ISU Judging System

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The ISU Judging System (or the International Judging System (IJS)), occasionally referred to as the Code of Points (COP) system,[1] is the scoring system currently used to judge the figure skating disciplines of men's and ladies' singles, pair skating, ice dance, and synchronized skating. It was designed and implemented by the International Skating Union (ISU), the ruling body of the sport. This system of scoring is used in all international competitions sanctioned by the ISU, including the Olympic Games. The ISU Judging System replaced the previous 6.0 system in 2004. This new system was created in response to the 2002 Winter Olympics figure skating scandal, in an attempt to make the scoring system more objective and less vulnerable to abuse.[2]

Previous judging system[edit]

Figure skating was formerly judged on a 6.0 scale. This scale is sometimes called "the old scale", or "old system". Skaters were judged on "technical merit" (in the free skate), "required elements" (in the short program), and "presentation" (in both programs). The marks for each program ran from 0.0 to 6.0 and were used to determine a preference ranking, or "ordinal", separately for each judge; the judges' preferences were then combined to determine placements for each skater in each program. The placements for the two programs were then combined, with the free skate placement weighted more heavily than the short program. The highest scoring individual (based on the sum of the weighted placements) was declared the winner.

Scandal and response[edit]

In 2004, after the judging controversy during the 2002 Winter Olympics, the ISU adopted the New Judging System (NJS), or Code of Points, which became mandatory at all international competitions in 2006, including the 2006 Winter Olympics.

Technical details[edit]

Technical panel[edit]

Under the ISU Judging System, the base value of each element performed by the skater is identified by the Technical Panel. The purpose of this panel is to identify all of the elements performed by the skater in real time as they happen. The panel is also responsible for: any "technical errors" to jumps; identifying falls of the skater; and any "levels of difficulty" performed in Spins and Steps.

The Technical Panel is composed of the following five people:

  1. The Technical Specialist (TS) who verbally calls the elements as they happen in real time.
  2. The Assistant Technical Specialist (ATS) whose primary purpose is to take written notes on all of the elements performed and to contribute to any decisions on technical calls during the "review of elements".
  3. The Technical Controller (TC) who is there to supervise the panel, and break ties on technical decisions during the "review of elements" when the TS and ATS do not agree. The TC is also responsible for "rule vetting" the program, and is able to throw out any elements that break the rules for that level and specific program.
  4. The Data Operator (DO) who inputs the codes of the elements and levels of difficulty into the computer system. The DO also flags elements called "for review". In the U.S. the DO also replays the video clips of the elements during the review process. The DO is available to assist the TC in the process of "rule vetting", in the event that the TC is unsure or makes a mistake.
  5. The Video Replay Operator (VRO) who marks clips of elements for review. This person replays the clips in place of the DO in international competitions,[3] however in the U.S. this person is not involved in the review process.

Judging panel[edit]

The judging panel's primary purpose is to grade the quality of each individual technical element performed by the skater, known as the Grade of Execution (GOE), and the five Program Component Scores (PCS) for each segment of the competition. The five component scores replaced the "presentation mark" in the old 6.0 system. At most international events and other large National Championships (such as the U.S. Championships) there are nine judges, but at smaller competitions the panel might consist of between four and seven judges. An odd number of judges was needed to break ties in the old 6.0 system, but this is no longer necessary with averaging marks in the ISU Judging System.

Grade of Execution (GOE)[edit]

The evaluation of the Grade of Execution (GOE) for each technical element has clear guidelines from the ISU; it ranges from a "base value" of 0, to as high as +5 and as low as –5. In order to award a positive GOE, a judge needs to identify a certain number of "positive bullets" with almost no reductions. One positive bullet is needed for a GOE of +1, two bullets for a +2, three for a +3, four for a +4, and five or more for a GOE of +5. In the case of a negative GOE, a judge must be able to support their evaluation with reference to the published list of reductions. As the skater performs each element, the judges evaluate all phases of the element, possibly weighing both positive and negative aspects of the element in order to determine a final GOE.[4] Prior to the 2018–2019 season, which started on 1 July 2018, the GOE scoring system ranged from –3 to +3, with a base value of 0.[5] The changes were implemented to allow more accurate scoring factors to be awarded in a sport that is becoming increasingly technical.[6]

To aid the process of evaluating only the quality of an element, while ignoring the difficulty of the element, the judges are simply shown the element codes on their screens; they do not see the levels of difficulty awarded by the Technical Panel. The judges must be able to support every mark that they have awarded in case they are questioned by the referee after the event.

Program Component Scores (PCS)[edit]

The five program component scores are Skating skills, Transitions, Performance, Composition, and Interpretation. Each mark has individual characteristics that are evaluated; they are scored from 0.25 to 10.00 in quarter-point increments. The scale from zero to ten is an absolute scale, so for example if 6.00 is considered "above average" then each judge’s understanding of a 6.00 should remain the same throughout an event and their judging careers.

  • Skating skills: This mark assesses the skater's command of the blade over the ice, including the ability to skate with power and ease, forwards and backwards, clockwise and counter-clockwise. How acute is the skater's blade to the ice? How clean and clear are the curves over the ice (known as edge quality)? Skating skills are considered to be excellent if the skater moves quickly and easily, and flows over the ice with soft knees and ankles; but they are judged to be poor if the skating is scratchy and noisy, with the skater pushing from their toes rather than from the sides of the blades.
  • Transitions: This mark evaluates all of the "in between" skating when technical elements are not being performed, i.e. whether the skater is merely skating in circles, or incorporating different turns and steps, perhaps also using their arms. A program with good transitions manages to "thread" all the elements together, making the skater's program seem effortless. Poor transitions are sometimes non-existent or merely places between the technical elements with a precise "stopping" point where the skater begins to prepare for the next element.
  • Performance: This is where the scores start to become slightly more abstract and largely based on the judges' individual opinions. Is the skater physically, emotionally, and mentally involved in their program? Does the skater project to the entire audience and arena? Does the skater have presence on the ice with good carriage? Do they project their own personality while skating?
  • Composition: This mark is concerned with the pattern and spacing over the ice, i.e. how the technical elements are placed throughout the ice surface. Does the skater always skate in the same part of the ice or are they making use of the entire area given to them? Is there a purpose to the way the program is constructed? Maybe their performance is designed to convey an abstract idea like rain or snow; or it might be about a particular story, e.g. when performing to a movie soundtrack or ballet. Does the movement in the program match the phrasing of the music? Perhaps there is meant to be a traditional musical "call and answer" or something more abstract.
  • Interpretation: This score reflects how well the judges feel that the skater is performing with their "soul" (whereas the Composition score is more about the choreography). Does the skater move in time to the music, or are all the movements just off by a beat or two? Does the skater reflect every little trill and ding with a corresponding skating move?[7]

Computation of scores[edit]

The judging panel consists of up to nine judges and one referee. The Technical Panel sends the element codes to the judges' computers for marking. For each element, all of the judges award a mark for Grade of Execution (GOE) that is an integer between –5 and +5. The GOE mark is then translated into a value using the Scale of Value (SOV) table which is published regularly by ISU Communications.[8] The GOE values from the nine judges are averaged using the "trimmed mean" procedure, where the highest and lowest values are discarded and an average is calculated from the remaining seven values.[8] This average value (which may be positive or negative) is finally added to the base value to produce the judging panel's overall score for the element.

Judges also mark the Program Components, which are: Skating Skills; Transitions/Linking Footwork; Performance and Execution; Composition and Choreography; and Interpretation and Timing. These Components are marked on a scale of 0.25–10 with 0.25 increments and averaged using the same "trimmed mean" procedure that was used for averaging the GOE marks. Judges also have the power to input majority deductions such as Music Violations and Costume/Prop Violations. The Referee inputs other deductions such as Time Violations, Interruption in Excess and Costume Failures.

Elements[edit]

The number and type of elements in a skating program really depends on the event and on the level of competition. At the senior international level, single and pairs short programs contain eight technical elements. The actual eight elements are detailed for single skaters in ISU rule 310. Each skater must attempt one combination jump, two solo jumps, three spins, and two skating sequences. The eight elements required for a senior pairs short program include two lifts, one side-by-side jump, one throw jump, one side-by-side spin, one pair spin, one step sequence, and one death spiral (ISU rule 313).

Senior level free programs have 14 elements for pairs, 13 elements for men, and 12 elements for ladies. The details of the elements are given by ISU rules 520 and 521 (2008 version). Pairs must perform 4 lifts, 4 jumps, 3 spins (including 1 death spiral), 1 step sequence, and 1 spiral sequence. Men must perform 8 jumps, 3 spins, 1 step sequence, and 1 choreographic step sequence. Ladies must perform 7 jumps, 3 spins, 1 step sequence and 1 spiral sequence. NOTE: Beginning with the 2010-2011 season, the 'choreographic step sequence and spiral sequence' was replaced with the 'choreographic sequence'.

Component factoring[edit]

The panel's points for each Program Component are multiplied by a factor depending on the event. For singles and pair skating, the factor is uniform for all components, as follows:

Discipline Short
program
(factor)
Free
skating
(factor)
Men 1.0 2.0
Ladies 0.8 1.6
Pairs 0.8 1.6

The factors in Ice Dance are different for each Program Component and depend on the dance type.[8]

Protocol details[edit]

Following an event, the complete judges' scores are published in a document referred to as a protocol. This document uses specific notations as described below.

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 the judges have marked it. On ISU protocol sheets, elements that have been nullified by this are denoted by an asterisk (*) next to the element name. In free skating, for jumps executed twice as solo jumps, the second jump is marked as +REP and receives 70% of its base value. Jump elements performed after the halfway point of a program are marked with x and receive a 10% bonus added to their base value. If a jump has been called as having an unclear take-off edge, that jump is marked with ! and receives a –1 to –2 GOE depending on severity; if a jump has been called as having an incorrect take-off edge (for example, an inside edge on the take-off of a Lutz jump), that jump is marked with e and receives a –2 or –3 GOE depending on the severity of the edge fault. Jumps that are under-rotated are marked with < or << depending on the degree of turns completed on the ice instead of in mid-air. < indicates that a jump had less than a ½ turn but more than a ¼ turn completed on the ice, reducing the base value to 70% of its original value. << indicates a severe under-rotation (a ½ turn or more) and the jump is valued as if it had one less rotation (e.g. a triple would receive the value of a double).[9]

Jumps that are executed in combination or sequence are marked as a single element, with a base mark equal to the sum of the base marks for the individual jumps. However, a combination or sequence can be downgraded – marked with +COMBO (combinations in the short program) or +SEQ (combinations and sequences in the free skate) – in which case the sum of the base values of the jumps is reduced by 80%.

Scale of Values (SOV) and abbreviations of common elements[edit]

Every spring/summer the ISU releases rule updates which include a current Scale of Values (SOV) for different types of element. One is released for Singles/Pairs[5] and another for Ice Dance.[10]

Abbreviation Full name Full Code
Jumps
A = Axel Single Axel jump 1A
Double Axel 2A
Triple Axel 3A
Quadruple Axel 4A
Lz = Lutz Single Lutz jump 1Lz
Double Lutz 2Lz
Triple Lutz 3Lz
Quadruple Lutz 4Lz
F = Flip Single Flip jump 1F
Double Flip 2F
Triple Flip 3F
Quadruple Flip 4F
Lo = Loop Single Loop jump 1Lo
Double Loop 2Lo
Triple Loop 3Lo
Quadruple Loop 4Lo
S = Salchow Single Salchow jump 1S
Double Salchow 2S
Triple Salchow 3S
Quadruple Salchow 4S
T = Toeloop Single Toeloop jump 1T
Double Toeloop 2T
Triple Toeloop 3T
Quadruple Toeloop 4T
Throw jumps
ATh Throw axel Same Concept with number of revolutions to full code apply here as above with solo jumps
FTh or LzTh Throw flip/lutz
LoTh Throw loop
STh Throw salchow
TTh Throw toe loop
Spins
Final Codes end in Nothing for No Value, or B for Base, 1 for Level 1, 2 for Level 2, 3 for Level 3, and 4 for Level 4.
CSp Camel spin
CCSp Change foot camel spin
CLSp Change foot layback spin
CSSp Change foot sit spin
CUSp Change foot upright spin
CoSp Combination spin
CCoSp Combination spin with change of foot
FCSp Flying camel spin
FLSp Flying layback spin
FSSp Flying sit spin
FUSp Flying upright spin
LSp Layback spin
PCoSp Pair combination spin
PSp Pair spin
SSp Sit spin
USp Upright Spin
Step sequences
ChSt Choreographed Step Sequence
CiSt Circular step sequence
DiSt Diagonal in hold step sequence
MiSt Midline in hold step sequence
NtMiTw Not Touching Midline Sequential Twizzles
NtMiSt Not Touching Midline Steps
SeSt Serpentine step sequence
SlSt Straight line step sequence
Choreographic Sequences
ChSq Choreographic Sequence
Spiral sequences
ChSp Choreographed Spiral
SpSq Spiral sequence of any pattern (no longer in use as of 2010)
Pair lifts
Tw Twist Lift, Preceded by number of revolutions. E.g. Double Twist is coded 2Tw
1Li Group One Lift. (Hand to Armpit Hold)
2Li Group Two Lift. (Hand to Waist Hold)
3Li Group Three Lift (Hand to Hip Hold)
4Li Group Four Lift (Hand to Hand Hold) (AKA "Press Lift")
Group 5 Lifts Below all Group 5 lifts, are a pressure lift with rotation on the takeoff by the lady. The difference in code depends on the precise take off.
5ALi Axel Lasso Lift- Lady takes off Forwards edge and facing the same direction as the man. (Both skaters facing forwards.) Lady makes one full Rotation around the man on the way up.
5RLi or 5BLi Group Five Reverse/Backward Lasso Lift. Like the 5ALi, the lady makes a full revolution on the way up. This lift she and the partner may be back to back, or the lady is towards the man. Her take off from the ice is from a backwards positions.
5SLi Step Takeoff- Similar to 5ALi but direction doesn't matter and only a 1/2 revolution on the way up.
5TLi Toe Takeoff- Similar to 5SLi but the lady's toe taps upon taken. Only 1/2 revolution on the way up.
Dance lifts
CuLi Curve lift
RRoLi Reverse rotational lift
RoLi Rotational lift
SeLi Serpentine lift
StaLi Stationary lift
SlLi Straight line lift
Death spirals
BiDs Backward inside death spiral
BoDs Backward outside death spiral
FiDs Forward inside death spiral
FoDs Forward outside death spiral
Dance elements
STw Synchronized twizzles

The level of a spin or footwork sequence is denoted by the number following the element abbreviation. The number of rotations on a jump is denoted by the number preceding the element abbreviation. For example, 3A denotes a triple axel, while SlSt4 denotes a level four straight line step sequence. ChSt and ChSq are step sequences and spiral sequences that have no level and a fixed base value.

In ice dance[edit]

Ice dance judging is similar to pairs and singles, but uses a separate set of rules and table of values. In the compulsory dance, steps are specified and "elements" are defined for each dance as subsets of the prescribed steps. For compulsory dance only, there is no program component score given for transitions and choreography. Instead there is a timing (TI) program component that is exclusive to the compulsory dance, leaving only four program components in the compulsory dance. In the original dance there are 5 marked technical elements. In the free dance, there are 9 marked technical elements. Unlike singles and pair skating, the different program components are weighted differently in each segment of the competition. The highest factored component(s) in each segment are skating skills and timing in the compulsory dance, interpretation in the original dance, and transitions in the free dance. The exact values of these factors are listed in ISU Rule 543.1k.

High scores[edit]

ISU personal best[edit]

Under the ISU judging system, the highest score a skater earns in a career is known as a personal best. An ISU Personal Best is a score set at a competition run under the auspices of the International Skating Union. Only certain events count for personal best scores. National-level events do not count towards personal bests.

Season's best[edit]

Unlike an ISU Personal Best score, which is the highest score set over a lifetime, the season's best score is the highest score earned by a skater in a season. Season's best scores help determine the fields to the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating.

Highest scores[edit]

The following are the highest scores that have been earned under Code of Points since its inception. It does not differentiate for changes made to the system.[11] The ISU only recognizes best scores set at international competitions run under ISU rules, not at national competitions.

For more complete lists, see list of highest scores in figure skating and list of highest junior scores in figure skating.

Men[edit]

Component Skater Score Event References
Short program Japan Yuzuru Hanyu 112.72 2017 Autumn Classic International [12]
Free skating Japan Yuzuru Hanyu 223.20 2017 World Championships [13]
Combined total Japan Yuzuru Hanyu 330.43 2015–16 Grand Prix Final [14]

Men: Top 10 highest total score[15]

See also: Progression of record scores for men's combined total, short program and free skating.
Rank Name Nation Score Event
1 Yuzuru Hanyu  Japan 330.43 2015–16 Grand Prix Final
2 Yuzuru Hanyu  Japan 322.40 2015 NHK Trophy
3 Yuzuru Hanyu  Japan 321.59 2017 World Championships
4 Nathan Chen  United States 321.40 2018 World Championships
5 Shoma Uno  Japan 319.84 2017 CS Lombardia Trophy
6 Shoma Uno  Japan 319.31 2017 World Championships
7 Yuzuru Hanyu  Japan 317.85 2018 Winter Olympics
8 Javier Fernández  Spain 314.93 2016 World Championships
9 Nathan Chen  United States 307.46 2017 Four Continents
10 Shoma Uno  Japan 306.90 2018 Winter Olympics

Ladies[edit]

Component Skater Score Event References
Short program International Olympic Committee Alina Zagitova 82.92 2018 Winter Olympics [16]
Free skating Russia Evgenia Medvedeva 160.46 2017 World Team Trophy [17]
Combined total Russia Evgenia Medvedeva 241.31 2017 World Team Trophy [18]

Ladies: Top 10 highest total score[19]

See also: Progression of record scores for ladies' combined total, short program and free skating.
Rank Name Nation Score Event
1 Evgenia Medvedeva  Russia 241.31 2017 World Team Trophy
2 Alina Zagitova  Russia 239.57 2018 Winter Olympics
3 Alina Zagitova  Russia 238.24 2018 European Championships
4 Alina Zagitova  Russia 233.59 2017–18 Grand Prix Final
5 Evgenia Medvedeva  Russia 233.41 2017 World Championships
6 Evgenia Medvedeva  Russia 232.86 2018 European Championships
7 Evgenia Medvedeva  Russia 231.21 2017 Rostelecom Cup
8 Evgenia Medvedeva  Russia 229.71 2017 European Championships
9 Yuna Kim  South Korea 228.56 2010 Winter Olympics
10 Evgenia Medvedeva  Russia 227.66 2016–17 Grand Prix Final

Pair skating[edit]

Component Skaters Score Event References
Short program Russia Tatiana Volosozhar / Maxim Trankov 84.17 2014 Winter Olympics [20]
Free skating Germany Aliona Savchenko / Bruno Massot 162.86 2018 World Championships [21]
Combined total Germany Aliona Savchenko / Bruno Massot 245.84 2018 World Championships [22]

Pairs: Top 10 highest total score[23]

See also: Progression of record scores for pairs' combined total, short program and free skating.
Rank Name Nation Score Event
1 Aliona Savchenko / Bruno Massot  Germany 245.84 2018 World Championships
2 Tatiana Volosozhar / Maxim Trankov  Russia 237.71 2013 Skate America
3 Tatiana Volosozhar / Maxim Trankov  Russia 236.86 2014 Winter Olympics
4 Aliona Savchenko / Bruno Massot  Germany 236.68 2017–18 Grand Prix Final
5 Tatiana Volosozhar / Maxim Trankov  Russia 236.49 2013 NHK Trophy
6 Aljona Savchenko / Bruno Massot  Germany 235.90 2018 Winter Olympics
7 Sui Wenjing / Han Cong  China 235.47 2018 Winter Olympics
8 Sui Wenjing / Han Cong  China 234.53 2017 NHK Trophy
9 Sui Wenjing / Han Cong  China 232.06 2017 World Championships
10 Meagan Duhamel / Eric Radford  Canada 231.99 2016 World Championships

Ice dance[edit]

The Compulsory Dance and Original Dance were eliminated at the end of the 2009–2010 season and replaced by the Short Dance, in turn renamed the Rhythm Dance.

Component Skaters Score Event References
2003–2010
Compulsory dance Russia Tatiana Navka / Roman Kostomarov 45.97 2005 World Championships [24]
Original dance Canada Tessa Virtue / Scott Moir 70.27 2010 World Championships [25]
Free dance Russia Tatiana Navka / Roman Kostomarov 117.14 2003 Cup of Russia [26]
Combined total Russia Tatiana Navka / Roman Kostomarov 227.81 2005 World Championships [27]
2010 onward
Short dance France Gabriella Papadakis / Guillaume Cizeron 83.73 2018 World Championships [28]
Free dance France Gabriella Papadakis / Guillaume Cizeron 123.35 2018 Winter Olympics [29]
Combined total France Gabriella Papadakis / Guillaume Cizeron 207.20 2018 World Championships [30]

Ice dance: Top 10 highest total score[31]

See also: Progression of record scores for ice dance combined total, short dance and free dance.
Rank Name Nation Score Event
1 Gabriella Papadakis / Guillaume Cizeron  France 207.20 2018 World Championships
2 Tessa Virtue / Scott Moir  Canada 206.07 2018 Winter Olympics
3 Gabriella Papadakis / Guillaume Cizeron  France 205.28 2018 Winter Olympics
4 Gabriella Papadakis / Guillaume Cizeron  France 203.16 2018 European Championships
5 Gabriella Papadakis / Guillaume Cizeron  France 202.16 2017–18 Grand Prix Final
6 Gabriella Papadakis / Guillaume Cizeron  France 201.98 2017 Internationaux de France
7 Gabriella Papadakis / Guillaume Cizeron  France 200.43 2017 Cup of China
8 Tessa Virtue / Scott Moir  Canada 199.86 2017 Skate Canada
9 Tessa Virtue / Scott Moir  Canada 199.86 2017–18 Grand Prix Final
10 Tessa Virtue / Scott Moir  Canada 198.64 2017 NHK Trophy

Juniors[edit]

For a complete list of the junior record holders, see list of current junior record holders.

Men: Top 4 highest total score[15]

See also: Progression of record scores for junior men's combined total, short program and free skating.
Rank Name Nation Score Event
1 Vincent Zhou  United States 258.11 2017 World Junior Championships
2 Dmitri Aliev  Russia 247.31 2017 World Junior Championships
3 Alexander Samarin  Russia 245.53 2017 World Junior Championships
4 Alexander Petrov  Russia 243.47 2017 World Junior Championships

Ladies: Top 4 highest total score[19]

See also: Progression of record scores for junior ladies' combined total, short program and free skating.
Rank Name Nation Score Event
1 Alexandra Trusova  Russia 225.52 2018 World Junior Championships
2 Alina Zagitova  Russia 208.60 2017 World Junior Championships
3 Alina Zagitova  Russia 207.43 2016–17 Junior Grand Prix Final
4 Alena Kostornaia  Russia 207.39 2018 World Junior Championships
5 Alexandra Trusova  Russia 205.61 2017–18 Junior Grand Prix Final
6 Alena Kostornaia  Russia 204.58 2017–18 Junior Grand Prix Final

Pairs: Top 4 highest total score[23]

See also: Progression of record scores for junior pairs' combined total, short program and free skating.
Rank Name Nation Score Event
1 Anna Dušková / Martin Bidař  Czech Republic 181.82 2016 World Junior Championships
2 Anastasia Mishina / Vladislav Mirzoev  Russia 180.63 2016–17 Junior Grand Prix Final
3 Yu Xiaoyu / Jin Yang  China 178.79 2015 World Junior Championships
4 Julianne Séguin / Charlie Bilodeau  Canada 176.32 2015 World Junior Championships

Ice Dance: Top 4 highest total score[23]

See also: Progression of record scores for junior ice dance combined total, short dance and free dance.
Rank Name Nation Score Event
1 Rachel Parsons / Michael Parsons  United States 164.83 2017 World Junior Championships
2 Alla Loboda / Pavel Drozd  Russia 164.37 2017 World Junior Championships
3 Lorraine McNamara / Quinn Carpenter  United States 163.65 2016 World Junior Championships
4 Rachel Parsons / Michael Parsons  United States 162.74 2016 World Junior Championships

Synchronized skating[edit]

Component Team Score Event Source
Short program Sweden Team Surprise 87.84 2004 Neuchâtel Trophy [32]
Free skating Sweden Team Surprise 159.60 2004 Neuchâtel Trophy [33]
Combined total Sweden Team Surprise 247.44 2004 Neuchâtel Trophy [34]

Subjectivity[edit]

Like gymnastics and diving competitions, judging in figure skating is inherently subjective. Although there may be general consensus that one skater "looks better" than another, it is difficult to get agreement on what it is that causes one skater to be marked as 5.5 and another to be 5.75 for a particular program component. As judges, coaches, and skaters get more experience with the new system, more consensus may emerge. However, for the 2006 Olympics there were cases of 1 to 1.5 point differences in component marks from different judges.[citation needed] This range of difference implies that "observer bias" determines about 20% of the mark given by a judge.[citation needed] Averaging over many judges reduces the effect of this bias in the final score, but there will remain about a 2% spread in the average artistic marks from the randomly selected subsets of judges.[citation needed]

Aside from intra-expert subjectivity, skating is very open to misjudgement from everyday spectators who only see skating casually, e.g. every four years at the Olympics. A skater's jump may look perfect, but the general public will not be aware that the competitor landed on an incorrect edge, therefore receiving fewer points for an element, resulting in the appearance of haphazard or biased judging.

Criticism[edit]

The IJS aims to make the judging of figure skating competitions more consistent with judging systems used in sports like diving and gymnastics. It also includes features intended to make judging more resistant to pressure by special interests. However, there is debate as to whether the new system is in fact an improvement over the old 6.0 system.[citation needed]

Initially under the new ISU rules, the judges' marks were anonymous, which removed any public accountability of the judges for their marks. However, problems with this system came to the forefront during the Sochi Olympics in 2014, and in June 2016 the ISU Congress voted to abolish anonymous judging altogether.[35]

Ties[edit]

While the IJS has minimized the number of ties and the need for multiple tiebreaks, as there were under the old 6.0 system, ties do still occur for both overall score and also for single segments of the competition.

Judge reduction in 2008[edit]

In 2008, the ISU ruled to reduce the number of judges from twelve to nine. The need to reduce costs was given as the prime reason for this change.[46] Since the highest and lowest extreme scores are discounted, the scores of seven judges (rather than ten) determine the outcome of competitions.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Swiss Timing and Figure Skating". 2017 Swiss Timing. Retrieved 25 March 2018. 
  2. ^ "Scoring System Approved". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  3. ^ US Figure Skating Rulebook 2017-2018. Colorado Springs, CO USA: US Figure Skating. pp. 107–108. 
  4. ^ "ISU Communication No. 2168 – Single & Pair Skating – Scale of Values, Levels of Difficulty and Guidelines for marking Grade of Execution, season 2018/19 (REVISED)". International Skating Union. 25 June 2018. Retrieved 9 July 2018. 
  5. ^ a b "ISU Communication No. 2089 – Single & Pair Skating – Scale of Values, Levels of Difficulty and Guidelines for marking Grade of Execution, season 2017/18" (PDF). International Skating Union. 11 May 2017. 
  6. ^ "Agenda of the 57th Ordinary Congress, Seville – 2018". International Skating Union. 30 April 2018. Retrieved 25 May 2018. 
  7. ^ "Program Components – Singles & Pairs, Ice Dance" (PDF). www.usfigureskating.org. 28 August 2016. 
  8. ^ a b c "ISU Special Regulations & Technical Rules, Single & Pair Skating and Ice Dance, 2016". International Skating Union. Retrieved 9 July 2018. 
  9. ^ "Communication No. 1611 – Single & Pair Skating – Scale of Values, Levels of Difficulty and Guidelines for marking Grade of Execution". International Skating Union. 4 May 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 May 2010. Retrieved 9 January 2015. 
  10. ^ "ISU Communication No. 2094 – ICE DANCE Scales of Values, effective July 1st 2017" (PDF). www.usfsa.org. 1 July 2017. 
  11. ^ "Statistics including Personal Best/Season Best information". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on 21 December 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2015. 
  12. ^ "Progression of Highest Score (SP) – Men". International Skating Union. Retrieved 1 December 2017. 
  13. ^ "Progression of Highest Score (FS) – Men". International Skating Union. Retrieved 1 December 2017. 
  14. ^ "Progression of Highest Score (Total) – Men". International Skating Union. Retrieved 1 December 2017. 
  15. ^ a b "ISU Judging System – Highest Total Scores: Men". International Skating Union. 
  16. ^ "Progression of Highest Score (SP) – Ladies". International Skating Union. Retrieved 1 December 2017. 
  17. ^ "Progression of Highest Score (FS) – Ladies". International Skating Union. Retrieved 1 December 2017. 
  18. ^ "Progression of Highest Score (Total) – Ladies". International Skating Union. Retrieved 1 December 2017. 
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  20. ^ "Progression of Highest Score (SP) – Pairs". International Skating Union. Retrieved 1 December 2017. 
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