A Few Questions About The Sport From A Novice (Probably a few stupid ones too) | Golden Skate

A Few Questions About The Sport From A Novice (Probably a few stupid ones too)

alexocfp

Medalist
Joined
Nov 28, 2020
Country
United-States
Warning: there are in fact going to be stupid questions in this post.

I know that the Olympics, and World Championships are the big ones, and then the GP‘s but what are the challenger events? And how does one go about running an event? Do you need a ISU liscence? Or can anyone just run an event?

Last weekend there was an event in Budapest and Germany for instance. How are they able to run the event?

Do the smaller events have entry restrictions? In tennis, the top pros can’t enter low ranking events for instance.

And what are the entry requirements for events big and small? Where would a new skater start and how would they move up? Do they have a centralized ranking system or table?

Let’s say, hypothetically since I don’t have kids, that my daughter did not inherit her dad’s unathlelic genes and is actually a good athlete. She decides she wants to try this competitive skating out.

How does she get into events and rise up through the ranks without any experience or record to speak of? Obviously dad has already mortgaged the house and all his life savings to make her good, so please end this hypothetical by making her a multi time world and Olympic champion so he can keep the house and turn a profit as her sometimes shady but always not reputable agent. Haha

Also, a question about competitions: how are the actual skating programs determined? And can you deviate from the planned program without penalty?

I‘m not even going to ask anythimg technical at this point because it will be a lost cause.
 

sandraskates

Final Flight
Joined
Oct 31, 2006
Country
United-States
Warning: there are in fact going to be stupid questions in this post.

I know that the Olympics, and World Championships are the big ones, and then the GP‘s but what are the challenger events? And how does one go about running an event? Do you need a ISU liscence? Or can anyone just run an event?

Last weekend there was an event in Budapest and Germany for instance. How are they able to run the event?

Do the smaller events have entry restrictions? In tennis, the top pros can’t enter low ranking events for instance.

And what are the entry requirements for events big and small? Where would a new skater start and how would they move up? Do they have a centralized ranking system or table?

Let’s say, hypothetically since I don’t have kids, that my daughter did not inherit her dad’s unathlelic genes and is actually a good athlete. She decides she wants to try this competitive skating out.

How does she get into events and rise up through the ranks without any experience or record to speak of? Obviously dad has already mortgaged the house and all his life savings to make her good, so please end this hypothetical by making her a multi time world and Olympic champion so he can keep the house and turn a profit as her sometimes shady but always not reputable agent. Haha

Also, a question about competitions: how are the actual skating programs determined? And can you deviate from the planned program without penalty?

I‘m not even going to ask anythimg technical at this point because it will be a lost cause.

Can't answer your question about the foreign competitions. I also cannot address US competitions that are run under the ISI program (the alternate program to US Figure Skating / USFSA).

In US Figure Skating there are sanction requirements to host and run a competition. To run / host a competition by an affiliated skating club, they must receive approval from US Figure Skating to host it, and run it according to rules and SafeSport requirements.

You hypothetical child is not going to be in a high level competition right off the bat. It takes YEARS of practice to skate at the level you see on TV. However, USFSA has opened up competitions for all levels of skaters, basically starting at the rock-bottom Learn to Levels to encourage skaters to stay in the sport. This goes for Adults too.

As your hypothetical child takes and passes tests, the level passed will determine the category into which they can enter in a competition, and there will be rules as to what can be / should be included in a program.
Only a minuscule amount of skaters that start the sport will progress to level that you see on TV.

More information on the low-level competitions can be found here: https://www.usfigureskating.org/skate/compete/compete-usa

Higher and qualifying levels - here: https://www.usfigureskating.org/skate/compete/qualifying-competitions

Edited to add: The competitor will need to be a member of whatever governing rules are being used for the competition (Learn to Skate, USFSA, and probably ISI). There may some deviation from this but in my experience, this is true.
 
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macy

Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2011
building off the last post-

i'd say a rough estimate on how long it takes a skater to reach senior elite ranks is at least 10 years. there are some very rare exceptions, but i'd say this is pretty accurate. many times it takes longer than that. for example, it took Hanyu 12 years to debut on the senior level internationally from when he started skating. it took Zagitova 10, Sotnikova 11. these are all olympic champions. many skaters don't ever make it out of regionals in the US.

like sandraskates said, the skaters who reach this level are one in thousands. they were born with the physical and mental ability and all the puzzle pieces came together just right for them- the coaches, the training regimen, the timing, the drive, the determination.

USFSA generally requires a skater to start with the Learn to Skate program which consists of 8 levels last i knew. you start by learning basic skills like stroking and how to fall and get up and by the end you should know how to do things like a 1 foot spin and a waltz jump. after that, you can find a coach to start private lessons. a coach has to be certified in order to give lessons. from there you will probably begin learning one foor forward spins like a sit spin and camel spin, and single jumps like a salchow and toe loop. the 2 beginner levels, low beginner and high beginner do not have any requirements to compete in as far as i'm aware. for all other levels, USFSA has moves in the field and freestyle tests skaters are required to take to advance levels. moves in the field are steps, edgework, turns, etc. and freestyle tests consist of successfully performing required elements in your program- jumps, spins, footwork, etc. your program must be the length of time required of the level you are testing. both are done in front of judges and i believe start at pre-preliminary, if i remember correctly. skaters must pass both tests in order to compete at that level in qualifying competitions and internationally (for novice, junior and senior).

as far as competing, a skater will spend most of their time in the lower levels at club competitions, held by skating clubs. these are sanctioned by USFSA, held throughout the year and most do not serve as any sort of qualifying competition. anyone can enter a club competition, you just have to fill out a form and pay a fee. these competitions can have all disciplines and levels.

i don't really understand or know the new qualification pipeline to nationals the USFSA has now, so i'll explain the old way.

skaters used to be able to qualify to junior nationals at the juvenile and intermediate levels. you begin in your area's regionals and qualify to final rounds through a qualifying round followed a short program round. there are usually several QRs at these levels because there are so many competing in singles. you need to make the top 4 in final rounds to advance to junior nationals. these levels were not included in competing at a sectionals to qualify for nationals like the higher levels. i believe there were qualifying rounds at jr nationals, if you make top 4 or something you make final rounds, similar to regionals. from there is crowned a national champion and your season ends.

for the 3 remaining higher levels, novice, junior and senior, you begin at regionals just as before, but then you go on to sectionals if you make top 4. there are 3 sectional competitions across the nation depending on where you live. i'm pretty sure there are no QRs at sectionals, only short and long programs. this further narrows the field down and the top 4 there in each level and discipline will make nationals. senior level skaters will join others who had byes to nationals, which happens if you make top 5 the previous year at nationals.

from here you can be selected for international events such as 4CC and worlds, but USFSA also pays attention to summer competitions at novice, junior and senior to select skaters for the JGP, senior Bs and the host spot at skate america.

program content and length are largely determined by level. the higher up you are the longer your program, and you are introduced to the short program at the juvenile level. each level has requirements for what kind of elements must be included in your programs. music, choreography and packaging are entirely determined by you and your team. i don't know the rules surrounding elements outside of the requirements, i assume most are invalidated and you receive nothing for them. i don't know about penalties for this.
 
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MCsAngel2

On the Ice
Joined
Apr 10, 2019
Country
Scotland
These are helpful links about testing:




The main thing is, as Macy stated, that it takes a lot of time (many years) to work through all the required levels and required tests to get to senior elite status. National, Grand Prix, and Olympic skaters are all elite seniors. That's why there's a trope about top figure skaters all having started around age three - for singles, you pretty much have to, if you want to reach seniors in time to have a couple to few years' experience before hitting your optimum physical peak in your late teens to early 20s.

Note that there is also an adult testing track. The sport is not only relegated to young kids. How old is your daughter?
 
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alexocfp

Medalist
Joined
Nov 28, 2020
Country
United-States
Note that there is also an adult testing track. The sport is not only relegated to young kids. How old is your daughter?

My daughter in this example was in fact hypothetical. I don’t have kids as I mentioned in the OP.

But 3 posts in and she isn‘t a world champion yet. I’ve lost a lot of money as her agent. So, I’m putting her up for adoption since I can’t make money off her skating. Haha

But all kidding aside, these have all been informative posts. I learned a lot.
 

gliese

On the Ice
Joined
Oct 31, 2020
Country
United-States
For ISI there are 8 beginner levels IIRC and 10 freestyle levels. There are also dance and pair tests, but those are not popularly used. There is also synchronized skating.

I can't talk much about the basic levels as I have only coached the first three, however I have skated the freestyle levels for years. The freestyle levels are done at small increments at the beginning (for example, there are 5 levels of only single jumps or lower), but the increments get larger (the remaining 5 levels cover all double AND triple jumps). I'm currently skating Freestyle 8 which has two double jumps (the loop and the flip). The remaining two doubles are covered in Freestyle 9, I believe, and triples are required on Freestyle 10 (the last level) with an alternative jump option for those who cannot do triples. While many athletes can cover two levels a year for the lower levels, it can take athletes 2 years to move up one level at the higher levels.

The levels require specific moves unlike USFS where one can choose which jumps they want to do. Even the step sequence is very specific and required. Skaters only compete agains skaters the same age and level as them. It is 100% recreational for most people.
 
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