The following table summarized the well balanced program requirements for pair skating. Pairs free skating programs must include the following:
|Lifts||At least three pair lifts, but not more than five. One must be a twist lift, but not more than two. One of these lifts may include a carry type dismount.|
|Carry||In addition to the overhead lifts, one lift may be a carry type lift, with or without full extension of the arms, in which there is no rotation during the lift.|
|Throws||Not more than two.|
|Solo Jumps||One but not more than two.|
|Jump Combination||One combination or sequence, with the number of jumps included optional.|
|Pair Spin Combination||One but not more than two. If only one is executed it must have a minimum of eight rotations and must include at least one change of foot by both partners, not necessarily executed at the same time. The second can be a pair spin combination or a pairs pin without change of foot or position. For this second spin there is no rotation requirement.|
|Side by Side Solo Spin or
|One with a minimum of six rotations. This can be a side-by-side spin on a single foot or single position or a combination spin with optional changes of foot and position. The spins should be executed in unison.|
|Death Spiral or other
|Up to one. If this is a second death spiral it must be different from first.|
Three to five are required, with full extension of the lifting arm/arms of the man. One of these lifts may have a carry type dismount during which the woman is carried by the man without rotation. While a program with three lifts meets the requirement, including only three lifts is viewed as marginal, indicating a team with poor lifting skills, or endurance. Having only three lifts in a senior program would generally adversely affect the first mark. In a champion caliber team a strong triple twist is expected. If a program includes two twist lifts, the second tends to be a lateral twist, to add variety to the program.
In addition to the overhead lifts, one carry type lift may be included. For this lift the man full extension of the lifting arm/arms is permitted but not required. There is no rotation by the man during a carry.
One or two throw jumps are required. Two throws is the norm for a typical senior pairs program, with a minimum of a throw double Axel and a triple throw expected. A champion caliber team will usually have two triple throws. The most commonly used triple throws are the toe loop, Salchow, and loop.
One or two solo jumps are required. At the senior level a minimum of double Axel is expected. All of the top teams attempt triple toe loops and a few teams may attempt triple Salchows.
One jump combination or sequence is required. Jumps in the solo jump and in the jump combination or sequence should be well matched in height and timing for the two partners. Teams that do not have well matched jumps attempt to hide it by compensating in their patterns preceding the takeoff, and/or in the timing of the takeoffs. The number of jumps in the combination/sequence is optional. Usually these consist of two jumps in combination, though sequences with up to three jumps are not uncommon.
One or two pairs spins are to be included, one of which must be a combination, are required. If only one is executed it must have a minimum of eight rotations and must include at least one change of foot by both partners, not necessarily executed at the same time (unlike in the short program where the change of foot must occur at the same time). The second pair spin can be a pair spin combination or a pairs spin without change of foot or position. For this second spin there is no rotation requirement.
One side-by-side solo spin is required. This can be in a single position or may be a combination spin. Spins should be well matched in positions, unison of the rotation, and timing of the entries, exits and changes of position. Typically one skater calls out the number of rotations and transitions to the other to aid in maintaining unison.
A senior program must include one death spiral. A second death spiral or another pivot type maneuver is permitted. If a program includes two death spirals they must be of a different nature (i.e., different edges).
A well balanced program must have connecting moves between the jumps and spins. In general, the requirements for these sequences are the same as in singles skating. In pairs, of course, the unison of the skaters in step sequences is critical, and the speed and closeness with which the partners skate affects the difficulty of the sequence. Pairs must include one recognizable step sequence and one recognizable MITF sequence (straight line, circular/oval, or serpentine patterns covering a significant portion of the ice). Traditionally these sequences consist of turns and small jumps. In addition MITF sequences incorporate edge type movements such as spread eagles, arabesques, Bauers, spirals, and other flowing moves with strong edges, covering a significant portion of the ice. In a MITF sequence which includes spirals only one of the two partners may be in the spiral position at any time. In executing step sequences and MITF sequences the skaters are expected to demonstrate the ability to skate forwards and backwards, on inside and outside edges, and to turn both clockwise and counter-clockwise.
Judges must take required deductions of 0.1 in the mark for Technical Merit for violations of the well balanced program requirements. These deductions are taken in each category where there is an excess or deficiency in the requirements. For example, if a program from a senior pair has one step sequence and no MITF sequence and no combination jump a deduction of 0.2 would be taken in the first mark for having too few elements in two categories. A program with 3 throws, on the other hand would get a deduction of 0.1 for having too many elements in the throw category.
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