Figuring skating

February 10, 2006

To: NBC on-air personalities

From: NBC Marketing Department

Re: Olympic skating

Look, people, let's keep this simple. The new scoring system for Olympic figure skating tested badly with our advance focus groups. So next week, viewers are bound to find the complex formulas representing GOE (grade of execution) and BV (base values -- computer-assigned scores given elements in each skater's program) a bit confusing. And, frankly, who knew that footwork and skating skills could be judged as different things? And that doesn't even include performance or interpretation.

Sure, sure, it was easier when a perfect score was a plain old 6.0. But times change. The top women's score at last year's World Championships would have been a 130.1 under the new math. Yes, that's a big number -- but not without comparison. It's the same, in millions, as Katie's latest contract offer from CBS.

Obviously, that French judge really fouled things up at the last Winter Olympics by helping that Russian pair beat the Canadians. But here's a funny story (and please keep it to yourselves): The new scoring system would have given the gold to the Russians anyway because their program was tougher. Whoa, you gotta love that, eh?

But, seriously, we know you won't be able to explain all this number crunching (heck, I doubt any of the bigwigs at Rockefeller Center understand it either). So we brought in the writers from Conan to come up with some Olympic gold: How many officials does it take to keep score at Olympic figure skating? The answer: at least 18, including computer and video specialists. Ha-ha. Plus the suits in legal tell me we're on pretty safe ground because it turns out to be true.

Anyway, you guys have a great time in Turin. Oh, and here's another tip: Maryland phenom Kimmie Meissner's short program might be good for an 81.39 or possibly an 84.56. Now, those would be numbers to triple flip over, more or less.

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