Dump the Downgrade

Will someone please put a stake through the heart of this vampire!

With the deadline for submitting proposals for the 2010 ISU Congress approaching, many a federation, and the technical committees, are working up their proposals.  Among these are guaranteed to be proposals to revise the downgrade rule -- I know of three for starters.  None of the ones I am aware of are fully satisfying, and none get to the heart of the incessant discussion of the downgrade rule.

The heart of the downgrade rule is this -- everybody hates the downgrade rule, and the easiest way to put everyone out of their misery is to just get rid of it.  Completely.  Gone.  Sayonara.  Hasta la vista baby.

The skaters and coaches hate the downgrade rule because, even with the revision this season, there is still a double penalty.

The judges hate the downgrade rule because it gives POWER to the Technical Panel, and God knows we can't have this.  Got to have my power.

Maybe saying the Technical Panels hate the downgrade rules goes too far, but it sure is a pain in the butt for them.  All those reviews, all those replays, all that agonizing over the position of the blade on the landing.  Surely they can't enjoy all that haggling over those blurry pictures of skater's feet -- or the confusion of what really happened when there is no replay.

So here is my sure fire solution to the problem.  Just dump the downgrade rule.  Who needs it?  Too much complexity.  Too convoluted.  More trouble than it's worth.  Downgrades be gone.

For the sake of discussion let's talk about a skater moving up from doubles to triples, but not quite there.

In the worst case the skater does a double and makes a full rotation or maybe three-quarters rotation on the ice.  What has the skater accomplished in reality?  A double jump that may or may not be over-rotated by zero to one-half turn with a really bad landing.

So call it that.  The jump is a double.  It's over-rotated with a really lousy landing and the judges can go down 1 to 3 in GoE depending on how much they hate the landing.

Then we have skaters who get that additional one-half or more rotation beyond two, but don't quite get to three.  What do we have in that case?  A cheated triple with a really bad landing.

So call it what it is, a triple with cheated rotation and the judges can go down 1 to 3 in GoE for the cheat.

Is this not the simple answer that reflects what is really going on?

The skaters and coaches should like this because no more double penalty.  The base value is what it is for the reality of what was accomplished.  And NO double penalty, ever.

The judges should like this because it give them back the POWER (read POWER thinking of a really spooky echoing voice).  All the Technical Panel does is decide if it is an over-rotated double or a cheated triple.  The judges decide the appropriate GoE for the over-rotation or cheat.

One would hope the Technical Panels would like this too.  They still have something to do -- decide if it is a double or triple.  But they don't have to agonize over anything else.  So much quicker the element review would become!  So much time saved!  So much money saved!

The devil is in the details, of course, and here they are: (1)  The dividing line is a triple under-rotated by up to one-half rotation is called a triple, and under-rotated by more than one-half a double. (2) If it's called a triple it counts towards resolving repetitions of triples -- if it's called a double it counts towards resolving repetitions of doubles.  (3)  The judges decide in GoE how much to penalize the over rotation of the double, or the under-rotation of the triple.  (4)  The SoV values would be revised to use a proportional method of determining GoE value.

Now can somebody find a wooden stake and a mallet and ...

Revised 31 Aug 09: Implicit in this proposal is that the SoV would be revised so that a GoE of -3 results in an element score of no more than 25% of the base value, in which case a cheated triple jump will always receive less points than the corresponding double jump base value, and likewise for a quad vs. triple.  For example, 3T at -3 would be be worth 1.0 points vs. 1.3 for 2T, and 4T at -3 would be worth 2.45 points vs. 4.0 for 4T and 3.5 for 2A.

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Copyright 2009 by George S. Rossano