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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Worlds 2013: 1st Day

That Mens competition was really an emotional roller coaster. I had put myself into my reclining chair and was in the most chillaxing of moods. I had already followed the Pairs SP and had just returned from an evening session where I indulged into my own humble skating efforts. (To be honest, I was rather great today :D, but that's for a different column.)

Unfortunately, I can't make a case for the programmes of S/S this season, but as much as I don't fancy their stuff, they are not worse than what V/T are putting out there. What we are witnessing is the ever more gradually growing gap between V/T and the rest of the field, most importantly S/S. K/S delivered, and I was pleasantly surprised, I fancied them ever since they toned themselves down a little. Much appreciated K/S, all in all, lots of the lower pairs had better programmes and performances than the upper pairs. B/H and J/C for instance. Anyhow, on to the Men. These days, Canada is on daylight saving time, even before it hits Europe, so watching is rather convenient.

Now, there were a few "huh?"-moments during our watching of the competition. One of the first ones was after the programme of Brian Joubert. We like Brian. He can always count on a soft spot in our hearts, so he did somehow deliver, and with Quad+Double I suspected his scores to be in the high 70s, maybe 80. He got 84! At Euros he got 83 something with a 4+3. That made me say: What's going on here?

My old skating love Tomas Verner messed up all of his jump elements and managed to score 68 something, in the vein of an almost but not quite clean Misha Ge who once again put all his Panache on display. I am above reproach when it comes to bias against Tomas Verner, but I wondered, he had scored worse with better performances in the past.

Denis Ten, a skater with very good skating skills, and a previous record of 78 something in the SP, scored a whopping 91!!! While he really put it down, it made us wonder.

Then it dawned upon us. It was the love of the Canadians for huge scores. And, presumably, the setting up of a clean Chan for a record breaking international score. (Granted, it's Worlds but it's also Canada) Note that I'm not saying a messy Chan would have been propped up. But Skate Canada and the crowd just love huge scores. I remember Debbie Wilkes at Canadian Nationals a year ago or two talking up the nationals records to please the crowd, it's just the longing for new records and higher scores. Nothing wrong with that, if it keeps you interested in the sport.

Chan, thankfully, delivered and was awarded with a whopping 98. He is in 1st place, and deservedly, just for the record. (His programmes this year are better than ever, and I don't question him having a modern dance coach or whatever, it's doing him good as far as I am concerned) Everyone who has the potential to score similarly high PCS faltered today: Takahashi had too many URs, Hanyu messed up his quad and combo, etc. etc. We all know that the PCS factor for the LP is 2, which makes it harder to catch up on the tech side only. The Mens segment is, thusly,  already decided.

I wonder if that is the competition format to further embrace. Even if we set aside the problems of the IJS for a moment, we are still left with a Men's event that's virtually decided after the short programme. Under 6.0 we had the factor of the favoured skater delivering and being given 6.0s, but he could never be further ahead than his 1st place ordinal allowed him to be. Be it as it may. There is still the Ladies event. Traditionally not as over scored as the Men or Dance. As the Pairs are catching up, maybe the Ladies will too at these Worlds.

Tot later, guys :D


  1. I don't think it's the Canadian love for big scores; I suspect it's something that the ISU actively encourages as we move towards the Olympics. We'll probably be seeing massive scores for the next year for anyone who delivers or comes close to it.

  2. It's probably a bit of both. I don't think the ISU encourages that huge national inflation, for example. I do think big numbers are a tool that is used by Skate Canada to generate interest. Why not actually, it's what the sport is about.

    The powers that be in skating think they can generate exitement by big numbers, which, as you say, lead up to new glorious heights at the next Olympics.

    It's only logical as we have a perfectly measurable sport. Measurable sports need new records! It'll be interesting to see how long we can keep this going. At some point the points scale wouldn't allow for higher numbers, but that can always be changed, by raising the values for all elements or applying greater PCS factors. You read it here first. The numbers have to rise :D

  3. I don't really understand the Canadian inflation arguments because the judges are from various countries. Could you please explain to me how you think it may work? (I am not being confrontational, but really can't come up with possible explanations.)

    1. Hi Anon, thanks for your comment. I actually am not trying to attack Canadian skating or anything, the marks are inflated across the board, and the clear winner of a segment got boosted under 6.0 as well and that carries over to IJS.

      Maybe it's just me, but there were several events like Skate Canadas, this Worlds and some others etc. were the marks felt inflated with regard to the meta scoring before and after. I also feel Canadian Nationals is at the top the most inflated national event but others are trying their best to catch up.

      As Rose above has mentioned, it's probably also a general factor leading up to the Olympics. At a certain point in time, was it before Vancouver?, the judges were encouraged to make use of the whole scale of PCS numbers and also GOEs. That is probably done in seminars and event meetings. They do have those meetings and gatherings and I think it becomes known what is expected of you where the range of scores is concerned. If everyone knows all others move their range up, he is likely to follow as it doesn't skew the results and you remain within the corridor.

      There is also the fact we had a lot of big scores this season, and that probably made the judges raise their scoring thresholds as well to account for all the excellence that was supposed to happen.

      Again, it sounds worse than it probably is. Maybe events in Canada are not more inflated than others. Or only very slightly so and we have a season climax coinciding with a quadrennium climax and the overall increase all of which accounts for the scores. I should set up a poll. Some kind of inflation exists and whether it occurs in Canada or somewhere else I don't think the judges come up with it each on their own and suddenly all agree that the skating at event x is so much better than at event y.

    2. The Pink Tulip, thank you very much for your quick and detailed explanations. Definitely a great food for thought. Many thanks.

    3. My pleasure :), as much as my first reflex was inflation, of course we're in Canada, I have to track back a little on my theories. I blame the blame Canada post. :P

      My latest thoughts have me thinking that it's probably really due to leading up to the Olympics in the grander scheme (Hi Rose), and, individually, the numbers of great high scoring performances that could have happened, considering top scoring skaters like Chan, Fernandez, Hanyu, Takahashi were participating. That factor elevates the scoring of the whole competition and enables higher GOE, I think. The judges probably were expecting a better event and were ready to make use of higher scoring.

      I still expect Olympic records, it's like track and field at the Summer Olympics. It's so much better with new records. :)