Saturday, November 24

Asada vs Suzuki NHK Trophy Free Skates: My Verdict

Who wins this battle? The actual judges scores were 126.62 points for Suzuki, and 117.32 points for Asada. This, combined with the short program scores, gave Asada the win by 0.05 points.

If you listen to the British Eurosport commentators at the end of Asada's video, they are very confused as to how Mao held on for the gold medal.

What were my results?

As you can see, I had Suzuki easily winning the free skate-- by 16.77 points (compared to the 9.30 points she actually won it by).

A few things-- I think both skaters were overscored in certain areas-- specifically some of the spins. The judges seemed to be +2 and +3 happy today, but I think most of their spins were 'good' at best. Suzuki's FCSp4 really should have had negative GOE, for example, but was still able to pull some +1. Don't think so.

With that in mind, I had Suzuki 1.89 points lower technically, while I had Asada 3.33 points lower.

Program components, to me, were where the total joke happened. Asada's program, for the first three or so minutes, has no life at all and she really could be skating to any music. Much like the jumps in this performance, it's just so on-and-off until the footwork starts to gain energy. Also, her fifth jump element comes two seconds before the half-way point. That's poor program planning in my opinion. She has nice basics and beautiful edges, but she really crawls through everything and doesn't do too much in terms of transitions. I've always felt that way about her, honestly.

Suzuki has a nice program and was much more engaged. She has some nice transitional highlights and a great tension and build with the music. I do think she's not as strong as Asada skating skill-wise, but everything else should have been higher in my opinion. Asada pulled off scores mostly in the 8's for performance/execution (huh?), choreography, and interpretation. I just don't feel like she was into this program at all.

For what it's worth, Asada lost 14.85 points off her base mark just from the three jumps she doubled and one she singled in this program. 117 with three triples.

Suzuki easily wins this battle in my opinion.


Anonymous said...

One the one hand, all the judges are left to do is score the components and assign +3 and -3s and I sometimes have the feeling they don't have enough power and are guided or geared towards a certain way of scoring by the system itself. The old system at least allowed you to put one skater ahead of the other if you wanted to. Good or bad intentions aside.

On the other hand, it's always amazing to see that kind of gross incompetence across a whole board of judges. How 5 of the eight judges managed to give Asada P/E marks in the 8s is totally beyond comprehension.

It amazes me Tony, really, you did a pretty good job in scoring those two skates. Granted, you are a well informed fan, and blogger with a good grip on these matters. But why can't judges who are part of the programme and get educated constantly not just do the same and come to similar conclusions? Either they are that incompetent and the ISU seminars are worth nothing, or they are hugely susceptible to other factors like bias, politics, etc.

Be it as it may, neither does the system work in assessing the performances properly, nor do the judges really manage utilise it to its best, whatever that might be. TES scores are as bad as the PCS.

IJS does not work, the ISU tinkers with it from time to time, but only after the fact and without really thinking about the implications of changes. It's a shame that we as an audience do not have any leverage to facilitate any changes. Viewership and fandom are ona downward spiral anyway. Whether we tune in or not does not matter much to the ISU.

Tony said...

Hey there, you should check out my latest interview with former judge Patrick Ibens. The things you question in your first paragraph are along the lines of the questions I asked him.

I totally agree about the performance/execution mark. For me, this program was completely lifeless until the last minute. If she's scoring 8.50 from one judge for the four popped jumps, I can only imagine what a great skate would earn.

Part of the biggest problem, in my opinion, is the way North American media constantly screams foul play, even when there isn't. SLC 2002 and the pairs is the perfect example, but it doesn't stop there. Philip Hersh, who has covered the sport for many years, is always writing nonsense articles about how things aren't fair. Just yesterday, he wrote that Asada's skating skill mark was too high for the performance. Last time I checked, she wasn't falling all over the ice and I didn't know that skating skills were lost overnight.

It's stuff like the above that starts getting casual fans thinking the sport is a complete joke, but for the wrong reasons. I think there are plenty of problems with the judging, but I at least try to analyze all of it rather than just complaining about every last thing being unfair or negative.

Anonymous said...

So, would you then have Asada in 3rd overall, therefore putting Nagasu in 2nd, and making her the 1st alternate for the GPF?

Seems that, in this situation, Nagasu has just as much to complain about as Suzuki.

physics girl said...

Why did Asada get positive GOE on her popped loop and flip? Popped jumps always seem to get negative GOE. And one judge gave her a zero on her 1S! Once again....Suzuki was robbed!!

Tony said...

Anonymous- I would have to score Nagasu's program. Even with a second place finish, I think she'd still end up behind Gao in overall points and remain the second alternate.

While the doubled jumps had nothing wrong with them, I can't see any reason to give her above the base value for them. A popped jump in the short program requires a -3 GOE because it is less than required revolutions.

The 0 on the Salchow is a joke, too.

The Bittersweet Saffron said...

Hi Tony,
Great to see you back and blogging. I thought after last year's Skate Canada post, you stopped for good.
While I was incredibly outraged at the scoring in NHK ladies event, I think it is just the tip of the iceberg. In this season alone, even in 6 GP events, there have been so many dubious scorings, i.e. Florent's SP scores in TEB (actually his LP scores as well), V&T's COR scores in the LP, B&L's COR scores, not to mention NHK Ladies scores. I dont even want to touch upon ice dance, as personally I still find it a minefield after IJS, despite claims to otherwise.
I really do believe that scoring inflation is way on the rise. When ISJ was first introduced, judges refrained from giving a high range of marks to different performances, be it PCS or GOE. Now +3 and -3 GOEs are distributed like candy, while the total combined PCS (SP and LP) differences between high calibre skaters can become as high as 30+ points, despite the "corridor scoring". In what universe can someone overtake another skater when there is such a huge cushion? Im not implying that those skaters are at the same level, but marking someone so highly on PCS alone over another skater is enough to determine a champion prematurely.

Anonymous said...

Nagasu would win the second tie-break over Gao (Nagasu's 340.14 total points versus Gao's 338.96 total points).

Tony said...

True! For some reason, I thought Gao had won on total points. I will get around to scoring Nagasu!

Anonymous said...

Hi Tony,
Thanks for your detailed analysis. The program components scores that Ms. Asada has received this season have confused me. You note that Ms. Asada has good basics and beautiful edges. But if that's the case, why does she skate so slowly? As the ISU video shows her Nocturne SP as an example of nice flow and good ice coverage, I acknowledge that she had good flow during 2006-08. She also has soft knees and ankles and nice posture. But since she left Rafael to train by herself and became skinnier and skinnier, I've found her one of the slowest skaters. It also takes forever for her to complete her step sequences.
Since Mr. Coach Sato started coaching her, it's been said that her basics have improved. But I still find her really slow and lacking deep edges.
I don't want to instantly attribute her PCS to her sponsors or federation's support, and would appreciate it if you could provide me any insights on her skating skills. Thank you very much in advance.

Anonymous said...

Hi I have another question.

I've often heard talks about the importance of federation support to be pushed as the country's #1. How plausible is such an explanation? Is that a myth from the 6.0 system era, or is that something still going on, and if so, to what degree?

Mao certainly brings a lot of money. What's more, a few sponsors of hers also support the ISU events. In my opinion, the latter practice should be banned.

In any case, she's the favorite in the star system and I am getting more and more questioning to what degree this is still a "sport".

Any thoughts?