The U.S. National Figure Skating Championships just concluded (except for ice dancing), and Nathan Chen won the men's event, which I knew would happen since he won the last one by 55 points. (Only 40 points this time.) Jason Brown... did not win, or finish second, or finish third. His free skate today was frankly kind of disastrous, and left him in sixth place. Tomorrow morning the three selections for the U.S. men's Olympic team will be announced, and sixth place is a long way back to end up making a three-man team.
But the U.S. figure skating authority say that they do not just take the top three skaters from Nationals. Instead they consider a "body of work" consisting of the following events:
- 2018 U.S. Championships
- 2017 Grand Prix Final
- 2017 World Championships
- 2017 Grand Prix Series
- 2017 Four Continents Championship
- 2017 Challenger Series
- 2017 U.S. Championships
- 2017 World Junior Championships
- 2017 Junior Grand Prix Final
Jason Brown did very poorly at the very most important event on this list. He finished behind Ross Miner (silver medal at Nationals) and Vincent Zhou (bronze), either of whom could make the team over him, as could Adam Rippon, who finished fourth (and got the rather strange pewter "medal"). But the rest of his body of work is significantly better than that of either Ross or Vincent. The same is true of Rippon. So it's easy to feel that the selection committee, in making sense of this mess, has to either treat Nationals as the only competition that mattered or give it no weight at all.
But that's what math is for.
Because I can't stop pondering the question of whether Jason should or will be selected, I thought I would construct a unified metric to try to evaluate each contender's total body of work and see who "deserves" the spot according to those metrics. Below are my attempts at doing just that.