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Thread: G&M Article on the Judging Controversy

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    G&M Article on the Judging Controversy


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    Don't the media just love the word scandal? It immediately attracts attention. All we witnessed was a close competition - like many others- with no clear winner (alright, some think Poykio was the clear winner; but I will find out Sun. at least partly). This is not the first time the judges have adjusted the components marks to place their favorite skater higher, and there are many skaters on that list. The judges are human and there will be some debatable results. FS is a subjective sport; it cannot be measured with a clock, for example. Way too many people are overreacting to the results of the Europeans. I suspect some political agendas are at work. Otherwise it would have been a normal discussion about how to make the new system better. Whoever thought this was a perfect system was in delusion from the beginning.

    The COP was never meant to fix the so called scandal in SLC. Speedy has been wanting to revamp the age old 6.0 system to make it look like other sports, because for casual fans the 6.0 system was too confusing. FS did not get recognition as a sport. The more people scream based on who their favorites are, the less likelihood of FS ever getting recognition as a sport. I don't like Speedy for his lack of knowledge of FS but he took advantage of the media exposure to bring in the system he wanted. It was considered better simply because you see the numbers/scores for different elements, something you did not in the 6.0 system. It did not mean it removed all subjectivity. The wrong assumption from the beginning was that COP was free of subjectivity.

    FS cannot be measured in absolute terms. It is a subjective sport and you cannot completely get rid of subjectivity. In fact if you only count the jumps, spins, etc. without the subjective/components part, it may not even give the overall correct result. The human brain is capable of much more than a computer, so IMO it is better to leave some room for subjectivity, while tweaking the new system.

    The mass hysteria over the Eurorpean results is mainly politically motivated and it is not likely to solve problems. In fact it is damaging to the sport.

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    The damage to the sport has already been done when C.O.P. was adopted by the ISU, packaged with anonymous judges and unprotestable scores. I don't understand all the rave about how C.O.P. will legitimize figure skating as a sport when the judges are no longer held accountable for their scores. Anonymous judging in figure skating only serves to hide those who want to be hidden because they have something to hide. Furthermore, it hides "bloc-judging" from any public scrutiny into that matter. Does anybody really believe that C.O.P. will be the end-all of "bloc-judging'? And what kind of sport, supposedly half-based on an objective point value (for TES) would enforce a rule that will not allow for ANYONE or any federation to protest the scores being given whatsoever, even if was determined right then and there that the technical specialist has erroneously made a wrong call on one of the moves?

    And I don't believe for one minute that C.O.P. will make figure skating more "understandable" to the average viewer. Would an average viewer know the difference between a level 1 and a level 3 or what warrants - or + GOES? Do most of us even know by watching on TV what is a level 1 or level 3 spin, footwork, or spiral sequence? I doubt that the average fan will go online to research what are all these level 1s and levels3 and GOES points and values. And I doubt the average viewer will be sitting in front of the TV going "he or she did 3 changes of edge during the combination skin so that is a level __ but the speed was really slow so it's really a level ___..."

    C.O.P. did not solve the problem of potential judging scandals in figure skating. It only masked the problem behind a supposedly more fair "point system" and protect corrupted judging by stripping the public's ability to finger-point.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Not only can't the calls of the technical specialists be challenged, neither can obvious keystroke errors be corrected. In the Euro ladies LP one of the judges gave Susanna Poykio a 0.50 (intending a 6.50) for performance/execution. Too bad for Sue. The position on the ISU is, well, high and low marks get thrown out anyway, so no harm done. (?)

    Vash, I have to disagree if you believe that the CoP was not ballyhooed as the cure for judging scandals after the Salt Lake City affair. The IOC was breathing down Cinquanta's neck, and the new judging system was all he had to try to put out the public realations firestorm.

    Mathman

    Edited: It was Liashenko's score that was entered wrong (judge #8), not Poykio's.
    Last edited by Mathman; 02-05-2005 at 03:00 PM.

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    re: Article

    I also must disagree, Vash01. This sport is in even worse shape now than ever.

    Chuck Foster is also speaking out. Here's an article posted today by Phil Hersh. Chuck talks about USFS, the NJS and Speedy. When he was first elected to his position, he sounded so confident about working within the system to make the sport better. Obviously, he found it impossible.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports...,3513329.story

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman
    Not only can't the calls of the technical specialists be challenged, neither can obvious keystroke errors be corrected. In the Euro ladies LP one of the judges gave Susanna Poykio a 0.50 (intending a 6.50) for performance/execution. Too bad for Sue. The position on the ISU is, well, high and low marks get thrown out anyway, so no harm done. (?)
    Mathman
    I don't see it in the ISU documentation, but I have read that the judges can dispute the callers' determinations and demand a look at the videotape after the skate, particularly if they feel that a jump was not underrotated. (I'm not sure if there is a "dispute" button on the control panel.) The problem with this is that if a judge disagrees with the downgrade, s/he has to put in the score at the time of the element, and not change it later.

    I think there are various ways to program automatic corrections into the system. For example, if there is a -x mandatory deduction for underrotation, meaning that the most the jump should receive is +1 - X, then if the judge disputed the element, s/he could press a "dispute" button, and score it a +1 or +2. After the dispute was decided, if found in the judge's favor, the + score would stand. If found in the callers' favor, then the score would be adjusted to the maximum the skater could receive, with audit trail to show that the score was an override. (With monitoring to see if a judge did this so often that it was a way to up the scores to "0" when the skater really deserved a -1 or -2. ) I believe this is done when an element is missed -- all scores are automatically set at -3. I think that technical errors such as telegraphing and double-footing and travels on spins should be called and deducted automatically, not left to the discretion of the judges.

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    The Chicago Post is hitting the nail on the head but we need more of this type of exposure from other media.

    Salt Lake City killed the proam skates on Sunday afternoon. Good riddance as far as I am concerned but they did not replace them with sensible competitions. Why? Because they were losing their TV audience due to the SLC scandal. Who wants to watch a sport which does nothing about cheating?

    I do think the Russians will win all events. They have excellent skaters and there is no need for the push to hold them up. But they have to learn that losing one competition doesn't mean their country is falling apart. There is no necessity to hold up or collude with another judge so that a particular skater gains an undeserved medal. This same story goes for any country with ideas of holding up skaters.

    I contend that one more well publicized figure skating scandal or controversy will KILL ESPN SHOWING OF FUTURE FIGURE SKATING.

    It's that serious and Speedy knows it and that's why he worked so hard to prevent any scandal or controversy from arising. Why he didn't work harder to prevent scandal and controversy for itself like naming the judges as a step towards knocking out all of this business is strange.

    I hope the big shots in the Olys aren't studying this Worlds.

    Joe

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    This is the problem with CoP and ISU

    1) Anonymous judging. What the *@%# I would rather have them show all the scores by each country then the low and high ones are highlighted to show that they're the ones that will be thrown out. How hard is that!!! Then as an audience we can make our own assessment.

    2) CoP was only approved by the IOC as a pet project of Speedy. It is too early to be put to trial on the next Oly since it is still in its infancy. CoP needs maturation. CoP needs tweaking and waiting for the next "so called" meeting is ridiculous. By then the damage has been done.

    3) Absolutely does not stop corrupt judging. ISU need a harsher punishment for corrupt judges that's the only way to prevent it instead of just a slap on the wrist.

    4) A president of ISU and other federations should only serve 2 terms of 3 years each. This prevents "dictatorship" in the sports.

    5) If a judge, errored on their score key entrance. The referee should first questioned all judges if that is their final score before the final calculations. This can fix errors immediately instead of "Oops, I meant a 6.50 not a .50." It's naive to think that Susanna's lowest score is a .50 for that kind of performance. What if the judges later on had a median score that could have been the difference between gold and silver.

    CoP is beginning to stand for "Curtain of Piracy" to me. Meaning that Speedy uses CoP as a curtain to hide the robbery and corruption of ISU. It's not the system it's the ISU! It's the corrupt judges, It's Speedy! It's the GOE and PCS actually more of the GOE that troubles me.

    I'm glad that Chuck Foster came out and blew the whistle then maybe ISU will clean house starting with Speedy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz
    It's that serious and Speedy knows it and that's why he worked so hard to prevent any scandal or controversy from arising. Why he didn't work harder to prevent scandal and controversy for itself like naming the judges as a step towards knocking out all of this business is strange.
    What has he worked so hard on to prevent any scandal or controversy from arising? What has he done to ease the public's peace of mind that the ISU will absolutely not tolerate any form of cheating and that any sign of judging corruption will be dealt with harshly? Do you think he really cares about figure skating enough to really address that issue? But I have to give it to good old Speedy though. With all the judges scoring anonymously, how can anybody say that the judging for a particular competition under C.O.P. is corrupt when we don't even know who the corrupted judge(s) are.

    And how strange that the judges who were "caught" cheating in the past face little or no disciplinary action and are continuing to judge while others who have spoken out with the cheating and corrupting issue in figure skating are now facing a permanent ban from judging at any ISU-sanctioned competitions. What is wrong with this picture?
    Last edited by TNT2012; 02-05-2005 at 07:19 PM.

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    After Europeans, Marina Anissina commented on ice dancing judges. She said (I could be paraphrasing): "Things have indeed changed. Before, judges called white 'black', and black 'white'. Now, they call it 'orange' and 'green'".

    ----------------------------------------------------------
    To me, the only way to radically change the system is to dismantle the ISU/ federations cozy little system. ISU should hire judges directly instead of relying on the federations to send whoever they choose into the pool. Nothing, of couse, would eliminate cultural bias or the famous skaters getting the best CS, but it would move things in the right direction.
    Last edited by Ptichka; 02-07-2005 at 05:49 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman
    Not only can't the calls of the technical specialists be challenged, neither can obvious keystroke errors be corrected. In the Euro ladies LP one of the judges gave Susanna Poykio a 0.50 (intending a 6.50) for performance/execution. Too bad for Sue. The position on the ISU is, well, high and low marks get thrown out anyway, so no harm done. (?)

    Edited: It was Liashenko's score that was entered wrong (judge #8), not Poykio's.
    Here's the sad part about the perception / reality of corrupt judging. This situation is such an extreme that it's OBVIOUSLY a typo. But can you imagine letting judges claim "typos after the fact" that might not be so obvious? i.e. once the outcome is known, a judge said "oops, I made a typo - I meant 7.5 for skater X, not 6.5." That would be a new way to cheat in very close competitions.

    I am an advocate of COP (even though it's in it's infancy) relative to the 6.0 system, which was more like "voting" (for the podium) v. "scoring" which is what judging should be IMO. BUT...the problems with corruption in both perception and reality are very, very serious in this "sport." ITA with all the concerns over secrecy, no way to protest in an appropriate time frame and manner, etc.

    DG

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    Scandal and TV Ratings

    I agree that the scandals have to stop... but disagree that they are the cause of slipping TV ratings. The fluff skating disappeared because it was stupid. Even dyed in the wool figure skaters have to admit that some of the contrived wars and wriggle programs were embarrasing.... and they turned people off. If I say "figure skating" to people unfamiliar with the sport, that's what they think of.

    Scandal gets people watching. The ratings for the SLC Olys zoomed when Time Magazine and others did cover stories on the pairs contraversy. If TV ratings are the name of the game, guess we need more scandals.

    Of course, there are also intense rivalries to heat things up. The ratings for the Super Bowl were not too shabby and I guess it was a heck of a game (I Tivoed through on FF and only stopped to watch the plays that scored).

    Don't expect Figure Skating to get rating like that any time soon.

    Linny

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    First of all, the software itself should be able to pick up on bad input. A score such as 0.5 is obviously out of place in a row of 6's, and the software should at least ASK the judge to verify if this is the intended score.

    Because this doesn't happen, yes, the error gets thrown out as the low score, but it allows a deliberately low score such as a 5.25 to remain in the mix, and it keeps the INTENDED score, which may have been a 6.5 or even a 7.5, out.
    Last edited by chuckm; 02-07-2005 at 03:08 PM.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Linny
    Scandal gets people watching. The ratings for the SLC Olys zoomed when Time Magazine and others did cover stories on the pairs contraversy. If TV ratings are the name of the game, guess we need more scandals.
    I agree with that only halfway. Yes, a good juicy scandal can be just the ticket. Gymnastics got a certain amount of publicity out of the Paul Hamm controversy, for instance.

    But scandals are interesting only because they are rare. If the public sees figure skating as an activity where every event is fixed and everybody knows it, that's curtains for the sport.
    Of course, there are also intense rivalries to heat things up. The ratings for the Super Bowl were not too shabby and I guess it was a heck of a game.
    Nah, it was stupid. Philadelphia totally mismanaged the clock in the closing minutes. It could have been really exciting, with Philly driving down the field in the closing seconds for a game-tying field goal -- which would have resulted in me winning the office pool with a total of 48 points in regulation -- but noooooooo! -- instead they just let everything peter out anticlimatically.

    Best commercial: The Salute (Budweiser) -- honoring American soldiers.

    Mathman

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman

    But scandals are interesting only because they are rare. If the public sees figure skating as an activity where every event is fixed and everybody knows it, that's curtains for the sport.Nah, it was stupid. Philadelphia totally mismanaged the clock in the closing minutes. It could have been really exciting, with Philly driving down the field in the closing seconds for a game-tying field goal -- which would have resulted in me winning the office pool with a total of 48 points in regulation -- but noooooooo! -- instead they just let everything peter out anticlimatically.


    Mathman
    If scandals are so rare, then why is it that it's not the case with figure skating? I do agree that scandals in general tend to be rare but I think it's highly suspicious that that's not the case with figure skating itself. I don't think the public or the federations have gotten to the point of getting fed up with it. In fact, some may even relish it at other people's expenses. Wasn't SLC enough for change and a viable one at that? Doesn't seem like it. I also think it's interesting how some people see it as a scandal while others do not.

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