- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 21, 2009

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Figure skating is downsizing the number of judges at the Vancouver Olympics.

The International Skating Union decided last month to cut the number of judges for each Olympic event from 12 to nine, bringing them in line with panels at the world championships. The ISU pared the judging panels for worlds, the European championships, Four Continents and the Grand Prix final last fall in a cost-cutting measure.

“It’s to keep everything uniform,” David Dore, ISU vice president, said Tuesday. “We’ve already done it in the championships, but the ruling on the Olympics was really out of whack. I don’t know how you can have two such important championships done two different ways.

“It was an oversight, to be honest with you.”

There will be nine judges for each of the four events in Vancouver: ladies, men, pairs and ice dance. All of the scores are posted, but a computer randomly _ and anonymously _ decides which marks are counted. The ISU says that helps prevent cheating because countries can’t make deals when they don’t know whose scores will count.

The ISU adopted the current scoring system after the judging scandal at the Salt Lake City Olympics.

As further protection against cheating, Dore said the Vancouver judging panels will actually change after the short program. Four new judges will be added to the panel, meaning only five will judge both the short and the long.

“To me, that’s a good thing because the panels are mixed,” Dore said.

The change to the Olympic panels, made by the ISU council during last month’s world championships in Los Angeles, was first reported by Canada’s Globe and Mail. The ISU is expected to officially announce the decision Wednesday.

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