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Synchronized skating

Synchronized skating is a gender neutral sport where between eight and twenty figure skaters perform together as a team. They move as a flowing unit at high speed over the ice, while completing complicated footwork and elements.[1] This complex sport was originated in 1956 was first called "precision skating," because of the emphasis on maintaining precise formations and timing of the group. Synchronized skating's popularity has grow immensely over the past 40 years and has been quickly embraced by several European countries who have produced teams that dominate international championships year after year. Today there are more than 600 synchro teams in the United States alone.

Details

Similar to any other discipline of figure skating, there are many different levels in US Figure Skating at which synchronized skaters can compete. These levels include: Snowplow Sam Synchro, Synchro Skills 1, 2, and 3, Preliminary, Pre-juvenile, Open Juvenile, Juvenile, Intermediate, Novice, Junior, Senior, Open Collegiate, Collegiate, Adult, Open Adult, Open Masters, and Masters.[2] Synchronized skating uses a similar judging system as singles, pairs and ice dancing. The discipline is primarily judged on skating skills, transitions, performance, composition, interpretation and difficulty of elements. What makes the sport so unique is the incredible teamwork, speed, and intricate formations.[3]

Each level performs a free-skate program that requires elements such as circles, lines, blocks, wheels, intersections, no holds, and, at higher levels, lifts. Teams are required to perform step sequences, ranging in difficulty with each level. In the highest ranking levels, Junior and Senior division teams are required to perform the free-skate, also known as long program, as well as a short program. Generally, the short program is more technical in nature, where the free skating program is longer and provides an opportunity to showcase expression, emotion and interpretation.[1]

The different levels are permitted to compete at different competitions. Synchro Skills levels can compete at any U.S. Figure Skating synchronized skating non-qualifying competition or a Learn to Skate USA competition. Preliminary, pre-juvenile, open-juvenile, open-collegiate and open-adult can compete at the same competitions as well the Eastern, Midwestern or Pacific Coast Synchronized Skating Sectional Championships. Teams at the juvenile, intermediate, novice, junior, senior, collegiate, adult or masters are permitted to compete at all competitions listed above. However, at their respective sectional championship a placement in the top four earns them a spot at the U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships. Junior level teams compete in a world qualifying competition where the top two teams attend the Junior World Synchronized Skating Championships. At the senior level, teams compete at nationals for a spot at the World Synchronized Skating Championships, the top two teams attend. [1]

As stated above, a synchronized skating routine may consist of straight line sequences, wheels, blocks, circle step sequences, or also moves in isolation. Moves in isolation, used in more advanced levels, consist of one or more skaters separating from the rest of the team to performs freestyle type moves. For example, three figure-skaters may separate and go into sit spins, while the rest of the team is in a circle formation. The three figure skaters will then join the group again and carry on with the routine. Similarly, Novice, Junior, and Senior programs include moves in the fields. This is where the whole team performs moves such as bellman spirals, 170 spirals, unsupported spirals, spread eagles, or bauers connected.

Required elements[4]

Block

Rockettes performing a block

This is an element where the figure skaters are lined up in at least three parallel lines. Five lines is the maximum a block can have. The block should travel over the entire ice surface. The lines should be straight and evenly spaced. To increase the difficulty of the block teams can add step sequences, pivot the block, or change the configuration.

Circle

There are many different ways to complete this element. Teams can have one circle, multiple circles, a circle within a circle, interlocked circles, or a disconnected circle. The circle should be evenly spaced between the skaters and should form a round shape. To increase the difficulty of a circle a team can include step sequences, traveling, and changes of rotational direction. Assisting of travel can also be present in a circle, and is usually noted by a skater trying to cut through the rotation of the circle on a straight path; this will be noticeable with the same jerky/whipping motion of the circle.

Team Paradise at 2015 Grand Prix performing a line

Line

There are many different types of lines. Lines can be two parallel lines, one straight line, or a diagonal line. To increase the difficulty the team may pivot the line, change configuration, or incorporate retrogression into the line.

Wheel

For a wheel every figure skater must rotate around a common center point. There are many different formations that teams can form including a two to five spoke or a parallel wheel. Each spoke (line) of the wheel should be straight and the figure skaters should be leaning into the center of the wheel. The difficulty of the wheel can be increased by adding footwork, changing the rotational direction of the wheel, configuration of the wheel, or traveling. Traveling is difficult because a lot of the time teams will get called for "assisting the travel" which occurs when a team member (usually towards the center) is doing footwork that is not around the center point that is being traveled, but rather they cut through it on a straight path and stop the flow of rotation in an effort to gain more distance up the ice. More often than not, assisting the travel can be spotted because a) a team member will look out of place and b) the wheel will whip or be very jerky in movement.

Intersection

Golden Blades performing an intersection

An intersection, also known as a pass through, is when the figure skaters skate towards each other in lines and intersect. The intersection can be two lines, such as an angled intersection, but can have three or four lines, such as a triangle or box. At the point of intersection skaters could do turns or free skating movements to increase the difficulty. The entry to the intersection can be made more difficult by intersecting from an angle or from a whip.

2015 Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final Team Nexxice IMG 9184.JPG

No Hold Element

The no hold element has the same qualities as a regular block. The only difference is that the skaters are not connected in a no hold block. The goal of this maneuver is to stay in perfect alignment while doing the footwork. The neater the block and the harder the footwork, the more points a team can receive.

Pairs Element

This is a free skating move where one figure skater holds on to another. Different types of pairs element include spins, lifts, and pivots such as death spirals. Again, this element is really not a necessity for team skating, but it is seen at the Junior and Senior level. A pairs element can be used to boost skating skills and transition scores.

Team Surprise at the 2015 Grand Prix performing Movement in Isolation.

Movement in Isolation

In this element, some of the figure skaters are isolated from the rest of the team while performing free skating elements such as spins, spirals, lifts, vaults, or jumps. The free skating elements must be performed by a minimum of three skaters and a maximum of less than half of the team.

Team Paradise at the 2015 Grand Prix performing Moves in the Field.

Moves in the Field

This element is a sequence of movements that must include free skating moves such as spirals, spread eagles, Ina Bauers, and other flowing moves with strong edges, connected with linking steps. It must include at least three different free skating moves.

History

The Beginning of Synchronized Skating

The very first precision skating team.

In 1956,[5] The first synchronized skating team was formed by Dr. Richard Porter, who became known as the 'father of synchronized skating'. The 'Hockettes' skated out of Ann Arbor, Michigan and entertained spectators during intermissions of the University of Michigan Wolverines hockey team. In the early days, precision skating (as it was then called) resembled a drill team routine, or a precision dance company such as The Rockettes.

During the 1970s, the interest for this new sport spawned tremendous growth and development. As each season passed, more and more teams were developing more creative and innovative routines incorporating stronger basic skating skills, new maneuvers and more sophisticated transitions with greater speed, style and agility. Due to the enormous interest in the sport in North America, the first official international competition was held between Canadian and American teams in Michigan in March 1976. With the internationalization of the sport, it has evolved rapidly, with increasing emphasis on speed and skating skills, and "highlight" elements such as jumps, spirals, spins, and lifts that originally were not permitted in competition.

Competitions

International

There are international synchronized skating competitions at the Senior, Junior, and Novice levels (with Senior being the most elite). The International Skating Union held the first official World Synchronized Skating Championships (WSSC) in 2000 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. The top Junior teams from around the world competed from 2001 to 2012 at the ISU Junior World Challenge Cup (JWCC), held in a different location every year. The JWCC were accompanied in 2013 by the ISU World Junior Synchronized Skating Championships, to be held biannually in odd-numbered years with the JWCC in even-numbered years.[6] Other long-running, major international events attracting elite teams at different levels include the French Cup, Spring Cup, Neuchâtel Trophy, Cup of Berlin, Zagreb Snowflakes Trophy, Leon Lurje Trophy and Prague Cup.

ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships

Haydenettes 2006

The ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships (WSSC) are the world championships for synchronized skating. Held since 2000, the WSSC is an annual event organized by the International Skating Union and attracts the most elite teams from around the world to compete. The top positions have been dominated by Finland with three different World Champions (Marigold IceUnity, Rockettes and Team Unique) and 19 medals and Sweden with the team (Team Surprise) with most World titles and medals for a single team. Other major countries include Canada with two gold, four silvers and five bronzes (for NEXXICE, Les Suprêmes and the now-discontinued Black Ice), as well as the United States with one silver and four bronzes (for Miami University and Haydenettes, respectively).

Year Location Gold Silver Bronze Source
2020 United States Lake Placid, USA Event cancelled [6]
2019 Finland Helsinki, Finland Russia Team Paradise Finland Marigold IceUnity Finland Rockettes [7]
2018 Sweden Stockholm, Sweden Finland Marigold IceUnity Sweden Team Surprise Russia Team Paradise [8]
2017 United States Colorado Springs, USA Russia Team Paradise Finland Marigold IceUnity Canada NEXXICE [9]
2016 Hungary Budapest, Hungary Russia Team Paradise Finland Rockettes United States Haydenettes [10]
2015 Canada Hamilton, Ontario, Canada Canada NEXXICE Finland Marigold IceUnity Russia Team Paradise [11]
2014 Italy Courmayeur, Italy Finland Marigold IceUnity Canada NEXXICE Finland Rockettes [12]
2013 United States Boston, United States Finland Team Unique Canada NEXXICE United States Haydenettes [13]
2012 Sweden Gothenburg, Sweden Sweden Team Surprise Canada NEXXICE United States Haydenettes [14]
2011 Finland Helsinki, Finland Finland Rockettes Finland Marigold IceUnity United States Haydenettes [15]
2010 United States Colorado Springs, United States Finland Rockettes Finland Marigold IceUnity United States Haydenettes [16]
2009 Croatia Zagreb, Croatia Canada NEXXICE Finland Team Unique Sweden Team Surprise [17]
2008 Hungary Budapest, Hungary Finland Rockettes Sweden Team Surprise Canada NEXXICE [18]
2007 Canada London, Canada Sweden Team Surprise United States Miami University Canada NEXXICE [19]
2006 Czech Republic Prague, Czech Republic Finland Marigold IceUnity Sweden Team Surprise Finland Rockettes [20]
2005 Sweden Gothenburg, Sweden Sweden Team Surprise Finland Rockettes Finland Marigold IceUnity [21]
2004 Croatia Zagreb, Croatia Finland Marigold IceUnity Sweden Team Surprise Finland Rockettes [22]
2003 Canada Ottawa, Canada Sweden Team Surprise Finland Marigold IceUnity Canada Les Suprêmes
2002 France Rouen, France Finland Marigold IceUnity Sweden Team Surprise Canada black ice
2001 Finland Helsinki, Finland Sweden Team Surprise Finland Rockettes Canada black ice [23]
2000 United States Minneapolis, United States Sweden Team Surprise Canada black ice Finland Marigold IceUnity [24]

ISU World Junior Synchronized Skating Championships

Year Location Gold Silver Bronze Source
2020 United Kingdom Nottingham, United Kingdom Finland Team Fintastic Russia Team Junost Russia Team Crystal Ice [25]
2019 Switzerland Neuchatel, Switzerland Russia Team Junost Russia Team Crystal Ice United States Team Skyliners [26]
2018 Croatia Zagreb, Croatia Russia Team Junost United States Team Skyliners Russia Team Crystal Ice [27]
2017 Canada Mississauga, Canada Russia Team Junost Finland Team Fintastic Finland Musketeers [28]
2015 Croatia Zagreb, Croatia Finland Musketeers Finland Team Fintastic Canada Les Suprêmes [29]
2013 Finland Helsinki, Finland Finland Musketeers Finland Team Fintastic Russia Spartak-Junost [30]

ISU Junior World Challenge Cup

Year Location Gold Silver Bronze Source(s)
2016 Croatia Zagreb, Croatia Canada Les Suprêmes Finland Team Fintastic Russia Team Junost [31]
2014 Switzerland Neuchâtel, Switzerland Finland Team Fintastic Canada Les Suprêmes Finland Musketeers [32]
2012 Sweden Gothenburg, Sweden Finland Team Fintastic Finland Musketeers Canada Les Suprêmes [33]
2011 Switzerland Neuchâtel, Switzerland Finland Team Fintastic Finland Musketeers United States Team Braemar [34]
2010 Sweden Gothenburg, Sweden Finland Team Fintastic Canada NEXXICE Finland Musketeers [34][35]
2009 Switzerland Neuchâtel, Switzerland Finland Team Fintastic Canada NEXXICE Finland Musketeers [34]
2008 France Rouen, France Finland Team Fintastic Canada Gold Ice Finland Musketeers [34]
2007 United Kingdom Nottingham, Great Britain Finland Team Fintastic Canada Les Suprêmes United States Chicago Jazz [36]
2006 Finland Helsinki, Finland Finland Musketeers Finland Team Fintastic United States Chicago Jazz [34]
2005 Switzerland Neuchâtel, Switzerland Finland Musketeers Finland Team Mystique Canada Gold Ice [34]
2004 Italy Milan, Italy Finland Musketeers Finland Team Mystique Canada Gold Ice [34]
2003 Sweden Kungsbacka, Sweden Finland Musketeers Canada Burlington Ice Image Canada Les Suprêmes [34]
2002 Croatia Zagreb, Croatia Canada Ice Image Russia Spartak-Leader Finland Musketeers [34]
2001 Switzerland Neuchâtel, Switzerland Finland Team Fintastic Canada Les Suprêmes United States Superettes [34]

Finland

Team Unique 2013

The Finnish member of ISU, the Finnish Figure Skating Association, holds the Finnish Synchronized Skating Championships at the Novice, Junior and Senior levels. Also, it holds two Finnish Championships Qualifiers before the nationals. Since the late 1990s, the senior-level battle for the qualifier wins and Finnish Championship—and the ensuing ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships (WSSC) entries—has mainly been fought between three teams from Helsinki, Marigold IceUnity, Rockettes and Team Unique, while a fourth and sometimes a fifth Senior team has competed along in the intervening years.

Finnish Senior Championships medalists

Year Location Gold Silver Bronze Source
2014 Helsinki Marigold IceUnity Rockettes Team Unique [37]
2013 Turku Team Unique Marigold IceUnity Rockettes [38]
2012 Espoo Rockettes Marigold IceUnity Team Unique [39]
2011 Espoo Rockettes Marigold IceUnity Team Unique [40]
2010 Espoo Rockettes Marigold IceUnity Team Unique [41]
2009 Helsinki Marigold IceUnity Team Unique Rockettes [42]
2008 Helsinki Rockettes Marigold IceUnity Team Unique [43]
2007 Helsinki Marigold IceUnity Team Unique Rockettes [44]
2006 Helsinki Marigold IceUnity Rockettes Team Unique [45]

Finnish qualifications for the ISU WSSC

Throughout the years, the Finnish senior teams qualifying for the World Championships have been selected based on their performance at the two qualifiers and the national championships. In the season 2012–13, the teams were selected as follows: the Finnish Champion qualified automatically as Team Finland 1 for the WSSC. Team Finland 2 at the WSSC was the team which earned the fewest points from the first qualifier, the second qualifier and the Finnish Championships. The points equaled the sum of the positions at the three competitions with growing coefficients: the coefficient was 0,3 for the first competition result, 0,5 for the second and 1 for the last.[46]

United States

In the United States, there are several other recognized age and skill levels. Sanctioned by the US Figure Skating Association, the divisions include Beginner, Pre-Juvenile, Preliminary, Open Juvenile, Open Collegiate, and Open Adult (the non-qualifying divisions/ the divisions that do not go to Nationals) and Juvenile, Intermediate, Novice, Junior, Senior, Collegiate, Adult, and Masters (qualifying levels).

ISI (Ice Skating Institute) is another governing body which focuses on a more recreational form of competition and does not have the same divisions as those of the USFSA. Teams can compete in the Tot, Jr. Youth, Youth Sr. Youth, Teen, Collegiate, Adult, or Master age groups, in any of five categories: Formation, Advanced Formation, Skating, Open Skating, and Dance.[47]

While most skaters participating in synchronized skating are female, the rules allow mixed-gender teams.

US Figure Skating Senior Championship

The Senior team level consists of 16 skaters. Skaters must be at least 15 years old and have passed the Novice Moves in the Field test.

Year Location Gold Score Silver Score Bronze Score Pewter Score Source
2020 Providence, Rhode Island Haydenettes 203.19 Skyliners 194.94 Crystallettes 193.09 Miami University 192.39 [48]
2019 Plymouth, Michigan Haydenettes 226.37 Skyliners 218.14 Crystallettes 201.63 Miami University 196.95 [49]
2018 Portland, Oregon Haydenettes 204.05 Skyliners 185.86 Miami University 182.99 Crystalettes 166.89 [50]
2017 Rockford, Illinois Haydenettes 208.83 Crystallettes 189.50 Skyliners 172.96 Miami University 172.84 [51]
2016 Kalamazoo, Michigan Haydenettes 202.26 Miami University 183.86 Skyliners 169.47 Crystallettes 166.96
2015 Providence, Rhode Island Haydenettes 210.55 Miami University 194.70 Skyliners 178.99 Crystallettes 173.78
2014 Colorado Springs, Colorado Haydenettes 205.02 Crystallettes 179.77 Starlights 154.90 Miami University 149.64
2013 Plymouth, Michigan Haydenettes 206.33 Miami University 191.28 Crystallettes 176.96 Skyliners 151.56 [52]
2012 Worcester, Massachusetts Haydenettes 202.92 Crystallettes 185.54 Miami University 182.64 ICE'Kateers 145.15 [53]
2011 Ontario, California Haydenettes 217.41 Miami University 195.50 Crystallettes 179.85 California Gold [54]
2010 Minneapolis, Minnesota Haydenettes 231.14 Crystallettes 210.35 Miami University 202.68 Starlights 167.80 [55]
2009 Portland, Maine Miami University 204.72 Haydenettes 203.97 Crystallettes 184.10 California Gold [56]
2008 Providence, Rhode Island Haydenettes 213.37 Miami University 201.26 Crystallettes 184.10 California Gold [5]
2007 Colorado Springs, Colorado Haydenettes 201.04 Miami University 199.56 Crystallettes 159.65 California Gold 158.06 [57]
2006 Grand Rapids, Michigan Miami University 179.72 Haydenettes 161.28 Crystallettes 155.12 Team Elan 126.96 [58]
2005 Lowell, Massachusetts Haydenettes * Miami University * Crystallettes * Team Elan * [59]
2004 San Diego, California Haydenettes * Crystallettes * Team Elan * Miami University * [60]
2003 Huntsville, Alabama Haydenettes * Miami University * Team Elan * Crystallettes * [61]
2002 Lake Placid, New York Haydenettes * Miami University * Crystallettes * [5]
2001 Colorado Springs, Colorado Haydenettes * Miami University * Crystallettes * [5]
2000 Plymouth, Michigan Haydenettes * Team Elan * Miami University * [5]
1999 Tampa, Florida Miami University * Haydenettes * Starlets [5]
1998 San Diego, California Haydenettes Miami University Team Elan * [5]
1997 Syracuse, New York Haydenettes * Team Elan * Miami University * [5]
1996 Chicago, Illinois Haydenettes * Miami University * Team Elan * [5]
1995 San Diego, California Team Elan * Haydenettes * Miami University * [5]
1994 Providence, Rhode Island Haydenettes * Team Elan * Miami University * [5]
1993 Detroit, Michigan Haydenettes * Team Elan * Crystallettes * [5]
1992 Portland, Maine Haydenettes * Team Elan * Goldenettes * [5]
1991 Anchorage, Alaska Haydenettes * Goldenettes * Fraserettes * [5]
1990 Houston, Texas Goldenettes * Haydenettes * Fraserettes * [5]
1989 Providence, Rhode Island Haydenettes * Goldenettes * Detroit Capets * [5]
1988 Reno, Nevada Haydenettes * Fraserettes * Detroit Capets * [5]
1987 Tulsa, Oklahoma Fraserettes * Haydenettes * Figurettes * [5]
1986 Boston, Massachusetts Hot Fudge Sundaes * Haydenettes * Detroit Capets * [5]
1985 Lakewood, Ohio Fraserettes * Ice Crystallettes * Minneapplettes * [5]
1984 Bowling Green, Ohio Fraserettes * Ice Crystallettes * [62] * [5]

USFSA Collegiate Championship

The Collegiate team level consists of teams with 12-20 Figure skaters who must be enrolled in a college or degree program as full-time students. Skaters must also have passed the Juvenile Moves in the Field test. It is a Varsity Sport at colleges such as Miami University and Adrian College. Many more have developed club-level collegiate teams without varsity status such as the team at The University of Delaware and the University of Michigan. The Miami University Synchronized Skating Team has been a trailblazer in collegiate synchronized skating, fielding the first completely funded varsity synchronized skating program in the United States, as well as working towards gaining "Synchro" NCAA status in the United States.

Year Location Gold Score Silver Score Bronze Score Source
2016 Kalamazoo, Michigan Miami University 90.12 Univ of Michigan 86.28 Metroettes 82.15
2015 Providence, RI Miami University 94.12 Univ of Michigan 85.69 Metroettes 84.25
2014 Colorado Springs, CO Miami University 96.80 Team Excel 78.77 Michigan State 78.60
2013 Plymouth, MI Miami University 92.26 Univ of Delaware 84.11 Univ of Michigan 77.98 [52]
2012 Worcester, MA Miami University 87.80 Univ of Delaware 84.29 Univ of Michigan 80.83
2011 Ontario, CA Miami University 96.16 Michigan State 85.17 Univ of Michigan 83.96
2010 Minneapolis, MN Miami University 107.60 Univ of Michigan 98.46 Univ of Delaware 94.97
2009 Portland, ME Miami University 100.63 Univ of Illinois 86.79 Michigan State 85.79
2008 Providence, RI Miami University 107.46 Univ of Delaware 97.77 Michigan State 87.11
2007 Colorado Springs, CO Miami University 102.61 Michigan State 92.17 Univ of Delaware 88.74
2006 Grand Rapids, MI Miami University Western Michigan Univ of Delaware
2005 Lowell, MA Miami University Western Michigan Michigan State
2004 San Diego, CA Western Michigan Miami University Univ of Delaware
2003 Huntsville, AL Miami University Western Michigan Univ of Michigan
2002 Lake Placid, NY Miami University Michigan State Western Michigan
2001 Colorado Springs, CO Miami University Western Michigan Michigan State
2000 Plymouth, MI Miami University Univ of Delaware Univ of Michigan
1999 Tampa, FL Univ of Michigan Miami University Univ of Delaware
1998 San Diego, CA Miami University Michigan State Bowling Green
1997 Syracuse, NY Miami University Bowling Green Western Michigan

Present day

Why not Synchro Petition

Although not currently an Olympic sport, it has already been reviewed for Olympic eligibility. Fans and participants of this fast-growing discipline have begun to strive for recognition by the rest of the skating and athletic world. In 2007 synchronized skating took one step closer to Olympic Games contention when it was selected to be part of the Universiade or World University Games as a demonstration sport. Countries from around the world competed in Turin, Italy with Sweden, Finland, and Russia coming out on top.[63]

#WhyNotSynchro

There are many speculations as to why synchronized skating may never become an Olympic sport. These include:

  • Cost and logistics at the Games. Teams of twenty skaters require more money spent on accommodations.
  • Mixed gender sport. There are no requirements or regulations surrounding the gender of skaters on a team.
  • Not easy to televise. The sport does not convey the same power or speed when it is viewed on TV.
  • Lack of interested audience. The sport is relatively low profile in many parts of the world, and may not draw a significant audience.
  • Scandal of judged sport. Figure skating already comes under criticism for judging scandals.
  • Lack of diversity among contending countries. The sport is dominated by five main countries (Russia, Finland, Sweden, USA, and Canada).
  • Lack of countries with teams. At the senior level, there are approximately twenty countries who have teams.

"Why Not Synchro" is an ongoing campaign which became popular over social media through the hashtag #whynotsynchro and #whynotsynchro2018 on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This was popularized at the Mozart Cup, held in Austria in January 2014. During the medal ceremonies, teams gathered on the ice and created the shape of the Olympic rings. This image was then shared widely over social media as skaters petitioned to get awareness about the sport. A petition to the International Olympic Committee was posted on change.org calling for 15,000 signatures and asking the IOC "Synchronized Figure Skating: Make it an Olympic Event." The petition states "The time has come to add this incredible event to the pinnacle of the sport of figure skating." [63]

Effects of COVID-19

Due to the abrupt appearance of COVID-19, the 2019-2020 season was cut short to ensure safety of all teams. Elite US teams like the Haydenettes and Skyliners were not able to compete internationally due to travel restrictions set in place in late March and early April. [64] The US Figure Skating Association ensures that the health and well-being of the athletes, members and figure skating community continues to be their first priority. [65] However, teams and fans from all across the world are hopeful for the opportunity to compete in the upcoming 2020-2021 season.

News Coverage

Synchronized skating has been covered by Skating Magazine since the sport's inception. International and national level competitions are covered by local newspapers highlighting local athletes and teams. Television coverage is taken by major news channels and is usually broadcast after the competition date. US Figure Skating also provides a live streaming service for national synchronized skating competitions.

Judging

International IJS System

The competitive levels of synchronized skating, like those in other disciplines of Figure skating, are now judged using the ISU Judging System that was introduced in 2004. Each element is assigned a difficulty level by the technical panel made-up of a technical specialist, assistant technical specialist and a technical controller. Each level of difficulty for a particular element corresponds to a pre-determined base value. The base value is the number of points that are awarded for an executed element before the grade of execution or any deductions are applied. The base value for every element can be found on the ISU website under ISU Communication 1532, Appendix D. Judges assign a grade of execution from -3 to +3 to each of the elements. Each grade of execution, or GOE, corresponds to a point value. For each element, the highest and lowest GOE values are dropped and the rest are averaged then added to the base value. The sum of all the scores of the elements comprises the Technical Elements score.

Program Component Score

The judges will award points on a scale from 0.25 to 10 (in increments of 0.25) for five program components to grade overall presentation. As with Grade of Execution (GOEs), the highest and lowest scores for each component are thrown out, and the remaining scores are averaged. The final program components scores are then multiplied by a set factor to ensure the technical score and program components score are balanced. [66]

The five program components are:

  • Skating Skills - Overall skating quality, including edge control and flow over the ice surface (edges, steps, turns, speed, etc.), clarity of technique and use of effortless power to accelerate and vary speed.
  • Transitions - The varied and/or intricate footwork, positions, movement and holds that link all elements.
  • Performance - The involvement of the skater physically, emotionally and intellectually in translating the music and choreography.
  • Composition - An intentional, developed and/or original arrangement of all types of movements according to the principles of proportion, unity, space, pattern, structure and phrasing.
  • Interpretation of Music - The personal and creative translation of the music to the movement on the ice.[67]

Technical Score

Each element of the program is assigned a base value, which gives skaters credit for every element they perform. Some elements, such as spins and step sequences, have levels of difficulty on which the base values are established. Judges grade the quality of each element using a grade of execution score within a range of -5 to +5, which is added to or deducted from the base value. GOEs are proportional to the base value of each element. The highest and lowest scores for each element are thrown out, and the remaining scores are averaged to determine the final GOE for each element. The GOE is then added to or subtracted from the base value for each element, and the sum of the scores for all elements forms the technical score.[68]

Segment Sore

2015 Grand Prix Synchronized Skating Medal Ceremonies.

The technical score is added to the program components score to determine the segment score (short program/rhythm dance or free skate/dance). The scores for each segment are then added together to determine the competition score. The skater with the highest competition score is declared the winner. In the event of a tie, the team with the highest free program score wins the competition. The IJS is used at events in the national qualifying structure including the U.S. Championships as well as many local competitions at the juvenile through senior levels, including Excel. [69]

6.0 System

In the United States, the introductory levels of Preliminary, Pre-Juvenile, Open Juvenile, Open Junior, Open Collegiate, Open Adult, and Open Masters are still judged under the 6.0 judging system. These levels can compete at the regional level but cannot qualify for the national championships. The basic principle of the 6.0 system is a “majority” system. Each event is judged by an odd number of judges, and the winner of the event is the team placed highest by a majority of these judges. [70]

Differences in Judging Systems

The IJS is based on cumulative points rather than the 6.0 standard of marks and placement. The IJS focuses on the skaters and not the judges. Judges don’t have to use their memory to compare all aspects of every skater and figure out where to place them, but simply evaluate the qualities of each performance. [71]


Highest scores at ISU competitions

Short program

Rank Team Score Event Source
1 Sweden Team Surprise 87.84 2004 Neuchâtel Trophy [72]
2 Finland Rockettes 83.46 2010 Cup of Berlin [73]
3 Finland Team Unique 82.36 2009 Worlds [74]
4 Canada NEXXICE 80.12 2009 Worlds [74]
5 Finland Marigold IceUnity 78.68 2009 Worlds [74]

Free skating

Rank Team Score Event Source
1 Sweden Team Surprise 159.60 2004 Neuchâtel Trophy [75]
2 Finland Marigold IceUnity 147.31 2014 Worlds [76]
3 Canada NEXXICE 146.03 2014 Worlds [76]
4 Russia Paradise 145.84 2014 Zagreb Snowflakes Trophy [77]
5 Finland Rockettes 145.68 2014 Worlds [76]

Combined total

Rank Team Score Event Source
1 Sweden Team Surprise 247.44 2004 Neuchâtel Trophy [78]
2 Finland Rockettes 223.90 2010 Worlds [79]
3 Canada NEXXICE 223.58 2009 Worlds [80]
4 Finland Marigold IceUnity 223.45 2014 Worlds [81]
5 Russia Paradise 220.54 2014 Zagreb Snowflakes Trophy [82]

References

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  2. ^ [www.usfsa.org]
  3. ^ "TEAM DEFINITIONS - usfsa.org".
  4. ^ "Synchronized Skating Required Elements" (PDF). U.S. Figure Skating.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u "2013 Synchro Media Guide" (PDF). U.S. Figure Skating.
  6. ^ "ISU OKs vocal music, awards 2015 championships". Ice Network. 2012-06-18. Retrieved 2013-04-09.
  7. ^ "ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships 2019 - Synchronized Skating". Isuresults.com.
  8. ^ "ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships 2018 - Synchronized Skating". Isuresults.com.
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  10. ^ "ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships 2016 - Synchronized Skating". Isuresults.com. Retrieved 2018-02-22.
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