Music problem in competition? Find out what you can do!


Ice Steps - Finland. (Credits: Ville Vairinen Photography - 2020)

After the recent publication of the new Synchronized Skating Referees Handbook, we continue the review of this important guide published by the International Skating Union (ISU). Today, you will learn all about the problems related to music, athletes' injuries or official practices.

Music deficiencies
During a competition program, if the tempo or quality of the music is deficient, synchro teams may restart their program from the beginning, provided the referee is informed by the team captain within the 30 first seconds of the program.

If there is an interruption or a stop in the music or any other adverse condition unrelated to the competing team or his/their equipment, such as lighting, ice-condition, etc, the team must stop skating at the acoustic signal of the referee. If the referee does not stop the performance with an acoustic signal, the team captain is allowed to inform the referee about any music deficiencies (even if happening after 30 seconds). The rest of the team must continue to skate until they are ordered to stop by an acoustic signal. No penalty will be applied to the captain leaving the team or the referee then stopping the program.

Immediately after the problem has been solved, the team shall continue from the point of interruption. If, however, the interruption lasts longer than 10 minutes, there shall be a second warm-up period (Rule 964, paragraph 2).

In case of a skater's injury...
If a skater gets injured during the competition performance or another adverse condition related to him or his equipment (such as health problems or unexpected damage to his clothing or equipment) impedes their skating, the skater must stop skating and either this skater (if possible) or the team captain must report to the referee. The rest of the team must continue to skate until they are ordered to stop by an acoustic signal of the referee.

If the referee thinks that medical attention is required, the performance must be stopped. There will be a maximum of a 3 minutes allowance for evaluation before the referee will have to make a decision if the skater is fit to continue the program with no further risk to themselves or their teammates. If it is determined that the Skater is not able to continue, another skater may be substituted (Rule 965, paragraph 6).

Haydenettes' (USA) Official Practice. (Credits: Ice Galaxy - 2019)

The Handbook also reminds us that in case of a skater’s injury, which requires his/her evacuation by the medical personal from the ice surface and/or new ice resurfacing is needed after the accident, this 3 minutes period is not in place.

Once a competition program has started, no substitution of a skater will be permitted (if there is no visible reason i.e. injury/equipment failure, etc...). However, registered team alternates may be substituted if the team's program is stopped by the referee due to injury or equipment problems. If a team substitutes a skater without the referee first stopping the program, the team will be disqualified.

With respect to adverse conditions related to a skater or his equipment, only one restart per program is allowed. In case of a second stop of the performance due to an adverse condition related to the skater(s) or his/their equipment, the team concerned shall be considered withdrawn.

Are protests possible in synchro skating?
Protests against evaluations by referees, judges and the technical panel (technical controller, technical specialists, data & replay operator) of skaters’ performances are not allowed.

However, protests against results are permitted in synchronized skating only in the case of incorrect mathematical calculation. Wrong identification of an element or of mistake in a level of difficulty, although it results in a lower or higher score, is a human error and not an incorrect mathematical calculation, explains the 2020 Handbook.

Team Tatarstan (RUS) - Official Practice. (Credits: Ice Galaxy - 2019)

Official practices
The Handbook also reminds us that at all international competitions and ISU championships, the organizer must provide to each competing team 10 minutes of practice ice for the Short Program and 12 minutes of practice ice for the Free Skating.

During the official practices, the competitive music of the team will be played twice, each time without interruption. The music will be played for the first time at the 1:30 minute mark, and again at 6:00 minute mark for Short Program, for Free Skating it will be the 7:00 minute mark. A warning will be given 30 seconds before the music starts. No other music will be played during the official practice segments. No coach or team members are permitted to stand near the music people to give direction.

Want to know more about the Referees Handbook?

Take advantage of the summer period to immerse yourself in a few basic principles of synchronized skating highlighted in this ISU communication.

Source: ISU - 2020