Synchronized Skating Judging System

ISU Championships are held in accordance with the International Skating Union (ISU) Regulations. The ISU Judging System used at the Figure Skating events is the one adopted by the 2004 ISU Congress. It is constructed as follows:

Championships Officials

For all ISU Championships the following Officials are necessary:

1. A Referee
2. A panel of 9 Judges maximum
3. A Technical Controller
4. A Technical Specialist
5. An Assistant Technical Specialist
6. A Data Operator
7. A Replay Operator

Technical Panel

The Technical Panel is composed of the Technical Controller, the Technical Specialist and the Assistant Technical Specialist, each one from different ISU Members (countries). A Data Operator assists them for recording purposes. An instantaneous slow-motion video replay system operated by a Replay Operator supports the Technical Panel in the identification of the performed elements.

The Technical Specialist, assisted by the Assistant Technical Specialist, identifies and calls the performed elements and the specific Levels of Difficulty of certain performed elements (e.g Line, Moves in the Field, Circle Step Sequence). He/She identifies illegal or additional elements and falls.

The Technical Controller authorizes or corrects all calls, supervises the Data Operator and can propose corrections, if necessary.
In case of disagreement, the majority among the three Officials prevails.


Under the ISU Judging System the Judges focus entirely on evaluating the quality of each element performed (Technical aspect) and the quality of the performance. Their scores will be based on specific quality criteria for each element and will provide a comprehensive assessment of each team’s skills and performance, without comparing each team in relation to all others. The Judge enters the scores through a touch screen unit. At ISU Events Judges may review, in real time, certain elements of the teams’ performances by means of an instantaneous Video Replay System.

There will be a panel of a maximum of 9 Judges’ per segment. The scores of these 9 Judges will form the result. Out of these 9 scores, the highest and lowest score of each element or program component are ignored and the average will be taken from the remainder, generating the trimmed mean (average score).

Technical Score

The score for the element is composed of a “Base Value” of each element (Technical Panel) and the so-called “Grade of Execution - GOE” (Judges).
A group of experts, including experienced skaters and coaches, have worked out a summary list of each element’s Base Value as well as its “Level of Difficulty” in case of blocks, wheels, lines etc. The level of points of the Base Value depends on the difficulty of the element. Some elements such as Blocks, Wheels, Lines, Moves in the Field, etc. are further broken down depending on their “Level of Difficulty”.
These element Base Values and Levels of Difficulty ensure that skaters receive the appropriate and consistent credit for every element performed. The Base Value of all recognized elements are reviewed and published annually by the ISU in a Communication.
The name of the identified element will be listed instantaneously on the Judge’s screen. The Judge then simply grades the quality of the element on a scale of +5, +4, +3, +2, +1, 0, -1, -2, -3, -4, -5. With this scale and the resulting “quality judgment”, the Judge can either increase or decrease the Base Value of each performed element.
The total of all the elements scores gives the Technical Score.

Program Component Score

The Skater's/Pair's/Couple’s whole performance is evaluated by three Program Components: Composition, Presentation and Skating Skills. For Pair Skating and Ice Dance there must be equal demonstration of the criteria by both Skaters.

Composition: the intentional, developed and/or original arrangement of the repertoire of all types of movements into a meaningful whole according to the principles of proportion, unity, space, pattern, and musical structure. In evaluating the Composition, the following must be considered:

  • Unity;

  • Connections between and within elements;

  • Pattern and ice coverage;

  • Multidimensional movements and use of space;

  • Choreography reflecting musical phrase and form.

Presentation: the demonstration of engagement, commitment and involvement based on an understanding of the music and composition. In evaluating the Presentation, the following must be considered:

  • Expressiveness and projection;

  • Variety and contrast of energy and of movements;

  • Musical sensitivity and timing;

  • Unison, oneness and awareness of space (Pair Skating, Ice Dance).

Skating Skills: the ability of the Skater to execute the skating repertoire of steps, turns, and skating movements, with blade and body control. In evaluating the Skating Skills, the following must be considered:

  • Variety of edges, steps, turns, movements and directions;

  • Clarity of edges, steps, turns, movements and body control;

  • Balance and glide;

  • Flow;

  • Power and speed.

Final Score

The Total Segment Score is obtained from the Technical Score plus the Presentation Score, after having subtracted any deduction (for example 1.0 for a fall of one person).
Then, the Short Program and the Free Skating scores are added together to form the final score.
The participant with the highest total score wins.

Availability of Data and Statistics

At the end of each segment, a list will be published which includes all relevant scoring data for teams.
Under the ISU Judging System there is far more data available to analyze than before. This data can help the National Federations, athletes and coaches to improve future performances.
Statistics and detailed data is available on the ISU website:

Officials Accountability

The teams performances are video recorded and can be reviewed on DVD at any time.
A computer checks and identifies possible anomalies of the Technical Panel or the Judges. If anomalies are identified action is taken. Officials who make repeated errors are subject to sanctions.

Required Elements Short Program

For full and up to date information on the current required Elements please refer to the ISU Media Guide for Synchronized Skating

Software & Hardware

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