Judging Has Own Degree of Difficulty

The detailed scoring sheet of figure skaters’ performances under the new judging system can be difficult to comprehend.

The CCoSp4 performed by Sasha Cohen in her long program at the U.S. championships was a spin combination with change of position and a change of foot. It was graded a level 4, with a base value of 3.5. She got an additional 0.64 grade of execution for 4.14 total points.

Her LSp4 was a layback spin rated a level 4 with a base value of 2.4. With a 0.86 grade of execution, she got 3.26 points for it. Her final move, a CCoSp3, was another spin combination with change of position and change of foot but it was rated only a level 3, with a base value of 3.0. Adding the grade of execution, she got 3.79 points for it.


Kimmie Meissner’s SpSt3 was a spiral step sequence rated level 3, worth 3.1 points. She got a 0 grade of execution and so got 3.1 points.

Her 1A was a single axel, worth 0.9 and given a minus-0.50 grade of execution because she fell.

The technical specialist, or caller, calls the execution of each element. Non-jump elements such as spins or step sequences are assigned a level based on difficulty, determined by the number of rotations or use of different edges.

“We still have some questions about the levels because they keep changing,” said John Nicks, coach of U.S. champion Sasha Cohen. “It’s been a problem for me, very much so. And I’ve heard Irina Slutskaya talk about it too.

“I suppose that in the scheme of things, the new system is still in its infancy, but I’d like to see a little more consistency as to the values of some of these things.”


-- Helene Elliott