New Rules Affecting U.S. Skaters

(8/19/04) The following are new rules from the ISU Congress that affect U.S. athletes. They will go into effect in the United States Sept. 1, 2004. These rules will be incorporated into the 2004-05 edition of the U.S. Figure Skating rulebook: (updated 8/19/04 with a link to more details about synchronized skating rules see bottom of page)

  • NOTE: The new ISU judging system was adopted by the ISU but will not be used in the U.S. this competitive season.

  • The new well-balanced program requirements adopted by the ISU will take effect on Sept. 1, 2004, for all senior and junior events in the United States. Please check ISU Communication 1256 on the ISU web site for the details on the new well-balanced program rules for all disciplines at the senior and junior level. For more information on the well-balanced program requirements, click here.

  • The short program for singles and pairs (senior and junior) has been lengthened to a maximum of 2 minutes and 50 seconds. (Please note that programs that are shorter are perfectly acceptable.) The reason is to allow skaters to incorporate more interesting transitions between elements.

  • Straight line step sequence for the senior and junior short program: may now commence at any place on the short barrier of the rink and go to any place at the opposite short barrier, but the sequence itself must have the approximate shape of a straight line.

  • Falls into a spin (senior and junior singles and pairs short and free programs): If a skater falls entering a spin, a simple spin or spinning movement is allowed immediately thereafter the fall to fill up the time the original spin would have taken. This will not be counted as an extra element.

  • Twist Lift: the split position in the twist lift is now recommended rather than mandatory in the senior and junior pairs short program.

  • Senior and junior short program flying spin: In the short program, after the required eight (8) revolutions in the landing position, skater(s) may conclude the flying spin with a variation of this position.

  • Small Dance-Type Lifts in the Pairs Event: For small lifts in pairs (sometimes called "dance lifts"), there is no restiction in the number of rotations for the man (formerly it was one and one-half revolutions)

  • Rotations in Position in Spin Combination for Senior and Junior Singles and Pairs: For both the short program and free skate spin combination for singles and pairs, at least two (2) rotations in each position must be executed. If less, the position will not be counted.

  • Spiral Step Sequence: Any pattern is acceptable for the "spiral step sequence" in the senior and junior ladies free skating program. The pattern requirements for the short program remain unchanged.

  • Spin With Only One Position: The "spin with only one position" in the senior and junior free programs for ladies and men may commence with a jump and may have a change of foot. However, the skater must maintain one position throughout.

  • Costumes Rule Change to track ISU rule: For singles and pairs, "the clothing must not give the effect of excessive nudity for athletic sport. Men must wear trousers; no tights are permitted. Accessories and props are not permitted." Ladies in singles and pairs may now wear trousers and unitards as well as the traditional attire of skirts and tights. Men are limited only as provided above. For dance, the costume rule was not changed. Synchronized skaters may now wear trousers.

  • Please check ISU Communication 1263 for further rule change information. Items 1, 9, 13, 14, 15 and 16 of this communication are either not applicable or not in effect for the upcoming season.
Synchronized Skating Only
  • Jumps in Synchronized Skating Free Program: For synchronized skating, juniors are allowed jumps up to one revolution. Seniors are allowed jumps up to one and one-half revolutions. Jumps are allowed only in movements in isolation in the free skate. Throw jumps are not permitted.

  • The junior and senior short program requirements for synchronized skating have been changed. Please see number 486 from the ISU congress final agenda, Communication 1256, for details.

  • Also see the new costume rule changes in the above section for information on synchronized skating costumes

(updated 8/19) Check out more detailed information on synchronized skating rule changes.

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