Judges & Officials

U.S. Figure Skating has approximately 1,600 volunteer officials in a variety of positions. Some are current or former skaters, some are parents of current or former skaters and some are people who simply love the sport of skating and want to contribute.

Becoming and serving as an official can take a lot of time, but it also has a lot of perks - getting to watch skating, usually from the best seat in the house, knowing you're making it possible for skaters to pursue their dreams by providing the support necessary for competitions and test sessions to be held, and getting to interact with wonderful and interesting people who also share a passion for figure skating.

How much time one commits and the level of appointment pursued are completely up to each individual official, so there's a lot of flexibility to determine how to fit judging, accounting, announcing, etc., around other obligations.

U.S. Figure Skating can always use more officials, especially for local events run by our member clubs. Below is a summary of the different types of volunteer officials utilized by the organization. For more information on each type of official, please follow the additional link(s) provided in each section.

ACCOUNTANTS AND TECHNICAL ACCOUNTANTS

The accountant's role begins weeks or maybe even months before a competition, when the accountant works with the local organizing committee and chief referee to prepare the paperwork that communicates (1) when each event of a competition will begin, (2) where it will be held, (3) which skaters will be in each event and (4) in what order they will skate. The accountants are also responsible for providing the judges, referees and technical panel officials with documents for recording their decisions. Finally, the accountants are responsible for ensuring that the scoring software is set up properly, the scores are entered accurately and the results are calculated correctly.

Technical accountants are a subset of accountants who specialize in the setup and operation of the rinkside computer equipment utilized for automated scoring under the international judging system (IJS).

For information pertaining to becoming an accountant or technical accountant as well as information for already certified accountants including charts, forms, procedures, school calendars, etc., please go to the Members Only website and click on "Accounting Central".

ANNOUNCERS

Announcers, as the name indicates, are responsible for announcing each skater/team before he/she/they perform at a competition. Announcers might also be asked to announce scores, names of officials and other general competition information.

Announcers need to be able to work as part of team and have the ability to have excellent rapport with competition hosts, referees and other officials. Announcers should also possess either knowledge of figure skating and an acceptable, pleasing vocal delivery, or be a professional announcer.

Volunteers can serve as announcers at nonqualifying, regional and sectional competitions and the U.S. Collegiate Championships without being certified as an official U.S. Figure Skating announcer. Volunteer announcers are also needed at test sessions and at other qualifying and international competitions to help with practice ice.

If you're interested in getting certified as an announcer and/or helping out your local club(s), begin by contacting clubs and/or competitions in your area to let them know of your interest. To find clubs in your area, visit the "Find a Club" page of our website. To find a list of sanctioned competitions that might be in need of announcers, visit the "Find an Event" page of our website.

Those who would like to pursue an announcing appointment should contact U.S. Figure Skating's national vice chair of announcers, Ann O'Keefe, at amokeefe@comcast.net for more information.

ICE TECHNICIANS

Ice technicians are utilized at certain qualifying and international competitions within the United States to ensure the safety of the ice. Such competitions typically include Skate America, the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, the U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships and U.S. Synchronized Sectional Championships. At these large competitions, the ice technician is the go between for the event referee and the rink personnel and ensures each event runs safely and smoothly.

Individuals interested in becoming ice technicians should be willing to spend long hours at the ice rink on a daily basis during a competition. Usually the ice technician arrives at least one-half hour before the first event of the day and stays until the day is over.

To be able to serve as an ice technician at U.S. Figure Skating competitions, one first needs to be a Certified Ice Technician (CIT) or in the process of becoming a CIT through STAR (Serving the American Rinks). To become a CIT, an individual must complete the following three operations courses and pass the exams:

  • Basic Refrigeration (BR)
  • Ice Making and Painting Technologies (IMPT)
  • Ice Maintenance and Equipment Operation (IMEO)

Once certified by STAR, the individual should apply for a position as an ice technician with U.S. Figure Skating and, if accepted, will be assigned to various competitions with other ice technicians where he/she will be evaluated for attitude, ability to work with many personnel diplomatically and willingness to react immediately to situations that may arise on or off the ice.

For more information on becoming a CIT through STAR, please visit STAR's website at www.starrinks.com and click on "Education".

If you're already certified by STAR and would like to volunteer at U.S. Figure Skating competitions, please contact U.S. Figure Skating's national vice chair of ice technicians, Dave Gagnon, at iceteck@cox.net.

JUDGES

Judges are probably the most well-known type of figure skating official. U.S. Figure Skating appoints judges in three different disciplines: (1) singles/pairs, (2) ice dancing and (3) synchronized skating. There are also two different classifications of judges: (1) test judges (who can judge test sessions and nonqualifying competitions) and (2) competition judges (who can judge nonqualifying and qualifying competitions).

For more information on becoming a judge, judges schools, qualifying competition assignments, trial judge events, judging manuals, appointment guidelines, etc., please go to the Judges page.

MUSIC OFFICIALS

Music officials are responsible for the setup, tear down and operation of the equipment used to play music at competitions as well as for actually playing the music of each skater/team.

Music officials need a basic knowledge of audio equipment, basic knowledge of figure skating competitions and their protocols, basic operational knowledge of computers, and the ability to work as part of a team.

Volunteers can serve as music officials at nonqualifying competitions without being certified as an official U.S. Figure Skating music coordinator. To do this, simply contact clubs in your area and let them know of your interest. To find clubs in your area, visit the "Find a Club" page of our website. To find a list of sanctioned competitions that might be in need of music coordinators, visit the "Find an Event" page of our website.

Those who would like to pursue a music appointment should contact U.S. Figure Skating's national vice chair of music, Jim Chen, at jchen428@aol.com for more information.

REFEREES

Event referees are in charge of the event on which they serve and act as the event spokesperson. They also manage the panel of judges and, depending on the size of the competition, may serve as one of the event's judges as well. The event referee is responsible for timing the programs, taking certain deductions (in IJS), deciding on all protests with respect to their event, conducting pre-event meetings (usually held at qualifying competitions), and allowing a skater/team to restart a program that has been stopped in accordance with U.S. Figure Skating rules.

Chief referees are responsible for setting up the competition schedule, assigning officials, overseeing seeding and draws for events, interpreting rules, deciding on protests and any breaches that occur without protests and determining if the condition of the ice will permit conducting the competition.

U.S. Figure Skating appoints referees in three different disciplines: (1) singles/pairs, (2) ice dancing and (3) synchronized skating. To become a referee, one must first become a judge. For more information on becoming a referee, including guidelines for appointment and an application, please go to the Referees page. For more information on becoming a judge, see above or go to the Judges page.

TECHNICAL PANEL OFFICIALS

Technical panel officials are required for any events using the IJS system. There are four different types of technical panel officials certified by U.S. Figure Skating: (1) technical controller, (2) technical specialist, (3) data operator and (4) video replay operator. For more information on the different types of technical panel officials and how to become a technical panel official, please go to the Technical Panel Officials page.