What if? – Expect the unexpected

The Ultimate List of Ice Skating Competition Problems. You’ve arrived organised, warmed up well, taken to the ice as your name was called….and then something goes wrong.

The list of things that can go wrong and what you should do when it happens is something that most skaters only learn about when the unfortunate event occurs.

But what if you could be prepared? Perhaps being prepared and knowing more could help reduce the stress of competition. It also makes a good read, so here we go.

  • Fall
    • if you’re not injured, get up FAST! the shorter the interruption, the less points you will lose. Everyone falls sometimes, you’re becoming a real skater once you have stories to tell about falls at competitions 🙂
  • Forgot my routine
    • keep moving until you remember something if you’re good at improvising use it if you’re not good at improvising? Still keep moving, but for fun here’s a leaf out of Joey Tribiani’s book. Try smell the fart acting, it’s great for slow, moody music – learn how here
  • Got confused or lost after a spin
    • its not the end of the world that your routine may have changed directions part way through. Keep calm, carry on and turn your end pose to ensure the final pose for the judges is as it should be and they may not even notice 🙂
  • Music stopped playing or skipped
    • there are specific rules surrounding this, so this advice comes with a reference date (September 2018), if you are reading this article more than 9 months after it was written, please check for updates in the ISU rules and special regulations. Music too quiet or poor quality – you have 20 seconds from when your music started to go over to the Referee and tell them. Don’t worry, they’re nice people really. They’ll help you (you might need that spare CD you remembered to bring with your packing list!)
    • You’re further into the routine and your music starts going on the fritz (cutting in and out or jumping). – go to the Referee as soon as you notice the problem
    • Any stop due to music problems will mean starting from the point of interruption. The full descriptions are here on page 89
  • Something relating to you directly
    • Costume malfunction (something stopped covering you or fell off you and onto the ice) Boot came undone or blade came loose, Nose Bleed, The rules surrounding these kinds of stops are quite detailed, so we highly recommend you read them completely and may be even write a cheat sheet/flow chart of circumstances! (read page 90, 91 & 92)
    • Most important numbers to know are that you must report to Referee within 40 seconds of noticing any problem starting.
    • If a stop is required, the Referee can grant you up to 3 minutes to solve your problem, then you’d start from the point of interruption. 
  • Something outside of your control has happened
    • Referee blew their whistle
    • Lights went out, Fire Alarm went off, Something has been thrown onto the ice while you’re skating, Streaker/Rink invader; Yes, this really happened to Michelle Kwan in 2005 (watch it here) The German audience show their disapproval by whistling. In these situations the rules are that you must stop skating as soon as you are aware of the problem or when the Referee blows their whistle. Some competitors prefer to keep going for as long as possible and won’t stop until the Referee makes them stop.
    • Once the problem has been solved, fire alarm switched off, lights back on, streaker sent off the ice, you get to start from the point where you were interrupted.
    • Full details on page 90
Here’s one you don’t see every day, Confetti Raining down due to a nervous bird in the rafters

This last “What if” is for skaters entering national championships and international events.

Doping Control becomes a distinct possibility at International Events, especially ISU events. It is better to know what to expect and for chaperones, coaches and skaters under 18, to know that minors must be accompanied by their guardian adult throughout the process of a Doping Control Test. 

It’s a strange experience the first time, so better describe it so you can process it.

  1. You will be notified that you’ve been drawn/randomly selected for testing.
  2. Under 18’s must get their chaperone/guardian to escort them to the Doping Control room to start the paper work. The Doping Control Officer will note the time, athlete name etc and then should explain to you what will be expected of you.
  3. You will need to provide a sample of Urine (pee) while the Doping Officer observes to make sure you are definitely providing the sample. That means the bathroom door has to be open, lights on.
  4.  You may need to drink a fair amount of water (or non-caffeinated drinks) to get things moving along. ONLY drink from SEALED BOTTLES!
  5. Once you’ve peed into the sample beaker, you’ll then be asked to select a pair of security tagged matching sample jars in a carry case. The security tags help to identify the jars as being properly sterilised before you use them and also to identify where your sample is stored to go to the Laboratory.
  6. The Doping Official will then ask you to divide your sample between 2 jars, and will then show you and note the new tags used to seal your samples, so nobody can mess with your sample and it will be safe.
  7. Once thats all done and the Doping Officer has told you, you’re free to go!


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