Judging at the Highest Level
Figure skating judge and Deloitte & Touche LLP Principal Sam Auxier shares his journey to the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi
On February 3, I leave for Sochi, where I will have the honor of judging figure skating in the Olympic Winter Games for the first time. In the U.S., we usually only have the opportunity to judge one Olympic Winter Games in our lifetime as there are a limited number of judging “slots” that are drawn among all the countries participating every four years. I have been judging figure skating for almost 30 years, having started in college as I was finishing my own competitive figure skating career. At that time, I decided it was time to focus on college as there were few opportunities to earn a living in skating – this was well before the explosion of tours and ice shows. However, I wanted to stay involved in the sport and decided to try judging. This required a few years of “trial judging” to prove that I could judge at national competitions.
Skating has evolved quite a bit over that time period – from a triple (three revolution) jump being a rarity, to quadruple jumps becoming commonplace. We also changed from the 6.0 scoring system to the International Judging System (IJS) after the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Winter Games (where a foreign judge admitted to cheating). The IJS system is much more exact at measuring performance, but it’s also more difficult for fans to understand – and difficult to figure out how each judge scored a skater.
I have judged many U.S. Championship and international events, including several World Championships and the recent Grand Prix Final, which was a preparation event for Sochi to help prepare me for the pressure of judging at the Olympics. The events occur all over the world, and I have been to many countries throughout Europe and Asia for judging. Figure skating is incredibly popular in many countries, but particularly in Russia and Japan, where 20,000-seat stadiums sell out in hours for events, and their skaters endorse every household product you can think of. Kim Yu Na, the Ladies Olympic champion, is a national hero in South Korea!
My first Olympic event will be a new event, the team event, which will begin February 6 (before the Opening Ceremony) and will conclude February 9. The U.S., Canada and Russia are expected to vie for the gold medal. Because the team event is a new event for the Olympic Winter Games, it will likely receive a lot of attention. I will then judge the men’s individual event on February 13 and February 14. Unfortunately, Evan Lysacek cannot compete due to an injury. Having first seen and judged him when he was a little kid, I am disappointed that he won’t be competing in Sochi, but he is a great athlete, and I’m proud that he was one of Deloitte’s featured athletes this year.
Figure skating requires a lot of preparation, practice, persistence and the ability to regroup, reassess and reinvent to stay competitive – all of which I can relate directly to my work at Deloitte. In figure skating, I am always around highly competitive athletes who are driven toward a specific goal, very much like working with the ambitious and talented people at Deloitte. Like Deloitte, in figure skating everyone has certain skills they bring to the team; I am a judge but also part of Team USA – and working at Deloitte I know I am part of a much larger team as well.
Skating competitively under pressure taught me the importance of preparation and timing and gave me the discipline to approach each problem methodically – very similar to preparing for a client presentation, solving a client problem or drafting a proposal. Judging has also taught me how to analyze a situation or problem objectively so that I can assess a skater’s performance accurately; this is very similar to providing objective, well thought-out recommendations to our clients no matter what the situation – because that is what they expect from Deloitte.
Learn more about Sam's work at Deloitte
Sam Auxier has over 20 years of experience in technology strategy, enterprise system design, selection and implementation of order management, compliance and execution management systems, portfolio and hedge fund accounting, enterprise data management, risk management and technology infrastructure design. He is a Deloitte & Touche LLP principal in the Capital Markets Technology practice based in Chicago, and he has been with the organization for over 14 years.
Deloitte's sponsorship of the USOC
Deloitte has been a proud sponsor of the USOC since 2009, providing the professional services that help enable Team USA to successfully compete on the global stage. The sponsorship was recently extended through 2020. This commitment serves to inspire our people and foster leadership in action.
As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.