As for who skated best in the opinion of the less knowledgable fan, I think if one skater did a bunch of big jumps, and another gave an emotionally satisfying musical interpretation, while a third dazzled with his blade work, that fan would come away from the contest saying, "Well the judges liked this guy's performance the best, but the other two were pretty good, too, in different ways." In fact, this is the best kind of competition to watch -- everyone was good, each by his own measure.
But when someone has multiple falls and other mistakes that even the most casual of fans can't help but notice, that detracts alike from the glory of the big jumps, the effectiveness of the presentation, and the demonstration of blade-to-ice skills.
To clarify with a person's response to my post, I admit it was wrong of me to use the term 'top skaters.' I believe a reduction in the PCS for mistakes should be mandatory across all higher levels of skaters (senior and junior levels- for smaller levels, I think it should not apply). There has to be a greater emphasis on achieving a clean program over going out of your depth and faulting.
Besides, if you fall or stumble on elements you are not demonstrating control over your edges (Skating skills), linking footwork in between the elements is compromised, the program is not being performed or executed properly, a skater on their bum is not choreography and the interpretation is interrupted by these mistakes.
The more I think about it, the more clear it seems to me that figure skating has a unique burden among spectator sports. In other sports, if you root for the home team and they get beat, you might go away sad but you won't be angry. What makes you go away angry is when the game turns on a controversial (and in your opinion wrong) referee's call.
In figure skating, everything is a referee's call. By it's very nature figure skating will always be the king of wuz-robbing, whatever the scoring system.
Last edited by dorispulaski; 05-05-2013 at 10:36 AM.
If the goal is to do the hardest stuff possible without falling, then obviously the falls would disqualify that person from winning.
If the goal is to present a seamless performance, with some risky preferred but not required, then obviously the falls and stumbles would seriously detract.
If the goal is to do the hardest stuff possible in an allotted time, with credit only for what is successfully executed during that time, then the failed elements would be ignored and the difficulty of what is completed successfully would be privileged.
Of these three options, the first is clearly far from the truth of how the sport has ever been organized, so anyone who thinks that's what the point is has clearly been misled (or never led at all and made up their own rules in their head with no knowledge).
The second and third are each closer, but each leave out important aspects. And they contradict each other.
The rules can also be adjusted to favor one direction or another. So if we're calling for rule changes, which direction should they go. After 2010, many (skaters, coaches, and some fans) called for rule changes that would better reward and encourage greater attempted difficulty, specifically quad attempts. The results made it easier to win with quads and also falls -- especially for one particular skater who has become a lightning rod of resentment. Unintended consequence.
So now the pendulum swings toward calls to penalize falls more severely. That is probably needed, but it has to be done carefully, with more thought into the effects of any rule change in a variety of likely situations, not just the situation that allows that one resented skater to win so often.
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?