OTTAWA, ONT: Canada will have three judges at the upcoming 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia: Jodi Abbott, Edmonton, Alta.; Karen Butcher, Ottawa, Ont.; and Karen Howard, Regina, Sask.
All judges, whether officiating at a local club competition, or qualified to judge at the Olympic level, are volunteers who devote countless hours to the sport. They must progress through several levels of training, examination and monitoring to become qualified by the International Skating Union (ISU) to judge at the world and Olympic level.
Countries are eligible to have judges at the Olympic Games based on the qualification of their skaters for the ladies, pairs, men’s and ice dance disciplines, as long as the country has an eligible international judge. The country names were placed into a random draw that took place in Oberstdorf, Germany in late September. Thirteen countries are eligible to have a judge for each discipline, and Canada was selected to name a judge in three: ladies; pairs; and ice dance.
Leanna Caron, President, Skate Canada, who is also a qualified ISU and Olympic/world-level official, knows that Canada will be well represented by the individuals selected. “Together these three people bring over 40 years of international judging experience to their roles at the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. They have all passed the rigorous Skate Canada and International Skating Union standards to qualify in their disciplines. Not only will we have our best skaters going to the Games to represent Canada, we also have three of our top officials as well.”
An international ice dance judge since 1999, Jodi Abbott gained her ISU credentials for ice dance in 2006, and judged that event at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. She will again be assigned to judge ice dance at the upcoming Olympic Winter Games.
Karen Butcher received her certification in 1998 as an international judge for singles and pairs and earned her ISU credentials for both in 2004. She will be judging the pair event at these Games. She most recently judged the pair event at the 2013 ISU World Figure Skating Championships
With the addition of a team event for figure skating, Butcher will do double duty at the Games. She will also judge the men’s and pair segments of the team event, which takes place over the first few days of the Games.
In 2002, Karen Howard became a certified international singles and pairs judge, receiving her ISU qualifications in 2009. Also a qualified referee for singles and pairs, she has twice judged at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships. She will judge the ladies event at the Sochi Games.