Ottavio Cinquanta has been re-elected president of the International Skating Union at the Congress that took place in Barcelona last week. Although that position stayed the same, here is a look at just some of the major changes in senior skating that were passed last week (I am pulling these from the agenda that was set out before the Congress; the ISU website has no specific details about what was passed). I am going to stress that there are millions more changes that affect many aspects of the programs/competition that I am not getting into in this blog post but will hopefully have more time to grasp in the near future.
Short program now has seven, rather than eight, required elements. Ladies no longer have to do a spiral sequence in the short program. As much as I love a pretty spiral, seeing so many generic spirals in one program after another is pretty grating. I'll be interested to see what the ladies do with the extra freedom here. **Use of a spiral sequence in the short program will be rewarded in "transitions." Let's hope only the ladies who have a nice spiral continue to do them in the short.
Ladies are permitted to do a double OR triple axel in the short program, rather than having to do a double axel. I love this change - if someone is capable of doing a triple axel, what value does it give the judges or the spectators to see them then do a double axel as well? It will be more exciting/impressive to see the skater doing another triple instead.
Men can now do more than one quadruple jump in the short, as long as one comes in combination.
A double axel cannot be included more than two times in a free skate. Hallelujah and Amen, and as far as I'm concerned, that's still one time too many.
The second men's step sequence will always have a fixed value and be rewarded GOE points only. The sequence can have any pattern while fully utilizing the ice. I am not familiar enough with step sequence rules to know why this is a big deal.
Ladies must still do spiral sequences in the free skate in order to have a well-balanced program. They must complete two positions at least. Does this provide more freedom to have prettier spirals? Who knows.
Short program will consist of seven, not eight, required elements.
There will no longer be a pair combination spin or spiral. There will instead be a step sequence. Pair combination spins are often quite slow and can tend to suck some life out of the program. I'm not sure why they chose to add step sequence instead. Spirals will be rewarded in transitions. I am actually a tad bit confused as to the pairs changes, so if I am getting this wrong, please let me know.
The death spiral in the free skate must be different from the death spiral in the short program. There is a maximum of one spiral sequence that is now required in order to achieve a well-balanced program. Is this an attempt to ensure fewer repeats on ugly death spirals?
The jump combination may consist of two or three jumps. Interesting.
The spiral sequence must consist of at least two positions. This is to provide more freedom.
Um, bye bye compulsories, hello short dance and free dance.
There is a new type of step sequence added to the prior two types; it is called a partial step sequence.
The short dance replaces the original dance, but seems to be the same thing. It now includes what is known as pattern dances. I have no idea what a pattern dance is - it appears to replace the compulsories but I think seniors are only doing the short and the free dances.
That is all I could get out of the agenda that I made any sense to me, since a lot of the more nuanced changes were over my head. Additionally, the ISU stated on its website:
Congress passed a change to implement a qualifying procedure to effectively reduce the number of entries at Championships and has also accepted a reduction of the number of skaters in the Free Skating.
The ISU World Team Trophy in Figure Skating (which was successfully inaugurated in April 2009) has been integrated into the General Regulations as an ISU Event
I will continue looking for more information on the changes made and report them here. **There are also some changes to age requirements, qualification, and other aspects of the programs. I will try to understand them better and then write about them. Here is a hilarious breakdown of some of the changes written about here as well as some of the ones I have not discussed, on Bulldogfaith's live journal. It is quite entertaining.
Additional changes on levels and grade of execution values are made in Communication 1611. We have already discussed those underrotation changes. I will try to examine the values of jumps, etc. and discuss what the changes mean.