CoP - The Good


If you were expecting an empty page, or a catty comment.  Like, there is nothing good in CoP to speak of.  We fooled you.  There are, we believe, five concepts in CoP worth including in any system of evaluating skating.

Use of more than two marks.

Although it is certainly feasible to use just two marks, as has been the case in skating for many years, the added clarity gained by using a larger number of marks makes increasing the number of marks desirable.  Now, the 33 marks used by CoP to evaluate, for example, the men's free skating, on the other hand, looks like extreme overkill.  Still, having more than two marks is potentially a useful idea.

Judges assessments of individual elements, etc. published.

This is one the public and the media have been calling for, for a long time.  Going back at least to 1994, according to my personal experience.  I particularly recall a press conferences with the ISU president in 1994 where greater access to this information was requested, and ironically the ISU president energetically opposed the concept.  Well, its nice to see him embracing the concept now, some 8 year later.

In close decisions it has frequently been particularly obscure why one skater placed over another.  By making available the judges' assessments it becomes clear to the skaters and the public, and it allows the skaters necessary feedback to improve their performances.  This process does not require CoP or massive technology.  This information has always been available.  Only up until now, the information has ended up in the trash can backstage in the judges room.

Some thought given to classification of dance elements.

Despite erroneous claims that the current 6.0 system is completely subjective, there has always been some objectivity in that system.  There has long been an established classification system for the difficulty for the various elements of skating -- at least in singles and pairs.  A detailed classification system for dance lifts was never established.  In fact, for many years there was a great deal of confusion over what constituted a dance jump vs. a dance lift, until the two types of elements were merged into one group.  CoP forced the dance community to finally give some thought to the classification of dance lifts, the relative difficulty of the dance elements, and their contribution to scores in dance events.

From what the dance committee has come up with thus far, it remains to be seen if this job has been completed with the detail and sophistication actually needed, but the fact they have taken at least a first stab at it is a good thing.

Point differences are now meaningful.

Majorities under the ordinal system and won-loss numbers under OBO are not particularly useful in determining the significance of differences between one place and another.  The ordinal system was introduced to deal with the fact that it is difficult for human judges to mark on perfectly consistent marking scales.  Ordinalizing the marks is a method of correcting for the different marking scales used by each judge, but in the process the numerical significance of place differences is thrown away.  This was probably done for no other reason than in the BC era (before computers) ordinals were the easiest way to correct for marking scale differences under a manual system of computation.  There are more sophisticated methods of correcting for different marking scales among the judges that also retain the numerical significance of place differences, but these require the use of a computer to complete the calculations in a timely way.

The concept of retaining the numerical significance of place differences is a good one, and using modern technology just about ANY scoring system can be set up to to do this.

Come from behind victory easier.

By retaining the numerical significance of the place differences, the margin of victory becomes unambiguously clear.  It also allows for easier come-from-behind victories when combining two parts of events.

Under for the current 6.0 system a skater out of the top three needs "help" to win.  Now, if a skater screws up so badly in the SP that they are out of the top three, maybe they should need help to win.  The idea of needing help to win exists in many sports.  It is not uncommon, for example, in a playoff race to hear of one team in a sport needing another team to win or lose in order for that team to make the playoffs.

On the other hand, if the top four skaters (or more) are so close together in performance in the SP there is no reason why the fourth place skater should not be able to win without help.  ANY scoring system that retains the numerical significance between places would allow this, and is a desirable feature of a scoring system for skating.


These five desirable concepts, have all been included in CoP.  There is nothing unique about CoP, however, that limits these concepts only to CoP.  In reality they can be included in just about any scoring system for skating that has ever been used.  They could have been incorporated in the current 6.0 system years ago; and they are, for example, included in the Modern Era 6.0 scoring system that has been submitted by Australia for consideration at the next ISU Congress.

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Copyright 2004 by George S. Rossano