Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Olympic lameness

So I enjoy watching olympic diving and gymnastics as much as the next guy. But I think there is something inherently lame about judged sports. You shouldn't need a panel of six people giving their opinions to decide who "wins" at a sport.

This is particularly lame when the judges give bad opinions. Aubrey and I have been experiencing righteous anger over the American gymnasts not getting the medals they deserve. We were particularly peeved last night over the "tie" between Luiken and the Chinese gymnast who looks 11 years old. But even worse than the tie itself, was the method employed for breaking the tie.

If I understand the scoring it goes like this: Each routine is judged by six judges, each assigns a score, the highest and lowest score are dropped and the remaining four scores are averaged out, and that average is the final score. When there is a tie, they automatically do this: They take the four scores that averaged out, and they then drop the lowest of those, and then the remaining three scores are averaged out again, and whoever has the highest average after doing this now wins. The problem is this: whichever gymnast has the lower "low" score being dropped, will then have the higher average of the remaining three scores. Unless I'm missing something, this actually guarantees that the gymnast who gets the worst scores will win! Luiken lost the tiebreak because she got consistently high scores, so when they dropped one they were dropping a high score out of her average. The Chinese girl got some low scores, so when they dropped her lowest her average went up and thus beat Luiken, who's routine was consistently better.

Strange rules indeed. I don't know what a more fair method would be, but I imagine it would involve thumb wrestling in some way.


Lindsay said...

How about Rock, Paper, Scissors, or a simple coin toss? Both would be equally as fair as the method they are employing now.

Banana said...

bro--i heard about this second hand, and it didn't sound too fair. But, i did hear a slightly differen rendition of the plan: upon the occasion of a tie, you ADD back in one of the scores that was dropped. Thus if both had the low scores added back in, the person with the lower low score would lose.