Jump to content
This Site Uses Cookies. If You Want to Disable Cookies, Please See Your Browser Documentation. ×

(SPOILERS) Olympic skating thread


Recommended Posts

Last night was the first night of Olympic skating. I thought the American pair who completed the throw triple axel (can't remember their last names) were undermarked, while the Chinese teams (especially Shen and Zhao, who are one of my favorites) were overmarked. S&Z in particular had some major mistakes in their programs. I love them and think Zhao is incredibly brave to skate so soon after a career-threatening injury, but their program had problems. I think Totmianina and Marinin were obviously the best of the night. It's funny, T&M are much more consistent than Berezhnaya and Sikhralidze, but also not quite as artistic IMO.

Michelle Kwan also pulled out of the Olympics. So no Dan Jansen-like last chance miracle for her. I am sorry for her, but I think with all the injuries she's had she might not have medalled anyway. But I do feel bad that she now seems to have three serious injuries in a row.

Link to comment

Although her decision was the correct one, I am also sorry to see Kwan leave the Olympic stage. I will miss her terribly because at her best, hers was the complete program. But she would've been vilified had she skated at anything less than perfectly healthy. I'd have hated to see her taint her professionalism that way.

I will always wonder how different her latter career would've been had she kept Frank Carroll as her coach. She had a couple critical years where she was floundering about and I think they affected her more than she'd ever admit. I don't believe she was psychologically ever the same on the ice.

It will be interesting to see what Sasha Cohen can do but I will hold my breath as usual; I believe she's never yet put together an unmarred performance in a major event. I'd give anything for it to happen at the Olympics.

That said, I think this is Slutskaya's year. I wish we'd hear more about her. I'm not fond of her style at all, but I have to say that I will not be unhappy if she wins. For all the talk about Kwan, this is a young woman who is defying the odds just by being out there on the ice with all her serious medical concerns and also her mother's very serious illness. And still she's the skater to beat. For that, she wins my heart.

Link to comment

I have CBC, and they showed only Totmianina/Marinin, Petrova/Tikhonov, Zhang/Zhang, Pang/Tong, Shen/Zhao, and the two Canadian Pairs, Marcoux/Buntin and Dube/Davison. No Inoue/Baldwin, not even the landed throw 3A. I can't comment on the actual performances, except to note what I've read so far from people who saw the NBC and CCTV broadcasts (over the Internet).

Following is a link to the detailed, element-by-element scores for the SP:


It lists the Base Value of elements, one by one, with total, the factored* GOE (Grade of Execution, or how well the element was performed), the individual judges scores (-3 to +3), and then the total score for each element (Scores of Panels), which is the base score plus the GOE, unless the element is illegal, in which case it will be "0," regardless of the judges' scores. The number at the end of spin, step, throw, lift, and twist elements represents the level of difficulty (usually 1-4). Lifts also have a "group" number, which represents the type of lift. For the SP, the type of lift is specified, and the elements are also defined up front. (For example, in singles, one triple or quad jump must be preceeded by steps, there must be one combination, and there must be one axel-type jump. Steps into a double does not count.)

*Factored GOE: There's an entire chart on the ISU website that lists the base score for each element, and what the Grade of Execution is for each value of -3, -2, -1, 1, 2, 3. For example, for quads and triple jumps, the base score is X, and the score is adjusted by a full point for each + or 1 GOE. (Triple axel = 7.5. A -2 triple axel = 7.5 + (-2). A +1 triple axel = 7.5 + (+1), etc.) For the other elements, each + or - GOE could be worth less than a point. For example, a spin with a base of 2 might yield an additional 1.2 for a +2 GOE, or a decrease of -1 for a -2 GOE.

Nine judges of the panel of twelve are selected randomly by the computer before the phase begins. (There will be a new random selection before the Free Skate today.) The scores for those same nine judges are evaluated for each skater. High and low are dropped, and the remaining seven scores are averaged to determine the value in the GOE column.

A number of us CoP nerds have observed but not proven statistically (at least yet), that the higher the reputation, the more likely a skater or team is to get more than +1 on an element, even if other teams perform that element considerably better. (The judges' scores are presented in PDF format and would have to be typed in manually, but I'm sure the analysis will come.) For example, Inoue/Baldwin's side-by-side spins are considered among the best in the world, but while they were given decent scores (+.29 added to the base), the Shen/Zhao and Zhang/Zhang, whose positions are unmatched and a bit wonky, who had minor synch issues, and who performed them pretty far apart, received .21 and .14, respectively. Petrova/Tikhonov, former World Champions who are also considered among the best side-by-side spinners in the world, received a full .43 GOE for their attempt. Pang/Tong's would likely have received a bit less than -.17 (lots of -1 GOEs, no -2 GOES), if they had not been former world bronze medallists and were 17th ranked skaters. The judges also seem to not have de-coupled difficulty (determined by the Technical Specialists) with Grade of Execution. A perfect layback spin should get +2 to +3 GOE, even if it is considered a Level 1 spin (in terms of difficulty), but it is more likely to get +1 or 0. The ISU started by listing the Levels, and they found that judges were being swayed by the level, and the ISU removed them. But the judges adjusted anyway, and there are positions like the Biellmann and full splits in dance lifts, that telegraph "Level 4" and seem to have their effect on the GOE accordingly. And all judges have their own ideas about the relative difficulty of a quad to a triple, and despite the official point difference, may be using GOE incorrectly to adjust to give extra credit to the quad and less credit for the triple. Johnny Weir, for example, when healthy has just about perfect jumping technique in all phases of the jump (take-off, rotation, flow-out), but he does not get the string of +2's on the majority of his triples that this would warrant, at least according to the written guidelines.

Not having seen all of the programs, I can only speak in generalities, but if you look at the technical scores -- and Inoue/Baldwin had the second highest technical total in the competition -- you'll see that Inoue/Baldwin had the highest technical base score, but overall execution of all elements gave them a 2.43 lift over base (and nearly half was on the 3Axel throw), while Totmianina/Marinin started with a base that was 3 points lower, but they gained 5.33 points on the quality of their elements. Pang/Tong gained nearly 3 points over base, and made up the rest in Components (PCS) scores.

The components have been the most controversial part of the New Judging System (NJS, also known by its test name of CoP). The goals in PCS were to mark five distinct aspects of the overall program independently of the elements and each other on a scale of 0-10, and the criteria for each score is quite specific (ex: to get a score of 7-7.75, the skater must have transitions in X% of the program). For example, the ISU envisioned that a simple, but well-choreographed program might get 4.75 in Transitions, but a 7.75 in Choreography, or that a young technician might get an 8 in Skating Skills, but a 5-6 in Interpretation. The equivalent on the technical side is when a Yan Liu (ranked in the 20's) or even an Elena Liashenko, who was European bronze medallist last year, does one or two superb jumps in the program with textbook technique, the +2's are not forthcoming. It was also envisioned that different skaters and teams at the top would be better or significantly better at specific skills. For example, at Trophee Eric Bompard, where Arakawa's skating skills were superb and Asada's were fine, but nothing special, an Arakawa could receive an 8, while Asada could receive a 6.25. Instead, the actual scores were less than .5 apart. Savchenko/Szolkowy have the a higher concentration of transitions of the most difficulty than Totmianina/Marinin, but they've never received a transitions score as high as T/M.

What we see is just handful of judges who have given ranges of a minimal 1.5 between the five elements for the same skater; the majority are within a point of each other. Typical is a list of: 7.25, 7.25, 7, 7.5, 7.25, with the transitions mark being the lowest. They seem to think that giving a skater a 6.75 on one element, but a 7 on another is a greater differential than giving that same skater a 6.75 on the first and a 6.25 on the second, because one score is in the 7's and the other has "dropped" to the 6's. Rarely will a judge give Skater A higher scores for one Component and Skater B higher scores for another Component; the scores are used as placements, like the old ordinals system. And where a skater is clearly superior, the judges might cede a higher score, but not proportionally to amount of excellence, leaving the favorites in a position to make up the gap.

Inoue/Baldwin got middling PCS. Except for Totmianina/Marinin, who had the highest technical score, Inoue/Baldwin are in 6th place, because Zhang/Zhang, Pang/Tong, Petrova/Tikhonov, and Shen/Zhao were deemed to have better Skating Skills, Transitions, Interpretation, Choreography, and Performance/Execution.

The differential between 2nd and 3rd is .5, although Petrova/Tikhonov have not skated their Fellini free skate cleanly all year, and Zhang/Zhang have higher base difficulty and are being given very high PCS. The differential between 3rd and 8th is less than 3 points, which is a one element/one fall difference. The issue with Inoue/Baldwin being in 6th instead of 4th is that the pairs skate in five groups of four, and they will be in the pentultimate group, before the zamboni break. (At least the last group gets freshly zambonied ice, which the last group of singles and dance has not in the past.) While the NJS should make skating order moot, there's still the traditional attitude that the last group is the best. While they get a lift, this may be counteracted by having already written a fixed score down for the previous skaters.

Link to comment

CoP is closer to basic multiplication than advanced math. There are two factors for each technical element: how difficult it is, which is reflected in the base score, and how well it was done, which is reflected by the GOE (grade of execution). Conceptually, it's like scoring an entire round of dives from one diver, only all of the elements in skating are done in a row.

In general, a simple element done excellently will score as highly as a more difficult element done adequately will score as high as a very difficult element done poorly:





The components add in a third factor, which is what percentage of the program is done well at the highest degree of difficulty. Then it's a matter of finding the difficulty/quality "average" for choreography, skating skills, etc, and determining what percentage of the program this covered. The third dimension is a lot messier, especially when the same panel of judges is supposed to look at each technical element and to "forget" it before the next, thus not allowing the quality of the last element to effect the judging of the current one. Two types of thinking that don't mix well.

Link to comment


In the pairs free skate, Inoue and Baldwin attempted another throw 3 Axel. Inoue fell badly, but got right up and kept going. Their 7th place finish was 4 places above their 11th place finish at Worlds, and they made history by landing the first throw 3 Axel in Olympic history in the short program.

Shen/Zhao skated very well, considering that he ruptured his Achilles tendon last fall and had only started to jump in January, with his first triple jump attempts in Torino. Unfortunately, in the short program he landed the side-by-side 3Toes, while she put her hand down, and in the free skate, he again landed the 3Toe, but she put her hand down on the 2Toe that followed in combination. (He later singled the solo side by side 2Axel attempt.) Both of their programs are beautifully choreographed by Lori Nichol, and the had an extraordinary amount of difficulty in the transition. In retrospect, had she landed those two jumps with her usual consistency, they would have been silver medallists.

Pang/Tong skated their best free skate of their shaky season, but they just ended up behind Shen/Zhao. I thought they were a bit rough, and their jumps were downgraded to side-by-side 2Toes and a 2Axel/1Toe combination, because she didn't rotate them fully, which probably would have been ignored under the 6.0/OBO system.

Totmianina/Marinin skated a near-flawless performance to end their career with a personal best. I love this pair and am so happy for them. :blink::wink:

Zhang/Zhang skated last and were the only pair to have a mathematical chance to beat Totmianina/Marinin; they scheduled an opening throw 4 Salchow. Dan Zhang got 3.5 times around, but facing front opened out, landed forward on her right toe pick, and in a spread-eagle-like position slammed her left hip and knee into the ice before slamming into the boards. The referee asked them if they would continue to skate, and after a few minutes, they said they'd continue. The rules have changed from giving them the option of starting over or continuing where they left off to dictating that they must start where they left off. Their music started over, and they circled the ice until they picked up with the combination jump, which they landed very well. They skated a little tentatively. She had tight landings on the side-by-side 3Salchows and the throw 3 Loop, and he made a couple of uncharacteristic bobbles, but nothing serious. They had tremendous height on their 3 Twist, and the levels of their elements were all 3's and 4's. Their components scores were behind Shen/Zhao's and Pang/Tongs, but only marginally, which fueled a number of debates on the figure skating boards about whether they deserved a silver (or any) medal after her fall and the interruption, but I have to admire her grit and courage to skate like that after getting the wind knocked out of her and suffering a knee injury.

Link to comment

One thing I noticed about all the pairs except Totmianina/Marinin was their inability to synchronize their turns. Shen/Zhao were, I think, particularly off time with each other in their spins and assorted turns. I don't think I've ever seen an Olympics where the silver and bronze medal holders couldn't do this at least passably well. Add the inability to complete their planned jumps and what I think we ended up with was, aside from Totmianina/Marinin, the weakest field of pairs skaters I can remember. The silver and bronze medal winners are each capable of much better performances when they are healthy but on this particular day, even with all the mistakes, there was no else there to take advantage.

I realize that both the silver and bronze medalists were fighting injuries and that Shen/Zhao's ice time this year has been limited. But what was notable is that there was nobody else who could take full advantage of this. Zhang/Zhang, of course, DID place second over them but it was despite her fall and their subsequent careful performance. In another year, that would've kept them off the podium.

I would love to have seen a clean Zhang/Zhang performance though. Had they been able to do it, I think it would've been a brilliant second place instead of a questionable one. As it was, Zhang skated such a remarkable performance after that fall! Great kudos to her - I don't know how she did it! I agree about the Chinese choreography; it is quite lovely. And the Chinese pairs are rendering it with great expression and intelligence. Shen, in particular, skated with a balletic grace. She used her head beautifully, doing all the little things that a musical dancer - or skater - does. I noted especially that she, unlike any pairs skater I can remember, made certain that when she came off a lift, turned her body out to the audience with her head tilted with lovely expression. I don't know the ballet terms to describe this but it's something the very best ballet dancers do that sets them apart from others. Shen has this lovely quality. She draws the audience in to her.

I disagreed with the commentators who felt that Totmianina/Marinin skated a safe performance. I thought it suited the music brilliantly. They skated fluidly and made something very hard look easy; perhaps that's why the commentator thought it was safe? :beg: In any case, they so deserved their gold medal and I'm delighted for them.

Link to comment

One has to think after last night that one reason American pairs aren't on the podium is because they're not, well, tough enough. Seeing Tatiana and Maxim, Shen and Zhao, and Zhang and Zhang last night made me have enormous admiration for them not only as athletes but as people. They all must have nerves of iron. I thought the judges perhaps got carried away with Zhang and Zhang and I would have given the silver to Shen/Zhao but all of three pairs were champs in my book.

Link to comment

Question for Helene:

Under the old system, the deduction for a fall like Zhang's would have gotten a bigger deduction than, say, a fall to the backside with a quick recovery. Are the missteps weighted in the new system?

The composure that Z&Z mustered to complete the program was awe-inspiring.

I would have liked a bit more pizzazz from T&M, but I can't fault them for choosing to play it safe.

Link to comment

Rena Inoue took a massive fall on the throw 3Axel, got up, and without missing a beat, finished the LP. On CBC Barbara Underhill noted that she saw Inoue do this in practice repeatedly. She is one tough competitor.

Chinese and Soviet pairs teams are/were matched when they were very young, their training was subsidized and centralized, with little parental financial support or interference, and, with rare (and sometimes notorious) exception, they stayed together until the coaches or Federation split them up or they retired. The skaters who trained under the Soviet system also had the advantage of training that emphasized basic skating skills, like efficient and quiet stroking, and synchronicity. The last half hour of each coaching session typically was spent stroking around the rink, and functioned much like barre does for ballet dancers. Berezhnaia/Sikharulidze may have competed after the breakup of the Soviet Union, but their basic training was Soviet. (Not every US coach is like Priscilla Hill, who insisted that Weir, who came to her with few basic skills as a 12-year old, skate pairs, so that he was forced to learn basic stroking and unison. Now, he has among the softest blades in skating.) Often the women, who were selected by body type the same way that ballet dancers were, were very young teenagers when matched to the men, who had reached full height. In the Soviet era, and, after a decade lull, now in Russia, figure skaters are like rock stars and NBA players: in the past, a way to get better apartments and job and educational opportunities; now a lotto-like celebrity scheme. In China, the basic skills are somewhat ignored in lieu of big tricks, but the pay-off for becoming a pairs skater is even comparatively greater than in Russia.

The Soviet Federation also took the best skaters and put them in pairs or dance. Their dominance was such that after a top pair or dance team retired, it was almost unheard of for the new #3 team to place lower than 6th at their first Worlds Worlds, and it wasn't unusual for the #3 team to medal in their first or second Worlds. Despite Ismene Brown's assertion that John Curry and Robin Cousins broke a "superpower" lockjam in Men's singles, after US domination in the 50's, the 1961 plane crash which killed the entire US team and many of the top coaches led to titles by skaters from Canada, France, East Germany, Austria -- the Men's podium was dominated by the three-year run by Austrian Emmerich Danzer (with silvers from fellow Austrian Wolfgang Schwartz in two of these) -- and three consecutive titles from the great Czech skater Ondrej Nepala. Tim Woods of the US won two titles and a silver medal and Gary Visconti two bronzes during the 15-year period from the crash to Curry's gold at Sapporo, and there were two Soviet men, Vladimir Kovalev, and Vladimir Chetverukhin who medalled during the 19-year period from the crash to Cousins' gold in Lake Placid. It wasn't until the mid 1990's that Russian men started to dominate Men's singles. The first World medal won by a Soviet woman was Elena Vodorezova's bronze in 1983, followed by silvers in 1984 by Anna Kondrashova and in 1985 by the late Kira Ivanova. There was not another Soviet Ladies' medal; the first Russian Ladies medallist was Slutskaya's bronze in 1996 -- she also won silver in 1998, 2000, and 2001, and the World titles in 2002 and 2005 -- followed by Butyrskaya's title and Julia Soldatova's bronze in 1999, and Elena Sokolova's silver in 2003. Singles skating was not a priority: the best of the best skated pairs or dance.

Oleg Vassiliev, a product of the Soviet Pairs systems and the 1984 Olympic Gold medallist with Elena Valova, said he had to teach the former singles skaters Totmianina and Marinin skating basics, like brackets and rockers, which, until 1990, they would have learned through the school figures that were then eliminated. That they have such great unison, blade efficiency, and flow is remarkable, considering how late in their teens they started pairs skating. (Marinin gave up singles at 15, the first time he was beaten by the much-younger Plushenko.) Moskvina had more international success with the US team Ina/Zimmerman, whom she co-trained with Berezhnaia/Sikharulidze, than with the young teams of Obertas/Slavnov and the talented Borzenkova/Chivuyaev, who have been unable to break into the top three Russian teams. (Hopefully they'll be competitive after Totmianina/Marinin's and Petrova/Tikhonov's retirement.)

North American pairs have several things that make championships difficult. First is the cost, which is catching up to the Russian skaters. (Moskvina is a coach/agent: she coaches for free, and gets a percentage of the skaters' earnings from their earnings from shows. Tarasova, when she was in Connecticut, and Vassiliev in Chicago have sweetheart deals with rinks, and subsidized their Russian skaters with other earnings.) The cost of training a competitive team is minimally $50K a year, if some things are donated, or one parent barters by running the rink's zamboni, and it's not unusual to cost $100K per year, especially if the skaters are not living at home. Men are at a premium, and often the woman's parents are expected to foot the bill. There's a bitter phrase "rent-a-Russian" to describe the phenomenon, much exaggerated, of the number of Russian skaters who have paired with US partners, but it is much more common for American men to be fully subsidized, because they can call the shots. It also isn't unusual to have the parents of talented young girls in pairs to "hire" an older, experienced partner for an interim period. Having seen the junior pairs at Canadian Nationals this year, if I had a daughter, I would not want her to be lifted by some of the weaker boys, who at 15- or 16- didn't have the upper body strength to secure an overhead lift.

At those prices, US parents want results, and usually rather quickly. There's little social incentive -- the boys are likely to be harrassed at best and beaten up at worst -- apart from the close-knit skating community, and it's a big risk, particularly when two young teenagers are paired, and the growth patterns are yet unknown. For example, the extremely talented #2 Canadian pair of Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison, both second-rank singles skaters, almost quit after she had a growth spurt and the puberty monster struck. (She would not have been accepted in the Soviet program -- one look at her bone structure and musculature would have eliminated her from contention. And she's by no means big.)

Second is relative wealth. US figure skating parents might not all be wealthy, but Plushenko's mother gave up her job to pave streets in sub-zero weather so that she could affort a place in a room in an apartment in St. Petersburg for them to live in. The poverty that practically the entire city of Harbin lived in is inconceivable to North American parents who even consider figure skating for their children. It will be interesting to see in twenty years, after the growth of the middle class in Russia and increased wealth and more general opportunity, whether a coach like Mishin will be able to find the literally hungry young men to dominate the sport.

Third is that there's no centralized system to match skaters. Not every parent is willing to send his/her 13-year-old away to train, which is/was standard for Soviet/Russian training, particularly when there are no dorms or supervision. Pairs matches are made by local coaches in general, and they don't have access to the best matches. Fourth is that there is little respect for the early coach who instills basic skills and then sends his/her student on for advanced training. There's little recognition for the equivalent of Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet-level training in figure skating. It's pretty much all-or-nothing. And since the ticket for getting more and better students is having a successful singles skater, since that is what the demand is for, singles coaches are loathe to turn their very good, but not podium-quality singles skaters over to pairs coaches.

There is an SAB-like academy being created by some of the former Soviet skaters-turned-coach in the US, complete with full training regimen and dormitories. It will be interesting to see whether US parents will adapt to paying tuition and leaving their kids in the hands of the professionals.

Link to comment
Question for Helene:

Under the old system, the deduction for a fall like Zhang's  would have gotten a bigger deduction than, say, a fall to the backside with a quick recovery.  Are the missteps weighted in the new system?

Technically, under the old system, by which I mean the most recent incarnation of the "OBO" (Or Best Ordinal) system before NJS, there were no deductions in the Long Program/Free Skate; the skater's score was supposed to be based on what s/he landed. Only in the Short Program were there mandatory deductions for falls, errors or missed elements. Since the judges were doing all of the valuations in their head -- i.e., determining the relative difficulty and importance of elements, by definition creating a cumulative technical score which, when added to the presentation score, represented placement (first best, second best, better than skater A but worse than skater B), and also determining what element was performed -- it's impossible to say how much a fall or the type of fall would affect the technical score. For example, many commentators felt that if Shen/Zhao had landed the Throw 4Salchow and have been relatively clean for the rest of the program in 2002, at least some of the judges would have given Shen/Zhao first or second place ordinals. It would have required upping the technical and presentation scores, but it wouldn't have been the first time that presentation scores were inflated because of technical accomplishments; I saw this happen under the new system for Mao Asada at Trophee Eric Bompard.

How the type of fall might have impacted the presentation score is also up to the individual judges in both systems, at least in practice. Given that the referee stopped the program after Dan Zhang's fall, one judge might have said that after the program started again, there was no real interruption in the middle of the program, and marked it highly, while another judge might have said it was a huge disruption and marked it lower. Likewise, the first judge might have considered Inoue's fall a huge disruption because it came in the middle of the program, while the second judge would have said, "no big deal, she popped right up," and both of them would be able to defend their positions. Another judge might have deducted for both equally, and another might have ignored both equally.

Under the new system, the element itself was evaluated and downgraded to a throw 3 Salchow, and because there was a fall, the computer assigned an automatic GOE of -3, which translates into a loss of 2 points for that element, and a fall deduction of -1. Zhang/Zhang got credit for a base score of 4.5 -2 for the element, or 2.5, but their total score was reduced by 1 point as well. Under OBO on the technical side, they shouldn't have been given credit for the element, but, again, some judges might have given them some props for trying, all rolled up into that single technical score. When Shen/Zhao fell on the 4Salchow attempt in SLC, while they received third-place ordinals across the board, the Russian judge, Marina Sanaia, gave Totmianina/Marinin a higher mark for tech, but the tie-breaker for the Free Skate was based on the second mark. (Every other judge scored Shen/Zhao higher in tech.)

Different judging panels under the old system seemed to reward different types of performances. In general, for Men's skating under OBO, particularly after school figures were devalued and then eliminated, the truism at least was if both skaters were in the same general league, there was a scorecard of jump attempts, and whoever landed the most and/or hardest relatively cleanly and not horribly underrotated won. For example, at the Calgary Olympics in 1988 after Brian Boitano skated a flawless long program, Brian Orser had a faulty landing on a jump towards the beginning of his program. The US commentators immediately said that it was over, Boitano had won the gold. It didn't matter that Orser's program might have been more technically difficult to offset the error, or that he might have had better skating skills. That particular panel judged in a way that seemed to endorse the old gymnastics way of scoring: you started with a 10 and each error chipped away at it; there was no making anything up with extra credit. The same happened in Salt Lake City, when Anton Sikharulidze had a faulty landing on the 2Toe in combination, which was a momentary "blip." To many US and Western European commentators, that was the deciding factor: Berezhanaia/Sikharulidze had made a mistake, and Sale/Pelletier had not.

Of course, since there isn't a set of individual elements and components to see, we really don't know what factored into the judges' decision. Maybe they thought Boitano was more spontaneous and interpretive than Orser, or they thought that Boitanos individual jumps in general warranted higher scores. Maybe each judge had his/her own reasoning. Maybe the judges who didn't care which North American won had made a deal on behalf of one of their own skaters in another discipline. In an interview a couple of years ago, when she was still coaching in California, Irina Rodnina said that Frank Carroll was naive: since the Russian judge didn't care whether Kwan or Lipinski won gold in 1998, he should have sent a bottle of vodka to the Russian judge to ensure the judge's loyalty and vote.

The last time OBO was used for Worlds was 2004, but it was the second season that CoP was used for the Grand Prix events. Stefan Lindemann of Germany won the bronze medal in Dortmund, and a lot of fans thought Stephane Lambiel of Switzerland "wuzrobbed" because he landed one more quad than Lindemann and had more inventive spins in general. (I say "in general" because he had one perfunctory, fairly mediocre camel spin as well, and one of his fancier spins had a significant travel.) It may very well have been that the judges were swayed by the crowd or the amazing practices Lindemann had had all week -- the judges attend practices, in theory so they know what to expect -- or they may have actually done the math to find that Lindemann had difficult entrances into a couple of jumps, like a spread eagle into a 3Axel and steps into the 3Lutz, a 3Axel/3Toe combination, and generally smoother flow out of his jumps, which could have evened out the advantage on the quad and the larger mistake he made on the quad combo. That's the kind of "reasoning" that's built into the technical scores under NJS, except the computer contains the data and makes the calculations based on the judges' GOE scores.

Link to comment

I think that as good as Totmianina and Marinin were last night, they didn't have the artistry and charisma of past Russian pairs like Gordeeva&Grinkov, Miskutchunok &Dmitriev, and Berezhnaya&Sikharaulidze. There has been a drop in quality. Of course pairs seems to go in cycles. After 1994, it was a relative wasteland. The pairs that won were nothing to get excited about. Even in 1998 Kazakova and Dmitriev were nowhere as polished and beautiful as M&D. B&S's partnership was then in its infancy; they had an ugly spill in the final moment of their LP (which Anton called "the new landing position"). But then Shen/Zhao came up through the ranks, B&S polished their partnership, and along came Sale/Pelletier. So by 2002 the issue was too much talent at the top. I can only hope for a revival in the future.

I cant wait to see the men's short program tonight. Plushenko will probably win, but the skater that fascinates me the most is Emanuel Sandhu. When he's on (which is not often) he's just out of this world.

Link to comment
I disagreed with the commentators who felt that Totmianina/Marinin skated a safe performance. I thought it suited the music brilliantly. They skated fluidly and made something very hard look easy; perhaps that's why the commentator thought it was safe?  :wink: In any case, they so deserved their gold medal and I'm delighted for them.

I totally agree with you. The only thing tentative about their performance, which has been the case since her awful fall last year, is that he is very careful during the lifts. Still, they had great ice coverage, and her air position is lovely. The rest of the program fit the music like a glove. I was lucky to see a lesser performance of this program in Paris last fall, but their soft blades and ice coverage don't translate very well to TV. Pang/Tong were at TEB, too, and there was no comparison.

I would love to see Shen/Zhao's Madame Butterfly program skated cleanly. She does have such great attention to detail, and Lori Nichol has done two beautiful, transition-filled programs for them. In an interview today they said that while they wouldn't be at the next Olympic games in Vancouver, they are not planning to retire, because Shen still wants to skate.

The Chinese pairs are notorious for having bad side-by-side spins, although they have been steadily improving. It was ironic that Pang/Tong excelled on this element last night, while they had little errors on other elements that are usually consistent for them.

Link to comment

OK, I just saw the American telecast of Plushenko's short, expecting phenomenal things of a 90 score, and I was profoundly underwhelmed. Is it just me or was his choreography positively spastic?

And Lambiel just finished. I can appreciate the differences in technical excellence, but the choreography here was soooo much better. The costume though.... :wink:

Link to comment
I thought Plushenko's skating was excellent but the choreography had little to do with the music and it was WAY too frontloaded.

Front-loading has been a characteristic of Russian singles short programs for years, and there has never been a discernable penalty in the presentation mark (OBO) or choreography component score (CoP) for doing so. Slutskaya has started her short program with the three jumps since at least 2002. Most singles skaters couple two jumps and then leave the third to the third-to-last element.

However, if you look at the opening elements for the free skate, just about every skater starts with the three hardest jump elements, usually including the hardest jump combination, then a spin, then another jump. Sometimes it's four jumps and a spin, and rarely two jumps, a spin, two jumps. It's a way to get the hardest things over with, and then a break, before the lactic acid builds up to turn the legs into noodles.

Link to comment

I am so impressed with Johnny Weir's skate...beautiful...He has the perfect physique for skating. He is very graceful and possesses excellent line. A dancer on ice! And, a male swan...a masculine male swan...graceful and powerful. I really enjoyed his choreography for the short program. I haven't watched a lot of skating in the past couple of years and wasn't up on the new talent out there. But, I will certainly keep my eye on this talented young skater.

Link to comment
Front-loading has been a characteristic of Russian singles short programs for years, and there has never been a discernable penalty in the presentation mark (OBO) or choreography component score (CoP) for doing so.  Slutskaya has started her short program with the three jumps since at least 2002.  Most singles skaters couple two jumps and then leave the third to the third-to-last element.

Just a note: the new judging system (IJS: International Judging System) provides a significant 'bonus' for jump elements skated at the end of the program. This is where you see the 'fitness' (or lack :wink: )of the athlete come into play...

Link to comment
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...