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What do you all think of the idea of removing judged sports from the olympics, or making them demonstration sports only?

None of this controversy would exist if we didn't rely on human judges. Instead, sports should be limited to those which can have an objective measure: distance or time.
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Sounds good to me.
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What do you all think of the idea of removing judged sports from the olympics, or making them demonstration sports only?

I think it is a terrible idea as the vast majority of the sports I enjoy watching - diving, gymnastics, synchronized swimming, even dressage and to an extent eventing since it has a dressage component - are judged sports. More importantly than my personal enjoyment, it would be a vast blow to thousands of athletes in these sports who have grown up dreaming of competing in the Olympics. Fortunately since gymnastics and diving and ice skating are marquee events, I don't see this happening.
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What do you all think of the idea of removing judged sports from the olympics, or making them demonstration sports only?

None of this controversy would exist if we didn't rely on human judges. Instead, sports should be limited to those which can have an objective measure: distance or time.



I think it's an idea that's good in theory, but impossible to achieve in practice, because every sport relies to some degree on the judgment of officials or umpires or judges. A wrong or questionable call can completely alter the outcome or the momentum of a soccer game or football or any team sport, and while instant replay (at least in the case of football) can correct that, you're still fundamentally relying on people to judge what they're observing.

Even timed events aren't free from this sort of controversy – Men's swimming had two instances last week about possible DQs. There are rules and procedures that have to be followed in every sport, regardless of how a person or team is determined to have won.

Now, I will fully own up to my own biases – I love diving and figure skating and gymnastics and would honestly not have nearly as much interest in the Olympics without those sports. But there are guidelines for these sports, and I think that the fundamental problem from a spectator's standpoint is that the most entertaining and seemingly difficult routine isn't always “the best” or most challenging from a technical standpoint. I also don't agree with the scoring from last night's events, but I also know that there is a lot more that the judges are looking at than I am. Are there bad judges in gymnastics and figure skating? Of course – but I'm willing to bet that Oakland Raiders fans don't think much of the guy who reversed the call in the Snow Bowl of '02 that the Patriots eventually won, a win which they owe a great deal to that call. I'm a Pats fan through and through, but I know why Oakland was pissed.

Mistakes happen. But don't punish the athletes who get caught between the various international committees and the media – that just sucks.

MsArden
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What do you all think of the idea of removing judged sports from the olympics, or making them demonstration sports only?

I think it would be terrible.

And are you talking only about gymnastics and diving, or are you including other "sports" where human judges are involved, such as baseball, basketball, handball, sailing, equestrian, shot put, etc.? Then you're still left with judging false starts, crossing lanes, bumping another competitor, etc.

Human error and judgement happens. The fact that it is not perfect is not a reason to do away with sports that rely on it. Under your proposal, the Olympics would be little more than a track meet; even some of those events would not make it.

David
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But there are guidelines for these sports, and I think that the fundamental problem from a spectator's standpoint is that the most entertaining and seemingly difficult routine isn't always “the best” or most challenging from a technical standpoint.

Yes! I haven't watched last night's event, but even as educated as I am about gymnastics, having competed myself for years (at a much *much* lower level), I still don't watch them the way a judge would. For example, I'm only vaguely familiar with the code of points - a large book that describes every skill and how it should be valued and how mistakes should be judged. It isn't like the judges sit there and make the scores up off the top of their heads.

Also, many things look difficult that aren't really hard at all. And great gymnasts will make even very hard elements look easy. (I'm sure the same can be said about diving, figure skating, etc.)

That's okay. Every 2 or 4 years someone who hardly ever watches gymnastics or figure skating or diving will see some controversy and declare that the sport is on its last legs and will be extinct if they don't figure out what they are doing and it is all subjective anyway. Real fans let the naysayers feel all superior about what they consider "true sports" once every four years. They quickly fade away and we can enjoy our sport in peace again until the next Olympics. :)

(Please note: I'm not saying that there aren't judging mistakes, or valid differences of opinion, or - you know - judges who make secret pacts to score a certain figure skating team higher in exchange for being generous for another couple. Just that what one sees watching an event once every 4 years is *not* what a sport is all about. Nor is it the norm for that sport.)
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And are you talking only about gymnastics and diving, or are you including other "sports" where human judges are involved, such as baseball, basketball, handball, sailing, equestrian, shot put, etc.? Then you're still left with judging false starts, crossing lanes, bumping another competitor, etc.

The difference between those sports and gymnastics and diving, is that the referee's only judge things that can be quantified. In gymnastics, the judge decide on quality. In baseball, the umpire may miss a call at first (like Don, the devil incarnate, Denkinger did in the 85 world series) but he doesn't make any judgement as to how well the shortstop throws the ball to the first baseman. Pretty kicks that are wide right in football earn nothing while wounded ducks that go through the uprights get 3 points. Meanwhile in gymnastics, you have judges not awarding points to the guy who goes first because they want to leave room for the possibility that someone later will do better. That is just wrong. Can you imagine football like that? Touchdowns in the first quater are worth 3 points, second are worth 4, third are worth 5, and 4th are worth 6. In most of those other sports, the human judges are only there to call a violation of the rules. There is an objective standard which makes it fairly easy to determine the winner.
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Meanwhile in gymnastics, you have judges not awarding points to the guy who goes first because they want to leave room for the possibility that someone later will do better. That is just wrong. Can you imagine football like that? Touchdowns in the first quater are worth 3 points, second are worth 4, third are worth 5, and 4th are worth 6.

Why, exactly, is it wrong? Your two examples are not analogous – the reason why points remain constant in a football or soccer team is that either team could score at any time, and all that matters is who has more points when the whistle blows. But scores in a gymnastics meet only matter within the context of that competition. You just need to score better than the other 7 athletes who are competing there. Sure, it sucks to go first, but they have to leave room at the top, or else it would be a disadvantage for the last people. Someone who scores well at the beginning may not get as high a score as they would have for the exact same routine if they went last, but if everyone else is scored lower than them, they still win.

Am I making sense? There is no true constant against which all gymnastic scores can truly be judged, because each meet essentially takes place in a vacuum (with the one exception being Nadia's perfect 10, and I suspect that that routine will remain the exception). You can dislike judged events, but it's not all subjective blah blah blah.

MsArden
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The difference between those sports and gymnastics and diving, is that the referee's only judge things that can be quantified.

Really? How is a foul "quantified"?

In baseball, the umpire may miss a call at first (like Don, the devil incarnate, Denkinger did in the 85 world series) but he doesn't make any judgement as to how well the shortstop throws the ball to the first baseman.

But he will judge the catch; if it was in the dirt, it may not count. Or if the first baseman pulled his foot off the bag to catch, it's a judgement.

It sounds more like you are arguing not against judgement, but against anything with creativity. If that's your case, make it. But don't cop out by saying that there shouldn't be anything judged.

Meanwhile in gymnastics, you have judges not awarding points to the guy who goes first because they want to leave room for the possibility that someone later will do better. That is just wrong.

I don't see a problem with it. First of all, despite Nadia and ML, there are no perfect routines. And the points awarded do not make a difference in the results; it is only the relative placement of the scores. They could easily simply award the first person a 5, and give higher scores to anyone better and lower scores to anyone worse; it wouldn't make a difference. True, there were never be "world records", but so what? There are no world records in many sports, yet you don't seem to have a problem there. Don't think of the points as having any special significance, but simply as a rating scale. That's all that matters.

Can you imagine football like that? Touchdowns in the first quater are worth 3 points, second are worth 4, third are worth 5, and 4th are worth 6.

Your comparison is not really valid, as the mechanisms are totally different (for one thing, there is no max score in football). Instead, imagine a tournament, and after the first round, declaring that one team was the champs, because they played such a good game, before even allowing the remainder of the games to be played. That would be the equivalent to giving a score so high to the first competitor that there would be no room to give higher scores to better routines.

There is an objective standard which makes it fairly easy to determine the winner.

Just about every sport has some sort of foul that can occur. You can't tell me that every single one is caught perfectly every time. About the only sport left would be the 100m dash (longer races involve curves, so judgement calls are requires), and that is only possible because of technology allowing for a photofinish.

Sorry, I just don't buy your argument.

David
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There is no true constant against which all gymnastic scores can truly be judged, because each meet essentially takes place in a vacuum (with the one exception being Nadia's perfect 10, and I suspect that that routine will remain the exception)

Nadia's 10 was partly the result of giving previous competitors very high scores. There had already been awarded a 9.9, in the days before multiple decimal point scores. Since Nadia was better, they had to give her a 10, even if it was not perfect (although it was pretty darn close).

Mary Lou Retton also scored 10s in the vault.


David
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Nadia's 10 was partly the result of giving previous competitors very high scores. There had already been awarded a 9.9, in the days before multiple decimal point scores. Since Nadia was better, they had to give her a 10, even if it was not perfect (although it was pretty darn close).

Mary Lou Retton also scored 10s in the vault.


Thanks for the additional info - I didn't know how the score had come about, just the routine for which she earned it. I also didn't realize that Retton had scored a 10 as well. I think, however, that Nadia's 10 actually proves our point - you have to score lower earlier in a meet, or else you're screwed later on when someone is just freakin' better.

MsArden
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Am I making sense? There is no true constant against which all gymnastic scores can truly be judged, because each meet essentially takes place in a vacuum (with the one exception being Nadia's perfect 10, and I suspect that that routine will remain the exception). You can dislike judged events, but it's not all subjective blah blah blah.


So if the guy going first has a start score of 10, and makes no mistakes at all, will he get a 10?
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