help save the figure skating scoring system (long)

help save the figure skating scoring system (long)

Post by Sandra Loosemor » Wed, 26 Mar 1997 04:00:00


I have heard that the talk by the ISU powers-that-be about changing
the scoring system is getting close to going beyond the talk stage.
Something needs to be done, *now*, if we want to stop this nonsense.

Technically, the issue has to do with whether to retain the current
scoring system based on ordinals and majority vote, or to replace it
with a completely different system such as a trimmed-mean system
("throw out the high and the low and add the rest of the marks"), or
perhaps with a modified ordinal system.  I believe that most of the
people who would be inclined to get involved in a campaign of this
sort already understand how the ordinal system works and why changing
it would be a bad idea, but if I have time I will try to write up
something that discusses the technical issues in more detail.  For now,
I'm just trying to pass on information about what is going on in the
ISU and what we can do about it.

First of all, here is what I understand about the politics of the
situation.

The key player in this is Juan Antonio Samaranch, the head of the
International Olympic Committee.  Samaranch's only stated concern is
that the audience at the Olympics understand the scoring system used
in the figure skating competition.

Ottavio Cinquanta, head of the ISU, has promised Samaranch that he
would "fix" the scoring system before Nagano.  *But*, the ISU's own
rules don't allow him to do this on his own authority.  Cinquanta
may not have been aware of this when he made his promise to Samaranch.

The ISU cannot change the scoring system used for the Worlds or
European championships before the next meeting of the ISU Congress in
the summer of 1998.  (The ISU Congress is where delegates from all the
member countries get together to vote on proposals for rules changes.
They happen every two years.)  In the meantime, the ISU's figure
skating technical committee has the power to decide to use a different
scoring system for other competitions, including the Olympics.  This
is what the focus of the immediate battle is.

It's my impression that the ISU technical committee, headed by
Sally-Anne Stapleford from the UK, is opposed to making any radical
changes to the scoring system.  But Cinquanta is threatening to get
the ISU Council (which consists of representatives from both the speed
skating and figure skating communities) to remove the matter from the
jurisdiction of the technical committee if they don't go along with
him on this.

So, what can we do about the situation?

(1) The ISU technical committee could use an immediate and public show
of support at the grass-roots level as encouragement to hold firm in
this battle -- in other words, write letters to Stapleford and
Cinquanta.  I think a good line of argument to take is that we think
the current scoring system is better than the alternatives, and that
the solution is to educate the media and the public about how the
system works rather than to replace it.  

(2) If Samaranch can be convinced to leave well enough alone,
Cinquanta will lose a lot of his influence in the ISU over this issue.
The key is probably to convince him that the Olympic Games are too
important to be used to "experiment" with a new and untested scoring
system.  Another line of argument that might work is to point out that
we, the figure skaters and fans, don't think the current system is
broken, that the primary consideration ought to be whether the rules
are fair to the athletes, and that it doesn't seem right for outside
interests to dictate the rules of our sport.

(3) The members of the ISU Council, particularly those from the figure
skating side, have to be convinced to distance themselves from
Cinquanta on this issue.  One of the key players on the ISU Council,
in particular, is Claire Ferguson from the US.  It's important that
she get the message that she would not have the support of the USFSA
membership or the skating community in the US to mess with the scoring
system.  Besides complaining to Ferguson directly, this issue is
likely to come up at the USFSA Governing Council meeting in May, so if
you are a USFSA member, it would be a good idea to talk to your club
officials and make sure they understand what the situation is.  It
would probably also be a good idea to complain to Morry Stillwell, the
head of the USFSA.  Finally, it wouldn't hurt to send messages of
encouragement to Ron Pfenning (the US member of the technical
committee, who will also be giving the report at the Governing Council
meeting), and/or copy him on messages sent to others.  For those of
you outside the US, you could help by contacting the ISU officials from
your own national skating federation -- for instance, Kasuichiro
Hisanaga of Japan and Joyce Hisey of Canada.

If you decide to write a letter about this, please keep it focused on
the issue of changes to the scoring system.  Don't waste your time
grumbling about how unfair the new qualifying system for Worlds is, or
about how stupid the idea of requiring skaters to perform different
programs at different competitions during the season is.  It's also
not a good idea to make suggestions that the ISU can't possibly act on
under its own rules -- for instance, I saw somebody talking about how
they ought to convene a "special emergency congress" to deal with rules
changes before the Olympics.  That's simply not an option.  

Another point: I know that many of us have already discussed the
technical and political issues relating to the scoring system at
length on the net, both publicly and in private e-mail exchanges.
This is all fine and dandy, but the people who really have to be told
about what we think are not other netters, but Mr. Samaranch and the
people within the ISU.

Finally, here's the specific contact information.

The ISU Technical Committee members are:
Sally-Anne Stapleford, GBR - Chair
Britta Lundgren, SWE - Member
Walburga Grimm, GER - Member
Alexander Lakernik, RUS - Member
Ronald T. Pfennig, USA - Member

The ISU Council members are:
Ottavio Cinquanta -President
Lawrence Demmy, MBE - 1st Vice President (Figure Skating)
Gerhard Zimmerman - 2nd Vice President (Speed Skating)
   Members, Figure Skating:
Jurg Wilhem, SWI
Kasuichiro Hisanaga, JPN
Joyce Hisey, CAN
Claire W. Ferguson, USA
   Members, Speed Skating:
German Panov, RUS
Lars-Olof Eklund, SWE
Myong-Hi Chang, ROK
Jan Dijkema, NTH

Addresses/phone/fax/e-mail:

The Hon. Juan Antonio Samaranch (President)
International Olympic Committee
Chateau de Vidy
Olympic House
1007 Lausanne, Switzerland
Tel:     Country Code: 41
         City Code: 21
         621-61-11 (from U.S.: 011-41-21-621-6111)
Fax:     621-62-16 (from U.S.: 011-41-21-621-6216)
Telex: 454 024 CIO
http://www.olympic.org

Mr. Ottavio Cinquanta (President)
Lord Lawrence Demmy (1st Vice President)
International Skating Union
Promenade 73, Postfach
CH-7270 Davos Platz, Switzerland
Tel:     Country Code: 41
         City Code: 81
         43-75-77 (from U.S.: 011-41-81-43-7577)
Fax:     43-66-71 (from U.S.: 011-41-81-43-6671)


Ms. Claire W. Ferguson

United States Figure Skating Association
20 First Street
Colorado Springs, Colorado  80906
Tel:     (719) 635-5200
FAX:     (719) 635-9548

Ms. Sally-Anne Stapleford (President)
The National Ice Skating Association of UK Ltd.,
15-27, Gee Street
London, EC1V 3RE, U.K.
Tel:     Country Code: 44
         City Code: 171
         253-3824, -0910 (from U.S.: 011-44-171-253-3824, -0910)
Fax:     490-2589 (from U.S.: 011-44-171-490-2589)

Mr. David Dore (Director General)
Ms. Joyce Hisey
Canadian Figure Skating Association
403-1600 James Naismith Drive
Gloucester, Ontario, Canada, K1B 5N4

Ms. Angela Seidenberg (President)
Ms. Walburga Grimm
Deutche Eislauf-Union
Betzenweg 34
D-81247 Muenchen
Germany
Tel:     Country Code: 49
         City Code: 89
         818-242 (from U.S.: 011-49-89-818-242)
Fax:     818-246 (from U.S.: 011-40-89-818-246)

Mr.Katsuichiro Hisanaga (Vice-President)
Japan Skating Federation
Kishi-Taiikukann-Nai
1-1-1, Jinnan
Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan 150-50

Tel:03-3481-2351 (from U.S.: 011-81-3-3481-2351)
Fax:03-3481-2350 (from U.S.: 011-81-3-3481-2350)

 
 
 

help save the figure skating scoring system (long)

Post by Louis Epste » Mon, 31 Mar 1997 04:00:00

:
: The ISU cannot change the scoring system used for the Worlds or
: European championships before the next meeting of the ISU Congress in
: the summer of 1998.  (The ISU Congress is where delegates from all the
: member countries get together to vote on proposals for rules changes.
: They happen every two years.)  In the meantime, the ISU's figure
: skating technical committee has the power to decide to use a different
: scoring system for other competitions, including the Olympics.

Would be strange to see Worlds judged one way,Olys another!

: Ottavio Cinquanta -President
: Lawrence Demmy, MBE - 1st Vice President (Figure Skating)

[correct]

: Mr. Ottavio Cinquanta (President)
: Lord Lawrence Demmy (1st Vice President)

[incorrect...an MBE is at the bottom of the honours system,Lords are
at the top..."Lord [given name] [surname]" is a younger son of a
marquess or duke,the two highest kinds of Lord,and Mr. Demmy,MBE,is
not of noble birth]