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Thread: Who is in the "Western bloc"?

  1. #31
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    I wonder how many hours the judges/federati0ons spend conspiring
    . They have to think of how to give marks and what marks to give skaters for every single scenario.

    For a while I thought that for these upcoming Olympic games. The judges would be on their best behavior. Only to improve the image of the sport. Now I am not so sure.

  2. #32
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Joe, sorry for the misunderstanding. I don't think that anyone said or thought that you made mention of sacrificing anyone. The suggestion of a sacrifice was made by ChuckM (post 19 above, when he specifically raised the possibiltiy that the Russian Federation might make a deal which would allow Shen and Zhou to win over Totmiamina and Marinen, in exchange for China's support for Plushenko and Slutskaya, and that's what I was responding to with my joke post, #21.

    What I was agreeing with Ptichka about was her observation that pairs is the most important discipline to the Russian federation, and what I was agreeing with Curious about (and with you, too) is that Russia has a strong team in both men's and ladies, and so doesn't need to be making any deals.

    I do, however, disagree with your emphasis on cultural similarities as an explanation for apparent bloc judging. I think it's politics -- simple if not so pure.

    I apologize if you took my earlier posts to imply that you had said anything about sacrificing anybody. That was not my intention at all. In fact, now that I actually took the trouble to read the articles about the "Sino-Soviet pact," they are not talking about Turino at all. Rather it is about China wanting to tap into the Russian expertise in training their athletes to win medals in sports like swimming and track and field at the 2008 summer Olympics in Beijing.

    Mathman

    PS. Eyeora, nobody knows for sure, but I'll bet the jockeying for influence has already begun. Madam Le Goigne said, in connection with her compromised judging at Salt Lake City, that the lobbying (mostly by Canada on behalf of Sale and Pelletier) started way back in the fall, as soon as the judges pool was selected. All the pressures coming at her from all directions were too much for her to cope with, according to her later statements during the investigation.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman

    PS. Eyeora, nobody knows for sure, but I'll bet the jockeying for influence has already begun. Madam Le Goigne said, in connection with her compromised judging at Salt Lake City, that the lobbying (mostly by Canada on behalf of Sale and Pelletier) started way back in the fall, as soon as the judges pool was selected. All the pressures coming at her from all directions were too much for her to cope with, according to her later statements during the investigation.
    According to Lavoie -- in writing to the ISU, for which he was reprimanded -- and a Swiss judge who was there at the time, during one of the 2001 fall competitions, LeGogne told them that, of course she was going to vote with Sanaia, who was her friend, but he was so nice, what was she to do? Blech.

  4. #34
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    Thanks Mathman. Yes, deals will kill the sport altogether. but I still think cultural preferences play a big part in judging sports and being fans of judging sports. I'm all for Regional Selection of judges.

    As to that old SLC debacle with 100 per cent of the blame on LeG and none on the party with whom the deal was made. You figure.

    Joe

  5. #35
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    Joe...it got the joke too...I don't see culture as devoid of, or separate from, culture, so perhaps we are talking at cross purposes. But in terms of how I understand the way you are using culture...I just don't know anything worthy of a comment, hence why I haven't responded to that part of your discussion (i.e., the judges names, where they were born, raised, the languages they speak, how they were trained, what cultural traditions they consciously feel a part of, what aesthetic traditions if they see that as different, how they are selected for a particular season or event etc.).

    Now...it's not that I know anything about the politics here...i've just been musing a bit about the possible connections between ISU voting (and alliances built around that) and judging as a means to cement the same...explcit deals are likely but one part of the practice, imo (another possibility is seeing the way you come to think your hopeful allies see, not in a malicious or corrupt way necessarily). But, although I haven't said it so far, it's in this light that I can understand (not agree with) Speedy's annoymous judging....but it, to me, smacks of the proverbial band-aid solution...doesn't address the cause of the bleed (and I speculated earlier that one cause MIGHT be relative strengths of the different federations...but I have no idea if that is part of this from some sound emprical basis). anyway...enough speculating. I'll repeat, I got your joke and thought it was funny!

  6. #36
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    After SLC, wasn't there an indictiment issued against someone reputed to be a bigwig in the Russian mafia, who supposedly arranged the "Russian gets pairs, France gets dance" deal -- to please the French? I know there was no trial because Italy refused to extradite the guy, but I haven't heard anything to show that the alleged "collusion" was only within the federations/ISU. If organized crime is involved, I can think of a lot of reasons why judges and the ISU will give them the results they want. (I still want to know if a certain on-line casino made or lost money on bets on Worlds '04, and if any such considerations dictated the 'publicity stunt')

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman
    In the 1994 Olympics the Baiul judges were

    Jan Olesinski, Poland
    Jarmila Portova, Czechoslavakia
    Alfred Korytek, Ukraine
    Jiasheng Yang, China

    The Kerrigan judges were

    Margaret Ann Wier, USA
    Noriko Shirota, Japan
    Wendy Utley, Great Britain
    Audrey Williams, Canada

    The swing vote was Jan Hoffmann of (formerly East) Germany.
    Um, why do you call Hoffmann the "swing vote" and not Yang?

    Politically, culturally, and geographically, (East) Germany had more in common with Poland and Czechoslovakia than China did.

    And China also had a competitor in that event who could with some, perhaps "creative," justification have been placed ahead of Baiul and/or Kerrigan.

    So if any of these judges deserves to be called a swing judge, I'd say it was Yang.

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by attyfan
    After SLC, wasn't there an indictiment issued against someone reputed to be a bigwig in the Russian mafia, who supposedly arranged the "Russian gets pairs, France gets dance" deal -- to please the French? I know there was no trial because Italy refused to extradite the guy, but I haven't heard anything to show that the alleged "collusion" was only within the federations/ISU. If organized crime is involved, I can think of a lot of reasons why judges and the ISU will give them the results they want. (I still want to know if a certain on-line casino made or lost money on bets on Worlds '04, and if any such considerations dictated the 'publicity stunt')
    Godfather's do not do anything for nothing. They are paid to do the job. Organized crime got paid to collude with LeG? Isn't that the same thing as if a Federation coluded with LeG? Who else would pay the Godfathers? If this is the scenario then I would think that the collusion was between two federations with organized crime as a tool.

    Joe

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly
    Um, why do you call Hoffmann the "swing vote" and not Yang?

    Politically, culturally, and geographically, (East) Germany had more in common with Poland and Czechoslovakia than China did.

    And China also had a competitor in that event who could with some, perhaps "creative," justification have been placed ahead of Baiul and/or Kerrigan.

    So if any of these judges deserves to be called a swing judge, I'd say it was Yang.
    Interesting point,gkelly.

  10. #40
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    Hoffman as the Swing

    Hoffman is generally considered the swing vote in the Lillehammer decision, because his point total for Oksana and Nancy was the same (I don't recall at the moment what exactly those scores were, but it was something like 5.7/5.9 for Oksana and 5.8/5.8 for Nancy). His ordinal went to Oksana because of the artistic tie-breaker rule. The others, as I recall, favored one or the other more clearly, and so Hoffman is considered the swing.

    That's also why people will say that Nancy lost by 0.1 of a point.

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz
    Godfather's do not do anything for nothing. They are paid to do the job. Organized crime got paid to collude with LeG? Isn't that the same thing as if a Federation coluded with LeG? Who else would pay the Godfathers? If this is the scenario then I would think that the collusion was between two federations with organized crime as a tool.

    Joe
    I am suggesting that the "godfathers" might have done the fix on their own. According to the indictment, the accused arranged the deal in the hopes of getting a French visa. Organized crime is still active in gambling, and it is easier to make money betting on sporting events when you know what the results will be. Also -- do you know what, if anything, the federations get if one of "their" skaters gets an OGM? Since so many skaters turn pro after winning that medal, I don't think they would get a lot of money. Certainly, the "godfathers" would be as prone to the temptations of a "power trip" as would be the federation presidents and/or judges and/or tech specialists.

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz
    I am talking about the number of judges of russian background who may well be on the panel and because of cultural similarities they will more than likely agree on similar scores. I have consantly stressed cultural ties and not political ties!!! Everyone else seems to be talking politics. I think I am the only one talking culture.

    Joe
    You are not the only one. It's more of cultural (thus style) ties than politics. In cultural ties judge acts on his/her own cultural/style interest. While in politics ties judges acts on his/her federation/country interest.

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly
    Um, why do you call Hoffmann the "swing vote" and not Yang?

    Politically, culturally, and geographically, (East) Germany had more in common with Poland and Czechoslovakia than China did.

    And China also had a competitor in that event who could with some, perhaps "creative," justification have been placed ahead of Baiul and/or Kerrigan.

    So if any of these judges deserves to be called a swing judge, I'd say it was Yang.
    Well, Yang may just prefer Rusian style. Judged by the age, Yang could well be one of those grown up under the heavy influence of 'big brother' Soviet Union. There was times when everything had any forgein cutural influence was from Rusia (prev Soviet Union), from translated fiction books, movies, ballet, ect. to school's text books. Not to mention FS back then (and still is) was only popular in Northern of china, where Rusian had occupied several years after II WW. Even today you can still see a lot of Rusian architechtures in those northern cities. Especially Harbin, where top chinese skaters come from, I would say most of chinese coaches and judges are all from there.

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by mzheng
    You are not the only one. It's more of cultural (thus style) ties than politics. In cultural ties judge acts on his/her own cultural/style interest. While in politics ties judges acts on his/her federation/country interest.
    Cultural it is. Each judge, in general, will vote for the skater of his homeland. That we can expect. If there is no homeland skater, they may well consider that kind of cultural aspect of the figure skater's style which they prefer.

    How many expatriots or descendants of ex-patriots of Russia will be in the mix for judging? If the competition is tight, they more than likely will be very fair for silver and bronze, but I don't think for gold! JMO.

    Joe
    Last edited by Joesitz; 06-28-2005 at 04:02 PM.

  15. #45
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    Is it culture?

    Joe and Mzheng, you know, I have been trying to give this "common culture" thing a chance, as an explanation for the apparent bloc judging that plagues our sport. But I just can't make it work.

    Here is an example, among many. In 2002 Worlds, Russian skater Irina Slutskaya won the ladies' long program. She received first place ordinals from the following countries of the Eastern European "cultural group."

    Russia, Belarus, Slovakia, Poland and Croatia.

    She also got a first place ordinal from Italy, which is outside this cultural bloc.

    Asian-American skater Michelle Kwan was supported by judges from the "Western" nations of Sweden, Hungary and France.

    So you are saying that there is just something in the Slavic cultural and aesthetic tradition that

    (a) Values big athletic jumps, but is not too particular about flow out of the landing (sometimes coming to a complete stop).

    (b) Values fast spins in intricate positions, but doesn't mind traveling and doesn't care how much of a struggle it is to get into these positions.

    (c) Values speed and powerful stroking, but doesn't mind a performer pumping her back to achieve it.

    (d) Likes a secure deep edge on a spiral, but is willing to forgive an unattractive upper body position.

    (A couple of years later, the guardians of Slavic culture decided that what their common aesthetic tradition really loves is a Bielmann position.)

    To me, it seems more likely that the skating federations from these countries have an "old boys" club that makes them stick together and support each other's skaters.

    Now, if this sort of division of the judging panel did not happen so consistently and so blatantly, I would hope that, well, maybe these particular judges really simply did like Irina's performance the best. I did, too! If I had been a judge (unfortunately for me there were no U.S. judges on the panel), I would have voted for Irina also.

    But then.....here is the renowned expert Judit Furst-Tombor of Hungary saying, no, Mathman, you're an idiot. Michelle was obviously better.

    And here is experienced and impartial figure skating judge Philippe Meriguet of France, saying, no Mathman, Michelle was the clear winner, and if you knew anything about the sport this would be obvious to you, as it is to me.

    And here is Marianne Oeverby from Sweden, who has devoted her career to studying and evaluating figure skating contests, and she says, no, Mathman, all things considered, Michelle gave the stronger performance.

    Well, who am I, a very amateur observer, to put my opinion up against these respected experts'?

    Did something in the common culture shared by Sweden, Hungary and France make them prefer Michelle's style?

    Mathman

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