The International Skating Union will discuss limiting the number of quadruple jumps in a free skate routine, and will consider raising the minimum age to compete on the senior level from 15 to 17.
The ISU will hold its congress in Seville, Spain, from June 4-8.
With top-level men’s skaters loading their free programs with quads – world champion Nathan Chen has done six – the governing body has several concerns. It fears the sport is becoming too much of a jumping contest, shoving artistry and other technical elements aside. There also is concern that daily practicing of quads can be damaging to skaters’ health.
Several coaches and men’s skaters have encouraged the ISU to look into the explosion of quads, particularly in the last three years.
“At this point, with judging system the way the points have played, it is not avoidable, it’s what you have to do to win,” says American skating coach Rosi Tovi about the proliferation of four-revolution jumps. “Until there’s some changeup with the judging system, I don’t see how that will change.
“There’s also concerns about the stress this is putting on the body. We’ve never seen this level of athleticism on kids, and they can tear apart their bodies. There is a long life ahead of them; if your body is broken, how is your life going to be? There’s more concern needed about that.”
Quad-mania doesn’t just apply to the men. At junior worlds, Russia’s Aleksandra Trusova did two of them in her free skate.
Olympic bronze medalist Javier Fernandez of Spain predicted the ISU would consider restrictions on the quad.
“I think at some point the ISU will maybe put a limit on the number of quads you can do in a competition or in a free program,” Fernandez said before the Pyeongchang Games. “Let’s say three persons can do four quads, or three quads, whatever, and all of them land the quads they have planned. Then the skating’s going to tell who is the best skater, who’s going to win.”
“Skating is about who is the most complete, not who is the best jumper, right?” Fernandez added. “So that’s the point I think everybody is having in mind right now.”
The Dutch skating federation has recommended the age change for senior competition. Olympic women’s champion Alina Zagitova was 15 at the Pyeongchang Games.