Open Letter to the President of International Skate Union

To His Excellency

Ottavio Cinquanta

President of International Skate Union

Open Letter

Dear Mr. President,

First of all, let me express my deep gratitude for all your efforts which resulted in inclusion of the team competitions of figure skaters into the program of Olympic Winter Games. It almost gives the figure skates equal Olympic rights with speed skaters and short-track speed skating sportsmen. It seems, however, that complete equality is not achieved yet. At that, figure skating is one of the eldest Olympic winter sports, being elder than the short track in the history of Olympic movement by 84 years! Furthermore, it is my guess (and you should know it for sure) that the number of fans and amateurs of figure skating exceeds number of the amateurs and fans of speed skating and short-track speed skating worldwide.

I would like to offer for your consideration some suggestions based on my 25-year professional experience as a sportscaster commenting World and European Figure Skating, Speed Skating and Short-Track Speed Skating Championships as well as watching the trends in figure skating for the last 5 years. It seems to me that these suggestions may give all kinds of figure skating a jump-start, will promote it on a global scale and will eliminate unfairness in the skaters awarding practice.

My suggestions are based on two principles.

First of all, it seems expedient to change the very regulations of competitions, and to give three sets of awards for each kind, instead of a current one.

Single skating for men and ladies, in my opinion, should consist of two different parts:

  1. S&S (spins and spirals): competitions in the program including spins and spirals.  
  2. J&S (jumps and steps): competitions in the program including jumps and steps.  
  3. OB (overall best): award is given for a minimal sum of participant's positions in both sections of the program on a specific competition.  

 Duration of both programs should be 3 minutes.

Pair skating:

  1. L&S (lifts, twist lifts, spirals and death spirals): competitions in the program including lifts, twist lifts, spirals and death spirals.
  2. TJ&PS (throw jumps, pair spins and steps): competitions in the program including throw jumps, pair spins and steps.
  3. OB (overall best): award is given for a minimal sum of participant's positions in both sections of the program on a specific competition. 

 I would suggest removing the elements of single skating from pair skating, such as parallel jumps and synchronized spins.

Duration of both programs should be 3 minutes.

Ice dance:

  1. SD (slow dance): slow dance to various arrangements of slow melodies.
  2. QD (quick dance): quick dance.
  3. OB (overall best):  award is given for a minimal sum of participant's positions in both sections of the program on a specific competition. 

Duration of both programs should be 3 minutes.

Suggested timeframe of each kind of program does not contradict the current one, but will allow for more award seeking sportsmen taking part in the competitions, and the proposed reforms should not raise objections of Olympic Programme Commission of the International Olympic Committee, as they do now expand existing frames of Olympic competition of figure skaters, excluding the number of awarded sets of medals.

Secondly, I think judging principles should be changed radically. At the time being almost two thirds of the sportsmen performance time are spent for evaluation by judges.

Existing regulations of single skating narrowed dramatically opportunities for creative diversity, especially in the category of jumps, excluding from evaluation many of those which have been previously performed and which can be performed in future. All 6 jumps, included into the present regulations, have been performed for the first time more than 100 year ago!

The regulations do not take into consideration such objective factors as skating speed and number of rotations in spins. Due to slow judging, a good share of the participants is filtered out after performance of the Short Program, which, in essence, is discriminating and hindering development of skating in the countries where the skating traditions have just started to develop.

Taking into account the aforesaid, I and my daughter Ksenia Cheskidova are developing the draft judging regulations for competitions of men and ladies with detailed classification of elements which, with help of special software, will allow judges evaluating each element instantly, and the duration of overall evaluation of the program will not exceed one minute.

Dear Mr. President,

With a big number of artificial rinks worldwide the term “winter season” became, as you should admit, a notional one. Why would not ISU conduct World Championships and European Championships for Men, for Ladies, Pair Skating and Ice Dance separately? In fact, nowadays they are virtually different kinds of sports. In my opinion, there are a lot of good reasons for it: competitions will be conducted only on week-ends; financial load on organizers and infrastructure will decrease essentially; a big competition for TV-rights will emerge; more cities around the world will be covered as there will be an opportunity to carry out competitions in the small towns, and, therefore, geography of competitions will expand, there will be a chance of rotation during selection of applicant cities and, finally, national sponsorship of these competitions will grow.

Thank you for your attention to this letter.

Sincerely yours and hope for future cooperation,

Sergey Cheskidov