From what I’ve seen from their sequence at the end of episode 12, I’d say what Yuuri and Victor are doing is more akin to a sport known as “Ice Dancing” rather than “Pairs Skating.” They might sound similar but they’re actually almost completely different.
Pairs Skating is just as it sounds; figure skating but in pairs. As such, the focus is on spirals, high-flying jumps, throws, and simple footwork.
Also similar to singles, pairs skating has two components: short and free.
Both short and free have a set list of requirements but everyone generally skates a different routine from the other teams.
On the other hand, throws and jumps are not done in Ice Dancing. Similarly, Yuuri and Victor don’t perform a single throw or jump in their entire routine. Another main difference is that
lifts where one person levels the other above their head
are allowed in Pairs Skating but not in Ice Dancing.
Of course, in exchange for the absence of a lot of elements that you usually see in Pairs Skating, Ice Dancing has bigger restrictions like that all spins must be done in-sync and that the pair can never be more than two arm-lengths apart, something that Victor and Yuuri do very well in their routine. In fact,
performance marks are generally higher the closer you stay to your partner (which increases the risk of messing up due to interference).
The footwork is also expected to be much more advanced and inspired by ballroom dancing. This is harder than it sounds as that means that you have to maintain the same momentum, line of direction, position, and acceleration as your partner all while staying about a meter away from them. As such, the score is much more dependent on precision of step sequence and staying in-synch rather than technical difficulty. In other words, Yuuri would most likely excel scarily well in it.
The best way to describe it is to see it yourself. Thankfully, I’ve been a huge fangirl of the World Record Holders for the highest free and compulsory Ice Dance programs since before even watching YOI. And they skated something similar to Yuuri’s Eros during the 2010 Olympics.
And just to emphasize how differently the two sports are, the way they’re judged is completely different from singles or pairs. Instead of only having two components (the short and the free), in Ice Dancing, they have three components (the compulsory, the original, and the free). In the compulsory program, the competition provides a fixed routine and everyone skates that same exact routine and are all scored based on how well they perform it. The relationship between the Original and Free Skates are much more familiar to what the Short and Free Skates are for pairs and singles. It was only recently that the ISU changed it into a Short and a Free by enforcing the rules of the Compulsory to some aspects of the Short.
I just wanted to put it out there that there are many types of competitive sports in skating. Plus, Ice Dancing is less taxing on older skaters so it’s common to see ice dancers stay competitive well into their thirties. I like it being a possibility for Yuuri and Victor to do past their prime as singles or pairs figure skaters.
Sadly, not a lot of people know about Ice Dancing.