Definition of ‘Team’ updated to reflect gender diversity across the Podium Pathway

OTTAWA, ON: Skate Canada is pleased to be advancing its Skating for Everyone initiative with the updated definition of ‘team’ in the Podium Pathway for pair and ice dance teams. The Podium Pathway definition of ‘team’ will be revised to ‘a team consists of two skaters’.

The previous definition of ‘team’ was one woman and one man. That definition was inconsistent with Skate Canada’s vision of Skating for Everyone and Skate Canada’s commitment to non-discrimination, including non-discrimination based on gender identity.

The recommendation was developed by the Skate Canada Equity Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility (EDIA) Operating Committee and unanimously endorsed by the committee in July 2022. In September 2022, the motion was presented to the Skate Canada Board of Directors and was unanimously passed.

“By updating the definition of team, many individuals in the figure skating community in Canada will have new opportunities to embrace the sport. This change is about removing barriers to participation in skating, and we believe it will have a significant impact in ensuring all gender identities are recognised and accepted equally and without prejudice,” said Karen Butcher, President, Skate Canada. “This change has been collectively endorsed by Skate Canada and will allow for new and exciting partnerships in the pair and ice dance disciplines to compete at the national level. Skate Canada is privileged to continue the advancement of skating in Canada by making rule and policy change that allows everyone to experience the joy of skating.”

The Podium Pathway is the final Skate Canada pathway to be revised to align with Skate Canada policies related to non-discrimination and gender diversity. The STAR and Adult pathways were adopted to the ‘two skaters’ terminology in 2019.

“It has been a privilege to work with the Skate Canada Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility Operating Committee and push forward this proposal to update the definition of “Team” to include all pairings of gender identities,” said Kaitlyn Weaver, EDIA member and Olympian. “Ice dance is my passion, and although beautifully steeped in tradition, the future of our sport depends on looking critically and assertively at who and who is not represented. All skaters deserve to have a home on the ice— inclusive of their fullest selves. I look forward to seeing that become a reality in the competitive arena.”

Allowing any two skaters to compete through the Podium Pathway will have a significant impact on the sport development in both the pair and ice dance disciplines. This update will allow skaters to move forward with further achievements and competitive successes through the Skating to Win strategic imperative.

“It was necessary for the ice dance and pair world to change their definition of team from a man and a woman to just two people skating together, however they identify. Many colleagues and I have pushed for this change and are excited that Skate Canada has taken action to make skating more accessible,” said Scott Moir, Skate Canada coach and Olympic Champion. “Our craft is a mixture of athleticism and art and because of this we have a unique opportunity for a level playing field unlike any other sport, regardless of how individuals identify. This change will push the sport forward in many ways with the creation of new and interesting work from athletes that now can perform together.”

The definition and the language will be updated in the rule book, Podium Pathway documents, and the scoring system. Previously pair and ice dance teams required an entry of a woman and a man. Updated language of ‘skater A’ and ‘skater B’, ‘lifted partner’ and ‘lifting partner’ as well as ‘follow’ and ‘lead’ can all be used to differentiate each athlete.

The definition of a team as two skaters applies only to Skate Canada domestic events. All International Skating Union (ISU) events are subject to ISU rules.

1 reply
  1. Ron Lirette
    Ron Lirette says:

    Awesome!! Way to go EDI Committee. Bold steps take courage. It’s nice to see the movement in Skate Canada to remove barriers.


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