Winter Olympics: No skin on show, reggae and hip hop for Pyeongchang 2018 figure skaters

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada perform during the short dance, ice dance program of the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2017 in Helsinki March 31, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

Helsinki (AFP) - Ice dancers have been warned by figure skating bosses not to flash too much flesh with hip hop and reggae not welcome either during next year's Winter Olympic Games.

Latin American rhythms of rhumba, samba, mambo, cha cha, meringue, salsa and bachata will ring out at Pyeongchang 2018, having been selected for the short dance next season.

But skaters opting for sleeker, more minimal designs for their costumes have been told by figure skating bosses to tone it down on the ice in South Korea.

"When is sheer nude and when is sheer acceptable, is it transparent?" International Skating Union (ISU) technical committee official Shawn Rettstatt said, as he ran through guidelines at the world championships which concluded in Helsinki on Saturday.

"Sheer is now going to be a costume deduction," warned the American. "The 50 per cent rule usually goes," Rettstatt explained of the amount of upper body female skaters can reveal.

"Next year for the short dance we're going to allow 40 per cent can be uncovered.

"Costumes need to be appropriate for an athletic ladies competition. The torso must be covered appropriately," he said.

"The music is Latin American so it should be fun and sensual."

Costume guidelines were first adopted after German star Katarina Witt appeared with a skimpy showgirl outfit trimmed with feathers - and no skirt - at the 1988 European championships.

"Clothing ... must be modest, dignified and appropriate for athletic competition ... and must not give the effect of excessive nudity inappropriate for the discipline," ISU guidelines state.

Skaters were also been warned over their choice of music.

"All definitions of reggae are not allowed," said ice dance technical committee chairperson Halina Gordon-Poltorak.

"Hip hop is not allowed, this season we saw a lot of hip hop, that is why we would like to repeat this.

"If it's clear hip hop, there will be a deduction."

World champion ice dancer Scott Moir said he and partner Tessa Virtue were eager to return to Montreal to prepare for their Olympic challenge.

"We're going to skate to 'Hip Hip Chin Chin', no, I'm just kidding," he joked. "It will be something Latin for sure for the short programme.

"It's a big year so you have to choose wisely but, I have to say, we are excited. We love to dance and we're really excited to be able to do the Latin rhythm," 2010 Olympic champion Moir said after winning a third world gold.

"Also, we're ready for a fresh free (programme) so we can't wait to get home and start creating again. That's a process that we really enjoy, so let us at it."

Former world champion ice dancer Barbara Fusar-Poli said she could understand concerns about appropriate music choice.

"They (reggae, hip hop) are not Latin and should not be included," said the 45-year-old Italian coach.

"I think we'll be fine, they (ISU) gave us a bit more freedom for the choice of elements."

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