New Scoring System

The new scoring system continues to have both a short and a long program. As was true under the old system, a preliminary program is occasionally skated. Each program is assigned two scores, a technical score and a Program Components Score, which is akin to the Presentation score from the old system. However, this is where the similarity between the old and new systems ends.

The Technical Score:

There is no longer a maximum score that a skater can receive. Instead, the skater is awarded a certain number of points for each individual element that he attempts. (See attachment.) The more difficult the element, the more points that the element is worth. Thus, a triple axel is worth 8.5 points, whereas a double axel is worth 3.3 points. Spins and footwork are also assigned point values, based on their level of difficulty. Once a skater does an element, such as a triple axel, a person known as the technical specialist announces what element was done, and each judge grades the element from –3 to 3. A plus grade is used for an element that is done exceptionally well. 0 indicates an average element, and a minus score indicates an element done poorly.

A subset of all of the judges are randomly selected by a computer. The high and low score are thrown out, and the remaining judges' scores are averaged for each element. For example if there are 9 judges being used, each of these judges assign a score to the triple axel that they saw. After throwing out the high and low score, the computer averages the remaining scores, and the skater receives that number of points for that particular element. All of the remaining elements in the skater’s program are graded in a similar fashion by the judges. These element scores are added together to produce a technical element score. Jumps that come during the second half of the program are given a 10% bonus. A skater who falls on a jump receives a 1 point deduction.

The Program Components Score (PCS):

There are 5 parts to the PCS. They are: Skating Skills, Transitions, Performance/Execution, Choreography, and Interpretation. Each of these is described in enormous detail in the rulebook. Each judge grades the skater’s overall prgram on a 1-10 scale for each of these 5 components. The judges scores are averaged for each component, and then added together.

The technical score and the PCS score are added together for the short program, and that single score is carried over and added to the long program score.

The long program counts roughly twice as much as the short program, but this is very rough, and the formula is different for men, women, and pairs. The weighting is different for technical aspects compared to program components.

You can read about the old scoring system here.

Return to the main figure skating page.