It's that time of year again. Skating widowers close your ears. European championships are this year in Turin as a sort of rehearsal for olympics. Most noteworthy thing this year, is of course the new judging system. No more numbers-as-placeholders, no more OBO or factored placements. The new system is basebal fan's wet dream: statistics, decimals and averages as far as eye can see. summary of the details can be seen here
Basically there are good and bad things about the new system. It is still vunerable to manipulation, beacuse the component scores can be fiddled with quite as easily as in the old 6.0 system. It focuses on elements instead of the whole program and might well discourage innovation as new moves won't necessarily get enough credit. The sekrit judging still stinks, and as judges are still uder the control of their federations, the pressure to vote certain way is still there.
Also, one person, the technical specialist wields enrmous power. It is he who decides what grade often difficulty a certain move is. There are guidelines, but even so, one technical specialists level three spin is another's level two spin. And the specialists are not judges but other skating pros which usually means ex skaters and/or coaches. Which means conflicts of interest galore.
On the plus side, the new system has defenitely made skaters focus on other elements beside jumps. For exemple, the amount of thought and difficulty in the spiral sequences in yesterdays pairs' short was staggering compared to your usual boring pair spirals. The component score also gives judges a chance to reward skaters in those particular areas they might be better than others. There is a different score for skating skills, choreography, performance etc. So if your skating skills ar magnificent, but coreography crap, that can be reflected in the scores. Unfortunately, judges haven't so far utilised this very well.
As for the competition yesterday, nothing much to complain about the results. I would have given Obertas/Slavnov higher scores than judges, and was really taken with Germany's new pair. It was like watching Woetzel/Steuer reincarnated. Not that surprising as Ingo is their coach. As for Ice Dance, Golden Waltz is an excelent compulsary which really separates the wheat from chaff. Again, I don't think Navkamarovs were that much better, they had flow and speed and edges but I thought unison could have been better.