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OLY Pairs Judging Explainer

February 13, 2002

Pairs skating is broken into two parts: A two-minute, 40-second program that counts for one-third of the team’s total and a 4 1/2-minute free skate that counts for two-thirds.

Nine judges score a competition based on two marks: one for technical merit and one for presentation. A perfect score is 6.0

Short Program:

The pairs short program consists of eight required elements that include overhead lifts, side-by-side solo jumps and solo spins done in unison, footwork, pair spins and a death spiral performed to music of the skaters choice. In the short program, technical merit serves as the tie breaker.

After the short program Saturday, the Russian pair of Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze had a slight lead over Jamie Sale and David Pelletier of Canada, with seven judges ranking the Russians first and two ranking the Canadians on top.

Free Skate:

The free skating program consists of technical and artistic moves choreographed to the skaters individual strengths, skills and ability to perform as a team.

A well-balanced pair free skate must contain:

-Three different lifts but not more than four (one of which must be a twist lift) with full extension of the lift arm

-One throw but not more than two

-One solo jump but not more than two

-Only one jump sequence

-One pair spin combination

-Only one solo spin

-One or two death spirals that must be different from each other

-At least one step sequence

-At least one sequence of movements which must include turns, spirals and flowing moves while fully utilizing the ice surface

In the long program, presentation serves as the tiebreaker.

In Monday night’s free skate, two of the judges gave the team’s equal total scores, but both judges said the Russians had higher presentation points, giving them the slightest edge.

All of the judges who favored the Russians put them ahead by just .1 point ahead or by virtue of the tiebreaker. However, one of the judges who put the Canadians 11.8-11.6, and another had them up 11.8-11.5.

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On the Net:

U.S. Figure Skating Association: http://www.usfsa.org

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