The current COP (Code of Points) — arguably the most complex and sophisticated yardstick the ISU ( International Skating Union) has ever devised — is barely a six year old system. Naturally revisions are expected, almost annually, and it’s vitally important to get rid of aggravatingly elusive loopholes that would damage the judging proficiency.
Question, however, is how the revision should be done.
That’s exactly what the ISU didn’t seem quite sure of. Especially, which elements ought to be further itemized or which elements ought to be assigned for the panel of judges to make out instead of relying on the systematic control.
The 2010 US National was a humorless joke that Rachael Flatt had scored higher than Mirai Nagasu. It’s a fine case for the COP dissents to point out that the mathematically elaborate system doesn’t work.
Or, it’s just the ISU’s lack of imagination.
How could they ignore the fact that we have a broad spectrum of jumpers — from Yuna Kim to Rachael Flatt? Compare Flatt’s jumps to Nagasu’s. Nagasu is not even among the top jumpers. Nevertheless you’d be more than willing to hand out better GOEs(Grade of Execution) on Nagasu’s under-rotated jump than Flatt’s fully-rotated-but-as-raw-as-can-be one. And worse yet, if the protocols suggest that both two skaters’ fully-rotated jumps can be theoretically equal, you feel muddled because your eyes beg to differ.
Sadly, since the 2002 judging scandal, the figure skating judges reduced to a group of observers twirling complimentary flicks on the GOE screen.
What were they actually trying to accomplish by asking the judges in space suit to dance?
It was the ISU’s shortsighted vision that failed the system to reconcile the visual illusion with technical accuracy. Unable to fully exercise their discretion, the panel of judges actually undid what they were asked to, of course that’s not their blame.
Jumps consist of many segments that need to be evaluated. Entrance speed, take-off, jump height, air position, revolutions, landing, and running edge, all of them are essential to constitute a perfect and ideal jump.
Quality is what the GOE stands for. If qualities are not rewarded or penalized, it fundamentally invalidates judging itself.
The smoking gun is over-restricted GOE guideline by which the judges are supposed to award from -3 to +3 with 1 increment at TES, which’s overly simplified while PCS allows judges to mark a quarter of a point increment.
Let judge be judge.
Fairness roots in common sense. You don’t have to be Einstein to debate over Schrödinger’s cat prowling on the alley of the COP system. Each point of the protocol won’t give you a hint of the final score, and you might not fully understand real values of technical elements in the figure skating as opposed to component elements, but rest assured that it will be okay as long as the final picture looks as agreeable.
Some might feel quirky. Don’t worry. Einstein didn’t like it either. The truth is, however, chaotic randomness is the basis of an orderly Newtonian world. Let us not push the uncertainty to be certain, or we may get lost in the wood.
The ISU may wonder if the GOE manual needs to stretch well over a thousand pages long, but in the end, it’s common sense that needs to chisel the rough spots.