ISU Championships are held in accordance with the International Skating Union (ISU) Regulations. The ISU Judging System used at the Figure Skating events is the one adopted by the 2004 ISU Congress. It is constructed as follows:
The Technical Panel is composed of the Technical Controller, the Technical Specialist and the Assistant Technical Specialist, each one from different ISU Members (countries). A Data Operator assists them for recording purposes. An instantaneous slow-motion video replay system operated by a Replay Operator supports the Technical Panel in the identification of the performed elements.
The Technical Specialist, assisted by the Assistant Technical Specialist, identifies and calls the performed elements and the specific Levels of Difficulty of certain performed elements (e.g. spins, footwork,). He/She identifies illegal or additional elements, falls and adds if applicable, innovative elements.
The Technical Controller authorizes or corrects all calls, supervises the Data Operator and can propose corrections, if necessary.
In case of disagreement, the majority among the three Officials prevails.
Under the ISU Judging System the Judges focus entirely on evaluating the quality of each element performed (Technical aspect) and the quality of the performance.
Their scores will be based on specific quality criteria for each element and will provide a comprehensive assessment of each skater’s skills and performance, without comparing each skater in relation to all others. The Judge enters the scores through a touch screen unit. At ISU Events Judges may review in real time certain elements of the skaters’ performances by means of an instantaneous Video Replay System.
There will be a panel of 9 Judges per segment. The scores of these 9 Judges will form the result. Out of these 9 scores, the highest and lowest score of each element or program component are ignored and the average will be taken from the remainder, generating the trimmed mean (average score).
The score for the element is composed of a “Base Value” of each element (Technical Panel) and the so-called “Grade of Execution - GOE” (Judges).
A group of experts, including experienced skaters and coaches, have worked out a summary list of each element’s Base Value as well as its “Level of Difficulty” in case of spins, steps, lifts, etc. The level of points of the Base Value depends on the difficulty of the element.
Some elements such as spins and footwork sequences are further broken down depending on their “Level of Difficulty”.
These element Base Values and Levels of Difficulty ensure that skaters receive the appropriate and consistent credit for every element performed. The Base Value of all recognized elements are reviewed and published annually by the ISU in a Communication.
The name of the identified element will be listed instantaneously on the Judge’s screen. The Judge then simply grades the quality of the element on a scale of +3, +2, +1, 0, -1, -2, -3. With this scale and the resulting “quality judgment”, the Judge can either increase or decrease the Base Value of each performed element. The total of all the elements scores gives the Technical Score.
In addition to the Technical Score, the Judges will award points on a scale from 0.25 to 10.00 with increments of 0.25 for the Presentation Score to grade the overall presentation of the performance.
The Presentation Score is for Single and Pair Skating (Short Program and Free Skating):
- Skating Skills; which is the overall quality of the skating ability (e.g. balance, flow, multi directional skating, power)
- Transitions, Linking Footwork and Movement; which is the variety and difficulty how the individual elements are linked together. Unison in Pair Skating and Ice Dance as well as the balance of workload of both partners.
- Performance/Execution; is the physical and emotional involvement of the skater/couple as they translate the intent of the music and choreography (e.g. carriage, style, personality, variety, contrasts, projection)
- Choreography/Composition; which is the arrangement of all movements according to the principles of proportion, space and music (e.g. idea, concept, unity, pattern, phrasing, originality, design)
- Interpretation; which is the translation of the music to movement on ice (e.g. timing, expression of the music, use of nuances, relationship between partners, character of music)
For Short Dance and Free Dance:
- Skating Skills; as in Single and Pair Skating but including also ice coverage
- Transitions/Linking Footwork and Movements; which includes also the quality, the balance of workload and variety of holds;
- Performance/Execution; which includes also the relationship between the partners, the unison and the connection to the audience;
- Composition/Choreography; which includes also the shared responsibility and the aesthetic pursuit of the composition;
- Interpretation/Timing; which includes also the appropriateness of the music and the effortlessness in time with the music.
The total segment score is obtained from the Technical Score plus the Presentation Score, after having subtracted any deduction (for example 1.0 for a fall.
Then, the Short Program and the Free Skating scores are added together to form the final score.
In Ice Dance the scores of the Short Dance and Free Dance are added.
The participant with the highest total score wins.
Availability of Data and Statistics
At the end of each segment, a list will be published which includes all relevant scoring data for skaters.
Under the ISU Judging System there is far more data available to analyze than before. This data can help the National Federations, athletes and coaches to improve future performances.
All statistics and detailed data can be found on the ISU website: www.isu.org
The skaters performances are video recorded and can be reviewed on DVD at any time.
A computer checks and identifies possible anomalies of the Technical Panel or the Judges. If anomalies are identified action is taken. Officials who make repeated errors are subject to sanctions.
Personal Bests / World Standings
The ISU maintains on-going statistics regarding individual records. This includes information on personal bests, highest scores, seasonal bests etc. The most important individual results over the period of the last two years are ranked in the World Standings. The “Seasons Best” is displayed for each skater/couple on the scoreboard in the arena.
Introduction of Minimum Total Technical Scores
ISU Figure Skating Championships consist of four events – Men’s Single Skating, Ladies’ Single Skating, Pairs Skating and Ice Dance.
During the ISU Congress of June 2012 , three important changes were voted:
- The Preliminary Rounds have been discountinued. Skaters must achieve a Minimum Total Technical Score in their Short and Free Programs/Dance in order to participate in an ISU Figure Skating Championships. These scores are published in an ISU Communication and the ISU Council can adjust the required Minimum Total Technical Score up to two weeks before the entry deadline of each ISU Figure Skating Championships.
- A Base Level has been added to the current 4 Levels and will be given if no features are included in the element and the element still has a value.
- In Singles skating a jump perfomed in the second part of the Short Progam, will be awarded a 10% bonus.
Minimum Total Technical Scores
Skaters/couples participating in ISU Championships must have reached in an ISU recognized International Competition (as per Article 38, paragraph 7 of the ISU Constituion and Rule 107, paragraphs 1 to 9 of the ISU General Regulations) during the ongoing season or the immediately preceding season the applicable minimum Technical Scores (both for Short Program/Short Dance and Free Skating/ Free Dance).
For full and up to date information on the current Minimum Total Technical Scores please refer to the ISU Media Guide for Figure Skating
For full and up to date information on the current required Elements please refer to the ISU Media Guide for Figure Skating