If Mirai and Kim had known that they afforded an easy skate…
What if Mirai stood the pressure and tried to skate less perfect than in her short program? What if Kim fell and didn’t re-enter the spins?
There is only way to know: check their report cards. Reading protocols gives you not only a pattern of each skater’s performance element-by-element but also insight of judging system in figure skating in general.
Yuna Kim’s recent short program in 2010 world championship earned 60.30, which some might think too low considering she didn’t fall. The answer lies more in tactful aspects. In her protocol, Kim’s triple flip got downgraded to 1.70 base value, which further spiraled down with a negative GOE 0.24, and her Lsp was wiped out, that is zero. You might ask why.
If a skater attempts more than the allowed number of a certain type of element in a program, then the element is still described and called as such by the technical controller, but receives a base value of 0 as well as a GOE of 0, regardless of how judges may have marked it. On ISU protocol sheets, elements that have been nullified by this are denoted by an asterisk(*) next to the element name.
That’s a crucial strategic mistake. Kim redid her spins. Under the rule if you reenter the element you will get zero value for that. Another disaster came from her spiral sequences which were identified as level 1. Basically, without a fall, Kim’s scores already were unrecoverable at that point. If Kim just fell on triple flip and did the rest with a minor slack or two here and there, her score wouldn’t have got damaged like that.
This mathematical machine has no heart, mind you, not even for the queen.
Another question rises if you look at the sheet: Why is there so much undirected scores on the protocol?
Very often it looks that judges don’t agree on the same element. For instance, Kim’s short program triple lutz was downgraded to 1.72 base, which is almost never a case lately, in which situation, more incredibly, three of nine judges still gave her + GOE. You might scratch your head.
In Asada’s long program protocol, judges split in GOE too: one gave her +2 while another gave -2, which is mind boggling. How in the world professional judges couldn’t agree on the same element about its execution? One thought it’s excellent, +2, while the other terrible, -2.
And another judge gave Asada a total GOE of 24 while the rest eight judges gave only an average of 9-11, which glaringly looks lopsided. Although, if you compare each score that he/she gave to other judges’ scores on the same element, it could blend in despite the spike of cumulative total GOE, still discrepancy seems too conspicuous to overlook, especially in the face of consistent scores from the rest of judges. That might be legitimately called as a bias. Of course, such a bias has little influence upon the final score due to the systematic elimination of extreme scores.
No system is free of flaws, whether it’s of GRE tests or figure skating contests.
According to ISU, the Code of Points is a corruption proof scoring system of both precision engineering accuracy and impeccable integrity. Of course, some disagree.
But as long as it can provide relatively predictable pictures, we can keep it awhile, I think.