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Thread: The Improvement Thread: Your Ideas

  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam-Skwantch View Post
    To answer your first question the differences between :
    1) unexpected / creative / difficult entry
    2) clear recognizable steps/free skating movements immediately preceding element

    1) addresses flow in and level of attack and
    2) is the flow out and how smooth or quickly the skater returns to the program.
    1) First, Hallelujah! I've been meaning to ask people who talk about "attack" what it means in terms of GoE. You're saying that attack is not defined as the confident and aggressive approach to a jump for good execution, but rather, it's the unexpectedness of the entry ("ambush" of the jump) Correct?

    2) Second, bullet 2 clearly states "movements immediately preceding element' that means, movements that come before the jump, so your explanation that it describes the flow out and how quickly the skater *returns* to the program are completely at odds with the bullet.

    Furthermore, flow in and flow out of the jump are already addressed in bullet 6 on the ISU document: http://www.usfsa.org/content/ISU%201...02012-2013.pdf

    Actual Bullets
    1) unexpected / creative / difficult entry
    2) clear recognizable steps/free skating movements immediately preceding element
    3) varied position in the air / delay in rotation
    4) good height and distance
    5) good extension on landing / creative exit
    6) good flow from entry to exit including jump combinations / sequences
    7) effortless throughout
    8) element matched to the musical structure

    I'm not sure it is fair to lump them into one bullet point as you have.
    No, I didn't lump them together at all. I quoted the ISU document, bolded the bullets, and then separated them according to how I wanted to disucss them. I wanted to discuss 1 and 2 together because I found them to be too similar (easy conflated, and easily conflated with the wording of the T/L component). At the end, I also reiterate their separateness. This is what I said after showing my revised list of bullets:

    and depending on how you define this, you could include:
    creative/difficult/unexpected entries and exits

    and I'd probably drop this one, if there's no real difference compared to the previous one:
    clear recognizable steps/free skating movements immediately preceding element
    In the first part, I'm saying "you could include" the creative/difficult/unexpected entries bullet, but only so long as it's the technical panel deciding what qualifies as such (because remember, the judges are not supposed to be hemming and hawwing about what is difficult or not, they are there to judge one thing alone : quality of execution = whether it's a single axel or a triple axel/difficult entry or easy one = their job is to grade execution, not determine difficulty).

    In the second part, I'm saying "if there's no real difference between bullet 2 and bullet 1, then I would probably drop bullet 2" simply because it's redundant (you're saying exactly the same thing twic, ergo giving points twice. Redundant criteria and bullets like this are bad because they end up distorting the score).

    Ill drive you crazy with Yulia talk sorry but she is my passion here and I know her programs best.
    It's okay I like Yulia

    She can get both of these on her wonky little 2a. Compared to the rest of the field she attacks the 2a quite fearlessly.
    Hmm, now you seem to be confirming my initial thought that "attack" is the confident and aggressive approach to a jump for good execution (rather than what you explained about bullet 1 -- that attack is "unexpected/creative/difficult entry). I don't deny that having "good attack" is necessary to execute a jump well, but I'm not sure if it actually falls under the category of "technique", which is what the judges are supposed to be evaluating.

    Probably the quickest set up among all the girls...zero hesitation. In the SP she lands it and and immediately executes elements/transitions that can be perceived as flow and added difficulty.
    I will look at videos of this, but in the meantime, I hope you can see my concern about the redundancy of all of this -- it not only makes it easier to cheat, but harder to judge as well (imo).

  2. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by I♥Yuna View Post
    1) unexpected / creative / difficult entry
    2) clear recognizable steps/free skating movements immediately preceding element

    What are some examples of the differences between these two??
    I agree that they are often the same thing and probably could be combined with different wording.

    But it is certainly possible to have an unexpected/creative/difficult entry that doesn't really have any clear recognizable steps, or free skating movements unless you consider a sustained edge as a clear freeskating movement.
    For example, long edge into double axel

    It's also possible to have clear recognizable steps or freeskating movements, e.g., spiral, immediately preceding the entry to the jump, without the entry itself being especially unexpected, creative, or difficult.


    Also, I officially have no idea what purpose the "T/L/F/M" component serves, AT ALL:

    ^ Quality of steps, turns, etc (ie, footwork) is already addressed in SS.
    Yes, to the extent that the transitions consist of steps, turns, etc., their quality would also be addressed under Skating Skills.
    But what about a move like this? It's not on an edge, so it wouldn't be worth very much in skating skills, but the position is high quality, so it should add value as a transition.
    Same for split jumps, for example. What happens in the air is not a skating skill, but there's a big difference in quality between a full split and a barely 90-degree split.

    Difficulty is supposed to be determined by the technical panel. And Variety and Intricacy may be a matter of Choreography, or then again, maybe it's the duty of the technical panel??
    The technical panel only addresses the difficulty of the actual elements. They do not pay any attention to anything that does not fit into one of the element boxes.

    The Transitions score is the place for judges to reward the difficulty of everything that happens between the elements. Moves that are not listed jumps or spins or step sequences, that may be connected to those elements or may be separate from them to fill the rest of the program time in between the elements (and the beginning and end moves of the program, unless the first or last step of the program is also the first or last step of the step sequence, or the entry or exit to a spin as first or last element, or direct takeoff or landing of a jump right from the starting or ending pose).

    Intricacy also addresses elements being directly connected together.

    The tech panel can say That was a step sequence (level 1 or 2), that was a double axel. Or that was a camel spin and a triple salchow.
    The tech panel has no means to reward the fact that the exit of one element was the entrance to the next, there was not even one extra step in between -- that's up to the judges to reward as part of the intricacy criterion under Transitions.

    5) good extension on landing / creative exit
    Extension yes. They should elaborate a little more (posture, too?)
    My understanding is that extension refers to the whole body, specifically the upper body, and not just the free leg. Yes, that could be written explicitly.

    and can someone give me an example of creative exit? is it something to do with the blade, or just a decorative flourish of the arms/upper body??
    Could be either.
    E.g., I'd consider this to be a creative exit of the double axel using the upper body and free leg (and, yes, there are some little edge change at the end which also use the blade), whereas on this one it's the edge change and turns on the same foot after the landing that make up the creativity.

    If that's true, then I think the same needs to apply to "creative exits" -- they should only count as part of the jump if they are done w/in the time frame that isolates the jump from the rest of the choreo
    Or still on the same edge, as in the Kwan double axel example above, which she held for 4-5 seconds with all the enhancements.

    otherwise, it's just a matter of choreography. It would be the tech panel's job to identify jumps that have "creative exit" and communicate that to the judges.
    Why shouldn't the judges decide this for themselves?

    8) element matched to the musical structure
    No If the element matches the musical structure, it's because it was purposely placed there (a matter of Composition). As-worded, this should really be scored in the Choreography/Composition component of pcs, not in GoE.
    Why not both?
    It's a matter of composition to decide where the element should be placed in relation to the music.

    It's up to the skater to actually execute the element at exactly the right time. That demonstrates technical command that the choreographer has no control over
    If it's off by half a second, it won't match the music.
    Also, skaters can get little nuances out of arm movements, etc., on a jump landing to highlight nuances in the music.

    Even if what they're talking about is the skater's ability to execute the choreographed jump in perfect timing with the music, this is a matter of Performance/Execution, not the degree of technical perfection of the jump/element.
    That's not really what Performance/Execution is about.
    And it certainly does require a great deal of technical perfection to be able to time a jump precisely with the music. Even harder on a jump combo, where the slightest hesitation on the first jump will break the rhythm into the second one.
    And it gets harder and harder for the skater the later into the program a jump occurs -- not only because of muscle fatigue leading to less precision, but also because if a skater is going to get behind or ahead of the music over the course of a program, the effect can be cumulative so they'll likely be further off later in the program.

    I don't think this bullet point gets rewarded very often for jumps and spins. But if the skater does have enough control to draw attention to the fact they can execute a difficult element in time with the music, why not reward it as part of their control of the element?

  3. #48
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    Agreed! I did make a mistake on comparing the two bullet points and for that []

    You are correct that they are similar but I wouldn't go so far as to say redundant. The first bullet is more focused on the timing of the element relative to approach/music/performance where as the second is purely based on the SS utilized to achieve this it would seem. Maybe it is kind of rewarding the same thing twice because I certainly see your point about it doubling up on the same thing/concept. Maybe someone who is more knowledgable can explain better.

    I think "attack"while not defined in the ISU guidelines is the difference between telegraphing a jump and skating into it with almost reckless abandon and catching people off guard in a sense. Lets examine Mao's 3a. This is no knock on a wonderful jump but you can see it coming a mile away and it clearly is separated from any SS's prior to the jump. Watch Yulia do hers and you almost think she could turn to her back edge and do anything because her set up is quite similar to her other jumps. Very fast with almost no set up. There is a penalty for slow/long set ups to jumps so its fair to award the opposite. The axel is the easiest jump to see coming in my opinion and by her almost hiding its approach is an unexpected "attack" worthy of the bullet. It's just my opinion but I'd sum up "attack" as fearless approach with little to no hesitation.

    There are several things I'd change to improve the sport. The one thing that keeps me going is the level of skating and the character all the skaters bring. No matter the medals or judging woes no one can take that away. Not from me at least.

  4. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    I agree that they are often the same thing and probably could be combined with different wording. But it is certainly possible to have an unexpected/creative/difficult entry that doesn't really have any clear recognizable steps, or free skating movements unless you consider a sustained edge as a clear freeskating movement.
    Thank you! I see the difference now

    [On Sasha's Charlotte] It's not on an edge, so it wouldn't be worth very much in skating skills, but the position is high quality, so it should add value as a transition. Same for split jumps, for example. What happens in the air is not a skating skill, but there's a big difference in quality between a full split and a barely 90-degree split.
    Okay I understand. I guess I just need to get accustomed to the skating terminology. To me, moves like the charlotte or leaps/split jumps and other tricks that aren't necessarily required elements -- I have this urge to call it choreography LoL. Because in my experience, say if jumps and spins were turns and leaps on a dance floor, the way that I link them together or transition between them is just simply choreography. I know they must have felt the need to separate them for judging purposes, and I understand that. It's just hard to adjust to, especially when I know in my mind that they separated them for judging purposes, and yet, there is still overlap (for example, Sasha's charlotte is also used very well with the music - a choreographic hilight which adds value to the Ch/C component).

    The Transitions score is the place for judges to reward the difficulty of everything that happens between the elements.
    ^ That's what I think of as choreography But I totally get T/L/F now *whew!*

    The technical panel only addresses the difficulty of the actual elements. They do not pay any attention to anything that does not fit into one of the element boxes [....] Intricacy also addresses elements being directly connected together [....] The tech panel has no means to reward the fact that the exit of one element was the entrance to the next, there was not even one extra step in between -- that's up to the judges to reward as part of the intricacy criterion under Transitions.
    Yeah that criterion has no explanation at all next to it, so thank you so much for explaining that! And that camel spin salchow was freakin awesome =) I do understand the tech panel's job is simply to verify/call the elements in the boxes, and that they can't very well call something that isn't codified, and most importantly, they can't create a box out of thin air (like for spin+jump combination = it's not a required combination, and therefore has no box for the tech panel to fit in). Also, I understand that it's necessary for the judges to ascertain difficulty for all of the possible moves that aren't codified and aren't required, and that those uncodified/unrequired moves must necessarily be scored in pcs, so that's okay (I concede the point that the T/L/F component does serve a purpose lol =)

    However, this kind of goes back to what really bothers me about the scoring/judging system in general, which is being able to give points for the same thing twice. Just to be clear, it's not really a problem if a movement/skill/element adds value to a program in more than one way (ie, Sasha's Charlotte is a difficult transitional move, and is also effective choreographically, ergo it garners points in two different components), it's when a movement/skill/element garners points in two different places on the protocol for exactly the same reason that I feel it's a problem.

    As far as the GoE and the +'s that are handed out for difficulty of the required elements. The way I feel about it, is that if difficulty is going to be awarded for a required element in the GoE portion of TES, it should be part and parcel to the element itself. For example, the unexpectedness of a jump's entry, is a quality of the jump's entry, and since the entry is considered part of the jump, it should have a bullet (since they were directly connected, both the Camel and Salchow would satisfy the "creative exit" and "difficult/unexpected/creative entry" bullets, respectively). Arm-position variations during a jump, are also part and parcel to the jump, so they should get a bullet. The little arm and leg movement that Kwan does after the double axel (I always liked that part =D) are done while maintaining the landing edge, and are therefore part of the jump (assuming the rules distinguish that as part of a jump and not a spiral). I am even okay with "difficult entry" as a bullet, so long as it's defined (something like "shift in weight/or change of edge connecting quickly/immediately/directly to the jump entry" -- that's an awful description but hopefully you can see what I mean lol).

    I don't like things like "clear steps leading into" a jump's entry, or the set up of a spin -- not only because steps that "lead in" are not a facet of the elements themselves, but because that is already explicitly described in pcs (so in my mind, this bullet would be an example redundancy -- of movement or a series of movements that are counting twice for the same reason, rather than movements that earn points in more than one part of the overall score because they can be valued for two different reasons. Hope that makes sense.

    Why not both? It's a matter of composition to decide where the element should be placed in relation to the music. It's up to the skater to actually execute the element at exactly the right time. That demonstrates technical command that the choreographer has no control over
    If it's off by half a second, it won't match the music.
    Right. Maybe a good example of what I was thinking, is say a skater comes to me for choreography. His signature move is a stylized triple axel (arm variation w/creative exit), and I put it in his program to match the clash of a cymbal in the music. I also give it an unexpected entry, and place it right in front of the judges, for maximum effect. When it's finally time to perform it in competition, he realizes he is a tad behind the music, but he is afraid to rush the jump for fear of messing it up or falling, so he decides to momentarily disregard the fact that his musical timing is off, go for perfect execution, and then try to catch up with the music afterwards.

    He executes the triple axel with brilliant speed, height, delayed rotation, flow, etc -- basically all of the things that would make the jump utterly flawless in terms of pure skating technique (pure technical skill), not to mention all of the bells and whistles that satisfy the other bullets (variation, entry, exit). My feeling is that in the GoE, it should recieve the highest mark, because that portion of the overall score is supposed to grade the execution of individual elements -- elements that, in theory, can be executed perfectly to no music at all.

    Where he should be marked down, in my view, is in terms of performance/execution, because it's only when you put the element into a context (music) that you can detect anything was wrong, and in fact, what was wrong was actually his musical timing, not the mechanics and technique of the jump itself.

    That's not really what Performance/Execution is about.
    Maybe not in the rules, but in principle, I beg to differ LoL (especically since this is the improvement thread! =).

    And it certainly does require a great deal of technical perfection to be able to time a jump precisely with the music.
    Of course, but the kind of technical precision needed to stay on time with music is (in my view) not exactly the same as the kind of technical precision needed to execute a skill. If the goal is to level the playing field so that skaters with different qualities (good artist vs. good technician) have equal footing, then I think it would make a lot of sense to drop the "music timing" bullet from the GoE score, and move it over to pcs..

    In fact, I just found it in the pc explanations. It's listed under "Interpretation" (which I have no idea what your musical timing during a performance has to do with your interpretation of the music, but oh well lol. This was another component that I felt was too fussy in its explanations, and had way too much in common both with Ch/C and P/E):

    Interpretation

    Definition: The personal and creative translation of the music to movement on ice.
    To reward the skater who through movement creates a personal and creative translation of the music.
    As the tempo binds all notes in time, the ability to use the tempos and rhythms of the music in a variety
    of ways, along with the subtle use of finesse to reflect the nuances of all the fundamentals of music:
    melody, rhythm, harmony, color, texture, and form creates a mastery of interpretation.

    Criteria:

    Effortless Movements in Time to the Music (Timing) Note: Timing is a separate component
    in Compulsory Dances.
    The ability to translate music through sureness of rhythm, tempo, effective movement,
    and effortless flow over the ice surface by: rhythmic continuity, awareness of all
    tempo/rhythm changes in a variety of ways.
    ^I see now that they've worded it: effortless "movments" in time to the music, so as to differentiate it from the GoE bullet, but I still disagree as I feel good musical timing is a skill of its own, pertaining to all movement set to music, whether it's elements or transitions, and therefore, ought to be judged wholistically, rather than splitting it between two the two parts of the score.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam-Skwantch View Post
    Agreed! I did make a mistake on comparing the two bullet points
    It's okay I hope I didn't come across mean in my reply! I sometimes don't explain myself very well, so I thought I would try it again lol.

    It's just my opinion but I'd sum up "attack" as fearless approach with little to no hesitation.
    Gotcha, although I'm not totally convinced lol. As it is, I feel like "unexpected" is a good technical term to describe that kind of entrance (and like the example gkelly gave). For me, things like "fearlessness" or "confidence" are not as relevant to technical execution (because if you do it "effortlessly" - which is a word they use a lot - then it goes w/out saying that the element or move was performed without fear or hesitation).

    For example, lots of people say that Yuna does nothing for them from a fan perspective, because she "looks bored" when she skates -- including her jumps! lol. I don't think the way you feel inside or the way you look to the audience (fearless/bored), or worse, the way the judges perceive your personality as you go into a jump, should enter into the picture when it comes to grade of execution of an element (there's already a place to judge personality in pcs). If I were to study an actual book of how to do a skating jump with good technique, I don't think it would show pictures "fearlessness" vs. "boredom" as examples of good vs. bad technique? Anyway, that's just my personal view on it Maybe I'm being too much of a purist in my opinion of what TES & PCS should be about.

    There are several things I'd change to improve the sport. The one thing that keeps me going is the level of skating and the character all the skaters bring. No matter the medals or judging woes no one can take that away. Not from me at least.
    Ditto I hardly remember the competitions themeslves or the standings. I just remember the programs (and virtually all of my favorite programs are exhibitions lol).

  5. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by I♥Yuna View Post
    However, this kind of goes back to what really bothers me about the scoring/judging system in general, which is being able to give points for the same thing twice. Just to be clear, it's not really a problem if a movement/skill/element adds value to a program in more than one way (ie, Sasha's Charlotte is a difficult transitional move, and is also effective choreographically, ergo it garners points in two different components), it's when a movement/skill/element garners points in two different places on the protocol for exactly the same reason that I feel it's a problem.
    Well, it would garner points in the Transitions component if it's difficult and good quality -- it would garner points in the Choreography component if it's effective choreographically. Those aren't the exact same reason. It's would be perfectly possible for another skater with less flexibility and balance to execute the same program, hit a back spiral at the exact same point of the program in a way that shows the same effectiveness in choreography, but it's just a plain 90-degree back spiral not a Charlotte, and the position isn't as well-stretched or well-aligned. So from the Transitions point of view, the difficulty and quality would be mediocre to average instead of good to excellent, but the from the Choreography point of view the effect is similar.

    Or, on the other hand, Sasha could do the same move with the same quality in a poorly constructed program where it completely clashes with what the music is doing at the time. Good quality and difficulty, but ineffective choreography.

    [quote]As far as the GoE and the +'s that are handed out for difficulty of the required elements. The way I feel about it, is that if difficulty is going to be awarded for a required element in the GoE portion of TES, it should be part and parcel to the element itself. For example, the unexpectedness of a jump's entry, is a quality of the jump's entry,

    "Unexpected" would probably happen if the setup for the jump (or spin) was something very different from a usual jump or spin setup -- e.g., the movement seemed to be leading in one direction and then all of a sudden the skater turned in a different direction and did an element that wasn't expected from that setup.

    Or the skater was doing something else leading in the correct direction and then quickly changed the weight distribution on the blade to be able to take off into the jump or start rotating a spin.

    The fact of doing something different from a standard setup adds some difficulty and should get some reward in Transitions for the difficulty. Then you also have the question of quality -- the skater might do the preceding move and then the jump or spin, but the quality of the preceding move and/or the element itself might be weak or average or good.

    And there might be no break at all between the preceding move and the element, or there might be an extra step in between or a clear break in momentum while the skater readjusts his/her weight to get into the element. The former would deserve good credit for intricacy, the latter not so much.

    What if the preceding move and the entry into a jump is great, but then the skater falls on the jump. -3 GOE for the element, but still the skater deserves credit for trying a difficult entry, compared to a different skater who telegraphed the jump and fell on it anyway.

    So the GOE would reflect the quality of the actual element, whereas any bump to the Transitions score would be for all the positive things about the preceding move and the connection between the preceding move and the element. The skater who does well with difficulty, quality, and intricacy should get more of a bump than the skater who just does something before the element but it's not especially impressive on any of those criteria.

    (The Variety criterion would not apply to any single transition, but to the program as a whole.)

    I am even okay with "difficult entry" as a bullet, so long as it's defined (something like "shift in weight/or change of edge connecting quickly/immediately/directly to the jump entry" -- that's an awful description but hopefully you can see what I mean lol).
    There are a lot of different ways an entry could be difficult. There could be more specific wording in the GOE bullets to define some of those ways, maybe give specific examples. But we hope that if a creative skater comes up with a new way to enter an element unexpectedly from different preceding moves than anyone has ever used before to get into that kind of element, at least some of the judges will recognize the difficulty and reward it.

    Right. Maybe a good example of what I was thinking, is say a skater comes to me for choreography. His signature move is a stylized triple axel (arm variation w/creative exit), and I put it in his program to match the clash of a cymbal in the music. I also give it an unexpected entry, and place it right in front of the judges, for maximum effect. When it's finally time to perform it in competition, he realizes he is a tad behind the music, but he is afraid to rush the jump for fear of messing it up or falling, so he decides to momentarily disregard the fact that his musical timing is off, go for perfect execution, and then try to catch up with the music afterwards.

    He executes the triple axel with brilliant speed, height, delayed rotation, flow, etc -- basically all of the things that would make the jump utterly flawless in terms of pure skating technique (pure technical skill), not to mention all of the bells and whistles that satisfy the other bullets (variation, entry, exit). My feeling is that in the GoE, it should recieve the highest mark, because that portion of the overall score is supposed to grade the execution of individual elements -- elements that, in theory, can be executed perfectly to no music at all.
    If the skater can earn 6 bullet points (or maybe only 5, but most of them really strongly), he can get +3 GOE without the unexpected entry, difficult exit, and matching the music. Since +3 is the maximum GOE possible, there's no added value in planning 7 or 8 bullet points if you can consistently achieve the other 6.

    But what if you don't always -- or ever -- execute the element with the very highest quality. What if you have a very consistent triple axel, but you can't jump very high so you can never earn the "good height and distance" bullet point, and maybe you don't skate with great speed either. You're just lucky you have good technique and quick rotation to be able to do triple axels at all, and you can do them consistently. Why shouldn't you try to show extra difficulty and quality in your triple axel in the best ways you personally are capable of? Maybe you can't ever earn +3, but why not aim for +2 instead of settling for +1 by default?


    Maybe not in the rules, but in principle, I beg to differ LoL (especically since this is the improvement thread! =).
    My feeling is that the Performance/Execution component is kind of a catch-all for two or three different kinds of criteria:

    Those that relate to the skater's commitment to the program and connection to the audience
    Those related to the overall quality of the skater's body line
    (Not specified, but success/overall quality or failure/messiness of the elements could also affect this score)

    E.g., a skater with a lot of ballet training might have great carriage and clear body line, graceful movement qualities, but they might look bored and indifferent the whole time.

    Another skater might have bad posture, little flexibility, and bowed legs, but great enthusiasm, personality, and connection with the audience.

    Each of these skaters would deserve to score high in some aspects of P/E as currently defined and low in other aspects. They might average out to a similar final score. A skater who is good in all those areas should score significantly higher, and one who is bad in all those areas should score significantly lower.

    Maybe those two different areas of this component should be separated into different scores.

    But most of the relation to the music would go under Interpretation.

    Of course, but the kind of technical precision needed to stay on time with music is (in my view) not exactly the same as the kind of technical precision needed to execute a skill. If the goal is to level the playing field so that skaters with different qualities (good artist vs. good technician) have equal footing, then I think it would make a lot of sense to drop the "music timing" bullet from the GoE score, and move it over to pcs..
    When that bullet point is used for elements, it only applies if that particular element is very clearly used to enhance the musical structure. It's not just about being on time. It applies to step sequences much more often than to jumps and spins.

    The Interpretation component would be the place to reward the skater who is clearly in synch with the music throughout the program. Just hitting a few jumps on the booms and showing no awareness of the music otherwise would not score well for Interpretation.

    Let me give an example from personal experience.
    The hardest compulsory dance test I have passed is the Willow Waltz, which is on the bronze dance test in the US.
    There is one three turn in this dance, in my bad direction.
    I have no trouble executing that three turn on its own -- it's a move than beginners learn.
    But I always had trouble getting my weight into the proper position to execute it from the previous step.
    The previous edge is supposed to be held for 3 counts (this is a waltz, after all). If I wasn't ready to start the entry to the turn on count 4, I would often wait another whole measure to start it on count 1.
    That would be penalized because it showed that I did not have enough technical control of those two steps to stay in time with the music.
    But waiting to make the step on count 1 of the next measure, instead of count 5 or 6, shows that I was aware of the musical structure, of the difference between the downbeats and the upbeats. So I would be penalized for that one step for adding an extra measure, but not for the whole dance for ignoring the waltz rhythm.

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    @I♥Yuna and gkelly: I enjoyed reading both of your theorycrafts. There are so many good points in your point of views and arguments and I would like to respond to them with equal diligence but I can't help but feel that they are overly idealistic. Especially when it comes to PCS. I can understand the difference between Choreography and Interpretation, but the IJS' bullet points are almost metaphysical or even philosophical, which is impossible to quantify in real time.

    Here, we have an interview from an honest judge a while back. Many here may remember it. He was asked to give impromptu answers about how he would rate each PCS mark.

    Patrick Ibens Interview

    TW: Can you quickly summarize your own definitions of the five program components in singles and pairs skating? If you know the actual definitions by heart, feel free to use them, but try to put them in your own words rather than cheating! [Note: these answers were given immediately and haven't been edited from the original quote. I thought it would be more interesting to get immediate definitions rather than giving Ibens time to think about the answers.]

    PI: Skating Skills:
    1. Flow and effortless glide with deep edges of steps and turns
    2. Variety of speed and acceleration
    3. Multi directional skating

    Transitions:
    That there are transitional moves and that there is variety in them. Not always the same movement. A good example is the long program of Stephane Lambiel. He is always doing the same upper body movements as his transitions, even if he has many.

    Performance/Execution:

    1. The skater gives you the “I am and I am going to be…” feeling.
    2. Personality (if you can’t remember a skater’s performance after 5 minutes… he/she doesn’t have any personality).
    3. Projection
    a) gives you the feeling that he/she jumps into the judges stand/audience.
    b) takes you with him/her into his/her own little world.
    4. Quality of each movement. Each movement should be done to the end instead of cutting the movement short halfway.

    Choreography:
    1. Nice programs with beautiful choreography and good lay-out of the entire program.
    2. Good use of the music.

    Interpretation:

    1. If most of the notes are used by the skater.
    2. If the music goes up the moves should also lift upward and if the music goes down… the moves should be done downward.
    3. When a skater becomes the character.
    4. That the skater is interpreting the music instead of putting on a show program.
    One might say his understanding is somewhat dated (esp. Transitions), but the way PCS are given out to skaters today (Let's forget Sochi for the moment) it doesn't seem too far off to me. And realistically it seems like the most a judge can do during the 4 ~5 minutes of performance by a skater. A bullet point under his Interpretation mark - Good use of the music - can practically cover all 4 of the Interpretation points if understood at a certain level of generality.

    P.S. The whole interview is worth reading if anyone hasn't already.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    Well, it would garner points in the Transitions component if it's difficult and good quality -- it would garner points in the Choreography component if it's effective choreographically. Those aren't the exact same reason.
    No, I'm totally down with that I was citing Sasha's Charlotte as an example of an skill/element that garners points in two different components for two different reasons, and that I don't see a problem with that

    Just to be clear, it's not really a problem if a movement/skill/element adds value to a program in more than one way (ie, Sasha's Charlotte is a difficult transitional move, and is also effective choreographically, ergo it garners points in two different components)....
    The fact of doing something different from a standard setup adds some difficulty and should get some reward in Transitions for the difficulty. Then you also have the question of quality -- the skater might do the preceding move and then the jump or spin, but the quality of the preceding move and/or the element itself might be weak or average or good.
    Okay so basically, in GoE, even though one of the bullets might say "clear steps leading into jump", it doesn't mean that the GoE reflects the difficulty or quality of those steps, right? (If skaterA and skaterB both have clear steps leading into the same jump, then they each get an equal benefit in terms of GoE, but if skater A's steps are clearly more difficult & better quality than skater B's, then skater A will score higher in Transitions and P/E, yes?)

    What if the preceding move and the entry into a jump is great, but then the skater falls on the jump. -3 GOE for the element, but still the skater deserves credit for trying a difficult entry, compared to a different skater who telegraphed the jump and fell on it anyway.
    Yep, that makes sense.

    If the skater can earn 6 bullet points (or maybe only 5, but most of them really strongly), he can get +3 GOE without the unexpected entry, difficult exit, and matching the music. Since +3 is the maximum GOE possible, there's no added value in planning 7 or 8 bullet points if you can consistently achieve the other 6. But what if you don't always -- or ever -- execute the element with the very highest quality.
    Yeah, but what if someone else can? LoL (What do you think about adding a +4 GoE to reward jumps that satisfy all 8 bullets? We'd probably never see it for the super difficult jumps like 3A's and quads, but if you could do a 2A, or 3T of exceptional beauty (quality+creativity+difficulty) as a highlight of the program, maybe it should be able to score just as well as an average 3F or 3Lz that does not go the extra mile?

    If I wasn't ready to start the entry to the turn on count 4, I would often wait another whole measure to start it on count 1.
    That would be penalized because it showed that I did not have enough technical control of those two steps to stay in time with the music.
    But waiting to make the step on count 1 of the next measure, instead of count 5 or 6, shows that I was aware of the musical structure, of the difference between the downbeats and the upbeats. So I would be penalized for that one step for adding an extra measure, but not for the whole dance for ignoring the waltz rhythm.
    Wow! No wonder you know so much about all of this I noticed the component explanations say that timing is a separate component in Ice Dance, so I'll have to hunt down that doc, too. Although I see what you're saying with this example, I still consider it a matter of P/E, so I guess we'll just agree to disagree on that one lol.

    Quote Originally Posted by usethis2 View Post
    @I♥Yuna and gkelly: I enjoyed reading both of your theorycrafts. There are so many good points in your point of views and arguments and I would like to respond to them with equal diligence but I can't help but feel that they are overly idealistic. Especially when it comes to PCS. I can understand the difference between Choreography and Interpretation, but the IJS' bullet points are almost metaphysical or even philosophical, which is impossible to quantify in real time.
    ITA about the metaphysical/philosophical thing LoL And I don't understand why they don't just go ahead and assign a weight to each criteria (out of the total 10.00), so that everyone can understand how the judges are coming up with the numbers, and what they can do to maximize their scores. That's something I'm aiming for w/my revisions - not just more concrete criteria, but quantifying them, too. Maybe I'm being too idealistic, but I'm gonna try it anyway lol.

    Here, we have an interview from an honest judge a while back. Many here may remember it. He was asked to give impromptu answers about how he would rate each PCS mark.
    Thanks for posting this! I finally read the whole thing - very enlightening for a casual fan like me

    This part was particularly helpful:

    PI: Right after the completion of the short program I could see that the top three skaters were less than a point apart. I knew that the panel had done a great job! During that segment, those three were equally good and all for different reasons. However, in my opinion, I thought Takahashi would have won the short program but anything is possible now since we as judges don’t know what the technical panel has decided on as far as levels and downgrades. We also do not know our previous marks so it is possible that you accidently gave the higher mark to the other skater although as a good judge you have your ways to get around that!

    TW: Please explain the last part in more detail.

    PI: If i gave, say, a 7.25 to skater A, then skater B is ten skaters later and in my opinion he is better, but gave him a 7.00, then I accidently gave “first place” to the wrong skater for that component.
    Gives me an idea for my IJS (Imaginary Judging System ).

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    Oh, also ,Patrick Ibens mentioned in that interview that one of the downsides is that the step sequences all look the same.

    General Question: If you could change the step sequences in any way (requirements, levels) what would you change about them? Also, any thoughts on choreo sequences?

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    Quote Originally Posted by I♥Yuna View Post
    Oh, also ,Patrick Ibens mentioned in that interview that one of the downsides is that the step sequences all look the same.

    General Question: If you could change the step sequences in any way (requirements, levels) what would you change about them? Also, any thoughts on choreo sequences?
    I would invent those sensors in boots in the first order
    Then, I would leave it to the imagination of the skater. Simple

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    Quote Originally Posted by I♥Yuna View Post
    Okay so basically, in GoE, even though one of the bullets might say "clear steps leading into jump", it doesn't mean that the GoE reflects the difficulty or quality of those steps, right? (If skaterA and skaterB both have clear steps leading into the same jump, then they each get an equal benefit in terms of GoE, but if skater A's steps are clearly more difficult & better quality than skater B's, then skater A will score higher in Transitions and P/E, yes?)
    Yes, I would think so.

    Yeah, but what if someone else can? LoL (What do you think about adding a +4 GoE to reward jumps that satisfy all 8 bullets? We'd probably never see it for the super difficult jumps like 3A's and quads, but if you could do a 2A, or 3T of exceptional beauty (quality+creativity+difficulty) as a highlight of the program, maybe it should be able to score just as well as an average 3F or 3Lz that does not go the extra mile?
    Fine with me in theory.
    If +3 elements become common, it might be worthwhile to add some means to distinguish between those that just qualify as +3 vs. those that go well beyond.

    The way to make them common in the first place, I think, would be to increase the value of the +GOEs relative to the value of adding levels.

    ITA about the metaphysical/philosophical thing LoL And I don't understand why they don't just go ahead and assign a weight to each criteria (out of the total 10.00), so that everyone can understand how the judges are coming up with the numbers, and what they can do to maximize their scores. That's something I'm aiming for w/my revisions - not just more concrete criteria, but quantifying them, too. Maybe I'm being too idealistic, but I'm gonna try it anyway lol.
    In theory this would make sense. In practice, judges don't have time to assign scores separate scores to every criterion of every component, and also assign GOEs, especially if they had to go through a similar process with all the GOE criteria (bullet points). If there were more officials each concentrating only on a few components or one component plus GOEs, it might be possible, but there are more total officials, the whole sport becomes more expensive to run. If there are only one or two judges per component, for example, then the value of the information for those components becomes compromised by too small a sample size.

    Quote Originally Posted by I♥Yuna View Post
    General Question: If you could change the step sequences in any way (requirements, levels) what would you change about them? Also, any thoughts on choreo sequences?
    Again, the first thing I would do is increase the values of the GOEs relative to the levels, so that it would clearly be a wise strategy to plan a lower level step sequence and aim for higher GOE.

    For the free skate, I always wanted more different kinds of sequences available (step sequence, spiral sequence, field moves sequence, small jump sequence, school figures variation), each with different kinds of features available for earning levels, so that skaters could choose to earn those points by whatever sets of skills best match their own strengths and/or the music and theme of the program.

    With or without those options, for the leveled step sequence itself, I'd say maybe keep the "variety of turns" feature as mandatory for any level higher than level 1, but beyond that make "complexity of turns" (however that's defined) and "complexity of steps" as two separate features, so it could be possible to earn level 2 or 3 with only one or the other. And possible to earn level 4 without the upper body movement feature.

    For both the leveled step sequence and choreo sequence, allow/encourage judges to reduce the GOE by -1 or more if the sequence does not match the music, and to reward creativity in the content of the sequences. And make the GOEs count even more in the choreo sequences.

    It would still be up to the skaters and coaches to come up with interesting sequences, but if they know they will be rewarded for doing something effective and penalized for just throwing in some moves to tick the box, they'll put more effort into designing them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anna K. View Post
    I would invent those sensors in boots in the first order
    Then, I would leave it to the imagination of the skater. Simple
    So what would the sensors be measuring?
    Whatever they're programmed to give credit for, the skaters and coaches/choreographers will be sure to aim for achieving. Even at the expense of the other qualities that judges reward, if getting points for objective qualities that the sensors reward would be worth more points and/or be a surer bet to achieve than the more subjective points from the judges.

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    I would change some tech aspects.

    The first thing is the range of judging PCs.. I think that giving a judgment from 1 to 10 doesn't make sense, the range is too big to be understandable... a 1 to 5 is ok (1 for poor, 2 low, 3 decent, 4 good, 5 magnificent). Also, who can understand the difference between, for example, 8.50 and 8.75? This system really seems to be too manipulable.

    Some voices in the PCs are too similar. I'm thinking about Performance and Interpretation. How can you give a good performance when you're not able to interpret your routine?
    Performance should also be related more to how you skated that particular program that day but we have seen that this voice isn't so affected.

    The Transition voice also is a repetition of GOE. You can give a +3 only if the element is good, fast and has trantitions in and out... so why add another transition voice in the PCs? And so, more transitions out of the technical elements means you created a good Choreography, but there's already this voice!

    I wanna see more variety in judging these PCs voices, for example Chan has great skating skill while Takahashi is the best in Interpration but it doesn't mean that they have to receive the same judgment in all the other aspects.

    In the end there're too many generic voices under PCs and the judges still have that 6.0 mind so they do what they want and judge the skaters based on a mental ranking.

    For what concerns the elements in the program I would remove a spin for the men. In general I would put less limits to spins because now they lack of originality, we almost see the same thing for everyone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    So what would the sensors be measuring?

    Whatever they're programmed to give credit for, the skaters and coaches/choreographers will be sure to aim for achieving. Even at the expense of the other qualities that judges reward, if getting points for objective qualities that the sensors reward would be worth more points and/or be a surer bet to achieve than the more subjective points from the judges.
    It’s a very good question. In fact, when I started the Technology Thread, I hoped to get more contribution from you (you guys, not gkelly personally) regarding what could or should be measured and what actually matters. I like sci-fi but my knowledge about FS is moderate to say the least. Oh well. Looks that I have to get through on my own. Let’s see what I can do.

    We talk about step sequences so understandably what should be measured are steps. For that, we have to define what a step is. I’d say a step is one move that a skate does until it stops or changes the edge/direction. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    Further, doing steps have to have an aim for achieving. I took my time thinking about what could be an aim for doing steps and that’s what I got: it should be doing steps in sync with the music or, in other words, dancing. If you see any other aim, please, tell me.

    Hence the sensors are registering/counting steps and the percentage (no one is a robot!) of synchronism with the music. Now, the most important part comes: what are the criteria to decide that one step sequence is better than the other?
    Honestly, I don’t have the necessary knowledge about what is good skating and what’s not. However, I can spot several interesting aspects. For example, unlike steps on the ground, a step on a skate can last for several beats just like a note can last for several beats. Also, the speed can be accelerated or lost in the course of one step. The pressure on the skate can also be measured so the data about the power and weight can be registered. The total number of steps is hardly a criterion due to the differences in musical phrasing but registering, like, the least number of steps to cover 100 m or the most steps (like, toe steps) in 1 m might be interesting and these are far not the only interesting ratios. These are just the first I can think about.

    If I was asked to develop this “technoskate step” format, I’d spend the first few seasons simply gathering data about what skaters can do and what they prefer to do. Like I said: no requirements except interpretation of the music – an unknown piece of music for more fun; like, they listen to it for 10 secs, then have a minute or two to prepare and then they go and do their sequences – 6-8 invited skaters per competition. Then I would invite several well know skating specialists to decide who did the best job. They would see only the data and marks on the ice reconstructed by a computer, not the performance itself. For more fun, they would be asked to guess who skated what and which piece of music it was and they would get points for guessing right. At the end, we’d see not just who won the skaters’ competition but who won the judges’ competition as well!

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    Tighten the short program requirements, so it would be easier to have apples-to-apples comparisons. For example, specify the combination jump to be included in the short.

    Also, at least in the SP, have basic spin positions specified. Who REALLY has the best layback... not who can contort into several unattractive positions while maintaining at least some speed.

    Ban the Biellman, or at least be MUCH more demanding in terms of whether it deserves a bullet in determining levels in spins. There are VERY few pretty Biellmans, and yet nearly every lady does one to gain the level.

    Figure out a common sense way to apply GOE. I've made the comparison to diving before... I don't know how, on a 10 point scale, a TV commentator can analyze a dive, and say "That should score 7 to 7.5" and BEHOLD, the judges score it exactly in that range. And yet, we all see instances in skating where GOE in skating, with a much lower range, is all over the map.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anna K. View Post
    We talk about step sequences so understandably what should be measured are steps. For that, we have to define what a step is. I’d say a step is one move that a skate does until it stops or changes the edge/direction. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    Further, doing steps have to have an aim for achieving. I took my time thinking about what could be an aim for doing steps and that’s what I got: it should be doing steps in sync with the music or, in other words, dancing. If you see any other aim, please, tell me.
    I think the main aims for step sequences are

    1) Demonstrating a variety of technical skating skills that are the fundamental of what makes figure skating figure skating, including more difficult turns and steps and the easy-to-medium ones in the difficult direction, that skaters wouldn't bother to show or develop mastery of unless they're required or explicitly rewarded

    2) Demonstrating good technical quality (speed, security, depth of edge) in the execution of those skills

    3) Demonstrating technical command of the chosen steps and turns by executing them in time to the music

    4) Expressing the emotional quality of the music, highlighting subtle musical nuances, telling a story, or otherwise communicating with the audience on an artistic level


    1), 2), and 3) are about what makes skating a sport. In theory they could each be measured by sensors and computers, with complex programming for each of those three aspects, triply complex if you try to include all three. I don't expect it to become practical any time soon, but if you have the engineering and programming skills to volunteer to build a prototype, and can learn what the sport wants to measure so you can design for that purpose, please do.

    3) is what you were talking about with measuring timing. It would be most relevant to the pattern dance part of the Short Dance (and the independent pattern dances, formerly known as compulsory dances, used at other levels of ice dance competition) but would also be valuable information for freestyle steps, and the individually choreographed parts of ice dance programs.

    1) covers most of the features that are currently used to determine the level of a step sequence. The rules for exactly what kinds and combinations of turns and steps skaters need to include to earn more points could stay as is or could be up for revision. But currently step sequences are the one place in freestyle programs that skaters are specifically encouraged to include difficult steps and turns. Even between 1991 and 2004 when there were no school figures and no IJS levels, judges still used their own judgment to determine which step sequences deserved more credit for including more difficulty. I don't we want to eliminate all rules that reward difficulty and give points only for staying in time with the music -- if timing were the only thing that earned points, why wouldn't everyone choose only the easiest steps and turns possible?

    2) is currently evaluated in the GOE by judges' visual perceptions, and also auditory perceptions of the sounds the blades make on the ice.

    If you could develop sensors and computer programs that can evaluate all of 1) and 2) with less room for error than the human eye watching from a fixed angle, that could make the scoring of the Skating Skills component and also step sequences, and twizzle sequences in short and free dances, and pattern dances in the short dance, more objective as to content and quality.

    4) is purely subjective. It requires human judgment and emotional response. So that's where fans tend to connect with the performances on an emotional level, and where technology could never replace live human beings in evaluating each skater's success at achieving these qualities. It's also where different spectators, including different judges, may legitmately feel the emotion and nuances and artistic themes most differently from each other. So the more people's evaluations that contribute to this part of the score, the better.

    If I was asked to develop this “technoskate step” format, I’d spend the first few seasons simply gathering data about what skaters can do and what they prefer to do. Like I said: no requirements except interpretation of the music – an unknown piece of music for more fun; like, they listen to it for 10 secs, then have a minute or two to prepare and then they go and do their sequences – 6-8 invited skaters per competition. Then I would invite several well know skating specialists to decide who did the best job. They would see only the data and marks on the ice reconstructed by a computer, not the performance itself.
    This might be interesting as a novelty event, but it has nothing to do with either demonstrating technical skating skill or with connecting emotionally with audiences.

    Quote Originally Posted by TontoK View Post
    Figure out a common sense way to apply GOE. I've made the comparison to diving before... I don't know how, on a 10 point scale, a TV commentator can analyze a dive, and say "That should score 7 to 7.5" and BEHOLD, the judges score it exactly in that range. And yet, we all see instances in skating where GOE in skating, with a much lower range, is all over the map.
    I don't know the details of how diving is scored. But the 7-7.5 number includes the degree of difficulty for a single dive as well as the judges evaluation of its technical correctness and overall quality, including any errrors, right?

    So the equivalent would be to take a single skating element -- let's say a triple axel with a shaky landing. The commentators would know that the base mark for triple axel is 8.5 (assuming it was fully rotated) and that the GOE reduction for "weak landing (bad pos., wrong edge, scratching etc)" is -1 to -2. So they could expect that most judges would give -1 or -2 for that element, a harsh judge might give -3, a generous or inattentive judge might give 0. Thus the commentator could analyze the jump him- or herself, estimate average of the judges' GOEs and subtract it from the base value, and say "That should score 7 to 7.5." I bet that those estimates would be tend to be pretty accurate, even when judges disagree by 3 points between the highest and lowest GOE awarded.

    For many elements, though, the commentator can't make a good guess until they know whether the tech panel calls a jump as underrotated or downgraded, or which level they call for a non-jump element (which affects the base value). So the commentators would also need to be trained to anticipate exactly how the tech panel is likely to call each element as well as to estimate the judges' GOEs.

    Would we want commentator to do that for every element while the program is in progress? Or would we rather listen to the music?

    After the program we could get the exact scores for the elements, so commentators could look at the actual calls and the actual GOEs and tell us why each element scored as it did, without having to rely on commentators' estimates. So

    But there are so many elements in a figure skating program (not to mention the PCS), that it would take at least 4 minutes to explain all the marks in a 4-minute program. We generally don't want that level of detail in figure skating commentary, and therefore skating commentators haven't trained themselves to break down the scores that far, let alone to bother estimating each piece of the score for the whole program and then adding up all the pieces in their heads. It's quicker just to wait for the real scores and to report notable elements on which skaters gained or lost significant points.

    But if figure skating competitions, like diving competitions, consisted of one element at a time followed by a single score for that element, I have no doubt that skating commentators could learn to estimate final scores for individual elements with comparable accuracy to diving commentators -- even when judges disagree on how much to penalize errors or reward positive qualities.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    I think the main aims for step sequences are

    1) Demonstrating a variety of technical skating skills that are the fundamental of what makes figure skating figure skating, including more difficult turns and steps and the easy-to-medium ones in the difficult direction, that skaters wouldn't bother to show or develop mastery of unless they're required or explicitly rewarded

    2) Demonstrating good technical quality (speed, security, depth of edge) in the execution of those skills

    3) Demonstrating technical command of the chosen steps and turns by executing them in time to the music

    4) Expressing the emotional quality of the music, highlighting subtle musical nuances, telling a story, or otherwise communicating with the audience on an artistic level
    I think this is the difference between the aims that are seen by somebody involved in figure skating and somebody who’s not. You want to see the skills (both sporting and artistic) and achievements you’ve used to recognize. I want to see a dance instead of just moves that make no sense for my eye. I’d say both points of view are important for healthy development of figure skating. We want professional achievement and we also want general public watching, don’t we?
    There are many interesting things about your 1,2,3,4 and the notes you made. I’d like to take it to the Technology Thread and post the answer there somehow. This is where it would better fit in.

    However, the following part has been rather about the improvement in general and I that’s why I’ll answer here and now:

    1), 2), and 3) are about what makes skating a sport. In theory they could each be measured by sensors and computers, with complex programming for each of those three aspects, triply complex if you try to include all three. I don't expect it to become practical any time soon, but if you have the engineering and programming skills to volunteer to build a prototype, and can learn what the sport wants to measure so you can design for that purpose, please do.
    Well, I’m neither programmer nor an engineer; which is no big loss because I’m sure that all necessary compound parts of a prototype boot already exist somewhere in the drawers of high-tech companies. That’s not a problem. The problem is, if I or anybody else would build such a prototype on his/her own and go to a high-tech company or to look for an investor elsewhere, this project would go straight into a drawer to remain there in oblivion.
    On the contrary, if the concept of such a “techno skate” or something similar would trend for some reason then big guys won’t need me to call up their engineering forces to deliver results in a matter of months.

    Hence, if I or anybody would like to make a difference then there’s only one thing to do: to talk about it and see if anything about it shows a potential to trend.


    This might be interesting as a novelty event, but it has nothing to do with either demonstrating technical skating skill or with connecting emotionally with audiences.
    Well, figure skating needs the novelty factor, doesn’t it?

    In fact, this imaginary event format wasn’t the most extreme I could make up. It was still judged by humans who’d be supposed to take care about the skating skills and difficulty part, in a different way than usually though. What about the last ingredient, have you seen a person connecting emotionally with the audience while explaining the rules of safe driving? I have. Sometimes people simply have that entertainer gene. Accordingly, the answer is: for this, I’d invite only those skaters who’re born entertainers. I wouldn’t need lots of them after all. It would be just a show whose hidden aim would be to develop technologies for more serious purposes.

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