Down with the Perfect 10

In today’s Slate, I praise the new scoring system for gymnastics.

I was happy I managed to include a few words about one of my favorite Olympic athletes, the great French figure skater Surya Bonaly. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to work in a quote from this March 2005 Gazeta interview with Bonaly. “NS” is Nikolay Sadovsky of Gazeta. Note that I took this transcript from a blog and don’t vouch for its authenticity, or the correctness of the translation.

NS- In general, if I am not mistaken, judges somewhat disliked your skating. And you decided to say “farewell” to them in an original way: you did not land many triples at the Olympics in Nagano and, having lost all chances for a medal, you directly in front of the judges suddenly made a somersault in your free program…
SB – You answered your own question. First, figure skating is a conservative kind of sports which hardly changes. I was the innovator. I do not understand why the back-flip till now is forbidden: probably, because of fear that the sportsman can be traumatized. But I consider that this question is necessary to resolve – let the sportsmen choose if it is necessary for them or not. In general, judges did not love me for innovation. And that story at Nagano, here you in fact remember this moment, which means that I was right, having decided to include it in the program. So, spontaneously, I included and did it. Yes, I was punished for it. I took tenth or eleventh place. But it is unimportant, what is important is the memory of the spectators, rather than of the judges. Who now will remember those judges? But I am still remembered and loved.

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2 thoughts on “Down with the Perfect 10

  1. Dirty Davey says:

    What I don’t get is why things like falling off the beam don’t get much more severe, disqualifying penalties. The whole point is to perform ON the beam… they increased the fall deduction from .5 of 10 to .8 of 10, but why isn’t it a three or four point deduction? If you can fall (or even fall twice) and still end up on the high side of 8/10, aren’t we really measuring execution on a two-point scale rather than a ten-point scale?

  2. [...] praises the current scoring system for gymnastics, and I’m convinced. Ron Silliman praises something [...]

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