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Should sports with style judges be in the Olympics?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Should sports with style judges be in the Olympics?

Any thoughts on this? The figure skating world seems to be a bit tied up with judging issues at the moment, and from my childhood memories the politics of subjective judging have always been an issue.
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I've often wondered about this. The occasional controversy about judging only seems to reach the general public's attention at Olympic Games, but presumably there are similar controversies at other levels of competition?
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Ian Hopkinson, points are awarded in ski-jumping for style.
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Grrrr. you''ve spoiled my "friday debate"!

Personally speaking, anythin that involves judging (as opposed to refereeing) does nto qualify as sport -I'm not saying it isn;t hard, but it isn;t sport.

there are three basic elements to a sport

1) must require countless hours of dedicated practice to acheive a high skill level
2) must involve a reasonable level of fitness and exertion (thus discounting snooker, darts and chess! etc)
3) must be decided by absolute, objective results rather than subjective judging


Point 3 is the contentious one I find (unless you;re one of the people who claim darts is a sport - it isn't).
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David@traxvax, but I can ski jumping working without the subjective judgement component...

nbt, oops! Embarassed I think you'll find (2) is contentious as well wink
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nbt, 1) and 3) I agree with, 2) is irrelevant in my opinion. My guess is that high level competition of any kind (whether physical or sedentary) involves considerable mental exertion regardless of whether we see sweat running down competitors' faces.
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Can't see how you can judge ice skating on the physical alone, the artistic side is a key element. Same goes for gymnastics in the summer Games. But style-influenced sport has given rise to some pretty contrived activities though, so it's a good debate to have.

Synchronised swimming is my pet hate!
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PG, my point exactly - although it may be competitive, the judging element meansin my voiew it shouldn't be classed as a sport. I'm not saying it isn't hard work - I'm saying that the subjective judging is the contrived element.

rob@rar.org.uk, So Darts is a sport but Ice skating isn't? See my above comment to PG. Mental exertion is necessary in all competition - sports also require treu physical exertion. Or can you run 100m in under 10 seconds without concentrating *really hard*?


See why I was saving this for a Friday debate? My work rate is going to be *sooooo* low toaday!
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Ian Hopkinson, Short answer for me is YES, some of my favourites are the ones with style judges, ice skating, gymnastics and doesn't the half-pipe have style judges too? All of these require extreme fitness with many hours of gruelling training per day, mental agility and sheer bravery.
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By some definitions above then...

Chess?

Fox-hunting?
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IncogSkiSno, I think I agree on keeping ice skating etc - but I still wish they would get rid of synchronised swimming, diving, and those silly gymnastics events where they bounce around chucking long floating ribbons in the air. Confused

They'll be having synchronised yacht racing next rolling eyes

What about 3 day eventing? And that daft 'sport' of dressage where you get a horse to dance around, walk backwards, etc. Nothing remotely sporting about it. Can't switch it off quickly enough.
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nbt wrote:
rob@rar.org.uk, So Darts is a sport but Ice skating isn't? See my above comment to PG. Mental exertion is necessary in all competition - sports also require treu physical exertion. Or can you run 100m in under 10 seconds without concentrating *really hard*?

I think trying to define whether something is a "sport" or just "competition" is difficult, and a bit unnecessary. Labels are always difficult, and add little in mu opinion.

I'm more interested in whether competitions which are judged rather than measured fit comfortably into the Olympics. In my mind the Olympics is the pinnacle for most competitive games, and should be free of controversy about how much athletes have achieved. On that basis I think that darts and speed skating have a greater claim to an Olympic place than Ice Dancing or Rhythmic Gymnastics. Of course, just because I think darts has a greater claim on an Olympic place than Ice Dancing, it doesn't follow that darts should automatically be included. That's a different debate, for another Friday. Right now I'm interested in the difference between measured and judged competitions.
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PG, I like the gymnastics, but hate the Rythmic gymnastics, and as for prancing ponies, it's definately time to reach for the remote control. I guess the lines will always be blurred as to what is sport and what isn't, and we just have to accept that there is something for everyone, like it or not. Confused
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PG wrote:
IncogSkiSnoWhat about 3 day eventing? And that daft 'sport' of dressage where you get a horse to dance around, walk backwards, etc. Nothing remotely sporting about it. Can't switch it off quickly enough.


At least two thirds of three day eventing is objectively judgeable...
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DavidS, yes, was thinking of the remaining one third. Plus the fact the 'tools of the trade' are hardly standard, so maybe the winning horses should have their own podium. With all that dressage training, I'm sure you could persuade them to mount the steps... wink
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Quote:

And that daft 'sport' of dressage where you get a horse to dance around, walk backwards, etc. Nothing remotely sporting about it.


Oi, I used to do dressage and it's not fair to call it daft. Each to their own wink
I agree that it's not a sport though.

However, it is a good example of a 'sport' where the judging very rarely has controversy around it. There tends to be more a set of specific movements in order which are then judged on their execution. The boundaries of whether a movement deserves a 7 or an 8 are usually quite clear.

How they judge Ice Dance remains a mystery to me.
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Paul Holland, I apologise, but I'm still stuck for a satisfactory term to replace "daft" Very Happy
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PG, I should hope so. Everyone to their own. I would be highly amused to see some of the most gutsy skiers on here try to get a decent dressage test out of a fit event horse. Don't make the mistake of decrying a sport simply because it isn't to your taste.
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Tully, as you say, each to his own. Maybe we should set up an entire menagerie section to the summer Olympics. We could have poodle grooming events, camel and pigeon racing, rodeos. Flea circus gymnastics. Dog walking.

As a nation of animal lovers I'm sure this would rocket us to the top of the medal table.
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I'm not trying to make the point of one set of events being superior to the other, just that, IMO, that the 'objective' events are more relevant to the Olympics than the 'subjectively' judged events.
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I've always thought of riding and skiing as quite similar sports - balance-based, v technical, about mastering fear, exerting control etc.
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I hadn't really taken on board that there may actually be three categories:

(1) Fully objective (i.e. 100m sprint)
(2) partially subjective (ski jumping, dressage ski-ing)
(3) Fully(?) subjective, (ice dance)

Is ice dance the only one in (3)?
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Or four:

(1) Objective and simultaneous - you can see who has won (skiercross).
(2) Objective and sequential - you need to look at the clock to see who has won (downhill).
(3) Partly objective, partly subjective (moguls).
(4) Fully subjective (ice dance).

Those in category 1 make the best spectator sports.
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DavidS, I suspect even in skicross you can have photo finishes...??
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Sure - but at least you know which skiers are in the mix. As much as I enjoyed watching the combined last night, it is pretty frustrating not really to be able to tell who is winning until the stop watch delivers its verdict!
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PG, I say we should bring back ski ballet. If you are looking for ridiculous things to do on snow then that's the sport for you. Possibly even more ridiculous than synchronised swimming. Difficult one to call.

By the way, whatever happened to ski ballet? It just somehow suddenly stopped happening about 10 years ago. Or did Eurosport just become too embarrased to show it?
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Mike Lawrie wrote:
By the way, whatever happened to ski ballet?

A more interesting question is why did it ever start, rather than why did it finish!
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With the rise in popularity in blades, will we start seeing blade events asking for inclusion lilke boarding events have in the past?
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FenlandSkier, controversial view, but: blades are actually just really short skis. there's no chance they'll ever be admitted as there's actually a *minimum* length ruling in FIS skiing events, as a safety measure - otherwise the slalom skiers would be on much shorter skis than they are now, as we all know shorter skis are easier to turn. I think the safety thing is that with such short turns, there needs to be a certain amoutn of ski to stop skiiers getting thrown over their tails
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nbt, so obviously, under your criteria, football doesn't qualify as a sport. Every time the ref awards a penalty that results in a match-winning goal, "subjective judging", rather than "absolute, objective results", is deciding the result.
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PG, good point. Training animals to walk in certain ways is more akin to agriculture than sport!


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Fri 17-02-06 1:28; edited 1 time in total
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Mike Lawrie, ballet died out because it was not included in the Olympics in 1992 when moguls and aerials got in.
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FenlandSkier, ski-boarding (to use the generic term - "Snowblade" is a Salomon trade-name) was included in the Winter X Games in the late 90s, but was removed because ski-boarding is waning in popularity in the US now.
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Martin Bell, You might find that the Olympics take into account more than just US popularity Wink Shocked rolling eyes
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Martin Bell wrote:
nbt, so obviously, under your criteria, football doesn't qualify as a sport. Every time the ref awards a penalty that results in a match-winning goal, "subjective judging", rather than "absolute, objective results", is deciding the result.


You're kidding me? Sure there's some subjectivity around the refereeing of most sports - but surely you accept the difference between football is it is known and loved, and some kind of 'performance football' where guys were judged on how effectively they juggled their balls ( wink)?
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Martin Bell, as per DavidS. the only subjectivity involved is if the rules were infringed. The result is absolute - did "team a" score more goals than "team b". I'd interpret that as refereeing, not judging.

obelix67, Note that Martin Bell was taing about the winter X-games, not the Olympics. And see my poiny above as to why personally I can;t see blades ever being in the olympics - they'd have to be FIS sanctioned first, I would imagine
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I dont care to be honest it just sounded like a more traditional pretentious piece of american propaganda - it doesnt matter to me one little bit .... but as I said the Olympics seem to take more into account than one particularly big commercial country.
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Martin Bell, thank God for that!
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DavidS & nbt, if a team wins 1-0 on a contentious penalty, then that result has been decided by human judgement, just as much as an ice-skater getting a load of 6.0s. Once you look at it, almost every sport has the potential to be influenced to a certain extent by human judgement. So the only difference between, for example, football and figure skating, is a difference of degree, not a qualitative difference.
obelix67, I was indeed talking only about the Winter X Games, which is a made-for-TV event staged in the US by a US-owned network, ESPN (part of ABC). I was merely giving an example of a trend in the particular part of the world where I happen to live, not trying to spread any neocon propaganda (pretentious or otherwise) against the worldwide prominence of ski-boards. (I own a pair of Snowblades and I think they're great fun! It has also been a great way of bringing "aggressive" in-line skaters into winter sports.) But perhaps the definition of a ski-board (any ski under 100 cm) is rather arbitrary.
nbt, you are quite right, the only way for any snowsport to get into the Olympics is via the FIS - which is an organisation based, like the IOC, in your own beautiful country obelix67. Of course the IOC takes account of the worldwide popularity of a sport when considering it for Olympic inclusion, although with winter sports the situation is complicated by climatic restrictions.
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Interesting article on the "what is a sport?" question:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,8303-2044134_1,00.html
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