The International Skating Union’s 51st Ordinary Congress concluded on 30 June in Budapest (Hungary) in front of over 200 delegates from more than 70 ISU Member federations. Four days earlier the Congress had been officially opened by ISU President Mr. Ottavio Cinquanta who in his opening words praised the Hungarian National Skating Federation for their role in the development of skating over the decades and their contribution as one of the five nations having founded the Union in 1892. On Friday Mr. Cinquanta was re-elected by acclamation.
Key decisions by the Congress:
The Congress approved a motion to establish one single first instance body for considering disciplinary and ethical offence charges. Therefore the ISU Appeals Commission merged with the ISU Disciplinary Commission (see election results below).
Single and Pair Skating and Ice Dance
Congress delegates reiterated their support for the ISU Judging system and overwhelmingly voted in favor of maintaining the anonymity of Judges as well as the system of a random draw of the Judges scores which count towards the result. Anonymity and random draw allows officials to work in an independent manner without outside pressure and has also proved fundamental to providing an objective system for evaluating officials. Evaluating bodies are not informed of the identity of the Judge under review until an Assessment (official warning) has been confirmed.
The Congress approved a number of amendments proposed by the Pair Skating Technical Committees to make the rules consistent across Ice Dance and Single and Pair Skating.
The Congress passed a motion to make the citizenship rules for pair skating and ice dance couples less restrictive. This relaxing of the rules intends to facilitate pairing in regions where skaters have encountered difficulties in finding a partner of the same nationality.
Congress approved a motion to cancel the Qualifying Free Skating round at all ISU Championships, thus making the Championships shorter, more appealing to the public and cost effective.
A reviewed draw system was approved, to help judges gain activity and avoid unnecessary on-site presence. A public random draw will be done off site in the fall by the Sports Director Figure Skating in the presence of the Director General and a Swiss auditor.
Team Composition – Congress agreed that Synchronized Skating teams will consist of 16 skaters (previously team size could vary between 12 and 20).
Well Balanced Program – Congress approved adjustments be made to the required elements for the Short Program and Free Skating.
Clothing- Ladies may wear skirts, body suits or full length trousers to allow more flexible attire while avoiding excessive nudity.
ISU World Allround Speed Skating Championships. Congress approved a proposal put forward by the Netherlands which gives the organizer (in consultation with the ISU Speed Skating Technical Committee) the option to schedule the event over 2 or 3 days.
Head protection - the Technical Committee proposed and Congress approved the option to use speed skating helmets to protect against injury.
World Junior Speed Skating Championships - Congress approved a fixed format for the World Junior Speed Skating Championships. Individual distances will be raced on the first two days with the last day reserved for Team Pursuit.
Olympic Winter Games - the Speed Skating section accepted a proposal to hold the Team Pursuit events after the completion of the individual speed skating events at the Olympic Winter Games.
Qualifying times – a proposal from the Speed Skating Technical committee to reinforce minimum qualifying times was approved. Minimum Qualifying times are now required at all ISU Speed Skating Championships except for at the World Single Distances Championships, which has a different qualification system.
Short Track Speed Skating
The Congress unanimously brought in an amendment proposed by the Short Track Speed Skating Technical Committee to schedule the World Short Track Speed Skating Team Championships after the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships. Championships already allotted will not be affected by this new ruling.
Format Change for the World Cup - Congress accepted major changes to the format of the Short Track Speed Skating World Cup to make the event more attractive to spectators. The competition will be more compact, focusing on single distances.
Team Championships – Congress agreed that the coaches will announce which skater will be racing just a few minutes before the outset of the race. This change adds to the sense of anticipation in the moments prior to the competition.
Lane positions – Congress approved a revised lane position rule whereby positions are assigned based on the times achieved in the preceding qualifying round.
The Congress elected the following ISU Office Holders:
President: Ottavio Cinquanta, Italy
First Vice President: Gerhard Zimmermann, Germany
Second Vice President: David M. Dore, Canada
Marie Lundmark, Finland
Tjasa Andrée-Prosenc, Slovenia
Courtney J.L. Jones O.B.E., Great Britain
Phyllis Howard , U.S.A
Jan Dijkema, Netherlands
German Panov, Russia
Myong-Hi Chang, Republic of Korea
György Martos, Hungary
2. Technical Committees
Single and Pair Skating
Chairperson: Alexander Lakernik, Russia
Junko Hiramatsu, Japan
Fabio Bianchetti, Italy
Rita Zonnekeyn, Belgium
Chairperson: Alexandr Gorshkov, Russia
Halina Gordon-Poltorak, Poland
Olga Gilardini, Italy
Robert Joseph Horen, U.S.A.
Chairperson: Ulrich Linder, Switzerland
Joanne Shaw, Canada
Helen Volgushev, Great Britain
Karen Wolanchuk, U.S.A.
Chairperson: Tron Espeli, Norway
Roland E. Maillard, Switzerland
Jan Marmstäl, Sweden
Nick Thometz, U.S.A.
Short Track Speed Skating
Chairperson: Andy Gabel, U.S.A
Stoytcho G. Stoytchev, Bulgaria
Li Lan , China
Reinier Oostheim, Netherlands
4. Disciplinary Commission
Chairperson: Béatrice Pfister, Switzerland
Egbert Schmid, Austria
Fred Benjamin, U.S.A
Allan Böhm, Slovak Republic
Volker Waldeck, Germany
5. Honorary Members
Newly Elected Honorary Members
Maria Bialous-Zuchowicz, Poland
Claire Ferguson, USA
Monique Georgelin, France