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TeamBoone
02-16-2006, 08:14 PM
Is it just me? I've been trying to hold my tongue throughout the competitions, but tonight put me over the edge.

Dick Button (has he gotten cantankerous?). After the first skater finishes, he says "the early scores this evening don't mean much, except to the skaters of course".

Geez! Why even bother to have the early skaters in the competition?

And the woman (can't remember her name because I've never heard of her). Just before the second skater begins, she says "I hope he's put as much effort into his program as he has into his costume".

Ugh! I could live without the ad libbing. I'm finding Scott Hamilton the only one worth opening his mouth.

KronoRed
02-16-2006, 08:36 PM
They seem to get mad that the Russian's aren't being allowed to skate alone ;)

Dom Heffner
02-16-2006, 09:59 PM
I must know absolutely nothing about figure skating because I'll watch a performance and think it's pretty good and then whoever the male is comes on and just rips these guys a new one. It makes me not want to watch this guy is so negative.

The female and Scott Hamilton (?) seem to be pretty fair but the main guy just calls everything awful. Even when someone skates well he'll talk about how they normally don't skate that well.

Really strange, and I'm glad I'm not the only one, TB.

Caseyfan21
02-17-2006, 12:02 AM
I got dragged into watching some of the doubles pairs this past weekend when the girlfriend was in town. Anyways, I'm like Dom, I have no idea what's going on. All I know is falling is bad.

I was excited to watch the girl from Columbus (I think her name is Marcy). So I was watching her and before her and her partner take the ice, the announcers are saying, "Well, they would be lucky to finish in the Top 10 here."

Geez, even if that's true (which it was) you don't have to lead off their performance with that. That just lowers the expectations of the audience watching and unless someone cares they will probably get up and grab some food, go to the bathroom, etc, since these skaters aren't so great in the announcers opinion.

Sorry, venting over...:)

TeamBoone
02-17-2006, 01:15 AM
You're right, falling is bad.... except tonight.

The guy that won the bronze fell twice and beat two others who were flawless. Some new judging system they've got there.

KronoRed
02-17-2006, 02:03 AM
The winners are pretty much decided before hand, I'm not saying it's fixed but all the favorites have to do is not screw up too badly and they win.

The announcers know it too, they try and set it up but it's all a big farce.

Such is the case in most sports decided by judges.

Caveat Emperor
02-17-2006, 05:01 AM
The winners are pretty much decided before hand, I'm not saying it's fixed but all the favorites have to do is not screw up too badly and they win.

The announcers know it too, they try and set it up but it's all a big farce.

Such is the case in most sports decided by judges.

I tried watching the "Snowboarding" half-pipe event (why is this an Olympic sport? :bang: ) when it was on, and that was the same conclusion that I reached as well. Everyone said the nerdy looking redhead was going to win, and he won...and if you want to go over the videotape and show me what he did differently than anyone else who didn't fall on their "Trick" attempts, I'd be more than willing to watch -- because I couldn't tell the difference in his run from anyone elses.

It seemed like he won just because everyone said he was going to.

RedFanAlways1966
02-17-2006, 07:49 AM
This is why I do not like anything that involves human judging. I do not like to watch any event that has it. Skating has to have it (I cannot see any other way), so it will always have a cloud of non-fairness to me. The same for most of those X-Games type of events like the snowboarding in the halfpipe thing.

Ski jumping? Why have a human judged element to the final score? Joe jumps 300 feet and Steve jumps 298 feet. Joe wins... why make it any different? They do. They throw in style-and-flair points. Do they have style-and-flair points in the long jump in the Summer games? I don't think so.

SunDeck
02-17-2006, 08:27 AM
This is why I do not like anything that involves human judging. I do not like to watch any event that has it. Skating has to have it (I cannot see any other way), so it will always have a cloud of non-fairness to me. The same for most of those X-Games type of events like the snowboarding in the halfpipe thing.

Ski jumping? Why have a human judged element to the final score? Joe jumps 300 feet and Steve jumps 298 feet. Joe wins... why make it any different? They do. They throw in style-and-flair points. Do they have style-and-flair points in the long jump in the Summer games? I don't think so.
At some point you have judge whether a person lands on their feet or not. If a guy hurls 300 feet and skids in on his rear end, how does that square against a 290 foot jump, where the guy lands on his feet. Seems like the latter is the better jump. But maybe that's where it should end. Did the guy land on two feet and stay up and not whether he stuck his butt out and waddled on the way down.

And speaking of skating, did anyone see the interview with Johnny Weir? He's fighting the establishment. I didn't know skating was a part of the movement against the Man.

flyer85
02-17-2006, 08:55 AM
I'd find it a lot more interesting if they skated two at a time, with pugle sticks.:bash:

TeamBoone
02-17-2006, 11:06 AM
Unfortunately, there's a human judgement element in every sport... including baseball, football, basketball, etc. They're just called by different names.

I really do enjoy watching the Olympics, and I almost feel guilty that I feel the way I do about the commentary and what often appears to be unfair judging... or perhaps it's a straight-forward case of judging/emphasizing the wrong elements.

I was especially bothered last night by the fact that all announcers noted that the gold medalist's performance lacked a "program" (choreography); that he nailed all the technical elements but was unable to tie them together with the choreography... yet, he was the top scorer for the creative points!

Anyway, I'm going to try to get past it and continue to enjoy what's left of the games.

Red Leader
02-17-2006, 11:19 AM
I agree with everyone on here, the figure skating announcers are bad.

To kind of echo what Caveat said, many of the sports that they say "so and so will win this event," they do. The Flying Tomato in the halfpipe, Seth Wescott in the Snowboard cross yesterday. It's gotten to the point where I chuckle when someone like Bodie Miller, Jeremy Bloom, or Johnny Weir don't medal after they've been super-hyped. That's bad. I wish I could root for all Americans to win, but because of some of the announcers hyping these people, I'm actually finding that I'm rooting for some of the underdogs from other countries.

Dom Heffner
02-17-2006, 11:43 AM
This is why I do not like anything that involves human judging. I do not like to watch any event that has it. Skating has to have it (I cannot see any other way), so it will always have a cloud of non-fairness to me. The same for most of those X-Games type of events like the snowboarding in the halfpipe thing.


RFA, I agree to a certain extent. Figure skating is just mostly subjective it seems. I still watch, though, because I think all sports have some sort of range for human error in judging- how many blown calls have we seen in football and baseball?

Boxing is one of my favorite sports, and a funny thing happened to me last fall. I went and saw the Tarver-Jones fight live instead of watching it on television. What a difference it is watching something like that without anyone telling you how the fight is going.

I called it right, but right before the decision was announced I was convinced it could have gone either way.

Caveat Emperor
02-17-2006, 11:49 AM
I agree with everyone on here, the figure skating announcers are bad.

To kind of echo what Caveat said, many of the sports that they say "so and so will win this event," they do. The Flying Tomato in the halfpipe, Seth Wescott in the Snowboard cross yesterday. It's gotten to the point where I chuckle when someone like Bodie Miller, Jeremy Bloom, or Johnny Weir don't medal after they've been super-hyped. That's bad. I wish I could root for all Americans to win, but because of some of the announcers hyping these people, I'm actually finding that I'm rooting for some of the underdogs from other countries.

You'll notice, though, that upsets occur FAR more frequently when there's an impartial judge of the victor, such as a clock.

Red Leader
02-17-2006, 11:55 AM
You'll notice, though, that upsets occur FAR more frequently when there's an impartial judge of the victor, such as a clock.

Yes, that is true.

vaticanplum
02-17-2006, 11:59 AM
Unfortunately, there's a human judgement element in every sport... including baseball, football, basketball, etc. They're just called by different names.

I really do enjoy watching the Olympics, and I almost feel guilty that I feel the way I do about the commentary and what often appears to be unfair judging... or perhaps it's a straight-forward case of judging/emphasizing the wrong elements.

I was especially bothered last night by the fact that all announcers noted that the gold medalist's performance lacked a "program" (choreography); that he nailed all the technical elements but was unable to tie them together with the choreography... yet, he was the top scorer for the creative points!

None of this is the fault of the figure skating announcers. This is the fault of the crappy new judging system the sport has implemented. The announcers are quite right -- there's very little rhyme or reason to the way the judges are scoring the artistic side of things at the moment. The figure skating world in general is very unhappy with this system, and then add onto that that these skaters are the guinea pigs for it and aren't quite sure what they're supposed to be emphasizing, and then the judges award marks like this, thus confusing the skaters further. As far as I'm concerned last night was the exemplification of the new system at its worst. (As your resident skating freak, I can get more detailed into this, but it's very intricate and I'm very wordy so I'll spare you unless anybody really wants to know.)

In my opinion these announcers are really good; there are just too many of them. Scott Hamilton, Sandra Bezic and Dick Button are pretty much the wordiest commentators in the sport (and after last night I'm now completely convinced that Hamilton has no grasp on the new system) -- you can't have all of them talking together. Dick Button really knows his stuff and can be quite endearing. Here is a great article about him -- it's really worth reading:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/11/AR2006021101460.html

KronoRed
02-17-2006, 12:06 PM
I'd find it a lot more interesting if they skated two at a time, with pugle sticks.:bash:
Yeah..I like this :devil:

registerthis
02-17-2006, 12:35 PM
Unfortunately, there's a human judgement element in every sport... including baseball, football, basketball, etc. They're just called by different names.

Yes, but there's not anything nearly as subjective as "artistic merit" in any of the sports you mentioned. If a football team received points not only on whether they were able to score, but on how good they looked doing it, then the comparison would be more apt.

registerthis
02-17-2006, 12:39 PM
And, for the record, i think the figure skating announcers are simply awful. Dick Button is the most negative blowhard I think I've heard in any sport. For every compliment, he dishes out ten criticisms, always said with that air of authority: "There's no artistry in this performance...he looked weak on that jump...there's no bounce in his step...etc."

Scott Hamilton acts like he's passing a stone every time a skater attempts a triple or a quad, and the female announcer (Dorothy Hammill?) provides some of the most inane commentary I have heard--"The crowd loves it!" or "She's looks so happy!"

I've taken to muting the commentary and playing my own soundtrack while they're skating.

flyer85
02-17-2006, 12:43 PM
Yeah..I like this :devil:I can see it now

"Harding does a great triple loop and clocks prissy boy across the jaw. Prissy boy is down, the judges are starting the count".

The suspense would be a killer.:evil:

Caveat Emperor
02-17-2006, 12:55 PM
Dick Button is the most negative blowhard I think I've heard in any sport.

Heh heh...heh heh heh heh...

http://home.teleport.com/~rasputin/ImageFiles/BeavisButthead.jpg

SunDeck
02-17-2006, 01:07 PM
The negatitivity kinda goes with the sport, don't you think? I mean, these people are all trying to do nearly impossible things and anything less than perfection causes their score to suffer. If Button is negative, I maintain he is only pointing out the things that the judges are using to differentiate the performances. The pithy comments, I find to be a nice departure because I have no idea what the heck they're talking about unless someone just flat out falls on their backside.

TeamBoone
02-17-2006, 01:12 PM
None of this is the fault of the figure skating announcers. This is the fault of the crappy new judging system the sport has implemented. The announcers are quite right -- there's very little rhyme or reason to the way the judges are scoring the artistic side of things at the moment.

Agreed, that isn't the announcers fault... but the announcers are still horrible, IMHO, for the reasons stated in my opening post on this thread (and more that I didn't go into, but others have). They did nothing last night to change my mind about that.



Scott Hamilton acts like he's passing a stone every time a skater attempts a triple or a quad, and the female announcer (Dorothy Hammill?) provides some of the most inane commentary I have heard--"The crowd loves it!" or "She's looks so happy!"

No, it's Sandra Bezic, though I've never heard of her.

Red Leader
02-17-2006, 01:14 PM
What happened to Elfie Schlagel?

creek14
02-17-2006, 01:17 PM
If a football team received points not only on whether they were able to score, but on how good they looked doing it...
The Steelers would have lost the Super Bowl, cause Ben looked like crap with that beard. :devil:

traderumor
02-17-2006, 01:19 PM
I can see it now

"Harding does a great triple loop and clocks prissy boy across the jaw. Prissy boy is down, the judges are starting the count".

The suspense would be a killer.:evil:How fitting that "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" is playing on my computer right now. Of course, the only triple loops that Harding is doing these days is with her spoon in the ice cream :laugh:

flyer85
02-17-2006, 01:22 PM
Of course, the only triple loops that Harding is doing these days is with her spoon in the ice cream :laugh:or is that triple scoops

Red Leader
02-17-2006, 01:32 PM
or is that triple scoops

More like double wide. :mooner:

Roy Tucker
02-17-2006, 01:37 PM
Dick Button seems like he's been around forever.

He is the Dick Enberg of skating.

vaticanplum
02-17-2006, 03:35 PM
Yes, but there's not anything nearly as subjective as "artistic merit" in any of the sports you mentioned.

It is subjective, but probably not as much as you think. Personal tastes do figure into it, but there are very specific artistic things the judges are supposed to look for, such as how deep the edging is (ie. how much a skater is leaning to the side, how much on the side of the blade he or she is), speed (judged as an artistic element as well as a technical one), use and placement of elements in a program, position (a specific technical thing with an artistic effect), and many other things. Even the way a skater uses music is more technical to a judge than it is to the casual observer, because judges have been watching skating for so many years that they know what is technically good use of music and what is not.

I'm not entirely positive, but I'm pretty sure, that under the new system all of these things correlate to specific point values as well, thus making it even less subjective. This is why it kind of gets to me when people who just pick up and watch every four years say that it's too subjective but then argue the results because from what they see a skater had a better program. The judges aren't just picking who they like better -- there are a lot of tiny little technical things that you have to know skating really well to pick up on.

vaticanplum
02-17-2006, 03:50 PM
No, it's Sandra Bezic, though I've never heard of her.

She was a Canadian pairs skater in the 70s and has been a top-level choreographer for a long time now. I don't like her that much either, until she gets nasty, then I find her hilarious (this is probably where we disagree -- I love it when commentators get snarky).

As for why they show the early skaters -- so they can be on TV, maybe? Or maybe as a basis for comparison of how the later skaters are better. Or for freaks like me who like to watch them. I also think they may be making a point about the new system: look, some of the results are already decided, so look at how pointless the competition is (but I'm pretty biased against this judging system in case that isn't clear.)

I have to say I have discussed figure skating many places in my life, but never before on a baseball message board.

registerthis
02-17-2006, 03:53 PM
I don't question that there are many technical aspects to grading a figure skating performance, but there is still a significant "artistic element" which is included in the points distributed, and these cannot be so easily quantified. Aspects of the skater's performance, ranging from how well he/she interpreted the music, to how well the performance "flows" merit consideration in the skater's score. Perhaps the judges are simply more well-versed in what qualities meet those requirements--they have certainly watched more hours of skating than have I. But, there is really no comparison between skating and football or baseball, in terms of the "human element" involved in the scoring system.

I cringe when I hear Dick Button whine about the "flow" of a performance, or the artistry (or lack thereof) of a skater's routine--as if his interpretation is the authority on the matter.

registerthis
02-17-2006, 03:56 PM
The negatitivity kinda goes with the sport, don't you think? I mean, these people are all trying to do nearly impossible things and anything less than perfection causes their score to suffer. If Button is negative, I maintain he is only pointing out the things that the judges are using to differentiate the performances. The pithy comments, I find to be a nice departure because I have no idea what the heck they're talking about unless someone just flat out falls on their backside.

I don't think it has to go with the sport--or, if it does, the positivity should as well. I wouldn't have nearly a big a problem with Button as I do if he was even-handed in the dispensing of his criticisms and his praise. He's like the tough, overbearing father who expects perfection from his children--says nothing when they achieve it, and goes off the rails when they don't. only with a much more annoying voice.

I honestly can't stand to listen to him.

vaticanplum
02-17-2006, 04:09 PM
I don't question that there are many technical aspects to grading a figure skating performance, but there is still a significant "artistic element" which is included in the points distributed, and these cannot be so easily quantified. Aspects of the skater's performance, ranging from how well he/she interpreted the music, to how well the performance "flows" merit consideration in the skater's score.

But that's exactly my point -- how a performance "flows" sounds like a subjective opinion thing, but it's actually a very specific technical thing related to how deep the edges of the skate blade are. Dick Button has this rooted so deeply in his brain that he forgets that he needs to explain this to people who don't know, as the word "flowy" does not sound technical at all. The entire point in skating is to get as far to the edge of your blade as you can and not fall down. I've coached kids, and this is the very first thing you're supposed to teach them; it's a very specific, technical thing, it's very difficult, and when it's done well, a program looks "flowy".

I'm under no delusions that skating is way more subjective than any sport with teams and a score or sports run against a clock. But I think it's kind of wayward for people to claim that they can't stand to watch figure skating because it's subjective, while meanwhile they're riveted to things like this year's Superbowl and last year's World Series. As other people on this thread have mentioned, those kinds of sports are more subjective than people realize; my point is that skating is more objective than people realize. They're not quite equal, but they meet closer to the middle than you may think.

Red Heeler
02-17-2006, 09:15 PM
I participate in an equestrian sport called reining (coming to the summer Olympics in 2012 if things go right). It is a judged event much like figure skating. However, the scoring system is much easier to understand and define than skating.

First, everybody does the same pattern. There are 10 patterns in the rule book, with the pattern for each go-round pre determined. Everyone enters the ring with a score of 70 from each of the 5 judges. Each of the maneuvers in the pattern is a scored in degrees of plus, minus, or 0. The rulebook specifically defines the deductions for incorrectly performing a maneuver. A zero maneuver is performed correctly, but without additional degree of difficulty. Plusses are earned for added degree of difficulty (precision, speed). The highest and lowest scores are dropped with the middle three added together.

Perhapse this is the way that figure skating should go in the future. Eliminating differences in patterns and maneuvers would go a long way toward taking the subjectivity out of the sport.

BTW, reining also has a freestyle division in which the competitors perform their own patterns to music. It always draws a big crowd, but it has remained a fringe event to the less subjective classes.

Yachtzee
02-17-2006, 10:20 PM
Figure skating has gone down hill ever since they got rid of compulsory figures. ;)

Gallen5862
02-17-2006, 10:28 PM
Elfie Schlagel is one of the Curling announcers. She is on CNBC when they show the mens's and Women's Curling matches.

RFS62
02-21-2006, 08:35 PM
I finally figured out who Dick Button reminds me of.

Phil Hartman as the Anal Retentive Chef.

Blimpie
02-22-2006, 09:10 AM
While I agree with most everything that has been posted thusfar, I quite enjoy the contributions of Tom Hammond during the figure skating. He's pretty smooth...dare I say, Billy Dee Williams smooth.

Raisor
02-24-2006, 08:43 PM
Amanda's been making me watch, but I gotta say, Dick Button has been AWESOME.

I think Dick and I watch for the same reason: Hot chicks, and watching stuck up hot chicks fall down.

Dick Button is my homey.

pedro
02-24-2006, 08:55 PM
Amanda's been making me watch, but I gotta say, Dick Button has been AWESOME.

I think Dick and I watch for the same reason: Hot chicks, and watching stuck up hot chicks fall down.

Dick Button is my homey.

http://www.worldskatingmuseum.org/images/Dick.gif

SunDeck
02-25-2006, 03:25 PM
I don't think it has to go with the sport--or, if it does, the positivity should as well. I wouldn't have nearly a big a problem with Button as I do if he was even-handed in the dispensing of his criticisms and his praise. He's like the tough, overbearing father who expects perfection from his children--says nothing when they achieve it, and goes off the rails when they don't. only with a much more annoying voice.

I honestly can't stand to listen to him.

I like Dick, he's hilarious.
Anyway, what I mean about the scoring is that each element starts from a possible point total and the judges score it as a fraction of that total. Say your double toe flip with the kung fu grip is a 10 point element, but you are short a little on the landing. The judges start from 10 and deduct the fraction they believe your poor landing was worth.
Now, how does this make a difference for Dick? His job is to point out the things that will keep those elements from achieving their highest point totals. Is he too negative? I guess that depends on the viewer.

And I don't want any comments from you people about why I know so much about skating. I learned it all by watching that nice lady with the scoring explanations...about a hundred times.