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Friday, May 16, 2014

More or less

Last month, the ISU published communications 1860 and 1861 , detailing (as usual) off-season changes to the scale of values, level features and various other technical matters. More changes may be on the way following the upcoming ISU congress.

Or, in other words, the tinkering continues, but we will not see any real attempt to take a step back and examine the IJS on a broader level, what works and what doesn't - as one might have hoped after an Olympic season. Last year, we had some suggestions about how skating could be improved. While the Carmen moratorium is probably never going to happen, there are some things that skating can still use more or less of:

* Unconventional music choices.
* Training clips and other entertaining updates from team ABI, who are clearly bored with at least another year to go before they can compete.
* Ladies wearing pants.
* Beautiful positions in spins, lifts and spirals.
* Landings with a nice running edge and the free leg up. The next transition can wait another second, really.
* ISU championships in warmer locations and in countries that are not established skating powers - like the upcoming GPF in Spain!
* Skaters at each Grand Prix event. The fields are too small and many decent and up and coming skaters don't get a shot at assignments unless they are from host countries.
* Well-distributed jump elements. Waiting for the halfway point and then doing a bunch of jumps does not count.
* Steps leading into solo quads in the short programs. Because there should be.

* Fewer perfect tens in PCS. It took more than six years for the first perfect component score to be given (to Savchenko and Szolkowy's debut of the Out of Africa program, a fine choice indeed) but now they are being given out like 6.0s in the final year of the old system. Lambiel's Poeta did not get any 10s. Dai's Cyber Swan didn't. Neither did Yuna Kim's Tango de Roxanne or Danse Macabre. Yet the Olympic dance event was a veritable epitome of perfection? Please. Tens should be special, not a reward for skating well at a major event.

I have no problem whatsoever with this getting 10s, of course.

* Less time spent on step sequences.
* Ugly positions in any element, done to satisfy level features.
* The 'Tano and the Rippon Lutz. Just because you can do a jump with your hands up doesn't mwan you should.
* Points required as the minimum TES for ISU Championships. The threshold for Worlds was too high and this forces skaters to run around doing senior Bs in an attempt to pick up those few extra points, which is expensive for skaters who are able to do them and can be impossible for those who lack funds and geographical proximity. At least it now looks like some senior B competitions will finally get some official love.
* And finally: No more pairs and dance splits. Really, we've seen enough of those.

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