I think a lot of things have changed in training &c - from a very recent Plushenko interview:
"Actually, because of what I have so many injuries? Never in my life I did not have a team that would have made sure that I correctly recovering after exertion. Doctors, massage therapists. In the 12 years I taught Axel with 2.5 turns, in the 13 years I have made it. In the 14 years I have been already doing a quadruple jump. The organism was not yet formed, the bones were weak, and I have done these complex elements! And in the team was only the coach and choreographer.."
And in his time, Chris Howarth badly injured himself over-training the 3Lz. And the subsequent operation didn't exactly help either, after what I understood. (From a Manleywoman interview done with him a few years back.)
Hopefully knowledge has grown, and the training regime differs - and the athletes will have less severe injuries.
Besides, not many sports are without risk - and figure skating is, when all is considered, not the most dangerous. After all, at least a figure skater is not liable to go up in a blazing inferno... And nonetheless motor sports are still with us, and will so remain. (Hopefully, they too are more safe now - but I don't know much about the subject, I confess.)
When Jeffrey Buttle and others started winning championships with a choreographed fall on an under-rotated quad, the ISU responded by increasing the penalties for under-rotations and falls to take away this strategy. In this, they went too far and eased up in later versions.
The real controversy in CoP changes after the 2010 Olympics was not in men's but in ladies. Yuna Kim had clobbered the opposition by a record score. The next year the ISU decided to decrease the value of GOEs by 30% (Kim's huge lead came about because of high GOEs on every element), and also to forbid three double Axels in the LP (Kim's layout featured three double Axels, which allowed her to present a strong jump card while omitting the triple loop). At the same time they raised the value of the triple Axel -- a move that helped only Kim's closest rival. Kim fans were irate, but I don't think the ISU was deliberately picking on Kim as an individual. Rather, I think they felt that the results of the competition exposed flaws in the CoP that needed to be fixed.
Last edited by Mathman; 09-24-2013 at 01:49 PM.
And, I wouldn't have had a problem with the reduction of the three double axels to two, had the ISU not broken precedent and allowed the 3A in the SP for the ladies. Now THAT was corrupt and done solely to benefit Mao Asada. It was and will always be a travesty that was committed to give one individual skater a big advantage over her competition. This was all documented in the Goldenskate archives, by the way. Ironically, Mao's own mistakes (i.e. missing the 3Loop in the 2013 Worlds SP) have prevented her from benefiting more frequently from this rule change, but it is undoubtedly a big advantage that she didn't earn.
The rule is fair. When you are capable of doing a 3Axel, it's silly that you HAVE to still do a 2Axel in your SP after completing a 3Axel+2Toe combo.
3Axel+2Toe is more difficult than 3Lutz+3Toe, yet it's worth less points under the current CoP. Think about it.
Triple Axels and quads are both undervalued. It should go like this:
1A = 1.1
2A = 3.3
3A = 9.9
1T = 0.4
2T = 1.3
3T = 3.9
4T = 11.7
1Lz = 0.7
2Lz = 2.0
3Lz = 6.0
4Lz = 18.0 (Brandon Mroz rules!)
3Lz+3T = 9.9 (assuming no bonus in tech for jumps done in combination)
Same for the ladies with the triple out of footwork, or the triple/triple in the SP. They weren't allowed to do it until numerous ladies had shown they could do it over a number of years; it was proven that no single individual would be the sole beneficiary.
It may have been silly that Kristi Yamaguchi and Midori Ito were doing doubles out of footwork in the SP in 1992, and you can say that the ISU was overly cautious, but at least they never gave one skater a big leg up over the others in the short program. Until 2010, that is.
This is really a separate issue. I wouldn't have a problem with a combination bonus that awards bonuses based on the difficulty of the first jump (and if necessary a smaller bonus based on the second jump).3Axel+2Toe is more difficult than 3Lutz+3Toe, yet it's worth less points under the current CoP. Think about it.
But why automatically blame the system as opposed to the skater's strategy? Mao's decision to attempt the 3A/2T instead of her 3F/3Lo (which is ALSO worth more than a 3Lz/3T AND a 3A/2T) was questionable. Had she stuck with the 3/3, she probably would've gotten it ratified at the Olympics.
There is definitely a weakness of the system that doesn't explicitly reward combinations, but it applies to numerous skaters and situations, and Mao was not being singled out. When Yu-Na switched her SP layout from 3F/3T and a 3Lz to a 3Lz/3T and a 3F, she gained nothing in base value though the difficulty of her combination increased. A 3Lz/3Lo, which Miki was attempting, was worth more than either a 3Lz/3T or a 3A/2T, but did anyone complain about that? No.
Several women have shown they can do 3Axel in competition and a LOT of them have landed it in practice. Yukari Nakano got fully credited for some of her attempts in the 2008 season. It's not just Mao.
I feel your argument is a bit reductive. If something isn't valued then people aren't going to practice it.
Also, I've always complained about Miki being under-rewarded for her very difficult jump elements (when she used to attempt them) even though she's usually over-rewarded on spins/PCS.
In any case, the rule change has not profited Mao (or anyone else) yet. In the three world championships held under the new rules Mao's placements in the short program were:
2011 7th (behind Kim, Ando, Makarova, Csisny, Leonova and Kostner)
2012 4th (behind Leonova, Murakami and Kostner)
2013 6th (behind Kim, Kostner, Murakami, Osmond and Wagner)
The total score for a jump or jump combo should then be (1+.1*GOE)*X*e^(R-1). Scoring GOE this way means GOE is a proportion of base value, taking care of the problem of undervalued jump combos by giving it a larger bonus proportional to its higher base value.
All fair, I think, though this would make scoring even more incomprehensible to the audience. Just tell a layman, the value of an executed element is (1+.1*GOE)*X*e^(R-1), where R is the number of revolutions, X is the base value, e is the base of the natural logarithm, and GOE is the trimmed mean of the scores given by a panel of nine judges.
as for the 3A.. it was obvious from the start what ISU is trying to do..
if mao landed her 3As then good for her, she has all the tools, she has a strong fed doing the politics for her.. all she needs to do is skate and perform well..
Skaters should be allowed to jump any jump they are able to, even quint if they can. If a skater is really capable of great achievements he/she should have a competitive advantage. As a fan, at the Olympics I like to see records, special programs and I'm happy that ISU allowed it.