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Saturday, Feb. 4, 2006

Responses, Part 6
Should judging in figure skating be examined?

Here are responses to the above question:

Yes, it should be examined. Judges should be picked from a pool just prior to each event. This would help eliminate the obvious pre-arranged "nationally flavoured" judgment calls that appear to dominate this sport.
Mike Merchant

Figure skating is such a political sport! The question should be: what on earth do the judges have to gain by giving Russia the gold? Not only did the Russians make several mistakes, it was obvious they were not skating like world champions. Someone - somewhere made a deal. Shame on the judges!
A. Wicks

Yes, clean up the judging and make it relate only to what goes on the ice. Figure skating politics should not be part of the judging. Salé and Pelletier were blatantly robbed last night. The Canadian Figure Skating Association should protest.
Dave Putt

I believe judging in all Olympic events should be monitored for accuracy. Whether that involves ongoing training for the judges or inquests into times when there appears to be a bias. Regarding the recent figure skating - it is a shame that Canada did not get the gold. Along with the majority of Canadians, I was shocked to see the final results. Whether there was a bias is tough to say as I was watching the event on CBC - which of course, is naturally pro-Canadian. And who can blame them?

The judging was totally biased and perhaps the results pre-decided before the event itself. It should be examined.

On a different note: Why is Skate Canada (formerly the CFSA) so timid in its lobbying for better judging? Why are they also so timid in lobbying our skaters' talents abroad? It's clear from the past 10 years that Canadian skaters have been short-changed on many occasions. Skate Canada has to step up to the plate and either publicly fight for better judging or start better lobbying efforts. Their "stand on the side" attitude has not served our skaters well at all. Shameful
Bryan Common

I think that judging in figure skating should definitely be examined. First of all, why is the present judging panel weighted so heavily in favour of former Soviet bloc countries? Second, I think that judges should be required to post reasons for their placings and scores, and that these comment should become a matter of public record. I think the judging panel which judged the Sale and Pelletier competition was biased in that they wanted to see only the style of figure skating which Eastern figure skaters perform. There was no room in this competition for originality. I think that the competition in Olympic sports which requires subjective judging should be examined and standardized so that skaters have an idea of what the judges are looking for. As it is now, judging is really a crap shoot.
Arthur E, Ammeter

Salé and Pelletier were robbed that is all there is to it. Skating has almost reached the point of why bother when the judging is rigged before the event.
George & Beth Bartlett

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.
Norm Genier

I'm not even a figure skating fan, but after watching the pairs long program, I've never before felt more outraged, frustrated and futile. It is a travesty that a flawless, expressive and technically perfect program could lose to a program that had clear mistakes and didn't engage the crowd nearly as much. It is unfortunate that athletes can train and work hard for years to reach a pinnacle performance under extreme pressure and adversity only to have it decided by subjective, often corrupt judging. As long as these controversies continue to be common-place in figure skating, there will forever be a shadow over the sport. It is plagued ice-dance to the point that the integrity and credibility of the sport itself is in question. There is a vital and urgent need for an international regulating body that examines judging, controversies, unprofessional behaviour (like lobbying during the competition), and seriously investigates allegations of tainted, bloc or pre-judging. Judges should have some sort of accountability mechanism, as they do in the criminal justice system, so as not to allow the possibility of what we all witnessed last night to happen again. It reflects poorly on the sport on the entire Olympic movement.
Alex Fielding

It seems that judging in this sport has been fixed and dirty for some time. I don't think removing the sport from the Olympics is the answer when it happens in other events. It's like drugs in sport - there needs to be an agency that oversees Olympic judging and judges must be penalized and/or dismissed when overt prejudice like this is shown.
Lisa Poultney

As a figure skater for more than 15 years in my younger days, I can usually explain the judges marks to people who don't know the sport as well, and don't know to look for the small differences in speed, edge quality, spins etc. However, after last night, I am at a loss. I believe, as the rest of the world does, that Jamie and David deserved to win and should have won. The politics in skating has always been there, it's just this time they were so blatantly on display. After the fiasco at Nagano with Shae Lynne and Vic and the dance event, I thought we were headed to much improved judging panels. It is such a disappointment to see such a well-skated event result in controversy over bad judging. The Russians can't enjoy their "win", the Chinese pair didn't really earn their medal either. The American team got left behind when they had the best skate of their lives and one of the best skates of the night. All I can say is that we are proud of you Jamie and David and you should be proud of yourselves. As for the judges, I think they should have to write an explanation of their marks and be subject to fines from the ISU and in this case the IOC. They should be very substantial fines, so that they may think twice about predetermining a competition and robbing the athletes of what they have worked so hard to achieve.
Patricia Daer
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