Understanding the Figure Skating World Standings

Making sense of the World Standings can be a confusing endeavour.

What competitions count towards the standings? How many points does a skater receive? Why do some points get added to the total and not others? How important are the World Standings to a skater’s season?

These are all questions that have been thrown around when fans try to figure out where their favourite skater will place.

World Standings points are separated into three sections.

ISU Championships/Olympic Winter Games includes: the European Championships, the Four Continents Championships, the World Championships, the Junior World Championships, and the Olympic Winter Games.

Skaters can only receive points for one of these events per season. If they participate in more than one of these events, whichever event they received the highest points for will be included in a skater’s World Standing. Each event takes place annually* except the Olympic Winter Games which happens once every four years.

*The 2020 World Championships were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic

World Championships / Olympic Winter Games

Placement Points
1st
1200
2nd
1080
3rd
972
4th
875
5th
787
6th
709
7th
638
8th
574
9th
517
10th
465
11th
418
12th
377
13th
339
14th
305
15th
275
16th
247
17th
222
18th
200
19th
180
20th
162
21st
146
22nd
131
23rd
118
24th
106

European Championships / Four Continents Championships

Whilst it is possible for skaters to participate in both the Olympic Winter Games and World Championships if they have qualified, skaters are unable to attend both the European Championships and the Four Continents Championships as they are region-specific.

Placement Points
1st
840
2nd
756
3rd
680
4th
612
5th
551
6th
496
7th
446
8th
402
9th
362
10th
325
11th
293
12th
264
13th
237
14th
214
15th
192
16th
173
17th
156
18th
140
19th
126
20th
113
21st
102
22nd
92
23rd
83
24th
74

World Junior Championships

In addition to these events, the World Junior Championship also comes under this section. However, the points awarded for this event (and all Junior events) are considerably less than what Senior skaters are awarded.

Skaters and teams, if eligible and chosen to represent their country, can compete at both the Senior World Championships and the Junior World Championships. Although as previously stated, only one of these events, the highest scoring one, will count towards their World Standing.

Placement Points
1st
500
2nd
450
3rd
405
4th
365
5th
328
6th
295
7th
266
8th
239
9th
215
10th
194
11th
174
12th
157
13th
141
14th
127
15th
114
16th
103
17th
93
18th
83
19th
75
20th
68
21st
61
22nd
55
23rd
49
24th
44

ISU Grand Prix and Junior Grand Prix

The second section of World Standing points is dedicated to points awarded during the Grand Prix series for Seniors or Junior Grand Prix series for Juniors. Skaters and teams cannot participate in both the Senior and Junior Grand Prix series.

In this section, skaters can earn up to two allocations of points. If they participate and earn a points finish in two Grand Prix events, these points will be added to their World Standing.

ISU Grand Prix

The ISU Grand Prix awards points to the top 8 skaters/teams at an event.

Placement Points
1st
400
2nd
360
3rd
324
4th
292
5th
262
6th
236
7th
213
8th
191

ISU Junior Grand Prix

The ISU Junior Grand Prix awards points to the top 10 skaters/teams at an event.

Placement Points
1st
250
2nd
225
3rd
203
4th
182
5th
164
6th
148
7th
133
8th
120
9th
108
10th
97

ISU Grand Prix Final

If a skater or team qualifies for the Grand Prix Final or Junior Grand Prix Final, the points they earn there may supersede the lowest points they earned at one of their Grand Prix events, as only the two highest results from the series count towards their World Standings.

Placement Points
1st
800
2nd
720
3rd
648
4th
583
5th
525
6th
472

ISU Junior Grand Prix Final

Placement Points
1st
350
2nd
315
3rd
284
4th
255
5th
230
6th
207

International Competition

International Competition refers to other competitions that take place throughout the figure skating season and includes the Challenger series and other “B competitions”. These competitions are particularly important in helping lower-ranked skaters in moving up the World Rankings and presenting more opportunities for themselves in the future.

Like the Grand Prix section, skaters and teams can earn points from two of these competitions over the course of the figure skating season. If they take part in more than two competitions that earn them points, only the two highest will be added to the World Standings.

ISU Challenger Series

The Challenger Series takes place during the first half of the season, alongside the Grand Prix series. Skaters and teams are permitted to compete in up to three Challenger events, however only their two highest ranked finishes can count towards their World Standings points. Skaters are permitted to take part in both the Challenger Series and the Grand Prix series as long as the events don’t clash.

Unlike other events in the figure skating season, points vary between Singles, Pairs, and Ice Dance.

Placement Singles Pairs Ice Dance
1st
300
300
300
2nd
270
270
270
3rd
243
243
243
4th
219
219
219
5th
198
198
198
6th
178
178
7th
160
8th
144

Other International Competitions

There are many international competitions in the figure skating calendar over the course of the year. However, not all of these competitions are viable for awarding World Standing points.

A point-awarding international competition must adhere to the following criteria:-

  • a minimum of 8 singles skaters from 4 ISU member countries
  • a minimum of 6 ice dance teams from 4 ISU member countries
  • a minimum of 5 pairs teams, from 3 ISU member countries
  • the technical panel must be from 3 different ISU member countries
International competitions that will not count towards the World Standings:-
  • Regional competitions
  • Competitions that only allow participation from a particular group of skaters (for example, Universiade, which is only open to skaters studying at University)
  • Events that work on an invitational basis (excluding the Grand Prix series)
Placement Points
1st
250
2nd
225
3rd
203
4th
182
5th
164

Why do some points count towards the total and not others?

The World Standings include points from the current season, and the two previous seasons. The points from two seasons prior are reduced to 70% of their original worth.

In the ISU Championships and Olympic Winter Games section, only the two highest points earned over the three seasons will be included in the total points.

In the ISU Grand Prix and International Competitions sections, only the top four of six highest points over the three seasons will be included in the total points.

Any points that don’t currently count towards the skater’s/team’s total will have brackets around them. These points can eventually count towards the total when the current season has passed, as the oldest season’s points will be nullified and these points may now become one of the top four highest points achieved by a skater/team.

What effect do the World Standings have on a skater or team's future?

Where a skater or team places in the World Standings is important in regards to which starting group they will be drawn during major ISU events. The higher ranked skaters will usually be drawn for later groups, and the assumption is that the consistently “best” and most competitive skaters and teams in the world will be starting in the final group.

The World Standings are also used to assign spots in the Grand Prix series. Every skater or team within the top 24 is guaranteed one spot at a Grand Prix. This rule can also benefit skaters who may have missed competitions due to injury or other circumstances as their scores from prior seasons may be enough to keep them highly ranked.

The World Standings system does, however, reward the skaters and teams who compete the most. Some of the most acclaimed skaters and teams in the world may limit the number of events they participate in to the most important Championships and Grand Prix series, favouring titles over points and to potentially avoid the risk of causing themselves injury.

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