Friday, February 22

Good One, Spanish Ice Sports Federation

One thing I can't understand sometimes in figure skating is how, after spending approximately two minutes of my day, I found the rule that explains the amount of points each skater will receive based on their final placement at the World Championships. In turn, this is the method used to determine how many spots will be available for the following World Championship, and this year-- the Sochi Olympics.

[Read the rule here, #378.2.b]

Let's backtrack:

Javier Fernandez finished in the top 10 at the 2012 World Championships. Javier Raya finished in 24th place, making the final free skate and earning 16 points for his final placement. Combine Fernandez's 9 points and Raya's 16 points, and you have 25 points.

Here is the system briefly explained for those unfamiliar:

If a country has two OR three skaters/teams at a Championship, they need:
13 or less points from the top two finishers to retain three in the next season's Championship
28 points or less from the top two finishers to retain two in the next season's Championship

If a country has one skater/team at a Championship, they need:
2 points or less to earn three in the next season's Championship
10 points or less to earn two in the next season's Championship

Prior to this season, the point system worked out in the following way:
-A skater/team who does not make it out of the preliminary round would earn 20 points, regardless of placement.
-A skater/team who competes in the short program/dance but does not qualify for the free skate/dance would earn 18 points, regardless of placement.
-A skater/team who competes in the free skate/dance but does not finish in the top 16 earns 16 points, regardless of placement.
-All other skaters/teams earn the amount of points that coincide with their final placement (ie. 4th place gets 4 points, 9th place gets 9 points, and so on).

Going back to the Spain situation in 2012, the men earned two spots for the 2013 World Championships. Up until two weeks ago, Fernandez was the only man who had reached the newly-established technical minimum scores set by the ISU to determine eligibility for Worlds. Raya, however, was also able to earn the minimum scores at a last-minute international.

Then comes February 22. The official entry lists for the World Championship are published by the ISU, and Raya is not listed as an entry. Rather, he is listed as a substitute for Fernandez and is only permitted to compete if Fernandez is withdrawn by the Spanish Ice Sports Federation prior to the event.

Chatter around the Internet is that the federation chose not to enter Raya because of injuries he had being dealing with in the last few weeks, and they didn't want to hinder the chance at two spots for 2014 if Fernandez again disappointed (he came in expecting much higher than the 9th place he earned in 2012).

Here's the thing, though.

There is no more preliminary round at the World Championships. All skaters competing in the short program/dance but not qualifying to the free skate earn 18 points.

Let's do some quick math. Raya finishes last in the field of 34, or whatever it ends up being. He earns 18 points. Fernandez needs top 10 to retain two entries for 2014 in that case.

Fernandez is sent by himself. Where does he need to place?

Oh. That's right. Top 10.

In short, Raya's placement in this World Championship has absolutely no hinderance on earning two spots for 2014. Fernandez needs to be in the top 10 without him. And let's say Raya finishes in the top 24. Then Fernandez only needs to be in the top 12 based on the 16 points Raya would accumulate.

I'm sorry, Spanish Ice Sports Federation. You are idiots.


Anonymous said...

Could be that Raya is actually more seriously injured than they're letting on and realistically wouldn't be able to perform even with the chance to do so. In that case, no use entering him, right?

Tony Wheeler said...

I honestly don't think so. He skated well enough a week or two ago to even earn the ticket to London, and while it's true he withdrew from the Challenge Cup, I don't think it was because of anything that serious or season-ending.

Anonymous said...

Well, if that's the case, right, they're idiots.

Tony Wheeler said...

I have a feeling it's more a case of them just simply not knowing the rules than anything.

Anonymous said...

I'm spanish, and I already know the tremendous error they were doing, and it seems in the Spanish Fed nobody is reading ISU rules.
I understand Raya is not compiting because of a injury, but before the injury he wasn't going to worlds because the fed want these 2 places in the olympics.

Remember Raya hasn't got already the minimals for the olympics, if he doesn't get them, this will be a disaster next year.

Sorry for my english.

Tony Wheeler said...

Raya has the minimum for Worlds; we will see if they increase the score for the Olympics. If it stays the same, then he should be good for Sochi.

And your English is fine! Thanks for confirming that they weren't going to send Raya even before the injury :)

ImaginaryPogue said...

Is there a third Spanish male skater internationally? Because Fernandez by himself has a shot at getting three spots (top two at Worlds will do it), whereas with Raya there is no hope whatsoever

Tony said...

Fernandez would have to be top 2. Definitely possible. But seeing how Raya just barely qualified for Worlds at the last minute, it would be a stretch to think a third man could qualify, too (although there is one).

After having spoken to a few people, it was definitely an error on the part of the Spanish Federation, as they didn't know 18 was the maximum amount of points that would be given to skaters at this Worlds.

Anonymous said...

Can't the Spanish Federation publicly admit their error and petition to the ISU to have the entries changed?

Tony Wheeler said...

I think that's what we are going to see happening shortly ;-)