Share all sharing choices for: Winter Olympics 2018: number skating scoring explained for civilization who don’t follow figure skating

This dude win Adam Rippon. Richard Heathcote/Getty images
The only predictable thing about figure skating is the the sports is unpredictable. Every time a skater procedures onto the ice, there’s always a sense that something might go splendidly appropriate or disastrously dorn — and also we, together viewers, never know what we’re going come get.

But the not just skaters’ performances that deserve to leave ours jaws on the floor; occasionally it’s the judges’ decision too.

The scoring system that’s at this time used for every competitive figure skating — consisting of at the Olympics — isn’t easy to crack. A skater’s last marks deserve to somehow include up come a seemingly random number choose 150.49, and also that figure contains both component scores for artistry and presentation, and more technical scores prefer the esoteric “grades that execution,” i beg your pardon measure how well a skater performs separation, personal, instance “elements” of a program. And that’s before you count any type of deductions or bonuses. Consequently, figure skating deserve to feel inaccessible come casual fans, especially to those who have tendency to only tune in once every 4 years during the Olympics.

That emotion of inaccessibility can be exacerbated in instances where the scoring device yields a counterintuitive result — prefer in the recent Olympic team occasion that experienced Russia’s Mikhail Kolyada fall yet still score greater than America’s Adam Rippon, who provided what looked to it is in a nearly flawless performance.

Understanding exactly how the number skating scoring device works can assist explain just how that outcome unfolded — therefore we’ve placed together a short guide to its many confusing aspects. It might not adjust your mind about any given skater’s results, yet it will offer you a much better idea of just how those results came to be.

The existing figure skating scoring mechanism assigns every “element” an separation, personal, instance score

Those of united state old enough to remember names prefer Kristi Yamaguchi and also Brian Boitano more than likely remember the old 6.0 system, in which programs to be judged in two parts: presentation (artistry) and technical merit (the jumps) top top a scale of 0.0 to 6.0, with 6.0 an interpretation perfection.

That’s unable to do now.

Because the a 2002 Winter Olympics scandal including fixed scores and also corrupt judging, the global Skating Union — the administrate body for competitive skating self-controls — adopted a brand-new set of codes in 2004 (which was completely implemented in 2006).

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The “new” device assigns numeric base worths to jumps, spins, and other technical facets in a skater’s program, in an effort to standardize the potential scores for those elements and reduce the possibility of corruption (though, as BuzzFeed points out, favoritism and inflated scores still exist).

In enhancement to those base values, yes sir a “grade of execution,” or GOE, because that each element, and also a ingredient score that takes into account the imaginative merit of a skater’s program.

Skaters are also expected to fulfill a specific collection of criteria. The requirements in the women’s short program incorporate a double axel or triple axel, a triple jump, a combination jumping pass, a paris spin, a mix spin, a layback or sideways-leaning spin, and a action sequence. The men’s short program has the same requirements, however with a camel or sit spin instead of instead of the layback spin.

Meanwhile, the US number Skating Association’s guidelines for the men’s free skate (which has a best time border of four minutes and also 30 seconds) and also women’s totally free skate (four minutes and 10 seconds) include:

Jumps: There is a preferably of eight jump elements for men and seven jump aspects for ladies. One need to be an Axel-type jump. Just two triple or quad jumps have the right to be repeated and also they need to be a part of a jump combination or run sequence. There might be increase to three jump combine or sequences. Run combinations may not contain more than 2 jumps, however one jump mix may consists of 3 jumps.

Spins: A best of three spins of a various nature - one have to be a rotate combination, one a paris spin and one spin with only one position.

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Steps: One step sequence and also one choreographic sequence, i m sorry must happen after the action sequence.

The great of execution for each facet is critical

Judges use the GOE come score exactly how well a ska performs — or falls short to carry out — each facet in their regimen (jumps, spins, footwork sequences, etc.) It follows a scale of +3 to -3, which is added to or subtracted from an element’s base value.

For a good example of just how the GOE can influence a skater’s as whole score, let’s look at Canadian ska Patrick Chan’s great quadruple toe loop indigenous his complimentary skate during the team occasion in Pyeongchang:

Patrick Chan performs a quadruple toe loop in ~ the Pyeongchang Olympics. NBC

The base value of a quadruple toe loop is 10.30 points. Yet Chan’s run is an ext than simply serviceable — note exactly how he goes right into the jump with a ton of effortless rate (the GIF over is slowed under by 50 percent), and also how his position in the air is tight. He additionally gets an excellent height, and also the as whole jump is an extremely pleasing to the eye. The judges awarded him a optimistic GOE of 2.57 points, happen the total number of points that earned for the jump to 12.87.

Here’s Chan’s scoresheet indigenous his complimentary skate, i m sorry lists his quadruple toes loop (“4T”):

Patrick Chan’s scores ISU/Olympics

Jumps carry out in the second half of a program are worth more than jumps carry out in the very first half

Another point you might notification from Chan’s scoresheet is several tiny X’s. This X’s show the jumps that Chan performed in the second fifty percent of his program, and they’re important since jumps the a skater performs in the second fifty percent of a regimen are awarded a 10 percent bonus, on optimal of their base value (on the sheet, the base worth score currently reflects the 10 percent bonus).