Work and World

How Figure Skating Scoring Rewards Risk Over Artistry

That’s Mirai Nagasu, who’s competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics in
Pyeongchang. Got the triple axel, triple triple, another triple toe combo. There’s
a checklist, I’m checking them all. which is why so few women ever attempt it. But for how many points it’s
worth, At the 2018 US Figure Skating Championship in San
Jose, California, Mirai failed to cleanly land a triple axel. right here While her Olympic teammate Bradie Tennell
perfectly completed the easier double axel, despite the stumble Mirai’s jump was worth almost two points more than
Bradie’s. Figure skating scoring is complicated. When the score comes up and
it says 127.48 I have no idea if I should be excited or
not. I don’t know what that means. And the new scoring system has changed how
competitors skate and how they win. Here’s how the current scoring system
works. Skaters perform two routines, the short
program and the free skate and they receive two sets of scores for each. The technical element score evaluates the difficulty and execution of a skaters
jumps, spins, and footwork. Each element has a base value and a panel of nine
judges provides grade of execution scores which range from +3 to
-3. The highest and the lowest scores of the judges are ignored
and average of the remaining seven scores is added to the base value. The program component score judges a skaters presentation or artistry. Judges award
points from 0.25 to 10 on the main program components, including skating
skills, transitions, performance, composition, and interpretation of the
music. Altogether, the combined total score of the short and free skate
determine the final standings. The goal of this new system is to make every
element accountable for. And while it has, the system has also had a huge effect on
the sport and the skaters themselves. You’re seeing a lot more skaters now try
all these quads and the program becomes messy because maybe they’re not so
consistent on it, but they’re hoping that because it’s a good base value that they
can up their technical score and then their artistic score starts to to lag
behind. That’s Tara Lipinski. In 1998 she became
the youngest person to win an Olympic gold for the ladies single event. Some of the skaters are losing the artistry, because they’re trying to cram in
everything when they’re not prepared for it yet. Merely attempting a difficult jump can
earn a higher score than perfecting a slightly simpler jump. Skaters can
increase their grade of execution scores and earn bonus points for things like
placing jumps into the second half of the program. Now this is an amazingly challenging program. Every single jump pass is in the second half. Or completing a jump with
your hands in the air, but arguably it seemingly gives less incentive for
skaters to simplify the routines and perform elements cleanly. If they do, they
won’t be able to win. At the 2017 Four Continents Championship in Gangnam, South Korea Mirai’s fellow Olympic teammate Nathan
Chen won gold and became the first and only skater to complete five different
types of quadruple jumps in competition. That’s five, the first time ever. Based on the difficulty of his elements
Nathan’s technical score was 32.97 points higher than
Jason Brown, who had no quads in his routine. Unlike the program component
score, there is but artistry is
still important, as it can be the difference between two skaters competing
with similar technical elements. Pushing the difficulty envelope is not an
inherently bad thing, as it helps the sport to evolve, but I also think at the
same time we have to figure out a way to make these skaters have a
clean skate. Because at the end of the day when you strip the drama and the politics of
the sport, skaters, like all athletes, dedicate their lives training and
working towards this one specific goal. And they just want to be able to skate
knowing they’ve been judged fairly. It’s why we have the new system in the first
place. When it was revealed that a French judge fix the results of the 2002
Olympic pairs event so that the Russians would win, the new system was created as
a step towards accountability and decreasing subjectivity. Figure skating has always been a subjective sport and it’s not like racing or
basketball or hockey where it’s easy to see, but you know performing is something
I really love and I love skating and so I try to follow the rules to the best of
my ability and to garner as many points as I can. The International Skating Union
which governs the sport, says it wants to close the gap between the artistic and
technical aspects of the sport. There are proposals to reduce the base value of
quad jumps or have three different medals, one for technical, one for
artistic, and one for all-around. And scoring changes have already been
approved, like increasing grade of execution scores to range from negative
5 to +5 and standardizing those intervals. These changes won’t be
implemented until after the 2018 Olympics and whether they will produce
more artistry, remains to be seen. We have evolved so much and it is
harder and it is going to continue to get harder, but that is the beauty of
sport and I can’t wait to see what what’ll happen
no guts no glory right? you
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