We have had several discussions about what the program component "Skating Skills" is supposed to mean, and why all the other components seem to key on this one.
Here is a very interesting report on a PSA seminar on the ISU judging system conducted recently by David Kirby, Judy Blumberg and David Santee (Liz Leamy, reporter, from George Rossano's site).
The five program components are compared to designing a car.[Although jumps and spins are still important] ultimately...these elements don’t mean a thing if a competitor cannot skate well, a situation that unfortunately seems to occur more often than one would actually expect. Marks instantly decline when a skater walks through their elements and viewers tend to lose interest, according to IJS officials [my emphasis]...
Some of the most common mistakes that prohibit development of a fine-skilled skater include stiff knees, bending too far forward, pushing with toe picks, balancing on the incorrect part of the blade, using incomplete stroking edges and short jerky steps, skating in straight lines rather than using curves and edges and skating mostly on two feet rather than one. These characteristics, taken separately or as a collective whole, can prevent the development of a skater into a top contender in a major way...
This spring, the ISU issued a video with examples of exceptional component skating. Some of the American skaters featured included Brian Boitano, the 1988 U.S Olympic champion and Paul Wylie, the 1992 U.S. Olympic silver medalist, among others.
http://www.iceskatingintnl.com/curre...%20Seminar.htm[The Skating Skills component is] like the engine of a car; the transitions are like the transmission and ought to be seamless; choreography is the body, shape and design; interpretation is the paint, lighting and chrome design; and performance and execution represent the wheels and brakes.