A group of more than 100 skating fans from the United States and abroad have begun planning a protest against the International Skating Union and its new judging reforms. The protest would take place outside of MCI Center during the World Figure Skating Championships and is tentatively set for March 29 -- the night of the women's finals.
The group, called SkateFAIR -- Skating Fans for Accountability and ISU Reform -- first started chatting about a possible protest over the Internet. A week later, the group has registered for a protest permit and has more than 100 people helping plan the event.
SkateFAIR said its goal is to "put the ISU on notice" and for an established code of ethics for judges and officials, as well as "strict adherence" to penalties for violators.
In the wake of the judging scandal during the pairs competition at last year's Salt Lake City Olympics, the ISU has experimented with a judging system in which judges remain anonymous to the public. A revised judging system, which could be implemented as early as next season, also keeps the judges' identities secret. Many skating fans have been disgruntled about the lack of accountability, especially considering that the scandal was linked to unethical judging.
Organizers of the world championships are aware of the protest plans.
"As far as I'm concerned, they have every right to protest and where better to do that than in D.C.?" said Leslie Gianelli, a co-chair of the event. "They believe that a wrong has been done and as long as they protest in a peaceful way, I'm fine with that."
-- Amy Rosewater