Figure Skating | Another View 09/03/2013

Ice SkatingThe ISU Judging System (aka Code of Points or the International Judging System) is the scoring system used to judge the figure skating disciplines of men's and ladies' singles, pair skating, ice dancing, etc.

The system was designed and implemented - since 2004 - by the International Skating Union (ISU), the sport's governing body, and is used in all international ISU competitions. It was created in response to the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics' figure skating scandal in an attempt to make the judging more objective and less vulnerable to abuse. (source: Wikipedia)

One comment on the WDSF Judging System 2.0 makes reference to the ISU system by describing it as follows.

Lots of numbers that make no sense until one gets the printed protocols, that alienate casual fans and take forever to appear on screen.

The same comment also questions whether the ISU system ultimately brought the desired changes to the judging of figure skating.

No, it hasn't improved judging transparency, pre-judging, feedback, or made the final results any more user-friendly for skating. It has only made all programmes tend to look alike to rack up points - because clean but simple moves don't get rewarded. 

Achieving perfection is an evolutionary process. That applies as much to skating (dancing) as it does to designing fair and transparent systems for the evaluation of an artistic and sporting performance. The Judging System 2.0 should exemplify such a process as much as daringly new and difficult moves shown in a skater's routine. Clean and simple is okay. Difficult while still clean should be better - at least in sports. 

WDSF has used its "New Judging System" since 2009 in GrandSlam finals. The five Component Scores  and the totals were not only posted within 10 seconds after the end of each dance, they also seemed to make sense to experts as well as casual fans (click here). And the Judging System 2.0 only seeks to improve on that further.

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