Reading a Figure Skating Protocol – Pairs

The first time you see a skating result protocol, it can be challenging to understand. With so many abbreviated codes and numbers, it looks very complex and difficult in the beginning.

The Total Segment Score one can achieve for a program is a combination of the:

  • Total Element Score (TES)
  • Total Program Component Score (PCS)

The final program score will also include deductions, for example if a fall occurred.

Below is a breakdown of the different aspects of a Pairs Free skate protocol. (here: Ashley Cain and Timothy Leduc’s protocol for their Free Dance that shows a Total Segment Score of 126.88.)

(see also: Reading a Protocol – Pairs and Reading a Protocol – Singles )

Total Element Score (TES)

The ISU assigns each element a Base Value based on its difficulty. During the performance, the judges J1 to J9 then decide on a scale of -5 to 5 how well the element was executed. The resulting Grade of Execution (GOE) is added or subtracted from the base value. The Total Element Score is the sum of all the Base Values + GOEs. (see: ISU 2168 Scale of Values for the Season 2018/2019)

(Further information: How to calculate the GOE)

Ashley Cain / Timothy LeDuc’s Free skate protocol from the World Championships 2019
  1. 3Tw4 – This is a Triple Twist. The man throws the lady in the air, where she rotates (three times), before catching her. The element has a base value of 6.00. The pair received a Level 4 (the highest level) from the technical panel for this element.
  2. 3Lo – This is the Triple Loop jump. In pairs, the skaters both do the same jump side-by-side.
  3. 3LzTh – This is the Throw Triple Lutz. Here the man throws the lady into the jump.
  4. 5ALi3 – This is a Group 5 Axel Lasso Lift. It was judged to be a Level 3.
  5. 3S+2T+2Lo – This is a combination jump of a Triple Salchow, a Double Toeloop, and a Double Loop.
  6. 5SLi4 – This is a Group 5 Step in Lasso Lift. It was awarded a Level 4 by the technical panel.
  7. 3STh – This a Throw Triple Salchow. You can tell by the negative GOE that Cain fell on the landing.
  8. 3Li3 – This is a Group 3 (Hand to Hip Position) Lift. It was awarded a Level 3 by the technical panel.
  9. PCoSp4 – This is a Pair Combination Spin. It was awarded a Level 4 by the technical panel.
  10. ChSq1 – This is a Choreo Sequence. There are no required steps necessary for this sequence unlike in the Step Sequence, and therefore it can only ever be awarded a Level 1 by the technical panel.
  11. FiDs3 – This is the Forward inside Death spiral. It’s been awarded a Level 3 by the technical panel.

Total Program Components Score (PCS)

Program Components are judged in 5 categories:

  • Skating Skills
  • Transitions
  • Performance
  • Composition
  • Interpretation of the Music

Judges will give up to 10.00 points for each category. The trimmed means (discarding the lowest and highest) of the judges’ scores are displayed on the right side. In pairs skating, the Free program’s Program Component Score (PCS) is worth twice as much as in the Short program (0.8 factor). These scores will be multiplied by the factor for the PCS (1.60 factor).

The pair received a -1.00 deduction for this program because of a fall during the Throw Triple Salchow.

How to calculate the GOE

To calculate the final GOE for an element we need to take the trimmed means (the average of the scores given by J1 to J9 without the lowest and the highest rating) and look up the value in the scale of values table.

Example: Line 7 shows a number of negative scores given for the Throw Triple Salchow because Cain fell on the landing. It has a Base Value of 4.40 which we can see in the protocol as well as the table below. The final GOE can be between -2.20 and +2.20.

ISU 2168 Single and Pair Skating Scale of Values

Out of the nine judges, we do not include J1(-4) and J2 (-5). This gives us an average of -4.857 out of –5 and a final GOE of -2.20*(-4.857/-5)= -2.14. )

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