Biggest Skating Story NOT the Judging

2010 Olympic medalsYay! For the first time in a long time, perhaps ever some might argue, the judging seemed fair. Or at least as fair as anything that is judged subjectively can be. No first over the finish line victors in figure skating. That said however, it really feels like that ‘new’ judging system with its Code of Points, is standing strong on its legs. I’m sure it will be tweaked and continue to evolve, always room for improvement, but it sure seems to have gone a long way to ensuring that marks are based on what a skater does on the ice that day, and not where they’re from, what they’ve done in the past, or what deals have been made, overt or implied.

While I’m sure not everyone agrees with every result, this is the first time I can recall personally agreeing with all the top results. Those who won figure skating gold at the 2010 Olympics won their medals, they were not gifted to them. There have been too many times in the past, when I don’t think that can be said. There’s a reason there have been so many jokes and criticisms of the sport’s veracity in terms of results. For a time it got so bad, fixed judging seemed to be almost the expected norm, just the way skating was. That is, until that straw came along and broke the camel’s back in 2002. The questionable judging and rigging was too blatant to ignore any longer. Who would have thought that the flawless performance of Sale and Pelletier would have been the catalyst to all these wonderful changes? Maybe good really can grow out of bad.

Now we see movement in the standings during different phases of the competition. Even in ice dancing – shocking! Skaters’ reputations no longer carry them to victory. How rewarding it must be for these skaters, and newly inspired skaters-to-be, to see that the playing field really is leveling. Tracy Wilson remarked that, “this is the first Olympic event with ice dancing, that the number one issue has not been the judging, and it’s so wonderful, hopefully that is behind this sport, judges doing a fine job here of calling it like they saw it.”

Whatever your personal views about the cost and commercialism of the Olympics, the experience for the athletes is supposed to be about way more than just winning a medal. Doing your personal best and enjoying the whole shared games experience are what the Olympics profess to be all about. But if medals are going to be awarded, and one winner declared above the rest, then the right people should be taking those medals home. I think we have that this time. Cheers and thanks to them all!

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