5 things to know about the ISU congress


Team Passion from Hungary (Credits: Synchro Skating Moments - 2022)

The International Skating Union is holding its annual congress in Phuket, Thailand, this week. Here is a summary of the main decisions.

Minimum age
After a passionate debate, the International Skating Union (ISU) voted to gradually raise the minimum competition age for seniors from 15 to 17. This decision opened the congress on Tuesday after the polemics about skater Kamila Valieva at the Beijing Winter Olympics in February. This change is "for the sake of protecting the physical and mental health, and emotional well-being of the skaters," the ISU said.

The minimum age for figure skaters will be 16 years old for the 2023-24 season and increase to 17 from the 2024-25 season onwards, in time for the 2026 Winter Olympics in Italy. There will be no change for the season 2022-23. Let's see in the future if this major decision will impact synchronized skating.

Synchro topics
During the split sessions (for Special Rules and Technical Regulations), the ISU members discussed synchro topics such as:

Harmonization – Harmonize the Special Regulations and Technical Rules with other Figure Skating Disciplines

Illegal elements –The "Illegal" and "Non-permitted" terminology are combined and to be referred to as Illegal.

Choreography and originality – A number of proposals have been put forward to help increase creativity and have more freedom within the choreography of synchronized skating programs

Dream Edges Senior - FIN (Credits: Ville Vairinen - 2021)

World Ice Skating Day
The World Ice Skating Day project was unveiled during the ISU Congress, a new annual event scheduled to take place on the first Sunday of December. The first edition will be on December 4, 2022.

Protective measures
Because of the exceptional developments in Ukraine, the ISU Council had to use its authority to guarantee participants' safety and the integrity of international competitions.

However, the ISU Council concluded that similar circumstances might occur again in the future and that there should be a specific provision in the ISU Regulations defining the basic framework under which conditions the ISU Council will be empowered to impose protective measures. 

ISU nominations
The elections of ISU Office Holders, including the position of ISU President, will take place on June 10. For synchronized skating, two candidates are facing each other for the Chair of the Synchronized Skating Technical Committee: the current chair Philippe Maitrot (France) and Christopher Buchanan (Great Britain).

Among the members, four candidates are on the list: Nina Bischoff (Switzerland), Uliana Chirkova (Russia), Lois Long (USA) and Petra Tyrbo (Sweden).