Defending the figure skating system — sort of

The current system for the inherently controversial task of judging figure skating competitions is the worst system ever designed — except the last one. And except the systems they used in snowboarding, freestyle skiing, gymnastics and pretty much everything else that’s decided by judges. The old system had that old familiar air to it. Judges gave marks for technical merit and presentation ranging from 0.0 (never, ever seen) to 6.0 (rarely seen). But that wasn’t even the decisive factor — it was the “ordinals,” ranking skaters from first to worst. And it had a few problems: 1. Rep meant everything. Judges … Continue reading Defending the figure skating system — sort of

Sochi recap: Figure skating, women’s free skate

It’s not fair to say Olympic figure skating is still the same mess it was in the past. The new scoring system does add a bit of transparency. But judges are human, particularly in a sport in which the athletes are also artists trying to connect with a crowd. And that’s why Russia’s Adelina Sotnikova is a gold medalist ahead of defending champion Yuna Kim. Date: 20-Feb Sport: Figure skating Event: Women’s free program Medalists: Adelina Sotnikova (Russia), Yuna Kim (South Korea), Carolina Kostner (Italy) SportsMyriad projections: Mao Asada (Japan), Yuna Kim (South Korea), Ashley Wagner (USA) How U.S. fared: Polina … Continue reading Sochi recap: Figure skating, women’s free skate

Sochi recap: Figure skating, ice dance free dance

Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir held the world record for a few minutes before handing over the record and their Olympic champion status to American neighbors Charlie Davis and Meryl White. I have no idea whether the silver medalists were robbed … and neither do you. What I do know — these athletes were terrific. This was not the carnage on ice from 2006, where Barbara Fusar Poli (now a coach) stared daggers through partner Maurizio Margaglio for an uncomfortable 30 seconds. As my colleague Kelly Whiteside called it at the time, the duo waited in the newly renamed … Continue reading Sochi recap: Figure skating, ice dance free dance

Sochi recap: Figure skating, men’s free skate

A comedy of errors in the Olympics sees Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu win because they’d already bought a gold medal and had to give it to someone. Date: 14-Feb Sport: Figure skating Event: Men’s free skate Medalists: Yuzuru Hanyu (Japan), Patrick Chan (Canada), Denis Ten (Kazakhstan) SportsMyriad projections: Patrick Chan (Canada), Yuzuru Hanyu (Japan), Daisuke Takahashi (Japan) How U.S. fared: Jeremy Abbott had already won over the crowd with his determination in finishing his short program after a horrible fall. Still in pain, he changed his quad to a triple and a triple-triple to a triple-double, and Johnny Weir thought he looked … Continue reading Sochi recap: Figure skating, men’s free skate

Sochi recap: Figure skating, men’s short program

Russian legend Evgeni Plushenko fell in pain and couldn’t keep going. American Jeremy Abbott fell hard into the side of the rink but won over the Russian fans by getting back up and completing an otherwise strong program. Meanwhile, Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu had the best point total in an international event, and the USA’s Jason Brown was among a gaggle of skaters with a legitimate shot at bronze behind Hanyu and Patrick Chan. Date: 13-Feb Sport: Figure skating Event: Men’s short program How U.S. fared: Jeremy Abbott went up for his first jump, a quad-triple combination, and wiped out like a short-track skater on … Continue reading Sochi recap: Figure skating, men’s short program

Sochi recap: Figure skating, pairs

Russia, Russia. Then Russia, Russia. The Olympic hosts really enjoyed this night, as their two figure skating pairs were magnificent. Canadian and American pairs had their moments, while Germany’s four-time world champions skidded to bronze. Date: 12-Feb Sport: Figure skating Event: Pairs, free skate Medalists: Tatiana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov (Russia), Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov (Russia), Aliona Savchenko/Robin Szolkowy (Germany) SportsMyriad projections: Tatiana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov (Russia), Aliona Savchenko/Robin Szolkowy (Germany), Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford (Canada) How U.S. fared: Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir went for it once again. Depending on your definition of “landed,” they’re the first pair to land a quadruple Salchow throw in the Olympics. Castelli two-footed the landing but was … Continue reading Sochi recap: Figure skating, pairs

Sochi recap: Team figure skating, pairs long program

Russia and Canada will be dueling to the wire in this event, while the USA is still in great shape for bronze. Date: 8- Feb Sport: Figure skating Event: Team event, pairs free skate How U.S. fared: Give Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir this — they went for it. Shnapir threw, and Castelli twisted four times. And maybe a little more, causing her to lose control and put a hand on the ice. That brief bobble was no worry, but Castelli also fell on a triple jump. Still, the dazzling complexity of the program was enough to give them a season-high 117.94 points. That helped the USA add … Continue reading Sochi recap: Team figure skating, pairs long program