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Off-season figure skating news

Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov perform during a South Korean figure skater Yuna Kim's farewell ice show at the Olympic Gymnastics Stadium on May 6, 2014 in Seoul, South Korea.
Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov perform during a South Korean figure skater Yuna Kim's farewell ice show at the Olympic Gymnastics Stadium on May 6, 2014 in Seoul, South Korea.
Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

A lot has taken place since the 2014 World Championships wrapped up a few months ago. Many would think that after an Olympic season things would finally be calming down, but that is certainly not the case. From Meryl Davis and Charlie White’s appearance on Dancing with the Stars to the outrage lit up by ISU’s President Ottavio Cinquanta, things have been anything but quiet on the figure skating front.

It is clear that changes are imminent for this next figure skating season. Many are concerned for the future of the sport as rules have been altered, teams have broken up and complaints have been filed. Hopefully all of these changes will bring about the right kind of changes to help get the sport back on track, but fans and experts alike are expressing their concern for the sport. So what’s been happening in the world of figure skating lately?

Cinquanta’s proposal creates a stir
Cinquanta’s proposal creates a stir John Gichigi/Getty Images

Cinquanta’s proposal creates a stir

International Skating Union President, Ottavio Cinquanta, released a letter about making some radical changes to figure skating during the World Championships, which created a disturbing wave within the figure skating community. Since then petitions have begun requesting his resignation and requesting that Cinquanta's proposals, which include eliminating the short program, be denied.

Recently United States Figure Skating (USFS) made a statement that the reason for their silence about the “proposal” was that they did not see it as an official proposal at all, but instead viewed it as statement made in an internal email. USFS President, Pat St. Peter, reassured figure skating fans that if there was indeed a proposal on the table to eliminate the short program that they would adamantly be against it.

Though this has brought a level of calm to the figure skating community, many are still concerned that Cinquanta’s recommendations could easily move from opinions to an actual proposal.

Meryl Davis makes it to the Dancing with the Stars Finale
Meryl Davis makes it to the Dancing with the Stars Finale Jonathan Leibson

Meryl Davis makes it to the Dancing with the Stars Finale

Meryl Davis and Charlie White have taken the dance world by storm. Between winning gold in Sochi and now with their stellar performances on Dancing with the Stars these two have become household names.

Starring in both Stars on Ice and Dancing with the Stars this team has got to be exhausted, yet it does not show. Though it is odd to see them dancing with different partners and competing against each other, it has been incredible to watch each of them shine so brightly on a different kind of stage.

Their ability to interpret music, learn new programs quickly, and their overall dance quality has kept them in the running, until last week when Charlie White was eliminated before the final.

Davis has had quite a spark with her partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, and has made it into the final which will be airing Monday and Tuesday night, May 19 and 20, where the winners will be determined.

South Korea files complaint
South Korea files complaint Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

South Korea files complaint

The Korean Skating Union choose to officially file a complaint on April 10 to the International Skating Union (ISU) after the outcome of the free skate at the Olympic Games. Since the rules about appeals are very strict within the ISU, the Korean Skating Union wisely chose to go after the judging panel for the ladies singles free skate, rather then the scores themselves.

The judging panel included Alla Shekhovtseva from Russia who is married to the head of the Russian figure skating body. Also on the panel was Yuri Balkov of Ukraine who had previously been suspended after trying to fix the ice dancing competition at the 1998 Winter Games. To make matters worse, the head of the technical panel was Alexander Lakernik, vice president of the Russian skating federation.

The Korean Skating Union was concerned about their relationship with the ISU if they filed the complaint, but eventually decided to move forward regardless. The complaint is now reported to be managed by the federation's disciplinary commission.

Scott Hamilton ready to launch skating school
Scott Hamilton ready to launch skating school Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Scott Hamilton ready to launch skating school

Scott Hamilton has announced that he will be rolling up his sleeves and starting his own skating academy. A statement released to the Tenessenan Hamilton revealed his motive for starting the school.

"The state of figure skating is in flux," Hamilton said. "There has been a lot of animated discussion as to the scoring system that's been in place the last 10 years, Olympic skating and the health of figure skating. It's a declining viewership in figure skating. Instead of just watching it and complaining about it and wondering why skating has gone through a downturn, I think it's a great time for me to roll up my sleeves and get involved.”

It is great to have Scott Hamilton more deeply involved in building the sport from the ground up and hopefully helping to steer it back in the right direction. It should bring hope for fans that the future of skating looks a bit brighter with Hamilton more actively at the helm.

ISU makes rule changes
ISU makes rule changes Dennis Grombkowski/Bongarts/Getty Images

ISU makes rule changes

Changes have been issued for this upcoming figure skating season as the International Skating Union has decided to adjust its judging criteria. The base value for a jump will drop seventy percent for an error and fifty percent for partially rotated spins. The take-off edges for flips and lutz jumps will also be scrutinized. These changes are in response to the judging controversy during the Olympic Games. Whether these changes will enhance the sport or hinder it are yet to be seen.

Partners part ways
Partners part ways Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images

Partners part ways

Partnerships seem to be dissolving right and left during this off-season as skaters position themselves for yet another season and start looking toward the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Here are some of the teams who have decided to call it quits:

  • Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir--USA
  • Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch--Canada
  • Margaret Purdy and Michael Marinaro--Canada
  • Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers--Canada
  • Natasha Purich and Mervin Tran--Canada
  • Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov--Russia
  • Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy--Germany
  • Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov--Russia

For more on who has split and why, check out: Figure skating off-season: Partners calling it quits.

Skaters reconsider retirement
Skaters reconsider retirement Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images

Skaters reconsider retirement

At the close of this past season there seemed to be a very long list of skaters who were determined to retire. Now some of the skaters have reconsidered whether they are ready to make their final exit.

Even after announcing his retirement following his dramatic exit at the Olympic Games, it seems like Evgeni Plushenko is still not ready to call it quits. Though he had back surgery only a few months ago, Plushenko is set to return to the ice in June to start training for this upcoming season. He has even made mention of attempting to compete at the 2018 Olympic Games.

Patrick Chan has decided to sit out the Grand Prix this upcoming season, but it is reported that he is considering competing at nationals and possibly even worlds.

Jeremy Abbott has also made mention of continuing his competitive career, but has not made an official decision.

Reigning world champion, Mao Asada is also on the fence about her competitive career. She seemed very set on retiring, but after an incredible comeback at the Olympic Games and winning her world title back, she is uncertain about her future.

It is difficult to say who will return and who will retire, but hopefully these skaters can go out on their own terms when they are ready and have fulfilled all that they have desired within the sport.

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