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Thread: Selection procedures for ISU judging panels

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    Selection procedures for ISU judging panels

    How are judges chosen for competitions?

    How might it be possible to structure the staffing of panels differently to reduce judges' allegiance to national federations?

    Let this thread be a place for questions, answers, and suggestions.

    Here's the list of all qualified international officials for 2013-14:

    http://static.isu.org/media/107397/1...ated-oct-8.pdf



    Here, for example, are the results of the draw for the number of judges from each federation for each ISU championship, determined in Oct. 2013 for Jan-March 2014:
    http://static.isu.org/media/90887/18...ships-2014.pdf

    See the Special Regulations and Technical Rules here for the specific rules that are referenced in that document:
    http://www.isu.org/en/about-isu/isu-...nd-regulations

    Olympics have a separate draw. See here:
    http://static.isu.org/media/107588/1...-qual-comp.pdf

    For federations that have more than one qualified judge, the federation gets to choose which individual to send. That's why judges are afraid of pressure from their federations and may be willing to compromise their judging standards in response to such pressure -- if they don't judge the way the federation wants, they won't get chosen again in the future.

    It was the judges who wanted to be able to call it as they see it without that kind of punishment who wanted the anonymous judging. Whether anonymity actually helps much in that regard, I don't know.

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    Looks like an awful lot of qualified judges and tech folks whose countries don't have anybody near the podium and who aren't directly affiliated to (Laeternik) or the the spouses of director (Alla) of the local ice federation or who is a convicted cheat (Yuri).

    Just sayin'.

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    Lots of reading to do. Thanks gkelly. If ISU severe ties of federation with its own judges (ie/ Judge are independent professional with fully paid salary and full autonomy and full disclosure), maybe it can solve the issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by capcomeback View Post
    Looks like an awful lot of qualified judges and tech folks whose countries don't have anybody near the podium and who aren't directly affiliated to (Laeternik) or the the spouses of director (Alla) of the local ice federation or who is a convicted cheat (Yuri).

    Just sayin'.
    Yeah looking at that extensive list, one wonder how they select the top 9 judges for the SOCHI assignment. What are the chances that Ms Alla Shekhovtseva get assigned to judge Adelina in EVERY SINGLE ONE of her events this season including the Olympics? Sorry, but that is just statistically dodgy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by os168 View Post
    Lots of reading to do. Thanks gkelly. If ISU severe ties of federation with its own judges (ie/ Judge are independent professional with fully paid salary and full autonomy and full disclosure), maybe it can solve the issue.



    Yeah looking at that extensive list, one wonder how they select the top 9 judges for the SOchi assignment. What are the chances that Ms Alla Shekhovtseva get assigned to judge Adelina in EVERY SINGLE ONE of her event this season including the Olympics? Sorry, but that is just statistically dodgy.
    Actually I believe the pool is thirteen. They switched four judges from the SP to the FS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by capcomeback View Post
    Actually I believe the pool is thirteen. They switched four judges from the SP to the FS.
    13 of federation 'assigned' judges - all guaranteed to judge, each with their own agenda! Gee.. no wonder we have the result with what we have! This does not look good or seem fair at all!!!!

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    Oh look, another Sotnikova/Russia bashing thread. How novel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by karne View Post
    Oh look, another Sotnikova/Russia bashing thread. How novel.
    There's a huge difference between questioning the scoring of an event and bashing a skater and country. I'm amazed how defensive some people are getting about this. I'm not bashing Adelina. I'm not bashing Russia (at least for skating related matters). I'm certainly not bashing Russians (as I have family from Russia). I do have an issue with the potential bias of the tech panel and at least two judges.

    This thread was started to determine if there is a better way to pick judges/officials for International events to prevent some of the potential for bias or corruption at these events.

    Do you have a problem with this?

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    Quote Originally Posted by os168 View Post
    Lots of reading to do. Thanks gkelly. If ISU severe ties of federation with its own judges (ie/ Judge are independent professional with fully paid salary and full autonomy and full disclosure), maybe it can solve the issue.



    Yeah looking at that extensive list, one wonder how they select the top 9 judges for the SOCHI assignment. What are the chances that Ms Alla Shekhovtseva get assigned to judge Adelina in EVERY SINGLE ONE of her events this season including the Olympics? Sorry, but that is just statistically dodgy.
    Re OLympics - Once a federation selects a judge to send to Sochi for their allowed specific discipline, (a draw held months prior) the judge is automatically entered into the pool of judges (13) of which 9 are drawn for each portion of the event 30 minutes prior to the event, so it is not impossible to find oneself on both panels.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KKonas View Post
    Re OLympics - Once a federation selects a judge to send to Sochi for their allowed specific discipline, (a draw held months prior) the judge is automatically entered into the pool of judges (13) of which 9 are drawn for each portion of the event 30 minutes prior to the event, so it is not impossible to find oneself on both panels.
    Yes I am aware of that, but is it normal to have the same US judge judge at every single one of Gracie's event including the Olympics? One that see her PCS rise at unprecedented rate? I'd raise my eye brows too due to these statistical anomalies.

    While I can perhaps understand these judging selection rules made sense 50 years ago when there are less nationalities competing, but I really think by today's standard, it is hopelessly outdated. This not only disadvantages any minor federations who doesn't have their own judges in the selection, it also disadvantage any run away leader, since it is natural for all federations to pressure their own 'assigned' judges to repress main contenders scores in the interest of 'spread the wealth'.

    I much prefer if judges became an independent professional enterprise separate from their own Federations. IOC draw the judges from a pool of hundreds judges from ALL countries regardless if they are taking part at the Olympics, preferably not under anonymity or federation wrangling. A list that is not pubically disclosed until the judges just show up at the competition

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    Quote Originally Posted by os168 View Post
    Yes I am aware of that, but is it normal to have the same US judge judge at every single one of Gracie's event including the Olympics? One that see her PCS rise at unprecedented rate? I'd raise my eye brows too due to these statistical anomalies.

    While I can perhaps understand these judging selection rules made sense 50 years ago when there are less nationalities competing, but I really think by today's standard, it is hopelessly outdated. This not only disadvantages any minor federations who doesn't have their own judges in the selection, it also disadvantage any run away leader, since it is natural for all federations to pressure their own 'assigned' judge to repress their chances in the leader the interest of 'spread the wealth'.

    I much prefer if judges became an independent professional enterprise separate from their own Federations. IOC draw the judges from a pool of hundreds judges from ALL countries regardless if they are taking part at the Olympics, preferably not under anonymity or federation wrangling.
    That is a good point. I think Gracie is improving, but we don't need to be hit over the head with it with inflating her PCS (if this is really going on). it's one thing to see steady growth, but like Adelina, Gracie shouldn't be getting marks she does not deserve. If this is regarding the judging pool and judges are being unfairly assigned, then this should be looked into!

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    It was the judges who wanted to be able to call it as they see it without that kind of punishment who wanted the anonymous judging.
    Are you sure about this? This is the (IMHO lame) reason put forth by the ISU. I do not recall that any judges went on record as supporting the move to anonymous judging. If they were, it seems like they were just parroting the (new) party line.

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    So, how might a professionalization of the international judging corps work?

    Which competitions would be required to use professional judges only?
    *ISU championships (Worlds, Jr. Worlds, Europeans, Four Continents)
    *Olympics
    *Grand Prix
    *Junior Grand Prix?
    *fall competition Olympic designated for qualifying Olympic spots?
    *Youth Olympic Games?
    *World University Games?

    What about other international events hosted by member federations and open to entries from around the world or from specific regions? Everything to the most established and prestigious senior B events to something like, say, the Golden Bear of Zagreb, or the North American Challenge events that the US, Canada, and Mexico used to host a decade or so ago?

    Would there be two tiers of professional judges -- equivalent to the current "ISU" and "International" levels -- for the most important and less important international events?

    Or would the top tier be professional judges, paid by the ISU, and the second tier of judges be accredited for international competition but not guaranteed or even entitled to payment beyond expenses? And then any federation or club that hosts a non-championship international event could invite a mix of professional and internationally accredited volunteer judges?

    What would be the career path of a professional judge? What kind of prior experience would they need before being eligible to be hired for the position?

    When first switching over to a professional system, how could existing judges be vetted for competence and honesty to get hired in the new system?

    How does someone who is not yet an international judge become a professional judge?

    The federations would have no say in whether a judge gets hired by the ISU or not? But surely judges would need to get experience at the local and national level before being eligible for international hiring.

    Where does the money come from to pay the professional judges? Are they paid per competition? Do we want a smallish corps of maybe 50-100 singles/pairs judges and 20-30 dance judges, who should expect to judge approximately two weeks per month between August and March?

    Or should there be a larger pool of available judges, perhaps comparable to the current judging lists, but with strict hiring standards, so that even in weeks with 5 different international events of various levels in different parts of the world there would be enough professional judges to cover all of them?

    And then most of the judges in the professional pool would not be used in slower weeks and months?

    Given the uneven scheduling of the international skating calendar, all pro judges would probably need other sources of income. But those who don't have to work regular jobs would be available to judge more weeks per year.

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    Wow, the thread is just a few hours old and there's already much food for thought. Thanks for starting it, gkelly.

    Ever since Sochi I've been wondering if it would at be possible/practical to limit judges at major competitions to those from countries who don't have skaters in the final group of each phase (SP, LP). On one hand, a rule like this would no doubt cause a helluva lot of squawking from major federations whose skaters frequently end up on the podium. OTOH, it seems to me that this approach -- eliminating those countries w/ real skin in the game -- might help to get rid of at least some of the bias, albeit with the understanding that a certain amount of bribery and horse-trading may always be in the mix. Again, I don't know if this is even practical. One issue that comes to mind is whether exclusions like this would make the judging pool too narrow and/or leave the pool with people who aren't sufficiently qualified. Wanted to put the idea out there, although a full-scale overhaul would certainly be preferable.

    Do retired skaters ever do any judging? I think it would be great; after all, who knows more than they do about what they're watching? I'm guessing it doesn't happen very much b/c judging isn't nearly as glamorous or lucrative as TV commentary, etc. Still, one doesn't have to be an elite-level skater to be skate-savvy, which has been clearly demonstrated by many of the posts in these threads. Moreover, it sounds to me like some GS posters are already well on their way to being qualified to judge major competitions! More than anything else, what judging needs is people who have the depth of knowledge, passion, and commitment to the sport I've seen on these boards.

    Paying judges might help and payment might make judging more attractive to more people (although it's hard to imagine not needing other income sources!). The idea of ISU-paid judges makes me uneasy, though. IMO, the best thing that could happen to figure skating right about now is for it to become separate from the ISU. It surprises me that FS is still tied to the ISU, unless it's because Speedy is hanging onto it to use as a cash cow. After all, although FS doesn't have a huge audience these days, it probably still has more fans than speed skating. The cash cow idea is pure speculation -- someone please correct if I'm totally off base here. Also, this is not to cast any aspersions at all on speed skating, which I also enjoy.

    A while ago, wasn't Dick Button working w/ a bunch of other luminaries to detach FS from the ISU? Is that idea still alive? Hope that happens one of these days.

    Lastly, end the anonymity!

    Looking forward to reading more of everyone's ideas.
    Last edited by skatedreamer; 03-14-2014 at 09:14 PM. Reason: can't stop thinking about this!

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    Yulia forver! I'm on team dumped Ice Dance. Alba's Avatar
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    Do retired skaters ever do any judging? I think it would be great; after all, who knows more than they do about what they're watching?
    Many of them are. Gusmeroli for example, was in the tech.panel in the ladies event.

    The ISU has a two-person officials’ assessment commission to monitor major competitions. Each overseer independently watches for anomalies in the scores, reviews them and assesses whether the judges were “correct or incorrect based on the standard.”
    Even if both committee members agree there was a discrepancy, they don't know which judge is being assessed and could be penalized, but it would be interested to know the report of this commission about ladies event. Does anyone knows? Is it made public?


    Anyway, here is what Karen Butcher said about some aspect of the judging, and I tend to agree with her:

    Judging has both objective and subjective marks. There are the technical points for common jumps like a double axel.

    "Every skater can do a double axel, so they would get a mark for that, but then there's marks for the way they execute it, which can be more subjective."
    http://www.ottawacommunitynews.com/n...ting-in-sochi/

    Note that here she's referring to a tech.element. Can you imagine about components?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alba View Post
    Many of them are. Gusmeroli for example, was in the tech.panel in the ladies event.

    The ISU has a two-person officials’ assessment commission to monitor major competitions. Each overseer independently watches for anomalies in the scores, reviews them and assesses whether the judges were “correct or incorrect based on the standard.”
    Even if both committee members agree there was a discrepancy, they don't know which judge is being assessed and could be penalized, but it would be interested to know the report of this commission about ladies event. Does anyone knows? Is it made public?


    Anyway, here is what Karen Butcher said about some aspect of the judging, and I tend to agree with her:

    Judging has both objective and subjective marks. There are the technical points for common jumps like a double axel.

    "Every skater can do a double axel, so they would get a mark for that, but then there's marks for the way they execute it, which can be more subjective."
    http://www.ottawacommunitynews.com/n...ting-in-sochi/

    Note that here she's referring to a tech.element. Can you imagine about components?
    To me, the biggest problems continue to be conflict of interest and training. Sochi seems to be a big indicator how partisan officiating can be and how these biases can greatly impact the sport.

    I don't think anyone can honestly say that Adelina Sotnikova did not skate two overall fine programs. She did. Are there flaws in her skill set and interpretation of her programs? Yes. But that does not mean that she was not a worthy candidate for the podium. Depending on circumstances, she could have rightfully won the gold. The thing is that not enough of those circumstances actually occurred.

    By being able to elevate her PCS and GOEs in the TES (and under-penalizing her for her fallout on her 3-2-2), after a tech panel had inflated her turn/footwork sequences and dismissed two substantial errors in her first jumping pass, Adelina easily gained an unfair, double digit point total advantage that should have left her with bronze (this is not even accounting for her huge component scores in her SP).

    From what I understand, Yuna fairly deserved her Level 3 Footwork/Turn sequence placement due to an error she made in her SP. The thing is she made no such mistake in her FS and was unfairly penalized with Level 3. Additionally, her GOE's in comparison to Adelina's were unfairly suppressed. Before people say that the two judges under scrutiny could not affect the panel enough to make a difference, just note that in her Free Skate, out of Adelina's 33 "3" GOEs she received, a whopping 18 of them came from just two judges! That means out of a possible 24 GOE marks (12 per judge), these judges award Adelina only 6 GOEs below "3"! (and of those, only 2 below a GOE "2"). Were the other judges watching a different skater?

    Yes, I know this is skating" and these kind of things happen, but when they happen on a big stage like the Olympics, all eyes are upon the sport. Some people here keep saying that the "eye test" is "6.0 thinking", but in this case, it appears to be borne out by the facts. If this incident was not a matter of corruption, but of by shear bias, it is important that skating identify who these judges are and either reeducate them or get rid of them.

    By limiting conflict of interests and obvious bias, fostering education and eliminating anonymous judging. I think skating has a chance to recapture its popularity. If we keep sliding this slippery slope of being equated with staged professional wrestling, the sport will continued to be seen as a joke to the general populace of the world.

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