Figure Skating 2010: The Drama Continues!

New to this? I recommend you start here with a readable introduction I did back in 2006.
Then take a look at this concise blurb to get up to speed as of 2/17/2010.

February 26, 2010: Ladies' Results. What a great final group (I didn't watch the earlier groups)! Nobody landed on their butt, and it looks like the Phantom Judge took the night off -- the scores are pretty well-separated, and using all 9 judges' scores would have resulted in the same medal standings. That's all, folks!
February 23, 2010: Ice Dancing. The scores of the top finishers look pretty well-spread out. I won't do a formal analysis, but would speculate that the full panel of judges would have awarded the same medals. Ladies skate tonight.
February 19, 2010: Men's Results. Congratulations to Lysacek! And he was a little lucky. The random panel of 7 judges used for the competition liked him. The full panel of 9 judges thought it was a closer competition, a 0.47 point winning margin instead of the official 1.31 point margin. It's likely that some random panel could have awarded Plushenko the gold (other random panels scored him as many as 3-4 points higher when other pairs of judges were dropped).
February 18, 2010: Men's Short Program results, a comment. This is probably a day late, but the top three men are separated by only 0.6 points. Even Nobunari, Lambiel, and Weir can contend for a medal with strong performances (though they would need some help by somebody in the top three). Let's hope for clear medal standings, not the uncertainty of contributions by the Phantom Judge (some computer in the back room).
February 17, 2010: Analysis of Olympic Pairs. Along with a concise discussion of "the problem," this PDF file contains the results of the Olympic Pairs analysis: the medals were secure, but there were still problems.
February 16, 2010: Analysis of Olympic Pairs. The medal standings weren't close enough to result in a problem; use of all 9 judges' scores would have produced the same medal winners. However, the ranks of the 4th and 5th-placed teams (Chinese and Russian) would have been reversed had all the scores been used. This again illustrates the real possibility of the computer's selection of 7 of the 9 judges' scores influencing close competitions.
February 9, 2010: Analysis of 2010 European Championships. It's taken a few days, but my analysis of the 2010 European Championships is complete. I'm happy to report that (unlike the 2006 World Championships) the medal standings of the singles and pairs competitions would not have changed if all judges' scores had been used.
February 2, 2010: Here we go again! I was surprised to learn that the ISU has once again changed the scoring system used for international skating competitions. Previously, 9 judges were selected randomly from a panel of 12. Now, 7 judges are selected from a panel of 9. However, the story doesn't change: in close competitions, the medals might be awarded by the computer's random selection of judges.

The 2010 Olympic Figure Skating Results from the ISU

2006 Analyses You can find various comments and links from my 2006 analysis here.
A paper describing a problem arising in the 2006 World Championships was published in a refereed journal: Emerson, John W. (2007). "Chance: On and Off the Ice." Chance 20(2). A reprint is available upon request (email me).

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