The ISU Council met virtually on Dec. 10, to discuss the upcoming World Championships, the second half of the 2020-21 season and the qualifying criterion for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games. As previously reported, the 2020 Grand Prix Final, 2021 Four Continents, European and World Junior Synchronized Championships have been cancelled.

The 2021 World Championships are scheduled to take place in Stockholm, Sweden, March 22-28. A final decision on whether this competition will take place will be made by the ISU on Jan. 28. If it goes ahead, it will do so with changes to the regular format.

1.    As 2020 Worlds were not held, the quotas from the 2019 global competition forms the basis with respect to the number of entries per nation for the 2021 World Championships.

2.   In light of the current situation, Council members decided to amend Rule 513, which pertains to the draw for the free skates/free dance and adopt the same format as that of the Grand Prix Series; i.e., the starting order for the free skate/free dance will be the reverse order of the result of the short program/rhythm dance. This change will only apply to the 2020-21 season as it will avoid a mass-gathering of skaters/teams and allow for a safer flow of athletes and delegations with respect to  transportation, hotels, restaurants, etc. and will alleviate the crush of all skaters, team leaders and coaches leaving the rink at the same time after each short program competition.

3.  Taking into account the limited number of international competitions in the 2020-21 season and thus the limited opportunities for skaters to achieve the minimum total element scores, Council has agreed to adjust the procedure for obtaining the scores for the World Championships by making it more flexible. An ISU communication in this regard will be published shortly.

4.  In accordance with the “Guidelines for ISU Events during the Covid-19 Pandemic,” the number of accreditations for each skater/team, volunteers, officials and ISU representatives will be kept to a minimum:

• Coaches per pair/ice dance team: 1

• Team official per ISU member: 1
• Observers, person accompanying a judge: None
• Guests (ISU Guests, OC Guests) and chaperones: None

The attendance of ISU office holders at the remaining competitions of the 2020-21 season are limited to those having an official function at an ISU event or who live in the country where the event is being held.

On the off-chance that it is not possible to hold the World Championships as planned, Council will re-assess the remainder of the 2020-21 season and decide whether other figure skating events could be organized in its place.

Other Scheduled Competitions:

The World Team Trophy in Osaka, Japan (April 15-18, 2021) remains on the figure skating schedule.

The 2021 World Synchronized Championships are set to take place in Zagreb, Croatia, April 9-10. The ISU noted it has been made aware of the fact that synchronized teams in some nations have been unable to train due to COVID-19 restrictions and would therefore not be in a position to compete at the Championships. The ISU will conduct a survey among the member nations that have qualified teams in order to obtain an overview of the potential participation. Depending upon the pandemic developments and the survey result, the Council will make a decision on whether these Championships can go ahead. Based on the results of the 2019 World Synchro Championships, Canada, Finland, Italy, Russia and the U.S. can each field two teams.

2022 Olympic Winter Games Qualification

The qualifying competition for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games is Nebelhorn Trophy, which will take place September 22-25, 2021 in Oberstdorf, Germany. This competition will be conducted under new rules and a new format as per the ISU Communication of December 4, 2019. Nations no longer have the luxury of relying on one skater to earn multiple spots for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games. Only those nations whose skaters qualify for the free skate/free dance at the 2021 World Championships will be able to claim any of the berths available to them. If a country has two skaters competing at Worlds and only one makes the cut for the free, then another skater — not the one who qualified for the free skate at Worlds — will have to go to Nebelhorn to secure the other place.

Only one skater per nation in each discipline can earn an Olympic berth at Nebelhorn, which now puts a strict onus on nations to focus on sending athletes to Stockholm who can make the cut for the free skate/free dance to avoid having to send skaters to Nebelhorn Trophy to qualify.

In decades past, nations have coasted on one skater earning multiple places, and then fielding skaters to an Olympic Winter Games that would never have earned a place in their own right. This change seeks to eliminate that bypass as each individual skater/team will have to earn a spot for their nation. The 2022 Games will see reduced numbers in the pairs field (19) and also in ice dance (23).

Ice Dance Rhythms for the 2021-2022 Season – Junior and Senior:

At least two different rhythms from the following: ″Urban Dance Rhythms″ (such as hip hop, disco, swing, krump, popping, funk, etc.), jazz, reggae (reggaeton) and blues). To comply with the ethical values of sport, any music chosen for this discipline must not include aggressive and/or offending lyrics.

Pattern Dance Element: Midnight Blues for seniors and Blues for juniors.