Ice dancers to toe the line

The International Skating Union (ISU) has introduced a trial system of stiff penalties to combat skaters’ and judges’ disregard of the rules of ice dancing.

The ISU action was taken to counteract a growing trend to develop ice dancing into pair and show skating.

A system of deductions has been set up for judges to use in their marking at international competitions for the coming year. The deductions are severe — a maximum of one point (out of a total of six points) may be deducted for each of several violations of ice dance rules.

George Blundun, Calgary, a member of the ISU Ice Dance Committee, was instrumental in formulating the system of deductions.

“I think it’s a long time coming,” says Blundun. “The judges have always been capable of recognizing the breaches of rules but never had the courage to apply the penalties they should have. Now they’ll have to, and if the situation doesn’t improve, the new penalties will become permanent rather than just on a trial basis.”

“By insisting that the judges apply these penalties, the overall objective is to force the dancers and their coaches to present skating programs that are truly free dances and not pairs programs,” says Blundun.

This new system of deductions will be used at Canadian, Sectional, Divisional, and National competitions at the junior and senior levels.

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