In the recent ISU competitions, the scores are vastly bloated or devalued. Whether regional or international, it seems no difference.
Does this mean actual improvement in skating performances? Hardly.
The protocol scores are not just a comparative gauge to determine a winner in a specific competition; it is also a measurable standard to the level of performance that can reflect and substantiate the quality of performance.
The recent judging practice in that regard defeats the very purpose of scoring as record and undermines the stability of scoring system as a whole.
Even though this phenomenon stems from inherent flaws in the COP policy in which various qualities of skating are bundled and packed off, which makes it look not judging but a list of excuses of how to run an inadequate system in an arbitrary and uncreative way, especially evident in the current GOE guidelines and its rigid execution with 1 increment.
However, this inborn defect in the current judging system has been in place since 2004 and therefore, the recent scoring inflation in all competitions could have been influenced by other than the aforementioned.
As the 2014 Sochi Olympics approaches, international rivalry naturally ignites the patriotic passion in the sport arena so that judges in national competitions tend to lavish points to its own athletes.
For that reason, nationals’ scores have long been discredited internationally, but what is being developed lately seems alarming, because even four years ago, the scoring inflation wasn’t as conspicuous as now.
In the recent US and Canada nationals , the panel of each competition showered the winners with a row of perfect 10s as though it was prearranged.
What is problematic about this is not politics but the ISU’s near sighted vision in judging system and its philosophical ignorance of figure skating and its evolution.
Since its introduction of the COP system, the ISU has never bothered looking into the matter presented to them.
Of course, I do not believe in any radical move such as abolishment of the COP or any change of competition format. But the current COP can be better run and used. Although I, a patron of the COP, in the past hardly contended with the result of competitions no matter how majority of public voiced otherwise, the current mess is due to the ISU’s mismanagement.
While the absolute majority ladies skaters cannot digest the jumping requirement, except Yuna Kim or a few elites, the ISU has no intention to alleviate the burden from them. That is, let us say, inevitable. The sport, in nature, is challenging. Right.
Then a question.
Look at the ice dancing. Now judges are on the brink of giving out perfect score as obvious in US and Canada nationals; the scores are saturated. Look into the performance. Though admirable in every aspect, the competition itself lack of jumping technique which is a stark contrast with singles.
The pairs competitions are all about pairing and synchronizing in hop and bob?
Driving singles, especially ladies, into a field of jumping gamble is one thing that there is little room for artistic development or margin for skaters to maneuver; but chocking up the pairs competitions with 10s in a row only renders the ISU incorrigible delinquency.
Is it a time to put some weight on the pairs and alleviate the burden from singles? Or at least stop devaluing the current scoring system.
The difficulty of requirement such as jumps makes a majority of skaters indiscriminately imbecile, thus differentiation among them proves to be as difficult as its requirement imposed upon skaters. This in return forces the judges to inflate the numbers to heighten the distinction among skaters’ performances.
Isn’t it a pity that pairs enjoy free jump zones while singles fight their way through trench warfare of triple or quad?
It is a time to practice some conservative marking on the protocol, especially a time to upgrade the pairs competition with jumping requirement instead of mass production of the 10s.