Nationalistic bias in figure skating judging, 2018-present

eppen

Final Flight
Joined
Mar 28, 2006
Country
Spain
Huge amount of work - kudos for that! Looking forward to the next episodes, because the contents of this one were no big surprise (to me at least). If you have looked at protocols regularly, the high scores for the judge's own skater are quite easy to notice. Already during the time on anonymous judging, statistical analyses showed that if a skater had his/her/their own judge in the panel, the scores were higher than in the opposite case. Now it is quite easy to see why that is so - and indeed, it is valuable to get that result from real numbers.

However, if more than 50% of the judges tested score with a national bias (and more are likely to be proven to do the same when they sit in more panels), I was wondering how does it affect the results? If and when just about everyone does it, do the biased scores simply cancel each other out in the end? Would the end results of competitions be different if each judge was more objective on this aspect of scoring?

This also applies to scoring the main opponent low - if just about everybody does it, is it significant when it comes to the end results? That it happens has also been quite easy to see just reading protocols regularly. (In the Hanyu example, it was interesting to see that the US judge gave him such a low score in a competition where there was no apparent reason for it - Jason Brown was there, but he did not get a huge score from the US judge and surely had no real chance of beating Hanyu anyway. So it might just be that the US judge really did not value that particular skate from Hanyu very high?) And again, it would be interesting to know if the high and low scores from biased judges cancel each other out. But this is coming, right?

The bloc voting thing interests me also - it was discussed before the anonymity was removed and during the first fall I remember checking the judging in the GP series looking at how judges from different areas scored. It was a tiny material and so the conclusions were not very significant, but at least in the 2016 GP series, the Western Europeans tended not to score Fernandez high whereas the Asian and former Soviet country judges did. Almost vice versa for Hanyu. Chan got good scores mostly also from the same pool of judges as Fernandez. I also remember noticing that CAN and USA judges do not give any favours to each other's skaters.

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lzxnl

Final Flight
Joined
Nov 8, 2018
Honestly, so much of judging is subjective that I rarely find any scores to be blatantly dishonest. Judges scoring the same element differently by 3 or 4 points in GOE is not terribly uncommon, but those differences aren't necessarily attributable to cheating because the scores for all the judges will usually span that entire range.

There are some that are, for instance when you give positive or near 0 GOE to a two-footed landing, when you don't call blatantly clear URs and edges even after viewing the said jump on slow motion...I'd call those blatant dishonesty at worst, complete incompetence or negligence at best.
 

Andrea82

Medalist
Joined
Feb 16, 2014
The Ice Dance Technical Committee lodged a complaint against Michela Cesaro (Italy) for national bias in her scores at 2020 European Championships and 2020 Junior World Championships.

The complaint related to European Championships was lodged after the 60 days deadline. So it has not been taken in consideration by the panel.

The complaint related to Junior World Championships was within the time limit and so it was analysed. It related to her marks in the Rhythm Dance for Carolina Portesi Peroni/Michael Chrastecky (Italy), especially in relation to those of Lou Terreaux/Noe Perron (France).

In the end Cesaro won the case and the complaint was dismissed.

The Referee and Officials Assessment Commission didn't report her markings. So the disciplinary panel concluded it wasn't "obvious" if they didn't spot it. The panel acknowledged that the her marking "seems like a sophisticated handling of marks in the evaluation of Italian and French couple". However "although this assessment after its in-depth analysis acts as a hidden preference of the Italian couple, it remains only at the level of suspicion without evidence of intentional “national bias”, hence is absent proof of bias malice or bad faith"


Full decision is available here:
https://www.isu.org/inside-isu/isu-...inal-decision-for-publication-01-08-2020/file

It contains some interesting info such as the apcetable range of marks the Ice Dance Technical Committee would have given to the two couples.
The report also includes the scores of the Referee of the event (Hilary Selby who is a member of the Technical Committee).

It is interesting to compare the range of marks the TC put out with what the panel did, regardless of Cesaro. In some cases (skating skills for Portesi Peroni/Chrastecky, Composition for Terreaux/Perron and the Midline in hold step sequence for Terreaux/Perron) almost the whole panel seems to be out of line with the marks the TC thought were appropriate.
 

ladyjane

Medalist
Joined
Jun 26, 2012
Country
Netherlands
Going to repeat myself. There's national bias and there's national/patriotic dishonesty. I really can understand that one scores someone or a couple too high because you know them personally too well. Everybody tends to score people they know, have advised, seen develop, too high. But deliberately downscoring others, that's a thing. That is dishonest. Someone earlier on in this thread pointed that out too. For good order: any judge who gives low scores to everybody is not biased, just strict.
 

Gabby30

On the Ice
Joined
Aug 8, 2019
The real question is, why do you watch figure skating? For the skating or judges? Because i don't really understand people who say "i'm losing interest in this sport because i don't like the judging". It doesn't make any sense.
Why bother about someone elses job? There are much more interesting things to see, i'm more interested in performances than numbers.
Even when your fave wins, you still complain that his score is too low, what's the point of that? He just won, be happy, or was his performance not THAT good that you're more interested in numbers and are frustrated? Then i understand why you don't like the sport anymore- but you're doing this to yourself, it's not the judges fault.
 

readernick

Medalist
Joined
Dec 5, 2015
The real question is, why do you watch figure skating? For the skating or judges? Because i don't really understand people who say "i'm losing interest in this sport because i don't like the judging". It doesn't make any sense.
Why bother about someone elses job? There are much more interesting things to see, i'm more interested in performances than numbers.
Even when your fave wins, you still complain that his score is too low, what's the point of that? He just won, be happy, or was his performance not THAT good that you're more interested in numbers and are frustrated? Then i understand why you don't like the sport anymore- but you're doing this to yourself, it's not the judges fault.

Mostly agree. I watch figure skating because it is beautiful. I would love watching Shoma, Rika, Aliona etc etc even if they never won. However, I do think there are ways the ISU could improve scoring. IE, having separate panels for PCS/ TES, requiring judges to select the bullet points they are awarding and trying to ensure technical panels access to more angles when they are assessing elements. I don’t think most judging is purposefully biased, but there are occasional incidents that really are corrupt and the ISU should do more to prevent/punish that type of behavior.
 

jersey1302

On the Ice
Joined
Jan 10, 2016
Country
Canada
Unfortunately, I find a lot of current judging downright dishonest rather than merely biased, especially on top. Which makes me slowly lose interest in the sport, to be honest.
I agree.. not all the time but there are times that its beyond clear and the ISU needs to step in an do something about it. Example is ( I dont have it infront of me but I had shown it on my youtube channel The Freeskate on one of the videos with the GOE. I can't even remember the skater that it was for, either Nathan Chen or a Russian lady. Anyways, doesn't matter who it was for. The GOE scross the board was 0-1 for all the judges and then the home nation judge for the skater had a +4. things like that are just ridiculous. Under the requirements for GOE you can not possibly go from a 0 or +1 to a +4.
 
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