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Monday, 18 February, 2002, 23:04 GMT

Skating set for radical change

By BBC Sport Online's Alex Gubbay in Salt Lake City

The International Skating Union is on the verge of completely overhauling the system of judging in figure skating and ice dancing.

ISU president Ottavio Cinquanta has submitted a set of proposals he believes make up "a project which is a total revolution in the history of skating".

They include replacing the infamous '6.0' method of analysing performances with positive awarding of points to skaters.

New proposals
Dump 6.0 system for execution and technical difficulty points
Number judges may rise from nine to 14
A computer will randomly select only seven judges' verdicts.

And for any decision, a computer would randomly select the opinion of only seven of those judges to form the final result.

The proposals are not yet set in stone, but the ISU council could approve them for final ratification at the ISU's next congress at Kyoto in June.

An impassioned Cinquanta insisted they would be good for the future of figure skating.

"I promise you this new, simple system would minimise the possibility of bloc judging and voting in future," he declared.

"In my personal opinion - it was time for something new"
ISU president
Ottavio Cinquanta

"This system would basically work in the opposite way to how it does now.

"There would be no deductions, but points would instead be added as elements are performed on the ice."

The new system would produce a total score, combining points based on an agreed difficulty rating for moves performed by the skaters, with an artistic interpretation mark from judges on how well those moves were executed.

"Judging has been based on the '6.0' system for over 80 years, but in my personal opinion, it was time to find something new.

"I was authorised to submit proposals to our council, and though the ISU is a somewhat conservative federation, it was unanimously in favour.

"I am very glad and proud there was an enthusiastic response."

Pressure on judge

Cinquanta also revealed that the internal commission investigating the result of the pairs final, and the behaviour of suspended French judge Marie Reine Le Gougne, was ongoing, but had been asked to work "fast".

Despite her claims to the contrary in the French press on Monday, Cinquanta insisted Le Gougne had told him "there had been pressure on her from the French Federation to vote for the Russian pair".

And he reiterated that it was her failure to report that pressure to the ISU before the final that led to her suspension for misconduct.

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