Sunday, May 2

Dissecting the ISU Congress Agenda - Part Two

Here we go with some more of the key issues being covered at the Barcelona ISU Congress.

189. The ISU Council wants to change the deductions for certain violations. 3.0 for each costume or prop violation; 3.0 for violation of music restrictions in the Free Dance; and a 1.0 deduction for part of the costume or decoration falling on the ice. The reason being so that the public is more focused on the skating than over-the-top costuming.
Thoughts: No real opinion. The music restrictions being referred to in the free dance will be noted later, but basically the music cannot be gloomy or depressing anymore.

191. Italy wants to remove the rule that deducts 1.0 for vocal music in singles and pairs skating.
Thoughts: I'm taking it that they are doing this because vocal music isn't permitted in the first place, so why have a rule that says if, by chance, you do use it, you will just receive a measly 1.0 deduction. Sometimes there is questionable music used (Brian Joubert's All For You short program that was fine all season until the World Championships, where he received the deduction), but obviously, most of the time there are no issues.

192. The Ice Dance Technical Committee proposes the new factors for the portions of the ice dancing competition. For the Pattern Dance, all of the components will be in line with how they were in the Compulsory Dances: 0.75 Skating Skills, 0.50 Performance, 0.50 Interpretation, 0.75 Timing. The Short Dance, which replaces the Original Dance, has the following factors: 0.80 Skating Skills, 0.70 Transitions/Linking Footwork/Movements, 0.70 Performance/Execution, 0.80 Composition, and 1.00 Interpretation/Timing. The Free Dance component factors would not be changed.
Thoughts: Again, until I read more about what these dances exactly comprise of, I don't have much to say. Sorry!

195.2.b. The Ice Dance Technical Committee notes that if there are two pattern dances in a competition, then the score from each dance will be multiplied by a factor of 0.5. 
Thoughts: I don't think there will ever be two pattern dances in one competition, so this is just a what-if scenario, I suppose.

203.5 The Ice Dance Technical Committee proposes that ice dancing events at ISU Championships should take no longer than three days to complete.
Thoughts: I'm still not certain, but from the sounds of it there will only be two dances at ISU Championships. Therefore, the prior four days to complete the event is no longer necessary.

205. This is a big one. 
2a. The qualifying round is back, but not everyone will skate it. 
2b. There are now also minimum requirement scores for skaters to compete at ISU Championships. As long as a skater reaches that score, there is still the minimum one entry per member Federation allowed to compete. Also, if a skater is in the top 10 in the qualifying round or the short program/short dance but there is unexpected damage to the equipment during the warm up or performance, they will not be considered entered in the Championship and the points earned and spots allotted for the country towards the following years competitions. 
2d. The Four Continents Championships will still allow every country to send three entries per discipline, as long as they meet the minimum required score. 
3. The minimum total result score to compete in ISU Championships can be achieved in the current or prior season. There is no minimum score requirement for the World Junior Championships.
4a. The total number of entries into the first segment of the European and Four Continents Championships are as follows: Men and Ladies: 28 (18 direct, 10 qualifying round), Pairs: 18 (12 direct, 6 qualifying round), Ice Dance: 20 (12 direct, 8 qualifying round). If there are only one or two total entries more than what the total entries into the first segment (short program/short dance/etc.) are, then all competitors will compete in the first segment. Example, 30 ladies are entered into the Four Continents Championship. There will be no qualifying round and all 30 will skate a short program.
4b. For the World Junior and World Championships: Men and Ladies: 30 (18 direct, 12 qualifying round), Pairs: 20 (12 direct, 8 qualifying round), Ice Dance: 25 (15 direct, 10 qualifying round). Same rule applies if there are just one or two competitors or teams over the amount that skate in the first segment.
5. The skaters that directly qualifying to the short program/short dance are based on the results of the same competition from the prior season. For example, if you used the 2010 World Championships to determine the ladies skaters who will not have to skate the qualifying round in 2011, you have Japan earning three direct spots, South Korea earning one direct spot (two spots total), Finland with one (two spots total), Canada with one (two spots total), Italy with one (two spots total), The United States with two, Russia with two, Sweden with one (two spots total), Germany with one, Great Britain with one, Hungary with one, China with one, Australia with one, and Georgia with one. 
Thoughts: This is interesting, but sometimes it might not always be fair. An example would be that of Canada, who has two spots total for the ladies at the 2011 World Championships. Only one spot is automatically qualified, while the other skater will have to skate in the qualifying round. If Joannie Rochette decides to come back and compete next season, assuming that she wins Nationals, that would mean that Cynthia Phaneuf would then be thrown into the qualifying round and have to skate one more program than her teammate, even though it was her 5th place finish at the 2010 World Championships that earned that automatic qualifying spot. Maybe it should be the skater, and not the Federation, that earns the spot. If they don't compete again the following year, then there are more spots up for grabs in the qualifying round.

6. The qualifying round will include the free skate or free dance. Scores in the qualifying round do not transfer to the actual competition.
7. If a Federation doesn't use all of their entries in either the direct competition or qualifying round, then the skaters ranked highest in the ISU World Standings would move into the direct competition. Example, if Elene Gedevanishvili would retire before the 2011 Worlds and Georgia doesn't send any other lady to the competition, then her spot that she directly qualified is now open and the highest-ranked skater in the qualifying round would then move up into the direct competition rather than having to skate three portions. 
8. Host nation skaters are back to being allowed to compete in the short program/short dance and long program/free dance if they are the only entries and do not qualify into the event. That rule was taken away for a year.
10. The all-important minimum qualifying scores to the ISU Championships:
Men: Short Program: 40.00; Free Skate: 70.00
Ladies: Short Program: 30.00; Free Skate: 50.00
Pairs: Short Program: 35.00; Free Skate: 60.00
Ice Dance (with the new rules in mind) Compulsory Dance: 20.00; Short Dance or Original Dance: 35.00; Free Dance: 55.00.

207, 208, 209. Denmark, Finland, and Sweden want it so that every skater in an ISU Championship must have competed in a senior or junior international competition in the last 24 months.
Thoughts: That usually does happen, so I don't think it will be a problem. If they haven't competed, then odds are that they probably won't reach the minimum qualifying score, anyways. Well, unless you're Azerbaijan!

213. Austria wants it to be that the skaters that place within the top 24 in singles, top 19 in ice dance, and top 16 in pairs at the World Championships in the season before the Olympic Games automatically qualify THEMSELVES into the Olympics, rather than qualifying their nations the spots. I assume this comes off the fact that Kerstin Frank of Austria was in the top 24 at the 2009 World Championships, but because skaters that placed higher earned additional entries for their own nations, the 24 spots were filled by the time they got to Frank's 23rd place, and Austria had to send a skater to the Nebelhorn Trophy at the beginning of the 2010 season to earn the spot.
Thoughts: I understand how frustrating it must have been for skaters like Ana Cecilia Cantu to finish in the top 24 at the 2009 World Championships, but due to the same process, she missed out on qualifying an automatic entry for Mexico to the Vancouver Olympics, and then failed to qualify the spot at the Nebelhorn Trophy. At the same time, if you use Austria's method and then some country like Russia maintains two entries to the World Championships each year until 2013, and then finish well enough to qualify three entries the next (Olympic) year, then I do somewhat think that the third Russian should be able to take the Olympic spot. I wonder if Austria would want it to where the third Russian could compete at the 2013 fall Olympic qualifying event and earn their spot there, or if the event just remains the last chance for six countries (in singles) with no entry to earn their spots.

The next few issues are all about each country's proposals as far as the judging panels and how many judges there should be and whose scores count and whose don't. It's too much to highlight, but if you're interested they are numbers 215 through 221.

And then for a while, it is all about the judging and the requirements and such. All boring stuff to me. It goes all the way up to 265.

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