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Thread: How does "politicking" work?

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    How does "politicking" work?

    We all know federations politick for their skaters in different ways. Skaters have made comments about it (i.e. Johnny Weir saying his Olympic scores could have been better if he was politicked for), judges have been busted for trading votes (i.e. SLC pairs) and also attacking skaters from other countries (i.e. Inman's e-mail "pointing out" Plushenko having no transitions). In what other subtle, behind the scenes ways to federations use these tactics to promote their skaters?

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    Custom Title plushyfan's Avatar
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    Akiko's and Mao's marks in last year, if I right remember at NHK Trophy or at GPF...Akiko sould have won that competition.

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    I am certainly not an expert on this, and it differs between national competitions and international events. But the judges usually stay at the same hotels, often will eat in the same restaurants. Before and after the competition, there is a judges lounge at the skating venue where the judges congregate. If there is a friendly judge or official nearby from another Federation that a judge has known over the years, I am sure they don't sit in silence. They may compliment a skater from the opposing Fed., and casually mention some positive aspects of their own skaters that may have been overlooked in past judging. If your skater has made recent improvments in technique, you may point that out. The other judge may subconsciously look for that improvement, and judge accordingly.

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    The clearest example is Inman against plushenko and getting plushenko two 5.00 transition scores in the sp to help lysacek win.

    Another example may be Russian ice Dance chair declaring domshabs ropes for lifting legal.

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    Skating is art, if you let it be. Blades of Passion's Avatar
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    Ironically, Plushenko deserved a 5.0 for Interpretation in the SP. His transitions were fine. The power pull out of the 3Axel was amazing.

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    I should mention I read a book by Jon Jackson titled "ON EDGE" a few years ago. It gives his story how he started up the judging ranks, from low level comps through national and eventually received international judging certificates. He was an observer, not a participant, of the Salt Lake City scandal in 2002 and explains a lot how politicing works. This was all under 6.0

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    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    Love him, or hate him, but Scott Hamilton talked about politicking with examples from his own career of officials and judges going for or against him in his autobiography "Landing It".

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    John Curry (1976 Olympic gold medalist) talked about politicking in his documentary. He was very derisive of 6.0, saying that cheating was laughably transparent. Although he knew he wasn't a "favored" skater during most of his career, he also knew that changed during the Olympic year. For whatever reason, the judges deemed him the top skater, and he said that played a large role in his eventual win.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gmyers View Post
    The clearest example is Inman against plushenko and getting plushenko two 5.00 transition scores in the sp to help lysacek win.
    To be fair, Plushenko himself declared that he doesn't have any transitions. But Inman certainly facilitated those remarks to Plushenko's detriment. It's true though, his transitions were very much lacking compared to the rest of the field... just because you landed quads/3A and are who you are, doesn't make a program good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CanadianSkaterGuy View Post
    To be fair, Plushenko himself declared that he doesn't have any transitions. But Inman certainly facilitated those remarks to Plushenko's detriment. It's true though, his transitions were very much lacking compared to the rest of the field... just because you landed quads/3A and are who you are, doesn't make a program good.
    No, Plushenko did not declare that he had no transitions, but Mishin did not wanted to investigate the case or to tell Plushenko about Inman's letter. When Plushenko found out, it was too late to ask the journalist explanations about the article (it was an article in Absolute Skating). He did say in some interviews (videos) that he does not have as many transitions as other skaters, which is different.

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    I want to be a bit more systematic.

    I'd say the following can all go into the scoring:

    1. Honest assessment

    Tech panels call what they see the skaters do, according to the rules and written guidelines.

    Judges evaluate GOEs according to the written guidelines and PCS according to their assessments of each performance against the written criteria, according to their own mental images of what constitutes poor, average, good, outstanding, etc., developed through watching thousands of skaters and comparing notes (about general principles) with other judges

    There is some room for different mental definitions of "good," etc., and of which criteria are more important than others.

    2. Psychological effects
    People see what they expect to see.

    Tech panels may give more scrutiny to skaters who have had known problems in the past and give more benefit of doubt to skaters who are known for executing clean elements and successful features.

    Judges' perceptions of quality may be influenced by their knowledge of what they've seen from specific skaters in the past, or what they know about skaters' past results, past scoring range, and other buzz. Skate order can also affect the judges' mindset.

    3. Politics
    Officials may intentionally manipulate the buzz about certain skaters in hopes to influence others to appreciate and reward their favored skaters' strong points or to scrutinize the rivals' weaknesses more closely

    4. Cheating
    Officials intentionally decide to inflate scores or tech calls for their favored skaters above what they objectively deserve and to lowball the scores of the rivals -- either on their own initiative or more likely in response to pressure or explicit instructions from their federations or other outside influences.

    They may make deals with officials of other federations to help each others' skaters in a quid pro quo arrangement.


    While all of the above can occur in any judging system, I think that the way IJS is set up shifts the emphasis more toward 1 than 2 compared with the ordinal system.

    But this thread is supposed to focus on #3, right? Intentionally manipulating buzz?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ciocio View Post
    No, Plushenko did not declare that he had no transitions, but Mishin did not wanted to investigate the case or to tell Plushenko about Inman's letter. When Plushenko found out, it was too late to ask the journalist explanations about the article (it was an article in Absolute Skating). He did say in some interviews (videos) that he does not have as many transitions as other skaters, which is different.
    True! plushenkos own statement actually indicated ignorance that transitions are before any technical element and plushenko implied transitions are only before jumps.

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    Six Point Zero Krislite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by b-man View Post
    I am certainly not an expert on this, and it differs between national competitions and international events. But the judges usually stay at the same hotels, often will eat in the same restaurants. Before and after the competition, there is a judges lounge at the skating venue where the judges congregate. If there is a friendly judge or official nearby from another Federation that a judge has known over the years, I am sure they don't sit in silence. They may compliment a skater from the opposing Fed., and casually mention some positive aspects of their own skaters that may have been overlooked in past judging. If your skater has made recent improvments in technique, you may point that out. The other judge may subconsciously look for that improvement, and judge accordingly.
    I imagine this is how it works most of the time. No round-table conspiracy, bribes or anything overt, but more a matter of chatter and reputation. Judges talk to each other and keep track of competition results/protocols and watch videos of competitions. Expectations play a lot into scoring. When they consider you top dog, they give you high marks. When you're a relative unknown, they score conservatively unless you have a skate-of-your-life moment. Your most recent competitive results tend to determine your current potential/range of scores. Improvements/consistency increase that range. Poor results will lower it. This is because judges stay within a narrow "corridor" of scores for each skater, a corridor that is largely set by expectations even before the competition begins. Interestingly, by using a trimmed mean instead of majority votes by ordinal ranking, the IJS has likely decreased the variance in competition results.

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