I'm on a writing spree lately, and I like playing with numbers.
Imagine that each of the eight jumping slots in Chan's free skate were marred by errors with the severity of a -2 GOE (think a big step out or fall out on everything). Here is what his score looks like if you consider all of the jumps to be fully rotated and keeping the exact same GOE as he received on all of the non-jump elements in his Worlds free skate.
Total Value of Eight Jumping Slots = 55.83 Points
(Total Value of Non-Jump Elements = 20.26 Points)
New Technical Total with Straight -2 GOE for Jump Elements = 76.09
(Program Components Total = 89.28)
Segment Total = 165.37
Chan received an actual segment score of 169.41 at Worlds, which included falls on two jumps (one that was called under-rotated), a double of third jump, and a major fall-out of a fourth. The difference between making a severe error (non-fall) on *every* jumping pass and the combination of mistakes he made is just 4.04 points.
Now, people have been writing to me and sharing their opinions on social media about how increasing the penalty for mistakes on the bigger jumps would result in the skaters not even trying the jumps (in other words, we'd go back to non-quad attempts circa pre-Vancouver).
Let's say a skater has every intention of completing a quadruple toe loop, but he actually doubles the jump. Go back up to the element listing for Chan's free skate and we will say that he doubled his second quad but then received a 0 GOE on every other element. Look at his score now:
Total Value of Eight Jumping Slots = 59.43 Points
(Non-Jump Elements Total remains at 20.26 Points)
New Technical Total with Straight 0 GOE for Jump Elements and Doubled Quad = 79.69
(Program Components Total = 89.28)
Segment Total = 168.97
The above demonstrates to me why I don't really buy the whole argument that going for a tough jump, such as a quadruple toe loop, and missing it results in the skaters being penalized oh-so harshly. Actually, I think completing wiping out on the jump because you are dedicated to getting those four rotations in actually gives you a real benefit of the doubt compared to doubling the jump.
-2 GOE on every single jump in a very sloppy program results in just a 3.60 point difference from the skater who completes every jump at a base (average) quality aside from a doubled toe loop- which is still a clean jump.
A double toe loop is worth 1.30 points. Once again, under my proposal that a fall on any jump results in 25% of the base value, a fall on the quad would be 2.58 points. Almost double the amount you'd receive for popping the jump. That's enough credit for taking the 'risk' in my opinion.
Anyways, going back to that 3.60 difference in points between the two hypothetical programs. Now, we have to remember once again that even with all of these errors, there is no criteria for lowering program component scores because of the jumping mistakes-- all eight of them.
Some people are going read this and write to me saying something to the extent of, "Well if he's making eight mistakes in a program, he doesn't have any skating skills!" I know this is coming. But in reality, Chan still does have the skating skills, the transitions, the choreography that goes beautifully with the music, and he probably is still interpreting the music pretty well, too.
I think oftentimes people let audience reactions get in the way of the 'interpretation' component mark. Just because the audience is going wild, it doesn't mean that they fell in love with the way the skater interpreted their music (see Rogozine). Just because the audience is disappointed that the skater didn't hold it together technically doesn't mean that they skated right through the music.
My first article discussed the possibility of reducing the performance and execution component score by 5% or so each time the skater fell. But what about this situation where a skater gets -2 for every single element? No falls-- does that mean the skater should still get a 9.00 for performance and execution?
As I write this and think about my post the other day, I actually think that it would be better to still keep the components scores, for the most part, separate. Scratch the automatic lowering of the performance and execution mark after falls. Of course, if there is a direct correlation between all of the mistakes and the performance, then mark it down. Ideally, as I mentioned, I'd like to see different judging panels for the elements and the components, anyways.
After the above experiment, though, I do think that the severity of mistakes in general needs to be more greatly reflected in the technical mark.
Denis Ten received 56.85 points for his jumps in the Worlds free skate. This included a quadruple toe loop with over a +2 GOE, a triple Axel-triple toe with nearly a +2 average, another triple Axel that received +2, and five of his eight jumping passes in the second half. The only mistake was a doubled flip, which cost him 3.85 points off of the base mark and the world title-- but that's a story for a different time.
See the problem? 56.85 for seven jumping passes being fully-rotated and receiving a majority of +1 and +2 GOE's-- meaning they were good and very good jumps. Go back to Chan's jump layout with all -2's across the board. 55.83 points would have been earned.
1.02 points difference. Sure, Chan would have hypothetically been going for two quads and a triple-single-triple sequence which puts his *planned* content higher than Ten's, but the difference in the quality of these jumps would have been drastic! The marks and system say to fans and anyone else reading the protocols that the jumps only had a 1.02 point difference between the two skaters. That's the problem. Who cares about planned difficulty when everything becomes a train wreck technically?
After this little experiment, I strongly believe there needs to be a harsher penalty for mistakes on the GOE and technical side of the sport.