Why Jason Brown fell so far in the figure skating standings

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Why Jason Brown fell so far in the figure skating standings
Why Jason Brown fell so far in the figure skating standings

Figure skater Jason Brown was on the brink of winning bronze but dropped all the way to ninth after Friday's free skate.

The 19-year-old fell victim to the sport's complicated -- and unforgiving -- scoring system. And he's not the only one.

Brown was ranked sixth after the short program. His score of 86.00 was less than a point behind Javier Fernandez's, who was in third. Winning the bronze medal was a real possibility for the young American.

Brown started his "Riverdance" free skate well enough, hitting a flawless double axel. He then landed a triple axel but under-rotated and two-footed the landing of the following jump, a triple toe-loop.

His second triple axel got penalized twice -- the jump was deemed under-rotated, which dropped its value 70% (from 8.50 base points to 6.00). He then got a -3.00 grade of execution for stepping out of the landing. In the end, he only got 3.00 points for a jump worth 8.50.

But the axel jump continued to cost him. Later in the program, he flubbed the entry into a double axel and immediately tried it again. The technical specialist called it two separate jumps, with the first attempt earning zero points.

The men are only allowed eight jumping passes. The flub counted as his sixth pass, and the double axel his seventh. Brown had two jumps planned after that -- a triple Lutz and triple loop. But since only eight count, he got zero points for the loop (which would've been worth 5.61 points).

Here's how his jumping passes were scored.

1. Double axel (4.30 out of a base 3.30 points)

2. Triple axel-triple toe (8.69 out of a base 11.40 points)

3. Triple axel (3.00 points out of a base 8.5 points)

4. Triple Lutz-half loop-triple Salchow (11.37 out of base 11.77 points)

5. Triple flip-double toe loop (7.96 out of a base 7.26 points)

6. Axel (0 points)

7. Double axel (3.63 out of 3.63 points)

8. Triple Lutz (7.90 out of 6.60 base points)

9. Triple loop (0 out of 5.61 base points)

Had his final triple loop counted, Brown would've finished one place higher. So in the end it wouldn't have changed the results too much, but it explains his low score.

Fernandez, who finished fourth overall, was not so lucky.

Another rule is that only two jumps with three or more revolutions can be repeated, and only if they're done in combination.

Fernandez attempted two triple Salchows, but the second was not in combination. However, the scoring system automatically counts a repeated jump as a combination. While Fernandez already completed the maximum three jump combinations, the Salchow combination was counted as a fourth. Consequently, it earned zero points. That cost him the bronze medal.

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