Friday, January 23, 2015

Skating Fridays

Competition Confusion - Part 1


I competed this past weekend and wanted to recap the day's events with you all. Since I skated in 3 separate events, I'm going to break up the summary into two separate posts. Today I will focus on the main event - the Gold Ladies 2 freestyle.

There were 6 ladies in this event. Women were allowed to 'skate up' for this competition, meaning that they were able to compete at a level above their current skating. Two women skated up for the Gold Ladies 2 event.

I was 2nd in skate order and had a wait a long time while the judging panel tabulated the results from the first skater. Finally, they called my name and I skated to my starting spot.

I hit all my spins and jumps (including 2 axels) and felt pretty amazing afterwards. This was definitely one of my best performances to date. My program run-throughs during the week before weren't pretty, so this definitely put me on a high.

My skating friends and supporters in the stands said that I did well and that I should earn a place on the podium after they watched the other skaters perform. Many fell or did not hit their elements. It didn't help that the rink was freezing (which leads to cold feet, noses and arms).

After all the ladies finished performing, we waited for about an hour for the results to be posted. They were finally up. I walked over to the wall and was stunned and confused that I had placed 5th out of 6.

Four things stood out to me when I saw my protocols:
  1. My total technical score only came to 6.58 points, which is a full 4 points lower than Nationals last year. I skated better this weekend yet somehow earned fewer points.
  2. I did not receive credit for my leveled spins. The judges gave me a base value for my sit spin (element #1) when it should have been at least a level 2 or 3 spin. Not sure what happened there because I watched my video and I definitely hit the positions I needed.
  3. The judges downgraded my axel and toe loops.
  4. My program components (PCS) scores went up significantly since last year, which is good news since that has been a focus of mine for the past year.

I don't want to make it sound like I'm whining here, but I have a lot of concerns about the way this event was judged. Here are a few additional facts about the event that I think needs to be mentioned.

  • The judges did not have video replay for this event. This is huge because judges normally have the ability to look at elements and see if they should deserve full credit. Because no video replay was available, they had to count on their memory. Remember, each jump is usually executed in about 0.4-0.6 seconds, so it's not a lot of time to see if something is executed correctly.
  • The judges also did not have a computer system to make their marks. Things were done on paper and then transferred to the scoring system afterwards.
  • The woman that won the event typically scores in the mid-30s. For this event, she only scored in the twenties and did not receive credit for a cleanly executed spin.
I find it very concerning and confusing that these things happened.

Again, I'm not trying to bash the judges or the system but just find it really unfortunate that this particular event didn't seem to go well. And let's be clear - it wasn't just me. Every skater's technical scores were artificially low and skaters did not receive credit for elements that they probably should have. I know that my skating skills could still use some improvement, but my total score should have been in the mid twenties at a minimum.

I'm going to put this event behind me and focus on what I need to work on for Sectionals. That's the real test for me. I want to place in the top 4 and represent our region at Nationals, so I have some work ahead of me.

Update: I learned from my coach this week (after typing up this post) that I did not receive the points on the difficult spins because of a technicality. Apparently, there is a rule within the IJS rulebook that states all spins must first have 2 full revolutions in a base position before attempting any variations. In plain English, it means that I needed to do a real sit spin before trying any fancy positions. This was a mistake on my coach's part because she didn't review the rules prior to the competition. Had I received full credit on my two difficult spins, I could have medaled and received 3rd place.

Finally, here is the video:


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