The Rules of Ice Skating

The rules of ice skating have been tweaked over the years to make ice skating a fair and safe sport. With the incredible popularity of ice skating, it has become even more important for the rules to oversee the sport.

Ice skating is a somewhat subjective sport, with judges determining the winner based at least partially on their preferences. Unlike other sports, where there is a clear-cut winner, ice skaters receive points based on their skill and style. Those points are tallied at the end of an ice skating competition to determine the winner.

Points are awarded based on various aspects including jumping, spinning and footwork. There is a "caller" who is a paid technical specialist. The caller's job is to essentially "call out" the individual technical aspects of each performance for the judges to grade. These are judged between one and four points on the level of difficulty. Execution is graded between -3 and +3. Judges also focus on the ice skater's ability to transition. These points are added up to determine the ice skater's final score.

There are two portions to ice skating performances; the short program and the free skate. They are scored almost exactly the same, although the ice skaters much complete a list of techniques.

In international skating competitions, such as the Olympics, the scoring is anonymous. This is supposed to allow for more overall fairness in the scoring of the ice skaters.

The points system has changed repeatedly over the years, most recently in 2004 (which changed to the "Code of Points"). With each change there are those in favor of the new scoring system and those who are against it. Some think that the new points system allows the ice skaters to focus on their raw skill. Others feel that it takes away from the creativity and choreographing of ice skating.

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