It would be useful for us to better understand the new figure skating scoring system. I'll report here Cameron Scott's article, because I think it will help us in this.
The International Skating Union (ISU) judging system has been used to judge all figure skating since 2004. It replaced the previous 6.0 system after the 2002 Winter Olympic Games judging controversy.
Under the 6.0 system, skaters had been judged relative to each other on technical merit, required elements, and presentation. The new ISU judging system is based on elements and program components. The scoring of the elements portion is completely independent of other skaters. However, the scoring of program components is based on a comparative scale against an “average” performance.
Elements are individual parts of the program, such as jumps and spins. Each type of element is identified by a technical specialist who assigns it a base value, using instant replay video if necessary. Small changes can change one element into another. Too long an interval between jumps can even convert a jump combination into a skating sequence, which has a much lower base value.
A panel of judges then assigns a grade of execution (GOE) ranging from -3 to +3. Starting an element from the wrong blade edge automatically makes the GOE negative. The GOE is converted into a value using the ISU table from rule 322. The highest and lowest scores are dropped, and the remainder are averaged. This number is added or subtracted from the base value to get the final value of that element. Adding together all the individual element scores gives the element score.
Olympic figure skating short programs have seven or eight required elements. Figure skating long programs have between twelve and fourteen elements. Although the number of elements in a program is fixed, Olympic figure skaters are free to choose the type of element within the requirements. Single skaters skating a short program can have a maximum of two solo jumps, but those jump elements could be a single, double, triple, or quadruple toe loop jump, axel jump, salchow jump, loop jump, flip jump, or lutz jump, or even a walley jump, split jump, or waltz jump. Other elements have even more options. Olympic figure skaters usually hone their programs to get the highest possible element value within their abilities.
In their short programs, single skaters are required to have one combination jump, two solo jumps, one spin combination, two solo spins, and one or two skating sequences. Pairs short programs must have two lifts, a throw jump, a side-by-side jump, a side-by-side spin combination, a pair spin combination,a death spiral, and a skating sequence.
In their long programs, single skaters are required to have eight jumps (seven for women), three spins, and two skating sequences. Pairs long programs must have four lifts, four jumps, two spins, a death spiral, and two skating sequences.
Elements which go beyond these requirements are identified by the technical panel, but have a GEO and mark of 0. A single skater who performs a third solo jump in his short program gets no credit for it.
In the new ISU judging system, Olympic figure skaters are marked on presentation based on five program components:
- skating skills
Ice dancing uses only four program components. Instead of program component scores for transitions and choreography, ice dancing uses a timing component.
These components are marked on a scale from 0 to 10 in increments of 0.25, with a mark of 5 being considered “average.” The highest and lowest scores are dropped, and the remainder are averaged. The average is then multiplied by a factor of between 0.8 (women’s solo short program) and 2 (men’s long program) to get the final value for that program component. Adding together all the individual program component scores gives the program component score.
The multiplication factor is always set so that the program component score has a similar weight to the element score. Programs with more elements or higher GOEs have higher multiplication factors than programs with fewer elements or lower GOEs. Men’s short programs have a factor of 1, men’s long programs a factor of 2. Women’s and pairs short programs have a factor of 0.8, long programs a factor of 1.6.
This system is intended to judge skaters independently rather than relative to each other, reducing the chance of a predetermined win such as was seen in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games judging controversy.
Deductions are given for falls, time violations, costume and prop violations, music violations, excessive interruption, and illegal elements. These are noted separately on the judging form, also called the protocol. Because the program is so carefully scripted to maximize points, the only deductions usually seen at the Winter Olympics are for falls. Canadian ice dancing Olympic hopefuls Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue have altered the dismount of their signature lift, nicknamed the Goose, because the original 360 spinning dismount might be ruled a jump and jumps are illegal in ice dancing.
The final score