Up next in Learn about the Olympics (6 videos)
Watching the Olympics is more fun with the insights in these Howcast videos.
You Will Need
- The International Skating Union scoring rules
- A keen eye
Know the score
Realize that things have changed: If you haven't watched figure skating since Nancy Kerrigan was whacked in the knee, you may be surprised to learn that the old system – where 6.0 was a perfect score – was phased out beginning in 2003. Skaters now accumulate points, with no score being "perfect."
Understand the revised system
Understand the basics of the revised system: Skaters receive a base value for every single move they execute in a program, based on its difficulty. They get this basic score just for attempting the move, whether they flub it or not. That's why a person can fall and still score higher than a person who skated cleanly.
Understand the technical elements scores
Understand the technical elements scores. The judges give "grades of execution," which are the number of points a judge adds to or subtracts from each move's base value, depending on how well it was performed. Skaters can gain or lose up to 3 points from the base value of the move.
Identify the program components
Identify the program components – five elements the skaters are also judged on. They are choreography, skating skills, transition, execution, and interpretation. Judges award marks on a scale of one-fourth of a point to 10 points, in increments of quarter-points.
Know how it's added up
Know how the score is determined: During the routine, a technical specialist confirms the elements that have been performed, which are added up for the total base value. The judges then give their grades of execution for the technical elements and scores for the program components.
Final score is tallied
A computer randomly selects the scores awarded by seven out of nine judges. Of those scores, the lowest and highest are thrown out and the remaining five are totaled for a final score. The marks of all nine judges are displayed, so the judges don't know whether or not their marks contributed to the score.
Enjoy the show
Be glad you can just sit back and enjoy the show without worrying about grading the moves!