Summer Olympics 2008: How Do We Solve the Scoring Problem—Blind Judges?

Dave FinchContributor IAugust 19, 2008

I love baseball.  If the score is 3-1, the team that has three runs wins. Cut and dry, done, easy.  I love basketball, football, lacrosse, soccer, rugby even—all have points scored to put on a scoreboard.

Swimming, track, and cross country are great too. If I finish in 60 seconds and you finish in 62 seconds, I win. Simple.

Diving, gymnastics, figure skating, and other "scored" events by judges, I am starting not to like. In every event, there's controversy.

Remember in Athens when the Greek "won" the rings over the Bulgarian superstar who, in most people's opinions, did better? Remember in Beijing when all the get the point.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that all Chinese scores were unfair. Yibing Chen who won the still rings (and is from China) was dead on fantastic, and couldn't be touched. Not all scores are iffy.

The "tie" between Nastia Liukin and Hexin Ye, though?  Come on, people. Can't you see what we see?  How can a judge, biased by country, or just plain inexperienced be held accountable?

I understand how the new scoring system works. It's not just graded 1-10 anymore. Now it's the difficulty of the routine, plus the 1-10 on execution of that routine.

If I do a 7.0 routine (a pretty tough one) and nail it 100 percent with no deductions, then I should get a 17. Right?

This is not like the days of old, with perfect 10s and the crowd rising to their feet. Now the home crowd goes nuts and the judges seem to overlook some pretty major deductions.  The inexperience and the bias is leading this sport to cause people to scratch their heads and wonder what we should do.

First of all, I think a bank of judges not linked to a country or gymnast needs to be overseeing the whole thing. If a score looks wrong, it should be audited and passed through the overseers.  I think the majority of scores we saw were fair, but of course maybe we looked at it with biased eyes.

That just proves the point. Even if the judges did a rock-solid, 100 percent perfect job, we (the biased) wouldn't be happy sometimes. And if we were happy, someone else wouldn't be.