Ottavio Cinquanta's Words Come Back to Haunt Him

When Ottavio Cinquanta asked the ISU Congress to approve his new code-of-points-based judging system for figure skating in June 2002, he repeatedly told the delegates who were present that what they were being asked to vote on was merely a "project" and not a "rule". Therefore many people were surprised to receive their new ISU rulebooks and find that Cinquanta's "project" -- including some sections they thought had been removed from the proposal prior to the vote -- had been inserted into the ISU Constitution and General Regulations as Rule 121 paragraph 3.

I have received an audio clip from an anonymous source which purports to be a compilation of some of the 40+ times that Cinquanta told the ISU Congress that the new judging system was only a "project".

Here is a transcript of the clip (thanks to Trish and Pat):

...unanimously supported the presentation of this project.

...illustrated it, presented it, the main concept of this project -- I repeat, not rule -- project...

And this has to prove that this is a project.

Now, this is a project. This is not a rule.

This project, I repeat, is a project.

It is clear that we are in the presence of a project - a project that could become a reality. The experts will determine that this project is...

...regardless the fact that this project will continue or not.

...this possibility, one project, I repeat -- not rule -- one project.

It's not a rule, it's a project, I repeat, and the assessment of this project, I repeat -- project.

However, this project is not a rule. This project will go on....

This project will be now performed if accepted....

This is a project that we are going to vote and I hope that you will accept.

This project and the proposal....

...let's say, of the criteria of the project, not on the, on the (unintelligible)....

This is a -- this I said many times, is not, is not a rule -- this is not a rule -- is a project. It is an itinerary.

And, here is the text of Rule 121 paragraph 3, extracted from the ISU Constitution and General Regulations 2002, as accepted by the 49th Ordinary Congress, June 2002 (thanks to Lorrie Kim for typing this in):
a) For Figure Skating (Single skating and Pair skating), Ice Dancing and Synchronized Skating competitions the ISU will issue a Scale of Value for each and every element that compose [sic] the events of Figure Skating, i.e. Short Program, Free Skating, Compulsory Dance, Original Dance, Free Dance, for single skaters, pairs, couples and teams.

b) Each skater, pair, couple, team, shall present an official form indicating the "planned program content", including the elements and with a time code, for each event of the competition.

c) The Members, which will be divided into geographical regions, will submit to the ISU their lists of qualified Judges.

d) The ISU will create and publish a list of qualified international Judges in representation of geographical regions.

e) At the competitions the following will determine the attendance of Officials:

16 Judges selected from the published ISU list respecting the geographical region concept. The criteria of random drawing will be used for the selection and composition of the panel for each competition.

4 Experts, from the published ISU list, will be used to determine whether an element and which element has or has not been performed.

Out of the 16 Judges, 1 will be drawn as the Assistant Referee who will supervise the work of the 4 Experts, 1 will be drawn as the Referee who will act as the supervisor and coordinator of the remaining 14 Judges. The Referee will also vote, but this vote would not be used to form the result.

The 14 Judges will all be seated at the rinkboard and will judge the entire competition.

f) A secret and sealed computer will randomly select 7 of the 14 Judges whose marks will be used to form the result of each skater, pair, couple, team and therefore compose the total result. Although all Judges will officiate, only 7 and the same 7 will be used throughout the entire competition. Before, during and after the competition, nobody wiill know the identity of the 7 judges of the 14 that have actually "judged" the competition.

g) The Judge will be equipped with a touch-screen computer, with the video replay system, and a specially designed keypad.

h) Each skater, pair, couple, team, will be awarded with points according to the ISU Scale of Value relevant to the elements performed in the respective program. In addition, each skater will receive from each of the 7 selected Judges the so-called Grade of Execution mark that together with the Scale of Value points will form the Technical Score.

i) In addition to the Technical Score, each of the 7 Judges will assign the skater's whole performance, which is divided into basic skating skills (speed, steps etc) and performance skills (artistry, musicality etc), each a mark ranging from 0.1 to 6.0. This mark will be multiplied by a special factor to obtain the Presentation Score. The Technical Score and the Presentation Score will be combined to give the Total Score (the total points of the skater).

j) Guidelines will determine the maximum number of elements permitted for a "well balanced program". A package of prescribed elements will cover this area for Ice Dancing.

k) No review meeting will be held at the end of each competition. However, at the end of the season a dedicated commission/s will meet to make a controlled analysis to determine through the computer if evident anomalies occurred in each competition. Only in the case of evident and/or repeated anomalies, is the dedicated commission/s permitted to know the name of the Judge concerned, regardless of whether the Judge was among the 7 who actually formed the result or was one of the other 7 who "unofficially" judged the competition.

l) The input from the Experts, the points, marks and all data submitted by the Judges and the Referee, will be processed by a computerized system. Immediately at the end of each event, i.e. Short Program, Free Skating, Compulsory Dance, Original Dance, Free Dance, the computer tape/disk will be put into a sealed envelope and at the end of the competition the full set of tape/disks will be sealed in another envelope and sent by courier to the ISU Secretariat or to a Notary in Lausanne, where it will remain sealed until the day the dedicated commission/s will require the tape/disk for evaluating the judging as indicated in sub-paragraph k).

m) The dedicated commission/s will be formed by the ISU Council, taking into consideration and respecting that a balanced number of individuals representing different regional areas will compose the commission/s.

n) In the case of a Judge being responsible for evident and/or repeated anomalies, the ISU would suspend the Judge for a minimum period of two years, effective the day when the suspension was decided.

o) All the officials (20 per competition) will receive compensation at the end of the season for serving as an official at competitions, but in the case of a suspension, then no money would be paid to the suspended official/s for the whole season concerned.

p) The Judging System based on the above mentioned criteria can be used for test purposes at international events until the ISU Council considers that it can be implemented at the major ISU Events.

Under the condition that the main criteria here mentioned are maintained and respected, technical rules, procedures and anything needed for the implementation of this Judging System will be published in ad-hoc ISU Communications. Only progressive experience and tests would permit the updating of the technical rules and procedure to adapt the system and render it suitable and workable for the intended purpose.

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