Being new to EpicSki, I at first was a little bummed to see that it seemed to be a website for the skiing/boarding community at large, and not really for experts and pros. Sorry for thinking that. The responses from some very knowledgable industry insiders is starting to come in, and I'm getting the information I was hoping for.
Now that I know you're out there watching, I'm starting this new thread to get the opinions of some of you respected pros about a developing issue in the "judged ski competition world" that I hope you're all noticing too.
After watching these comps for years, and, being an old fart now, I still remember in my youth, the world of Olympic Sports in the 70's, before the fall of the Iron Curtain. In those days, Olympic judged sports had the stigma of the cold war all over them. Every comp had a panel of international judges, carefully picked, to balance the, (yes, I'm going to say the "ch" word, and hope it doesn't turn this thread into a spew fest) CHEATING! There was always an East German Judge on the left, who always gave any American athlete the crappiest score they could possibly get away with. (Usually never higher than a 5, on the 10 scale.) On the right, the American Judge would do the exact same thing to any athlete from any communist nation. In the middle, more reasonable nations would put forth a mix of more fair judges. Anyone in the world who watched "Wide World of Sports" with Howard Cosell, and had any respect for "amateur" athletes, felt embarrassed to be part of a nation that was a party to such BS. (Professional athletes were banned from competing in any Olympic or pre-Olympic venues, although all the communist nations blatantly cheated at that, especially East Germany and the USSR, who put forth steroid pumped mutants, hermaprodites, and "altered" humanoids on a regular basis.) Being an ignorant "fan", with no judging skill or any sort of "eye" for talent was probably the best kind of fan to be. Ignorance is truly bliss.
My big question for the community is: Is the increasing overemphasis on the points category of "Overall Impression" in judged ski/board events, de-legitimizing the whole category of judged sports, and inviting cheating all over again?
Being a skier/boarder with 20 yrs. experience teaching, and watching the bio-mechanics of my students, I now find that "knowing" is not a blessing. I sometimes see judging decisions that obviously are motivated by anything but an eye for skill and competence on the snow. Being able to justify your decisions as a judge by hiding behind the overemphasized judging category of "Overall Impression", and giving it all away to whoever you feel like, all seems much easier to get away with, when you don't really have to explain yourself as a judge. It also seems like you can just grab anybody you like to be a judge, so they can say, "I was impressed by this guy, but not the other guy." My opinion, is that "Overall Impression", while it doesn't need to go away forever completely, does need to be reduced severely in weight and importance in judging decisions throughout winter sports.
So what do you think? Judges? Coaches? Parents? Let me hear what you think, and why. Any reps. of our prestigious sanctioning bodies care to defend your systems of training and certifying judges? Anybody care to take a swipe at my bold opinions on the matter? Please jump in.
Edited by TeleBruce - 5/7/15 at 12:05pm