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Saturday, Feb. 4, 2006

Responses, Part 17
Should judging in figure skating be examined?

Here are responses to the above question:

In the current system of Figure Skating judging, judges and referees are accountable to no one and as such are free to be as crooked as they wish with complete impunity. So, yes, of course judging in figure skating needs to be examined - it needs a complete overhaul. However, the reality of the situation is that once this latest scandal becomes yesterday's news, all this furor will be for naught.
Rose Crawford

It should not be examined by the ISU. They have no more credibility than the IOC. The difficulty is that you are left without anyone to do the job and until some party or agency is found, figure skating will retain its place as the winter Olympic judging joke, equivalent to boxing in the summer games.

When Elvis Stojko made his misstep he ended in seventh place and the commentator said immediately he was out of the medals. While the Russian pairs skater made a similar error he maintained gold. One of the most instructive and valuable bits of coverage was when Ron Mclean of CBC had Ms.Rehorick give a detailed analysis of the two performances. I thought her analysis was very fair and gave us- the average spectator- even greater insight into the flagrancy of this gold medal hijacking. A partial solution is that judges be required to give public and open critiques of why they made their decisions, especially where the decision is in dispute. Presently they operate behind a screen of anonymity where they can do deals and not be accountable. It is common practice for art and music adjudicators to justify their judgments. If ISU judges had to publicly defend their judgments they would think twice about cooking the books.
Robert Billyard

I think it is all fixed before the competition even begins so I don't watch it any more thank you very much. My time is too precious to waste on stupid judges.
Helene Pharand

Figure skating, in its present form, should never be an Olympic sport. The Olympics are about athletic competition not "artistic expression." That's exactly why you can have controversies such as the one here: who knows how the so-called judges define "presentation" marks? Obviously it is a very esoteric domain as the whole lay world disagrees with them. Reform figure skating to be an athletic competition with clearly defined rules or get it out of the Olympics. At least stop calling it a sport!!
Al Montero

After witnessing once again the unfairness of judges towards Canadian athletes, I am now convinced that these games are fixed from the onset. I would not pay one penny to go see one of these performances, nor would I support my government if they would so much as contribute money towards these schemes. I find it appalling that after all the work and effort our young people go through to reach this type of excellence that they can be so easily denied their just rewards.
Ronald Rochon

Judges should be selected from a pool of qualified people X minutes before the event at random - that way there is little or no opportunity for collusion
Jason Koulouras

If athletes are found to have cheated, they are stripped of their medals. The same standards should apply to the judges of figure skating. They should be stripped of their decision and banned from the sport. An objective judging panel can and should be convened to review the athletes' performances and judge the event fairly. This abomination should not be allowed.
Albert Fialkow

Canada, suck it up. It was close. The Russians are better skaters in any case. The Canadians had a 3-year-old program. Judging? I noticed the Canadian judge drastically lowball the first Chinese pair for presentation. The Europeans and Asians prefer the classical skater. Agreed? Then Pelletier shouldn't have acted like an orangutan at the end of the routine.
Joe Cole

We should hold out for nothing less than complete reversal of the tainted judges decision. What ever it takes! We are gold.
Michael Russo

Dear Canada, I am an American male living in NYC. Frankly, I am as well equipped to judge figure skating as I am to travel to Saturn. I also have no vested interests in seeing Canadians win over Russians. I watched every minute of the figure skating the other night. Being in NYC, I have had the advantage of watching it through the eyes of the NBC cameras on New York Television. I saw every move, and again in slowed instant replay. I got up and screamed after the Canadian Pair finished the long program! I got up again and screamed after the judge's scores were in! Within seconds of the performances, I saw them again in slow motion, and it confirmed the Canadian's Gold Medal Right. I am so outraged. This has literally ruined the last 2 days for me. It is also very obvious that the Russian pair knew they were not gold. Although it is not the Russian pair's fault, if they were decent human beings they would already have traded medals with the Canadian pair. I was actually hoping that they would have done so during the A.M. press conference on Wednesday. Of course, they did not. However, if they had traded, they would have joined the Canadian pair in being the "darlings" of the free world. What this says to me is that 14 years after the fall of the Soviet Union, there is still quite a bit of suspect left. As far as I'm concerned, the COLD WAR has begun again! Joseph Zajkowski
New York

Given the International Olympic Committee's clear commitment to a "Doping Control Program" to identify corrupt athletes, perhaps it's time that they commit to a "Dope Control Program" to identify corrupt figure skating judges!! Like every Canadian, I couldn't have been more disappointed or disillusioned with the results. Like every Canadian, however, I couldn't be prouder of Jamie Sale and David Pelletier. - exceptional skate, exceptional professionalism!
Andrew Williams

I think that figure skating should be judged more like snowboarding. One judge judging one aspect of the program. (Artistic Impression, Speed, Jump and Throw Height and Distance, Spins, Footwork, Overall Flow of the program, etc.) Also forget the 6.0 marking system. It should be a point system like snowboarding with the total marks out of 60 instead of 6 so you can break it down further. As for Jamie and David's outcome I was absolutely appalled! That final decision was total crap and there shouldn't have been any doubt as to who the gold medalists were. Also, I really have to wonder how the Russians felt knowing that they did not deserve that gold medal. Something has to be done about the judging.
Shelan Westling and Kim Oxelgren

Haven't we played that little game with figure skating judges before? And won't we hear "we've solved the problem" again? The Olympics have become a joke. The athletes are banned and stripped of any awards if caught cheating yet Salt Lake was caught cheating and was awarded the games anyway. Why the double standard? I think that the IOC considers the public stupid.
Victor Slapsys
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