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(FRANCOIS MORI)
(FRANCOIS MORI)

ISU abolishes compulsory dances Add to ...

Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir can rejoice. Compulsory dances are history.

The International Skating Union has voted to abolish the compulsory dances - the endless Golden Waltzes, Tango Romanticas, and Paso Dobles - in favour of ice dancers competing only with a short dance and a free dance.

Last season, the ice dancing event comprised three sections: a compulsory dance, an original dance and a free dance. The new short dance will probably not be the same as the original dance.

Losing one section of the dance competition may allow the ISU to include another medal event, mixed team, at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The vote was taken at the ISU Congress in Spain, where 250 delegates from more than 70 federations are voting on changes to the sport. Each new rule must be passed by a two-thirds majority.

Moir has made it clear earlier that he would be happy to see the compulsory dance go, as it required disproportionate time and expense to train relative to the final mark. It's never been a barn-burner for spectators either, forced to watch all of the skaters do exactly the same dance. At a world championship, this event could last for hours.

In other news, Skate Canada's proposal to eliminate the random draw for judging panels also was accepted by the majority of member federations. In recent years, apparently to reduce the chance of federation officials interfering with judges' decisions, rules required the highest and lowest judges' marks be eliminated, and then eliminate two more judges by a random draw to come up with the final result.

However, in the past year, the ISU Council reduced the number of judges to only nine, which meant that at the Olympics and world championships, only five of nine marks counted. This meant that the roll of the dice could determine the final result, rather than judges' opinions, yet statisticians say that the more opinions there are, the more fair is the result.

The ISU still has not completely explained how the draw will be done. Official details are expected at the conclusion of the Congress Friday afternoon.

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