Figure skating scoring explained for people who don’t follow figure skating

Or, why Adam Rippon lost to Russian Elvis.

The only predictable thing about figure skating is that the sport is unpredictable. Every time a skater steps onto the ice, there’s always a sense that something could go splendidly right or disastrously wrong — and we, as viewers, never know what we’re going to get.

But it’s not just skaters’ performances that can leave our jaws on the floor; sometimes it’s the judges’ decisions too.

The scoring system that’s currently used for all competitive figure skating — including at the Olympics — isn’t easy to crack. A skater’s final marks can somehow add up to a seemingly random number like 150.49, and that figure includes both component scores for artistry and presentation, and more technical scores like the esoteric “grades of execution,” which measure how well a skater performs individual “elements” of a program. And that’s before you count any deductions or bonuses. Consequently, figure skating can feel inaccessible to casual fans, especially to those who tend to only tune in once every four years during the Olympics.

That feeling of inaccessibility can be exacerbated in cases where the scoring system yields a counterintuitive outcome — like in the recent Olympic team event that saw Russia’s Mikhail Kolyada fall but still score higher than America’s Adam Rippon, who gave what looked to be a nearly flawless performance.

Understanding how the figure skating scoring system works can help explain how that outcome unfolded — so we’ve put together a brief guide to its most confusing aspects. It may not change your mind about any given skater’s results, but it will give you a better idea of how those results came to be.

The current figure skating scoring system assigns each “element” an individual score

Those of us old enough to …read more

Source:: Vox – All

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