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Figure skating: ISU says it is mulling 'innovations'

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The chief of the world governing body for skating said Thursday that his organisation was mulling changes in competition formats, such as abolishing the short programme from figure skating.

The International Skating Union's governing council and technical committee were weighing ideas of "innovations" in figure skating and speed skating, ISU president Ottavio Cinquanta said without going into details.

The US newspaper Chicago Tribune reported this week it had obtained a copy of a letter, in which Cinquanta proposed such changes as "personal opinions."

The letter has been sent to the ISU's council and the chairs of its technical committee, the paper said on Tuesday.

In the letter, Cinquanta proposes the short programme be eliminated because no other sports are based on two segments, the daily said.

The required elements in the short programme could be put in the final free skate to make sure the athletes were capable of performing them, the daily quoted the letter as reading.

Asked about the reported proposals at a news conference during the world figure skating championships in Saitama, near Tokyo, the Italian official said: "We are waiting to obtain the opinions of the considered parties."

About specific items, including the short programme, he said they were "part of wider innovations" in figure skating and other sports administered by the ISU.

"We are unable now to give a precise response because we have not yet obtained advice from the advisory body," said Cinquanta, who has served as ISU president since 1994 with his term set to end in 2016 after 22 years.

In the ISU, its technical committee advises its supreme council whose proposals are decided by the body's congress by vote.

The Chicago Tribune said that Cinquanta's proposals for discussion also include such ideas as to unify the length of free-skate time in all disciplines -- men's and women's singles, the pairs and the ice dance.

He also proposes to keep the judges anonymous, the daily said.

In long track speed skating, heproposes a move to a mass start with a maximum of two skaters per country per event -- currently three-to-four skaters. This is to ensure that a nation does not sweep medals.

His letter noted that the Netherlands "monopolised" the speed skating medals in Sochi, winning 23 of a possible 32, calling the dominance a "sign of high concern," according to the daily.

He also called for a switch from a 400-metre oval to a 250m oval and eventually cancel short track events.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140327/figure-skating-isu-says-it-mulling-innovations