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!

FS: 2018/2019 ISU Congress: Rule Changes

Ok, so, in efforts to show more transparency, the ISU streamed their meetings live.  I think all they did was illicit more slaps to the forehead than anything else.  I didn’t watch the live stream, I relied on fans to post the updates/decisions.  Here are my own personal opinions of some of the rule change outcomes.


URGENT PROPOSAL 5. NETHERLANDS (pg. 2): Starting in the 2020-21 season, for senior ISU Championships and the Winter Olympics, raise the minimum age requirement of participants from 15 to 17 years old prior to the July 1st preceding the events.

Reasons: 1) Show mature skaters with well-balanced programs at the ISU Championships and Worlds. 2) Improve image of the sport by encouraging skaters to compete for a longer period of time. 3) Discourage older senior skaters from leaving the sport because they feel they cannot compete with younger skaters with difficult elements. 4) Figure skating currently has the youngest senior age limit of all winter sports. 5) Bring figure skating’s age requirements in line with comparable sports such as gymnastics, which has a senior age limit of 16 for women and 18 for men.

REJECTED:  I am happy this didn’t pass but I’m sure it will rear it’s ugly head again in the future.  I didn’t like this “urgent” proposal at all.  If Zagitova didn’t win Olympics, would it have been brought up as an “urgent proposal”?  In my view, why should a super talented skater get held back by virtue of their age?

Reason #1: Define “mature”.  What makes the ISU think that I don’t want to see young talented skaters??  If they are strong enough to be in seniors, kudos to them.  If the issue is that the younger skaters are winning by virtue of technical merit only or have an technical advantage over older women due to body composition, then JUDGE the rest of the program accordingly!  Don’t hand out PCS scores if the younger skaters music interpretation or skating skills/transitions are not superior to that of the older, more mature skaters.  Let’s face it, we have some very talented 15 year olds!  If they are blessed with the entire package, then let them showcase it!  Many of these young skaters would not survive the additional 4 years (and in the case of the women, puberty) to get to the next Olympics.

Reason #2 and 3:  Changing the age requirement does not necessarily encourage skaters to stay longer.  It might also serve to discourage a younger skater because they have to wait so long to get to seniors and miss an entire Olympic cycle!  Skaters stay because they love the sport, and have their own personal goals to achieve.  A top level athlete needs to have mental strength to stick around.  I don’t think you can say that too many skaters are quitting early just because they are scared about younger skaters being better than they are.  Considerations like injuries, cost, desire to do other things in life, are more plausible reasons why a skater might leave the sport early.  If I was a skater that, due to the age requirement being higher, and year of my birth just missed the cutoff for my prime Olympic rotation, I would be extremely discouraged!!

Reason #4 and 5:  This are not even a relevant points.  Each sport is different.


PROPOSAL 190: Add “All programs must be skated to music” as a requirement.

ACCEPTED:  All I wanted to say here was “really?”.  Ok, I can get behind this change!  Ha ha.


PROPOSAL 191: Amended – Skaters will provide their music on USB sticks instead of CDs to be played at competitions.

REJECTED:  The only reason I included this item here was because I was shocked at the sheer amount of discussion around whether or not CD’s or USB sticks were to be used.  Some of the discussion centered around difficulties with different formats etc.  Seriously??  Issue standards on what the format must be, and move forward with technology!  ISU member nations should be able to adapt their technology instead of pushing down different music delivery requirements per event to the skaters.


PROPOSAL 197. CANADA (pg. 84): Maximum of 2 jumping passes in the singles short program and 4 in the free skate will receive a 10% base value bonus when performed in the second half of the program. Reasoning: To promote well-balanced programs.

REJECTED:  They passed Proposal 198 instead.

PROPOSAL 198. JAPAN (pg. 84): Maximum of 1 jumping pass in the singles short program and 3 in the free skate will receive a 10% base value bonus when performed in the second half of the program.

PASSED:  I get the intent of the rule, to prevent backloading.  So now, to maximize points potential, there will be some serious strategizing going on around the timing/placements of specific jumps in programs.  Perhaps some of the skaters will have 4 jumps in the first half, and 3 in the second half.  If a skater does continue to put more than 3 jumps in the 2nd half of the LP, from the new rule, it sounds like the last 3 jumping passes will be the ones that will receive the bonus.  Likewise for the SP.  So, going forward, skaters like Zagitova can still do backloaded programs if they want, since this new rule only serves to limit the bonus potential.

Personally, I don’t really have much concern about this rule change.  For example, did I like Zagitova’s backend loaded programs?  It was strange and I didn’t love the layout but it was her choice.  She and her coaching team played the game perfectly.  Perhaps the “judges” should have taken the lack of balance in the program into account when awarding the PCS marks if they were so concerned with this.

So, for future reference, this will be known as the Zagitova rule???


PROPOSAL 199. JAPAN (pg. 85): Bonus points given to skaters who cleanly execute 6 different types of triple or quad jumps in a singles free skate.

WITHDRAWN:  No reason given, hmmm, I wonder why?  This proposal was just “meh”, whatever.  I suppose it might promote a well rounded show of jumping skills but I’m ok with not having yet another “bonus”.  If all 6 jumps are cleanly executed, wouldn’t the additional GOE marks be bonus enough?


PROPOSAL 203. NETHERLANDS (pg. 85): Remove deductions for falls entirely. Reasoning: 1) Reductions are already taken in the form of GOE; 2) Judges should make mandatory reductions in PCS instead since falls disrupt a program; 3) Absolute point reductions for falls have an unequal impact on different disciplines and levels; 4) Reduce tech panel review time.

WITHDRAWN:  Reason: More important issues to focus on first.  So with the reason given, I suspect we will see this item come up again in 2 years.

Reason #1:  I don’t believe that you can rely on the reduction in GOE as this is still a subjective number.  Even with “guidance” of how GOE is to be awarded, it will still vary from judge to judge.

Reason #2:  Agree with this but we know it does not happen as consistently as it should.

Reason #3:  Not sure what they mean, but if every skater within the same discipline is marked the same, how is it unequal?

Reason #4:  This one kinda makes me chuckle.  Exactly how long does it take a tech panel to review a fall.  Isn’t a fall a fall?  Unless I am missing something, this one is a big forehead slapper for me.


PROPOSAL 210: Amended – Skaters will be presented in the order of third, second, first at medal ceremonies.

ACCEPTED:  YUCK!!!  So this means that the winner stands on the ground and hugs/shakes hands with the silver and bronze medalist who are already on the podium, instead of the winner being at the top of the podium.  No more photos of Yuzu leaning down to accept congrats from the silver and bronze medalists.  So for the podiums that are super tall, either the silver or bronze medal winner has to shove aside so that the gold medal winner can step past them to get to the top podium step.  For small, high podiums, this will look awkward.  What is the purpose of this change??


PROPOSAL 259 (pg. 101): Remove requirement for steps preceding the solo jump in the singles short program.

ACCEPTED:  This one is truly a head shaker.  What was wrong with the original rule to begin with??  Were judges unable to distinguish complex steps and award or not award points appropriately?  Do we see the common theme here with the real issue? (sarcastic comment).  All I have to say about this one is “oh well” and shake my head.


PROPOSAL 261 (pg. 103): Repetition of quad jumps in the singles free skate.  “Any quadruple jump cannot be included more than once in a Free Program (as a Solo Jump or a part of a Jump Combination / Sequence).” In order to reward skaters who have multiple types of quads.  Amended – “Of all triple and quadruple jumps only two (2) can be executed twice. Of the two repetitions only one (1) can be a quadruple jump.” Only one quad can be repeated in the singles free skate. For example, if a skater performs 2 quad toe loops in a free skate, they cannot perform 2 of any other type of quad.

ACCEPTED:  So the change wasn’t as bad as anticipated, at least it allows for 1 quad repetition.  I am relieved that it was amended and the accepted version wasn’t as harsh as the original proposal.  Thank goodness for that.  I think I have to take a “wait and see” approach to this change.

I did have a funny thought though as I read through this decision.  If they hadn’t clarified that a quad could only be repeated once yet a triple can be repeated twice if they don’t repeat the quad, a memory of Mura doing the quad-quad combo flashed through my  mind!!  And according to the rules, a quad-quad has not explicitly been ruled out.


With all the changes, we will see skaters get creative in the layouts of their programs.  Truthfully I’m more upset with the reduction of jumping passes to 7 and the shorter long program length than anything.



As for the SoV changes (effective July 2, 2018) I haven’t reviewed the new tables that carefully yet since it’s still off season but a couple things jumped out at me.  The song from awhile back called “Things that make you go hmmmmm” came to mind.  I have to keep reminding myself to not get worked up over something I have no control over and cannot change.  But, here are my 2 cents anyways.

  • A quad axel is now only worth 1 additional point over a quad lutz?  Are you kidding me?  Really?  It was a 1.4 point difference in base value last season.
  • The increase of point differential from triples and quads seems to take into account the difficulty of the jump UNTIL THE AXEL.  WTH?
    • 3T to 4T = 5.3 point increase
    • 3S to 4S = 5.3 point increase
    • 3Lo to 4Lo = 5.6 point increase
    • 3F to 4F = 5.7 point increase
    • 3Lz to 4Lz = 5.6 point increase
    • 3A to 4A = 4.5 point increase
  • An interesting calculation that I saw on twitter (sorry I can’t recall source):  A +5 GOE StSq4 in the new system will be worth less than a +3 GOE StSq4 in the old system (+5 GOE would give it a +1.95 in score while a +3 GOE would have given it a 2.10 bump).
  • While all Base Values received reductions, the percentage proportion of reduction isn’t equal either for each jump.  I am truly dumbfounded as to how they arrive at these values.  The percentage reduction for 4A is higher (albeit slightly) than the rest of the quads.  How can they justify these figures?


Just for quick reference, here are the BVs for the quads from the 2017/2018 season:

SOV 2017.png


Phew, that was long.  If you are still reading this, thank you!!

I wonder if some of these rule change proposals were precipitated because of the splat fest at Worlds in Milan??  This is what drives me to drink.  Yes, some of the performances at Worlds were shocking and it was a splat fest but every skater has bad days, it happens.  This type of thinking also takes away from the skaters who skated brilliantly.  It doesn’t mean that we need to change the technical rules just because a bunch of skaters fell during their jump attempts.  No rule changes can account for fatigue (it was an olympic year), stress, nagging injuries, and pressure.   Not all skaters will be perfect for every event. It’s like saying we need to change the rules of high jump competition because the jumpers fail to clear certain heights.  It makes me crazy.

I also don’t get it why people get up in arms when an event has a ton of falls.  It happens.  That is the nature of competition!   I would be bored if everyone landed every jump all the time.  It elevates the thrill when skaters do skate clean!  Most skaters do not put jumps into their programs unless they are fairly confident of their ability to land them.  While yes it is crappy that you can be awarded “attempt” marks and get good marks for trying, rotating and falling, the bigger issue lies not in the base value of the jumps, but again, it’s how it’s judged!  I guess I will have to say this until I am blue in the face since the ISU just doesn’t listen.  I agree with harsher penalties for mistakes so skaters design their programs to reflect their current abilities, but to limit the growth of the sport is just wrong, both for the skaters and the fans that the ISU is so desperately trying to attract.

Of course, at the end of the day, when Yuzu lands the first ratified quad axel, I really don’t care what marks are that he is awarded for it.  Let’s NIKE  (just do it).




Go Yuzu Go!!!  Doki Doki!!



7 comments on “FS: 2018/2019 ISU Congress: Rule Changes

  1. Henni147
    June 7, 2018

    I 100% agree with you. Not the system is the problem but the judging as such. If GOE and PCS had been given properly, there would be no need for any rule changes.

    “Reason #3: Not sure what they mean, but if every skater within the same discipline is marked the same, how is it unequal?”
    I think they mean the relation between awarded points and deductions for an element.

    If you fell on a 4Lz, you received 13.6 – 4GOE = 9.6 points and -1 deduction.
    If you fell on a 3Lz, you only got 6.0 – 2.1GOE = 3.9 points and still -1 deduction.

    So in case of a quad fall that -1 didn’t hurt you really (damage was done with the -4 GOE already), while a 1 point deduction for the triple meant 25% additional punishment. That was completely disproportional.

    Liked by 2 people

    • sportymags
      June 7, 2018

      Ah, I see. Thanks for the explanation! Hmmm, will have to think about this some more to figure out how I feel about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. dessy
    June 8, 2018

    Just to clarify re: Proposal 198. The full proposal mentioned “only the last one jump element executed in the second half counts for the 1.1 factor in the Short Program, and the last three jump elements for Free Skating.” So they do specify “last jumps,” unless they had changed again during the Congress and I was not aware!

    Liked by 2 people

    • sportymags
      June 8, 2018

      Oh, perfect, thanks for the clarification!! Appreciate it!!! I have updated my post to reflect this clarification!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Yuzuru Hanyu: Off Season Summary | SportyMags

  4. susan
    October 1, 2018

    Thanks for the information. It has helped me make sense of Zagitova’s new programs. A small grammar point – you cannot say “Her and her coaching team played the game perfectly”. Take out, “her coaching team”, and you are left with. “Her played the game perfectly”. It should be, “She and her coaching team …”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • sportymags
      October 1, 2018

      Oops…will fix that grammatical error, thanks! I meant to type “she”.


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