Hi all -
I am a fairly new member to this forum. But, as a result of the engaging, insightful, and provoking opinions expressed by many of you here (...and sparked by the highly motivational Olympic climate) I now find myself transitioning from a ...
background 'lurker' to an active 'participant'!
A bit about me: I am a former skater, proudly triple 'Gold' (which also makes me ... ̶g̶'Old') who competed at the novice & junior levels at Canadian Nationals in both singles & pairs. Suffice to say I know my way around a triple jump, and have scars that prove intimate knowledge of the perils of throw triple twists gone awry - OUCH!
Hopefully I can add to the interesting conversations here at GoldenSkate!
...and with that said, let me dive right into it!!
I admit I was somewhat surprised by the intensity of the Julia Lipnitskaya 'flutz' debate...
While I personally believe it was a flutz, nevertheless, if I was the Technical Specialist at the event and only had the fuzzy, low-quality, tiny video replay as provided, I could NOT say for certain it was an edge violation (and would rule accordingly, giving the benefit-of-the-doubt to the skater).
Interestingly, many seem to dismiss off-hand the fact the Technical Panel had at their disposal slow-motion HD footage from several (up to 6?) different camera angles. So, on a (borderline) questionable call such as this, unless there is clear evidence to the contrary, I believe you have to trust the call made by the Technical Specialist.
More puzzling however is why such a raging debate ensued over a questionable flutz (which, even if penalized would have made NO difference whatsoever in the overall results) when more obvious unpenalized jump violations occurred in the same competition having a substantial impact in placements!
Event: 2014 Olympics
Discipline: Figure Skating Team Event (Ladies Short Program)
Skater: Mao Asada, JPN
Element: Triple-Loop~Double-Loop (3L-2L) combination jump
Here's a regular slow-motion capture of the jump combination. Below is a copy & paste of the YouTube video description/explanation:
An example of under-rotated jumps that are not being penalized or downgraded:
On jump landings, up to a 1/4 turn on the ice is permissible (and no "under-rotated jump" or "downgraded jump" deductions will be applied to the base value for that element). This is clearly defined in the Technical rules.
Cheating on the 'take off' edge of a jump is far less common, and (to my knowledge) no formal Technical penalties/deductions are defined.
The Loop is an edge jump, and so it is natural to curl/rotate the edge right at the point of take-off. If you examine the groove in the ice made by the blade on take-off, most people will find a 1/4 turn before the blade actually leaves the ice surface. As with jump landings, I would argue that up to a 1/4 turn on the ice at take-off is acceptable.
However, at the 2014 Olympics (Team event, ladies short program) Mao Asada clearly goes well beyond a 1/4 turn on her take-off and landing on both the triple loop (3L) and double loop (2L) in this combination jump. Nevertheless, the Technical Panel credits her for completing a successful 3L-2L combination jump; with NO "under-rotated jump" or "downgraded jump" penalties/deductions.
Mao finished 3rd in the event segment (and Japan was awarded 8 points); but she was followed very closely by the American & Canadian competitors. If this 3L-2L combination had been appropriately downgraded to a 2L-1L, Mao would have dropped to at least 5th position.
1 LIPNITSKAYA Yulia RUS 72.90
2 KOSTNER Carolina ITA 70.84
3 ASADA Mao JPN 64.07
4 WAGNER Ashley USA 63.10
5 OSMOND Kaetlyn CAN 62.54
6 MEITE Mae Berenice FRA 55.45
7 ZHANG Kexin CHN 54.58
8 POPOVA Natalia UKR 53.44
9 WEINZIERL Nathalie GER 52.16
10 McCORKELL Jenna GBR 50.09
What are your thoughts on the consistency and/or applicability of "under-rotated jump" or "downgraded jump" penalties/deductions? What about cases where a skater cheats on the take-off edge?
While the severity of the under-rotation charges can be debated, nevertheless even the most forgiving evaluation cannot justly claim this to be a true 3L-2L jump combination.
So why did this vastly more evident and erroneous decision by the technical panel (to not apply the appropriate deductions) not stir any debate? [...especially as it DID have a significant impact on overall results!] Did everyone miss it? Or choose to ignore it?
Why such outcry over (alleged) 'missed' deductions for Julia's 'flutz' without so much as a whisper over the more severe & impactful (and unpenalized) 'under-rotations' by Mao? Perhaps Julia just got swept up in the growing speculation and accusations of RUSflation**? Or perhaps it's a defensive reaction to the vast momentum this 15-year old 'dark horse' has seemingly acquired? Or is Mao so loved she can do no wrong? Or...??
Food for thought ...
**RUSflation: The (alleged) inflation of scores given to Russian skaters when competing in Russia. [Similar to CANflation: the (alleged) inflation of scores given to Canadian skaters when competing in Canada; although not to be confused with CHANflation: the (alleged) inflation of Patrick Chan's scores always & everywhere].
NB - To be clear, the motives behind this post are twofold:
(1) To illustrate and provide an example of the negligence of a Technical Panel to apply appropriate deductions; AND
(2) To point-out and question why debate over less important, less evidenced, and less impactfull examples of Technical Panel errors, often trump more important, evident, and impactfull examples (even within the same competition).
This article was spurred in reaction to the Julia Lipnitskaya 'flutz' debate. The decision to use Mao Asada's 3L-2L as example was because it clearly illustrated both points above (and was NOT motivated or designed as an attack on Mao Asada).