Saturday, February 25, 2012

Protocol Smackdown: Davis/White's 4CC Free Dance Scores


I want to do a little analysis on the free dance at the recent Four Continents Championship—partially because I was asked to by a lovely reader/commenter, and partially because… well, did you SEE the disparity in the judging??—but before I do any of that, I should probably ask something else…

Um, I’ll rephrase it slightly: DID you see the disparity? COULD you see it? Did you choose to pay IceNetwork (or pay extra, if you were already a subscriber this year), or Universal Sports, or the ISU itself? Or did you just bide your time until the clips made it to YouTube? Admittedly, I bit the bullet and paid the extra $6 at IceNetwork, but in doing so I saw plenty of posts by disgruntled subscribers, outraged that the original package didn’t already include all the major events (particularly Worlds). Were you one of them? Or might you be, had you known such a thread had formed? I’d love to hear readers’ thoughts on this…

Anyway, the primary question at hand—at least for some of us—was How did Davis/White end up losing the free dance by four points to Virtue/Moir when D/W appeared to skate as flawlessly as they have all season?

(And yes, I know V/M actually won the free dance at the GP Final too when all was said and done… but it was only by .5. Not eight times that amount.)

When you study the protocols for both teams at both events, you may marvel at the number of perfect “10” scores both teams received on the component marks. Ten 10s for V/M at the GP Final. Twelve 10s for D/W at the same event. Six more 10s for each team at 4CC. And by the scantest of margins—57.24 to 57.17—D/W won that battle.

Which leaves the technical score to be pulled apart, and that wicked four-point issue to rear its head again. On paper, it’s really quite easy to see how D/W lost: three of their eight necessary elements—the circular step sequence, the spin, and the twizzles, to be precise—were given level 3s at 4CC after being awarded level 4s at the GP Final, while difficulty levels remained identical from one event to the next in the case of V/M.

That means the circular step had a 6.5 base value, compared to an 8.0 at the GP Final (and about a TWO point difference once the GOEs were factored in)…

And the spin had a base value of 4.0 instead of 5.0, resulting in an overall loss of about .8…

And finally the twizzles, which had a 6.0 base value at the GP Final but only a 5.0 base at 4CC (leading to a loss of exactly one point).

The rest of the deficiencies came in the form of significantly slighter differences with the final three elements; both D/W’s straight lift and rotational lift received exactly the same number of points.

As I’ve said many times before, I’m in no shape or form an expert on the complexities and techniques of ice dancing. So maybe D/W truly did under-perform at 4CC—if you can explain the level 3s, please give it a shot! All I can say for sure is that I’ve re-examined the FD performances from both events, and D/W looked as good to me at one as they did at the other.

Some have speculated that the 4CC results were some sort of judicial payback to V/M after the error that was discovered in scoring the GP Final. It’s unlikely that theory will be proved or disproved; after all, I haven’t heard the D/W camp crying foul about anything (at least, not publicly). My simple thought about the whole thing? Better it happen here than at Worlds. It’s happened… it’s over… let’s move on.


What about the decision to leave Czisny and Mahbanoozadeh out of the 4CC lineup altogether? More about that coming soon...

8 comments:

Katrina said...

I think it was judging payback. absolutely. Will it ever be proven like you said? No and it sucks but let's move on.

I agree with the decision to leave Alissa off the 4CC team. Let her rest, be healthy, etc. for Worlds. We need her there. Hate to break it to anybody but 4CC isn't all that important. Ashley needed to go to get another good placement for her as National Champ and Caroline needed the confidence booster.

However, the whole leaving Armin off? HORRIBLE. It makes me boiling made. Richard Did not deserve to go. So what how well he did at worlds (LAST YEAR!!). He finished 13th! Armin should have been the first alternate and the one to skate instead when Jer pulled out. I'd really like someone at USFS to explain this one in detail because it makes absolutely no sense to me, especially seeing how he performed. Glad he's not going to worlds...

Kelli Lawrence said...

Hey Katrina-- did you watch 4CC on IceNetwork, or elsewhere? (IF you watched it, that is)

sara.raju said...

I hadn't thought about a judging payback. It doesn't really surprise me though, this is ice dance after all. Plus I've always felt that the judges were more inclined to V/M than D/W, I mean 2009 worlds anyone? That being said, I thought they both did incredible jobs. I haven't always liked V/M's free dance this year, but the changes they made really worked at 4CC, I just thought the two teams should've been closer in the scores. Thanks for the great post Kelli!

Anonymous said...

a) Charlie has asthma. It was pretty clear that he and Meryl were pacing themselves through the skate.

b) The spin was level three because it was short on rotations. Footwork is about clarity of edges, and while I can't distinguish between levels three and four, one minor edge fault drops it down a level. Don't know about the twizzles

c) It's easy to blame conspiracies, but I'll point out that V/M also got lower scores here than at the GPF.

d) At Can. Nationals, there was some suggestion that because the head of the tech panel was Meryl's friend (Lauren Sneft), she had deliberately called three of V/M's elements level three. See above: re easy to blame conspiracies before skaters

e) The GPF had ridiculous, off the charts scoring, in terms of base value, and we saw the 4CC and Euros tech panels both react negatively (I suspect the ISU handed down a stern talking to). That's all

Kelli Lawrence said...

Hmmm. Didn't know about Charlie's asthma, and yes, in looking back at the end of their 4CC performance it's clear it was one of the more "breathtaking" performances at the high altitude.

But I also went back and counted rotations on their spin, both at GPF and 4CC, and I saw 4 rotations for each of the 3 positions at BOTH events.

Anonymous said...

When 2 teams are this awesome, judges must split hairs. While I absolutely love D/W free dance, V/M's skating is neater and cleaner and more precise...both have better posture, pointed toes, feet close together, matching free legs etc etc....just my humble opinion.

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I also went again and mentioned shifts on their whirl, both at GPF and 4CC, and I saw four shifts for each of the 3 roles at both activities.

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Nationwide Auto Loan said...

I hadn't believed about a knowing benefit. It doesn't really delight me though, this is ice flow after all., I mean 2009 sides anyone? That being said, I believed they both did amazing tasks. I haven't always liked V/M's no cost flow this season, but the changes they created really proved helpful at 4CC, I just believed the two groups should have been nearer in the ratings. Thanks for the excellent publish Kelli