My understanding is that the main reason for having the qualifying round count was to make it an official part of the competition, to give the skaters who don't make the final a ranking and official recognition that they competed at Worlds and not just in some preliminary that doesn't count.Originally Posted by berthes ghost
Using the qual round results to seed the SP helps TV because they don't have to tape or show the earlier groups and would better be able to show the final group or groups live (not that ABC/ESPN ever did, but Eurosport often does, and other countries' national stations might when the time zones work out favorably).Well, if TV is showing less and less interest in skating, why cater to them? And if the only reason to have a QR is to save judges fatique in the SP (a concept I'm stiil not buying) than who cares if the seeded skaters are taking it seriously or not?
That function is not inextricably tied to having the qual rounds count, even though it was voted in at the same time (started in 1999). Even if the qual placements or scores don't count toward the overall placement, the results could still be used to seed the short.
The issue of fatigue has to do with the size of the field. In 1992 there were 40 ladies and 35 men at Worlds, and the cut was made after the (randomly seeded) short program. That was with a "unified team" from the recently fragmented Soviet Union.
Beginning in 1993 there were all of a sudden a bunch of separate former Soviet countries each sending skaters to Worlds, and there has also been growth in the number of new skating countries from Asia and elsewhere joining the ISU and sending skaters. Judging 35-40 skaters in random order had already proved to be a strain on the judges, and the problem was only going to get worse as the fields continued to grow. That's why qualifying rounds were instituted in the first place, beginning in 1993.
In recent years there have been as many as 47 or 48 men or ladies entered at some Worlds and Junior Worlds. That's already pushing the limits of 24-skater qual rounds. If the ISU continues to grow, soon it will be necessary to break the field into three groups instead of two.
If you want to get rid of the qual rounds completely, you either have to limit the numbers of countries who are allowed to send skaters to Worlds at all, which the smaller countries who make up the majority of the voting members would never approve, or else you need to break the short program or whatever you replace it with into two or more groups to be judged by separate panels, which would only compound the unfairness problem if the groups turn out to be of unequal strength.
If and when Code of Points scores become standardized enough that you can legitimately compare them across different competitions with different judging panels, it may be possible to use the actual scores rather than the rankings within the groups as the cutoff criterion, but not while the new system is still a work in progress.