Hey sports fans!! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I am a self admitted “rink rat” so a lot of this blog will be about figure skating and hockey, however as an ex-figure skater, ex-varsity athlete and a sports fan in general, I usually have thoughts and opinions about alot of different sports I follow, so visit often!

Yuzuru Hanyu: ISU Congress – Rule Changes: My Thoughts

I came across a post in Tumblr that outlined the main proposed rule changes discussed during the recent 56th ISU Congress meetings.  There were a couple that I had automatic reactions to, and let’s just say my reactions were not all positive.

I am by no means an expert on the ISU rule book.  These are just my interpretations of these proposed changes and my own personal opinions about the rule changes.


#49 (pg. 24), etc. Establish an Athletes Commission, composed of five skaters elected by their peers, to represent skaters’ interests and opinions to the ISU and promote the popularity of skating. [Passed, effective 2016-17]

  • I am very happy that this proposal was passed.  It was long overdue.  It is fantastic to know that the skaters will now have a voice within the ISU.  Hopefully it will help identify issues not always related to the “business” part of the sport.  However, had this been established prior to this congress meeting, perhaps a number of the rule changes below would NOT have passed.
  • Not that he has any spare time, but they should elect Yuzu to be on this commission. He always has such great insight on all things related to skating.

#239-240 (pg. 98) The first skater to go after the warmup group will have 30 seconds (like all subsequent skaters) to get into their starting position, instead of 1 minute. [Passed, effective 2016-17]

  • On the surface this rule change doesn’t seem like it would be a major issue, and then all skaters are treated the same. However, if item #282 (below) gets passed for future, this really puts the first skater in a group at a distinct disadvantage.

#282 (pg. 109) Starting from 2018-2019, reduce SP/SD warmups to 4 minutes and FS/FD warmups to 5 minutes.  [Not sure if this got passed or not]

  • I REALLY do NOT like this rule change.  First of all, who initiated/proposed this change? Did it come from the skaters or non-skaters?  Also, who is asking to make skating events shorter?  Sure, some of the earlier groups of skaters may not be as exciting to watch as the later groups of skaters, but in North America the tv coverage already ONLY televises the last 2 groups, and they already don’t show the warm-ups. What is the problem here?  If the reason is just to shorten the event overall, I would prefer that the ISU raise the minimum technical qualification scores to reduce the number of skaters that are entered rather than reduce much needed warm up time.
  • The fans that attend in person want to see their favorite skaters for as much time as possible.  Warm-ups are very exciting for me, they build the excitement for the actual event.  I feel like they are taking away from the fans with this change, as well as the skaters.  For the skaters, 4 minutes for the SP and 5 minutes for the LP is really short!!
  • If this in fact got passed and starts in 2018/2019, it will be horrible to be the first skater in a group.  Not only do you lose a minute of your warmup time, you lose another half minute of preparation before you are required to take your place to skate.
  • I hope Yuzu is never in a position to have to skate first in a group.  It is highly unlikely, but not impossible.

Blog 1

#245 (pg. 99) Increased deductions for falls in singles skating: -1 for first and second fall, -2 for third and fourth fall, -3 for any further falls. [Passed, effective 2016-17]

  • I actually like this rule change.  Although the harsher penalty doesn’t kick in until the 3rd fall, it kind of meets the old system half way.  In the old scoring system, a fall was disastrous, and with the existing system, the attempt at a quad with a fall still garnered a skater more points than no attempt.  So falls, while not on purpose, become a minor inconvenience to building up a score so long as the jump is fully rotated. I think this change will make the penalty for falls “fall” somewhere between which is a small improvement.  Yes, skating is a harsh sport and skaters sometimes do have horrible programs/moments, but that is a part of growing and learning.
  • Fans have already calculated what happened with Yuzu at CoC with the 5 falls he had, and even with the new deductions of this new rule change, Yuzu still would have placed 2nd so there is no controversy, and no need to rewrite history.  The point spread between Yuzu and 3rd place was great enough that there would have been no change in placements if this rule had been in place.

#247 (pg. 99) Abolish anonymous judging. [Passed, effective 2016-17]

  • YAY!!!  Fantastic news!!  I am not sure how outgoing president, Ottavio Cinquanta, sees this as a step backwards.  I hated that the judges could hide behind anonymity.  This way, even if a judge gives a lower score to a skater, fans can compare that score to the other scores the same judge gave to all other skaters to see if it is in alignment/consistent with all the marks they gave out in the event, or if they are singling out a specific skater (in a favorable or unfavorable way).

#276 (pg. 107) Shorten program lengths starting from the 2018-2019 season. All short programs/short dances to be 2 minutes and 40 seconds. All senior free programs to be 4 minutes, all junior free programs to be 3.5 minutes.   [Partially passed with amendments?]

  • HATE this rule change.  To clarify, I believe the amendment is that the change to the short program is effective this upcoming season (2016/2017), while the change to the free programs do not start until the 2018/2019 season.
  • Was there anything wrong with the current program lengths?  Is this again to shorten the duration of an event?   I really hate when the governing bodies of sports try to change something that isn’t broken.  Perhaps if the ISU told us why this was proposed/passed then I could get on board.  On second thought, no, I don’t think I could agree with this change for any reason.
  • I don’t think the 10 second change to the short program is going to make that much of a difference either way so I’m not that fussed about that part of this rule change.
  • Skaters have shown us the ability to produce beautiful programs of 4.5 minutes in length.  The current length challenges the skaters to be in fantastic shape and allows them to tell a wonderful story with their programs.
  • Imagine what Seimei would be like without the time to do the choreographic hydroblade element or the added touches that Yuzu performs to convey his message. What other beautiful elements would have to be removed to squeeze it in for the sake of shorter event time?
  • This is similar to NHL hockey when scoring is down, they want to consider increasing the size of the nets.  Really?

#292 (pg. 114) If program lengths are shortened, as proposed in #276: Starting in 2018-2019, reduce the number of both junior and senior men’s jumping passes in the free skate from 8 to 7.  [Passed?]

  • This one is very thought provoking for me and not in a good way.  Generally speaking, I don’t like the change but this one comes out of necessity because of the change to program length. Of course, with reduced time (FP: a loss of 30 seconds is a lot), you have to remove something, so one of the jumping passes has to go along with other elements. That means the potential overall maximum TES value of the program is reduced.  So, in theory, Yuzu’s world records may never be beaten (ok by me!!).  Unless, however, the reduction in TES is just replaced/padded with the scores with the next rule change; the changes to the GOE ranges?  I would hate to see Yuzu’s records be beat (unless by Yuzu himself), only by the fact that +5 GOE’s were awarded for multiple elements and when all added up make the difference between a new world record or not. Right now it is off-season and I do not have any desire to do complex math and a million scenarios.  We have 2 seasons to debate how this will turn out.

#278 (pg. 108) Starting in 2018-2019, increase GOE range from ± 1-3 to ± 1-5.  [Passed with amendments]

  • What is the real problem here.  I don’t think the problem is the range from +/-3.  I think the problem is with judges awarding GOE +3 to jumps that are not deserving. Yes, this comes back to the root of the problem with figure skating, it is a subjective, judged sport. This is exactly what turns people off on watching the sport.
  • The extra GOE points, whether it is +3 or +5 doesn’t really matter.  I just hope the increase to +5 for each element isn’t just to pad the overall scores, since the removal of a jumping pass would result in a reduced potential overall maximum TES score.
  • I would assume that all ISU international judges would take training courses and be provided with examples of what exactly should an element look like to be awarded a +3 (or in the future +5) GOE.   I think we should put together a compilation of Yuzu videos of his perfect jumps and use that as the ISU training video!!  The height, the ice coverage, the quality of the running edge of the landings, and the speed throughout are all beautifully demonstrated in Yuzu’s jumps.

#306 (pg. 118) If program lengths are shortened, as proposed in #276: Starting in 2018-2019, there will be no more choreographic sequences. Choreo elements will be marked under Transitions.

  • This is why I am so opposed to the shortening of the free program.  The content of a skaters’ program has to suffer because of this.  Beautiful moments in a program will be lost to the rush of squeezing in as much as possible in reduced time.  I guess it will challenge the skaters’ creativity.

blog 2

#281 (pg. 109) Changes to the free skate draw at ISU Championships and the Olympics to ensure that the top 3 skaters/teams after the SP skate at the end of the last group in the FS.  [Passed with amendments]

  • Great news!!!  This makes much more sense then the #1 or #2 skater skating first in the last group.

#289 (pg. 113) Singles short programs: If the solo jump is repeated in a jump combination, only the repeated jump will be invalid, not the entire combination. (Eg. If a skater does 3T, 3A and 3Lz3T, the 3T in the combo will be invalid but the 3Lz will still count.)

#293 (pg. 114) Singles free programs: If an invalid jump occurs in a jump combination, only the invalid jump will have no value, not the entire combination. (Eg. If a skater does a 2T and later does 3Lz2T2T, the last 2T in the combo will be invalid, but the other two jumps in the combo will still count.)  [Passed with amendments, effective 2016-17]

  • OK, I can get behind these changes.  I think this is a good compromise between the original premise of the Zayak rule and the significant impact of repeated jumps when done in combination.  It reduces the damage of “popped” quads, that’s for sure.


I understand it that elements in sports need to change over time to evolve and improve. However, I am not in favor of things changing for the purposes of tv or business/money. But it is what it is, and the skaters are well trained athletes that will adjust and modify as required.  I really wish the athletes commission had been established earlier and would have been interested in what, if any impact that would have had on the decisions of the rule change proposals.




Go Yuzu Go!!  Doki Doki!!




16 comments on “Yuzuru Hanyu: ISU Congress – Rule Changes: My Thoughts

  1. Jackie
    June 11, 2016

    it’s all very complicated so I don’t often pay attention to the rules. However, I don’t like the idea of shortening the programs. What point could that have possibly have? Not to mention choreographic sequences are my favorite part of the sport. I’d really hate to lose that :/ especially if Plushenko manages a comeback in time for the next Olympics. His jumps and Yuzuru’s impress me a lot when they’re solid, but the choreography is where the personality comes through.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Deathless ELF
    June 11, 2016

    Thank you for explaining these rules! ^^

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pee Jay
    June 11, 2016

    Thanks for this analysis!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ahkeekee
    June 12, 2016

    i personally find shortening the programs and warm up time is a silly decision, it does nothing to help the sport. I hope they’d reject these changes soon! These changes are ruining programs and conditioning of skaters before their competitions!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Janisse V.
    June 13, 2016

    Thank you for your kind updates, plus your concise summary and lovely explanation.
    I think that the skaters should have enough time to prepare their bodies for the performance, not just for the fan service, but for the skaters’ sake !!!! And that’s the greatest disadvantage for the first skater 😦

    Yaaa~~ I feel disappointed about the program time, I love figure-skating because the choreography and the jumping, spinning techniques are all synchronizing along. With this kind of changes, the focus will move mainly to the techniques, not the artistic charms of skating T___T

    P.S. Yuzu’s hydroblading in SEIMEI is also my most favourite one !

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yumiko Yoshida
    June 13, 2016

    I agree with you. I don’t like to shorten program length and warmup time. I think all rule changes should be for athletes and funs.
    BTW,you’re hilarious! If program lengths are shortened,it means the potential overall maximum TES value of the program is reduced. So….you said “Yuzu’s world records may never be beaten”. Oh,my goooood! You’re absolutely right! lol
    I like you!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Akane
    June 13, 2016

    I enjoy reading your blog. I just love Yuzu`s skating and did`nt know too much about these rules. It was a good opportunity to learn about them thank you!
    And I couldn`t agree more with the part [ I really hate when the governing bodies of sports try to change something that isn’t broken.]
    That`s really sad.

    We Yuzu`s fans are all praying Yuzu`s recovery here in Japan. It is so hard to not to hear any following information about his injure.But just believe in his well-being and wait till him to ready to come back!.

    Liked by 1 person

    • sportymags
      June 13, 2016

      Happy you enjoy reading my blog! Yuzu will be fine…he is strong and determined. 😉


  8. Akane
    June 14, 2016

    Thanks for the reply.
    Your words are powerful and encouraging for us. I talked to a cluster of Yuzu`s fans last night. They all are really impressed how much you understand his personality.
    We are so fortunate to see his presence of this world and happy to be able to following his dramatic path at the same time.

    By the way I am running a small English school here in Japan. And write blog on the school website.
    Is that possible to me to link your blog post and write the translation on the school blog?

    I would really like to introduce your blog to our students, and also them to see how Yuzu can captivate people from all over the world by his skate as well as being a wonderful human.

    Liked by 1 person

    • sportymags
      June 14, 2016

      Hi. Thank you so very much. Yes, please go ahead and share my blog link and translation with your students. I hope they enjoy it. Yuzu is very special treasure! ❤️


  9. Akane
    June 14, 2016

    Thank you so much! I will do so. And looking forward to read your next post!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Alethea89
    April 6, 2017

    Your concern about the 30 seconds for 1st skater of the group, tho… Happened to Yuzu in WC SP this year, didn’t it? *sigh* I am so glad it didn’t prevent him from winning the title anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    • sportymags
      April 6, 2017

      Yes, exactly!! Sigh….but Yuzu raced off to start in the LP.


      • Alethea89
        April 6, 2017

        Yep! Which is his way of saying, ‘You think this will stop me? Watch!’. Tehehehe. And what a beautiful LP. Can’t wait to read your thoughts on WC 2017. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • sportymags
        April 6, 2017

        Thanks….I am working on my post(s). And going through a ton of photos I took so hopefully by this weekend I will post something. 😊😊


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This entry was posted on June 11, 2016 by in Figure Skating and tagged .
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