Mimicing Jackie Wong's great posts, I'll write my own "Opining on" post commenting on Vladislav Luchianov's article "Figure skating is under rhetorical questions", published on World Figure Skating, Friday 10 February.
Luchianov regrets seeing the half-empty World Arena stands, in Colorado Springs, on the occasion of the 2012 Four Continents Championships. Trying to understand why so, he thinks that everything became clear after the men’s short program was finished. He wants to clarify that "I really respect all skaters but I also believe that journalistic work includes a critical point of view to things." I obviously agree with him on both points.
Patrick Chan was in first place after the SP with a new season’s best of 87.95 points. Skating to "Take Five", Chan stumbled badly on his opening quad toe but recovered to land a triple axel and a triple lutz-triple toe combination. The scores? TES: 45.73 and PCS: 42.22. As usual he received just a fantastic PCS:
Skating Skills – from 8.75 to 9;
Transition: from 7.75 to 8.50;
Performance: from 7.75 to 8.50;
Choreography: from 8.50 to 9;
Interpretation: from 8.50 to 9.
And don’t forget that surprisingly (Luchianov stresses that "actually I’ve doubts that skating people think it was surprisingly", and he's quite right I think) the judging panel didn’t count Chan’s error on his failed quad as a fall. Chan put both hands down and stepped out of his opening quad toe; majority of his body weight was on his hands, so it was a fall! If you're asking yourself what the ISU considers as a fall, I report ISU rule 353, which states that a fall is defined as loss of control by a Skater with the result that the majority of his/her own body weight is on the ice supported by any other part of the body other than the blades e.g. hand(s), knee(s), back, buttock(s) or any part of the arm.
Considering this, you can judge for yourself if Chan's error was or was not a fall.
Now let’s compare Chan’s performance with the SP of his main rival, Daisuke Takahashi, who finished third. Takahashi skated to "Garden of Souls" and equally landed a triple axel and a triple lutz-triple toe combination, but he fell on an underrotated quad toe. Daisuke received 82.59 points. TES: 41.64; PCS: 41.95. Let’s watch his marks for the short program’s PCS:
Skating Skills: from 8.50 to 9;
Transition: from 7.50 to 8.50;
Performance: from 7.75 to 8.75;
Choreography: from 7.75 to 8.75;
Interpretation: from 8.25 to 9.
He also fell on the quad, right? But Takahashi’s fall was counted and Chan’s wasn’t. That’s the difference! The logical question is why?
Many skating professionals say that Takahashi’s performances are really wonderful technically and artistically. Do you really think that Takahashi’s components are lower than Chan’s? I’m sure that many professional coaches and choreographers would say no.
Many questions remain...