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Saturday, Feb. 4, 2006

Responses, Part 16
Should judging in figure skating be examined?

Here are responses to the above question:

I am currently residing in the U.K. so had to record the Pairs final on video. This gave me the opportunity to rewind and review as many times as necessary to reassure myself I just wasn't being a flag-waving Canadian thinking Sale and Palletier were the absolute best competitors and very deserving of the gold medal. The judging was an absolute travesty of justice and should be challenged. Sale and Palletier know, as do all who watched them, that they are the rightful Olympic champions. Congratulations to them.

Name : Elizabeth Simpson

I'm an American and I definitely think that your pairs skaters were plainly robbed of 1st place. I'm glad that they are investigating that. However the pair handled the whole thing in a very professional way and I hope that this never happens again to anyone.
Yvonne McCaw

YES!!! I live in Columbus, Ohio and have been a figure skating fan for years, and my 13 year old son is a talented figure skater (but then, he's part Canadian!). This result was the worst I've seen in over 25 years of watching skating. It was an embarrassment for the sport. I don't blame the Russian skaters, but they should lose their medals and the gold clearly belongs to Sale and Pelletier.
Denise Mirman

Being Canadian at first I thought Canada was cheated. But after watching a replay of the Russians and Canada and seeing on what points they were evaluated upon such as speed and passion, I have reversed my decision and now believe that the Russians do deserve the medal. They skated at a faster pace, looked more artistic and appeared to have more passion. Even after they completed their performance, the Russians stayed together and hugged. The Canadians kissed the ice and did no go next to each other till well after their performance was complete.
George Ritcho

I am very concerned about the fairness of judging - more so in ice dance but also in pairs. I think that the number of former Soviet republics providing judges lends to this unfairness but don't know how one can balance the scales towards fairness. The Russian coach implied that there was a North American bias in the ISU Grand Prix final so that last night's bias was OK. I don't agree with her remarks. Also, the results of the ice dance competition should be closely watched and if Bourne and Kratz do end up in 5th place then I think that there really is a HUGE problem.
Ann Devereux

Any investigation will come up as inconclusive!

Watching the Sale and Pelletier performance last night was a very moving four minutes of sheer beauty and perfection. They were wonderful and totally flawless, they deserve the very highest of accolades for their devotion to the sport. After the stupidity of the decision I was very moved, devastated and extremely proud to be called a Canadian. They were very gracious in their defeat, which was only in the judges' eyes. The rest of the world saw the real winners.
Jeff Warren

What amazes me is that the Chinese pair made it to third. If this isn't evidence of judging collusion I don't know what else is. The sticking point that everybody is arguing, is the question of technical difficulty. From what I can tell this is left up to the subjectivity of the judges. From what I understand in other judged sports they assign a difficulty factor to a performance and the judges numbers are multiplied by this number giving a point total. Bringing in an assigned risk factor would definitely bring an element of risk reward to the sport, bringing the possibility of a more open competition. Those who perform a riskier performance and pull it off will be rewarded with a substantial higher point score.
Simon Lepik

So the latest news is that the ISU has launched an inquiry into the pairs results to respect public opinion! What a farce. The ISU will stand behind its corrupt judges as it always does.
Petra Zimmermann

This appears to have been fixed for years. Everyone should remember Elvis' disappointment a few years back. I think what we need is a larger pool of judges, picked at the very last possible time. What we have now amounts to a bribed jury. How can anyone get a fair trial.
Bill Arsenault

It's quite simple - figure skating is a tainted sport. By association, this taints the Olympics. It's a shame for the athletes, but a sport with a track record like figure skating should not be allowed to continue in the Olympics.
Steve Kelloway

From a fan in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. The Canadian Pairs Skaters were robbed! There work was flawless and emotion-filled...they saw an opportunity and rose to accept it. But they showed their true integrity and true professionalism after the contest, a showing that should make all of Canada extremely proud. I let my children stay up late to watch the contest and this was a fantastic example for them of what is not fair in life but more importantly, the perfect example of true sportsmanship in the way that these two folks acted after the contest. Thanks to the athletes for such a great example of professionalism and for a true gold medal performance.
Ken Pierannunzi

Thank you for the opportunity to vent frustration over this issue. As a little girl, I always loved to watch figure skating. The movements and the music sent me in to their world. All I know about skating I learned from the media and clearly, what happened on Monday with the decision to award gold in favor of an unworthy couple was a complete abrogation of the judges' responsibility to see what was before them and judge accordingly. These elitists who set themselves above everyone else answer to no one. They need to be subject to an overseeing body. It was plain to see, even to an uneducated eye, that the Canadian pair deserved to win. Either there needs to be an end put to this bias form of judging or take it out of the Olympics altogether.
Audrey Maynard
Armstrong, B.C.

When I was a teenager 35 years ago there were big discussions about why judges for international figure skating events always were favouring Soviet/Russian skaters. Nothing has changed.

I certainly feel sorry for all the young people who believe that through hard work, perseverance and relentless practice they can reach their dreams. The block judges in Monday night's pairs skating certainly made a mockery of the Olympic ideals. The block judges should lose all future opportunities to judge any further skating competitions. They should be relegated to judging their own dreary and distorted reflections in the mirror of public opinion. I am certain their reflections will not please them.
Bill Scrafton

You have a situation here where the worlds most corrupt, and corruptible sport, figure skating is being judged by the worlds most corrupted organization. the IOC. What other outcome would you expect? When the advertisers and those who fund the Olympics begin to scream "enough", something may change
Will Robinet
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