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ISU OKs vocal music, awards 2015 championships

As in dance, music with vocals can be used in singles, pairs beginning in 2014-15

Nathan Chen will be eligible to compete in the Grand Prix Series starting in 2014-15.
Nathan Chen will be eligible to compete in the Grand Prix Series starting in 2014-15. (Tom Briglia)

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By icenetwork.com
(06/18/2012) - The International Skating Union made several rule changes at the 54th Ordinary Congress last week in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, none more significant than approving the use of vocal music in singles and pairs beginning in 2014-15.

Music with vocals has been permitted in ice dancing programs since the 1997-98 season, but now it will be allowed in all four disciplines.

The minimum age requirement for all senior international competitions--not just ISU championships and the Olympic Winter Games--has been raised from 14 to 15. The maximum age for junior men in pairs and dance was lowered from 21 to 20. These changes will take effect starting in the 2014-15 season.

The preliminary rounds at ISU championships have been eliminated, effective immediately. All qualified competitors will now go straight into the short program/dance.

To be consistent with ISU championships, 16 pairs and 20 ice dancing teams will qualify for the free skate/dance at the Olympic Winter Games. Previously, there was no cut-down after the short program/dance at the Winter Olympics.

Whereas before elements were assigned a Level from 1 to 4, elements may now be assigned a Level 0, meaning an element with no features.

Synchronized skating saw some changes, too. The World Junior Synchronized Skating Championships will be held every second year, beginning in 2013 in Helsinki, Finland.

More freedom has been introduced in synchronized skating elements in hopes of increasing the entertainment value of the sport.

As with singles, pairs and dance, the minimum age requirement in synchronized skating for seniors has been raised to 15. This change is effective starting in 2014-15.

Provisional allotments for the following ISU championships were announced:

2015 European Figure Skating Championships - Stockholm, Sweden
2015 Four Continents Figure Skating Championships - Seoul, Republic of Korea
2015 World Junior Figure Skating Championships - Pending
2015 World Figure Skating Championships - Shanghai, China

Information from the International Skating Union was used in this report.