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ISU Admits Scoring Error

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Earlier this week, the International Skating Union admitted it has been making a scoring error on a lift being done by Olympic champs Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir all season. The lift was upgraded last summer but the judges were not properly taking it into account. The error came in the grade of execution values.

This would not have changed the results of competitions, but it would have had Virtue and Moir beating Davis and White in the free dance at the Grand Prix Final.

Virtue and Moir have been doing an extended lift in the free dance, equivalent to two shorter lifts that Davis and White are doing.

According to IceNetwork:

In this instance, the error shows only what everyone in figure skating already knows: The two teams are locked in a tight battle for ice dance supremacy that may well continue through the 2014 Sochi Olympics. But Dr. George Rossano, a California-based research scientist by day and longtime figure skating scoring expert who has studied the mathematics of the ISU scoring systems for more than 20 years, said it could have additional implications.

"It is to the ISU's credit that it communicated the error," Rossano said. "But what kind of quality control process is in place to assure the accuracy of the scoring system each season? Skating does not need the black eye it would receive if an error like this affected the results at a World or Olympic championship."

Part of the problem, according to Rossano, is that the ISU generally makes several changes in base values and grade of execution (GOE) values for elements each year, communicated piecemeal during the less-active late spring and summer months. In July 2011, it announced changes to the GOE values for the combination lift; good combination lifts, as discerned by the judging panel, would gain more credit than previously awarded, while poorly executed combination lifts would be awarded less.

The article states that GOE changes are more tricky to implement than base value changes.

If neither of these teams errs, the upcoming world championships is going to be pretty amazing. Although that can usually be said when these two teams go up against one another.