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Who judges the skaters, where the referees are trained, and what influences their decisions. Figure skating

They get a penny, dance on a pole and endure threats. “SE” answers the eternal question “Who are the judges?”
This season, judges in figure skating are some of the most talked about heroes. Trainer Alexei Mishin regularly fired at them with all his guns (which may have even worsened the situation), and Eteri Tutberidze’s wards also suffered. There is dissatisfaction also abroad – almost every stage of the Grand Prix in the American and Japanese social networks segment could contain dozens of posts discussing the components of Alexandra Trusova.

The old judiciary with a scale of up to 6.0 caused a lot of complaints, but after the introduction of the new subjectivity did not disappear. Not so long ago, one of the fans released a report in which he calculated how strong the national preferences of judges from different countries are. Of the 177 judges that were investigated, 92 found mathematical evidence of biased refereeing on a national basis. Moreover, Russia, unfortunately, was in the top. Even with the United States, Canada and many other countries. But in Japan, for example, almost all judges are impartial.
Here is a link to the entire report, but take care if you did not have a course in probability theory at the institute.

Be that as it may, dissatisfaction with the judges is justified. Both by technical teams that evaluate what has been done (what kind of leap, whether they were undershot and what kind of rib), and by the arbiters themselves, who evaluate how it has been done. We have already written about Zagitova’s grades at the French Grand Prix from “-5” to “+1” for one element, and the amazing “breaking-in” judge from Finland for Tuktamysheva. On the sidelines of the Grand Prix of Russia, I heard a discussion by the judges of one of their colleagues, which ended with the words “How to not help your own.” The national factor in the judging remains, it is foolish to deny it.

Try to sit in this chair yourself
It is worth looking at the other side of the coin. “SE” decided to answer Chatsky’s eternal question and find out what people go to the refereeing, how much they pay for it and how the judicial community lives.

You can immediately say that it is really closed. There seems to be no prohibition on commenting on refereeing documents, but official commentary is difficult to achieve. Which is understandable – but also a little annoying. In football and hockey leagues, the verdicts of judges have long been making a separate product – functionaries publicly explain this or that decision for cameras and voice recorders. Figure skating, for all its popularity, it seems, sometimes stubbornly fights for the right to stay in the caves. However, in football, too, new technologies held back for a long time, but after 150 years of its existence, the last “Ludd” Sepp Blatter still lost. True, according to this logic, figure skating has another 30 years.

Who goes to the judges?
The work of judges is extremely ungrateful. It can be said to be dangerous and difficult. For many years, ISU Vice President Alexander Lakernik himself judged himself and was a member of the panel of judges in the most important scandal of the 6.0 rating era – at the 2002 Olympics doubles. Then a voluntary decision retroactively awarded two gold medals, which led to a change in the system. In a conversation with “SE”, Lakernik spoke about some of the nuances of judicial work.

– Judges can and should be criticized, probably. But sit in this chair, sit for several hours in a row. It’s a hard work. As a rule, judges are former athletes. They work in a variety of places, but want to stay in figure skating and have the opportunity to go to competitions. Sometimes people come across without a curly past. I can’t say that they are bad judges, but they need more time and effort to learn. I was not a great skater, but I rode myself for 11 years and feel with my gut what it is to do lutz or rittberger. Let me have less speed.

– And who are those people not from sports, where do they come from?

– Very different. There is a girl doing pole dancing. There was a woman at the interview who pilots airplanes.

It will take at least five years for an ordinary person to complete the entire judicial hierarchy. In Russia there is a provision on the promotion of judges and there are three categories – zonal, all-Russian and related to the main competitions. According to Lakernik, only the best referees remain at the top.

“To move from one category to another, you need to work successfully for two years,” says ISU Vice President. – After that, a person can come to the seminar and take an exam, theory and practice. 50 questions without using cheat sheets plus judging the program on the screen. At the international level, there is a similar system of promotion, where a separate part of the exam is writing out elements on a video. Those who judge the ten major competitions of the federation have gone through this whole long staircase.

How much pay?
Judges receive little money after climbing stairs. Last week, the fifth stage of the Russian Cup took place in Moscow. The main secretary of the competition was Kirill Ustinov, a member of the College of Judges of the Federation. This body provides guidance and coordination to all judges in our figure skating. The amounts there are really ridiculous.

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