This week, I am featuring an article by USFSA on the basics of the competitive scoring system.  Without going into too much detail, it replaced the 6.0 system in 2003, following the judging scandal at the 2002 Olympics ( Sordid details here ).

In the United Stares it is referred to as the IJS (International Judging System).  In Canada it is called the  CPC (Cumulative Points Calculation Judging System) and since Canada is where I am, that’s how I’ll refer to it throughout the post.

Now to be perfectly honest, I have to show a lot of restraint this week.  I could talk about it for hours!  Skate Canada has a 47- page guide that describes how the CPC works and there are any number of updates and clarifications from the ISU (International Skating Union) every year for your reading enjoyment.   Best of all, we adult ice skaters have not been forgotten!

How does the CPC system affect us adults?

Speaking from personal experience, I have to say I love it!    By far the biggest benefit of this system is that all aspects of your skating are assessed to provide the final result.   Under the 6.0 system, the technical mark ultimately ended up being the results of a jump-off (who did the most triples?) and the artistic mark was nebulous at best and at its worst was a tool to promote the judge’s favourite skater (regardless of how well they may have skated).

Another great aspect is that is gives you a very detailed critique of your skate that can be used to help you make improvements.

Everything Counts!

I love that spins, footwork sequences, spirals, etc. now get credit.  For many adults, anything beyond a single jump is not a possibility due to age, injury or lack of training time.  However, there are many other things we can improve on, such as speed, transitions and turns and it’s good to know that we will be rewarded for this.  The fact that there are now strict criteria for each element is a kind of a mixed blessing for adult figure skaters .   On the one hand, it is nice to know that every judge is looking for the same thing in a given element.  On the other hand, there are no “sympathy points” given out either.  For example, if you don’t get down far enough you don’t get the credit for a sit spin, even though the reconstructive surgery on your knee means that the last time it bent that much was when you were 17.

Are You Balanced?

The second element to create a level playing field is the “Well Balanced Program” concept which puts limits on the number of elements and how often they can be repeated.   It means that the basic structure of the solo will be the same amongst the competitors of a given category and prevents competitions from becoming nothing more than a tally of who completed the most difficult jumps.    I’m not a great jumper, but it’s been to my advantage that a combination with two solidly consistent singles provides more bang for the buck than an iffy double.    Since I did only ice dance for almost ten years before switching to freestyle, footwork sequences also tend to come fairly easily for me as well.

So, dear readers, what are your thoughts?   Does the CPC help or hinder your skating? Do you feel that you have a good grasp of it, or are the concepts as murky as taxation law?

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