The USFSA has released the following statement on the subject of the ISU judging systems.


MARCH 12, 2003


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The United States Figure Skating Association (USFSA) today announced the following actions regarding the International Skating Union (ISU) interim and proposed new judging systems.

The USFSA Executive Committee has approved the following:

1. That the USFSA opposes the use of the interim judging system and, through dialogue with other ISU member federations, will lead efforts to make adjustments in the display of marks as soon as possible.

2. That the USFSA requests clarification of ISU Rule 121 confirming that the proposed new judging system (approved as a project at the ISU Congress) not be implemented unless approved by the figure skating section at the next ISU Congress.

3. That before the new judging system is adopted, the following be in place.

o A system for the selection of judges that provides a fair and equitable distribution for the skating population of the world.

o A system for displaying all judges scores.

o A comprehensive program for training international judges on this system before they are assigned to a panel.

o A clear policy for the evaluation of a judge's performance.

o A policy for lifetime bans if there are proven cases of collusion by a judge, referee or other person involved in providing input to a skaters marks.

"As we come to the close of the 2002-03 competition season, it is clear that the interim judging system has proven to be a failure where it counts the most - public accountability," said Phyllis Howard, USFSA President. "The display of marks under the interim system provides no feedback to skaters or coaches and creates an environment of mistrust. The new judging system can provide a vast amount of new and helpful information and will provide a valuable tool to improve performance."

The USFSA Executive Committee's actions were based on the recommendations of the International Strategy Task Force which was created to address the interim judging system adopted by the 2002 ISU Congress and examine international issues to allow the USFSA to improve the position of the organization in the international figure skating community.

The task force stated that the technology for the new proposed judging system is promising and has the potential for providing new and helpful information to athletes and coaches. The new system also has the potential to provide better and fairer results for all athletes. In addition, they stated that the proposed system needs to be tested and should be used at selected events next season.


Although perhaps a little belatedly, the USFSA has again shown leadership and common sense on the issues of judging reform, and the positions taken in the above release are highly commended.  We even agree with the statement that a new system has the potential to improve the way competitions are evaluated and scored; though we remain unequivocally dissatisfied with the specific approach the ISU is taking for the proposed system.   Regarding testing at selected events, one would hope that "testing" means side-by-side comparison with the current system and not exclusive use as the official scoring system for those events.

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