The quad is also at the core of the most discussed and debated topic in the figure skating world. Why? To understand, you’ll need a little history.
Prior to 2004, skating competitions were scored on a 6.0 ordinal process, with 6.0 being absolute perfection—Michelle Kwan got the Heinz 57 of perfect 6.0s. Still, as you can imagine, a zero-to-six scale with vague guidelines made the sport very subjective. You may also remember the French Judge drama from the 2002 Olympics.
In an attempt to make scoring more consistent (and fair), the International Skating Union decided to incorporate the "Code of Points". This new system assigns a value to every element executed by a skater during the performance. To get full credit, the skater must execute the jump/spin/footwork sequence/etc. without error, otherwise there are mandated deductions. There are also limitations on the number of things a skater can do (for example, only seven jump elements are allowed). To win, the athlete attempts to do as many elements as possible with the highest degree of difficulty for each element. At the end of the performance, all element scores get totaled.
Sounds reasonable, right? So what’s stoked the big quad controversy?
The results of the 2010 Olympics. America’s Evan Lysacek kicked Russian Evgeni (pronounced like New Guinea with a “U” or in slang terms, “pompous jerk-wad”) Plushenko’s well-toned buttocks.
At the heart of this controversy—you guessed it—was the quad. Evan didn’t execute one. Evgeni landed two.
Experts are like opinions, everyone has their butt-hole. Oops, got that backwards, didn’t I? Anyway, as television’s Monk would say, here’s what happened:
Lysacek, the reigning 2009 world champion finshed ahead of Plushenko by 1.31 points, becoming the first man since 1994 to win the Olympic title without a quad. Prickly Plushenko pouted, calling the results an embarrassment and “not in keeping with the established practice.” (Do I sound a bit biased?) Well, neiner-neiner, Plushenko was the one who said the judging was unfair. Duh, Eastern Block calling the West square?
The results of that competition were analyzed, over-analyzed, and bitched about some more. Both men scored the same for program components, but Lysacek got more points for the execution of such technical elements as spins and footwork. Yikes, I am starting to sound like the French judge, oui?
Jacues Rogge, the president of the IOC, said, “Plushenko may have done the quad, but the overall quality of Lysacek’s program was better.” Guinea Pig supporters disagreed and Lysacek’s win unleashed a wave of whining. Many insisted that more difficult routines should earn the title, thus once again igniting the artistic quality versus difficult jumps controversy.
What do you think? Should skaters who are able to do the hardest elements the best win? Or should the system remain as is, rewarding the overall performance?
Copyright © 2012 by Robin Weaver