Fresh news from Frankfurt Seminar


Every year, a major seminar takes place in Frankfurt, Germany. The goal is to set the new international regulations for synchronized skating. / Credits: Sebastien Muller

Frankfurt Global Seminar took place a few days ago in Germany. Judges, technical controllers, technical specialists, data and replay operators took part in this seminar that aims at providing all the people involved in one discipline all the new stuff they need to know to prepare for the new season.

To explain the main changes in regulations next season, we asked Tony Krähenbühl, a young international judge and future technical controller. He helps us to understand more clearly the different topics.

First of all, what is this seminar?
Tony Krähenbühl: Every year, each Technical Committee makes tremendous changes in the rules and they use this gathering of people from all federations as an opportunity to inform officials taking part in this seminar about those new changes. But that’s not all they do, every year they put in place this seminar to promote new international officials (judges, TC, TS) and recertify existing ones, making sure people officiating in our discipline are aware of the most recent changes and able to maintain top standards of quality at every event throughout the years.

What are you doing exactly?
The first part of the week is destined to the technical people (controller, specialist). They usually go through all the changes, making corrections and propositions, discussing special cases, making sure the rules are ready for the next season for coaches and teams. Parallel to that are their personal goals during this seminar, namely passing exams for first appointment of international official or recertification. The second part of the week is for judges and referee, where they also go through changes in the judging guidelines and use the presence of top moderators to practice their judging skills. Same exams are also for them at the end of the week.

This year, the teams will have the opportunity to reach level 4 in the Intersection Element and in the Move Element. / Credits: Sebastien Muller

What will be the main changes in the programs next season?
Well, it is not one of those year where the rules are changed from the roots up, but rather one where all elements get better definitions and better criteria. One of the main changes this year is the introduction of the Intersection Element Level 4 and Move Element Level 4. With this, the teams have more opportunities to score higher and the Technical Panel can better differentiate between difficulty levels. Another thing might be the reduction of the number of Artistic Element this season both for Junior and Senior (only 1 &2 respectively, instead of 2 & 3 previously). The Move Element saw a variety reduction in the Short Program with the requirement change that skaters will only have to present spirals by the entire team now. Other than that the programs will not be structured in a totally different way than we have seen so far. Next season might encounter more surprises.

Since a few years now, the general trend has been to allow more freedom for teams, especially in terms of creativity. Is this still the case?
Creativity was and remains the keyword of our sport. The SYS Technical Committee very much still works toward that. However, they still have to make sure that teams’ and coaches’ creativity is in alignment with some kind of frame so that officials are still able to do an efficient and precise job during competitions. Their freedom is, of course, a priority when building their programs and the rules very much try to preserve that. But creativity is constantly evolving, teams come up every year with astonishing programs and always presenting new stuff no one ever thought about. The SYSTC has to make sure that we are still able to mark those things at competition and provide some directions to teams in relation to the more general direction our sport is taking. I think teams very much have the space and freedom to express their creativity when I see the beautiful things we are lucky enough to see every year. But again, creativity is evolving and our sport is constantly trying to find the best compromise.

For next season, what will it take to pay particular attention in the programs? Or what will it really take care of?
I think athleticism is key. With the Olympic dream in mind, we really want our athletes to show incredible skills, be it in their flexibility in the Move Element or strength in the Group Lifts or steps quality in their Step Sequences. These are the most changing elements from one year to another and are also the most challenging for technical panels. But as said before, creativity is what makes our hearts beat. Presenting new imaginative things is something every team should strive for.

Thank you Tony for this information!
To go further in the rules, check out the latest ISU communications!