Since the ISU judging system has been introduced in 2003 in international competitions, the ISU has been constantly developing and fine-tuning the system. The ISU Congress in 2018 adopted some important changes to adapt the system to the development of the sport. There are now a total of 11 Grades of Execution. Together with the GOE, a new Scale of Value for the elements has been created, which is based on the percentage principle. Each plus or minus step in the GOE results in increasing or decreasing the value by 10 % in Single and Pair Skating and by 16 % in Ice Dance.
In Single and Pair Skating, there are six bullets that judges are looking for when awarding the positive GOEs for each element. The more bullets are fulfilled, the higher the GOE is. However, for +4 and +5 GOE, the three most important bullets are mandatory.
+1 – 1 bullet
+2 – 2 bullets
+3 – 3 bullets
+4 – 4 bullets
+5 – 5 bullets or more
In cases of errors, judges reduce the GOE depending on how big the error is.
For example, in jumps the bullets for positive GOEs are:
- very good height and distance
- good take-off and landing
- effortless throughout (including rhythm in a combination or sequence)
- steps into a jump, unexpected or creative entry
- very good body position from take-off to landing
- element matches the music
The bullets in bold are the three mandatory ones for +4 and +5 GOE.
The reductions for errors are:
Landing on two feet, stepping out: -3 to -4
Two three-turns between jumps in a combination: -2 to -3
Wrong edge (“e”): -3 to -4
Unclear edge (“!”): -1 to -3
Downgrade (“<<”): -3 to -4
Underrotation (“<”): -2 to -3
Poor speed, height or air position: -1 to -3
Touch-down with both hands: -2 to -3
Touch-down with one hand or free foot: -1 to -2
Loss of flow or rhythm in combination or sequence: -1 to -2
Weak landing: -1 to -3
Poor take-off: -2 to -3
Long preparation (telegraphing) -2 to -3
For all elements positive bullets and errors have been identified. For spins for example, positive bullets include:
Good speed and acceleration during the spin
Good, controlled, clear positions
Maintaining a centered spin
Negative bullets include:
Travelling -1 to -3
Touch down with free foot or hand: -1 to -3
Poor, awkward positions: -1 to -3
Slow, loss of speed: -1 to -3
For lifts, judges count as bullets:
Very good take-off and landing
Good speed, flow and ice coverage
Effortless throughout (including rotation and changing of positions)
Very good air positions
Smooth footwork of the man
Element matches the music
And the reduced the GOE for example for:
Slight problems in the lifting process: -1 to -2
Serious problems in the lifting process: -3
Lady starts or lands on two feet: -2
In Ice Dance, smoothness, elegance, originality and creativity are important features for positive GOEs for elements. Musicality is a set criteria.
Judges are evaluating the cleanness and sureness of steps and turns in twizzles and step sequences, the speed across the ice and maintenance of speed or acceleration during the element such as lifts, step sequences and spins as well as the body lines and poses of both partners.
Negative features are stumbles (-2 per stumble), loss of balance (-1), element does not reflect the character of the chosen rhythm (-1 to -2), poor execution, labored, uncontrolled (-1 to -2)
As a result of the change of the range in the GOEs, all statistics start from zero for the season 2018/19. All previous statistics are now historical.
The ISU Technical Committees Chair for Single and Pair Skating as well as for Ice Dance give a detailed explanation of how the GOEs are determined in webinars that can be viewed on the ISU YouTube Development Channel here.