I've been grappling with this for a couple of weeks. 210.03, the record breaking score Kim Yu-Na achieved at Trophy Eric Bompard...am I crazy for thinking that was high?
First I took a Quick Poll and asked: "Do you believe Kim Yu-Na's record breaking score was appropriate for her performance at Grand Prix Paris?" Overwhelmingly (71%), respondents thought the score was appropriate. Of course the poll is unscientific, bias obviously plays a part, and my blog hits from Korea where up 247% during the time the poll was available. Nontheless, it became clear that many supported the score.
I poured over the judges score. As far as technical elements, there is no fault in the judges score. It was judged accurately and the appropriate marks given. You cannot fault the technical mark at all.
So I then took a look at the program components. While the judges were, um, a bit generous with the performance, choreography, and interpretation scores, on the whole they looked fairly in line with "what" she skated. Perhaps a bit padded but she is clearly the cream-of-the-crop as far as women skaters.
The math adds up. When you combine it all (add in the short program) you get 210.03. Yet, I still feel that wasn't a 210.03 performance. For me...the "what" she skated didn't equal the "how" she skated. Kim Yu-Na's short program blew me away. Oddly, the judges were somewhat less generous with the aforementioned component scores, in that short program where I felt she knocked our socks off (Kim Yu-Na could get a job as a Bond Girl anyday!). But her free skate, which was beautiful, didn't get me to that wow moment I would expect of a world record breaking (shattering?) performance.
Kim Yu-Na's free skate didn't include a triple flip or a triple loop. While the program is beautifully choreographed and skated with precision like perfection (despite all my flounderous nitpicking here, I think she's a pure gem!), it didn't pull me out of my seat like her Scheherazade program did. So I'm left with a dillema here.
I think my biggest beef here has nothing to do with Kim Yu-Na. She skated a lovely program, she was well deserving of the title, and I think if she continues to skate like that she IS unbeatable. My beef is with the judging system.
While the technical mark gives little room for wiggle aside from the GOE's judges assign, the component marks do give the judges a little room to play with. I know I've brought this up before, but the judging system as it exists, doesn't give a mark for "wow." We break it down and give individual marks for this and that and add it all up. But even if a skater scores high in all the component scores...does it equal "wow?" Is it possible to skate everything to almost the highest point total possible and it still not equal ridiculous amazing? I have more questions. Should a program be granted the highest total ever, despite the clear absence of two triple jumps? Was Kim Yu-Na's TEB program the finest program anyone has ever seen under the international judging system...ever?
I have some personal opinions here. I think a skater can earn high marks in every category and fall short of "wow." So many skaters do that these days. How many times have we heard commentators (see Dick Button) say "Well that's an unattractive position, but it gets the points." I do think a program can achieve the highest total without every triple...but it shouldn't be easy nor happen often. These days it's becoming common place for skaters to remove triples from their programs. Take out a lutz and try a triple axel (see Asada), remove a loop and do a double axel combo (see Kim). Didn't someone suggest giving a bonus to skaters who complete every triple in their program (women would of course be exempt from the axel). That, I think, would be an awesome change. And on the topic of axels, pray tell why a triple axel/double toe combo is worth less than a triple lutz/triple toe combo? At the very least, they should be worth the same.
Finally, I don't think Kim Yu-Na's performance in Paris was the finest ever under IJS, which ultimately, was my biggest beef with the score. I've seen far superior performances from her. Her World's performance from L.A. I think easily was better than what she did in Paris despite the recent edition of the triple lutz/triple toe combo. I think Kim Yu-Na would even agree with that. That program was and really felt like a world record breaker. That program had "wow!" And even that program was missing two triples!
I don't know if this is a problem that can be solved. Logic tells us (I am going to go all Vulcan on you!) that 1 + 2 = 3. But in skating that doesn't always hold true. The judging system tries to make it true but I think that's where this judging system's greatest weakness lies. But how do you fix that?