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Originally Posted by Ven
Some of you don't seem to understand that you can't give a graduate level explanation of footwork and step levels to someone who doesn't even know a damn thing about CoP.
They will immediately go "huh?" tune you out, and not care to learn any more about the scoring.

You have to reduce it to very simple concepts and generalizations the keep the spirit of the rules.

Now, whether an explanation follows that spirit or not, is up for debate, but getting too technical isn't any use for beginners.
The number of turns. The amount of footwork you do on one foot across a prescribed length of the rink. Being able to do turns on both feet in ALL (CW/CCW; FWD/BWD) directions. Cleanliness of the turns (Entrance/Exit edges).

^- That's needed to gain levels.

You can lose levels by having mistakes as far as that's concerned. We've all seen skaters who seem to leave out sections of footwork forwhatever reason in their programs (maybe they are behind the music, they may be fatigued, sometimes they fall like Wagner at worlds and have to rush to stay with the music).

I do think the turns and loop mistakes require some knowledge of skating cause some people simply cannot spot when a skater goes onto a flat or switches edges therefor turning a counter into a three turn and what-not.

But those of us who are familiar with these things are doing the BEST WE CAN to try to help others understand.

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Originally Posted by Procrastinator
Thanks for this thread. Up until the last two posts there has been a really rational tone about this thread that I appreciate given all the hysteria. Just one question: What determines the level of a step sequence? How can one visually differentiate between a level 3 and level 4 step sequence?
Originally Posted by Nater
The number of turns. The amount of footwork you do on one foot across a prescribed length of the rink. Being able to do turns on both feet in ALL (CW/CCW; FWD/BWD) directions. Cleanliness of the turns (Entrance/Exit edges).
Specifically, the current features for singles step sequence levels are

Minimum variety (Level 1), simple variety (Level 2), variety (Level 3), complexity (Level 4) of
turns and steps throughout (compulsory)
2) Rotations (turns, steps) in either direction (left and right) with full body rotation covering at
least 1/3 of the pattern in total for each rotational direction
3) Use of upper body movements for at least 1/3 of the pattern
4) Two different combinations of 3 difficult turns (rockers, counters, brackets, twizzles, loops) quickly
executed with a clear rhythm within the sequence
The definitions/clarifications are:

Types of turns (executed on one foot) : three turns, twizzles, brackets, loops, counters, rockers.
Types of steps (executed on one foot whenever possible) : toe steps, chasses, mohawks, choctaws,
curves with change of edge, cross-rolls, running steps.
Minimum variety must include at least 5 turns & 2 steps, none of the types can be counted more than
twice.
Simple variety must include at least 7 turns & 4 steps, none of the types can be counted more than twice.
Variety must include at least 9 turns and 4 steps, none of the types can be counted more than twice.
Complexity must include at least 5 different types of turns and 3 different types of steps all executed at least once in both directions.
Use of upper body movements means the visible use for a combined total of at least 1/3 of the pattern
of the step sequence any movements of the arms, head and torso that have an effect on the balance of the
main body core.
Two combinations of difficult turns are considered to be the same if they consist of the same turns
done in the same order, on the same edge and on the same foot.
There are too many details for one person to see in real time, which is why one member of the technical panel takes responsibility for counting the different kinds of steps and turns and the other members will count the rotations in each direction, the upper body movement, and/or the combinations of difficult turns.

If I wanted to call a step sequence at home, I'd probably need to rewind and watch the sequence once for each feature. And even so I sometimes know "That was either a rocker or a counter" in real time but I need to see it again to figure out which of the two it was. One reason that tech specialists need to have been advanced skaters themselves is that they have done these turns and feel them in their bodies so they can recognize them much more immediately on sight.

The turns in both directions will usually happen as planned, unless the skater is really off and leaves out steps.

If a skater who is trying to do all that doesn't get credit for level 4, it's probably because they had shallow edges or changes of edge on some of the turns and didn't get credit for those turns, therefore didn't earn the "complexity" feature; because the upper body movement was more cautious and didn't get credit for having an effect on the balance of the
main body core, or because the combinations of difficult turns were not clean or were not quickly executed with a clear rhythm.

Lucinda Ruh was one of the best spinners in the world, but she probably would have had trouble getting level 4 on some of her spins simply due to the requirements to get to it, which means a worse spinner could probably have beat her on spins. That's the way the IJS works, like it or not.
I have no doubt that, at her peak, if Ruh had been given the 2014 rules for spin levels and a few months to learn a few new skills like edge changes, she could have put together three level 4 spins to fill the three spin slots in a program. When she was skating the rules allowed more total spins in the free program, so she tended to spread out the features she could do among more spins, each of which would have earned a lower level. She also would have earned higher GOEs than a worse spinner.

ETA:
Originally Posted by Ven
Some people don't seem to understand that you can't give a graduate level explanation of footwork and step levels to someone who doesn't even know a damn thing about CoP.
They will immediately go "huh?" tune you out, and not care to learn any more about the scoring.

You have to reduce it to very simple concepts and generalizations that keep the spirit of the rules.
True.

Nater suggests a simple summary for how to explain step sequence levels to a newbie.

But then what?

If you want to argue that Sotnikova should have had lower levels and Kim should have had higher levels in Sochi, you need to analyze what they actually did on the day. You can't just argue on the basis of what they had earned in the past. So either analyze the sequences fully and tell us which features they each should or should not have earned credit for that day, or leave the step sequence levels out of your explanation of why you think Kim deserved higher TES.

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@mirai4life: you'll have mirai nagasu :P

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Originally Posted by gkelly

True.

Nater suggests a simple summary for how to explain step sequence levels to a newbie.

But then what?

If you want to argue that Sotnikova should have had lower levels and Kim should have had higher levels in Sochi, you need to analyze what they actually did on the day. You can't just argue on the basis of what they had earned in the past. So either analyze the sequences fully and tell us which features they each should or should not have earned credit for that day, or leave the step sequence levels out of your explanation of why you think Kim deserved higher TES.
Yeah, I clarified there wasn't anything wrong with Nate's post. Because of the location of my post coming right after his, I wanted to clarify that I was responding to an earlier criticism.

As for the levels, I definitely don't know how they are graded, but I've seen the score sheets and it's almost always:
Yuna = Level 4

Then some experts in threads here and tv have questioned the levels that were given in the Olympics:
Adelina = Level 4 (especially when nobody else received this high in SP -- except maybe Suzuki, I don't remember)
Yuna = Level 3

You are correct that the levels have to be judged that particular day, but when one athlete consistently gains level 4, but then gets dropped, and the Russian girl consistently gets level 3, but gets upgraded to 4 by a Russian dominated tech panel in a controversial judging situation, you have to admit that is a place to start looking for inaccuracies, right?

Especially since many people on this forum, and experts on tv, have been questioning the levels, calling Adelina's footwork sloppy and her edges scratchy, etc.

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Originally Posted by flywhy555
.

I think one of the big problems with some posters on this forum is, if you disagree with their stance on the ISU and the perceived judging issues, then they think you are just mad that your chosen skater didn't win. For me, the issue with judging has absolutely nothing to do with who was favored. The corruption that I perceive taints a fantastic, beautiful sport that I love to watch. If a skater I preferred was unfairly credited to get the win, I would still be upset. When I'm behind an athlete, I want to see them succeed on their own merits. If they lose the big moment, then I congratulate whomever stepped up to take the prize.
Thanks for this! It pretty much sums up how I've been feeling about the ladies' event and judging in general.

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Originally Posted by Nater
If going by the criteria for PCS, one has to wonder why Sotnikova was getting such lower PCS to begin with - even before this past season. Even many junior skaters are hosed in PCS when you look at their programs objectively and score it based on the criteria given. PCS has always been used like the 6.0 Presentation system (which, BTW, had criteria like this but the judges seemed to ignore much of it when giving that score), and IMO a lot of Figure Skating's fan base still has not moved on from the 6.0 mindset. IJS programs are all about math, strategy, and tactics. You have to look at things a bit differently.
This is a very good question! There have been skaters whose carriers were hindered for years giving them low component score. They were told to go home and refine their skating looking up at those who had the highest componenet score. Besides, they often did. It didn't look fair though so today we don't see 10-20 points difference between technical and component score. Hence Sotnikova was given huge component score and look what we get.

So, PCS are used like 6.0 system, meaning, skaters are all compared to those who are allegedly the best. Sotnikova is given the highest score so she's the bencmark. But she doesn't look like one and there's an awful lot of people who don't understand that - or hate that - or laugh at that. For many, it's pretty much the end of the figure skating they loved. Is it how it was supposed to be?
Tell me I got something wrong.

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Originally Posted by Nater
I do like how in his GIF of a great Yuna Lutz he had her doing fantastic steps and transitions into it (a solid +3 GOE 3Lz), whereas she just did crossovers straight into it in her FS in Sochi, which was at beast a solid +2... Pretty much cements my point as to why she is still getting the same GOE and PCS for much easier and simpler programs/jumping passes when she was doing amazing things years ago with the performances she was blowing everyone away with... There's a reason why Yuna got to the PCS level she was at, and programs like she performed in Sochi aren't that reason. Giving Yuna lower PCS would have been like giving Michelle Kwan 5.5s for Presentation. Judges just don't do that.
Yu-Na didn't get any +3s for that triple lutz out of footwork at 2007 Worlds. http://www.isuresults.com/results/wc..._SP_scores.pdf And when you adjust the different factoring for the GOE she got then, she still gets less GOE for her solo lutz in 2014 Olympics FS, as she should have, since she didn't have preceding footwork. So no, that doesn't prove your point that she gets the same GOE for doing an easier jumping pass now versus back then. It actually contradicts it completely.

Judges have been far more generous with +GOEs for the 2010-2014 quad than the previous quad. That applies to all skaters, not just Yu-Na Kim. Miki Ando in the 2010-2011 season is a good example, as she performed her FS remarkably consistently all season long. You can see her jump GOEs jump up significantly though she made no changes to transitions and the way that she landed the jump in each competition didn't change (which is unusual). The judges just became more generous with jump GOEs, and they stayed that way. It's not limited to Miki, though, or any specific veteran skater. You can see this across disciplines.

On average, judges began using the range of GOE, particularly positive GOE, more for all skaters. It was as if the reduction in the scale of values (+1 for a triple lutz used to be mean +1.0 points; now it means 0.7 points) encouraged them to use more of them.

You need to stop viewing everything through a filter of Yu-Na/veterans get overly rewarded for doing less; newcomers get lowballed for doing more. That appears to be your thesis and you look only for facts out of context to support that. In your analysis of Yu-Na and Adelina's 3Lz/3Ts, you don't mention at all the fact that Adelina flutzed. It's a pretty clear flutz, and it's not unusual for Adelina--she's a consistent flutzer. And yes, Adelina's 3T was also underrotated, though it might have been at the 1/4 border, so I'd have been okay if they didn't call that if they at least had called the flutz.

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Originally Posted by gkelly
In real time watching on TV, I gave Kim a total of +18 GOEs and Sotnikova +17.

I could go back and analyze more, but as soon as the results came up, having counted the number of triples, I understood that Sotnikova won the TES, even if I'd have had her lower on components.
Thanks gkelly for taking the time to patiently answer folks' questions. I appreciate hearing about your thoughts on the scoring.

I am okay with them giving a pass to Sotnikova's 3T and Kim's second 3Lz since they both looked borderline to me in replay, though Kim pre-rotates her lutz minimally and I think that should be taken into account since she's still rotating as much as other skaters are in the air. Had the technical panel called Sotnikova's flutz, and had her 3-jump combo been given -2 across the board as you would've given it, and had there have been a wider gap between the two on some of the components, and the results still ended up in Adelina winning TES and the FS and the competition overall in a very close result, the scoring and result would have been more palatable to me. (As it is, I am not one of the ones screaming bloody murder; I just strongly object to the way some folks are tearing down Yu-Na in order to justify Adelina's win further.) But all of these factors together don't invoke my confidence in the judges and the way they scored the skaters.

At the very least, the flutz needed to have been called. It's not fair to skaters who spend so much time working on proper technique on lutzes for a skater who has flutzed their entire career and has consistently gotten called on it, to not get called on it in a major competition that coincidentally happens in their home country. Had other skaters known that they could get away with a flutz, they could have used the time working on lutzes on other elements of their skating instead.

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Originally Posted by Ven
Can I ask, who else has scored low 60s, low 60s, low 60s, over and over again, and then suddenly jumped to 75 in two competitions for PCS, even not going clean.
Is there any precedent?
I'd have to search to confirm possible guesses.
The closest I can come up with offhand is Denis Ten 2012-13; earlier in the season he was earning about 70 points of PCS for his freeskates (with mistakes); at Worlds he got 40+ for his short program, which would be 80+ if doubled by the free skate factor, and then overnight he earned 87 PCS for his freeskate. He did skate much cleaner at Worlds, which would account for at least some of the increase.

Originally Posted by Ven
You are correct that the levels have to be judged that particular day, but when one athlete consistently gains level 4, but then gets dropped, and the Russian girl consistently gets level 3, but gets upgraded to 4 by a Russian dominated tech panel in a controversial judging situation, you have to admit that is a place to start looking for inaccuracies, right?
Only if you know what you're looking for.

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gkelly

Thanks for the detailed and reason explanation!

I basically told my mom, who read "all the controversy" but didn't see the event, that what was so amazing to me is take 2010 out of the equation (specifically YuNa's stellar skates, and one of the best final flights for ladies ever), and any one of the top 3 may have one gold at another Olympics (and possibly top 4...then imagine a different SP for Mao and that number grows).

But, that aside, it is interesting to really analyze the goe's and the levels. The utter difficulty in assessing these in anything like real time as gkelly explains, raises a lot of questions about the cumbersomeness of this scoring system. I suppose it also points to the importance of a 3 person team for callers. The issue of PCS as MM explains it raises similar issues (too much to account for, just go with SS as the first component).

Suggestions that efforts to quantify the PCSs even more does not seem to me the way to go, IMO. Also, only weighting what we lump as "artistic" about 30% seems, to me, a bare minimum and I wouldn't want that to diminish any more (and fear that quantifying PCS more would not only add more layers of opacity, but would eventually lead to diminishing this more). How to keep that "artistic" head nod and reward technical difficulty is clearly very challenging. Moreover, many of us, I think, at times conflate technique with technical difficulty (or vice versa) - excellent technique may not always equal difficult, and technical difficulty does not always involve the best technique.

Surely, much of the outrage and feelings of unfair judging would be diminished if the judges were not anonymous and if the powers that be in figure skating found more ways, like some of the explanations in this thread, to communicate about this sport to general audiences. The latter seems to be something that the ISU refuses to do or entertain, and that is a huge problem. But listening to former skaters now commentators also suggests some very fundamental core disagreements about what "a winning performance" looks like. I just don't know the contours of this disagreement is - is it simply "old school" versus "younger generation" or does it reflect deeper knowledge that includes much of what is discussed here about levels, about the meaning of the criteria for distinct pcs and so forth (or both, or something else).

All that said, there is clearly - again as others have mentioned - nothing like being in the front row while the event is happening. The speed, the energy, and the confidence/command of the skater is really something quite different live than on tv. So too might be noticing changing skating direction (I find it really hard to figure that out watching on tv as the camera angles change, I loose sense of where I am in the arena or the vantage point of the camera).

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Great points, emma.

Originally Posted by emma
All that said, there is clearly - again as others have mentioned - nothing like being in the front row while the event is happening. The speed, the energy, and the confidence/command of the skater is really something quite different live than on tv. So too might be noticing changing skating direction (I find it really hard to figure that out watching on tv as the camera angles change, I loose sense of where I am in the arena or the vantage point of the camera).
One thing you can pay attention to on TV is how often the skater is traveling on clockwise vs. counterclockwise curves and change between them, and also how often they change between backward and forward skating.

It is hard to keep track of when you watch a program for the first time while also paying attention to what jumps they're landing, how they're relating to the music, etc.

But if you're curious you can go back and watch just for that, which is easier to see on video than speed and doesn't require as much technical knowledge as identifying turns.

That said, if you notice that a skater often changes between forward/backward and clockwise/counterclockwise at exactly the same time, instead of separately, that's probably more difficult.

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FYI - Complete IJS Basics can be found at iceskatingintnl.com
Clik on Sochi Olympics 2014 and drop down to left side and clik on IJS Basics
Copyright 2014 by George S. Rossano (Dr. Rossano is a physicist and mathematician, a national figure skating judge and data operator.)ELEMENT REVIEW
While programs are being performed, the Technical Specialist identifies each element, their level and calls any falls. If the Assistant Specialist or the Controller does not agree with the call, they can ask for a review following the program by saying "review" when the specialist makes the call. If there are no calls to review at the end of a performance, the Controller "authorizes" the elements, and once the judges have finished entering their marks the officials are ready to continue with the next skater. If there are calls to reviews, the Controller works through each of these with the Technical Panel. The Controller directs the review process.
When reviewing an element, if the Assistant Specialist agrees with the Specialist the call stands. If the Assistant Specialist does not agree with the Specialist, the Controller breaks the tie. This process is followed for all reviews of element identifications, level calls, no value elements and fall deductions.
After all the reviews are resolved, the Controller will authorize the elements. Once authorized, and the competition has moved on to the next skater the "field of play" is closed for the previous skater, and the calls cannot be changed even if later recognized to be incorrect, other than if the data operator has incorrectly entered information into the scoring computer system. The voices of the Technical Panel are recorded to resolve any questions concerning what the Data Operator was asked to enter by the Controller.
At major competitions a video replay system is used to view the elements (or falls) under review. The video can be played in slow motion if needed, however, for edge calls the replay is always conducted at normal speed.
Reviews often involve lengthy (sometimes animated) discussion among the Specialist, Assistant Specialist and the Controller as the Controller asks the Specialist and the Assistant Specialist what they think the correct call should be and why. The Data Operator and Video Operator do not participate in the discussion. he Data Operator can, however, participate in discussions of the rules that would require giving an element no credit.

EDGE CALLS
Jumps are classified (named) by their takeoff edge and whether they takeoff with or without a tap from the other leg. The different jumps are named as follows, and takeoff from the edges listed (for a right handed skater).
• Toe Loop -- right back outside tap jump
• Salchow -- left back inside edge jump
• Loop -- right back outside edge jump
• Flip -- left back inside tap jump
• Lutz -- left back outside tap jump
• Axel -- left forward outside, edge jump
A common error in the Lutz jump is to change from the back outside edge to a back inside edge shortly before the takeoff. Less common, but also seen is a change of edge shortly before the takeoff from a flip jump. These errors are penalized by a reduction in the GoE by the judges, but it is the Technical Panel that calls whether the edge change has taken place. A Lutz with a change of edge is often referred to by the jargon "flutz" and a flip with a change if edge as a "lip." These terms are not official rulebook terms, but are nonetheless commonly use by fans and the skating community.
If the jump has a long, clear, obvious, change of edge the jump receives an "edge call" and is noted by an "e" on the marks detail published following the event.
Jumps with an edge call or edge alert do not receive a lower base value. They are only penalized by the reduced GoE. Judges will typically reduce the GoE by 1 or 2 for this error, depending on it's severity.

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Page 57 of COP says no sotnikova's can win.

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Originally Posted by gmyers
Page 57 of COP says no sotnikova's can win.

Good to see someone who can still smile about it.
If seriously, for many of us this is the first time we learn what figure skating really consists of. This I think is the best side of what has happened.

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