While singles skating is inherently physically distant, synchronized skating brings skaters much closer than six feet apart — it requires physical contact. Synchro skaters skate attached by hands or gripping each other’s shoulders, and do lifts and other acrobatic moves together. As rinks reopened and skaters got back on the ice, the team at Figure Skaters Online wanted to know more about how synchro skaters are adapting to new regulations and safety precautions. I talked to Kelly Vogtner, senior director of special projects for U.S. Figure Skating, about the federation’s plans for this season and also caught up with Heather Paige, coach of the Chicago-based Starlights, about how her team is coping. Read more here:
As organizers scramble to reconfigure Grand Prix events and other fall competitions for singles, pairs, and ice dance amid the COVID-19 pandemic, synchronized skating has a distinct advantage: “Our season is really far out. Synchronized skating doesn’t really start until after the new year [though there are limited competitions in November and December],” said Kelly Vogtner, senior director of special projects for U.S. Figure Skating.
With that extra time in mind, U.S. Figure Skating announced a new plan for the 2020-21 synchronized skating season on Thursday, Oct. 8. Vogtner said the plan was created after surveying coaches, skaters, and families, where a common theme emerged.
“We were taking their temperature—no pun intended—about where they are in the process, whether or not they were practicing, what was the most important thing for them this season. And what came back after multiple surveys was that the number one thing teams were looking for was an opportunity to perform,” she said. “What was not as important as in other years was a placement or a specific competition or beating somebody. What kept coming through was, ‘We want the opportunity to be able to perform, whatever that looks like.’”
As a result, the 2020-21 synchro season will include a national challenge competition open to all teams, as well as a series of competitions dubbed the 2020-21 National Synchronized Skating Series.
Read the full article on Figure Skaters Online for more details on the plan, as well as an insider’s look at how the Starlights Synchronized Skating teams are planning for the season ahead: