(14 August 2012) At the 2012 ISU Congress, the members agreed to a proposal to eliminate qualifying rounds from the World Championships. Implicit in this change was that the minimum TES score needed to compete in the Championships would be increased to limit the size of the competition to a reasonable number of entries.
Following the Congress, the ISU issued a communication specifying the new minimum scores. These scores have left some fans and federations in disbelief. The Israel Ice Skate federation has responded to these new required scores with the following letter to the ISU.
In this letter, federation president Boris Chait, points out that the new minimum scores are equivalent to the scores earned by the middle third of skaters at the 2012 World Championships. Chait goes on to say this policy discriminates against skaters who are not in the top tier of competitive skating and is contrary to the spirit of the rules.
To be devil's advocate for the moment, one can ask the federations 'what did you expect?' The goal in eliminating the qualifying rounds was to decrease the size and cost of the competition. By necessity that means not every country will have a skater allowed to compete in the competition. Since the members have been unwilling in the past to accept the idea of using the European and Four Continents Championships as the qualifying mechanism for the World Championships, the use of minimum TES scores have been implemented instead.
Still Chait may have a valid point that the bar was set too high. If the newly required minimum TES score corresponds to skaters who placed roughly tenth through twentieth last season, that would seem to predict the 2013 Championships will have significantly fewer entrants in the short programs and short dance than they did last season, representing significantly fewer countries.
One would have thought the minimum TES scores would have been set so that the number of skaters in the short programs and short dance would be roughly the same as they were in the past after the qualifying rounds. But it appears that is not the case. It seems like the numbers were pulled out of a magician's hat and not the result of a careful study of what impact the chosen standard would have on the size of the competition.
Perhaps the ISU should reconsider the minimum TES scores required to insure that the sizes of the short programs and short dance at the 2013 Championships are roughly the same as last season.
Copyright 2012 by George S. Rossano