Synchronized skating is the fastest growing discipline both within U.S. Figure Skating and around the world. The first U.S. Synchronized Skating National Championship was held in 1984 and the U.S. played host to the first World Synchronized Skating Championship in 2000. Today, there are approximately 600+ teams registered with U.S. Figure Skating and as many as 5,000 skaters compete annually in the Synchronized Skating Sectional Championships.
Synchronized skating is a team sport in which 16 skaters perform a program together. It uses the same judging system as singles, pairs and dance and is characterized by teamwork, speed, specific shapes, intricate formations and choreographed challenging turn sequences. As with other disciplines, all teams perform a free skate with required well-balanced program elements. Additionally, teams at the junior and senior level also compete a short program consisting of specific required elements.
Elements in synchronized skating include blocks, circles, wheels, lines, intersections, spins, creative elements and connected and non-connected skating. The variety and difficulty of elements require that each team member is a highly skilled individual skater. The typical senior level skater has passed senior or gold tests in multiple disciplines.
A truly global sport, in addition to the U.S., many of the world’s top teams are from Finland, Russia and Canada. In the U.S., synchronized skating teams can compete in 14 different levels according to the team member’s age and skill level. Teams at the competitive levels of juvenile, intermediate, novice, junior, senior, collegiate, adult and masters compete first at their respective sectional championships. A placement in the top four to six at sectionals earns a spot at the U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships. Top performing teams at the junior and senior levels often have the opportunity to represent the USA in International Competition, with the top two teams each season going on to represent the United States at the World Synchronized Skating Championships.