Friends, Members, and Zambonimen,
at the termination of the year, in this refulgent winter, it is always a great pleasure to look back on the successful bygone time and to behold the positive effects of our administrative work, which a lot of people knowing very well the sport contributed. However, commencement of the new year is not a moment to rest but to take good resolutions for the advancing twelve months to come.
In my last memo I foreshadowed the deployment of new advancements for the evolution of the sport. Today, I feel very honoured to promulgate the installation of the new discipline to replace Figure Skating and to be called Artistic Speed Skating.
Let me unravel the composition and provisional rules of the discipline in several stages.
1. The sport will be carried out on a speed skating oval track. As in that discipline, artistic speed skaters will traverse the oval for a certain distance or time and whoever will have the lowest time at the end, i.e. reach the distance first, or cover the greatest distance will win.
2. In addition to the coverage of distance by traversing the track, skaters perform certain “figure skating” elements while going round on the oval. These elements will be rewarded with distance bonuses according to the element and how well it is executed.
3. The distance run on the oval and the distance accumulated through element bonuses are constantly added and displayed in the arena. They are also conveyed to the athletes via headphones. So the athletes know at any time where in the race they are. If they feel they are behind too much, they will feel the need to execute higher elements or skating faster and performing elements with more risk and less preparation, which will contribute to the suspense of the watching audience and the excitement of the competition. To further accomodate for skater's/couple's peculiarities, the athletes can choose to traverse the oval in either a clockwise or counterclockwise fashion.
I must stop here for a short while and ask you to bear with me, it is because some of my papers are with my assistant and I must pause until they come back to me. ... Ah, there he comes, let me extend my explanations.
4. There will still be a competition of two segments. Like short programme and free skate, there will be the short and free artistic distance.
5. The short artistic distance will feature two artistic skaters/couples in each heat competing directly against each other on the oval, much like in speed skating. This segment will feature no music and the execution of certain required elements will be compulsory, like in the short programme before. Here the time in which the required distance is reached will determine the ranking. A factorised distance value carries over to the next segment. At big championships, a number of heats at the beginning of the short artistic segment will feature the skaters with the lowest point ranking in the world standings. They will carry out head to head single elimination heats of great suspense of which only the winner advances to the free artistic distance, this will replace former qualification rounds.
6. The free artistic distance will be executed to music with only one skater/couple on the ice at any time. The duration of this distance is fixed for all competitors. Whoever covers the greatest distance in that time will win, that includes the distance covered, the elements distance bonuses and an overall artistic distance bonus (which only pertains to the free artistic distance), which will be determined at the end of the performance and added to the other values.
Let me summarise the advantages:
Events can now be held jointly with speed skating events, using the same venues and sharing resources, which will further reduce costs while spectators from the speed skating events will be carried over to this sport to found and retain a lasting interest in the discipline.
Artistic Speed Skating as a competitive sport will at all times have a clear cut winner, eventually determined by the factors distance and time. The new sport guarantees measurability of the highest kind never before seen in artistic skating sport.
The new short segment is now determined in such a way that it better reflects the technical nature of it. The head to head competition will make an exiting impression to optimum audience interest. The free segment allows for a personal selection of elements while keeping an artistic element and offers the interpretation of the music.
This discipline will be homologated by your affirmative votes at the next possible meeting. With it we can again be sure to have successfully shaped the future of sports we administer. I wish a splendid year to all members and hope we can continue our collaboration on the basis of the successful synergies that rendered the last two decades in such a great manner.