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Saturday, Feb. 4, 2006

Responses, Part 7
Should judging in figure skating be examined?

Here are responses to the above question:

Although I enjoy watching figure skating, and other subjectively evaluated activities, I personally don't regard them as true sports. To me a sport is something with objective measures of success; distance, time, goals etc. Having said that, considering doping and judging problems in sport, I'm not sure many of the subjective or objective measures are particularly meaningful at the Olympics.
John Langstone

You may as well make figure skating a demonstration sport, and don't even give out medals, since the judging is a near farce anyway.
Steve D

Yes it should. What happened to the Canadian pairs skaters were absolutely unfair, terrible, ridiculous, a violation of the judge's unbiased and fair oath that they are supposed to take to be judges in the Olympics and other events....The Canadian pair was clearly the winner in the event on Monday...the judges should be banned from judging in the future...and certainly at further Olympic events... How can you have at least 4 errors and not skate a clean performance and win the gold? No way! The Canadian pair was clearly far and above the Russian skaters in their talent and performance.

Its a joke. Everyone's so concerned about the athletes cheating and taking drugs, but no one investigates cheating by the judges. Canada was robbed, and the judges should have to stand up to why their decision was made. Here's a novel idea for judging: Have the judges deduct points as the people go through the program, so when they see a flaw they deduct a point or whatever. Then we'd know how the judges came to the conclusion that they did.
Mike Potter

Corruption seems to be at the heart of the Olympics in so many ways. The selection of the host city, the judging of events, and the doping of athletes. The Pairs event last night was a horribly obvious example of the corrupt Euro-centric culture of the Olympic Games. It is sad to see such actions up against the hard work, passion and spectacular talent of Sale and Pelletier. Another dark day for the IOC and all related parties.
G. Cape

I must say that I was not surprised (although my blood still boiled!). While watching the competition, I was dazzled by Sale and Pelletier. I said to myself, "no matter what happens, they can take pride in delivering the best performance tonight." Because I knew that they would not win. Figure skating has always posted political results, not athletic, and I expected that the Russian's win was a foregone conclusion. Ninety per cent of the time, it seems like the deserving skaters do not win in the Olympics. The Russians skated a beautiful and moving program, but they were shaky and certainly not the best on that night. Should judging in figure skating be examined? Oh yeah. I believe that we ask this question every 4 years. But how do you find an impartial panel to overhaul the system and punish corrupt judges (yes, punishment is needed as a deterrent). It is a subjective sport, and I think that if we try to make it too objective, then the style will be killed. We may just have to accept that this flawed system is the best you can do when both art and technical skill matter.
Eric van Roon

Figure skating is very subjective. There have been historical problems with the judging but there seems to easy way to route out the bad judges. Surely the IOC should have a way to tackle bad judging. Bad judging affects the confidence and interests the crowds will have. How many young enthusiasts will be encouraged to pursue this sport in light of the history of subjective judging?
Michael M.

Absolutely. It is hypocritical for the President of the IOC to announce that the athletes should engage in fair play when the judges are allowed to predetermine the outcome based on political alliance rather than judging a performance on its merit. What does this say to those who train hard and who aspire to represent their country? Jamie and David gave the gold medal performance last night, both on and off the ice. They are a classy pair and have done Canada proud. It is sad that nothing has changed in figure skating judging since the last Olympics. Perhaps the public should be able to judge the performance and practices of the IOC and the judges.

I live in Chicago and in watching the pairs figure skating I was amazed at the obvious bias the American broadcasting crew showed toward the Canadian figure skaters. Not that I didn't agree with them. They were the best, they stole the show and my heart goes out to them, but the more the broadcasting crew fawned over them, the more the feeling came over me that the Russians were going to win! Not only did the judges "set it up", but our broadcasting crew "set up" the casual viewer to believe the Canadians had won and the crash that followed the result not only effected the skaters but those of us who were cheering for Jamie and David. We all know who really won and that's all that matters.
Bob Kurek

After last night, Canada should know who its friends are.
Allan Kennard

What really is discouraging; is the "Yup!, it's happened again"...."Judging in figure skating is a crock"...statements that are heard every time the Olympics roll around. I'm afraid to say, nothing has been done about this ongoing travesty; and nothing will be done. Give the Russian skaters their due. They did indeed skate a great performance. It was however, flawed with noticeable mistakes. The Canadian skaters performance wasn't absolutely perfect but, was indeed worthy of higher standing by the judges - all the judges. I am sure this is just the first distasteful episode of what has become commonplace at the Olympic games. I was hoping that Sale and Pelletier would have taken the Silver medals presented to them and left them on the podium and skated away. Poor sportsmanship maybe; just like the performance of the judges. ( I had a bad feeling as soon as I saw 'ol Juan Antonio sitting in the stands )
Paul Sheridan
Hawkestone, ON

All events requiring judging should be struck from the Olympics
Dr. Marvin Tile

After two days of excitement I will no longer turn on my television to watch the Olympic Games. After the highway robbery that our athletes _ Jamie Sale and David Pelletier _ were a part of I will not support such a travesty. I hope other Canadians feel the same way. I hope others will turn off their televisions, too. This should not be tolerated. The television executive who present the Olympics should be alarmed, too. If the competition is not fair, they why should they support it. If it is going to make me totally frustrated, then I will not support it. The Olympic Games have lost me now. I simply will not turn on my TV and support such a travesty.
Monique McLaughlin
Moncton, New Brunswick

Clearly in international sport, an iron curtain still exists. As long as individuals and national sport bodies are willing to sacrifice their integrity in the name of Olympic or world gold medals, particularly where judging is concerned, amateur sport will be tainted. The IOC should send a strong signal to IFSA by suspending the sport for one set of games. Perhaps then the countries involved will reflect on their morals.
John W. Hayes
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