Jackie Wong of Examiner did a nice job summing up some of the major decisions made at last week's International Skating Union Congress. Here are my thoughts on some of the major changes. I would love to hear yours in the comments.
-Vocal music for singles and pairs: When ice dancing began using vocals, I didn't mind it. Granted, I didn't watch much ice dancing back then and I didn't take it much seriously when I did. I think the vocals are used in a complementary fashion in ways that work at times. One example is Virtue and Moir's "Funny Face" free dance this season. However, I think sometimes it's distracting to hear vocals. And I definitely tend to prefer dances with no vocals. I am much more concerned now that singles will have the ability to use vocals in their programs. Not as worried about pairs..not sure why the idea of singles using it irks me. I guess I just find lyrics distracting. But it's obviously a way to appeal to the mainstream fan. I can't wait for that first "Call Me Maybe" short program. This will begin in the 2014-2015 season.
-Unification of Age Limits: Beginning in the 2014-2015 season, all ISU competitions will have the same age limit (skater will have to have turned 15 by July 1 of the previous year to skate in a senior competition. Wong says that the age limits haven't done what they were supposed to do (ostensibly protect the skaters). I tend to agree. I'm not the biggest fan of seeing immature skaters in seniors but the program components scores should be used to separate underdeveloped skating and artistry from true champions. I don't know if the age restriction is necessary. It's not like these skaters are not still under pressure to learn jumps and learn them quickly. And they can still compete in non-ISU competitions like national championships as seniors in certain cases.
Some judging system changes:
-An extra level for non-jumps. Now they go from 1-4. Starting net season, they can go from 0-4. I wonder how this will affect who gets level fours.
-No more step sequence differentiation. A step sequence is a step sequence is a step sequence. This is fine by me.