What’s Sync Skating?

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Synchronized skating is a team sport where skaters perform together, executing complex moves and formations on the ice. Competitions judge skaters on required program elements, and teams can participate in 15 different levels of competition in the US. The sport originated in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and has grown in popularity, with some colleges offering fully funded programs. Skaters can receive intensive training through the United States Figure Skating Synchronized Skating Training Festival.

Synchronized skating is a team sport in which a group of 20-XNUMX ice skaters perform a routine together. The group must move as one, executing intricate moves and formations on the ice that include spins, pair moves, lifts, circles, cartwheels, crossings and other difficult moves. Each team member must be a strong figure skater, able to execute complex passes with ease and confidence. The team skates to the beat of the music, flowing through seamless formations as they move in unison.

During a synchronized skating competition, skaters are judged on the same criteria as pairs, singles and dance competitors. Teams execute a free skate composed of a balanced amount of required program elements. Synchronized groups competing at the junior and senior levels must also run a short program which also includes the required elements.

Teams competing in the United States can participate in 15 different levels of competition. This is determined by the age and skill of the skating teams. Utilizing teamwork, advanced skating skills, complex formations and speed, the skaters work together to create a routine that consistently flows across the ice.

The first United States Figure Synchronized Skating Championship was held in 1984. In 2000, the United States hosted the first World Synchronized Skating Championships. Approximately 525 US synchronized teams are registered with US Figure Skating, and the sport continues to grow throughout the United States and around the world.

At first, synchronized skating was called precision skating. The first modern synchronized team was formed in 1954 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Dr. Richard Porter formed the group, training them to perform skate during halftime games with the University of Michigan men’s hockey team. The group was nicknamed The Hockettes, and their routines were similar to the movements a training squad would perform. It wasn’t until 1976 that a formal team skating competition was held in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Synchronized skating is considered a varsity sport in some colleges. In fact, Miami University was the first U.S. university to offer a fully funded synchronized skating program. As the popularity of this type of skating increases, more and more colleges are developing their own synchronized teams due to the growing interest in the sport.
Synchronized skaters who would like to receive intensive training in the sport can participate in the United States Figure Skating Synchronized Skating Training Festival. Started in 2006 by US Figure Skating, the two-day training camp is designed for synchronized skaters of all ages and skill levels. Skaters receive 16 hours of instruction led by coaches from the United States Figure Skating Synchronized Skating Team. Athletes receive on-ice interaction with coaches as they hone their skating skills.

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