Saturday, Feb. 4, 2006
Responses, Part 5
Should judging in figure skating be examined?
Here are responses to the above question:
I don't know what the judges were watching. The Canadian couple was superior - no obvious errors, fluid, emotional and technically appeared to be more solid. I don't even understand how the Chinese couple managed third place. They couldn't hold a candle to the Canadian performance.
As long as there will be Russian and Russian-backed judges in Olympic skating competitions, fairness will always be absent and Canada will never see gold.
Jamie and David got robbed. We shouldn't be surprised. No wonder the Russians have a forty-year string of gold medals going! Sure, it would be nice to see the judging examined but this isn't the first time that this question has come up and it won't be the last. The Olympics gets a bum rap because the sports federations basically control the "infrastructure" so there's not much the IOC can do. It must be tough, though, to go out to do your best when you've already been told where you're going to finish! And we thought that glasnost actually meant something!
It's no coincidence that the judges that voted for the Russians are also from the countries that have systemic problems with corruption.
Judging Figure Skating can't be that hard. Make a video of what to look for, train 100 people of varying nationalities (statistical significance) who have never heard of any figure skaters, don't tell them what country is skating, make all the skaters wear the same clothes and 'ta da,' the Canadians would've won. Also, make the points on a scale of 1-100, what is the difference between 5.3 and 5.4, honestly? Or no marks, let judges watch, videotape, watch again and pick a 1,2,3 place winner. Whether you skate first or last should not bias the marks.
Any sport with judging should be excluded from the Olympics. We seem to have proven that, collectively, we are unable to create an equitable system.
Peter D. Hambly
What a Joke!
Judging in figure skating should be completely re-organized. Eligibility standards should be created where judges must meet a minimum requirement of at least having competed in figure skating at the national level. Currently judges in the Olympics and Worlds are often retired people and homemakers whose main qualifications are that they have enough spare time to judge. Most current judges more than likely have never even skated, much less competed. This lack of competitive experience is fine from the local to the national levels, where any kind of volunteer is greatly appreciated, but starting at the national level judges should have practical experience. Also if judges have been competitors at one point in their lives they would probably be less likely to become involved in the seedier back room deal making that the current crop of judges seem to be involved in. Imagine how much more respectable judging would be if some of the judges would be the caliber of Scott Hamilton, Kurt Browning, Paul Martini and Barbara Underhill!
What a travesty. The Canadians skated the best without a doubt. They showed a wonderfully gracious face to the world - go Jamie and David!
Suzanne Butt (USA)
If there is any bias in judging, may be they should drop the 2 top and 2 bottom scores from the total.
Lasts night travesty of judging reminded why I hate watching the Olympics. The only shred of integrity or class in that arena last night belonged to Sale and Pelletier - who have trained, achieved and succeeded far beyond the opinions of those sleezy and posturing "judges". Our Canadian skaters are far too good to ever be involved in the scandalous world of Olympic skating. I will be boycotting this sham of a production and suggest Canadians protest strongly, forcefully and loudly - much like Bourne and Kraatz did - to register their objections to being treated this way. Figure skating judges obviously lied when taking their oath and they should be sanctioned, and banned for life. Furthermore, if the Russian couple had any shred of integrity, they should have stepped down from that podium and handed those gold medals over to their rightful owners. I'm appalled. Sale and Pelletier do not deserve to be treated this way. They deserve those gold medals.
No surprise. The Olympics are just too political.
The judging track history has proven that fairness and objectivity are myths. I believe that even those caught in the act have been reinstated. While we may feel robbed, now and in the past, we continue to participate in the process which only gives credibility to the actions. We, as a country, should consider not participating in any event that involves "judgments" on behalf of country representatives. It is only when the athletes themselves prove to be stronger, faster, higher than others (excluding the doping aspect) that I enjoy the Olympic "Games". These other 'games' do not warrant the support that Canada appears to be providing by continuing to participate in the specific events. Figure skating involves judges "figuring out" how their candidate(s) can be given an advantage over other favourites, not in determining who, for that event at that time, has presented the best performance. I am sure that this perspective is held by many Canadians and others who have witnessed the current and recent Olympic events. When a person deemed to have participated in bribery for the Salt Lake City games becomes voted in as the second choice to head the IOC, what message does that send to all and sundry.
Albert M. Hurd