Skate America

Men's Event

Final Standings
Place Skater Country SP FS
1 Brian Joubert FRA 2 1
2 Alexander Abt RUS 3 2
3 Matthew Savoie USA 6 3
4 Min Zhang CHN 4 4
5 Michael Weiss USA 5 6
6 Emanuel Sandhu CAN 9 5
7 Vakhtang Murvanidze GEO 10 7
8 Derrick Delmore USA 8 8
9 Sergei Davydov BLR 7 9
10 Kensuke Nakaniwa JPN 11 10
- Alexei Yagudin RUS 1 -


Short Program

Starting Order - Short Program
  1. Alexei Yagudin
  2. Vakhtang Murvinidze
  3. Derrick Delmore
  4. Michael Weiss
  5. Matthew Savoie
  6. Emanuel Sandhu
  7. Alexander Abt
  8. Kensuke Nakaniwa
  9. Min Zhang
  10. Brian Joubert
  11. Sergei Davydov


Short Program Placements
Place Skater Country
1 Alexei Yagudin RUS
2 Brian Joubert FRA
3 Alexander Abt RUS
4 Min Zhang CHN
5 Michael Weiss USA
6 Matthew Savoie USA
7 Sergei Davydov BLR
8 Derrick Delmore USA
9 Emanuel Sandhu CAN
10 Vakhtang Murvanidze GEO
11 Kensuke Nakaniwa JPN

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Alexei Yagudin

Despite limited practice time and the possibility of withdrawal, Alexei Yagudin won the short program.  Given the range of marks, it is possible that this was not a unanimous decision and that he may have benefited from a random draw of judges that favored him over Brian Joubert.  But we will never know since the new super-top-secret scoring system does not provide that information. [Note: Afterwards we learned that Yagudin was placed first on a four-three split of the seven randomly selected judges.]

Skating first in the event, Yagudin landed an opening quad toe - triple toe combination and a nice triple Axel, but popped a triple Lutz to a double for a major deduction.  Joubert, who skated next to last, landed a quad toe - double toe combination, the triple Axel, and the triple Lutz.  Both skaters gave strong performances.  Judging by the audience response, Joubert's program - a weird affair skated to music from Pink Floyd -  was the favorite of the audience, and received a standing ovation; but it was Yagudin's Techno routine that received the higher second marks from the panel to overcome his defect in the first mark.

Yagudin has been battling hip pain and has missed some practice time in recent days.  He has a congenital problem with his hip joints in which an under-sized hip socket causes excessive wear and injury to the joint.  He is faced with the unpleasant choices of surgery which may end his career, skating with the pain for as long as the joint will hold out, or retirement.  At this point he is following the second course of action and getting what therapy short of surgery that he can.

Third in the short was Alexander Abt who also opened with a successful quad toe - triple toe combination.  He also attempted triple Axel and triple Lutz, falling on the triple Axel - which Yagudin, who was watching in the audience, responded to by pumping his fist in satisfaction.  Other than the fall, he skated a strong program that was well presented.  From the look of the marks, his placement may also have been a split decision and may have been affected by the random draw of judges - but that too remains an ISU state-secret.

Michael Weiss had a mediocre skate, making two serious errors, two-footing a quad toe loop in his opening quad toe - double toe combination, and two footing triple Axel.

The second American in the event, Matthew Savoie skated a simpler program that the top men and had a step out of the triple Axel.  His presentation was mediocre, the only highlights being his spin elements, which were well done.

Placing in the bottom third, Derrick Delmore landed a quad toe - double toe combination and a triple Lutz, but popped a triple Axel to a single.  He skated with decent speed but it was a lackluster performance which he paid for in both marks.

Canadian Emanuel Sandhu, skated a bizarre program in a bizarre costume (described by one colleague as a "gay Heide" costume) attempted a difficult program and self-destructed as usual.


Free Skating

Starting Order - Free Skating
  1. Kensuke Nakaniwa
  2. Emanuel Sandhu
  3. Vakhtang Murvinidze
  4. Derrick Delmore
  5. Sergei Davydov
  6. Alexander Abt
  7. Michael Weiss
  8. Matthew Savoie
  9. Brian Joubert
  10. Alexei Yagudin
  11. Min Zhang


Free Skating Placements
Place Skater Country
1 Brian Joubert FRA
2 Alexander Abt RUS
3 Matthew Savoie USA
4 Min Zhang CHN
5 Emanuel Sandhu CAN
6 Michael Weiss USA
7 Vakhtang Murvanidze GEO
8 Derrick Delmore USA
9 Sergei Davydov BLR
10 Kensuke Nakaniwa JPN
11 Alexei Yagudin RUS

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Brian Joubert

After skating the warmup, and only when it was his turn to skate, Alexei Yagudin withdrew from the competition in what was obviously, for him, a difficult decision.  From his comments and behavior at this competition it is clear he is concerned that his hip injury may be a career ending condition.  His withdrawal opened the door for Matthew Savoie to move up into the medals.

The free skate was won by Brian Joubert, who landed one of two quads attempted.  His opening quad toe loop was landed as was a subsequent triple Axel - double toe loop.  His next attempt at a quad toe loop was unsuccessful, with his putting a hand down.  He also stepped out of a second double Axel, but landed four other triples.  His program was not nearly as together as his short, but was still fairly well presented and skated with decent speed.  Overall, however, his jumps were sloppy; and scheduled in the start order before Yagudin (who had not withdrawn at that point) perhaps he was feeling a fair bit of pressure after nearly beating Yagudin in the short program.

Joubert just edged out Alexander Abt who won the silver medal.  Abt landed an opening quad toe loop - triple toe loop combination, but then fell on the next two jumps - a solo quad toe loop and a solo triple Axel.  On a second triple Axel he stabbed the ice with the free foot for what may, or may not, have been considered a two footed jump depending on your point of view.He went on to land three more triple jumps.   He skated aggressively with a strong presentation.

Matthew Savoie came back from a mediocre short program to move up to third in the free skating and third overall.  On an opening triple Axel - triple toe loop combination he landed the Axel, but put his hand down on the toe loop.  His next two jumps were doubles, but he fought back, and in the second half of the program landed four more triples, including a triple flip - triple toe loop combination.  He skated with good speed and received a standing ovation for his effort.

Michael Weiss dropped one place compared to his short program result but maintained his fifth place position overall, while Derrick Delmore placed eight again to end up eighth overall.

Weiss had quite few problems with his jumps but skated with decent speed and a better than average presentation.  He fell on an attempt at quad Lutz, doubled and Axel and a loop jumps and singled another Axel.  On triple Lutz he put his hand down and overall landed only three triples.

Delmore gave an inconsistent, sloppy performance with mediocre presentation.  He landed a triple flip - triple toe loop combination, then fell on triple Axel and two footed a quad Salchow in combination with a double toe loop.  On triple Axel - double toe loop he had to fight for the landing edge.  He fell on triple Lutz and stepped out of a double flip.  A closing triple Salchow and triple toe loop were landed.

The men's event was the most egregious example of the manifest unfairness of the scoring system introduced this year.  Because of the random draw of the seven judges from the pool of ten judges, there is always going to be a significant chance that the results of the seven judges selected will not reflect the view of the full panel.   For example, if six of ten judges favor one skater over another and all four of the other skater's judges are selected, then the skater favored by nearly two thirds of the panel will be placed below the other.

At this competition, the ISU provided the marks of all ten judges, with each mark listed in ascending order.  With this representation, it is impossible to determine the ordinals of the judges, but nonetheless it is still possible to discern the opinion of the panel as a  whole by comparing the median marks and average marks given by all the judges.

When this is done, one finds that six of the ten placements would be different in the men's free skate using the median or average marks of the ten judges.   In this case, first and second would be reversed, third and fourth, and fifth and sixth.

When this process is applied to the nine judge panels used in the previous scoring systems one finds the median result and the average result rarely differed from the order of finish using OBO or the older majority method.  At this competition using the new approach, however, nearly 60% of the placements in the singles and pairs free skates are different using the median or average mark compared to the new random judge method.  The only way this can occur is if the placements here were frequently biased by the random choice of judges.  In effect, all three medal placements in the men's event were determined by the flip of the coin in selecting the judges.  How any fair-minded person can accept this outrageous situation is incomprehensible.


2002 Skate America Men's Medalists


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