The ISU released Communication 1856 a few weeks ago, but I admit I found it difficult to pay it much attention until after the medals were awarded at Worlds this past weekend. With the 2013-14 season now in the books, let’s have a look at what’s in store for next year.
Communication 1856 presents the Well Balanced Program requirements for Adult, Basic and Advanced Novice, Junior, and Senior categories for 2014-15. I’ll stick to discussing Junior and Senior here, since countries often have their own requirements for domestic Adult and Novice categories. 1856 is not overly detailed, and we’ll unfortunately have to wait until at least June, when ISU Congress wraps up, for any new definitions of Elements, Features, and Additional Features, and probably later for a Communication on Difficulty Groups. Based on trends over the past few seasons, some educated guesses can probably be made as to requirements and specifications, but until the proposals are debated and new documents published, we won’t know anything for certain.
The 2014 ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships wrapped up today in Italy, with some familiar names landing on the podium. Finland 1 (Marigold IceUnity) were gold medalists after last medaling in 2011. Canada 1 (NEXXICE) won the silver medal for the third straight year, narrowly edging out Finland 2 (Rockettes), who won bronze after not qualifying for the event last year. All three teams skated clean in both segments, and were the only teams to get all of their technical calls in the short or the free.
There’s clearly a lot to digest in ISU Communication 1798, and I hope these overviews will help you sort through all of it. We know that at least three more Appendices are to come, in addition to the Summary of Calls and any clarification documents prompted by questions people will have after reading through this first major communication of the season. So if you aren’t quite grasping something just yet, don’t sweat it. There’s plenty in 1798 I’m still wrapping my brain around!
All of the links to Parts I through III are above, in one convenient place. I’ve also included a PDF cheat sheet that briefly lists the new Variations. You might want to print this and use it as a kind of map as you work your way through the new criteria for each Element and Feature.
We’re in the homestretch, friends. Just a few more elements to cover…and then obsess over for several months.
Basic requirements and Base – For Base to be awarded, it appears all skaters simply have to attempt a Spread Eagle and/or Ina Bauer. To achieve Levels 1-3, basic requirements that need to be fulfilled are as follows: all skaters must execute a Spread Eagle and/or Ina Bauer; changes of edge (if included) must occur at the same time (no change); an fm must be held in the correct position, on the correct edge for three seconds (no change); and fm’s with a change of edge must be in the correct position for two seconds on each edge (no change).
Feature — None (no change).
Difficulty Groups — Levels 1-3 are essentially the same as last year. One notable difference is that 1798 does not specify whether or not steps are permitted between the two fm’s when a Spread Eagle or Ina Bauer is executed in both rotational directions. I expect this will be clarified in future documents.