Skating news roundup: Chinese pairs split rumor, penalties for extra jumps reduced

Update 4/26/16: The split and re-team was officially confirmed

Update 4/15/16: IFS seems to have deleted its comment that this news was confirmed. This post will be re-categorized as a rumor. 

It's only two weeks after Worlds ended, but there is already some interesting off-season news coming out of this week. The biggest one was the news, confirmed by International Figure Skating Magazine, that Cheng Peng/Hao Zhang and Xiaoyu Yu/Yang Jin have both split and re-partnering with the other pairs' partners.

It's now Yu/Zhang and Peng/Jin
According to IFS, the Chinese skating federation "split" the two pairs and re-teamed them with each other. In hindsight, the saga looks to have begun at least a month ago, when Yu/Jin were replaced by Peng/Zhang for Worlds after a test skate. It was interesting because Yu/Jin skated relatively well, whereas Peng/Zhang, at least to the outside observers, made more mistakes. Yet it was Yu/Jin who finished fourth in that test skate and were left off the World team. [Interested? Watch for yourself]

It also may explain why Xuehan Wang/Lei Wang, the fourth-ranked active Chinese pair, were chosen to replace Wenjing Sui/Cong Han for Team Challenge Cup next week.

Chinese pairs skating was probably stinging a bit after Worlds. Although Sui/Han took silver for a second year, the other two pairs, Peng/Zhang and Wang/Wang, finished 12th and 15th. The three placements mean that the powerhouse Chinese pairs will only have two pairs at Worlds next season.

Change in extra jump rules
Great news for skaters who can't keep track of how many double toes they do. The ISU just released the updated Scale of Values communication, which proposes a change in the rules that have haunted a number of skaters in the past.

In the past, if a skater does three of the same double or triple jump in the free skate, the last one is a violation of the rules and it invalidates the entire jumping pass that that jump is part of. The rule will change next season, pending approval at the ISU Congress during the off-season, such that only the extra jumps themselves get invalidated. For example:

  • If a skater does a 3T2T, then a 3Lz2T, then does a 2A2T
    • Previous: Base value credit is given for the 3T2T and 3Lz2T, but the 2A2T gets a zero
    • New: Base value credit is given for the 3T2T, 3Lz2T, and 2A (without the 2T base value)

Nan Song retires
In more Chinese skating news, Nan Song, who has been a staple of Chinese men's skating for almost a decade, retired last week. He joins Florent Amodio in the retirement news cycle - Amodio retired after a career-best skate at Europeans in January.