Alex just cuz he had the prettier costume and more swagger?

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    ^ Not exactly. What I was thinking is that the tech specialist might be intimidated by the responsibility of saying, you win, you lose, on a questionable call that no one in the arena except he can see. (ETA: I mean. no one in the arena can see except him. )

    By the same token, I think the judges at the Olympics will be less eager than usual to give the title to someone with multiple falls, knowing they will face public scrutiny and ridicule if they do. (When it is just us, they don't care about being ridiculed. )

    The bottom line is, with the Olympic gold medal on the line they don't want it to come down to an official's call. They want it to come down to a great skate.

    A glaring example was Sasha Cohen's Lutz in the short program at 2010 U.S. Nationals (great skate! ). It was clear to the naked eye that this attempt was the all-time winner of the flutziest Lutz contest. Then they played it over from different angles, including (later) the angle that the tech panel got to see. There was no doubt. But the tech panel said it was OK.

    Why? They didn't want to be the ones that knocked Sasha out of the contest before the long program, thus incurring the wrath of the television networks that was counting on her. (Or so it seemed to me.)

    Anyway, to me it seems like the bottom line in all these discussions is that we all see anomalies in the IJS that we want to tinker with, but there is no way actually to address the issues. Once we have decided to go with an add-up-the-points scoring system, we have made our bed and now we have to lie in it.
    Last edited by Mathman; 05-05-2013 at 09:40 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    ^ Not exactly. What I was thinking is that the tech specialist might be intimidated by the responsibility of saying, you win, you lose, on a questionable call that no one in the arena except he can see. (ETA: I mean. no one in the arena can see except him. )

    By the same token, I think the judges at the Olympics will be less eager than usual to give the title to someone with multiple falls, knowing they will face public scrutiny and ridicule if they do. (When it is just us, they don't care about being ridiculed. )

    The bottom line is, with the Olympic gold medal on the line they don't want it to come down to an official's call. They want it to come down to a great skate.

    A glaring example was Sasha Cohen's Lutz in the short program at 2010 U.S. Nationals (great skate! ). It was clear to the naked eye that this attempt was the all-time winner of the flutziest Lutz contest. Then they played it over from different angles, including (later) the angle that the tech panel got to see. There was no doubt. But the tech panel said it was OK.

    Why? They didn't want to be the ones that knocked Sasha out of the contest before the long program, thus incurring the wrath of the television networks that was counting on her. (Or so it seemed to me.)

    Anyway, to me it seems like the bottom line in all these discussions is that we all see anomalies in the IJS that we want to tinker with, but there is no way actually to address the issues. Once we have decided to go with an add-up-the-points scoring system, we have made our bed and now we have to lie in it.
    I didn't make the bed, and the people that did, obviously have had turndown service their entire lives, because they can't make a bed worth a damn. It's cathartic to complain about the mess of the bed, though.

    Bottom Line, Figure Skating has needed its own governing body for sometime now... if only to know that at least the people that are cheating or corrupting the sport are our own people, instead of a ex-Speedskater who seems to not give a damn about anyone not named Carolina Kostner.

  9. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    ^ Not exactly. What I was thinking is that the tech specialist might be intimidated by the responsibility of saying, you win, you lose, on a questionable call that no one in the arena except he can see. (ETA: I mean. no one in the arena can see except him. )
    Except it doesn't work that way.

    There are three people on the technical panel making the call. During the program they'll just call "review" and after the program they will watch the replay and make a decision.

    The Technical Specialist could can see a questionable jump and decide to let it go, not to call for a review, for the reasons you suggest. But chances are the Technical Controller or the Assistant Technical Specialist would call for the review anyway, so the TS refraining would be for nothing.

    And when they do review, if the jump is borderline, they can -- and should according to the rules -- give the skater the benefit of the doubt. But if the replay shows a clear problem, do we expect the three of them to agree "Yeah, that jump was clearly cheated, but just listen to those cheers. The audience is going to want this skater to win, so let's pretend the jump was clean." Or would they each think that to themselves and lie to each other that it OK to them?

    Either way, they'd be compromising their integrity with no guarantee of manipulating the results in the right direction.

    The technical panel doesn't know what scores the judges are in the process of punching in at the time that they make those calls, either during the program or during the reviews (which is when the judges usually put in the PCS). They don't see a running total of this skater's scores so far, nor the previous skaters'. They may or may not know off the top of their heads that calling underrotation < on an iffy triple axel is likely to cost the skater 3 points or so compared to no call, or that calling e on a rotated triple lutz is likely to cost the skater approximately 2 points.

    They have no way of knowing how close total scores are going to be, whether 2 or 3 points would swing the result in favor of one skater or another.

    So why would the three of them, as a group, decide to abdicate their responsibility of calling what they see just to avoid being labeled after the fact as the individualS (plural) responsible for a result that's based on decisions by all three tech panel members working together and also on decisions by 9 (or however many) judges each working independently?

    All the decisions contribute to the results. There isn't a single call that makes the difference. And even if analysis after the fact reveals that the contest really was that close and a different call could have resulted in a different winner, isn't that an argument for the tech panel to be as vigilant as possible about getting the calls right? What you seem to be suggesting is that they should either decline to do their assigned task at all or to make incorrect calls on purpose.

    By the same token, I think the judges at the Olympics will be less eager than usual to give the title to someone with multiple falls, knowing they will face public scrutiny and ridicule if they do. (When it is just us, they don't care about being ridiculed. )
    It may well be that judges would be more inclined to lower their PCS for programs with falls when the whole world is watching.

    The bottom line is, with the Olympic gold medal on the line they don't want it to come down to an official's call. They want it to come down to a great skate.
    So if there is a great skate, the judges may be exhilarated just as much as the audience and get carried away in the moment to give higher scores than that performance objectively deserves.

    But again, the judges would still have no way of knowing whether they lowered the messy program's PCS or inflated the clean program's enough to guarantee the win for the cleaner one. They can only reflect their honest assessments of each skater's components according to their standard means of using those numbers OR they can manipulate their numbers to try to force the final results in favor of the skater that their gut feeling tells them deserves to win (or that they guess the public will think deserves to win). They may or may not succeed and they won't know until after the scores are finalized.

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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.

    2) Maybe there's something wrong with the scoring system if you have to have a university degree to understand it...
    I agree with this. For me the solution would be to keep the scoring system but recalibrate it somehow so that there is more variation in scoring between a good and a bad performance for any given skater. It becomes a bit anticlimactic when someone goes into the long with a multiple fall cushion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    So if there is a great skate, the judges may be exhilarated just as much as the audience and get carried away in the moment to give higher scores than that performance objectively deserves.
    I have 0 problem with this, but only on a big stage, like Worlds or Olympics. In diving, there is "Prelims Judging" and there is "Finals Judging". Prelims Judging is fairly tight, fairly unforgiving, and they will hit you hard if you mess up. It rewards consistency through your whole list of dives. Finals Judging is a little more relaxed, lenient, and judges are more apt to give some big scores. Sure, its because the people in the finals usually have brought their A game, and deserve it, because they've already proven they can get through the strict judging, they are the best of the best, and because its finals and if you nail a dive in finals, it's doing it on a big time stage and you SHOULD be rewarded for performing under pressure.

    I have no problem with Olympics and World judges doing the same thing. Were Yuna's scores inflated at Olympics? Sure, but so were Mao's and Joannie's. It's exciting to see big scores on the biggest stage, especially when skaters deserve it.

  12. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    So lack of falls/major errors should count for more than what is actually attempted and completed in the rest of the program? I.e., "Whoever does the hardest stuff possible without falling wins" -- but how difficult the successful stuff was and how well the successful stuff was done should take a back seat to the presence or absence of falls?

    Also, the size of the penalty needs to be considered carefully.

    For example, consider a single competition that includes the six skaters with the following jump content:

    Anna: 3Lz+3T, 3F+2T+2T e, 3Lz, 1Lo (pop), 2A+3T, 3S, 2A

    Beatriz: 3A (fall), 3A+2T, 3Lz, 3F+3Lo, 3F+2T+2Lo, 3T (fall), 3S

    Catherine: 3Lz+2T e, 3F+2T, 3Lz e, 3F, 3Lo<, 3S<, 2A+3T+SEQ

    Diana: 3T+2T, 3S+2Lo, 3T, 3S, 2A, 2F+2Lo+2Lo, 2Lz (all clean)

    Elena: 3F<< (fall), 3Lo<, 3T+3T (fall), 3F<, 2A+1Lo+3S, 3S, 2A

    Fabia: 3S<+1T, 3S<<, 3T<<, 2A, 2A+2T, 2F+2T+2Lo<, 2Lz

    To the naked eye, Catherine landed the most triples -- 7 -- with the the fewest obvious errors. Should she win, or should Anna and Beatriz get more credit for attempting greater difficulty and executing with mostly greater quality?

    Should the fall penalties be set large enough so that Beatriz couldn't beat Anna in this situation even if she replaced one of the triples she fell on with a successful double and only had one fall?

    Diana had an easier jump layout, but she executed everything she attempted with no mistakes. Is two falls from Beatriz enough to put her behind Diana if Diana had good quality on everything?

    Should Elena's program with three successfully landed triples (one in combination with a failed triple), two landed/somewhat cheated triples, and two falls challenge Fabia's with zero rotated triples?

    What if Diana was slow and cautious and did nothing but skate around with bad posture, telegraphing her jumps, with easy spins and steps only to the minimum required? Should it then be possible for an energetic, charismatic, well, choreographed and musical performance from Elena to beat her despite the falls?

    Should the number of visible errors be the deciding factor? Should the number of triples landed be the deciding factor? or should there be room for other qualities of the jumps and other qualities besides jumps to make the difference?

    Is it more important to make sure that Beatriz is punished for her falls and prohibited from winning this event? Should the punish-Beatriz rules be indifferent to how they affect lower-ranked skaters, e.g., whether Diana or Elena or Fabia earns the coveted last top-10 spot at Junior Worlds?

    Keep in mind that I'm talking about how noticeable errors should be better reflected in the all five aspects of component marks. An error disrupts the performance and should be reflected in skating skills, transitions, performance/execution, choreography and interpretation. There has to me a cold objective way to stop judges from rewarding skaters with component marks they think they deserve because of their reputation. There are judges today who just dont mark based on how they skated, that day and in that moment. Let the technical marking be as it is but something needs to be done with the program components.

    To use your example, yes Diana might've skated a cleaner program but realistically, from her comparitively simpler technical content, I would imagine that here component marks will be nowhere near the skills of Anna and Beatriz.

  13. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    Except it doesn't work that way.
    We'll see. My prediction is that at the Olympics there will be fewer edge calls and under-rotation calls for the top skaters than usual, and that no one will win a gold medal with more than one fall.

    These discussions of the IJS are so depressing. They all go like this:

    "Here is a problem I have with the current scoring rules."

    "OK, so what should we do about it?"

    "Maybe we could change it like this."

    "No, that would be stupid."

    "Oh. Yeah. You're right, it would be."

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    Quote Originally Posted by GF2445 View Post
    Keep in mind that I'm talking about how noticeable errors should be better reflected in the all five aspects of component marks. An error disrupts the performance and should be reflected in skating skills, transitions, performance/execution, choreography and interpretation. There has to me a cold objective way to stop judges from rewarding skaters with component marks they think they deserve because of their reputation.
    The thing is, we still want the judges to reward the skaters based on what they did today. If a mistake affects all of the components, it should be reflected in all of the components. If it barely affects one component at all, it need not be reflected in that component, whereas if it has a significant effect, it should be reflected more severely.

    I'd rather instruct judges to make those decisions for themselves, give them the discretion to penalize a minor disruption by just 0.25 in one score and a more severe disruption by 0.5 or 1.0 in all the components, no just tell them to ignore the disruptions and have someone else (the tech panel or referee who identifies the mistake for the computer) force exactly 0.25 in every component for every error of the same definition.

    If judges are officially not supposed to reflect these errors because they know that someone else is going to automatically subtract points from their scores, what's to stop them from padding those scores neutralize the automatic subtractions?

    E.g., imagine the following two falls:

    Greta has gotten through most of the program without error. And then she falls at the end of her final circular step sequence, stays in character, and plays it off by taking a final pose sitting on the ice as the music ends.

    Harriet planned to end with a circular step sequence right into a surprise double axel, with a sharp pose at the end. When executed properly it's a very effective ending choreographically and also adds a lot to Harriet's Transitions component. But today she seems off throughout the step sequence, falls in the middle of the sequence, stumbles to her feet with ugly positions, finds herself behind the music, so she does a couple of simple steps to finish the circle, then does a double axel from a simple entry and hits her final position after the music has ended.

    Both these falls are at or very near the end of the program, so the judges probably already have program component scores in mind before the fall occurs. How are they going to adjust them in reaction to the fall?

    By your proposal, they should just put in the numbers they had already been thinking of and the computer will subtract 0.25 from all components. (In addition to the standard fall deduction and the -GOE for falling during the step sequence)

    But it seems to me that Greta could justifiably be deducted just 0.25 in P/E and maybe also in SS if the fall were clearly a mistake in blade use and balance (and not, say, unexpectedly tripping over a flaw in the ice). But it didn't subtract anything from the transitions since it was the very end of the program, and in some ways it actually added to the choreography and interpretation. So why force an automatic deduction from those components? And if the judge knows that the those points are to be deducted, but still thought that the way Greta played off the fall actually improved the choreography, what's to stop the judge from bumping up her CH score by 0.5 from what that judge had been planning to give before the fall?

    For Harriett, on the other hand, a judge might feel that several of the components were affected by more than 0.25. Should the judge think "Well, I usually give this skater about 7.0 for Skating Skills and Transitions when she performs that sequence well and right into the axel. But today the steps were really off and she left out a lot of her difficulty, not to mention the difficult transition. I'm thinking those components were only worth 6.0 today. But I know that the computer is going to subtract 0.25 from whatever I give, so I guess I'll give 6.25 and let the computer take off the other 0.25."?

    So rather than imposing a flat 0.25 reduction across all PCS I would prefer to add a guideline to the PCS rules: For each fall or other disruptive error the judges should reduce the Performance/Execution score by 0.25 or more, depending on severity. Judges should also reflect disruptions in the other component marks as appropriate.

    Once it's officially written into the rules, judges will be able to refer to that rule as guidance to justify reducing the PCS and will be able to use their discretion to reflect how severe they think the disruption was to each of the component criteria, rather than relying on a predetermined yes-or-no amount that bypasses the judgment process to reflect the effect of this particular error in this particular performance.

    Yes, I know that back ca. 2004-05 there was a rule to reduce the P/E component by 1.00 for each fall, and judges never seemed to do that. So that rule was removed and the fall deduction was instituted instead.

    But 1.00 off a single component was too much in one fell swoop -- it could put that score into a completely different category (e.g., "above average" vs. "good") for something that only affected 1% of the program time. It would be a lot more likely for judges to comply with an "at least 0.25" penalty.

  15. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    The thing is, we still want the judges to reward the skaters based on what they did today. If a mistake affects all of the components, it should be reflected in all of the components. If it barely affects one component at all, it need not be reflected in that component, whereas if it has a significant effect, it should be reflected more severely.

    I'd rather instruct judges to make those decisions for themselves, give them the discretion to penalize a minor disruption by just 0.25 in one score and a more severe disruption by 0.5 or 1.0 in all the components, no just tell them to ignore the disruptions and have someone else (the tech panel or referee who identifies the mistake for the computer) force exactly 0.25 in every component for every error of the same definition.

    If judges are officially not supposed to reflect these errors because they know that someone else is going to automatically subtract points from their scores, what's to stop them from padding those scores neutralize the automatic subtractions?

    E.g., imagine the following two falls:

    Greta has gotten through most of the program without error. And then she falls at the end of her final circular step sequence, stays in character, and plays it off by taking a final pose sitting on the ice as the music ends.

    Harriet planned to end with a circular step sequence right into a surprise double axel, with a sharp pose at the end. When executed properly it's a very effective ending choreographically and also adds a lot to Harriet's Transitions component. But today she seems off throughout the step sequence, falls in the middle of the sequence, stumbles to her feet with ugly positions, finds herself behind the music, so she does a couple of simple steps to finish the circle, then does a double axel from a simple entry and hits her final position after the music has ended.

    Both these falls are at or very near the end of the program, so the judges probably already have program component scores in mind before the fall occurs. How are they going to adjust them in reaction to the fall?

    By your proposal, they should just put in the numbers they had already been thinking of and the computer will subtract 0.25 from all components. (In addition to the standard fall deduction and the -GOE for falling during the step sequence)

    But it seems to me that Greta could justifiably be deducted just 0.25 in P/E and maybe also in SS if the fall were clearly a mistake in blade use and balance (and not, say, unexpectedly tripping over a flaw in the ice). But it didn't subtract anything from the transitions since it was the very end of the program, and in some ways it actually added to the choreography and interpretation. So why force an automatic deduction from those components? And if the judge knows that the those points are to be deducted, but still thought that the way Greta played off the fall actually improved the choreography, what's to stop the judge from bumping up her CH score by 0.5 from what that judge had been planning to give before the fall?

    For Harriett, on the other hand, a judge might feel that several of the components were affected by more than 0.25. Should the judge think "Well, I usually give this skater about 7.0 for Skating Skills and Transitions when she performs that sequence well and right into the axel. But today the steps were really off and she left out a lot of her difficulty, not to mention the difficult transition. I'm thinking those components were only worth 6.0 today. But I know that the computer is going to subtract 0.25 from whatever I give, so I guess I'll give 6.25 and let the computer take off the other 0.25."?

    So rather than imposing a flat 0.25 reduction across all PCS I would prefer to add a guideline to the PCS rules: For each fall or other disruptive error the judges should reduce the Performance/Execution score by 0.25 or more, depending on severity. Judges should also reflect disruptions in the other component marks as appropriate.

    Once it's officially written into the rules, judges will be able to refer to that rule as guidance to justify reducing the PCS and will be able to use their discretion to reflect how severe they think the disruption was to each of the component criteria, rather than relying on a predetermined yes-or-no amount that bypasses the judgment process to reflect the effect of this particular error in this particular performance.

    Yes, I know that back ca. 2004-05 there was a rule to reduce the P/E component by 1.00 for each fall, and judges never seemed to do that. So that rule was removed and the fall deduction was instituted instead.

    But 1.00 off a single component was too much in one fell swoop -- it could put that score into a completely different category (e.g., "above average" vs. "good") for something that only affected 1% of the program time. It would be a lot more likely for judges to comply with an "at least 0.25" penalty.
    Point taken. Making it a guideline makes more sense. To be honest, judges should already have things like this in mind when they judge components but since its quite obvious that some judges still dont judge correctly, maybe spelling it out would be a good idea. The olympics are less than 280 days away and skating cannot afford another suspicious outcome. The sport will become a living joke on the world stage if what happened in London with the men's event happened again. Phil hersh made a great analogy saying that the judging system is like Ferrari. The judges were given it but they don't know how to drive it. Nearly ten years later...they still dont know how to drive it.

    This was a great discussion to have

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