Thoughts on Ladies' SP at Russian Nats?

chasingneverland

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So what? That has nothing to do with an objective analysis of what a '10' on each component should be and where a given competitor deserves to score in relation to that. PCS and GOE grades are too high and not being used properly by judges most of the time. There is a ton of room for growth and refinement in skating programs, but when they are already getting such high PCS, guess how much effort anyone will put into advancing their artistry. Ditto for the way elements are executed. Either way, Trusova was comparatively lowballed at this competition.
I think Trusova's TES and GOE was lowballed comparatively, although she wasn't the only one with calls and she, same as other nicer calls, was lucky not to get the second 4Lz called. However, I don't think her PCS were at all.
 

Blades of Passion

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This thread is about the SP, which is all I graded in my post. So here in the SP, I think Trusova was definitely lowballed on the PCS as well. As I talked about in my writeup, some of these programs are almost identical choreographically, and Shcherbakova did not have noticeably better skating skills, nor was her performance more complex or emotional. With the mistake on her flying camel, which hindered the choreography, there's really no good argument I can see for why she would deserve to be placed higher, certainly not the huge point lead that was given to her.
 
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chasingneverland

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This thread is about the SP, which is all I graded in my post. So here in the SP, I think Trusova was definitely lowballed on the PCS as well. As I talked about in my writeup, some of these programs are almost identical choreographically, and Shcherbakova did not have noticeably better skating skills, nor was her performance more complex or emotional. With the mistake on her flying camel, which hindered the choreography, there's really no good argument I can see for why she would deserve to put placed higher, certainly not the huge point lead that was given to her.
That's where we disagree. With the exception of the spin, which didn't interrupt the performance (although I agree with with your score of it), I think Anna was perfect on her SP. That was an emotional, ethereal performance.
 

Blades of Passion

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A bit strange to say the spin mistake didn't cause any interruption. It was ugly. The program looked worse during that period of time because of it. These are the details that need to be assessed when giving a component score.

She received 9.43 on skating skills, while Trusova received 8.79 - where is the difference? Exactly where did she gain speed better with the blades, where were the edges deeper, where was the movement more complex? I don't see it at all, instead it merely appears to be naked favoritism. That score in general too, the judges are saying Shcherbakova's skating skills are close to the best ever, she can use her blades nearly as well as the absolute masters of figure skating? That's just a joke, a farce.
 

Blades of Passion

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Going to continue here with scoring of the top 3 Ladies Long Programs, so the scoring details for the whole competition can be kept in a single thread.

1.) Anna SHCHERBAKOVA -- 164.33 points -- 95.13 TES, 69.2 PCS

4Lz
+2, pre-rotated 5/8 of a turn and 1/8 turn short on landing - 'q', flat edge takeoff - '!', good form and flow besides that
4F
+1, again 'q' with rotation, seems to have less speed than the lutz and wrenches those arms into the rotation more, pretty good flow out
3F+3T +2, a bit of a jerky edge after the flip landing, would prefer the jumps to be bigger and less spinny on takeoff
2A +2, clean but somewhat small and slow
ChSq +3, a series of spirals with a rocker turn and little hop, quite elegantly executed and with the music, the gentle reach of the arms on the second position is very nice musically, the soft brush forward finishes off the last spiral very well
FCCoSp4
+2, struggles to find centering at the start and not the most pleasing sit position, a little slow, last position is great and goes with the swell of the music
3Lz+3Lo
+2, flat lutz, not the biggest jumps, and not much speed out of the loop, but that jump actually goes really well with the music here, there is a sudden introduction of rapid lilting notes, which the smoothness and tightness of a cute triple loop represents very well
3F+1Lo+3S
+2, small but clean, the slightly upwards arch of the body on the final landing was a nice touch with the music
3Lz
+2, her best lutz edge of the program, perhaps because it's the easiest lutz element, still not especially powerful though
FCSp4
+2, average speed and positions (until the last one which has a little more quality), edge change can be better
StSq4
+3, great facial expression at the start, the edges are clean but not the deepest or fastest, a couple of the steps don't feel fully finished
CCoSp4
+2, acceptable camel, not a fan of the big step when changing feet, sit position does a good job of making a broken leg position without good stretch into something nice, loses centering on a layback with average position, final position is very good

Skating Skills -
8.5 - well controlled, definitely can show stronger edges, her toe steps never look complete either
Transitions -
8.5 - nothing super difficult or perfectly positioned, but has pretty good flow between all elements, with a sufficient amount of turns and leg raises
Performance -
9.0 - a truly great performance, can use a touch more maturity still, but she was very well composed, most of the moves were given personal attention rather than seeming compulsory, showed great joy in places and projected well with her head and arms, and also thankfully held the ending pose for more than a split second (but it would be even more impactful if she held it a second longer)
Choreography -
8.5 - why does Eteri insist on putting that ugly whip-loop turn in all the footwork sequences? stop it! Overall the program has an enjoyably delicate quality, but some of positions can be improved, the footwork sequence remains too vague
Interpretation -
8.75 - many lovely touches with the music and she melds into this overall theme very well, there is an expression happening of someone who feels small and isolated, but so full of promise, going on a journey of self-discovery, finding great personal satisfaction

2.) Alexandra TRUSOVA -- 156.33 points -- 94.33 TES, 62.0 PCS

4Lz+3T +3, powerful jumping, could have more flow out
4Lz
+2, perhaps 'q' with rotation and could have better exit, but still a big clean jump
2A +2, maybe wanted a counter turn entrance after the first curved edge change, it becomes more of a 3-turn (but still the hardest type of 3-turn), the jump could be faster and higher and more extended on landing
2A +1, has turning 3's on the right foot and step onto left foot into that similar turn before the axel, but this time when the edge switches over it's to a clear inside edge, the jump is fine but not special, has less flow on the landing this time and I wish she wouldn't try to do that exit, that edgework and extension she's showing is too shallow
CCoSp4 +1, it's all fine but lacks some speed or any great position, and in terms of musicality this does not work, the first part of the spin is too bland with the energetic tone that's happening, and those final positions do not come close to matching the thunderous climax happening; after the spin she seems very unaware of the music as well
ChSq
+2, the cantilever is impressive but not exactly the right fit for the music, the rest of the sequence is unremarkable but tries to be soft with the music
3Lz+3Lo
+4, fast and aggressive, well rotated and good distance and clean
3F+1Lo+3S
+2, a little more lift on the salchow than we see from some other girls, all jumps here can still be bigger especially the euler should be floatier, and could have better flow at the end
3Lz
+2, good but not great, the landing is lazy, could have held that edge straighter and kept the free leg out
FCSp3
+3, better flying entrance than others, she gets that leg up in the air well and into camel position quickly, annoyingly loses a level because of being slightly short of 8 rotations on a very nice donut position (it's enough to see 7.5 rotations, especially since she isn't dropping the free leg to transition into the next position, c'mon, zzzzz)
StSq3
+2, the middle of the sequence is good when she's in front of the judges, sharp turns and positions, the hitch kick into quick lunges is good with the music although she could lunge better; the rest of the sequence is lacking in great turns and steps and positions
FCCoSp4
+2, goes better with the music than the first combo spin and attempts something more exciting, but still needs better positions and more speed to be great. It would make so much more sense if she did the pike sit spin here and removed the haircutter, and then in the previous combo spin did a jump over as a feature instead of edge change, and remove the pike sit position there for a haircutter with better stretch up on the free leg (which shortens the spin and allows more choreography afterward in that booming section of music - give us big arm gestures, forward running steps!)

Skating Skills -
8.0 - needs to get more out of those edges, too many here look like she isn't getting the full push or finishing them off
Transitions -
8.25 - has a good amount but the quality in some instances isn't quite there
Performance -
8.0 - mostly confident but needs to project a lot more and sell the movements, she appears to be thinking rather than emoting during several parts
Choreography -
7.5 - two unspectacular double axels placed closely together is not what we want to be seeing, especially when you just did multiple quads; it's a mismatch. Overall the majority of the movement is respectable, there is variety and some purpose, but needs bigger movements and more attention to usage of the arms
Interpretation -
7.0 - completely disregards the music at a couple points and has other movement that doesn't do much with the music, overall does not seem to be very into the softer aspects, but does okay with some of the more grand moments, although misses the ending of the program

3.) Kamila VALIEVA -- 152.41 points -- 86.81 TES, 65.6 PCS

4T+2T +3, a little more pre-rotated on the quad than ideal but otherwise strong, could have smoother transition and more lift for the 2T
4T
+3, again very good but not a perfect takeoff and a slight hesitation on that landing
3Lo +1, overly pre-rotated and small
2A +2, a fine jump, lacking any extraordinary quality
FCSp4 +4, great donut position with extra upward body angle, very clean and totally steady upright catch position, although musically it doesn't make sense to hold the position for so long without arm variation, could still be faster
ChSq
+2, a very good spiral for 3 seconds and then the rest is forgettable and not especially with the music
3Lz+3T
+3, the lutz is pre-rotated 3/4 turn and not very high, the toeloop has better rotation, good distance on the combo and clean exit
3F<+1Lo+3S
0, the flip is absolutely underrotated: 3/4 pre-rotated and lands 1/4 short (so, very close to <<), it's a tiny jump too, the euler can also be bigger, the salchow is fine on rotation but not a great landing edge
3Lz
+1, heavily pre-rotated, not very big, landing edge is jittery but clean
StSq3
+2, do not agree with the Level 4 call, too many flat edges here, it's also lacking in great highlights, she has decent energy but doesn't exude fire or fly across the ice, the body wiggle at the start shows how can can engage her full body more, when she runs her arms down the side of her body later in the sequence it doesn't have sensuality, even a typical illusion turn in here is not finished off properly
FCCoSp4
+3, the second half of the spin is much better than the first half, where she can have a better camel position and add detail with the arms
CCoSp4 +3, slightly awkward positioning going into and out of the camel variation, overall very good technically besides that, although does not work with the music very well

Skating Skills -
8.5 - is able to gain speed and transition between steps very well, still lacks some depth of edge at times, especially in the footwork sequence it was strangely flat
Transitions -
8.5 - many body movements throughout, not the hardest jump entrances possible but good extension on several landings, although lacking smoothness on a couple jump exits
Performance -
8.5 - always seems into the performance but doesn't completely command it, there can be more outward expression still and total sureness of movement
Choreography -
8.25 - lots of good positions, there's a generally cohesive theme to the movement with the angles and flourishes used, but some of it is still rushed and can be more dynamic
Interpretation -
7.25 - fails to follow the beat of the music throughout much of the program, there is a pretty good sense of using movement in terms of the overall character of the music, but it often fails to be completely WITH the music
 

Skatesocs

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SHCHERBAKOVA
4Lz
+2, pre-rotated 5/8 of a turn and 1/8 turn short on landing - 'q', flat edge takeoff - '!', good form and flow besides that
Agree Anna should have won on PCS - but if this is +2, what is +1 or 0 for you? You didn't make a comment on her amplitude here. Don't see why Trusova's bigger, less pre-rotated, correct edge lutz gets the same credit as this (even with the less than ideal landing).
TRUSOVA
4Lz
+2, perhaps 'q' with rotation and could have better exit, but still a big clean jump
 

Blades of Passion

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The smoother landing was just really appealing pretty much. It could be said Anna is better on two aspects (flow out and body form), in comparison to Trusova also being better on two aspects (takeoff edge and height). Since they are virtually identical on the rotation in this instance, it becomes even.
 

alexocfp

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Since this sport doesn’t have tangible scoring like goals, differences of opinions will be prevalent. It’s just the way it is.

One thing that is obvious is that it is not easy. There are a million things to look for and the skaters move faster than the eyes do.

Even replays don’t totally solve the problem because a lot of things are still judgement calls.

Within reason, you can justify any score for any skater.

Judging complexities aside, there is also the eye test. You can see what looks like a winning skate and what doesn’t.

Have no problem with the top 3, or the order which they finished.
Certainly, there has been no evidence of a fix.

In a judging sport where humans score, inevitably there are intangibles. The Sambo 70 skaters start with an advantage, but that advantage has been earned through past results and the aura around them. Yes, it shouldn’t be part of the judging, but you cant erase human emotion no matter how hard you try.

I have no problem with that. The big clubs in all sports get the close calls and benefit of the doubt.

Liza T and Kaori make me smile when they skate. If I was a judge, I would give them the benefit of the doubt on 50/50 close calls.
 

Mathman

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I definitely disagree there. The GOE's were way out of the line for Shcherbakova/Valieva, they got big boosts everywhere.
That is still not evidence of a "fix." The judges might have just liked Shcherbakova's abd Vaklieva's performances better than they liked others'.
 

Blades of Passion

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That is still not evidence of a "fix." The judges might have just liked Shcherbakova's abd Vaklieva's performances better than they liked others'.

It also extends to Usacheva (another Eteri skater). Completely ignored her Lutz edges. The only top competitor they did call was...Trusova. Very convenient. The scores for the same elements between each skater are not very defensible either.

But of course there's never provable "evidence" of a fix unless it's directly admitted by the judge or seen with them doing something physically wrong while judging (looking elsewhere, talking inappropriately). So how is it ever supposed to be addressed, if the scores are supposed to simply be accepted at all times?
 

Skatesocs

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The smoother landing was just really appealing pretty much. It could be said Anna is better on two aspects (flow out and body form), in comparison to Trusova also being better on two aspects (takeoff edge and height). Since they are virtually identical on the rotation in this instance, it becomes even.
I guess. But then Trusova even did an Ito (it's what the two-arms variation deserves to be called) on hers. I agree Shcherbakova had the better landing. I might still end up giving Trusova +1 more (+1 for Anna; +2 for Trusova). Maybe it will make sense to me if I saw the +ve credit you gave to each, and then how you deducted each?
 
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Skatesocs

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Last question, not sure why you let Trusova have the level 3 on the flying camel when you don't think it's correct (if I'm reading it correctly), when you seem fine with reducing the call on Valieva's step sequence?
TRUSOVA
FCSp3
+3, better flying entrance than others, she gets that leg up in the air well and into camel position quickly, annoyingly loses a level because of being slightly short of 8 rotations on a very nice donut position (it's enough to see 7.5 rotations, especially since she isn't dropping the free leg to transition into the next position, c'mon, zzzzz)
VALIEVA
StSq3
+2, do not agree with the Level 4 call, too many flat edges here, it's also lacking in great highlights, she has decent energy but doesn't exude fire or fly across the ice, the body wiggle at the start shows how can can engage her full body more, when she runs her arms down the side of her body later in the sequence it doesn't have sensuality, even a typical illusion turn in here is not finished off properly
ETA: Also... what is a 0 GOE jump for you? 😅
This would have been where I'd handed a 0 GOE:
VALIEVA
3Lo +1, overly pre-rotated and small
And this -1 GOE:
VALIEVA
3F<+1Lo+3S 0, the flip is absolutely underrotated: 3/4 pre-rotated and lands 1/4 short (so, very close to <<), it's a tiny jump too, the euler can also be bigger, the salchow is fine on rotation but not a great landing edge
Maybe not that big of a difference, but there's so little space left for the better jumps, if this is the way it goes, IMO. Again, if we are to talk about "objective" scoring like you do, it makes less sense. If we are only talking about self-contained scoring in an event, then of course it matters less - only the differences and/or overall ranking would matter.

Also, if you were to actually tell me what a "0" means for you and what a "+5" means, it'd be more convenient to compare and find out what these numbers mean. Otherwise, they're just random grades, for me. Same for PCS: What's a "10"?
 
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alexocfp

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I definitely disagree there. The GOE's were way out of the line for Shcherbakova/Valieva, they got big boosts everywhere.
To my untrained eye, the placings looked fair.

And I’m not a judge, but I wouldn’t mind if Valieva received another 1000 points for her skate. Protocols be damned. Haha
 

Blades of Passion

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I guess. But then Trusova even did an Ito (it's what the two-arms variation deserves to be called) on hers.
Yeah, but it tends to be something I don't give as much weight to anymore on jumps that don't have ideal takeoffs (Trusova does still pre-rotate her Lutz significantly more than what's ideal), especially because it seems like that arm position is either not more difficult or actually easier for some of these girls when doing that kind of technique. Doing only 1 arm over the head, and completely straight (the Tano!), is the real most difficult arm position to do.

I don't think the two-arm variation should be called an Ito, heh. She just did it on a Double (and people did it before her, not sure about if in competition though) and Rippon was the first to do it on Triple, so it's very fair for him to get the credit!

ETA: Also... what is a 0 GOE jump for you? 😅
This would have been where I'd handed a 0 GOE: (Valieva 3Loop)
Valieva had a nice preceding move right before the entrance and showed great control on the landing, so with a shallower exit then I would give it a 0.

Last question, not sure why you let Trusova have the level 3 on the flying camel when you don't think it's correct (if I'm reading it correctly), when you seem fine with reducing the call on Valieva's step sequence?

I do think the call for Trusova's flying camel is correct with the rules in place, I just think the rule is dumb. The "8 rotations to gain a level" rule is excessive, I think it should be either 7 or 6, with a differentiation on how difficult the position is. Camel spins for example, inherently have a lower maximum speed that what's possible in other positions, so the amount of rotations you can do within a period of time is going to be lower. She did 7.5 rotations in a great, difficult camel position and easily transitioned into the next position; it's very annoying to deduct for something that nobody cares about and is imperceptible unless you go back and closely count.
 

Skatesocs

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She did 7.5 rotations in a great, difficult camel position and easily transitioned into the next position; it's very annoying to deduct for something that nobody cares about and is imperceptible unless you go back and closely count.
I don't remember the spin right now, but wouldn't she get difficult flying entry, difficult donut position, difficult change of position (donut to upright catchfoot) and upright catchfoot for a level 4? Even without the 8 revs?

Doing only 1 arm over the head, and completely straight (the Tano!), is the real most difficult arm position to do.

By the way, what is the physical reason for tano to be hard?
 

Jontor

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I do think the call for Trusova's flying camel is correct with the rules in place, I just think the rule is dumb. The "8 rotations to gain a level" rule is excessive, I think it should be either 7 or 6, with a differentiation on how difficult the position is. Camel spins for example, inherently have a lower maximum speed that what's possible in other positions, so the amount of rotations you can do within a period of time is going to be lower. She did 7.5 rotations in a great, difficult camel position and easily transitioned into the next position; it's very annoying to deduct for something that nobody cares about and is imperceptible unless you go back and closely count.
Totally agree on the spin. It's dumb. I wish the ISU would re-think the whole basis on how spins should be valued. This whole "hold your position in X turns" just seems inadequate to me.

E.g. Nugumanova falls short here very often. She is a great spinner, but she is kinda sloppy and mostly fails to hold the position for half or a quarter of a turn and she loses levels. There are some ugly spinners out there (ehrm Guliakova?) that gets the levels with strained, awkward positions and no speed.

I also have problems with Steps. I find it very hard to follow and it almost always ends with a surprise - was that a level 3? was that a level 4?

I can't come up with a solution, but these level systems is no good IMO.
 
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Blades of Passion

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I don't remember the spin right now, but wouldn't she get difficult flying entry, difficult donut position, difficult change of position (donut to upright catchfoot) and upright catchfoot for a level 4? Even without the 8 revs?
Nah, that's definitely not a difficult change of position. That feature is rarely attempted/applied, it basically means doing something like this - Josh Farris extended upright through to sit position - although, going by the book, the sit position would need to be held for 2 full rotations for the feature to count, and Josh was only strictly in sit position for 1.5 rotation here. There go those black-and-white rules again, forcing skaters to dumb down creativity and musical timing of movements in order to fit into a box for technical points. (he did later add more rotation to the sit position, it still looked good, but was slightly less poetic)

Since that sit position in the example would already count as a difficult variation anyway (twisted body) if held for 2 rotations, and since only 2 variations per foot count, the rule is only worthwhile for level credit if he already did that same sit variation earlier in the program and wanted to get credit for it again. You could stop doing the twisted sit position and just go into a normal sit position and still get the "difficult change of position" credit, but choreographically that would ruin the point of doing this move. Or I guess if you have a less complex upright position (only stretching the leg up, rather than also twisting the head upward as Josh does), then you could quickly go down into a sit position while keeping the leg extended and it would also count.

By the way, what is the physical reason for tano to be hard?

Keeping one arm fully extended over the head (FULLY, not one arm limply dropped over the head) changes the center of gravity and ability to rotate in a more difficult way, because now the arms are in much different positions, they can't just be whipped together. Hence why in this new age of skating and arm positions, that Eteri has popularized because of the superficial definition of "difficult air position" that was formerly listed in the jump GOE bullet points, we never see a real Tano jump from the Russian girls (certainly not on the hardest jumps). We only see limp one-arm variations or the two-arm variation.

Totally agree on the spin. It's dumb. I wish the ISU would re-think the whole basis on how spins should be valued. This whole "hold your position in X turns" just seems inadequate to me.

It makes the spins so predictable. I think the rules should count the total number of rotations done in a difficult position, with every 2 rotations of difficult variation being a level credit, minimum of 1 rotation for a position to count and maximum of 2.5 rotations that can count for a single position (unless held for a clearly much longer time, where that bonus clause can then kick in). For change foot spins you can require at least 3 rotations of variation per foot. So then skaters would still need the same variety of variations to hit max levels, but could include them more fluidly into spins.
 

Skatesocs

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Jontor

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It makes the spins so predictable. I think the rules should count the total number of rotations done in a difficult position, with every 2 rotations of difficult variation being a level credit, minimum of 1 rotation for a position to count and maximum of 2.5 rotations that can count for a single position (unless held for a clearly much longer time, where that bonus clause can then kick in). For change foot spins you can require at least 3 rotations of variation per foot. So then skaters would still need the same variety of variations to hit max levels, but could include them more fluidly into spins.
Yeah, that sounds better.

It's just that I remember some fantastic spinners from the past, e.g. the Swiss Nathalie Krieg and Lucinda Ruh. They used to have some spins where they changed the position constantly throughout the spin to make it look like a picture that moves. We don't see spins like that anymore, even though Lucinda Ruh can be blamed for being the mother of all spins of today. (Father unknown...rumours says Lambiel ;))
 
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