Here is Philip Hersh's take on Skate America in LA Times' Fabulous Forum. I am going to be picky. First of all, he refers to it as "Skate Asia," which, I dunno. No one ever seemed to make pointed comments like that when it was all white people on the podium. Or all North Americans or something. Skating is very popular in Asian countries, as well as in U.S. and other countries where people of Asian decent live. Maybe I am being overly politically correct or something, but it seems to me like pointing out that Asian ladies dominate skating is both unnecessary, as well as yesterday's news.
Also, he says that Mirai Nagasu won the World Junior title last year. Will the true champion, Rachael Flatt, get no respect? I do understand what he means about Nagasu being the best American chance to challenge the other ladies; after seeing the way Flatt was scored in the short he is probably right.
UPDATED: Hersh has corrected the Nagasu error, as well as an error in stating that Caroline Zhang would be making her senior grand prix debut at Skate Canada.
Here are some additional excerpts:
7. SSS ... Boom ... Bah (humbug). That means the Stupid Scoring System needs to be blown up. The way it is being used now, as evidenced by the Skate America men’s free skate, no one will want to try a quadruple jump without 98% certainty of success. Failure on that jump, as judged with slooooooooooooooooooooooow motion review, meant Johnny Weir and Evan Lysacek were hammered by the judges, scoring 1.0 and 1.4 points. Why risk a quad toe (9.0 points) when a triple axel is worth 7.5, a triple lutz 6.0 and a relatively easy (for men) triple flip-triple toe combination gets more points (9.5) than the quad? Another step backward for a sport sliding toward oblivion.
8. I once liked the notion of quantifying technical parts of the performance that the post-Salt Lake-scandal scoring system made possible. But it has reached the point of reductio ad absurdum. And all the gobbledygook skaters try to squeeze into programs to score points is so physically demanding as a whole the sport is a splat-fest.
9. Budget issues have forced skating officials to cut down on the number of judges. Doing that means one of the keys to the new system, random choice of nine scores from a panel of 12, has become less of a mathematical defense against deal-making. Now five scores will be chosen from nine. That also means a skater could win if the bare majority selected randomly happen to favor him or her -– even if the other four judges’ scores are radically different.
Hersh also says he hopes the sniping that NBC's commentators did on the judging turns into an assault. I don't think it would matter without the spotlight of the Olympics. There were always problems with the old system too, and that didn't get changed til the major Salt Lake meltdown. And even those changes seemed as much about covering ISU's butt as they did about making the sport better.