International Skating Union

International Skating Union

Infobox sport governing body
title = International Skating Union
image_border = International_Skating_Union.svg
category = Skating
jurisdiction = International
year formed = 1892
headquarters = flagicon|SUI Lausanne
president = flagicon|ITA Ottavio Cinquanta
chairman =
key staff =
website =
The International Skating Union (ISU) is the international governing body for competitive ice skating disciplines, including figure skating, synchronized skating, speed skating, and short track speed skating. It was founded in Scheveningen, The Netherlands in 1892, making it one of the oldest international sport federations. The ISU was formed to establish standardized international rules and regulations for the skating disciplines it governs, and to organize international competitions in these disciplines. It is now based in Lausanne, Switzerland.


The International Skating Union (ISU) was founded in 1892 to govern speed skating and figure skating.citation|title=Speed Skating|publisher=Sports Illustrated|date=2002|url=|accessdate=2007-11-12] In 1895, the ISU streamlined its mission to deal only with amateur competitors and not professionals. The organization hosted its first first amateur skating championship in February 1896 in St. Petersburg, Russia. [citation|title=Ice Skating Champions|newspaper=New York Times|Date=December 3, 1895|url=|accessdate=2007-11-12]

The United States and Canada formed a competing organization, the International Skating Union of America (ISUA), in 1907. [citation|title=New Skating Organization|newspaper=New York Times|date=February 3, 1907|url=|accessdate=2007-11-12] Within the next two years, twelve European nations had joined the ISU, and the ISUA had only its original members. European and North American figure skaters rarely competed against each other due to differences in their styles of skating.citation|title=Figure Skating Becoming Popular|newspaper=New York Times|date=March 19, 1911|url=|accessdate=2007-11-12] The ISU had "systematized and arranged" the sport of figure skating, with competitions including "a selection of ten or twelve numbers from the I. S. U. programme, ... five minutes' free skating to music, ... [and] special figures" on one foot.citation|last=Browne|first=George H.|title=Artistic Skating in the International Style|newspaper=New York Times|date=November 28, 1909|url=|accessdate=2007-11-12] In 1911, Canada joined the ISU, leaving the United States as the only major competitor to not be a member.

Short track speed skating gained its own world championship event, hosted by the ISU, in 1976. At the time, the sport was known as indoor speed skating, but it was renamed short-track when indoor rinks for the longer speed skating events were introduced.citation|last=Araton|first=Harvey|title=Sports of the Times; Short-Tracking Skating Crashes Into View|date=February 18, 2002|url=|accessdate=2007-11-12|newspaper=New York Times]

By 1988, 38 nations had joined the ISU. Within the next few years, the ISU abandoned one of its long-held practices, eliminating the use of mandatory figures in the singles' figure skating competitions and reducing their use in ice dancing. [citation|title=No More Figures in Figure Skating|newspaper=New York Times|date=June 9, 1988|url=|accessdate=2007-11-12]

After the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, the ISU implemented sweeping changes to many of its events. In one of the short track speed skating events, Apolo Anton Ohno was awarded the gold medal after the disqualification of Kim Dong-Sung. Although the South Korean delegation protested the disqualification, ISU rules did not allow for a review of the official's call. Several months later, the ISU approved the use of video replay, when available, to review referee decisions. [citation|title=PLUS: Speed-Skating; Replays Approved in Short Track|date=June 6, 2002|newspaper=New York Times|url=|accessdate=2007-11-12] The rules for judging figure skating were also changed as the result of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games figure skating scandal. According to Ottavio Cinquanta, president of the ISU, "'Something was wrong there,' ... 'Not just the individual but also the system. It existed for 70 years. Now we are trying to replace one system with another.'"citation|last=Vecsey|first=George|title=Sports of the Times; Don't Hide Identities of Skating Judges|date=March 25, 2003|newspaper=New York Times|url=|accessdate=2007-11-12] A new figure skating judging system took effect in 2004, eliminating the 6.0 perfect scores and instead giving points for various technical elements. [citation|publisher=CBC|title=Skating Union passes new judging system|url=|accessdate=2007-11-12|date=June 9, 2004] Mathematicians conducted a study and concluded that the new voting system is more flawed than the previous one.citation|last=Monastersky|first=Richard|title=Mathematicians Find Problems With New System for Scoring Figure Skating|publisher=Chronicle of Higher Education|url=|accessdate=2007-11-13]

ISU Championships

In addition to sanctioning other international competitions, the ISU designates the following competitions each year as "ISU Championships":

*Speed skating:
**World Allround Speed Skating Championships
**World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships (held only in non-Olympic years)
**World Sprint Speed Skating Championships
**World Junior Speed Skating Championships
**World Short Track Speed Skating Championships
**World Short Track Speed Skating Team Championships
**World Junior Short Track Speed Skating Championships
**European Speed Skating Championships
**European Short Track Speed Skating Championships

*Figure skating:
**World Figure Skating Championships
**World Junior Figure Skating Championships
**World Synchronized Skating Championships
**European Figure Skating Championships
**Four Continents Figure Skating Championships

Note that events such as the Olympic Winter Games and the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating are not ISU Championships. However, they do count towards Personal Best scores.

First world championships

Dates and locations of first world championships in various disciplines held under the auspices of the ISU:
* 1893: Speed skating (men only), Amsterdam
* 1896: Figure skating (men only), St. Petersburg
* 1906: Figure skating (ladies), Davos
* 1908: Figure skating (pairs), St. Petersburg
* 1936: Speed skating (women), Stockholm
* 1952: Figure skating (ice dance), Paris
* 1970: Sprint speed skating, West Allis, Wisconsin
* 1978: Short track speed skating, Solihull, UK
* 2000: Synchronized skating, Minneapolis


As of the summer of 2008, the ISU consisted of 63 member nations, with a governing council of 11. To add any proposal to the agenda of meetings, it must have support from four-fifths of the members. Proposals on the agenda are approved with a two-thirds majority vote.citation|last=Roberts|first=Selena|title=Figure Skating; Skating Union to Consider Changes|newspaper=New York Times|date=June 3, 2002|url=|accessdate=2007-11-12]

Presidents of the ISU

* 1882 – 1894 flagicon|NED Willem J. H. Mulier
* 1894 – 1924 flagicon|SWE Viktor Balck
* 1925 – 1937 flagicon|SWE Ulrich Salchow
* 1937 – 1945 flagicon|NED Gerrit W. A. van Laer
* 1945 – 1953 flagicon|GBR Herbert J. Clarke
* 1953 – 1967 flagicon|SUI James Koch
* 1967 – 1967 flagicon|AUT Ernst Labin
* 1967 – 1980 flagicon|FRA Jacques Favart
* 1980 – 1994 flagicon|NOR Olaf Poulsen
* 1994 – present flagicon|ITA Ottavio Cinquanta

ee also

*International figure skating


External links

* [ ISU official web site]
* [ ISU Judging System] - Official site for ISU's judging system (software and manuals)

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