Officials are key to running all of our test sessions and competitions. This page will provide resources for getting started in becoming an official.
As an official, there are many ways to contribute to running figure skating events! Some roles require skating background and/or extensive training and experience – others are more accessible to anyone who wants to join in.
All US Figure skating officials must be USFS members, be over 18, and must complete SkateSafe training, pass a background check, and accept applicable policies and codes of ethics/conduct (Social Media Policy, Travel Policy, U.S. Figure Skating Code of Ethics, etc.).
Judges may not be coaches, with a few exceptions for college students and people teaching learn-to-skate classes. Since referees and technical controllers must first also be judges, these volunteer pathways are also not compatible with coaching.
Technical specialists, on the other hand, are required to have a high level of personal skating experience and are often recruited from the coaching ranks.
Test judges evaluate Moves in the Field, Free Skate, Pattern Dance, and Free Dance tests at local test sessions. A judge’s job is to determine whether the skater’s performance on a test meets the standard to pass the test (or exceeds the standard by enough to earn Honors or Distinction for that test), or whether the test should be retried. There are three judges for each test and the majority opinion of that panel of three determines the skater’s result, with the exception of a few low-level tests that only require a single judge.
In the 6.0 system each judge’s job is to rank the performances in order from best to worst, according to the rules and to their evaluation of each performance as a whole. The accounting procedures will then combine all the judges’ rankings to come up with a ranking for the panel as a whole.
In IJS, judges assign grades of execution for each separate element and also score each separate performance on up to five separate program components. In this system, judges do not compare skaters to each other directly, but rather evaluate the elements and overall performances according to established standards.
An event referee is responsible for making sure all the officials, volunteers, and skaters needed for the event are in place before it begins. The ref makes sure the judges are aware of the rules for this level and discipline, times the warmups and each skater’s performance, and communicates with the ice monitor, announcer, and music player to keep the event running efficiently.
Technical panel officials are key figures in conducting IJS competitions. Technical specialists and controllers determine which elements have been executed, including element levels and jump rotation takeoff edge calls. They are also responsible for determining how elements comply with the rules for that competition segment for that level and discipline – they then apply bonuses, or apply deductions for falls and rule violations, and delete elements that don’t meet the program requirements.
A team of technical specialist, assistant technical specialist, and technical controller works together to make these determinations in real time while the program is in process and when necessary by reviewing events on video as soon as the performance is completed. For complex elements, each team member may be assigned to keep track of different level features, or to focus on one of the two partners in partnered dance and pair events.
Accountants create the random draws for skate order in each event and prepare papers that judges and technical panels use to record marks. They use computers and paperwork to calculate results and publicly post the results after the event has concluded.
Announcers are the ones on the microphone at any test or competition! They notify skaters, coaches, and spectators of warmup times, introduce skaters to the ice, and make other general announcements.
Anyone can volunteer to announce at a test session or nonqualifying competition. We will train you! To volunteer at a test session, please contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. To announce at one of WFSC’s nonqualifying competitions (New Year’s Invitational adult competition, Picken Dance Classic, or Potomac Open), please contact email@example.com.
The music coordinator collects and manages music from skaters for free skate tests, free dance tests, competitions, and synchronized skating competitions. They often arrange digital files into playlists based on event and skater start order. They may also be responsible for preparing standard pattern dance music for pattern dance tests and competitions. The music coordinator (or trained volunteers) will then play music for skaters at the test or competition.
Anyone can volunteer to play music at a test session or nonqualifying competition. We will train you! To volunteer at a test session, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. To play music at one of WFSC’s nonqualifying competitions (New Year’s Invitational adult competition, Picken Dance Classic, or Potomac Open), please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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