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Sylvia
05-02-2010, 04:55 PM
I'm starting a separate thread on this topic out of deep concern for the future development of pairs and dance teams around the world if the ISU Council's Junior age limits proposal passes as currently worded:

i) A Junior is a Skater who has reached the age of thirteen (13) but not the age of eighteen (18) before the July 1st immediately preceding the relevant event/competition.
ii) In ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships and ISU Synchronized World Challenge Cup for Juniors, only Junior Skaters may compete who have reached the age of fourteen (14) but not the age of eighteen (18) before the July 1st immediately preceding the relevant event/competition.
*Note: If the above proposals pass in the ISU Congress in June 2010, they would take effect in the 2011-2012 season.*

If this rule had been in place during the 2009-2010 season, only a fraction of pair and dance teams would have been age-eligible for the JGP and 2010 Junior Worlds, according to my calculations as follows:

40 Junior Pairs from 16 different countries participated this past season on the JGP and/or Junior Worlds.
Only 6 of the 40 (15%) would have been age-eligible for 2010 Junior Worlds. 4 other teams had 13 year old female partners (including Sui of China's Jr. World champion pair of Sui/Han) and could have competed on the JGP only (10 pairs out of 40 = 25%).
Male partners aged 20 before July 1, 2009: 9 (22.5%)
Male partners aged 19: 6 (15%)
Male partners aged 18: 14 (35%)
Subtotal: 29 (72.5%)
Male partners aged 17 and younger: 11 (27.5%)
Female partners aged 13: 9 (22.5%)

76 Junior Dance teams from 27 different countries participated this past season on the JGP and/or Junior Worlds. (Note: I'm missing the ages for 1 EST team and 2 BLR teams so am leaving them out of my calculations below.)
21 of the 73 (29%) would have been age-eligible for 2010 Junior Worlds. 2 other teams had 13 year old female partners and could have competed on the JGP only (23 teams out of 73 = 31.5%).
Male partners aged 20 before July 1, 2009: 9 (12%)
Male partners aged 19: 20 (27%)
Male partners aged 18: 21 (29%)
Subtotal: 50 (68.5%)
Male partners aged 17 and younger: 23 (31.5%)

Your thoughts? Constructive comments or suggestions?

shallwedansu
05-02-2010, 05:36 PM
It's a great idea to bring attention to this, but how much impact will us talking on a forum have? Will a discussion on a figure skating forum have any influence on the decision?

I don't know exactly what, but further action than simply discussing the issue needs to take place if we want the proposal to be voted down. Maybe an online petition? Or sending letters and e-mails? I don't know what else can be done.:(

shutterbug
05-02-2010, 05:53 PM
Sylvia, has the rationale for the rule change been specified anywhere? I can't believe they're actually considering this. :eek:

taz'smum
05-02-2010, 06:05 PM
Maybe this is the idea, that there will be so few competitors that all the events will be able to be held in 1 day, and save on costs!!!!

reckless
05-02-2010, 06:11 PM
I can see two justifications for the rule (not that I agree with them). First, the ISU may want to cut down on 21-year old men with 14-year old girls. Second, there may be concerns that wide age disparities result in teams spending time together only for the girl to grow and turn out to be too tall for the guy.

In response, I can understand the first, but the reality is that girls grow up. I also am curious how many of the teams at this year's JGP and Junior Worlds had an age gap of more than 5 years. Is it to big a problem that it really requires drastic change?

As for the second issue, that problem is only magnified if the guy is so young that you cannot tell how much he will grow. Does the ISU think they will solve size issues when 14-year old boys and 12-year old girls are paired together? Or even 16-year and 14-year olds?

More importantly, the change makes no sense for both disciplines. The physical requirements of pairs -- and increasingly in dance -- generally require an age difference. A 16-year old boy does not have the same strength as an 18-year old to lift a 14-year old girl. Under this proposal, the 18/14 team would only have one year of junior eligibility before they have to go to seniors. And any team with a guy older than 18 would be entirely ineligible for juniors.

I also wonder if the ISU has considered the potential safety risks. I often shudder when junior teams do lifts right now. I can't imagine what lifts are going to look like when the boys are generally weaker than they are now.

Sylvia
05-02-2010, 06:14 PM
It's a great idea to bring attention to this, but how much impact will us talking on a forum have? Will a discussion on a figure skating forum have any influence on the decision?
I believe many influential people read/lurk on this forum. I'm "working behind the scenes" as well.

One official has offered this rationale:

There is a group that wants to match up the ISU's junior ages to the IOC's for the inaugural Youth Olympic Games that will be held in Innsbruck in 2012. That age is under 18 across the board. This got voted down two years ago. If it comes up again I am hoping it meets the same fate.
There are so many knowledgeable and passionate fans of skating here, and this thread is for them to express their own concerns and opinions about the potential impact of the ISU's proposed Junior age limits (ETA: such as reckless' post above and barbk's post below). For example, it seems obvious to me that the disciplines of pairs and dance should NOT be lumped in with speed and synchro skating when it comes to Junior international age limits.

taz'smum
05-02-2010, 06:16 PM
I'm "working behind the scenes" as well.

One official has offered this rationale:

There are so many knowledgeable and passionate fans of skating here, and this thread is for them to express their own concerns about the potential negative impact of the ISU's proposed Junior age limits. For example, it seems obvious to me that the disciplines of pairs and dance should NOT be lumped in with speed and synchro skating when it comes to Junior international age limits. **

In that case, just send the Junior teams that match the criteria to the Junior Olympics!!!

barbk
05-02-2010, 06:18 PM
Sylvia -- I wouldn't assume that skaters and coaches wouldn't adjust to this just like they've adjusted to other rules. Already you have skaters who decide not to skate with each other because he's too old to compete as a junior internationally, and she has three years to go before she can compete as a senior.

You can even argue that this change may well bring more boys into pairs skating because they don't have to wait so long (effectively) to compete internationally -- under the current rules there is no advantage (and a lot of disadvantage) for a sixteen year old boy to compete junior pairs rather than a twenty year old guy, and partners are definitely chosen taking that into consideration. In the long run, it might also lead to pairs lasting longer because the guy doesn't outgrow the sport so soon, and the age difference isn't as great.

The change also has a tendency to making the junior international competition more of a true junior event rather than a young senior event. Right now I don't see much difference between the top three junior teams and senior teams ranked between 8-12 internationally.

In the short run there may well be fewer teams. I'm not convinced that this will continue to be a problem in the longer run. I don't know if it is a good idea, but I am willing to consider that there may be logical reasons supporting this for the growth of the sport.

Sylvia
05-02-2010, 06:52 PM
I feel the ISU Council's Junior age limits proposal is too drastic a change too quickly, even if it goes into effect in 2011-12. I think it would be more reasonable to support the Russian federation's age limit proposal as summarized by HisWeirness in the 2010 ISU Congress Agenda thread:

45. Russia FS: reduce upper junior ages from 19 to 18 in singles and from 21 to 19 for men in pairs/couples.
Council NOT in favor, see new age rule proposal from ISU.

In response to reckless:

I also am curious how many of the teams at this year's JGP and Junior Worlds had an age gap of more than 5 years.
Re. Jr. pairs, there were 4 teams (out of 40) that had an age gap of more than 5 years, and a total of 10 pairs that had a gap of 5 to 7 years.

ETA: Does anyone happen to know the birthdates for these 3 Jr. dance teams?
Karina LASHUK / Vladimir KISLIAKOV BLR
Veronika SHINKEVICH / Vladislav ABRAMOV BLR
Emili ARM / Rodion BOGDANOV EST

The Accordion
05-02-2010, 06:58 PM
It is not as though there are way way too many good pairs and dance teams in the junior ranks and they need a way to cut down the numbers!

I am not a diehard follower of the junior grand prix - but aren't there so few that they only include the disciplines in certain grand prix events?

There seems to be enough of a shortage of good men in these disciplines that there is no reason to further water down the pool while young teams are getting things figured out.

I truly hope this does not pass as I see a sad outcome in the next generation of senior pairs and dance events.

bek
05-02-2010, 07:01 PM
45. Russia FS: reduce upper junior ages from 19 to 18 in singles and from 21 to 19 for men in pairs/couples.
Council NOT in favor, see new age rule proposal from ISU.


I honestly wonder if both of Russia's age proposals (i.e the age limit being lowered for singles) will get more support. One thing I don't understand is why they can't just say only teams that qualify compete in the Junior Olympics. And only teams that match the qualifications can compete for spot at the Junior Olympics. That's an easy answer in my understanding.

barbk
05-02-2010, 08:48 PM
I honestly wonder if both of Russia's age proposals (i.e the age limit being lowered for singles) will get more support. One thing I don't understand is why they can't just say only teams that qualify compete in the Junior Olympics. And only teams that match the qualifications can compete for spot at the Junior Olympics. That's an easy answer in my understanding.


My guess is that neither the JOs nor the ISU wants to send a team that finished 6th at World Juniors to the JO. Remember the flack the USFSA got when they had to skip over two podium placements in order to put together a legal ladies team for Worlds?

loopey
05-02-2010, 09:01 PM
In a very small way this reminds me of the problem the NBA had a couple of years ago, where people wanted to make it more difficult for students wanting to enter the NBA straight from High School. The concern was that the talent level in the NBA would be diminished by less prepared/skilled athletes.

This is similar in a small way because it would mean IMO, the Senior competitions would have more junior skilled skaters in it. Especially in the countries where the field is not deep.

I already felt that at least 10 of the Senior pairs at Olympics and Worlds had a junior skill level and wished they had stayed at that level. This seems like it will make it worse. JMO.

cruisin
05-02-2010, 09:09 PM
Already you have skaters who decide not to skate with each other because he's too old to compete as a junior internationally, and she has three years to go before she can compete as a senior.

This problem actually is less common than the opposite. You have a boy who is still junior eligible until 21, skating with a girl who turns 18. the boy doesn't want to move up to senior and gets a younger partner.

The girl-18, boy-21 rule has only been in effect for about 6 years or so. Before that it was 18 for all. So, they are actually going back to the way it used to be.

barbk
05-02-2010, 09:40 PM
The girl-18, boy-21 rule has only been in effect for about 6 years or so. Before that it was 18 for all. So, they are actually going back to the way it used to be.


I forgot about that -- was there some enormous problem with junior pairs when that rule was in effect?