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Thread: What held back Asada's PCS?

  1. #16
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    For me, I don't think her LP music was the best showcase for her talents. The music is big and intense and she isn't an intense skater. I prefer seeing her skate to balletic music in the LP because her skating is light and airy and is a better match for that, rather than heavy symphonic pieces.

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by CanadianSkaterGuy View Post
    Well, on the subject of the thread, Mao got 72.76 PCS which is a personal best. So I don't see how this is her being held back in a FS where she URed multiple jumps. But as mentioned, she doesn't carry the speed of Kostner or the seamlessness of Kim. I agree that she's been dubbed a "technical skater" more than a complete skater, although she's worked very hard to improve her artistry. Unfortunately, she's only really made those huge artistic strides in the past few seasons which is why Kim has always managed to stay ahead of her artistically and also Kostner when she skates half decently.
    Not really. She improved her expression and projection, but she was always an artist throughout her career. Watch any of her SPs from 2006-07 to 2008-09 which are some of the best SPs of the Vancouver quad.

  3. #18
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    Relative perception.

    See this is the problem I have with PCS since the very beginning and really think this part of the COP need to be fixed. The numbers themselves are meaningless UNLESS is relative to other competitors during the season, and relative how they did they did on the day, at previous competitions, but it is rarely ever applied correctly due to limited time factor that increases human error. There are too much wiggle room for manipulation. Whenever there are wiggle room, you bet there are certain judges will take maximum advantage of anonymity.

    The general impression I had seeing Mao live is she looks great on camera, great at close ups as she hold her positions well with excellent ballet posture, but skated smaller with the likes of Kostner and Kim in direct comparison. I won't go into the criticism i have of her program construct in recent years, where for me the performance is only in the step sequence, the rest about setting jumps up, so of course that affect her PCS. I have always thought Kostner's speed is greatly exaggerated since it is one thing to be capable of great speed during step sequences but if she deliberately slowed down for the rest of the program like in recent years with clever choice of music and simplified movement, what is the point of having great speed? Are points suppose to be rewarded based on what is performed or how the skaters are perceived? It is a particular problem with Patrick and Hanyu's marks in recent years as well. It makes them beyond reach of most upcoming skaters even if they skated perfect. By the way, the cross over argument is misleading, because it comes down to style and the mechanics of speed. There's a reason Yuna's difficult combos have the highest and furthest trajectory and flow when it is done properly. Her 96% success rate (including missed/aborted attempts 88%) up to 2013 season in delivering difficult 3/3s more than support the good practice and in theory, and that is why many young skaters with true lutz follow that approach (Gracie, SoYoun, Nathalie, Anna to name a few etc)

    Actually Mao shouldn't have to do anything and she should see her PCS rise up automatically if she continue. Especially Kostner and Kim are no longer in the race. Kostner's PCS has improved during Kim's absence and Mao's technique adjusting slump, and it never came down largely because Kim did not take part during the GP series for 2 years so the judges never had the proper recalibration process. I'd even argue Kostner is needed in Europe as a benchmark for the Russian babies to boost their PCS (if what happened at Sochi is to believed).

    At recent WC FS in Japan, it is completely outrageous Carolina is still awarded 10s for composition/choreography and 9.75 for interpretation consider what she brought that day.

    I personally think if PCS is to applied accurately, the judges can continue to do what they are doing, but there must be a separate factoring process according to the success/failure rate of program and possibly the entire competition. There're bell curve in some exams, why not in figure skating competitions too? The best performed program deserve better awards regardless of reputation.

    May be an algorithm can be devised to take in consideration of things like falls, UR, edge calls, difficulty, ice coverage, complexity etc.
    For example - a simplified algorithm can be something like if the skater is only able to fulfill 80% of their program successfully (Something like BV+ 1GOE average.) Then what ever PCS they get from the judges should by factored by 0.8 and that should be their factored PCS. If the skater were able to exceed the average grade execution with 100% of their BV + average of +2 GOEs, then the PCS can get factored by something like 1.02 for example.

    This simple algorithm only illustrate the rough 'principle' behind the idea. I am not a mathematician but there should be an ideal algorithm to take in account of difficulty and higher levels as well. It should encourage skating clean and greater presentation and ideally with difficulty (even if it may not result in positive GOEs). Overall the idea is to encourage more audience friendly programs and better presentation due to the bell curve.

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    I like your idea, os168 !!

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by inskate View Post
    honestly, i don't know. In reply to the post above, her jump preparations are shorter than those of many other girls (caro stalks her 3lz through the entire rink and it doesn't hurt her pcs). Her speed and ice coverage improved greatly this year - and, what's important, she doesn't need crossovers to generate speed. If you watch her programs in comparison to those of the other ladies, she has very few crossovers in her programs, and is perhaps the only one who can noticeably accelerate while doing very complex footwork (especially visible in her sp step sequence). As far as the cop pcs requirements go, her programs are very well constructed. Quoth evan: "mao [asada] looks insane. She's so good -- strength and jumps, of course, but also the complexity of her programs. I noticed in particular she is never on two feet; she is always on one foot, which is what judges look for in the components. They look for so much: Transitions, edges, speed, multi-directional movement; she has all of that stuff."

    however, i suspect that the judges might not actualy care about the pcs requirements all that much. It's difficult to goe-judge all the elements and, at the same time, pay attention to the artistic side of the program. From the judges' perspective, a simpler program with a lot of crossovers, great speed and occasional flirty/sexy pauses might make a greater impact. For example, when you look at the photos, mao is very expressive, but it's quite difficult to see in the actual programs (when you look from the judges' seats) because she just keeps moving and in some of the nice moments she is facing towards the audience, not the judges.

    And then there's pure politics... Let's be honest, if the judges on the panel have their own horse in the race, they ain't gonna give excellent scores to its direct competitor.
    this

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkun View Post
    First, I do think that the beginning of Mao's free skates are a bit bland.. She seems to take a lot of time to do her triple axel(s), her combo. Her gentler stroking doesn't help her I think. I also think that Mao using less speed in her program is because she is uncomfortable with it.

    Second, I think Mao has been plagued with the title of being the "technical skater", as was with Midori Ito, when she is in fact, artistic. All the focus on her triple axel by the community lowers her PCS I think. Because God forbid someone be great technically and artistically..
    Actually No Mao is not know as a technical skater only. Often commentators recognize her musicality and aristry. 2013 Worlds British commentaros said "best step sequence of the competition" If you are not an arsist cant perform Nocturne the way Mao does. If dont believe me give that program to a true technical skater who has a lot of work to do like Gracie Gold and see the results.

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by drivingmissdaisy View Post
    For me, I don't think her LP music was the best showcase for her talents. The music is big and intense and she isn't an intense skater. I prefer seeing her skate to balletic music in the LP because her skating is light and airy and is a better match for that, rather than heavy symphonic pieces.
    Some people may not like the her intense programs, but after watching that step sequence at the Olympics: Mine Opinion Mao can perform almost anything. I think long time Mao fans just prefer her doing lyrical pieces and maybe the judges do to.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Minze2001 View Post
    Actually No Mao is not know as a technical skater only. Often commentators recognize her musicality and aristry. 2013 Worlds British commentaros said "best step sequence of the competition" If you are not an arsist cant perform Nocturne the way Mao does. If dont believe me give that program to a true technical skater who has a lot of work to do like Gracie Gold and see the results.
    Agreed. Mao has one of the most beautiful styles of any skater of the last eight years. I wouldn't love her so much if she were just a technical skater. And I'm sure it's not just me. Her positions, flow, and lightness across the ice are all beautiful and bring out the music. She uses both her face and body expressively. Carolina is a lovely skater, of course, but she's not the only artist out there.

  9. #24
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    Honestly, I think Mao does need to master her control over edges just that little bit more and learn to skate using more secure and deeper edges just that little bit more. She has made great strides already, but I think it should go up just one more notch, and as long as she remains injury-free the next few years, I think she can totally get there. We all know she has the perseverence and patience and talent and diligence to do it. I think that is where Yuna and Caro are superior to her. However, there are, in fact, aspects of Mao's skating where she is already superior to both Yuna and Caro, too. And her PCS this season was a bit too low, really. It should already have been a bit higher at Worlds, and of course, Olympics (free skate) score was a travesty.

    Regarding artistry, well, Mao certainly can vary her speed very well and can even JUMP TO THE MUSIC, which is absolutely NOT Caro's strength. She only started landing jumps when Lori started making programs where she could ignore the music.

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarneAsada View Post
    Not really. She improved her expression and projection, but she was always an artist throughout her career. Watch any of her SPs from 2006-07 to 2008-09 which are some of the best SPs of the Vancouver quad.
    I agree. I really don't understand all these artistic and technical insults of Mao's performances, especially when she just won her third World title, broke the SP world record, won both the SP and LP, and scored only two points lower in overall score than Kim did last year at Worlds, even with what many consider to be erroneous tech calls and no Asian judges on the tech or SP and LP scoring panel. What more does she have to do to prove herself?

    In my opinion, the scoring system itself is geared to a more consistently extroverted orientation of artistic expression with lavish smiles characteristic of the West, as opposed to Asada’s more capricious expression ranging from subtle vulnerability to fiery resolve. I believe this Eastern dualism has perplexed judges throughout her career, even as it has enthralled her fans. I believe the subtlety, fluidity and delicacy with which she moves her hands and body like an undulating wave from jump to jump are not as obviously artistic, and hence her choreography and interpretation scores are lower than Kim’s and often Kostner’s. The hand gestures in particular remind me of the refined complexity of a Japanese tea ceremony. Kim's style is different from Mao's, not better or worst, but has generally been more conducive to the judging system. As one poster said, when I watch Kim skate I think of America, but when I watch Asada skate, I think of Japan. I believe this is why she is such a phenomenal sensation in her home country even when she doesn’t skate well because she fully embodies the Japanese aesthetic tradition. I also contend that she has had this highly artistic and innate, balletic nature to her skating from the very beginning, like in Czardas at Worlds in 2007, since she began ballet at 3 or 4 years old. Her artistic expression is such a natural extension of her every movement that it can almost go unnoticed, and I believe that no other skater in history has had such a consummately erect posture even when they are not skating, as is shown in her interviews.

    The spell Mao casts is often more of a slow trance that rewards the viewer who is willing to take the time to enter and understand her own personal world as in the Sochi LP, instead of actively soliciting the audience. However, her I Got Rythmn SP routine from 2012-2013 shows how wonderful she is at being child-like and carefree. Her more outward expressivity in that program shows her true versatility and I believe justifies her receiving higher PCS score.

    But since the composition of the judging panels and the rewards for artistic merit are slanted more to the Western style (there were NO judges from Asia on the World's SP or LP panel), I feel this puts her PCS score at a disadvantage because it is a highly subjective assessment that is more liable to cultural prejudice, political pressures or even outright rigging. I don’t believe that either the more demonstrative or the more dualist style are objectively better, merely different. Furthermore, her lack of a Western coach to help lobby for her higher scores could possibly lower her scores, as evidenced by her being quite harshly scored by a North American and European tech panel in her home country. A few of the calls received widespread criticism on this forum and contradicted the calls of commentators.

    Though Kim is slightly faster than Mao, thus deserving of a slightly higher SS score, I did notice that Mao's PCS score increased dramatically in the Long Program at Worlds from an average of 69.7 during the Grand Prix season to 72.7 in her Worlds LP. It is interesting to note though that Asada’s PCS score in the Worlds LP was actually higher than Kim’s in her world record LP in Vancouver!!!! Consistent with this, I noticed that during her World’s LP skate, Asada’s speed was faster, especially in the spins, than it was at Sochi, and in the middle section I noticed that she was able to both spin faster and stop at the exact instant when the music did.

    Nobody has yet mentioned that Kostner’s PCS scores were consistently lower than Mao’s throughout the 2013 Grand Prix season. Besides, the ultra high PCS scores of Kim and Kostner (74+) in Sochi and at Worlds were an aberration that coincided with the scoring controversy and corruption, while Asada’s remained consistent in Sochi at a criminally low 69.6, totally unjustified for such a magnificent performance. Before that Kim was near Asada's present level in the Worlds LP and Kostner was lower. Though her results at Worlds show that she is catching up fast.

    Some posters have also mentioned that PCS is based on consistency of performance, reputation, and placement in the skating order, as opposed to the actual performance itself, which could also help to explain the rise, as she has had the three best skating scores of her career in succession. The strength of her recent performances and her unprecedented degree of crowd support (she received the most tweets of any Olympic athlete) will likely keep her PCS high or even raise it more, if she can remain consistent. So it should be at least 72 or 73 for the LP, if she continues, which is just as high as Kim's before the Sochi fiasco. Her current number one ISU ranking will also place her atop the PCS scoring heap, especially if Carolina Kostner retires or a more equitable judging panel is put in place. The difference in the LP PCS is already minuscule. How ironic that she is thinking of retirement just as everything is falling into place for her future success with her overall score at Worlds 2014 almost tied with Kim’s for 2013.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by tokugawaice View Post
    What could Mao Asada have done better to earn higher PCS?
    Nothing. In Sochi Yulia received higher PCS on a flawed performance when Mao was perfect. That should tell you what PCS is all about.

  12. #27
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    Mao is artistically impressive and technically stunning. I have been rooted Mao since her junior year, she is never lack of artistry. She is naturally tuned to feel the ice. The evidences are in every programs she skated, even in her darkest time.

    The low PCS in Sochi is wrong, plain and simple. My best guess is:

    1) Politiking and wrong doing by judges! - I wanted to smash those faces with a big fat rotten cake when I saw her Sochi LP score.
    2) Skating order.
    3) Her reputation of being inconsistent.

  13. #28
    Tripping on the Podium jcsamex's Avatar
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    I'm no expert but If I have to compare Asada's skating skills to those of Kostner's and Kim's, I'd have to say the first one seems to be a little fragile when getting into or out of jumps and going across the rink. Her crossovers seem a little weaker to me whereas Kostner has deep, clean and secure edges, acquiring more speed with fewer strokes in comparison.

    I've always thought Kim's PCS were too generous (especially those regarding skating skills). In my book, she is better than Asada on that field but not better than Kostner.

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by gotoschool View Post
    ..Kostner’s PCS scores were consistently lower than Mao’s throughout the 2013 Grand Prix season...

    Though Kim is definitely slightly faster than Mao hence deserving a slightly higher SS score, I did notice that Mao's PCS score increased dramatically in the Long Program at Worlds from an average of 69.7 during the Grand Prix season to 72.7 in her Worlds LP. It is interesting to note though that Asada’s PCS score in the Worlds LP was actually higher than Kim’s in her world record LP in Vancouver!!!!
    Another thing I don't like about the PCS. It is easy to ensure PCS boosting by ensuring you have as much home advantage/friendly competitions as much possible, and that is something only a powerful federation only like Japan, US, Russia, Canada can afford to provide for their skaters. It is something all skaters want, but only a few can get. Everyone else, you better be doing something exceptionally special or the judges will use it as an excuse not to award you.

    The system is inherently flawed to allow artificial momentum building at home events. In which case, Kostner can do many b events in Europe to boost her PCS, Mao and Hanyu in Japan, Patrick in N. America etc. In the 2013-14 Olympics season campaign, out of all ladies, Mao really has the best advantage to have all friendly competitions geared to boost her PCS when she had Japan Open, NHK, GPF and of course the world championship all in Japan (of course she is all 1st there) so of course she has the highest PCS ever at the end of it all, plus a new WR with the new 3A point change with its own GOE scale value and be allowed as a single jump not a combo, plus higher PCS in FS than Yuna at Vancouver. The judges has been kind to her here so I failed to see the problem.

    Perhaps the thread complaint was not that it was low but why did it not beat Kostner. I'd say if is marked correctly, it should! Problem is there are also truth in how an European biased panel can change things, not just with Kostner's mark but arguably was to ensure Yulia's mark don't drop, after all she is the new European Champion and ISU don't want to shoot themselves in the foot with what went on at Sochi.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by os168 View Post
    The system is inherently flawed to allow artificial momentum building at home events. In which case, Kostner can do many b events in Europe to boost her PCS, Mao and Hanyu in Japan, Patrick in N. America etc. In the 2013-14 Olympics season campaign, out of all ladies, Mao really has the best advantage to have all friendly competitions geared to boost her PCS when she had Japan Open, NHK, GPF and of course the world championship all in Japan (of course she is all 1st there) so of course she has the highest PCS ever at the end of it all, plus a new WR with the new 3A point change with its own GOE scale value and be allowed as a single jump not a combo, plus higher PCS in FS than Yuna at Vancouver. The judges has been kind to her here so I failed to see the problem.
    Lol? Asada actually had to skate well to win each event. As you might recall, she placed 3rd at her own Nationals. She did not have the highest PCS ever at Worlds in Saitama. That award goes to Yuna Kim in Sochi (who incidentally had higher PCS than TES in her LP, which would be a great crime to you if committed by anyone else I'm sure ). The judges being "kind" to Asada is hardly reality when she did a record-breaking (in a real way, not a judged way that hands out so-called world records to 6-triple free skates or claims a new one every time the same SP is skated cleanly) free skate in Sochi yet scored below both Kim and Sotnikova. Here at Worlds, every commentator thought her 3A in the FS deserved credit. Several posters on this board disagreed with the call on that and her 3-3. I would hardly call a technical panel that went out of its way to reduce the Japanese skaters' TES by 10 or 20 points "kind" or "home-cooked." Finally, we have discussed the 3A point change "issue" several times in the past. You conveniently neglect to mention that the 3A used to have the same GOE rewards as a 2A yet had much stiffer GOE punishments (-1.4, -2.8, -4.2) (a huge flaw of the Vancouver CoP that should have been corrected whether Mao Asada existed or not); now it has a greater +GOE reward and stiffer -GOE penalty, which is as it should be. The conclusion of one poster in a previous discussion (not me, and not a particularly devoted Mao fan either) was that it should be worth 10 points, so in the end a 3A is still undervalued.

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