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Thread: Figure skating needs CPR

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by GF2445 View Post
    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.
    Yeah, issuing a guideline would not be a major rule change. It could be done behind the scenes -- official reminders to reflect errors in the PCS as appropriate, and suggestions for what might be appropriate.

    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.
    I'd rather say "Nearly ten years later they're still figuring out how to drive it." I.e., they know some of what to do, but other areas still need work. And some individual judges are further ahead on the learning curve than others. I don't like stating it in such a way that implies none of them knows anything, because I don't think that's any more accurate than saying they all know everything.

    This was a great discussion to have
    I hope the real decisionmakers are having similar conversations.

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by CanadianSkaterGuy View Post
    So would you still have the -1.0 deduction for each fall (off the total score)? Because it seems like falls receive a triple deduction then ... in GOE, the minus 1.0 deduction, and then a PCS deduction.
    Yes, but some of them would be flexible penalties, so the degree of total penalty would be more reflective of the actual disruption by this particular fall.

    The 1.0 deduction is relatively small -- especially at the world medal level. If anything it's too big for juvenile or adult gold skaters. So either the amount should be different for different skill levels and maybe different disciplines but the same across the board in the same event (e.g., Anna and Fabia have very different skill levels in my earlier example, but if they're both competing in the same junior ladies' event they're both subject to the same rules). Or else the standard fall deduction

    The reason why I think there is value to having a fall deduction in addition to the -GOE is twofold:
    *Under 6.0, the short program deductions had four levels of severity (0.1 to 0.4) for mistakes of various severity and for combined mistakes. With IJS (aside from the separate base mark penalties for jump underrotation or loss of levels), the maximum loss of GOE points on a single element is -3, or a maximum of 3.0 points. For the most severe errors, including bad falls, and for combinations of other errors along with a fall, the option to give -3 GOE along with a separate fall deduction allows for a more severe penalty than -3 alone. There is still flexibility so that an element with several good qualities and no other errors besides a fall could lose only the value of -1 or -2 plus the fall deduction, whereas an element with multiple problems including but not limited to a fall would lose -3 GOE plus the fall deduction and also might lose points in the base mark. I think this is more reflective of the severity of each individual element with a fall rather than scoring all elements with this error exactly the same regardless of other positive or negative qualities.

    *Relying only on GOE penalties would mean no official penalties for falls between elements. That's where the fall deduction makes sure the program as a whole is penalized by at least the value of the deduction (1.0).

    The discussion seems to be if falls on jumps should result in lesser points for skating skills/transitions/etc. I agree that transitions should be deducted if the skater typically does transitions out of that jump but fails to do so because of a fall (because they shouldn't get credit for something they don't execute)... but for skating skills, I don't think it's a matter of skating skills if you fall on a quad -- I tend to refer to skating skills as the non-elements skating (even though it obviously requires blade ability to execute jumps).
    Yes, I tend to agree with you here.

    But on that note, I'm curious as to whether falls on non-elements in a program (V/T Worlds FS, Hanyu Worlds FS last year) should be more severe than falls on elements (because doing a fall on a quad should be more understandable than falling when stroking around, right?); and on that note, a fall in footwork or spins should arguably be 'worse' than a fall on a jump, but more forgivable than a fall when stroking around.
    Again, I think it depends on the specific instance. Some non-element falls are very disruptive, some barely at all. They are more likely to result from a failure of skating skills specifically than is a fall on a jump, where there's much less room for error because of the momentum from the jump rotation and descent that can pull the skater off the edge and down to the ice with the slightest misalignment. On basic stroking and steps skaters have more chance to save themselves from falling if they get a tiny bit off alignment, so if they do fall the mistakes in skating skills were likely greater. Although even so, there can be a difference between a single split-second error -- e.g., clicking blades, taking a risky deep edge that just happens to hit a rut -- that results in a complete loss of balance, versus struggling with balance and control throughout the program or throughout a passage of steps until the problems multiply and result in a fall.

    To me, a non-elements fall (even if it's deemed a 'freak' fall), should arguably receive a deduction off Skating Skills, Transitions and Performance/Execution.
    I think it often should, and that judges should be encouraged to reflect the severity of the fall, the reasons for the fall, and its effect on the various component criteria in ALL of the relevant component scores.

    I just don't think we should decide in advance that all falls deserve the exact same penalties in the exact same scores. I'd rather leave it up to the judges to evaluate each instance on its own merits. And give them written guidance about appropriate ways to do so.

  3. #63
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    IMO, if a skater is given 8.00 or higher in SS, that skater should be penalized more for multiple falls than a skater ranked lower in SS. The first fall for the high-SS skater should be just the 1.00 deduction for the fall, but each subsequent fall should impact PE and if applicable, TR, IN and CH.

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    I disagree chuckm... all skaters should be equally penalized for falls on the same scale. Falls shouldn't have tiered severity just to keep the competition closer together, and certainly not to penalize skaters for actually having a program that incorporates more difficulty in choreography/transitions/jumps/etc. If anything, a skater that has an easier program to execute should be penalized more for falling.

    I do think that subsequent falls should be deducted increasingly as a program does indeed get worse the more falls you see.

    I'm wondering what people's thoughts are on popped jumps too... I mean a triple to a double is less obvious, but I think a singled jump should be affecting PCS to some degree. Perhaps it shouldn't be penalized because already it's a huge loss of points. But I think when people expect a triple or quad and it's turned into a single, it does adverse affect the program.

    I also agree with gkelly that the judges should reflect the severity of the fall... but then favouritism comes into play. In the case of V/T, the fall seemingly didn't even affect their scores, whereas I'm sure if it happened to mid-level teams, the deduction would have stood. In Kostner's SP at Worlds it was an obvious disruption but her PCS was huge (and she even got -2's mainly on the fall itself... you think those judges would have deducted her PCS?). Same with when V/M fell in the GPF a few years ago but were still 2nd -- it definitely should be a factor in ice dance more than it already is... Hanyu's fall was arguably really disruptive because he stumbled a bit after and was clearly winded (which made his 3A after that much more impressive). I just have a feeling that if judges were encouraged to use their discretion at further deducting skaters for falls in the PCS department, top skaters would benefit much more. But for the same reason that they shouldn't benefit more by being given more slack by the judges for falls, they also shouldn't be penalized more by the judges for their falls... everyone should be judged equally (ideal as that may be).

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robeye View Post
    Mathematically, I must disagree that 1) the SP is relatively overvalued, and 2) that the system enables insurmountable leads...

    In no way [do the facts] demonstrate that the system of giving proportionally equal weightings to SP and LP scores (which is the current system) is either unfair, or that it systematically results in insurmountable SP leads (other than for reasons related to what the skaters themselves managed to do, or not do, on the ice).

    The difference between this situation and the figures/free skate dichotomy of yore is that, the SP and the LP are essentially like items; it would be like playing 3 innings of a game one day, and then 6 innings the next. Should a run on the second day be counted as 2 runs, just because it would add a certain frisson to the finish?
    A sport without frisson? Call the mortician.

    I think the complaint about large leads in the short program carried over to the long really is about the "frisson" that sports fans seek and expect, rather than about mathematics. Consider an American football game where one team runs up a 35 to nothing lead in the first half. Along about the middle of the third quarter the audience starts to file out to get a jump on the traffic. Think about it. I just spent my whole monthly entertainment budget ($100 for the game and $40 for a hot dog and beer), yet -- no frisson -- I bail on my investment in the second half. (Well, at least i ate the hot dog and drank the beer.)

    Now consider the seven game playoff series in hockey, baseball, or basketball. My team is down three games to none. No one in the history of the league has ever come back from a 0-3 deficit. And yet -- hey, buddy, you still have to come into my house right here, right now, and beat me if you want to pry the championship from my cold, dead hand. Whoever wins the last game wins the gold.

    Factored placements wasn't a bad compromise, IMHO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CanadianSkaterGuy View Post
    I disagree chuckm... all skaters should be equally penalized for falls on the same scale. Falls shouldn't have tiered severity just to keep the competition closer together, and certainly not to penalize skaters for actually having a program that incorporates more difficulty in choreography/transitions/jumps/etc. If anything, a skater that has an easier program to execute should be penalized more for falling.
    You are right about all skaters should be equally penalized for falls on the same scale. But the "otherwise" suggestion is just a joke. Skaters who skate "more complex" programs will be awarded for doing those difficult stuff, why should they get less punishment for their mistakes? They chose to skate complex programs so that if they can execute that, they are rewarded with higher score. That is the risk they take. If they cannot execute them in competition, they should not get the points they did not earn. Simple as that.

    Skater (A) who skates complex program already got higher component score on TR, CH than skater (B) who skates lesser program, if both of the skaters fell on the same jumps, in your logic, A should be punished lesser than B, it means A gain points over B when they make same mistakes, that is not fair.

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    A sport without frisson? Call the mortician.

    I think the complaint about large leads in the short program carried over to the long really is about the "frisson" that sports fans seek and expect, rather than about mathematics. Consider an American football game where one team runs up a 35 to nothing lead in the first half. Along about the middle of the third quarter the audience starts to file out to get a jump on the traffic. Think about it. I just spent my whole monthly entertainment budget ($100 for the game and $40 for a hot dog and beer), yet -- no frisson -- I bail on my investment in the second half. (Well, at least i ate the hot dog and drank the beer.)

    Now consider the seven game playoff series in hockey, baseball, or basketball. My team is down three games to none. No one in the history of the league has ever come back from a 0-3 deficit. And yet -- hey, buddy, you still have to come into my house right here, right now, and beat me if you want to pry the championship from my cold, dead hand. Whoever wins the last game wins the gold.

    Factored placements wasn't a bad compromise, IMHO.
    Hey, don't get me wrong, I appreciate frisson as much as the next guy (especially with a maraschino cherry on top . bada bing).

    I understand your point. However, in my very humble opinion, there is a line one must not cross in actively jiggering for frisson, lest athletic integrity be unacceptably harmed.

    One of the cardinal principles of sport and athletics is the notion that the ideal outcome is excellence. If excitement results in that pursuit (and, given the competitive nature of the activity, it should, most of the time), then we have attained the magical elixir that millions of weekend warriors seek. Competitive frisson, whether athletic or artistic, is qualitatively unique because it arises from the display of excellence. Otherwise it is no different from the sad trashy forms of mere entertainment (Simon Cowell, I'm looking at you) that, like the absurd Malvolio, drapes the metaphorical lion's skin over its own pasty, slope-shouldered physique.

    Of course, this competitive integrity means that we may not get down-to-the wire finishes every single time. Some observations:

    1) I don't buy the idea that this necessarily depresses excitement/interest/popularity. I would lay very easy odds that in golf, ratings for Tiger's imperious spankings of his competitors in Major Championships far, far exceed those recorded for Lucas Glover's lone win, or for whatshisname from South Africa in a nailbiter (oh yeah, Charl Schwartzel). Very often, sports fans (and certainly fans of art) simply enjoy being awestruck while watching a master/mistress exercise complete dominion (I didn't mean that to sound kinky).

    The very occasional underdog as champion is mildly interesting; in the long term, however, a frequent and unending succession of underdogs in close contests will, far from promoting the sport's popularity, promote boredom, apathy, and, eventually, disgust.

    2) Without such competitive integrity, we will resent and reject "close" contests as manipulative and forced. Like Katniss Everdeen in "The Hunger Games" (not my favorite movie, but hey).

    3) Whether in the one-game format of the Super Bowl, or the best-of-seven in other major sports, there have been, probably many more relatively clear-cut contests than there have been last-minute or final-game heroics. But notice that none of these leagues, not the NFL nor MLB nor the NBA, have done anything horrifically gimmicky, like making back-end periods/games worth more, even though such gimmicks would clearly encourage "down-to-the wire" dynamics (please see 2), above). In a way that is ineluctably connected to the nature of sports and competition, a close contest, when it does arise, is electrifying precisely because the closeness of it is not inevitable.

    Despite all of the above, I am not vehemently opposed to factored placements. The old 6.0 idea that the top three after the Short all have a shot a winning (sort of like 'making the cut' in golf, although I believe the cut-line in golf has more to do with logistics and saving the grass than with frisson) is certainly workable (having worked for real in the past).

    So, what is the difference, when all is said and done? All this really does is to decrease amplitude. In other words, it eliminates the possiblity of the spectacular come-from-behind win (like Gracie almost did at Nationals), but it allows anyone in the top three to have a chance. The current system has far greater amplitude, contrary to some posts made here. A skater can come from way back to win the competition if she has the goods; but it also means that, if a skater has dominant skills, it's harder for a scrappy underdog to pull off the upset. From the perspectives of both athletic equity and viewing interest, I personally prefer the latter. The history of sports ratings seems to demonstrate that I'm not alone in this.

    Net-net, however, I continue to believe that the issues of skating popularity (in the US) lie elsewhere. The question being discussed is by comparison a luxury item, that may or may not have a meaningful impact if the more pressing issues (e.g. lack of a compelling domestic ladies champion) are solved.

  8. #68
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    Actually, I am not as thrilled by the come-from-behind potential of the IJS as I should be. The reason why is that a skater cannot overcome a large short program deficit by his own efforts, not matter how well he skates. The other guy has to help out by messing up.

    One criticism of factored placements was that only the top three in the short program "controlled their own destinies" in the long. But under IJS only one person does.

    Let's look at the men's event at the recent Worlds. Chan was ten points ahead after the short program. There were four possibilities.

    1. Chan wins going away in the long (the Tiger Woods scenario). Yes, this can make for a very satisfying spectator experience. The dominant champion shows why he is the dominant champion. This is what Yuna Kim did. But this scenario would produce the same thrill under any scoring system. Tiger can be the The Man in either stroke or match play.

    2. Chan gives a competent but blah performance and coasts to victory on the basis of his short program. The key word is blah.

    3. Chan gives regrettable performance, loses the long program badly, but wins anyway. This is what happened. Wuzrobbing and cries for the head of the guy who thought up the stupid scoring system.

    4. Chan gives an even worse performance in the LP, falls so many times that he manages somehow to lose his entire SP cushion and drops off the podium. Good news for Denis Ten fans. But in this scenario Ten didn't win, Patrick lost. (In golf this would be Jean van de Velde at the 1999 British Open, leading by three strokes at the seventy-second tee, taking a triple bogey and then losing the playoff.)

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    Factored placements is an ugly idea. Thank goodness it's no way coming back.

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    ^ Like I said, the ISU has made its bed, now it must lie in it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Robeye View Post
    Net-net, however, I continue to believe that the issues of skating popularity (in the US) lie elsewhere. The question being discussed is by comparison a luxury item, that may or may not have a meaningful impact if the more pressing issues (e.g. lack of a compelling domestic ladies champion) are solved.
    Agreed. I think the judging system is at most a tiny impediment to efforts at increasing skating's popularity in the U.S. However, I don't think a great ladies' champion will help much either.

    Cultural drift. Beauty pageants are out, smash-mouth is in -- that sort of thing.

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    I haven't seen any statistical analysis, and Lord knows I haven't done any myself, but I wonder which is more common:

    • A dominant short program win essentially puts the competition away... or
    • Tightly packed short program results where someone down in 6th place is only 5 points down, and can still has a very reasonable chance to win.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    ^ Like I said, the ISU has made its bed, now it must lie in it.



    Agreed. I think the judging system is at most a tiny impediment to efforts at increasing skating's popularity in the U.S. However, I don't think a great ladies' champion will help much either.

    Cultural drift. Beauty pageants are out, smash-mouth is in -- that sort of thing.
    -RE: Patrick Chan Winning Worlds; One can argue (as I do) that Patrick's winning was not foreordained by the results of the Short, but could easily have been avoided had very basic, common-sense principles been applied in treating the impact of falls on PCS. The systemic fault, if it can be located anywhere, can be found there, IMO.

    In other words, even a 10 point lead, as large as that is, should have been surmountable.

    -Let's make a small wager. If, at some point, Gracie Gold becomes Olympic champion, I predict that figure skating's popularity in the US will soar to levels not seen since Michelle Kwan. How to measure this? I will operationalize the prediction in a confirmable way: Gracie would then become one of the top 10 highest paid female athletes in the world. The bet? A six-pack of beer of one's choice. (This is a gentlemen's agreement; we can haggle over the logistics of delivery at the appropriate time ).

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    Quote Originally Posted by TontoK View Post
    I haven't seen any statistical analysis, and Lord knows I haven't done any myself, but I wonder which is more common:

    • A dominant short program win essentially puts the competition away... or
    • Tightly packed short program results where someone down in 6th place is only 5 points down, and can still has a very reasonable chance to win.
    Interestingly, US Nationals' men this year was the latter. The top five were all pretty close except for Abbott who'd been gifted a five-point lead, and then Miner-Farris-Aaron all on top of each other. Before the long program, everyone was talking about Abbott and Miner and MAYBE Farris. No-one saw Aaron coming. Until suddenly, ka-blam, 2-6 layout, two quads, great speed, power, energy and expression, and he demolished them all.

    One could argue that he relied on others to mess up - and I guess you'd be right. Had Ross not popped that Axel he'd likely have been National Champion and there wouldn't be anywhere near as much carry-on about the result. Had Abbott stood up - not that that was likely in any scenario - he'd have been National Champion and everyone would have been dancing around cheering and saying how wonderful it was. Had Farris stayed up on his quad, he could have been National Champion, and...

    and on it goes.

    The fact is, ice is slippery (to use a horrible cliché) and mistakes will happen. Max's skate at US Nats wasn't perfect either. But some mistakes are a part of the sport. Where things start becoming contentious is when you get a so-called World Champion making four major mistakes in his long program and being able to win the World Championship solely on the strength of his reputation. And then you get people saying "well, if Denis hadn't popped into a double he would have won", which, IMO, is missing the point. Apart from that double Denis was 100% clean and technically pretty darn good. The argument shouldn't be "if Denis hadn't popped", the argument should be "if Chan had just stood up we wouldn't even be having this conversation".

    People all the time stick their noses in the air to me and say in that snobbish tone, "It's figure SKATING, not figure JUMPING." Well, I've got a reply.

    "It's figure SKATING, not figure FALLING!"

  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robeye View Post
    Let's make a small wager. If, at some point, Gracie Gold becomes Olympic champion, I predict that figure skating's popularity in the US will soar to levels not seen since Michelle Kwan. How to measure this? I will operationalize the prediction in a confirmable way: Gracie would then become one of the top 10 highest paid female athletes in the world. The bet? A six-pack of beer of one's choice. (This is a gentlemen's agreement; we can haggle over the logistics of delivery at the appropriate time ).
    I will take that bet. The top ten highest paid female athletes last year were seven tennis players, race car driver Danica Patrick, Yuna Kim (seventh at 7 to 9 million dollars) and, in tenth place, a golfer at about 6 million. Gracie would essentially have to earn as much as Kim to make the list.

    On the men's list, there is no one in an Olympic sport. (Boxer Floyd Mayweather is number 1 at 85 million -- all from winning two fights, 0 from endorsements). I believe that, as the Olympics gradually fade away -- especially the winter Olympics -- no Olympic athlete will ever make the list, Kim being a astonishing anomaly.

  15. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robeye View Post
    -Let's make a small wager. If, at some point, Gracie Gold becomes Olympic champion, I predict that figure skating's popularity in the US will soar to levels not seen since Michelle Kwan.

    Sorry, I'm not mocking the possibility that Gold might be a future Olympic champion.
    But if she does snag Olympic gold, I do not think that her success will cause a dramatic increase in figure skating's popularity [ETA: in the U.S.]. At best, maybe a small and temporary boost, IMHO. (And I'm American.)
    By the way, does your prediction apply only to Gold? What if an American lady other than Gold wins the 2018 Olympics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robeye View Post
    How to measure this? I will operationalize the prediction in a confirmable way: Gracie would then become one of the top 10 highest paid female athletes in the world. ....
    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    I will take that bet. The top ten highest paid female athletes last year were seven tennis players, race car driver Danica Patrick, Yuna Kim (seventh at 7 to 9 million dollars) and, in tenth place, a golfer at about 6 million. Gracie would essentially have to earn as much as Kim to make the list.

    On the men's list, there is no one in an Olympic sport. (Boxer Floyd Mayweather is number 1 at 85 million -- all from winning two fights, 0 from endorsements). I believe that, as the Olympics gradually fade away -- especially the winter Olympics -- no Olympic athlete will ever make the list, Kim being a astonishing anomaly.
    Mathman, any idea how much Nastia Liukin and Gabby Douglas have been paid since winning their all-around gymnastics golds at the Olympics?
    Way less than Kim, no doubt.
    And would you guess that the earning power of an American lady who wins the Olympic skating gold would be approx. in the same range?

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