And The East German Judge . . .

No event should be included in the Olympics which is scored by a judge. If finishing order or a clock or a tape measure is insufficient proof of who won, relying on the eyes and judgment of mere mortals moves the event from sport into art. I’m okay with art; I fancy myself an artist. I’m happy to have my work judged; I’m even happier to win. But that’s art–subjective. Sports should objective. Judges aren’t; can’t be.

Having said that, we enjoyed the Ice Dancing finals Monday night. I’m prejudiced (yes, me, too–we all are one way or the other) in favor of skaters who wore classical costumes and skated to Romantic (as opposed to romantic, and certainly Modern and modern) music.

The biggest problem with supposedly impartial judging is not political (like the infamous East German judge), but expectations. The judges expect the “famous” skaters (snowboarders, gymnasts, divers, etc.) to perform well and, surprise, they give them high scores even when they make noticeable mistakes–as happened in the Men’s Figure Skating finals.

At least we don’t have to listen to Dick Button talk about himself. Scott Hamilton is so much better. (A better skater, too, in my very prejudiced opinion.)

Too bad we can’t turn off the commentary and just listen to the music and watch the skaters.

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One thought on “And The East German Judge . . .

  1. After the fact, this column seems prescient. But that’s exactly the point: a subjective rating system produces subjective results. And it’s easy to see the possibility of bias, if not out right fraud, in such a system. But . . . them’s the berries.

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