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Thread: Response From Debbi Wilkes on New Judging System

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    ~ Figure Skating Is My Passion ~ Ladskater's Avatar
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    Response From Debbi Wilkes on New Judging System

    I recently emailed Debbi Wilkes about the new judging system. Here is her response for anyone interested:

    Hi ...

    You're right ... the new system is nothing the same. Before you really study the fine points, try to throw out everything you know about judging from the past. I think with time, you'll come to love it. Like I've often said, good skating is good skating regardless of the judging system... and now the skaters are definitely in charge. They're rewarded for everything technically ... even poorly skated attempts.

    And I imagine once you get your head around the program components and what they mean, you'll love that too.

    Good luck!


    Also here is an artcile Debbi wrote about the new system:

    http://www.tsn.ca/columnists/debbi_wilkes.asp

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    In my heart, I'm actually Canadian....
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    Thanks for the post -- this was the clearest explanation of the various aspects of CoP I've read or heard so far, having not been willing to wade through the 50-page official ISU explanation and having had the first competition using CoP, last year's Skate America, being pre-empted in this area last season.

    However, I would have to disagree with Ms. Wilke's assessment of how placing low in the short program doesn't matter anymore. Sometimes it doesn't, sometimes it does, which is kind of maddening.

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    ~ Figure Skating Is My Passion ~ Ladskater's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonnyCoop
    Thanks for the post -- this was the clearest explanation of the various aspects of CoP I've read or heard so far, having not been willing to wade through the 50-page official ISU explanation and having had the first competition using CoP, last year's Skate America, being pre-empted in this area last season.

    However, I would have to disagree with Ms. Wilke's assessment of how placing low in the short program doesn't matter anymore. Sometimes it doesn't, sometimes it does, which is kind of maddening.
    I think the jury is still out on the short program. It always mattered in the past; however, in defense of Debbi - Emanuel Sandhu placed 7th in the short at Skate Canada this past week and wound up with the gold medal finish. So, maybe Debbi is not far wrong on her explanation. This was a great example of how the new judging system can work in favour of a skater instead of against him/her.
    Last edited by Ladskater; 11-01-2004 at 03:14 AM.

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    LAD - I don't think the problems of the CoP are paramount in the minds of the fans. Ms Wilkes is correct that they will be ironed out.

    If you could go back to Ms Wilkes and ask her how she feels about Ms Bianchetti's new book would be interesting.

    What I see as the major problem with the CoP is that the ISU will not permit the names of the judges to be seen. The Olympic Committe laid down the law to the ISU about scandals. In response, the ISU has devised a system that does not allow for the judges names and nationalities to be shown with their scores. If this was in existence in SLC, Sale and Pelletier would never have received a gold medal despite accusations against Mme Legougne. It was exposure that led to the scandal. The ISU has now prevented any such exposure to happen again. The ISU wants one to believe that any accusations of cheating will be dealt with after the season is over and after we all sucked up the decisions as final. So cheating may continue. And according to Ms Bianchetti it will.

    IMO, it is not at all rosy as it appears.

    Joe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ladskater
    I think the jury is still out on the short program. It always mattered in the past; however, in defense of Debbi - Emanuel Sandhu placed 7th in the short at Skate Canada this past week and wound up with the gold medal finish. So, maybe Debbi is not far wrong on her explanation. This was a great example of how the new judging system can work in favour of a skater instead of against him/her.
    I know. And Liashenko did the same at Cup of China last year. However, on the flip side is Susanna Poykio. 8th in the short at Skate America, wins the free, but only finishes 5th (under the old system that would have been the bronze), then the next week she's 6th in the short at Skate Canada but only 3rd in the long, but that's good enough for the bronze (Ironically, under the old system, that would have been 4th.) And again I will cite Jennifer Robinson from Cup of China last year; at the same competition where a 7th place SP and a 1st place LP won a gold for Liashenko, Jennifer had a 10th place SP and 3rd place LP to only move up to 9th. So it would appear that in some cases, the SP does make a difference, so to say that under CoP it no longer does, would not be entirely correct.

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    The SP is still important. One reason Sandhu was abe to move up was that the ohter competitors had so many mistakes, and I believe he had the only quad of the top group. If he's in 7th after the short at Worlds, you can bet he won't have a hope of winning. There will more talent and quads present. I guess it depends just how badly you do, and what type of competitors you are facing.

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    It's the points you get in the SP verses the placement. You can be 7th or last but if there's very little separating the placements, you have a shot. If you are behind by a huge point spread, you're going to need crappy skates from your opponents and a stellar skate to medal.

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    Joesitz, you are right that the cheating and all that other unsavory behavior will continue, and although the ISU will keep the identities of judges secret, there will be more scandals and those scandals will only escalate until the real issues are dealt with head on. I do not see that happening unless there is extreme financial pressure placed on the ISU or even the IOC. John Hancock Insurance took on the USOC and succeeded, and John Hancock Insurance is a major sponsor of the IOC and the ISU. Think on that one...funny how when money is involved a lot of nonsense gets straightened out in no time flat!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Antilles
    The SP is still important. One reason Sandhu was abe to move up was that the ohter competitors had so many mistakes, and I believe he had the only quad of the top group. If he's in 7th after the short at Worlds, you can bet he won't have a hope of winning. There will more talent and quads present. I guess it depends just how badly you do, and what type of competitors you are facing.
    Just like the 6.0 system. Check out the Ladies Oly Champ at SLC, the 3 top favorites to win skated their LPs somewhat poorly, so 4th place SP skater became numero uno.

    If you're down in the SP so far, you have to rely on bad performances by everyone above you in either system. Even the old 6.0 rule of thumb, 'if one is in the top three after SP, one can still win' but none below the top three. hmmm. Advice to skaters. Do your best at both SP and LP and QR if used.

    Joe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Emilieanne
    Joesitz, you are right that the cheating and all that other unsavory behavior will continue, and although the ISU will keep the identities of judges secret, there will be more scandals and those scandals will only escalate until the real issues are dealt with head on. I do not see that happening unless there is extreme financial pressure placed on the ISU or even the IOC. John Hancock Insurance took on the USOC and succeeded, and John Hancock Insurance is a major sponsor of the IOC and the ISU. Think on that one...funny how when money is involved a lot of nonsense gets straightened out in no time flat!
    Emilieanne -Yup there is going to be cheating. I'm not so sure about scandals but they certainly are a possibility if such skulldugery is unearthed. One more big scandal, I see the sport going downhill still further.

    I don't see the USOC tolerating any cheating by the US athletes. However, the Inti' Oly Committee is another question. Somehow, though, I feel they want honest sports. They took a stand on the SLC Figure Skating Pairs and warned the ISU and Speedy to eliminate scandals. So Speedy worked hard to hide any possible scandal that might show up. Let's see what happens in Moscow. That will be the big International competition of the season. (The GP is not in that league.)

    Joe

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    It's a real shame here that people focus so much on judging and not so much on figure skating and the skaters. It's funny, I skated for many years and yes, that was under the old 6.0 system with the figures discipline. Sure, I knew judges were not infallible; nor are they now, but I enjoyed the sport of figure skating and took things in my stride - pass or fail on a test. I knew what I had to work on to improve. The competitive side of skating is not an easy road for any skater to pursue. They know all the expectations put upon them from the beginning or they soon learn. They also know the judges are there to do a job.

    It's too bad that things had to esculate to such a height at Salt Lake City. And of course, there is the Harding/Kerrigan scandal. It seems as though people are now expecting scandals in figure skating. I won't be running out anytime to soon to pick up a copy of Ms Bianchetti's book. I doubt Debbi Wilkes would have the time to concern herself with it either. Believe it or not, some judges have never figure skated in their life! They only know one side of the rink - their side. So, reading about judging scandals and the bureaucracy that goes on at the Olympics is not going to change my view of figure skating. I love it.

    I am sure Debbi Wilkes is aware of the importance of the short program. Her point though is that under the new judging system, a skater may make some movement.

    Just think, when skaters did school figures. If they did not do well at figures that was pretty well it for them - even if they did a stellar free skate. Talk about trying to figure that one out. I think it was even more heartbreaking for the skaters then because there were skaters who were excellent at figures, but poor free skaters and vice-versa.

    I don't really know enough about the new judging system to make any comment on it's shortcomings. Only time will tell how the sport is affected. I am from the "old school" of figure skating and used to the old judging system - so continue think in those terms. I still know what I like as far as skating goes.

    I believe one of the reasons for the anonymity of the judges is to avoid scandals. One hopes cheating will occur less or even not at all, but no system is infallible.

    I am not going to worry about the new judging system. I am just going to enjoy skating as I always have and draw my own conclusions. Even if a skater comes 15th and puts on a great performance it's good in my books.

    Figure skaters work extremely hard and at the end of the day, it's the joy they exude on the ice that makes each performance special. They would all love to bring home medals, but know skating their best is their reward - and ours to enjoy.

    .
    Last edited by Ladskater; 11-01-2004 at 11:57 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Antilles
    The SP is still important. One reason Sandhu was abe to move up was that the ohter competitors had so many mistakes, and I believe he had the only quad of the top group. If he's in 7th after the short at Worlds, you can bet he won't have a hope of winning. There will more talent and quads present. I guess it depends just how badly you do, and what type of competitors you are facing.

    That is why Emanuel went for the quad. He knows the competition at the Worlds and Olympics will be fierce. However, the quality of the other skaters artistic performances were wonderful despite their mistakes on the jumps. I don't think any of the skaters have anything to be ashamed of. They all did their best and skated some lovely programs. In fact, Jeff Buttle was in first place after the short. Sandhu upped the ante by adding the quad. It worked for him.
    Last edited by Ladskater; 11-01-2004 at 11:40 PM.

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