Now that US nationals are over it seems that the old 6.0 system is officially dead. Rather than retire the old system with dignity, US judges chose to flush it down the toilet, awarding numerous 6.0’s to flawed programs. Where 6 was once the mark of an exceptional program to be remembered through the ages, now it apparently applies to lackluster performances by treasured veterans, mediocre performances by rising stars, or anything else the judges sort of liked. I do not begrudge those skaters who received 6.0’s, but I think it was obvious that no one deserved a 6.0 this year when compared to the truly great performances that received 6.0’s in the history of nationals (such as Rudy in 96 and Michelle in 98). Johnny Weir said in his journal that he did not feel he deserved the 6.0’s he received in the short and long programs. You can read that here:
I imagine that the other skaters who received these marks feel the same way he does. Not too long ago, skaters dreamed of earning a perfect score of 6 in recognition of a brief shining moment of perfection and artistic excellence. These marks were rarely given, because perfection is seldom achieved in skating, but this year was different. First, Evan Lysacek received a 6.0 for his bull fighting program that was entertaining and clean but not an artistic landmark. Then Johnny received a 6.0 for one of the worst short programs he has done this year and 5 more for a flat long program with errors throughout. In ladies, Michelle received 3 6.0’s in the short, which was not her best, and 4 more in the long after finishing behind the music. Finally, in ice dance Belbin and Agosto received all 9 6’s for presentation in the free dance. Maybe the judges were thanking them for raising the level of US ice dance. However, all perfect 6.0’s should mean a legendary and historic program like T&D’s Bolero. B&A’s Russian Gypsy Dance was energetic, but it is not something that people will be talking about years from now. Only in pairs were the judges able to restrain themselves. I’m surprised they didn’t award O&L perfect scores for being the first US pairs champion to skate a clean program in many years.
I think the USFSA will look back on the 2005 nationals as an embarrassment for the rampant over-marking that occurred. I know the rationale is that after the new system is adopted, there will no longer be the opportunity to award excellence, but I don’t think that is the case. Under the CoP, it is conceivable that a skater could receive a perfect 10 in the program component scores for an “outstanding” performance, but for the audience to be able to recognize that a judge awarded a skater a 10, the marks of individual judges would have to be reported. Hopefully the ISU will change the new system so that once-in-a-lifetime performances will continue to be distinguished with the rare mark of perfection.