2010 is being called the ‘come back year’ for figure skating, after the event was nearly dropped from the Olympic games. In early 2009 critics of figure skating argued the event was less of a sport and more of a “dance recital on ice” – similar to the popular hit tv program Dancing with the Stars.
Did you know: Figure skating was an Olympic sport before there was an Olympic Winter Games. Figure skating first appeared at the London 1908 Olympic Summer Games with events for pairs and singles (indoor ice rinks could be kept cold even in hot weather). Ice dancing joined the Olympic Winter Games in 1976, when the Games were held in Innsbruck, Austria. The compulsory figures competition was dropped from the figure skating program prior to the Albertville 1992 Olympic Winter Games.
At the Olympic Games. Each of figure skating’s four disciplines are adjudicated by a separate panel of 9 International Skating Union (ISU) championship judges using a computer scoring system to measure the quality of each performance. Before each event, there is a secret and random draw to determine which judges’ scores will form the result of the segment. Only seven of the 9 scores are used. A new draw is done for each segment.
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During each performance the judges assign a grade of execution (GOE) to every element that is executed. This makes up the technical score. At the conclusion of each performance, the judges assign additional program component scores that measure the overall technical and presentation abilities of the skater or team. The individual or team with the highest totals of technical and program component scores is deemed the winner.
In addition to the panel of judges, there is also a technical panel that determines the name and the level of difficulty of each element as it is performed.