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Have you ever seen this "<" symbol in synchro protocols?


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Yes, these are the downgrades. They appeared this season in the synchro scores. Let's explain what they mean.

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Derived from figure skating jumps, the downgrade appeared last season. The judges use it to give a "malus" to a team when a "minor error" appears in a group lift (GL) or in a Moves element (ME).  

A bad position or an edge problem
"It allows to be less punitive, and it avoids having to go down a level right away," said a judge. 

It is used in particular for small errors, for example, a position which would not be reached or held in the features in the lift, and in the element Moves to indicate if the position or the edge is not held during three seconds.

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This "<" symbol in the protocols does not affect the GOEs but only serves as an indication for the technical panel. The panel can thus distinguish between a "minor error" (downgrade) and a "major error" (losing a level). 

The downgrade is detailed in the Technical Handbook and was introduced at the last ISU Congress.