About Synchronized Skating
Synchronized Skating, a large and fast-growing discipline, consists of 8 – 20 (the number of skaters on a team often depends on the level) skaters skating on ice at one time moving as one flowing unit at high speed. This discipline was originally called Precision Skating in North America because of the emphasis on maintaining precise formations and timing of the group.
For a Synchronized Skating team to flow in unison, individual skaters must be competent at a variety of skating skills, including speed, footwork and performance. The team performs a program set to music, with required formations including circles, lines, blocks, wheels, and intersections. The teams are required to perform step sequences involving a number of various turns such as twizzles, counters and rockers and simpler turns like three-turns, mohawks and choctaws. In Junior and Senior competitions, teams are required to perform two different Competition Segments: Short Program and Free Skating. Generally, the Short Program is more technical in nature, where the Free Skating is longer and provides an opportunity to showcase expression, emotion and interpretation.
Synchronized Skating Competition Format
There are international synchronized skating competitions at the Novice, Junior, and Senior Categories. The International Skating Union held the first official World Synchronized Skating Championships in 2000 in Minneapolis, MN, USA. Although in 1996 the first “World Challenge Cup” was held in Boston, MA, USA, it was unofficially the first competition to crown the world champion of Synchronized Skating (Team Surprise of Sweden).
History of Synchronized Skating
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 the intermissions of the University of Michigan Men’s Ice 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 1970’s, 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.