Friday, March 22

Edge Calls and the Points Skaters Earn..

As I mentioned in one of my first posts following the 2013 World Championship, I think the whole 'e' call for Lutzes and flips done on the opposite edges should be done away with, and skaters shouldn't receive any points for jumps they are likely doing for a third or even fourth time within one program.

Let's look at the ladies at the World Championship and see how many points they earned from jumps called 'e' in the free skate:

Mao Asada completed two triple flips and a Lutz (e) --- essentially three triple flips. The flutz earned her 5.30 additional points-- the same value as a base-value triple flip!

Zijun Li did the same as Asada: two flips, and a Lutz (e). Her flutz earned 5.70 points.

Gracie Gold did the opposite. Two triple Lutzes and a triple flip on the outside edge. She did the flip in combination with two double toes in the second half, and ended up with an average of -1 GOE, for 7.99 points overall.

Ashley Wagner completed two triple flips and a Lutz (e) in the second half of the program. It garnered GOE's just under base-value, and she came away with 6.30 points for the jump. Her clean triple flip at the end of the program earned 6.53 points, as a comparison. So you're telling me that when she actually does the same jump the *correct* way, it only earns 0.23 points more?!

Kanako Murakami did two flips and a Lutz (e), which earned her 5.80 points.

And we'll stop there. This is just for the top seven skaters in the free skate-- at the World Championship. Five of them can't do one of the two jumps right, yet are still averaging over 5.50 points for the jump they do completely incorrect (and for the third time). Ridiculous!

If I was competing at the highest level and had a flutz, I would surely put two of them later in my program (one in combination, of course) and hopefully only get -1 or so on the GOE. That's around 5.9 points for each attempt or 11.8 extra points for a jump that has essentially been done four times now.

A clean triple flip with +1 GOE scores just above that at a 6.0 before the half-way point and a 6.53 after.

A clean triple toe with +1 GOE, though, scores just 4.8 before the bonus and 5.21 after. The skater would likely have to get +2 GOE across the board for the 3T in the second half for it to earn .01 points more than the -1 GOE flutz in the second half.

What if I loved doing the loop or Salchow? If I attempt that jump a third time, I'm going to get 0 points. But it's fine to do a flip or Lutz for a third and fourth time and still earn nearly all of the base value.

I think this is insane. So many aspects of the IJS are about the skater planning wisely: whether to do most of the jumps in the second half, how many difficult jumps to attempt in the second half, how to get the maximum score out of seven jumping passes, how to get the highest levels and GOE's on spins and footwork, etc.

Why don't we just disallow flutzes and lips all together? Base the jump solely on the take-off edge. The technical panel has replays. If a skater thinks they are going to get around it and still get credit for a third jump on the same edge, then the jump receives 0 points just as repeating a toe loop, Salchow, or loop more than once would garner. 

A lot of discussions over the last few years is to reward the skater who has a complete set of (clean) triples within a program with bonus points. Looking at the top 10 ladies at the World Championship, aside from the five I highlighted above, Kim doesn't attempt a loop and got called (e) for her flip in the short program; Kostner didn't have a successful loop in her free skate, Sotnikova gets Lutz (e) calls, and Osmond gets Lutz (e) calls. Only Elizaveta Tuktamysheva completed the five triples (not including Axel) successfully in her free skate, and she was only 8th in the portion. 

These are the top 10 free skates at the World Championships we are talking about, and we can only find one lady who would earn the bonus!

I say scratch the idea of a bonus and again-- just don't allow a flip or Lutz jump to be done on the same edge more than twice. 

I guarantee you that the skaters would either really work to correct the technique issues, or they would have to plan their programs based on what they actually can do. 

7 comments:

Sevice said...

Another option/complementary idea is to require that all 5 jumps (with correct entry edges) are represented in the layout of any free program. Yuna kim would have to either attempt the triple loop or do a double and leave points on the table. Asada might have to settle for a double lutz in order to get the right edge. It would make technical contents more comparable across skaters, and reward those with the full array of technically correct jumps.

Anonymous said...

I am no expert, but feel that more detailed definitions of Flip and Lutz may be needed.

When skaters flutz, many of them are on the outside edge at first and then roll onto the deep inside edge at the take-off. But you are not supposed to have this change of edge when doing a Flip. Some skaters do use the above technique when jumping the Flip: rolling from the outside to the inside edge. When I see this, I feel "Oh, his/her flip looks like a Flutz."

There are also skaters whose Lutz looks like a Lip: they are on the shallow outside edge, but the entry and the entire body seem to be on a straight line, rather than using the deep counter-rotation. I see such "Lutz" in skaters who corrected their flutzes and feel "Oh, his/her Lutz looks like a Lip". I've seen a skater with this technique called for a Flutz.

Trevor Laak said...

I agree with you Tony! The definition of the jump needs to simply be what edge the skate blade came off the ice with. The entry steps or edges a skater uses or their "intention" should be completely irrelevant. If the blade comes off the ice from an inside edge it's a flip. If it comes off the ice from an outside edge it's a lutz. Slow motion video makes it pretty obvious in most cases for those that cannot see it in real time.

The technique or mechanics of flip and lutz are actually quite different. Flips tend to have a relatively large distance between the feet while lutzes have the feet extremely close together as they pass.

Your suggestion to "call what actually happens" is so obvious that it must be puzzling to many why the judging system is not implemented that way. Simply put, very few coaches in the entire world seem to have the knowledge to understand the mechanics of a proper lutz or the skill to consistently teach correct flips and lutzes. Every skater and coach in the world can see exactly how to consistently prevent flutzes by viewing the presentation by Nick Perna at iCoachSkating.com. Few seem to know these methods. And many that do are unwilling to put in the time and effort to implement them correctly.

Thanks for your post. I couldn't agree more.

(And I know this is a slightly different point than you are trying to make in your post above, but one of the most consistently incorrect calls made by technical panels today is on true flips that get an edge call. Many skaters do a forward-outside-rocker-change-of-edge entry resulting in a true flip, but the technical panel sees the rocker and assumes the skater left the ice from the outside edge. Although many skaters that use a rocker entrance do remain on the outside edge, not all skaters do. Making this a blanket call for all rocker entries is simply incompetence.)

Anonymous said...

ETA: I am anon at 11:59 AM, March 22, 2013.

There are also

1) skaters who get edge calls on both Flip and Lutz, and

2) those who use the full blade at the toe-pick, making it a little bit similar to the Loop (you see this technique in Flip attempts more often, but I've seen a few skaters who use this technique in their Lutz attempts).

Are these correct "Flip" or "Lutz" that should be ratified?

Anonymous said...


I prefer rewarding a skater for doing something correct rather than adding more penalty for what they cannot do properly. Given how difficult it is to correct wrong edges, I see the lutz or flip jumps just disappearing from most of the programs altogether if this rule were in place. Skaters might try harder to correct their edges but even if they can manage in practices, the jump may become too inconsistent for them to try during competitions. So they will likely go back to their old habits (which is what is happening a lot at present) but if they were to receive no points, they would not try to include it in their programs.
I think the bonus for doing 5 different triples correctly is great. If there is only one skater who can benefit from it, then just give it to that one skater. Perhaps, it would be good to make it a significant bonus so that it will be an incentive to other skaters especially younger skaters to work harder at correcting those jumps in order to get those points.

Ken Scott said...

I think the flutzes and lips should be penalized a bit more harshly. Maybe put them at an automatic -2 or -3 deduction or put them at a lower base value, possibly something that would make them worth a little bit less than the other lower base value triples.

I think the reward for five different triples isn't a bad idea, but I think you'd have to have an even higher award for six different triples, which could be possible if Asada perfects all of hers.

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