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The Big Picture

Championship Allotments for 2020/21

ISU European Figure Skating Championships

Jan 25 - Jan 31, 2021, Zagreb, CRO

ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships

Feb 08 - Feb 14, 2021, Sydney, AUS

ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships

Mar 01 - Mar 07, 2021, Harbin, CHN

ISU World Figure Skating Championships

Mar 22 - Mar 28, 2021, Stockholm, SWE

Junior Grand Prix Allotments for 2021/22

August 18-21, 2021, Courchevel, FRA

August 25-28, 2021, Edmonton, CAN (includes Pair Skating)

September 1-4, 2021, Kosice, SVK (includes Pair Skating)

September 15-18, 2021, Krasnoyarsk, RUS (includes Pair Skating)

September 22-25, 2021, Ljubljana, SLO

September 29 - October 2, 2021, Gdansk, POL

October 6-9, 2021, Linz, AUT (includes Pair Skating)

2021/22 ISU Grand Prix

Event Location Date
Skate America TBD October 22–24
Skate Canada Vancouver, BC, Canada October 29–31
Cup of China TBD November
Internationaux de France Grenoble, France November
Rostelecom Cup TBD November
NHK Trophy TBD November
Grand Prix Final TBD December

Championship Allotments for 2021/22 and Later

Season 2021/22 Figure Skating

  • 2022 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, Tianjin, China

  • 2022 ISU World Championships, Montpellier, France.

Season 2022/23 Figure Skating

  • 2023 ISU European Figure Skating Championships, Helsinki, Finland

  • 2023 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, Sydney, Australia

  • 2023 ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships, Calgary, Canada

  • 2023 ISU World Figure Skating Championships, Saitama, Japan

Synchronized Skating

  • 2023 ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships, Lake Placid, USA



  In the News:

2021 U.S. National Championships

Las Vegas, NV

Levito Claims U.S. Junior Title with Stunning Free Skate

Prober Takes Gold in U.S. Junior Men’s Competition

Smirnova & Siianystisa Clinch U.S. Junior Pairs Crown

Wolfkostin & Chen Strike Gold in U.S. Junior Dance

Chen Triumphs in Men’s Competition, Knocks Out Five Quads to Take Fifth Consecutive U.S. Title

Hubbell & Donahue Back on Top of the Podium

Scimeca-Knierim & Frazier Claim U.S. Pair Title, Dominate Field With Lead of 23 Points

Tennell Reclaims U.S. Ladies Title with Stellar Free Skate

Chen Tops Men’s Short With Six-point Lead

Madison Chock & Evan Bates First in Rhythm Dance

Bradie Tennell Victor in the Ladies Short Program

Alexa Knierim & Brandon Frazier Take Lead in Pairs Event

Nathan Chen Seeks Fifth Consecutive U.S. National Title

Russian Figure Skating Shows Its Force at National Championships

Third title for Shcherbakova, Kolyada, Tarasova & Morozov and first one for Stepanova& Bukin

by Tatjana Flade

(8 January 2021)  The Russian Figure Skating Championships are currently worldwide the national championships with the highest level as no other country boasts so much talent in all four disciplines. The 2021 Nationals, held over Christmas in Chelyabinsk in the Ural mountains, once again proved the overpowering dominance of Russian skating. The Russian Figure Skating Federation continues to hold their events in spite of the ongoing pandemic, which motivates their skaters and helps them to progress.

However, not all top skaters were able to compete or were in top form due to illness or injuries. The Corona pandemic has hit Russia hard and also the skating community. A lot of skaters have contracted the virus and reigning European Champions Dmitri liev, Alena Kostornaia and Victoria Sinitsina & Nikita Katsalapov missed Nationals because they were still not fully recovered or had not enough time to get in shape following their infection. 2020 European silver medalist Artur Danielian had to withdraw as he is coming off an ankle injury that kept him off the ice for months.

The National Championships were organized in an excellent manner and the anti-Covid-19 measures were reassuring. In addition to multiple disinfectant dispensers, air cleaning and filtering machines were installed in the press room, skating lounge and other rooms. The arena was filled up to 30 % capacity. Most, but not all people wore masks which was mandatory. All accredited persons needed to provide a negative Covid-19 test.

Shcherbakova victorious in the battle of the quads

Shortly before the ISU Grand Prix Rostelecom Cup Anna Shcherbakova came down with pneumonia which most likely was caused by a Covid-19 infection. How this delicate yet so strong-willed girl was able to muster the physical and mental strength to put out two clean programs with the highest degree of difficulty is just amazing. The European silver medalist took a narrow lead in her Short Program to “Oh doux printemps d’autrefois“ that featured a 2A, 3F and 3Lz-3Lo combination. Only her flying camel spin was wobbly. In her Free Skating to music by Philipp Glass, Panu Aaltio and the Piano Guys, the 16-year-old landed a 4Lz, 4F and seven triples including three triple-triple combinations. With total score of 264.10 points, Shcherbakova claimed her third consecutive title which is an achievement in itself considering the deep field in Russia.

“I am surprised I was able to skate my program the way I did considering the kind of preparation I had,” Shcherbakova said. “I focused on being able to do it. I remembered the best things I can do, put it all together and I went out with a cool head,” she added.

Both programs are very well done and showcase Anna’s strengths. She is a very smooth and musical skater.

Kamila Valieva was not less convincing in what was her debut at Russian Nationals at the senior level. She fell on the 3A in the Short Program, but all other elements were well done. The 14-year-old produced two quad toes and five clean triples in her “Bolero” routine. Some people criticize the choreography and choice of music, but the program is powerful and Kamila can pull it off. The 14-year-old shows off her impressive flexibility in her spins that get her lots of +4 and +5 Grade of Execution scores. “I am very pleased that I was able to debut at Russian Nationals and that I was able to skate clean long for the first time in this difficult season. I tried to stay calm and not to have any doubts and that worked out for me,” the World Junior Champion noted.

Everyone was curious how Alexandra Trusova would do after the disappointment at Rostelecom Cup that left her in fourth place after multiple falls. The European bronze medalist proved that she had learned from her mistakes and she did not go for as many different quads as possible as she is not able to train them properly due to an injury. Therefore, she also did not risk a 3A in the short. As a result, the 16-year-old delivered two clean programs with a 4Lz-3T and a solo 4Lz in the Free to “Romeo and Juliet”.   It was questionable that she came fourth in the Short, but the judges gave Daria Usacheva and Valieva a bit more for the execution of the elements (although Usacheva had a stumble in her footwork).

“I don’t even remember when I skated two clean programs in competition for the last time,” Trusova commented. “Two quads in the free is very little for me and I will try to do more, but for today it was the most difficult content that I was able to do.” The ISU Grand Prix Final bronze medalist confirmed that she has an injury, but did not disclose the nature of her injury. Trusova moved up from fourth to third (246.37 points).

Fourteen-year old Usacheva debuted like Valieva at the senior level championships and is a student of Eteri Tutberidze and her team as well. She is another elegant skater, very pleasant to watch and has a lot of potential. She currently does all the regular triples. As the last to skate, she knew how well Trusova, Valieva and Shcherbakova had skated. “I never had seen before that the girls before me got so high scores one after the other. The audience was in shock, there were ovations and toys flying on the ice, it was like the competition was over, but I still had to concentrate,” the World Junior silver medalist shared. She slipped from third to fourth (230.56 points).

Maia Khromykh is another promising skater from Tutberidze’s school. She only missed her quad toe in the Free Skating (5. & 211.91). Lisa Nugumanova from St. Petersburg surprisingly finished sixth, because she finally did not struggle with under-rotations – only one loop was under-rotated in the Free (204.63).

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva was not in top shape as she just recently recovered from a Covid-19 infection. She did not manage a clean triple Axel in her programs (7. & 204.25). There were also several other skaters that proved the deep field of Russian Ladies such as Ksenia Cibinova (8. & 203.56) and Maria Talalaikina (9. & 197.32). 2019 European Champion Sofia Samodurova made a few smaller errors (10. & 196.28).

Evgenia Medvedeva, who first was sidelined by a back injury and then was so sick with Covid-19 that she was hospitalized, had resumed light practice on December 8 and obviously was not ready for Nationals. She performed in the gala.

The level of the Russian Ladies is incredibly high and the three medalist at Nationals had an even higher element score in the Free Skating than the Men’s Champion. There are not many international Ladies that have a chance to beat the best Russians in competition.

Kolyada strikes again

Mikhail Kolyada celebrated his fourth consecutive victory following the Russian Cup event in Sochi, the Minsk Ice Star and the Grand Prix in Moscow. The 25-year-old seems to gain confidence with each competition and with the help of master coach Alexei Mishin has a much better control over his jumps and subsequently his nerves. He won with 30 points to spare in spite of some small errors. The Short to “Let’s Get Loud” was clean with a 4T-3T combo, and he only stumbled on a connecting step. The Free Skating to “Nureyev” from the movie “The White Crow” is already a classic and enchanted the audience again.

Since Kolyada caught a cold (rumors that said it was Covid-19 were not true) after the Grand Prix and missed some practice time the quad Salchow was not consistent enough and he did not risk it. However, the total of three quad toes were excellent and garnered many positive GOEs as did most of the other elements. Mikhail’s jumps look so light and easy and he is a joy to watch on the ice. The only glitch was that he stepped out of the first 3A in the Free and that he doubled the Salchow in the combination with the triple Lutz. Kolyada racked up 296.15 points.

“When I compare this Championship to the others, it is for sure one of the most meaningful as it is always difficult but also interesting to come back after a long break. To me it gets more and more interesting to test myself with each competition, to overcome the difficulties that each event has,” the 2018 World bronze medalist noted.

Makar Ignatov from St. Petersburg hit a nice quad loop in both programs, but quite a few other jumps were wobbly, especially in the Free to "Je suis malade“ so that he left a lot of points on the table. Nevertheless he did enough for his first medal at Russian Nationals. "After the Short (he stood in 2nd) I tried to chase away all thoughts about what to do and how to do it. I remembered last year when I was first after the Short and also had to skate last in the Free and I didn’t want the same thing to happen again (he slipped to fourth),” the 20-year-old shared (2. & 265.37).

However, the biggest surprise of the event was Muscovite Mark Kondratiuk who never even had made it to a Junior Grand Prix before. The 17-year-old had missed almost two full seasons because of knee problems (Osgood-Schlatter syndrome). But now he got into good shape and learned the quad toe and Salchow during the summer. He didn’t try the toe, but he landed all three quad Salchows in his programs. Kondratiuk was already surprised to be in third after the Short and overwhelmed when he claimed bronze in his debut at Nationals and ranked second in the Free Skating (260.31 points).

“When I saw my score, I didn’t think that I would be in the top three. The moment I realized it, I had  mixed emotions – happiness and a certain relief,” he commented.

Andrei Mozalev was a medal hopeful, but the ISU World Junior Champion fell akwardly on the quad flip attempt that was downgraded in the Short Program. He landed the flip in the Free, but made costly mistakes on other jumps (4. & 252.92). Alexander Samarin was unable to train a lot as he had a back injury and then suffered from Covid-19. His quad attempts looked out of control with no realistic chance to land them (5. & 251.38). Anton Shulepov, the husband of Alena Leonova, delivered two clean and expressive programs without quads (6. & 249.89). He did not want to comment on rumors about his retirement.

Petr Gumennik, the Rostelecom Cup bronze medalist, suffered from back pain and was not at his best (7. & 247.47). Artem Kovalev, who trains in Evgeni Plushenko‘s school under Alexander Volkov, is another talented young skater (8. & 247.17). Evgeni Semenenko drew attention at the St. Petersburg Championships earlier in December when he landed three quads – loop, toeloop and Salchow – but he couldn’t deal with the pressure and and finished 11th after several errors.

The Russian men are stepping out of the shadow of the Ladies. Mikhail Kolyada finally starts to realize his huge potential and leads the charge of the Russian men. Dmitri Aliev when fully recovered will be a contender again and Mark Ignatov is developing in a positive way. Plus there is lot of talent among the next generation with Mozalev, Kondratiuk, Gumennik, Semenenko and others.

Tarasova & Morozov are back

Evgenia Tarasova & Vladimir Morozov struggled with inconsistency and loss of confidence in the past two seasons. It looked like the younger teams such as Aleksandra Boikova & Dmitrii Kozlovskii have surpassed them. Now the two-time European Champions proved that they are back in the game. They took the lead with a powerful and precise Short Program to Ravel’s “Bolero” and defended their lead with a strong performance of their long program to a version Albinoni’s "Adagio“ with lyrics. They made just one major error – Tarasova went down on the throw triple Salchow in the Free. The two-time World silver medalists scored 228.23 points. Their performance deserves respect considering that Evgenia had missed two weeks of training as she caught Covid-19 and developed pneumonia.

“I feel great,” Tarasova assured. “We were in really good shape before Kazan (Russian Cup event) and so I was able to get back into shape quickly. We had a total of three weeks to prepare and everything was a bit extreme.”

Boikova & Kozlovskii had only one week of full practice before Nationals as she was sick with a cold. Their 3S and triple twist in the Short were excellent, but she stepped out of the throw triple flip. She repeated the same mistake in the Free to “James Bond” and her 3S was shaky, but everything else was strong (2. & 224.99).

“Obviously, we wanted to win. Today we fought for each element, for each second of our program. We didn’t have a real preparation and I am proud of my partner who was able to pull herself together in spite of the difficult circumstances and helped me to pull myself together so that we were able to give good performances,” Kozlovskii commented.

Daria Pavliuchenko & Denis Khodykin continued their positive development and turned in two nice performances. They stand out thanks to innovative lifts and transitions. She only under-rotated the side by side triple flip and touched down on the throw triple flip in the Free Skating to “S.O.S. d’un terrien en détresse” (3. & 221.39). "We are not pleased with all elements, but we were able to bring across our story,“ Khodykin said.

Anastasia Mishina & Alexander Galliamov did not perform at their best and made uncharacteristic errors. He popped the Salchow in the Short Programm while she did the same in the combination in the Free Skating. He also stumbled on the 3T and struggled with a lift. The 2019 ISU Grand Prix Final bronze medalists did not really have an explanation for what had happened (4 & 211.95).

ISU World Junior Champions Apollinaria Panfilova & Dmitry Rylov shone in the Short with the excellent pair elements but they only went for a 2A as the solo jump. They tried the 3S in the Free Skate, but it was unsuccessful – she landed forward and fell (5 & 207.03).

Jasmina Kadyrova & Ivan Balchenko are a promising team that has a triple flip in their arsenal (but she missed it in the Free Skate).

The Russian pairs certainly are on their way back to former glory. The top four teams can compete for World medals and there are some other young teams coming after them. All the best pairs competed at Nationals with the exception of ISU World Junior silver medalists Ksenia Akahanteva & Valeri Kolesov who had to withdraw due to him suffering from a foot injury.

Golden Comeback for Stepanova & Bukin

Alexandra Stepanova & Ivan Bukin competed in their first event this season as she first was injured and then they both caught Covid-19, but not at the same time. The multiple European medalists only came back to train fully about three weeks before Nationals, but they did not look rough around the edges. They were very nervous before the RD, but they hid it well. Dancing to “Cry Me a River“ interpreted by Justin Timberlake, they looked confident and were expressive. In both programs, Stepanova & Bukin collected mostly a level four for their elements and took their first national title with ten points to spare.

“We couldn’t wait to compete at Nationals. We are fed up with illnesses. After  break of 11 months it felt like we were at a competition for the first time,” Bukin shared.

Tiffani Zagorski & Jonathan Guerreiro turned in two dances full of energy to "The Greatest Showman“ in the Rhythm Dance and "I’m a Survivor“ in the Free Dance. They, too, got very good levels for their elements. “Tiffany and I felt a huge support,” Guerreiro explained. “This music gives us energy and also to the audience and they give us energy back. We feel that our program is getting improving and we feel comfortable with it,” he added. The team from Moscow won their first silver medal at Nationals with 210.94 points.

Anastasia Skoptcova & Kirill Aleshin have now taken the next step and really look like a senior team. The 2018 World Junior Champions skated really well to “Bonnie and Clyde” and to “Never Tear Us Apart”. Their only error came when she was shaky on the twizzles in the Free Dance. The Muscovites that train together with Zagorski & Guerreiro took home bronze, which was their first medal at senior Nationals (196.97).

The teams ranked third to sixth were close in points and in ability. Sofia Shevchenko & Igor Eremenko gave solid performances as well to finish fourth (194.29).

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva & Egor Bazin who have teamed up only this season, are left a good impression, but she stumbled on the twizzles in the Free Dance (5. & 192.68). Annabelle Morozov & Andrei Bagin lost all medal chances when they fell both in the Pattern Dance type step sequence in the Rhythm Dance. They came back strong in the Free Dance to “La Terra Rossa” and ranked third in the segment, but overall they only pulled up from seventh to sixth at 182.86 points.

Russian Nationals confirmed the current state of Ice Dance in the country. Sinitsina & Katsalapov, who were missing, and Stepanova & Bukin are the two top teams and Zagorski & Guerreiro have established themselves as the third team, but they are catching up. The younger teams have potential but they are still not yet at the level of the top three.

World team selection and further competitions

The Figure Skating Federation of Russia decided on their meeting to name only the new champions to the World team. The remaining spots – two for Ladies, Pairs and Dance plus one for the Men – will be determined later at the Russian Cup Final end of February. Valieva, Usacheva and Khromykh are not age eligible for Worlds anyway.

The Federation also plans additional competitions in February and March to keep their skaters motivated. "Some might criticize us, but we are doing everything to help figure skating in these difficult times,“ said general secretary Alexander Kogan. "If you really want it and do it the right way, it is possible to hold competitions under these conditions.“

Videos of Russian Nationals are available on YouTube (English commentary with Ted Barton) and on the website of the Russian Channel One (Russian commentary):

How the Pandemic Affects Figure Skating in Europe

by Tatjana Flade

While Russia managed to hold all their major planned skating events this season so far such as the test skates, the national Russian Cup series, the Grand Prix and Nationals, skaters in the rest of Europe had much less opportunities to compete at high level.

In spring most countries in Europe went into the first lockdown and ice rinks closed for weeks. In Germany (and other countries) National team members were then slowly allowed to start on-ice training again, but training was limited and depending on the region, there were many restrictions. In Bavaria, for example, ice dancers and pair skaters at first were not allowed to train elements where they are touching each other, while couples in Berlin were able to practice together. On ice training resumed in May in most places.

Germany then was the first country worldwide to hold an international and “real” (not virtual) figure skating competition, the Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, in September. That was encouraging and optimism grew. However, infection numbers started to rise all over Europe again in September and the situation is now dire in most countries. Germany and others are back to strict lockdowns.

Nevertheless, some European countries organized not only their National Championships, but even smaller international competitions. Hungary hosted two international events in the fall and the National Championships on December 18 and 19. Following the success of Nebelhorn Trophy, Germany held the NRW Autumn Trophy in November in order to provide domestic and international skaters with an opportunity to compete. Belarus, although shaken by political unrest, had the Ice Star Minsk end of October and then, with the blessing of the ISU, turned their National Championship into an open competition, Minsk Winter Star, with international competitors in December.

Germany moved its Nationals from Hamburg, which was unable to organize an event under the Corona conditions, to Dortmund on December 18 and 19. However, the fields were very small as some skaters were sick (Covid-19 and other illnesses) or injured. Plus, the Berlin Skating Federation withdrew all their skaters saying it was too dangerous to travel to Dortmund and to compete.

Italy organized a national “Grand Prix of Italy” series consisting of three events leading up to their Nationals in December.  Poland, the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic have been holding their Nationals together in the past years and did so again in Poland this year. Usually Hungary is part of this event as well, but due to the circumstances they chose to stay home this time.

Austria cancelled the international events they had planned, but at least had Nationals in December. Sweden cancelled their Nationals that were scheduled for December 10-13 but is preparing for the World Championships in March. Estonia has moved their Championships from December to the end of January. Switzerland and Finland for now have postponed their National Championships and no new date has been announced yet. France has cancelled everything so far, first the Grand Prix, then Nationals. Great Britain opened their rinks very late after the first lockdown and closed them again in the fall. British Ice Skating was one of the first countries to cancel their Championships. Their problem is that in Great Britain, ice rinks have been classified not as sports venues but as entertainment venues. The English Ice Hockey Association, British Ice Skating and the Ice Rink Managers Association have written a letter to the Prime Minister in the beginning of December asking him to classify ice rinks as sports venues.

So we have seen not many European skaters in action this season. A few got the chance to compete at Rostelecom Cup – Eva-Lotta Kiibus from Estonia and the Lithuanian ice dancers Allison Reed/Saulius Ambruvelicius. Kiibus also used her chance and went to Oberstdorf and Budapest. A few French skaters including Kevin Aymoz competed at the Minsk Winter Star. Latvia’s Deniss Vasiljevs, who trains in Switzerland, and Swiss Champion Alexia Paganini as well as Matteo Rizzo of Italy were at Nebelhorn Trophy as were most of the top German skaters.

The options for European skaters to compete were and are very limited. At least National team members can train in most areas as they are considered professional athletes and figure skating is an Olympic sport. However, in many places the younger skaters and children cannot train and in a worst case scenario many of them will quit the sport as a result. The danger is big that European figure skating except for Russia will feel the effects of the pandemic for many years to come.

The Strength of Russian Figure Skating in the Crazy Corona Season

Figure skating in Russia has been affected by the pandemic as sports have been worldwide. However, Russian skaters get more opportunities to compete at high level as national events are held and they might come out of the crisis even stronger than before. While many international and national competitions have been cancelled, Russia managed to conduct the traditional test skates in September as well as the five events of the national Cup of Russia series and the Grand Prix Rostelecom Cup. All this gives a good overview of Russian skating before the Russian Championships December 24-27 in Tcheliabinsk in the Ural mountains.  <more>

Building a Simple Backyard Ice Rink

The Autumn surge in Covid cases has recently resulted in the closure or severe cutback of hours for ice arenas.  Many skaters are without access to ice completely, or can book only very limited hours in those rinks that are still operating.  These conditions are likely to be in place throughout the winter.  One solution to the problem of skaters not being able to get to arena ice, is to bring ice to the skaters, by building a backyard ice rink. <more>

A Year of Challenges for French Figure Skating

Former French ice dancer Nathalie Pechalat, bronze medalist at Worlds in 2012 and 2014, gold medalists at Europeans 2011 and 2012 and fourth at the Olympic Games of 2014, all with dance partner Fabian Bourzat, was elected president of the French Ice Sport Federation in March 2020. This organization covers not only figure skating, ice dance and synchronized skating, but also speed skating, short track, sledding and bobsledding. She was elected the successor of Didier Gailhaguet who retired in February 2020 under pressure from different sources, including the French minister of sports, who accused him of knowing about but not stopping several scandals during his presidency, an accusation he denies.  <more>

2020 NHK Trophy

The NHK Trophy is named after the Japanese TV station which has sponsored and covered the event for many years. It takes place in different rinks in Japan every year. This year it was the fourth and last Grand Prix after the three in the USA, China and Russia, and was held at the Towayakuhin RACTAB Dome, in Japan’s second largest city of Osaka. <more>

2020 Rostelcom Cup

2020 Shiseido Cup of China

2021 Toyota U.S. Figure Skating Championships Relocated to Las Vegas

San Jose to Play Host to 2023 Toyota U.S. Figure Skating Championships

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (Nov. 9, 2020) - The 2021 Toyota U.S. Figure Skating Championships, originally scheduled to take place in San Jose, California, Jan. 11–17, 2021, will relocate to Las Vegas and the Orleans Arena Jan. 11–21, U.S. Figure Skating announced on Monday. U.S. Figure Skating also selected San Jose and SAP Center as host of the 2023 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Both of these decisions were made unanimously by the U.S. Figure Skating Board of Directors at its Nov. 7 meeting.

“This has been a season unlike any other, and we’re appreciative of our local organizers and the skating community in San Jose for their willingness to be flexible during these challenging times,” U.S. Figure Skating President Anne Cammett said. “We are also confident that the proven bubble concept we will implement at the Orleans Arena will ensure the 2021 Toyota U.S. Figure Skating Championships are a successful event for all competitors, coaches and officials.”

U.S. Figure Skating successfully staged 2020 Guaranteed Rate Skate America in a bubble-type environment at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas in October. For January’s U.S. Championships in Las Vegas, U.S. Figure Skating will be able to use Skate America’s operational plan, which had been approved by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, streamlining both the preparation and on-site execution of the competition. Championship-level competition will take place from Jan. 11–17, 2021, and junior-level competition from Jan. 19–21, 2021. As with Skate America, no spectators will be permitted, though fans will be able to watch extensive coverage on NBC, NBCSN and Peacock Premium.

“SAP Center at San Jose was prepared to safely and successfully host the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in January 2021,” added Jonathan Becher, president of Sharks Sports & Entertainment and SAP Center at San Jose.  “While we are disappointed to wait, we are excited to host the Championship in 2023 and showcase the City of San Jose and SAP Center to a national audience."

“While certainly disappointed, we understand the difficult but necessary decision made by U.S. Figure Skating to move the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose to 2023,” said John Poch, executive director of the San Jose Sports Authority.  “As always, the care and safety of the athletes, staff and fans is our top priority.  I would like to thank the San Jose Local Organizing Committee for the tremendous amount of work that they’ve already put in to make the 2021 event a success and look forward to working with them over the next two years to ensure that the 2023 Toyota U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose will be a safe, successful and memorable event for everybody involved.”

San Jose will play host to the country’s most prestigious figure skating competition for the fourth time in 2023 (1996, 2012, 2018).

For fans who had planned on attending the 2021 Toyota U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, refunds will be issued to all existing ticket holders. Refunds are only issued to the original form of payment; those who did not pay via credit card or debit card will be sent a check to the address on file. Please note that customers should expect to receive their refund in as soon as 30 days. If a customer’s credit card or debit card number has changed, or expired, they should contact SAP Center at and a member of its team will be in touch.

2020 Skate America

A Not So Grand Prix - Details are finally emerging for the organization of the 2020/21 ISU Grand Prix Competitions.  About all that can be said of this year's series is, It's better than nothing, but not much better.

2020 Nebelhorn Trophy

A Quad Salchow, Nearly as Good as It Gets

The anatomy of a fully rotated quad Salchow, executed by Yuzuru Hanyu.

The Next Olympic Ladies Champion Revealed - The next Olympic Winter Games are about two years away, but already the writing is on the wall for who will be the next Olympic Ladies Champion.

The Axel is the Only Jump that Takes Off Backwards

In Search of the Quad Axel - What will it take to complete a quad Axel?

The Perfect Air Position - What is it?  What does it look like?  Why does it matter?

Current Replay Systems Not Up To Task of Insuring Accurate Calls


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12 January 2021 - Skate Canada announces the cancellation of the 2021 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships and the 2021 Skate Canada Cup.  The championships were to occur from February 8-14, 2021 in Vancouver, B.C., at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre while the 2021 Skate Canada Cup was planned to be a virtual event in replacement of the pre-novice and novice competitions at the 2021 Skate Canada Challenge.

“We are deeply saddened for all athletes, coaches, and supporting individuals who are impacted by this decision and appreciate the incredible efforts to overcome ever-evolving training and access challenges to best prepare athletes for these events,” said Leanna Caron, President, Skate Canada.

25 Dec 2020 - Morry Stillwell, past president of U.S. Figure skating passed away today, at age 93, from cardiac arrest after battling pneumonia for several months.  Morry was born in Everett, Washington, on November 17, 1927.

Morry was U.S. Figure Skating president from 1995 to 1998 when skating was at the peak of it's popularity in the United States.  While president, he led the negotiations for the TV contract with ABC that put U.S. Figure Skating on the road to financial security.

He was a key participant in the creation of the ISU Champion Series in 1995 along with representatives from Canada, France, Germany and Japan.  This series later became the current ISU Grand Prix of Figure skating.  Morry served for five years as chairman of the management committee of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating.

Morry was a National U.S. Figure Skating judge and referee in singles, pairs and showcase  He also held an appointment as a dance judge and technical controller.  Together with Jack Curtis he created the discipline of Showcase skating.  He originally began his involvement in amateur sports in roller skating.

Originally from the Seattle area, Morry, who was named after Maurice Chevalier,  spent most of his adult life in Southern California.  Following his term as U.S. Figure Skating president he remained active in local skating, promoting skating at the grass roots, in which he took great joy.  He was president of the Escondido (now North County) figure skating club for many years. Prior to that he was active in the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club and for a time its president.  Before that he was a member of the  All Year Figure Skating Club and president of that club.

Morry began as a roller skater and competed in three roller skating national championships in dance.  Later he switched to ice skating, winning a bronze medal in Bronze dance at Pacific Coast sectionals.

After passing the silver dance tests, Morry was drafted into the army and served at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama working as a technician for Werner von Braun.  While in Huntsville, he started an artistic roller figure skating club called the Rocket City Roller Club.

Morry was the devoted husband of Elda Stillwell.  They were married for 65 years.  Elda is a U.S. Figure skating National Accountant.  Together they were fixtures at Southern California competitions for many decades.  He is survived by wife Elda and daughter Lisa.

17 Dec 2020 - Today the ISU released the following statement.

The ISU welcomes the annulment by the General Court judgment on 16 December 2020 (Case T-93/18) of the provisions of the European Commission of 8 December 2017 requiring the ISU to amend its Eligibility Rules with respect to the CAS arbitration system. The General Court has confirmed that the CAS arbitration system is fully consistent with EU law.

The ISU also notes with satisfaction that the General Court has recognized the legitimacy of the ISU’s pre-authorization system intended to ensure that any organizer of sporting competitions “comply with common standards, seeking in particular to ensure that competitions take place fairly and the physical and ethical integrity of sportspeople is protected”. The ISU also notes that the General Court has expressly recognized that it was legitimate for the ISU “to establish rules seeking to prevent sports betting from creating risks of manipulation of competitions and athletes”.

The ISU maintains that its Eligibility Rules have never been enforced with a view to preventing the organization of third-party skating events and regrets that the judgment does not address the substantial evidence put forward by the ISU confirming this. Following the adoption of the 2017 Commission decision, the ISU amended its Eligibility Rules in 2018 pursuant to implementation discussions with the European Commission. The Court judgment relates to a version of the Eligibility Rules which is no longer in force and therefore has no impact on the ISU’s current operations.

The ISU is currently further evaluating the judgment and reserves an appeal to the European Court of Justice.

This is the culmination of a complaint that was brought before the European Commission in 2017.  The original case brief states:

The complaint was lodged by two professional speed skaters domiciled in the Netherlands, Mr Mark Tuitert and Mr Niels Kerstholt ("the Complainants"). Both of the Complainants are members of the Royal Netherlands Skating Federation ("KNSB") and, in the past, regularly participated in the activities and competitions of the ISU at the highest level. As individual members of the KNSB, which is itself an ISU Member, the Complainants are subject to the ISU Statutes and General Regulations, including the Eligibility rules and to decisions taken by the ISU Congress and the ISU Council.

The Complainants alleged in their complaint that the 2014 Eligibility rules establishing a lifetime ban for athletes and officials taking part in competitions not authorised by the ISU were in breach of Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty. In particular, the Complainants stressed that such rules prevented them from participating in an international speed skating event to be organised by Icederby International co., Ltd ("Icederby"), offering athletes an opportunity to make a better living out of their profession, thanks to the significant prize money and other sources of revenues (for instance, sponsoring).

The European Commission ruled against the ISU in 2017 and 2018 finding that the ISU eligibility rules breached EU competition law.  The ISU appealed to the EU General Court which on 16 December, 2020, ruled in favor of the ISU.

17 Dec 2020 - Today the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) reduced the Russia’s previous four-year suspension for systematic doping violations to two years.  Russia’s name, flag and anthem are banned from the next two Olympics and any world championships through December 16, 2022.

Only Russian athletes who are not implicated in doping or covering up positive tests can compete as individual athletes at major sporting events.  For figure Skating this includes the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games, and ISU world championships in all disciplines.  Russian Government representatives are also barred from attending such events unless they are invited by the Prime Minister or head of state of the host country.

The ruling also prevents Russia from hosting or bidding to host major sporting events during its ban during the suspension.  Any events already awarded must be rescinded and re-assigned to another country, with the wiggle room that events can be hosted if "it is legally or practically impossible" to do so.

This case arises out of a ruling in December 2019 by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) which declared the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) non-compliant and imposed four years of sanctions on Russia for falsifying results at the Moscow Laboratory.

RUSADA appealed these sanctions to the Court of Arbitration for Sport which upheld WADA’s finding that RUSADA was non-complaint but halved the duration of the ban.

The case will cost RUSADA a pretty penny, being ordered to pay a fine of either 10% of its 2019 income or $100,000, whichever is less, to WADA. They must also pay $1,270,000 for the costs incurred by WADA, will also have to pay 80 per cent of the costs of the case, and to pay WADA 400,000 Swiss francs (about $452,000) for its legal and other expenses incurred in the case.

10 Dec 2020 -  The ISU today announced the cancellation of the 2021 European championships, which had been scheduled for 21-31 January, 2021 in Zagreb Croatia.  The rink to be used for the competition is currently be used as a Covid-19 hospital ward and will be unavailable for the competition.  There is no other facility in Zagreb to hold the competition, the former arena being condemned due to earthquake damage.

The ISU also announced the cancellation of the Synchronized Junior World Championships which were supposed to take place in Lyon, France in March 2021, and the final cancellation of the 2020 Grand Prix Final, which to this point was only described as postponed.

The future of the test event for the Beijing Olympic Winter Games remains undecided.  The 2021 World Figure Skating Championships currently remains on the schedule, as an event that will be held without spectators.

24 Nov 2020 -  The ISU today announced the cancelation of the World Junior Figure Skating Championships which had been schedule to be held In Harbin, China on March 1-7, 2021.

The ISU also announced that the rescheduling of the Beijing Winter Olympics test event (which was to have been the now cancelled Grand Prix Final) remain under discussion.

19 Oct. 2020 -  The ISU today announced the cancelation of the Internationaux of France, what would have otherwise been the fourth stop of the 2020 Grand Prix of Figure Skating.

Currently, China, Japan and Russia remain on the Grand Prix schedule.

16 Oct. 2020 -  The ISU today announced the cancelation of the Four Continents Championships in Figure Skating and Speed skating.  This follows on the heels of the announcement of the cancellation of Skate Canada International, the second previously planned stop for the 2020 Grand Prix, earlier this week.

The 2021 Four Continents Figure Skating Championships were to have been held in Sydney, Australia.  Sydney now has the provisional allotment for the 2023 Four Continents Championship.

2020 Skate America remains on track to be held next week using a stringent "bubble" approach; while cancellation of Skate France and Rostelcom Cup in the near future is a strong possibility.

 Russia is undergoing a recent surge in Covid cases in a second wave, with outbreaks among athletes in several sports reported. Cases are also on the rise in Europe, with localized lockdowns being reimposed, and more expansive lockdowns under consideration.

6 Oct. 2020 - U.S. Figure Skating announced today two-time U.S. National Champions Madison Chock and Evan Bates have withdrawn from 2020 Skate America.

“After much consideration, we have decided to withdraw from Skate America,” Chock and Bates said. “Our training and preparation have been affected by the pandemic and at this time we are 100% focused on our preparation for the 2021 Toyota U.S. Figure Skating Championships. We will be staying at our training base in Montreal, but will certainly miss the thrill of competition and seeing our U.S. Figure Skating family. We wish everyone good health and good luck!”

30 Sep. 2020 - The ISU announced today the cancellation of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final, originally scheduled for Beijing/China - December 10-13, 2020

Regarding the test event, the ISU said, "Concerning the Olympic Test Events in Beijing there were also a number of logistical points raised by potentially participating teams that meant that hosting the competitions on the scheduled dates (close to the end of year holidays and National Championships) would have impacted on the number of participants, given the potential need to quarantine on returning to their home country."

In it's announcement the ISU also stated, "The ISU, in consultation with all stakeholders and considering the pandemic developments, is evaluating the continuation of the 2020/21 season, in particular the re-scheduling possibilities for the important Olympic Test Events. The ISU will communicate the conclusions at a later date."

29 Sep. 2020 - French pairs figure skater Morgan Cipres and his partner, Vanessa James, retired from the sport on Tuesday amid allegations that Cipres sent lewd photos to a 13-year-old American figure skater on Instagram. Cipres is under investigation by the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office in Florida for allegedly direct messaging two photos of his penis to a 13-year-old American figure skater in 2017.

2020 / 2021 Season

November Competitions

Nov 06 - Nov 08, 2020, ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating, Cup of China, Chongqing, CHN

Nov 13 - Nov 15, 2020, ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating, Internationaux de France, Grenoble FRA

Nov 20 - Nov 22, 2020, ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating, Rostelcom Cup, Moscow, RUS

Nov 27 - Nov 29, 2020, ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating, NHK Trophy, Osaka, JPN

December Competitions

Dec 10 - Dec 13, 2020, ISU Grand Prix of figure Skating Final, Beijing, CHN

2020-2021 ISU Grand Prix

Event Location Date
Skate America Las Vegas, Nevada, United States October 23–25
Skate Canada Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Oct 30– Nov 1
Cup of China Chongqing, China November 6–8
Internationaux de France Grenoble, France November 13–15
Rostelecom Cup Moscow, Russia November 20–22
NHK Trophy Osaka, Japan November 27–29
Grand Prix Final Beijing, China December 10–13
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