ISU World No48 Oct 2012
International Skating Union Official Newsletter
INTERNATIONAL SKATING UNION OFFICIAL NEWSLETTER NO 48 OCTOBER 2012 INSIDE � ISU NEWS � ISU CONGRESS REVIEW � ISU SCHOLARSHIPS � ISU EVENT CALENDAR � SEASON PREVIEW ISU COUNCIL What I am about to tackle in this message is something that started in my mind a long time ago, but the first actual evidence I got on the necessity to clarify the relationships/differences in sport between Women and Men happened at the end of the Olympic Winter Games in Turin, in 2006. The ISU Council met on June 10, 16 and 17, 2012 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and agreed to grant full Membership to Serbia and Singapore. A number of definite and provisional allotments for the 2013, 2014 and 2015 Championships were announced and it was decided in principle to hold the 55th Ordinary Congress in Dublin, Ireland in June 2014. Following the decision of the Congress to remove the Preliminary Rounds in Figure Skating (Rule 378, paragraph 1) the Council carefully evaluated the consequences and took into account a number of aspects. The Council concluded that in order to achieve an Event Schedule manageable for all parties involved, the Minimum Technical Scores had to be adjusted. The date for the annual Judges Draw for the 2013 ISU Figure Skating Championships was announced for October 3, 2012 which will take place in Zurich Switzerland. Regarding the decision of the Congress to adopt the changes to Rule 285, it was deemed unfair to European Short Track Skaters to make the Rule effective as of 2013, therefore the Council delayed the effectiveness of the Rule to 2014. Several World Records were ratified by the Council in Speed Skating and Short Track Speed Skating and a number of Figure Skating Officials Evaluations were also reviewed and ratified. Finally Dr Hannu Koivu (FIN) has been appointed as an additional ISU Medical Commission member with immediate effect. For more information please refer to ISU Communication 1742. The next Council meeting will take place on October 5-7, 2012 in Prague, Czech Republic. 2 On the basis of the success of the Pursuit race in Speed Skating, I submitted the idea to think about the possibility to create a race, i.e. Pursuit or Relay, with teams formed of 2 Women and 2 Men. The answer was firmly negative and I soon understood that I was in large minority to develop such a new concept at that time. So the question remained and still remains. Are women and men equivalent in the area of sport and shall they therefore obtain the same recognition in the widest meaning of the word? I am far from delivering a personal point of view on the skills of women to perform sport disciplines at the same level as men. But I have a remark that should be duly considered. The women movement obtained in certain events the same prize money and appearance fee for their top representatives as the one granted to men. You surely do not need me to provide examples of those sport disciplines, where a direct confrontation between man and woman would make no sense, both because of the length of the event and the required technical skills that are for sure very different in the two genders, that men would most certainly prevail. Nonetheless the money requested and obtained is the same for both categories. Now we leave the area of competition and we move to the one of administration of sport. In order to better benefit from the presence of women in leading positions, many sport entities have included in their statutes that it is mandatory to consider a certain percentage of women in their most important bodies. As a personal experience I can add that the contribution given by women in the administration of sport has indeed been great. What I would like to see now is a wider recruitment of strong women administrators, leaving the sport technical experts the task to obtain at the same time a substantial improvement in the area of sport. Although the performances of women are greatly increasing, they probably need to progress further. I have no doubt that to achieve that target a team formed of women and men might help a lot. I tried in 2006 and I will try again; firstly it is regretfully difficult to achieve this alone, but secondly to try is necessary. More important is to look at the result, since I am firmly convinced that the standard of women is huge. They do not need to be pushed since they know very well what the motivation is. What they need is that opportunities are offered to them, then the result will automatically come. What certainly is a boost towards a higher contribution of women in sports is the fact that the difference, meaning the technical one in performances, is smaller today than in the past. I truly believe that the future of women is "rosy". Ottavio Cinquanta President, International Skating Union SPORTS DIRECTORATE ISU World is the official newsletter of the International Skating Union Published and produced by ISU, Chemin de Primerose 2, 1007 Lausanne, Switzerland Telephone: +41 21 612 66 66. Facsimile: +41 21 612 66 77. Editorial board: Selina Vanier, Rodney Lajoie. Designed by moserdesign Front cover photograph: Han Yan (CHN) �Robin Ritoss Photography: �Getty Images Sport �Robin Ritoss After the ISU Congress in Kuala Lumpur (MAS), the Sports Directorate was involved in the drafting of the new Rule books and coordinated with the Technical Committees in order to update the various ISU Communications. During this pre-Olympic season the Sports Directorate has been involved in the preparation of a number of Olympic test events that will take place in Sochi (RUS). In Figure Skating a very successful ISU Global Seminar was organized in Frankfurt under the leadership of the ISU First Vice President and a ISU NEWS new Ice Dance Seminar for mainly North/East European countries was conducted. Preparation for the season 2012/13 is ongoing and the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating series started on August 22, 2012 and will be used as a benchmark to review the new Rules and Regulations and make any adjustments if required. Following the decision of Congress to remove the Preliminary Rounds all event schedules of ISU Championships had to be updated with the participation of our television partners. In the Speed Skating Branch a Short Track Speed Skating Officials' Course was held in Dresden (GER) last August with 80 Officials from 18 countries in attendance. In September the bi-annual ISU Course for Speed Skating Referees will take place in Vlaardingen (NED). Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Events. The Committee devoted a lot of time working on the ISU Special Regulations and Technical Rules and prepared a number of ISU Communications for the new season. Ice Dance Coaches, Technical Specialists, Technical Controllers, Referees and Judges will take place in Madrid (ESP) in September and Helsinki (FIN) in October. The first ISU Junior World Synchronized Skating Championships will take place in Helsinki (FIN) in February 2013. ISU TECHNICAL COMMITTEES Single & Pair Skating During the summer months members of the Single & Pair Skating Technical Committee (SPTC) moderated the Frankfurt Global Seminar (GER), the Judges Seminars in Toronto (CAN) and Brasov (ROU) and the Judges examination in Oberstdorf (GER). In September SPTC members also served as Referees and Technical Controllers at several ISU The Ice Dance Technical Committee (IDTC) drafted the new Rules and Regulations, distributed presentations aimed at Initial Judges' meetings and posted on the ISU website the Technical Panels, Judges and Referees and Pattern Dances Handbooks. Through the ISU Development Program 26 Novice Couples and 15 Coaches from 6 European countries attended the International Ice Dance Development Training Seminar in Torun (POL). A Judges' Seminar was held in Toronto (CAN) in conjunction with Singles and Pairs and the IDTC members participated in the Frankfurt Global Seminar as moderators and also to initialize, certify and promote the Technical Specialists and Controllers. Speed Skating Synchronized Skating The Speed Skating Technical Committee (SSTC) held meetings in conjunction with the ISU Congress and finalized its planning of the competition program and the Rules and Regulations for the Essent ISU World Cup and the ISU Junior World Cup 2012/13. The SSTC also reviewed the lists of nominated ISU Referees and Starters and published the selection in ISU Communication 1745. Approximately 35 persons are expected to participate in the bi-annual ISU Speed Skating Referees' course which will take place in Vlaardingen (NED) at the end of September. Finally the SSTC did an inspection visit to the Minsk Arena, in preparation for the first ever ISU Speed Skating Event to take place in Belarus. 3 The Synchronized Skating Technical Committee (SySTC) worked on the drafting of the new Special Regulations and Technical Rules book. The changes voted in by Congress will provide more freedom to Coaches and Skaters. Last July some SySTC members moderated at the 10th Frankfurt Global Seminar. Seminars for Short Track The Short Track Speed Skating Technical Committee (STSSTC) recently held its bi-annual Officials' Seminar in Dresden, Germany with great success. The level of officiating and athlete and country participation has increased over the years and the STSSTC is working hard to make sure that the sport is well positioned to handle the growth. Following the ISU Congress of last June, new Rules have been approved and implemented which will improve the sport. One of the major changes is in the Starting Rule which allows for fewer false starts and better coordination with television and the media. ISU SOCIAL MEDIA Following the success of last season's ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating YouTube Channel, the ISU is pleased to announce that the 2012/13 series will also be available at www.youtube.com/isujuniorgrandprix The ISU also launched an official International Skating Union YouTube Chanel which will showcase and promote all ISU disciplines. ISU Members, Officials, athletes, fans, media and other parties can now watch, share and use official ISU videos. Subscribe to our Channel to receive notifications and stay up to date with what's going on in the skating world www.youtube.com/skatingISU International Skating Union YouTube Channel ISU WEBSITE: www.isu.org ISU CONGRESS REVIEW 4 ISU Council and Office Holders The 54th ISU Ordinary Congress took place in Kuala Lumpur (MAS) on June 11 - 15, over 350 participants from over 70 ISU Member federations attended. Over 330 proposals were submitted and voted on. Although the 54th Congress was not an election year, the position of Chair of the Disciplinary Commission was vacant and Mr. Volker Waldeck was unanimously elected. It was also agreed that Provisional Members with the minimum requirements as well as good international activity could become a full ISU Member more swiftly. The Congress voted on the restructuring of the Sports Directorate, which will be discontinued after Congress 2014 and the Council will appoint individuals as Sport Directors and for competitions related functions. Congress amended the format of the ISU Ordinary Congress cycle with a Forum to take place in 2014 and the next Ordinary Congress with elections to take place in 2016. The Congress was in favor of a resolution whereas National Member Associations are firmly requested to adopt in their Rules a provision already part of the ISU Code of Ethics in relation to betting in sports. The ISU Code of Ethics states that participants in ISU competitions/ activities agree to refrain from participating in all forms of betting or support for betting or gambling related to any event/activity under the jurisdiction of the ISU. In Speed Skating the Congress decided to include the Mass Start in the World Single Distances Championships as of the season 2015/16. As of next season 8 competitors will start in the 5,000m Ladies and 10,000m Men during the ISU World Allround Speed Skating Championships. Also a number of changes have been adopted to clarify the crossing of the line during races. In Short Track Speed Skating the number of entries for the ISU European and World Short Track Championships has been reduced to 1 Competitor per Member in each category. However if a Member had one Skater amongst the best 32 Competitors in the final classification of the same preceding Championships that Member may enter 2 Competitors in total in the respective category. A minimum qualifying time is now required to compete in the ISU European and World Short Track Championships which was announced in ISU Communication 1746. And finally in case of a second false start or if a skater intentionally delays the start of the race, the concerned skater will be disqualified. In Single and Pair Skating and Ice Dance, a number of changes have been voted in that will start from season 2014/15. These comprise the change of the minimum age requirement to 15 which now includes all Senior International Competitions and not only ISU Championships and Olympic Winter Games and minor adjustments have also been made in the Novice and Junior age categories. Also effective as of the season 2014/15, the decision that vocal music can be used in Single and Pair skating. Congress agreed to change the number of qualified skaters for the Free Program/Dance at the Olympic Games to 16 Pair Skaters and 20 Ice Dance Couples so it is in line with ISU Championships. The Single and Pair Skating and Ice Dance Technical Committees proposed several changes to make the Special Regulations and Technical Rules consistent across the disciplines, this harmonization of the rules were unanimously approved by Congress. An additional Base Value has been introduced which now ranges from level 0 to 4. A skater that does not include a component in an Element will be given a Base Value 0, one component a Base Value 1 etc. It was also voted that an examination for ISU Referees and International Judges and Referees will be implemented. Congress decided to discontinue the Preliminary Rounds at ISU Figure Skating Championships which impacted the time schedule of the ISU Championships 2012/13 season. With the cooperation of ISU television partners, these were successfully revised. In Synchronized Skating it was decided to hold the ISU World Junior Synchronized Skating Championships every two years, starting as of 2013 in Helsinki (FIN). More freedom is introduced in Synchronized Skating elements in order to increase the entertainment value of the sport. In order to harmonize the age requirement across the Figure Skating Branch, as of 2014/15 the minimum age in Synchronized Skating will be 15 for the Seniors. And minor adjustments have also been made in the Novice and Junior age categories. The next ISU Congress will take place in Dublin (IRL) in June 2014. For additional information also see Communications 1738, 1739, 1740 and 1741. ISU SCHOLARSHIPS 2012 / 2013 Figure Skating Ladies 1. Monika Simancikova 2. Hae Jin Kim 3. Isadora Williams 4 Joshi Helgesson 5. Liinamae Gerli SVK KOR BRA SWE EST Short Track Speed Skating LTU RUS ITA AUS CZE Ladies 1. Agne Serekaite 2. Evgeniya Zakhrakova 3. Elana Viviani 4. Deanna Lockett 5. Lenka Zahumenska With the help of the ISU Development Program, the Kia Speed Skating Academy in Inzell (GER) is responsible for rewarding Speed Skating Scholarships in 2012. Men 1. Michael Christian Martinez 2. Luiz Manella 3. Martin Rappe 4. Petr Coufal 5. Harry Mattick BRA BRA GER CZE GBR Ladies 1. Johanna Ostlund 2. Elina Risku 3. Kaitlyn McGregor 4. Saskia Alusalu 5. Anna Badayeva SWE FIN SUI EST BLR 5 Relay Arianna Valcepina, Nicole Martinelli and Ylenia Tota ITA Pairs 1. Stina Martini/Severin Kiefer 2. Rachel Epstein/Dmitry Epstein 3. Bianca Manacorda/Niccolo Macii 4. Magdalena Klatka/Radoslaw Chruscinski 5. Julia Lavrentieva/Yuri Rudik AUT NED ITA POL UKR Men 1. Csaba Burjan 2. Lui Pan To Barton 3. Pierre Boda 4. Roberto Pukitis 5. Billy Simms HUN HGK AUS LAT GBR Men 1. Artur Was 2. Benjamin Mace 3. Roman Krech 4. Espen Tveit POL FRA KAZ NOR LAT FRA BLR Ice Dance 1. Anna Nagornyuk/Viktor Kovalenko 2. Cagla Demirsal/Berk Akalin 3. Shari Koch/Christian N�chtern 4. Sara Agai/Jussiville Partanen 5. Viktoria Kavaliova/Yurii Bieliaev UZB TUR GER FIN BLR Relay Bence Beres, Shaolin Liu Sandor and Alex Varnyu HUN 5. Haralds Silovs 6. Ewen Fernandez 7. Roman Khomtsjenko Deanna Lockett (AUS) Zijun Li (CHN) SINGLE AND PAIR SKATING / ICE DANCE August 22 - 26 ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Courchevel FRANCE Lake Placid USA Linz AUSTRIA Istanbul TURKEY Bled SLOVENIA Zagreb CROATIA Chemnitz GERMANY Kent/Seattle, WA USA Windsor, Ontario CANADA Shanghai CHINA Moscow RUSSIA Paris FRANCE Miyagi JAPAN Sochi RUSSIA Zagreb CROATIA Osaka JAPAN Milan ITALY London (Ontario) CANADA Tokyo, JAPAN Speed Skating November 15 - 16 November 16 - 18 November 17 - 18 November 24 - 25 December 1 - 2 December 8 - 9 December 8 - 9 December 15 - 16 December 29 - 30 ISU Junior World Cup Spee Ladies and Men: 2x500m, 1000m, 1500m, 30 6 August 29 - September 2 ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating September 12 - 16 ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Essent ISU World Cup Spee Ladies: 2x500m, 1000m, 15 Team Pursuit, Mass Start Men: 2x500m, 1000m, 150 Team Pursuit, Mass Start September 19 - 23 ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating ISU Junior World Cup Spee Ladies and Men: 2x500m, 1000m, 1500m, 30 September 26 - 30 ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Essent ISU World Cup Spee Ladies: 1500m, 3000m, Ma Men: 1500m, 5000m, Mass October 3 - 7 ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Essent ISU World Cup Spee Ladies,1500m, 5000m, Tea Men: 1500m, 10000m, Tea October 10 - 14 ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Essent ISU World Cup Spee Ladies and Men: 2x500m, 2 October 19 - 21 October 26 - 28 November 2 - 4 November 9 - 11 November 16 - 18 November 23 - 25 December 6 - 9 January 21 -27 February 6 -11 February 25 - March 3 March 10 - 17 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2012 Hilton HHonors Skate America ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Skate Canada International ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Lexus Cup of China ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Rostelecom Cup 2012 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Troph�e Eric Bompard Cachemire ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating NHK Trophy ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final (Junior and Senior) ISU European Figure Skating Championships ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships ISU World Figure Skating Championships ISU Junior World Cup Spee Ladies and Men: 500m, 1000m, 1500m, 3000 Essent ISU World Cup Spee Ladies and Men: 2x500m, 2 ISU Junior World Cup Spee Ladies and Men: 2x500m, 1000m, 1500m, 30 January 11 - 13 Essent ISU European Speed Skating Champio January 12 - 13 January 19 - 20 January 19 - 20 January 19 - 20 ISU Junior World Cup Spee Ladies and Men: 2x500m, 1000m, 1500m, 30 Essent ISU World Cup Spee Ladies and Men: 2x500m, 2 ISU Junior World Cup Spee Ladies and Men: 2x500m, 1000m, 1500m, 30 ISU Junior World Cup Spee Ladies and Men: 2x500m, 1000m, 1500m, 30 January 26 - 27 Essent ISU World Sprint Speed Skating Champio February 9 - 10 Essent ISU World Cup Spee Ladies: 1500m, 3000m, Ma Men: 1500m, 5000m, Mass February 16 - 17 Essent ISU World Allrou Speed Skating Champio February 16 - 17 ISU Junior World Cup Spee Ladies and Men: 500m, 1000m, 1500m, 3000 February 22 - 24 ISU World Junior Speed March 1 - 3 March 8 - 10 March 21 - 24 April 11 - 14 ISU World Team Trophy Essent ISU World Cup Spee Ladies: 2x500m, 1000m, 15 Team Pursuit, Team Sprint Men: 2x500m, 1000m, 150 Team Pursuit, Team Sprint Essent ISU World Cup Spee Ladies: 2x500m, 1000m, 15 Team Pursuit ,Mass Start Men: 2x500m, 1000m, 150 Team Pursuit, Mass Start Essent ISU World Single Speed Skating Champio ISU EVENT CALENDAR 2012/ 2013 Short Track Speed Skating Calgary CANADA October 19 - 21 Samsung ISU World Cup Short Track October 26 - 28 Samsung ISU World Cup Short Track November 30 - Samsung ISU World Cup Short Track December 2 December 7 - 9 Samsung ISU World Cup Short Track January 18 - 20 ISU European Short Track Speed Skating Championships Calgary CANADA Montreal CANADA Nagoya JAPAN Shanghai CHINA Malm� SWEDEN Sochi RUSSIA Dresden GERMANY Warsaw POLAND Debrecen HUNGARY ed Skating 000m, Mass Start ed Skating Heerenveen 500m, 3000m, NETHERLANDS 00m, 5000m, Minsk BELARUS Kolomna RUSSIA Astana KAZAKHSTAN Nagano JAPAN Inzell GERMANY Harbin CHINA Changchun CHINA Heerenveen NETHERLANDS Baselga di Pine ITALY Calgary CANADA Astana KAZAKHSTAN Roseville USA Salt Lake City USA Inzell GERMANY Hamar NORWAY Collalbo ITALY Collalbo ITALY 7 ed Skating 000m, Mass Start ed Skating ass Start s Start ed Skating am Pursuit am Pursuit ed Skating 2x1000m, Team Sprint February, 1 - 3 Samsung ISU World Cup Short Track February 8 - 10 Samsung ISU World Cup Short Track February 22 - 24 March 8 - 10 ISU World Junior Short Track Speed Skating Championships ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships ed Skating 0m, Team Pursuit, Mass Start ed Skating 2x1000m, Team Sprint ed Skating 000m, Mass Start onships ed Skating 000m, Mass Start ed Skating 2x1000m Synchronized Skating March 8 - 9 April 2 - 6 ISU World Junior Synchronized Skating Championships ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships Helsinki FINLAND Boston USA ed Skating 000m, Mass Start ed Skating 000m, Mass Start t onships ed Skating ass Start s Start und onships ed Skating Final 0m, Team Pursuit, Mass Start d Skating Championships ed Skating Erfurt 500m, 5000m, GERMANY 00m, 10000m, ed Skating Final Heerenveen 500m, 3000m , NETHERLANDS 00m, 5000m, Sochi RUSSIA e Distances onships ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating The 2012/13 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series consists of six events in six countries with the top six skaters and couples qualifying for the Grand Prix Final in Sochi, Russia (6-9 December). The Junior Grand Prix Final and the Grand Prix Final will be held together. 8 The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating starts with Hilton HHonors Skate America in Kent/ Seattle, WA (October 19-21), followed by Skate Canada in Windsor, Ontario (October 26-28). The series then moves to Asia with the Lexus Cup of China in Shanghai (November 2-4) and on to Europe with the Rostelecom Cup of Russia in Moscow (November 9 - 11) and the Troph�e Eric Bompard in Paris, France (November 16-18). The final event of the series this year is the NHK Trophy in Miyagi, Japan (November 23-25). Seeded and non seeded skaters are assigned to two events. The remaining spots in each event are awarded in accordance with the ranking of the 2012 World Championships and ISU World Standings and Season's Best lists. In order to assure the high standard of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating, only skaters or couples that meet a minimum score are eligible to compete in the events. The minimum score for Men is 159.66 points, for Ladies 113.43 points, for Pairs 120.90 points and for Ice Dancers 109.59. The Grand Prix series will feature accomplished champions and emerging skaters that moved up from the junior ranks. Satoko Miyahara (JPN) FIGURE SKATING The 2012/13 season opened on August 22 with the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating followed by the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series in October. The Grand Prix series leads up to the Grand Prix Final for Juniors and Seniors. In early 2013, the focus will shift to the ISU Championships. Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating The ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating started with the events in Courchevel (FRA), Lake Placid (USA) and Linz (AUT). At press time, the remaining four events are to be held in, Istanbul (TUR), Bled (SLO), Zagreb (CRO) and Chemnitz (GER). The top six skaters and couples in each category will advance to the Junior Grand Prix Final. In Courchevel Elena Radionova (RUS), 13, and Boyang Jin (CHN), 14, won the first Junior Grand Prix event of their career. Ice Dancers Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) celebrated their first victory in the Junior Grand Prix. In Lake Placid Satoko Miyahara (JPN) and Joshua Farris (USA) won the Ladies and Men respectively. Pair Skaters Margaret Purdy/Michael Marinaro (CAN) and Ice Dancers Alexandra Aldrige/Daniel Eaton (USA) also finished first. In the third leg of the series Nathan Chen (USA) won his first Junior Grand Prix event and Elena Radionova won her second event which qualifies her for the Final. French Ice Dancers Papadakis/Cizeron also won their second event and qualify for the Final, whilst Pair Skaters Brittany Jones/ Ian Beharry (CAN) win their first Junior Grand Prix of the season. All winners so far have a good shot to make it to the Final. All ISU Members can enter athletes for the Junior Grand Prix. This year approximately 460 skaters/couples representing more than 50 countries in Europe, Asia, the Americas and Oceania are expected to participate in the series. Top contenders in the series are reigning World Champion Patrick Chan (CAN), World silver medalist Daisuke Takahashi (JPN), World bronze medalist Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) and former World Champion Brian Joubert (FRA). Other top contenders include returning 2008 World bronze medalist Johnny Weir (USA), 2011 European Champion Florent Amodio (FRA), Jeremy Abbott (USA), Tomas Verner (CZE), Michal Brezina (CZE) and Grand Prix Final bronze medalist Javier Fernandez (ESP). Returning 2010 Olympic Champion Evan Lysacek (USA) will compete in one Event. 2012 World silver medalist Alena Leonova, World bronze medalist Akiko Suzuki (JPN) and two-time World Champion Mao Asada (JPN) headline the Ladies field. Two-time World Champion Miki Ando (JPN) has announced her return and is entered for two events. The challenge should come from 2012 Four Continents Champion Ashley Wagner (USA), 2011 World Junior Champion Adelina Sotnikova (RUS) and Youth Olympic Champion Elizaveta THE SEASON AHEAD Tuktamisheva (RUS). 2012 World Junior Champion Julia Lipnitskaia (RUS) and World Junior silver medalist Gracie Gold (USA) want to challenge the senior-level skaters. 2012 World Champion Carolina Kostner (ITA) pulled out of the Grand Prix series as she wants to start her season later. In the Pairs, four-time and reigning World Champions Aljona Savchenko/Robin Szolkowy (GER) will face two-time World bronze medalists Yuko Kavaguti/Alexander Smirnov (RUS) in Paris. Two-time World silver medalists Tatiana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov (RUS) are up against two-time World Champions Qing Pang/Jian Tong (CHN) at Skate America. Other challengers aiming to qualify for the Grand Prix Final are World bronze medalists Narumi Takahashi/Mervin Tran (JPN), European silver medalists Vera Bazarova/ Yuri Larionov (RUS) and Canadian Champions Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford. Multiple World medalist Hao Zhang (CHN) is back on the circuit with new partner Cheng Peng. Reigning Olympic and World Champions Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir (CAN), 2012 World silver medalists Meryl Davis/Charlie White (USA) and two-time European Champions Nathalie Pechalat/Fabian Bourzat (FRA) headline the Ice Dance field. As they are seeded in different events, those three teams can meet in the Final at the earliest. On the way to Sochi, they will be challenged by 2011 World bronze medalists Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA), two-time European silver medalists Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev (RUS), Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje (CAN), Elena Ilinykh/Nikita Katsalapov (RUS) and Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte. World Junior Champions Victoria Sinitsina/Ruslan Zhiganshin (RUS) will debut in the Grand Prix. athletes from North and South America, Asia, Africa and Australia/Oceania will compete at the ISU Four Continents Championships in Osaka (JPN) on 6-11 February. The best junior skaters will meet at the ISU World Junior Championships in Milan (ITA) from 25 February -3 March. The Championships season finishes with the World Championships in London ONT (CAN), on 10-17 March. To conclude the Figure Skating season the best teams in the World will compete in Tokyo (JPN) at the ISU World Team Trophy on 11-14 April. 9 Synchronized Skating Championships ISU Championships The ISU Championships in 2013 start with the ISU European Figure Skating Championships in Zagreb (CRO) on 21-27 January while Synchronized teams will compete in a number of major international events this season. The highlights of the season will be the ISU World Junior Championships on 8-9 March in Helsinki (FIN) and the ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships in Boston (USA) on 2-6 April. Tatiana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov (RUS) SPEED SKATING The ISU Speed Skating season starts mid November with the ISU Junior World Cup Speed Skating Series. This year the series consists of 8 events including the Final. North American skaters will compete in Calgary (CAN) (November 15-16) and Roseville (USA) (January 19�20). The European Events will take place in Minsk (BLR) (November 17-18) and Baselga di Pine (ITA) (January 12-13). The Asian skaters will compete in Astana (KAZ) (January 19-20) and Changchun (CHN) (December 29�30). Finally all skaters can enter in the Global Junior World Cup that will take place in Inzell (GER) (December 8-9). The ISU Junior World Cup Speed Skating Final will be held in Collalbo (ITA) (February 16-17). The Essent ISU World Cup Speed Skating series consists of nine events this season. All distances from 500m to 3000m Ladies and 5000m Men, the Team Pursuit and Mass Start will be raced at the first competition in Heerenveen (NED) (November 16-18). The Allround skaters will race the 1500m, the same long distances as in Heerenveen and in the Mass Start, in Kolomna (RUS) (November 24-25). The following week in Astana (KAZ) skaters will compete in the 1500m, 5000m Ladies and 10,000m Men (the longest Olympic distances) as well as in the Team Pursuit. The Series then moves to Asia where the Sprinters will skate the 2x500m, 2x1000m and a demonstration Team Sprint event in Nagano (JPN) (December 8-9) and the following week they will be in Harbin (CHN) (December 15-16). The World Cup will pick up again in January for the Sprinters in Calgary (CAN) (January 19-20). The Allround skaters will meet in Inzell (GER) (February 9-10) and skate the same distances as in Kolomna. In March the Sprinters and Allrounders will meet in Erfurt (GER) (March 1-3) to compete in the 2x500m, 1000m, 1500m, 5000m Ladies, 10000m Men, the Team Pursuit and will participate in the second demonstration Team Sprint. The Final will take place in Heerenveen (NED) (March 8-10). The Championships season begins on January 10 Pekka Koskela (FIN) THE SEASON AHEAD 11 Jin-Kyu Noh (KOR) 11-13 with the Essent ISU European Speed Skating Championships in Heerenveen (NED). The Essent ISU World Sprint Speed Skating Championships will take place in Salt Lake City, on January 26-27. Hamar (NOR) will host the Essent ISU World Allround Speed Skating Championships on 16-17 February. The ISU World Junior Speed Skating Championships will take place in Collalbo (ITA) on February 22-24. To conclude the pre-Olympic season, the Essent ISU World Single Distance Championships will be held on March 21-24 in Sochi, Russia and is the official test Event for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. The Dutch Allround World Champions Sven Kramer and Ireen W�st and long distance Champions Martina S�bl�kov� (CZE) and Bob de Jong (NED) remain the skaters to beat. Last year, the 1000m, 1500m and the Men's 500m were particularly exciting with a number of winners throughout the season. The men to look out for this season are TaeBum Mo (KOR), Michel Mulder (NED), Stefan Groothuis (NED), Shani Davis (USA), Denny Morrison (CAN), Kjeld Nuis (NED), Sjoerd de Vries (NED). In the ladies' field Jing Yu (CHN), Sang-Hwa Lee (KOR), Christine Nesbitt (CAN) and Dutch Ladies Thijsje Oenema and Margot Boer also have a chance to be on the podium this season. SHORT TRACK The Short Track season kicks off in October with the Samsung ISU World Cup Short Track series. The series is composed of six events that will take place in five different countries across North America, Asia and Europe. At each competition the Men's and Ladies' races will be held over 500m, 1000m and 1500m and the Ladies' 3000m Relay and Men's 5000m Relay. Single Distance medals at each event and an Overall title per distance are up for grabs. The Overall title is determined by the skater who earns the most total points in each distance after all six events. The series starts off with the first two events taking place in Canada. On 19 to 21 October the skaters will head off to Calgary and the following weekend on 26 to 28 October they will travel east to Montreal. The second leg of the series moves over to Asia starting in Nagoya (JPN) from 30 November to 2 December and the final Short Track event in 2012 will be competed in Shanghai (CHN) on 7 to 9 December. The first event in the New Year will be the ISU European Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Malm� (SWE) on 18 to 20 January. The Samsung ISU World Cup Short Track series picks up again in Europe on 1 to 3 February in Sochi (RUS) which will also be the Short Track Speed Skating test event for the Olympic Winter Games 2014. The action will then move to Germany where the final Samsung ISU World Cup Short Track event will take place in Dresden from 8 to 10 February. The best juniors will then take center stage during the ISU World Junior Short Track Speed Skating Championships 2013 in Warsaw (POL) from 22 to 24 February. It is in Hungary that the season will end with the ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships 2013. The best skaters in the world will meet in Debrecen from 8 to 10 March to obtain the Single Distance medals and the Overall Championship title. The Overall champion is determined by the skater who earns the most total points after skating in the Final of the 1500m, 500m, 1000m and 3000m Super Final. PAST MASTER CHRISTINE WITTY (USA): BORN 1975 Olympic Winter Games Ladies' 1000m Silver Medal 1998 Ladies' 1500m Bronze Medal 1998 Ladies' 1000m Gold Medal 2002 World Sprint Speed Skating Championships Ladies' Gold Medal 1996 Ladies' Silver Medal 2000 World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships Ladies' 1000m Silver Medal 1996 Ladies' 1000m Gold Medal 1998 Ladies' 1000m Bronze Medal 2000 Christine Witty competed as a cyclist and was a successful sprint speed skater. At the age of 16 she started competing at the World Junior Speed Skating Championships. Five years later she won her first World Sprint Championships title and took silver in the 1000m at the World Single Distances Championships. Witty's speed skating career peaked in 1998 when she won two medals (silver and bronze) at the Olympic Winter Games and became 1000m World Single Distances Champion. She finished 5th at the 2000 Olympic Summer Games in the 500m Cycling time trial and participated in the 2002 Winter Olympics Speed Skating Events where she beat the World Record and took home gold in the 1000m. Witty became the ninth American ever to compete both in the Summer and Winter Olympic Games.