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Thread: Scoring explanation in ladies event for beginners

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    Scoring explanation in ladies event for beginners

    Someone messaged me and said they didn't know how the scoring system works, and asked if I would explain why the results were fair/unfair.

    I'm going to post my explanation here, and if anyone disagrees feel free to add.

    (but it's pretty much a CoP 101 version)

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    Anyone who has a rudimentary understanding of Code of Points scoring knows that Sotnikova's score was impossible without rigging the results. Yuna Kim is one of the greatest skaters of all time, and she herself set the world record 150.06 when she won the gold medal with a flawless skate in 2010. Four years later, the IJS governing body has eliminated an entire element worth 4 points, meaning that same world record skate would have scored 146 this time. Since then, Yuna's best score ever was 148 at the world championships last year, again a flawless performance at all levels.

    Sotnikova -- a good but unrefined skater -- scored 149.95 and even botched one of her jumps. As soon as her score went on the board, it was literally unbelievable to skating fans. It was simply an impossibility.

    Some media outlets have been trying to squash the controversy by suggesting that it all boils down to Adelina having 7 triple jumps in her long program, and Yuna had 6. Therefore, Adelina's program was harder and she should win. Total red herring. For one, that's like saying the team with most rebounds should win the basketball game. Two, it dismissed that Yuna's jump content in the short program was harder than Adelina's. And three, it ignores the impossibly high total of Adelina's score.

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    To explain the points in detail...

    The skaters do two programs, short and long. They receive a technical score and a components (artistic) score for each program. In the technical scores, Yuna almost always gets level 4 step sequence, the highest possible, while Adelina always gets level 3, worth less points. In this competition where the Russians controlled the entire tech panel, Yuna received level 3s and Adelina level 4s. This alone was a swap of 4 points (Adelina won by 5).

    The tech panel also controls reviews of jumps, to make sure the skater fully rotates the jumps and also takes off correctly without cheating. Adelina sometimes cheats one of her jumps, and loses points. Whether she did in this case is up for debate. Almost unanimously, however, people believe she under-rotated one of her jumps, which she has been called 100% of the time in all other competitions this year. She loses points for that, but in this case the all Russian tech panel did not downgrade her jump, saving her points. The swap of points on the step sequence and the non-call on her jump were enough to alter the entire outcome. Reverse all of that and Yuna would have won the gold medal.

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    Another aspect to the technical scoring is something called grade of execution. The skaters have required elements, jumps, spins, and step sequences. They are all worth so many "base points", and then the score can be marginally adjusted by how well they get graded. Let's say an element has a base value of 8 points. The grade of execution can alter this score to 7 or 9 (I'm using rude approximations).

    Elements can be graded 0 for sufficient, or -1, -2, -3 for faulty, and +1, +2, +3 for greater degrees of impressiveness. Some of the things Adelina does, like spins, deserve to be scored higher than Yuna, and they were. On jumps, the advantage should be minimally to slightly in favor of Yuna. But in this competition, some of the judges gave Adelina +3 on almost all elements, while grading Yuna much lower. Again, this greatly altered the points earned by both skaters.

    So to say Adelina is a technically stronger skater than Yuna with harder programs, and it's "all about earning points and checking off boxes" (as Scott Hamilton said), or that Adelina should win because she did more triple jumps in only 1 out of the 2 programs, is all bs. Total red herring arguments. Yuna is an equally or greater technical skater than Adelina. Yuna didn't even need the artistic portion of the score to win, but that's another lie some in the media have been spreading.

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    So that brings us to the components scores (let's just call it the artistic scores). In the long program, Sotnikova had scored in the low 60s consistently for the last year, while Yuna scores in the 73-74 range. Yuna's a great artist, and her artistry and things like skating skills have taken her many years of practice to master. It took 7 years for her to move her components scores from low 60s to 73-74. But Sotnikova was named to the Russian olympic team in January, and then she skated in one competition before the Olympics. Suddenly, her components score jumped up to 69. And at the Olympics, it jumped even higher to almost 75. Hopefully that's an obvious red flag to you.

    On NBC, the explanation for the results was "Adelina was a stronger jumper, and Yuna was the better artist, but it's all about jumping these days". Well, Yuna only beat Adelina's artistic score by 0.09 points. That's it. In fact, Adelina's components score at the olympics was the second highest in ladies figure skating history (Yuna's was the highest, but only beat her by 0.09). Essentially the judges were calling it a tie, and saying that Adelina tied for the greatest artistic skate of all time. Which is amazing, considering that figure skating fans have been laughing at her bad choreography all season.

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    Hope this helps!

  2. #2
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    I think Sotnikova is not qualified for gold medal.
    As I watched the show, She still used two foot landing and some wrong edges but no russians and judges pointed out that.
    Shame on gold medal and Yuna should have won.

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    Does anybody know where ISU figure skating protocol can be found where all elements and scores are documented? Google didn't tell but I believe it is published somewhere. Our commentator used to say in situations like this, "I have to see the protocol" and then tell next day how each element was qualified and where the points had gone or come from. It has to be available on the Internet if she could just look into that.
    I would be great to have the link here and compare it with this article.

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    Good post - although the various "emotive" phrases make it sound less than impartial. And you do not emphasise that a large part of FS judging is subjective.

    One thing I would say is - there is an assumption that nothing changes in the way skating is judged, and I'm not convinced that's true.

    I was of the opinion that scores had been creeping up all this season. I had hoped that this was a sign of judges starting to use PCS more as it "should" be, rather than as the "reputation" mark it often appeared to be. (Some "top" skaters seemed to get lower PCS scores than "usual" after a lacklustre performance, while some "lesser" skaters seemed to get high PCS scores after a dazzling performance...)

    I wondered if the crazy Olympic scores were a natural progression of this.

    Personally, I thought the scoring was surprisingly good at this Olympics... up until the ladies' free. Even then, I don't have a great problem with the placements - debatable sure, but whatever. FS judging is subjective after all. I do think the points they used to achieve those placements though... were crazy.

    Before the Olympics even started, I had expected that routines like Lipnitskaya's would captivate the audience, and the judges would be heavily influenced by their reactions. (I am of the opinion that this happened in 2010 too - Kim was the rightful winner, but her points were crazy). I think it DID happen again this time - but for Sotnikova's performance not Lipnitskaya's. Right or wrong, it was no surprise to me...

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    Just Ignore PCS & SP's layout.

    Plz, Just Look at the FS's layout.

    Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anna K. View Post
    Does anybody know where ISU figure skating protocol can be found where all elements and scores are documented? Google didn't tell but I believe it is published somewhere. Our commentator used to say in situations like this, "I have to see the protocol" and then tell next day how each element was qualified and where the points had gone or come from. It has to be available on the Internet if she could just look into that.
    I would be great to have the link here and compare it with this article.
    http://www.isuresults.com/results/owg2014/index.htm

    You'll find the protocols as PDF under "Judges Scores" in the right column.

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    Thank you, WrongEdge!

    I agree with YesWay that the results are discutable and we do the right thing dicussing them! Blaming somebody for corruption, giving again some silver-golden medals to skaters and forgetting it all would just mean FS had learned nothing.
    Today, we have CoP and that makes it possible to compare and discuss the results which I think is good.

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    Wow, this is not COP 101. You have selected which basics of COP to explain in order to support your opinion that Sotnikova did not deserve this win. Talk about biased reporting.

    Your correspondent asked how the scoring system works (facts) and also your opinion about whether this result was fair/unfair (opinion). By mixing the two together you will completely confuse anyone who actually wants to learn about skating has scored, as well as manipulating them into share your personal opinion (which is indeed shared by many) without distinguishing between fact and opinion. A reader who comes to your explanation wanting to learn will end up without sufficient understanding of the actual facts of how the scoring system works in general to be able apply an understanding of the scoring to future events, or even to know about this event what was indisputable and what is disputed/suspicious.

    E.g., your first sentence "Anyone who has a rudimentary understanding of Code of Points scoring knows that Sotnikova's score was impossible without rigging the results" is completely false as well as insulting to anyone who does understand the scoring system and does believe it is possible without rigging. (Raises hand.)

    Whether there was actual rigging involved we don't know. Your friend probably asked because he/she has already heard the accusations but doesn't know how to evaluate them. It would be much more educational to step back, first explain the system keeping your bias out of it, and then offer your analysis of why you think the result was wrong and why you think there might have been some intentional rigging.

    There are quite a few articles online explaining this result with varying degrees of detail and with various conclusions as to whether the result was wrong or right, whether there was malfeasance or not. If your friend wants more info, you could point them to a variety of sources with different opinions.

    For example:

    http://www.icenetwork.com/news/2014/...ikova-have-won

    http://pandawhale.com/post/37961/how...ove-nytimescom

    http://msn.foxsports.com/olympics/st...n-gold1-022014

    http://www.thewire.com/culture/2014/...rigged/358344/

    http://deadspin.com/was-the-figure-s...tte-1527342028

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    Wow, this is not COP 101. You have selected which basics of COP to explain in order to support your opinion that Sotnikova did not deserve this win. Talk about biased reporting.
    Thank you, gkelly.

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    What would be truly useful is a careful explanation of what the CoP rewards in the PCS categories of performance/execution, choreography/composition, and interpretation. The knock on the judging in this contest seems to come down to a feeling that Yuna Kim and Carolina Kostner "obviously" skated with more mature grace than Adelina Sotnikova, and so "automatically" should have received much higher PCS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    What would be truly useful is a careful explanation of what the CoP rewards in the PCS categories of performance/execution, choreography/composition, and interpretation. The knock on the judging in this contest seems to come down to a feeling that Yuna Kim and Carolina Kostner "obviously" skated with more mature grace than Adelina Sotnikova, and so "automatically" should have received much higher PCS.
    You forgot skating skills that is also one of PCS categories

    I can only tell you what I've heard for many times from our TV comentator who's also an intenational judge.
    The trick is, all PCS categories are connected. There can't be good choreography yet bad skating skills, or similar. That you can see also in marks that are about the same level for the same skater.
    Good performance/execution/choreography/composition/interpretation means that the program/execution does not consist of plain elements. There have to be many linking moves that are done precisely in the rythm and show the character/emotion of music. The moves have to be aesthetical and kept in the chosen style of music - in this sense, Sothikova's cheering the crowd was dubios because violine concert isn't circus where you can do that, another skater would get lower component score for that; and also the pose of her trademark spin was hardly aesthetic - and the moves have to allow to demostrate skating skills, like the speed, good edges, and phisical flexibility of the skater. There shouldn't be pauses or long preparation before elements, this was also what Sotnikova wasn't shy to take and - well, that's about it.

    I hope I'll tell some more after I read great articles gkelly posted

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    What would be truly useful is a careful explanation of what the CoP rewards in the PCS categories of performance/execution, choreography/composition, and interpretation. The knock on the judging in this contest seems to come down to a feeling that Yuna Kim and Carolina Kostner "obviously" skated with more mature grace than Adelina Sotnikova, and so "automatically" should have received much higher PCS.
    Here you go:

    http://www.isu.org/en/about-isu/isu-...nd-regulations

    PCS is documented at Rule 522 2. I copied criteria below.

    Skating Skills(SS)
    * Balance, rhythmic knee action and precision of foot placement
    * Flow and effortless glide
    * Cleanness and sureness of deep edges, steps and turns
    * Power/energy and acceleration
    * Mastery of multi directional skating
    * Mastery of one foot skating

    As you can see, SS is really another technical score.

    Transitions(TR)
    * Variety
    * Difficulty
    * Intricacy
    * Quality

    TR evaluates linking of all elements and also entrances and exits of elements. This is also technical in nature, and when cleanly executed, mostly depends on the program.

    Performance(PE)
    * Physical, emotional and intellectual involvement
    * Carriage
    * Style and individuality/personality
    * Clarity of movement
    * Variety and contrast
    * Projection

    This is artistry.

    Choreography(CH)
    * Purpose (idea, concept, vision, mood)
    * Proportion (equal weight of parts)
    * Unity (purposeful threading of all movements)
    * Utilization of personal and public space
    * Pattern and ice coverage
    * Phrasing and form (movements and parts structured to match the phrasing of the music)
    * Originality of purpose, movement and design

    This is basically artistic evaluation of the program. The same program should receive roughly the same score here.

    Interpretation(IN)
    * Effortless movement in time to the music (timing)
    * Expression of the music's style, character and rhythm
    * Use of finesse to reflect the nuances of the music

    While there are some subjective elements here, timing is quite objective and technical in nature.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anna K
    You forgot skating skills that is also one of PCS categories
    I didn't mention skating skills and transitions because I do sort of understand what is being judged and measured in these categories. By the way, it is interesting to me that Transitions -- the most objective of the five components -- is always the lowest.

    I think what the judges actually do is pretty much the same thing they did in 6.0 scoring. A judge forms an intuitive feeling for the quality of the performance, puts that down under "skating skills," then copies that score for the other four, with a .5 reduction in transitions. Since Skating Skills is listed first, there is a tendency for this score to dominate the rest. Experiments have been done in which a different component was listed first on the judges scorecard, like choreography. This produced different results because the judges looked most carefully at the choreography, before copying that number down four more times.
    Last edited by Mathman; 02-23-2014 at 10:02 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    Experiments have been done in which a different component was listed first on the judges scorecard, like choreography. This produced different results because the judges looked most carefully at the choreography, before copying that number down four more times.
    Where can I read about these experiments?

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    I will see if I can find a reference. My recollection is that there was a lot of testing of this sort when the CoP first came out.

    Certainly in general, designers of questionnaires know that the first question sets the tone, so they are careful to list first the question that they think is most likely to generate the desired response.

    If I were going to carry out such an experiment I would use Patrick Chan as the test case. By asking the judges first to rate his skating skills (outstanding) it seems like he automatically gets high marks for choreography and interpretation (ordinary).
    Last edited by Mathman; 02-23-2014 at 10:15 AM.

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