Thursday, February 25, 2010

how judging works in figure skating

I have the benefit of watching Olympic figure skating with a friend who judges national competitions, and whose mother is on the Board of Directors for U.S. Figure Skating. While we are marveling at the fact that the skaters don't fall, Whitney is watching critically, and will murmur "that didn't land clean" right after a jump. And, lo and behold, on the super-slow motion replay, the skater did indeed land a quarter rotation behind where she was supposed to in order to receive full marks for that jump. How Whitney is able to see all this in the .4 seconds of the landing is beyond me.

Besides explaining the difference between a toe loop and a Salchow, Whitney also educates us about the new judging system, which may as well be linear algebra. 6.0 is easy for me to understand. Technical elements, grades of execution, base scores...I'm glad there are computer systems that can crunch the numbers.

This NPR post has a great AP video about the new figure skating judging system, and how it is applied to pairs, singles, and ice dancing events.

Howcast has a video that primarily focuses on singles events, with some background on why the scoring system was revised:

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