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Age eligibility

Rules to play Figure Skating

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Age eligibility

To compete internationally on the senior level, skaters must be at least 15 before July 1 of the preceding year. To be eligible for junior level events, a skater must be at least 13 but under 19 before that date (or 21 for male pair skaters and ice dancers).A skater must meet the age requirement before it becomes July 1 in their place of birth. For example, Adelina Sotnikova was born a few hours into July 1, 1996 in Moscow and consequently, was not eligible to compete at Junior Worlds until 2011 and senior Worlds until 2013.The ISUs rules apply to international events. Many countries have no age requirements for domestic non ISU competitions, thus, some skaters compete at the senior level nationally while not eligible for international competition.

The International Skating Union has modified its age rules several times. Prior to the 1990s, 12 was the minimum age for senior international competitions. New rules were introduced in 1996, requiring skaters to be at least 15 before July 1 of the preceding year in order to compete at the Olympics, Worlds, Europeans, or Four Continents. The minimum age for all other senior internationals was 14 until July 2014, when it was raised to 15.

During the 2005 06 season, Mao Asada of Japan was age eligible to compete at the Grand Prix Final, where she claimed the title, but she was not permitted to compete at the Olympics. For the 2008 World Championships, the United States was obliged to send skaters who had placed 5th and 7th at nationals because higher placed skaters were too young, including a skater who missed the cutoff by 20 days. The ISU has strictly enforced the rules in recent years.However, American pair skater Natasha Kuchiki was allowed to compete at the 1990 World Championships when she was two years too young and American single skater Tara Lipinski, who was 13 at the time the 1996 rules were introduced, was grandfathered into remaining eligible for future events, along with other skaters who had already competed at the World Championships. A loophole also existed for a few years for underage skaters who had medaled at Junior Worlds.


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