ISU council votes to scrap skating judging systemPosted: Monday February 18, 2002 5:39 PM
Updated: Tuesday February 19, 2002 3:44 AM
SALT LAKE CITY (CNN) -- In the wake of an Olympic judging controversy that shook the foundations of the sport of figure skating, the governing council of the International Skating Union voted Monday to scrap its judging system, replacing it with a new point system and using scores from only some of the judges, selected randomly.
At a news conference in Salt Lake City, ISU President Ottavio Cinquanta said the changes mark a "total revolution" that will reduce the possibility of bloc judging, in which judges from different countries agree to support each other's skaters. He said he will ask the ISU's international congress to approve the changes when it meets in Japan in June.
Under the plan approved unanimously by the ISU council, the current system in which skaters are judged on a 6.0 scale for both technical merit and presentation, then ranked from first to last by each judge to determine who wins, would be scrapped.
Instead, every skater would start out at zero and would be given a designated number of points for every element they complete, Cinquanta said. Skaters would be able to gain extra points for excellent execution of the elements, and judges would also factor in points for presentation, he said.
Also, instead of nine judges on the panel, there would be 14, Cinquanta said. A computer would randomly pick seven of those 14 judges, whose marks would decide who wins. No one -- not even the judges -- would know which marks count and which do not.
However, Cinquanta said national skating federations would probably still recruit and select judges for competitions, rather than having independent judges. ISU technical committees will now go to work to come up with the details of how points would be awarded under the new system, he said.
The decision by the ISU council comes in the wake of the controversial judging of the pairs competition at the Salt Lake Olympics, where a Russian pair who stumbled triumphed over the Canadian pair that didn't.
The ISU and the International Olympic Committee eventually decided to award a second set of gold medals to Canadians Jamie Sale and David Pelletier, which were presented Sunday night.