Every 2 years the ISU Congress is held, where both major and minor rule changes to all disciplines of figure skating (including synchronized skating), and speed skating are proposed and adopted. The most recent ISU Congress was held on June 5th-12th in Phuket, Thailand. Get ahead of the changes coming this season by reviewing our recap, and the ISU communications linked below!
There's new lingo! "Transitions" are now called "Connections." These generally refer to the way a team moves from one program element to the next.
Upcoming age changes: in an effort to protect the health and safety of figure skating athletes, congress approved raising the minimum age of senior skaters to 17 in a gradual fashion. Here's what you need to know:
Senior Synchro, 2022/23: all skaters must have reached the age of 15 before July 1 preceding the championships or competition (no change)
Senior Synchro, 2023/24: all skaters must have reached the age of 16 before July 1...
Senior Synchro, 2024/25: all skaters must have reached the age of 17 before July 1...
Junior Synchro, 2022/23: all skaters must be aged 13-18 before July 1...
Novice Synchro, 2022/23: all skaters must be aged 10-14 before July 1...
Synchro programs will now be judged by 3 components (Composition, Presentation, Skating Skills) instead of the previous 5. This simplification was done to eliminate overlapping definitions of criteria and to remove confusion of the definitions. In addition, it was nearly impossible for an individual on the panel to identify and process all 27 criteria and award GOE as originally laid out, therefore simplifying the components into 3 categories should improve the ability to evaluate teams more efficiently.
More details on each of the 3 components (in our own words) can be found below:
Composition: the arrangement of all types of movements into a meaningful whole, according to the principles of proportion, unity, space, pattern, and musical structure. The following will be considered in evaluating composition: Unity; Connections (read: transitions) between and within elements; Pattern and ice coverage; Multidimensional use of space; Choreography which reflects the music
Presentation: the skaters & overall performance demonstrating engagement, commitment and involvement based on an understanding of the music and composition. The following will be considered in evaluating presentation: Expressiveness and projection; Variety and contrast of energy and movements; Musical sensitivity and timing; and Unison via oneness and awareness of space.
Skating Skills: the ability of the skater to execute the skating steps, turns, and movements with blade and body control. The following will be considered in evaluating skating skills: Variety of edges, steps, turns, movements and directions; clarity of edges, steps, turns, movements, and body control; balance and glide; flow; power and speed.
*note the removal of the terms "effortless power", “rhythmic knee action,” and “one foot skating.”
New team sizes for Novice & Junior! Novice and Junior teams can now consist of 12-16 skaters (rather than the previous rule of 16 skaters). The hope is that this will allow for larger participation in synchro in developing countries, while increasing the number of competitive teams in these categories at the international level, and allowing more ISU members to compete internationally in order to increase synchro popularity and participation. Sounds great to us! Note: Junior teams must have 16 skaters at the ISU Synchronized skating championships
- Senior Elite will consist of 12 skaters. This is the category that has been proposed for the Olympic Winter Games. If accepted, teams could have up to 2 alternates. No final decision has been made on whether women and men could be included in Olympic teams, and the number of teams sent will be defined by the International Olympic Committee. Regardless of the outcome of the Olympic Application, the goal is for Elite 12 to have more international competitions this season.
View the full ISU communications here:
2487 - Guidelines for the new Program Components for judges: https://www.isu.org/inside-isu/isu-communications/communications/28827-isu-communication-2487/file
2471 - Well-balanced Program Content for 2022/2023
2482 - Technical Requirements and information for Season 2022/23
2472 - Congress Agenda (including all proposed rule changes)