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The Canadians finished second behind a Russian pair in an alleged vote-trading scheme. When the scandal was exposed, Sale and Pelletier were awarded golds to share with the Russians, a rare case of a ranking being revised during an Olympics.
“The biggest problem… is people can’t understand it,” former skater and 1988 Olympic champion Brian Boitano told reporters on a conference call last month. “It’s difficult for the audience. And this is a sport that needs the audience to get behind it.”
Now, every programme element has its own numerical base value and skaters are rewarded for executing difficult moves. Skaters are given a technical and a presentation score. Their cumulative tally can reach more than 200 points.
“What I like about the system is that as an athlete, when you are working so hard to win, the difficulty that goes into your elements is actually quantified,” Sale told Reuters. “You’re rewarded for it.”
Pelletier said the revised scoring system had challenged skaters to expand the sport’s technical boundaries.
“Of course, the drama of a perfect mark has been taken away, but things had to evolve. People watch figure skating for the athleticism and emotion that it can bring more than for the marks the athletes can receive.”
“I think it’s definitely that mix of strategy, science and mathematics to maximise your points and utilise every asset that you bring to the ice,” Brown told reporters last month.
The scoring continued to evolve after more recent scandals.
Two years later, the ISU abolished judges’ anonymity, which had been introduced in the aftermath of the Salt Lake City scandal.
The news came as a relief to skaters who viewed it as a way to bring more accountability and transparency to the sport.
“I think a judge should be able to explain their marks, if only for the fact that it helps improve the skater.”