TORINO 2006: Dance And Speed On Ice
The Olympic sport of skating is governed by the International Skating Union (ISU) and will be featuring in its 20th Olympic Winter Games in Turin. Skating first appeared, however, at the Olympic Summer Games in 1908, in London. Skating is comprised of three disciplines: figure skating, speed skating and short track speed skating. There will be 24 medals presented during the skating competitions.
Olympic figure skating is made up of four events – men’s singles, ladies’ singles, pairs and ice dancing. Of the three skating disciplines, figure skating has seen perhaps the biggest transformation since Salt Lake City, thanks to a change in the way figure skating is judged. The ISU Judging System was adopted at the ISU Congress in 2004 and is made up of four components. These are the competition officials, who identify and judge the technical difficulty of the programme and the quality of the programme. The technical score, decided on a base value predetermined by the ISU and then evaluated in terms of quality on a scale of +3 to -3 which is then deducted from or added to the base value. Programme components, which are scored by judges looking exclusively at skating skills, transitions/linking footwork, performance/execution, choreography and interpretation/timing. The final score is calculated by adding the total element score and the factored programme component scores and subtracting any programme deductions. For more information on the new system, please visit www.isu.org.
Positive Impact On The Athletes
IOC Executive Board member and ISU President Ottavio Cinquanta explained the changes to the figure skating judging system in the following way: “Now judges no longer place the skater, they assess each technical element and evaluate the different artistic aspects.” He continued, “Advanced computer technology, video replays, printouts of all grades at the end of each segment and assessments to evaluate the performance of judges endeavour to ensure precision, accountability and fairness. The system has been tested and enhanced over four years, receiving strong backing from the skating community. The ISU is confident that the new system will tackle fairly the issues of subjectivity in judged sports with a resulting positive impact on the athletes.”
At Torino 2006, there will be six events for men and six for ladies in the speed skating discipline. For men, there will be races of 5,000m, 500m, 1,000m, 1,500m, 10,000m and a team pursuit – part of the Olympic programme for the first time in Turin. The ladies will compete at 3,000m, 500m, 1,000m, 1,500m, 5,000m and in the team pursuit. Since Salt Lake City, there have been a couple of changes to the rules of speed skating, mainly in the 500m event and the team pursuit event. For example, the 500m is decided over two races but now, only athletes with a valid finish time in race one will be able to compete in race two. There is now room for only one false start per pair rather than per skater as it was previously, for all the events, and if an athlete protests, the referees may use video evidence. World records have also been established for the combined 2 x 500m and for the new team pursuit event, since Salt Lake City.
Short Track Speed Skating
Short track speed skating has been an official Olympic Winter Sport since Albertville 1992. The Olympic competition is made up of eight events: men’s and ladies’ 1,500m; men’s and ladies’ 1,000m; men’s and ladies 500m; men’s 5,000m relay; and ladies’ 3,000m relay. The only change to short track from the Salt Lake City Games will be that it will be held over five competition days rather than four.
The Olympic Winter Games will run from 10 to 26 February 2006 in Turin. The Winter Games comprise seven different sports and 15 different disciplines, which will be played out in eight different competition sites. Around 2,600 athletes, 650 judges and umpires and one million spectators are expected to participate in this 20th edition of the Winter Games.
Learn more on Turin 2006
Official website of Turin 2006