Rachael and Tom learning how to curl. With Figure Skating Team Leader Lorrie Parker at practice.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Since many reporters have called and I have received several e-mails from many people, I thought I should say something about Rachael's technical scores from the long program. Rachael and I accept the calls about her triple flips being downgraded. In our sport these type of calls are labeled "field of play decisions". The ISU can better explain this process since it is not entirely transparent to coaches and athletes like it is in the NFL or other sports that use instant replay.

After watching her performance first on CTV and then on NBC when I returned home, I did not see anything that made me suspicious that both triple flip jumps were underrotated. In fact, commentators from both television stations were also surprised by the calls based on slow motion replay of the jumps in question from their camera angles (the ISU camera is not part of the various network cameras). Her GOEs from the judging panel indicate that in the case of the triple flip-triple toe combo she gained an extra .60 points based on the quality of completion. (In her short program when she was given full credit for the same combination, she gained .40 points.) If a judge thinks a jump is not fully rotated when they review it on their screen (judges can review up to four elements in slow motion), that judge can take a minus deduction between -1 to -3, with -1 being less severe and -3 being the most severe. On her second triple flip combination with 3 jumps, Rachael was given 4 base values, 2 +1s and 3 -1s. She lost only .06 on this combination after the high and low marks were dropped and then averaged. These are the facts I know from the score sheet that Rachael and I were given.

Downgrades are common in our sport for many of the top skaters (men and women)--not just Rachael. When they are not obvious to the naked eye, these calls are frustrating not only to the skaters and coaches, but also to the fans and audience that doesn't understand. Perhaps the ISU can show the camera angle they use on a big screen like they do in the NFL and give the audience the ability to agree or disagree with the specialists' call. Even though this would not change the final decision, greater transperency would be good for the sport.


  1. Tom - your old friends from DU are so proud of your success and Rachael's performance. You are both golden in my eyes : ) Congrats!
    - "Mo" Jeffrey, DU '88

  2. Hey Mo! Great to hear from you and thanks for the support:)

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