Fitness Olympia Judging: A Closer Look!

I have received quite a bit of email from fans questioning the judging at the 2003 Fitness Olympia held on October 24th in Las Vegas. Find out what I think about the judging and much more...

November 5th, 2003! - Previous News

I have received quite a bit of email from fans questioning the judging at the 2003 Fitness Olympia held on October 24th in Las Vegas. Apparently, the judges created quite a stir when the final results were announced. This is hardly an unusual occurrence. Let's be honest, the sport is subjective. By definition, the term "subjective" implies that individual and unique opinions or interpretations will always exist. After going through your emails, I decided to take a closer look at the judge's score-sheet. Upon further review, I was shocked by what I discovered.

Before I begin, let me remind you that I am not a pro fitness "guru". I am not representing myself as the "all-knowing" fitness expert. The purpose of this commentary is to simply outline the insanity of the scoring... based purely on a factual analysis of the scores.

As with any "subjective" sport, there will always be some degree of varying opinion; it goes with the territory. But, after reviewing the individual scores, I began to wonder if the collective judging panel was actually watching the same show. To clarify my point, here are a handful of observations:

My Observations On The Scoring...

Let's begin with the 2 minute routine performed by Jen Hendershott. Judge #5 felt that Jen's routine was the best routine of the night. Amazingly, judge #11 felt that Jen's routine was actually the worst of the night. How's that for "subjective". One judge felt that no routine was better than the one performed by Jen. Meanwhile, another judge felt that EVERY routine was better than the one performed by Jen. The insanity doesn't end there.

In the "2 piece" round, Judge #7 felt that Anna Level had the 2nd best physique in the round. Meanwhile, Judge #3 looked at the same physique, on the same stage, under the same lights, and determined that Anna's physique was the 11th best. Is that possible? In the eyes of one judge, Anna's physique was better than all but one athlete. But in the eyes of another judge, Anna was near the very bottom!

Another glaring oddity took place in the 45 second round. Stacy Hylton, known for her routines, was scored 2nd by judge #12. Somehow, it was the opinion of judge #3 that Stacy's routine was the 9th best. Were these 2 judges watching the same show?

In the 45 second round, Kelly Ryan, the Queen of the routine, received 1st place scores by 10 out of the 12 judges. Apparently Judge #10 felt differently and scored Kelly's routine 9th!

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In the evening show, Kelly received three 1st place votes for her 2 minute routine. Yet, Judge #10 felt that Kelly's routine was in the bottom half off all routines (8th out of 14). It seems to me that Judge #10 (who ever you are) is not a member of the Kelly Ryan fan club.

Are The Judges Trained?

Are these judges trained? Do they have uniformed guidelines? Do some of the judges suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder? There must be some explanation.

Fortunately, the athletes are protected, to a small degree, by a scoring system that drops the high and low scores, however the issue still cannot be ignored. How is it possible for one "trained" judge to score an athlete first place, while another judge scores the same athlete dead last? I'm afraid that takes the term "subjective" to an absurd level.

The situation raises obvious concerns that go far beyond "subjectivity". But, I'm afraid that's an entirely different article...for another day.