On Saving Figure Skating
There is, of course, an easy way to save figure skating from its credibility problem.
It is not brain surgery. In fact, it is so easy you have to wonder why no has done it.
Professional judges. Currently, the figure skating judges are appointed by their own national federations. So you have a ‘Russian judge’, a ‘Canadian judge, an ‘American judge’ – this is an inherent conflict of interest.
The International Skating Union (ISU) should appoint 20 – 30 professional judges. They should pay them (finding a sponsor would be relatively easy), train them, and assess them. At major competitions like the Olympics which judge is appointed to which competition should be decided by an open to the public blind drawing of lots. Therefore, no one would know who was to judge which competition.
All the scores of each judge should also be publicly posted, so any potential corruption can be quickly identified.
There you go – a quick, simple and easy way to resort credibility (and excitement) to the battered sport.
Why change the system? After all, it is ‘only’ the international competitions like the Olympics Ice Dancing/Figure Skating competition that have these credibility problems.
The answer is simple – the system needs changing because there are hundreds-of-thousands of people who participate in the sport around the world. There are parents who get up before dawn to take their children to the rink: there are volunteers who clean the ice, ensure the changing rooms are warm or coach and organize community events.
For these people – the lifeblood of the sport – to have reasonable doubts about the integrity of the very top competition in their sport is a betrayal. They, and millions of fans, deserve better. Finally, the skaters, the athletes who have spent years of their lives training deserve to know that their sport is not only clean, it is seen to be clean.
Final note: There is an excellent article from the New York Times on this issue. You can find it here – nyti.ms/1eNxNjy