Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: 1976 Nationals Judging Dispute

  1. #1
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    819

    1976 Nationals Judging Dispute

    I got a hold of some old skating tapes and one of them was the 1976 US Nationals. Terry Kubicka skated and got mostly 5.8-5.9 for presentation except for one judge who gave him a 5.5 for the second mark. The crowd didn't like it and let the judges know it.

    The next part shocked me. Ben Wright, the President of the USFSA at the time went over to question the judge. There was a huge discussion at the judges table over the 5.5 mark in the middle of the competition! That judge (Matthew Zats?) had to justify his marks right then and there. Of course he did, and the mark stayed as it was.

    I must admit that I loved it. It felt more like a sport than ever before. Maybe because I'm used to seeing basketball, tennis or baseball where the players can question the official of the game.

    How did we go from that to secret judging? I can't help but think that we have taken several steps backwards.

    Anyone who was watching skating at the time, please feel free to jump in. Was questioning a judge a rare occurance? I would imagine that changing a mark would have been even more rare.

    What are your thoughts?

  2. #2
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    uk
    Posts
    286
    I have that tape mpal2. I thought it was out of the ordinary, but to me it almost looked as though Ben Wright was doing something to be seen to do something lol. Terry got great marks from everyone else so I don't think the one mark would have changed anything - infact I'd be inclined to agree with it. Terry was a great technical skater capable of many triple jumps and he was consistent. But he was no artist so I would have no argument with the 5.5.

    I did see this once in a pro competition in the early '80's however. Robin beat Toller with perfect 10's even though he splatted on a double axel. The referee took it upon himself to question those judges and ask them to justify the marks. His answer to Dick Button in a post event interview was that the judges boxed themselves in by giving Toller 9.9's so they had no choice to give a ten. Cousins even with the fall was apparently better than Toller who did not fall.

    Funnily enough it happens in Gymnastics quite a lot - or did. A team would protest the score of a certain gymnast and the referee would then confer with the judges or particular judge. Sometimes it was changed, sometimes they refused.

    Had the 5.5 been for tech it would have been up for scrutiny, but presentation was and remains purely subjective so I'm not sure what Ben Wright could have done and IIRC the mark stood. As far as I understood it - if marks were spread over more than a whole point eg: tech ranging from 4.8 to 5.9 then the referee could question it. As far as 76 Nationals go, I really don't see what the problem was.

  3. #3
    SkateFan4Life
    Guest
    I do not remember the men's competition from the 1976 US Nationals, but I do remember the ladie's competition, and there was quite a lot of talk about the final results. Dorothy Hamill, the two-time US champion and two-time World silver medalist, skated a "comfortable" long program and left out several of her planned double jumps. Her coach, Carlo Fassi, stood at rinkside and yelled,
    "Where's the flip? Where's the lutz"? Dorothy was not injured - she was just playing it very safe, and the judges awarded her with scores that assured her of her third US title.

    Fifteen-year-old Linda Fratianne, on the other hand, skated a firecracker of a long program that included two triples - a toe and salchow - and she won the silver medal. A number in the audience and the media felt that Fratianne had outskated Hamill - who never skated triples - and should have won the title.

  4. #4
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    uk
    Posts
    286
    I'll have to check my tape regarding Hamill's jump content but you must take into account Dorothy's figures and SP which was excellent. Yes Linda skated up a storm but Dorothy was far more flowing with much better edge quality and of course her spins were excellent. By her own admission Dorothy skated sub par in that competition and had a big fallout with Fassi and was actually coachless for a while before Innsbruck. Fassi went off to coach Curry but he and Hamill made up along the way at some point I guess.

  5. #5
    SkateFan4Life
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by floskate
    I'll have to check my tape regarding Hamill's jump content but you must take into account Dorothy's figures and SP which was excellent. Yes Linda skated up a storm but Dorothy was far more flowing with much better edge quality and of course her spins were excellent. By her own admission Dorothy skated sub par in that competition and had a big fallout with Fassi and was actually coachless for a while before Innsbruck. Fassi went off to coach Curry but he and Hamill made up along the way at some point I guess.
    By her own admission, Dorothy could have "mailed in" her long program at the 1976 US Nationals. What was her excuse for watering down the content of her program? OK, she probably had a lock on the title, but that's not an excuse to play it safe and skate an "exhibition" program at Nationals. IMHO, of course,
    And, yes, I remember that Hamill and Fassi had a big falling out after Nationals, and they parted ways for several weeks between Nationals and the Olympics.
    Dorothy and her mother moved out of their rented apartment in Colorado Springs and returned to Connecticut just prior to the Olympics. Hamill was undertrained and not in the best competitive mental shape just prior to the Olympics. Thankfully, she put it all together in Innsbruck and gave the world a memorable, beautiful long program - with all the jumps.

  6. #6
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    uk
    Posts
    286
    I do remember her saying that she and Carlo weren't getting on well at all. Maybe that was part of the problem. Also Fratianne was in 4th or 5th entering free so she could not conceivably have won unless Dorothy did a human zamboni impression. Which she didn't do. I must check that tape.

  7. #7
    Keeper of Michelle's Nose berthes ghost's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    953
    What goes around comes around I quess, as Linda lost the LP at 80s nats just before the Olys to Lisa-Maria Allen, but took the title anyway.

  8. #8
    SkateFan4Life
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by berthes ghost
    What goes around comes around I quess, as Linda lost the LP at 80s nats just before the Olys to Lisa-Maria Allen, but took the title anyway.
    I don't remember that, but I'll take your word for it, as you are an astute figure skating fan. Lisa-Marie Allen was a beautiful, leggy skater, and it was a shame that she had to skate in the shadow of Linda Fratianne during the late 1970s.

  9. #9
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    uk
    Posts
    286
    Lisa also won the SP at those Nationals according to CTV commentators who mentioned this at Olympics and Worlds that year. Must be one of the few times where Linda was rescued by figures placement.

  10. #10
    SkateFan4Life
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by floskate
    Lisa also won the SP at those Nationals according to CTV commentators who mentioned this at Olympics and Worlds that year. Must be one of the few times where Linda was rescued by figures placement.
    Hmmm...Linda must have really blown the 1980 US Nationals. Most likely, the judges came to her rescue and gave her winning scores - scores which, perhaps, she did not deserve to receive. On the other hand, she was the three-time US champion and two-time World champion, and the best chance the US had for Olympic figure skating gold. So, here we go again - judging based on reputation, not on the actual performance.

Similar Threads

  1. Evergrowing list of Skating Tapes available for copying...
    By springerluv in forum 2012-13 Figure Skating archives
    Replies: 65
    Last Post: 10-28-2009, 03:53 PM
  2. COMPILATIONS: KWAN (4 so far), COHEN (2 so far), HUGHES, NIKODENOV, JANET LYNN...
    By springerluv in forum 2012-13 Figure Skating archives
    Replies: 44
    Last Post: 08-12-2007, 04:42 PM
  3. More tapes for copy and trade
    By Koshka in forum 2012-13 Figure Skating archives
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 09-12-2005, 02:58 PM
  4. Compilations on Hughes; Cohen; Nikodenov; Goebel; & Yagudin!
    By springerluv in forum 2012-13 Figure Skating archives
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 03-04-2005, 11:59 AM
  5. Create your Own Skating DVDs - All Skaters
    By TOLY aka QUADLUTZ in forum 2003-04 Figure Skating archives
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 07-18-2004, 04:08 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •