Things Go Better at the ISU Congress Than Anticipated

There were a couple of very pleasant surprises when figure skating’s Powers That Be met in Croatia this week.  At the beginning of it, there was way to much reason to think the man of infamy from France would be skating’s next president and things would go from bad to worse.  But first they went and shocked fans everywhere by actually getting rid of anonymous judging!  It seems at least enough people in position to abolish it recognized it had to go, including the bigger federations, apparently.  And then said Frenchman dropped out at the last minute, and instead our next president is some other former speed skater nobody’s heard of who seems pretty bland and might not stick around long anyway, but if he doesn’t he should at least be relatively harmless.  Better him than Didier, anyway.  Amused by the age cap they passed; I suspect they did this for similar reasons the Academy tried to shuffle out their older Oscar voters quicker this year with new rules.

Though about their other actions this week I have some reservations.  Besides the whole debate about how much skating later remains an advantage even post-6.0, I’ve never liked this continually pushing of the higher-ranked skaters closer to the end; that does ensure one kind of suspense, but it’s the same kind, and more variety in start orders is something that has given competitions different flavors, which will be even more missed now.  Nor do I like this continuing shortening of programs and elements, because someday’s it going to go too far.  Although it might be just as well if they’re going to increase the range of GOEs.  In theory, this is a good idea.  In practice, I fear it’ll increase the divide between the higher skaters and the lower ones, and make the former even harder to beat even when they make multiple errors, because they’ve earned too many points from their collected elements.  Although the increase in penalty of falls may help alleviate that at least a little.  That was definitely a good thing to have passed; it was sorely needed already, and once the new GOEs come in post-2018, will probably be even more.

As for the athlete’s commission and development commission, we’ll see how much they accomplish.


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