Evaluating Spiral Sequences

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San Diego Figure Skating Communications
Competition Spiral Sequences
The ISU Judging System is the scoring system was designed and implemented by the International Skating Union (ISU), the ruling body of the sport. This system of scoring is used in all qualifying national and international competitions sanctioned by the ISU, including the Winter Olympic Games.
   The following discussion provides an overview of how spiral sequences are scored in the ISU Judging System.

Levels of Difficulty

Spirals on each foot, forward & backward, inside & outside mandatory for Levels 3-4

Number of features for Levels :

2 for Level 2
3 for Level 3
4 for Level 4
  1. A difficult variation of position
  2. A difficult variation of position on a different foot significantly different from the first variation
  3. Change of edge in a spiral
  4. Unsupported change of free leg position or direction of skating maintaining the spiral (3 seconds hold before and after the change)
  5. Free leg in a total split position, one or both arms hold possible
  6. Holding spiral position (without any interruption) for 6 or more seconds without changes in position/variation

Scale of Values for Figure Skating Spirals
A spiral has a base value to which a GOE value is added to or subtracted from. When performing a spiral in competition you can improve you score by achieving a higher grade of execution GOE.
Level Abbreviation +3 +2 +1 Base -1 -2 -3
1 SpSq1 1.5 1.0 0.5 1.8 0.3 0.6 1.0
2 SpSq2 1.5 1.0 0.5 2.3 0.3 0.6 1.0
3 SpSq3 1.5 1.0 0.5 3.1 0.7 1.4 2.1
4 SpSq4 3.0 2.0 0.5 3.4 0.7 1.4 2.1

Grade of Execution (GOE) for Figure Skating Spirals
When performing a spiral in competition you can improve you score by achieving a higher grade of execution GOE. You can receive +1, +2, or +3 based on the number of bullets you achieve below.
1. Good flow, energy and execution
2. Good speed during sequence
3. Good body line
4. Highlights the character of the program
5. Superior flexibility
6. Creativity and originality

Spiral Sequence Patterns

Consists primarily of spirals, Pattern of the Spiral Sequence can be any combination of curves (on edges - spiral positions on a straight line are ignored and not counted in the number of positions).

  • Only the first 3 attempted positions are to be considered for Level features.
  • The minimum hold to be counted as a spiral position is three (3) seconds.
  • For a possible higher level at least one of the spiral positions should be maintained without any assistance of the hand or arm.
  • There must be at least one change of foot.
  • Change of foot and unsupported spiral position must also be among the first 3 positions.
  • Pushes in order to gain speed are permitted.
  • Connecting steps (including spread eagles and two footed movements with one leg extended and the other bend, or “Ina Bauer”), turns, small jumps are permitted at any point in the sequence.
  • Except during such pushes, steps, turns and small jumps, the competitor must be primarily in a spiral position, that is with the free leg higher than the hip level and variations of the position are permitted, including holding the knee or skate blade and the position of the free leg is otherwise free.

*** If in the Short Program if there is no change of foot at all, the Sequence will have no Level and no value. If there is a change of foot but any spiral position before or after the change is shorter than 3 sec. the sequence can receive Level 1 (but not higher).

Recommended Reading:



The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

ISU Figure Skating Judging
PDF The International Judging System (IJS) PDF   IJS Judging Criteria
ISU Technical Updates
Index of ISU Articles
Free Skating Program Requirements
Basic Jumps
Technical Jump Requirements
Cheated Jumps
Short & Long Programs
Free Skating Test Elements
ISU Judging
IJS Technical Panel
Competition Jumps
Competition Spins
Competition Spirals
Competition Step Sequences
IJS Grades of Execution
PDF  IJS Judging Criteria
PDF  IJS Presentation Guidelines
Program Component Guidelines
PDF  IJS Handbook
PDF  ISU Communication 1593
PDF  ISU Communication 1557
PDF  ISU Communication 1548
PDF  ISU Communication 1547
PDF  ISU Communication 1540
PDF  ISU Communication 1505
PDF  ISU Communication 1504
PDF  ISU Communication 1494
PDF  ISU Communication 1476
PDF  ISU Communication 1459
PDF  ISU Communication 1445
PDF  Search for ISU communications

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