Figure Skating Judging System

Competition Officials

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. spins, footwork). He/She identifies illegal or additional elements and falls.

The Technical Controller authorizes and/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 Score) and the quality of the performance (Presentation Score)

Their scores will be based on specific quality criteria for each element and will provide a comprehensive assessment of each skater’s skills and performance, without comparing each skater 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 skaters’ 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 Judges will form the result. Out of these 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

Each element performed has a base value and the judges assign a “Grade of Execution” to the element allowing the element to increase in value when done well or decrease in value when done poorly. Each plus or minus step in the GOE results in increasing or decreasing the value by 10 % in Single and Pair Skating and by 16 % in Ice Dance.

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 spins, steps, lifts, etc. The level of points of the Base Value depends on the difficulty of the element.

Some elements such as spins and footwork sequences 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 by the respective Technical Committees 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.

Presentation Score

In addition to the Technical Score, the Judges will award points on a scale from 0.25 to 10.00 with increments of 0.25 for the Presentation Score to grade the overall presentation of the performance with five (5) Program Components: Skating Skills, Transitions, Performance, Composition, and Interpretation of the Music /Timing (for Ice Dance). For Pair Skating and Ice Dance there must be equal demonstration of the criteria by both skaters.

The Components definitions and criteria are now updated in order to avoid possible overlapping and make the criteria more understandable and clear.

  • Skating Skills is defined by the overall cleanness and sureness, edge control and flow over the ice surface demonstrated by a command of the skating vocabulary (edges, steps, turns etc.), the clarity of technique and the use of effortless power to accelerate and vary speed.
  • Transitions which is the variety, difficulty and purposeful use of intricate footwork, positions, movements and holds that link all elements.
  • Performance is the physical, emotional and intellectual involvement of the skater/pair/ couple as they deliver the intent of the music and composition (e.g. projection, carriage, variety, contrasts, personality, and projection).
  • Composition is an intentionally developed and/or original arrangement of all types of movements according to the principles of musical phrase, space, pattern, and structure (e.g. idea, concept, vision, mood, pattern, multidimenstional use of space, phrasing, originality, design.)
  • Interpretation of the Music /Timing (for Ice Dance) it is the personal, creative, and genuine translation of the rhythm, character and content of music to movement on ice (e.g. timing, expression of the music, use of finesse, relationship between the skaters, skating to the rhythmic beat) in Rhythm Dance and keeping a good balance between skating to the beat and melody in the Free Dance.

Final Score

The Total Segment Score for each participant in each Segment of a competition (Short Program/Rhythm Dance, Free Skating/Free Dance or Pattern Dance(s)) is calculated by adding the Total Elements Score and the Program Component Scores, subtracting any deductions (for example -1.0 for a fall).

In Ice Dance, for events with two Pattern Dances, the Total Score for each dance will be multiplied by a factor of 0.5.

The Total Segment Score of both programs are added and the result constitutes the Final Score in a competition. 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 skaters.

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.

The media, skating fans and general public can find statistics and detailed data on the ISU website:

Officials Accountability

The Skaters’ performances are video recorded and can be reviewed on screen at any time.

A computer checks and identifies possible anomalies which are further checked by an appointed Officials Assessment Commission. These anomalies can either be supported or refuted by the Commission as possibilities for a variance in the scoring. Refuted possibilities or repeated errors by a single official could result in a sanction.

Personal Bests / World Standings

The ISU maintains on-going statistics regarding individual records. This includes information on personal bests, highest scores, seasonal bests etc. The most important individual results over the period of the last two years are ranked in the World Standings. The “Seasons Best” is displayed for each skater/couple on the scoreboard in the arena.

Most important changes accepted by the ISU Congress 2018

  1. Pair Skating: increase the number of qualified Pairs for the Free Program, from 16 to 20, at ISU World Figure Skating Championships.
  2. Short Dance: change the name fo the segment from “Short Dance” to “Rhythm Dance”
  3. Grade of Execution (GOE): increase the scoring range from 7 to 11 with the introduction of a wider Grade of Execution score from -3/+3 to -5/+5.
  4. Illegal / Elements / Movements: in order to eliminate unnecessary restrictions, the list would consist of only two movements: somersault type jumps and lifts with wrong holds.
  5. Jump Sequences: a proposed new definition - a jump sequence consists of two jumps of any number of revolutions, beginning with any jump, immediately followed by an Axel type jump with a direct step from the landing curve of the first jump to the take-off curve of the Axel jump.
  6. Olympic Winter Games Single & Pair Skating and Ice Dance qualification: a change to open up the possibility to include more ISU Members and to have the best skaters entered in the Olympic Witner Games was approved.

Minimum Total Technical Scores

Skaters/couples participating in ISU Championships must have reached in an ISU recognized International Competition (as per Article 38, paragraph 7 of the ISU Constitution and Rule 107, paragraphs 1 to 9 of the ISU General Regulations) during the ongoing season or the immediately preceding season the applicable minimum Technical Scores (both for Short Program/Short Dance and Free Skating/ Free Dance).

For full and up to date information on the current Minimum Total Technical Scores please refer to the ISU Media Guide for Figure Skating

Required Elements

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

Software & Hardware

For more information, please visit


pdf ISU Judging System advantages over 6.0


pdf ISU Judging System Lower Class Events