[This week is Off-Topic Week at TOP. This is just a temporary interlude, not a permanent change of direction. Please join us next Monday morning when we'll resume normal programming. —Ed.]
Sorry to go on about this, but I've had a brilliant idea and I just have to put it forward where it will doubtless get shot down from every angle—because that is the sort of thing I do.
Here's how figure skating (and other subjective sports) should be scored at the Olympics. First, the judges watch everyone perform. Once everyone has had a turn, everyone gets a medal of some metal or another—all the performances that are very good would get silver, all the performances that were particularly outstanding would get a gold, and all the performances that were not quite as good or that contained faults or mishaps would get a bronze. A version of the old 1-2-3 sorting method.
The "big reveal" comes at the end of each contest.
At the end of the entire proceedings the person with the most gold medals in the various programs would be the overall gold medal winner. And if there are ties, so be it—don't ties make sense when two or more competitors do particularly well?
Same for high diving and gymnastics in the Summer games—anything with a subjective component and without a hard measure of ordering. Yes, it would make for more medals passed out in subjective pursuits, but since when has that been an issue at the Olympics, where there are more medals available for ping-pong than for the decathlon?
That seems to me a much more accurate, and sensible, not to mention humane method of subjective judging. If you think of it, the whole notion of awarding arcane numeric scores down to tiny fractions and insisting of rigid rankings is utterly absurd in an activity with so much subjective individuality. As if figure skating were a bobsled race. It's not.
Because, really, why should we have to decide whether Adelina Sotnikova is a tick better than Kim Yu-na or the other way around? Weren't they both excellent? Our insistence on pretending it's a straight contest with an absolute measurement of victory is untrue to the reality of the activity.
Somebody needs to start a movement. :-)
Okay, fire away, flak gunners.
P.S. For some reason I have a particular fascination for fresh rethinkings of existing sports. There was a recent attempt to create a new pool game to address some of the competitive deficiencies in existing games. It's called "American Rotation." (You can look it up yourself if you happen to be interested.)
P.P.S. I'm off to the Milwaukee Auto Show after my doctor's appointment this afternoon, so next up in OT Week will be a rundown of my fave cars from the show.
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(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
richardplondon: "One of the BBC commentators a few days ago, was talking very... hopefully about one British competitor as 'a concrete medal contender'—upon which a colleague quipped, to the effect: 'Is that what the Russians make the medal out of, when you are delighted to come in fifth?'"
Nick Cutler: "That's a very sound approach to scoring activities that have a component of 'style,' subjectivity, or arcane rules. How will you apply this to an exhibition of prints? or a photo contest?"
Russ: "Nope, sorry. All 'sports' that need to be judged should not be at the Olympics fullstop. Highest, fastest, longest I believe is the way to go."