February 12, 2009

The Problem With The Judging

is the judges - IMHO.

You could ask any construction worker on the street and they'll tell you figure skating is (was) one of the most crooked sports.

When I was a kid, a long, long, long time ago in the 70s, me and my skating friends would play a game with our U.S.F.S.A. magazine. We would find a page with an international competition, usually Worlds, and match each skater's nationality with the judge of that nationality. Most of the time, that was the skater's highest ordinal. Especially if they were east of the Iron Curtain.

I think a lot of this came to light when the French judge exposed the whole swapping votes thing. But it had been going on for a long time.

Look, I can't say I blame someone (especially in the 70s)if they wanted to get out of their country and jump aboard the judging boondoggle. They feed you, you get put up in nice hotels, nowadays you probably get a nice bit of swag as well.

But you tell me, will it get better by Vancouver, or is it just as likely that there could be a corrupt scheme brewing?

My solution - Each judge should also be judged by how close their score came to the overall score for that skater. (If you placed your little Suzie at number one, but she really came out sixth overall - that's not good.) And if your placement was the outlyer, you get docked points, or don't get points or something like that.

Put their performance on the line.

With the new system and random judges being selected, it seems that judges have more incentive to boost the ranking of their country's skater and not be objective.

Aaarrghh! But then again, what do I know. I just like to watch strong freestyle programs with long spread eagles (Brian Boitano) or ina bauers (Lisa Marie Allen) or a super tight scratch spins with a long wind up (Dorothy Hamill) or a bunch of Russian split jumps (Toller Cranston). I said I was old, remember?

1 comment:

Laura said...

Nice post. One thing I definitely think is that there has to be some sort of accountability. I see the idea behind having scores be anonymous, but an argument can be made for transparency as well.

Also, on a side note, I have noticed that the idea of judging bias is still very pervasive in our society, as my friends often jokingly blame "the Russian judge" for things. It is probably a product of being raised amid the Cold War pop culture madness of the 80s!