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Tuesday, 21 January 2014

More on Finnstep Key Points: A Look Back at the Pattern Dances of the 2013 Grand Prix Final

At the request of someone in the comments section, we are doing a breakdown of the key points at the Grand Prix Final in December 2013. We have reiterated what you should be looking for in each of the key points and also identified common errors based on what we have seen this season. In addition to this, we have created gifs of the key points of the top three teams in the Short Dance and identified where teams missed key points or where they could have missed them. Unfortunately we do not always have the desired angle for each key point or consistency in the angles from which each key point is shown (the angle sometimes differs from team to team) and the video quality is not always great, but we have tried to explain the key points and errors based on what we can see here. We have also included stills to show an exact moment but we recommend viewing these alongside the key points in motion to get an idea of how the blade, ankle, and leg will look when on a flat, an inside edge, and an outside edge. In this post we are just covering what the technical panel looks for in assessing key points and will discuss what the judges consider when determining GOEs in a subsequent post.

Here is the protocol for this segment of the event.

And below are the Finnsteps for each of the top three teams:

Davis/White:

video


Virtue/Moir:


video


Bobrova/Soloviev:

video




Finnstep Section I
*Key Point 1
Lady & Man Steps 1 & 4 (XB-RF, XB-LF) 
and Lady Step 12 (LFO Tw1½)

You are looking for each partner to cross the right foot behind the left (below the knee) for the first step and then the left foot behind the right (again below the knee) for the fourth step. Soon after (step 12) the female partner enters into 1.5 twizzles from a left forward outside entry edge.
Mistakes on this key point usually occur on step 12, the lady’s twizzle of 1.5 rotations entered into on a left forward outside edge. This twizzle has to be performed very quickly according to the timing rules of this pattern and thus it is easy to lose balance on this step.

Unfortunately the camera angles for the second part of this key point (step 12) in the performances of Davis&White and Bobrova&Soloviev do not allow us to see their feet, but we have included gifs of them so you can identify when this step occurs in the dance.

Lady & Man Steps 1 & 4 (XB-RF, XB-LF) 


Davis/White

Virtue/Moir

Bobrova/Soloviev


Lady Step 12 (LFO Tw1½)

Davis/White

Virtue/Moir


Bobrova/Soloviev


Key Point 2
Lady Steps 20-21
(XB-LBO, XF-RBI/RBI Tw1½/RFO)

You are looking for the female partner to cross her left foot behind her right foot (below the knee) on a back outside edge and then cross her right foot in front of her left foot (also below the knee) on a back inside edge. Errors on this key point most commonly occur on the next part where the female partner twizzles 1.5 rotations entering on that same right forward inside edge and exiting on a right forward outside edge. It is usually the exit edge not being a clear outside edge that causes the key point to be missed and thus the level to be reduced.



Davis/White

Virtue/Moir


Bobrova/Soloviev



Bobrova/Soloviev did not receive credit for this key point. Bobrova appears to achieve the correct edges on the cross steps but exits the twizzle on a flat rather than an outside edge and thus does not meet the criteria for this key point.


Key Point 3
Man Steps 20-21
(XB-LFI, RFO-Sw3/RBI Tw1/RBI)

You are looking for the male partner to cross his left foot behind his right on a forward inside edge and then cross his right foot in front of his left and then enter into a swing three turn  on a forward outside edge, exiting this turn on a back inside edge. This edge becomes the entry edge for the single twizzle that follows, and the male partner exits this twizzle on the same right back inside edge. Errors on this key point most often occur with the man not showing a clear inside edge on the cross step (he either hits a flat or shows an outside edge) or on the exit of the twizzle.




Davis/White

Virtue/Moir


Bobrova/Soloviev



Finnstep Section II
Key Point 1
Lady Steps 32 & 33 (LFO Sw-ClCho, 
RBI/RBO/RBO Tw1½/RFI slide into stop)


You are looking for the female partner to move forward on her left foot on an outside edge and swing her right leg forward and step onto a right back inside edge (swing closed choctaw on left forward outside edge). The female partner then changes to a right back outside edge which is the entry edge for the 1.5 twizzle. She exits this twizzle on a right forward inside edge and slides to a halt on this edge. Errors on this key point are likely to occur on the exit edge of the swing closed choctaw: sometimes the skater fails to step down on a clear inside edge on the exit. An error may also occur on the twizzle, with the skater not showing continuous rotation.

Davis/White


Davis/White received credit for this key point, but it looks like this was a close call as Davis’s exit edge for this choctaw was a little flat/barely an inside edge and thus not a clear inside edge (again, this is not the best angle). She quickly leans to produce the inside edge which is aided by the movement of the free leg back and to the right, but this is after the blade placement (and remember that the blade placement is very important in the assessment of key points).

Virtue/Moir


Virtue appears to be solidly on a right back inside edge.


Bobrova/Soloviev


Unfortunately the quality of this picture does not allow us a good look at their blades, but when viewed in slow motion it appears Bobrova steps solidly onto her right back inside edge.


Key Point 2
Man Steps 32 to 33c (LFO Sw-ClCho, RBI 
OpMo, LFI, RFI/RFI Tw1/RFI slide into 
stop)

You are looking for the male partner to move forward on his left foot on an outside edge and swing his right leg forward and step onto a right back inside edge (swing closed choctaw on left forward outside edge). The male partner then performs an open mohawk on this same right back inside edge, bringing the left foot in front of his right and placing that left foot on a forward inside edge. He then steps onto his right forward inside edge and performs a single twizzle, exiting on a right forward inside edge and sliding to a halt on this edge. Errors on this key point are likely to occur on the exit edge of the swing closed choctaw: sometimes the skater fails to step down on a clear inside edge on the exit. An error may also occur on the twizzle, with the skater not showing continuous rotation.




Davis/White

Virtue/Moir


Bobrova/Soloviev




Bobrova/Soloviev did not receive credit for this key point. The issue appears to be on the choctaw: it looks as though Soloviev does not get solidly on his right back inside edge. His weight goes forward and the back of his blade does not appear to be in contact with the ice. Also, he may have stopped short of completing the full 1.5 rotations on the twizzle.

Key Point 3
Lady & Man Steps 64 & 65 (LFI XBClCho, RBO3/RFI Tw1½)

Both partners use  left forward inside entry edges and bring their right legs behind their left and cross the right foot behind the left foot on a back outside edge (LFI XBClCho). On this same right back outside edge they each perform a three turn with the free leg extended. They then bring the free leg in for the twizzle of 1.5 rotations. Errors on this step commonly occur on the weight transfer in the choctaw, with one or both partners not placing the right foot on a clear outside edge.


Davis/White



Davis/White received credit for this key point, but Davis appears to place her blade on a flat rather than a clear outside edge for the exit edge of the choctaw. With another technical panel they might not have received credit for this key point. (Unfortunately White's blade is obscured by Davis's boot, but if one partner does not meet the criteria, the team does not receive credit for the key point).

Virtue/Moir



We do not get a very clear view or a good enough angle, but from what we can see, Virtue looks to be on a slight outside edge (thus, this might have been a close call) and Moir is clearly on an outside edge thus getting credit for the choctaw portion of this key point here. The three turn and twizzle portions were clean.

Bobrova/Soloviev


Unfortunately we do not get a very good angle on this step but from what we can see Bobrova appears to be on a slight outside edge (thus, this might have been a close call) and Soloviev is on a clear outside edge, thus earning credit for the choctaw portion of this key point here. The three turn and twizzle portions were clean.

How did you feel about the calls for the Finnstep? Let us know in the comments section!

UPDATE:
Thank you to the person in the comments section who provided links to better quality pictures and gifs. We have reviewed them and conclude that these are still gray areas. We just want to reiterate that we are discussing these key points based on what we see and we acknowledge that we do not have access to the same footage the technical panel reviews. Thus, we do not make our claims with absolute certainty. We do, however, believe it is often possible to see enough of what is going on in the key points to warrant a discussion. The purpose of this exercise is to show viewers how to identify key points and understand how the criteria for each key point is met. This includes identifying times when an edge may not be very clear thus resulting in different technical panels coming to different conclusions.

This post was inspired by a request from a reader as well as sentiments expressed on other figure skating blogs and forums. We noticed that people were curious about the levels teams were receiving and how these calls differ across events and were frustrated by the lack of information available to them. We saw similar dissections of key points and decided this would be a useful exercise here, if for no other reason than to encourage discussion about these aspects of the sport. Ideally, we would have access to what the technical panel sees but since we do not, we do our best to make sense of the key points and level calls based on what we do have available to us. We realize that opinions will vary and we encourage open discussion.