2014 Olympics Figure Skating: Ladies Competition Overview
Kim's last competition
It is perhaps impractical to expect a perfect judging from a panel of figure skating judges. Figure skating has been notorious for judging fraud historically. What has been plainly seen in Sochi Olympics, especially ladies figure skating competition, is that we are living with the same kind of judging fraud. Expecting full honesty or high integrity in international sports competition might be just naivete, considering that we human beings are all prone to our bias and as long as we are wiling to rally under the flag, it is somewhat natural for us all to show bias one way or another, if not outright prejudice, as long as our inborn patriotism is concerned. Looking back at the history of figure skating, allegations of corruption have never left the arena. So, Sochi scandal in ladies figure skating competition might as well be one of those. Figure skating competition is decided by judges, which means their discretion is a sole conduit of fair judging, but judges are all human, and they are prone to self-interests or prejudices. It is not uncommon to spot some degree of contention in many judging controversies, and this is what makes Sochi scandal unique because ladies figure skating in Sochi is not of controversial results but of outright frauds and lies. To be accurate, it's an institutional fraud. Now let us take a look at the official scores of ladies competition. I once estimated Sochi scores, but at the time I didn't really examine the scores thoroughly or calculate them by myself.
Yuna Kim in 2014
Sochi is not controversy
Kim's performance is nothing short of wonderful. Although it's a short program and there seems no innovative moves in that less than 3 minute performance, she deserves all the points she has earned. Soothing and lyrical, the music she skates to also fits well with her charismatic brilliance on ice. It is a remarkable command that she demonstrates is shining through her statuesque presence. I do not believe that Kim's Korean coaches added anything to Kim's skating, but as always, Kim's skating is still the very standard, and I always appreciate her sit spin and her signature spin, My verdict is 75, which is almost same to the protocol with the average 9.0 in PCS.
How do you score Kim' short?
Yuna Kim in 2014
Kim is the bona fide winner
Here, Kim appears as queenly as she has ever been. I once said that I was not impressed by her overall moves in this program, and to me, she looked getting by, but in actuality Kim is simply masterful. No one even gets close to her despite Kim in her last free program is obviously less powerful and less speedy than before. One flaw might be her shaky landing on the lutz due to insufficient height. However, I appreciate that Kim chose not to play it safe in music wise. Needless to say, Adios Nonino is a very challenging piece to skate to. Kim's PCS ranges 8.75 to 9.0 and the estimated total will be 142. My hat off to the one-of-a-kind skater!
How do you score Kim's free?
Adelina Sotnikova in 2014
Imaginary numbers in GOE and PCS
Sotnikova appears energetic. Confident and assertive, Sotnitkova looks full of herself throughout the program. But having a fall-free performance in figure skating doesn't necessarily mean that it is a good performance. To put it simply, the astronomical scores Sotnitkova received from those Sochi judges here has no ground whatsoever. The judges awarded her many +2, but most of them are just imaginary numbers. As far as Sornikova's jump quality is concerned, her GOE should range -2 to 0. The real problem is not her jumps. What Sotnikova got the most in this competition is her PCS. The judges awarded Sotnikova as if she were par with Yuna Kim, but Sotnikova's PCS at her best couldn't surpass 7.5. Sotnikova's moves are raw and premature, lacking of many critical elements such as, continuity and connectivity, and her body control looks barely to rival Gracie Gold. In conclusion, Sotnikova's PCS should have been lower at least 1.0 to 1.5 than Ashley Wagner's. For Sotnikova's short program, 60 is fititng, give or take.
How do you score Sotnikova's short?
Adelina Sotnikova in 2014
Sotnikova's best performance won't cut her to the podium
Definitely Sotnikova outdid herself (watch her performance). Although Sotnikova's efforts here are commendable, her performance falls short of any medal in this competition, not to mention gold. For those who still have difficulty in understanding how well or how deficient Sotnikova's performance is, let us compare her jumps with Kim's. After all, Sotnikova won the sought after Olympic gold here, even beating the legendary Yuna Kim. As some of you know, I once said that Yuna Kim's second lutz in her long program deserves -2 due to her imperfect landing. Then, how much better can Sotnikova's lutz with +2 GOE possible be? Here comes a Sochi paradox that turns the whole judging system upside down. Sotnikova's lutz shows many deficiencies, especially compared to Kim's. While Kim's move from preparation to takeoff shows smooth transition, Sotnikova's preparation, takeoff, and even rotations are raw, jagged and often wobbled. Also her landing doesn't show adequate running edge or momentum. Again not falling on jumps does not mean that jump execution is satisfactory. In combination jumps, Sotnikova often overly bends forward at first landing. In conclusion, Sotnkova's jumps are much inferior to most of Kim's jumps including Kim's -2 lutz , nor does she deserve higher than 8.0 in any circumstance. Another problem is that Sotnikova's moves are too poor to render merits in musical interpretation, transition, skating skills, performance, choreography. Sotnikova's PCS in free program cannot go over 7.5s on average or 120 in total, which won't cut her onto the podium.
How do you score Sotnikova's free?
Comparison of skater's level
If you compare Wagner and Sotnikova, you will see immediately the difference.
Wagner moves like a car on the paved road while Sotnikova is tumbling down the unpaved slope. Sotnikova's every move is marred by a series of shaky shifts.
Her arms and legs are busy to connect each move and jump but you can see how manually laborious and broken they are.
On the other hand Wagner glides all the way.
That's how you skate in senior competition. So in PCS standpoint, there is more than average 1.0 gap between them.
That's why I am reluctant to mark Sotnikova with 7.5 because I will have to push Wagner at least 8.5, which I think is a bit too high for her.
As I watched Sotnikova skating, her mime like gesture seems to me as if to say she is purposefully acting stiff. But her lack of control and flow can't be glossed over by that.
PCS has little to do with a drama stunt in figure skating.