The first synchronized figure skating competition my team competed in when I skated no longer exists.
It was the Interlake Regional Precision Competition, now referred to as synchro. Nine teams comprised of both genders competed in three different categories, divided by size and skill. In total, five Manitoba towns were represented.
Today, there are approximately four teams in the same region of 88,000 people.
A quick Google search reveals synchro is seeing a drop in numbers especially across the prairies. What isn’t crystal clear is the reason.
Synchro can help improve a skater’s balance and coordination. There’s more to performing a kick-line than a skater just sticking a leg out in front of them. It’s a chance to learn footwork in a wheel formation and how to pass through an intersection so nobody falls. (hint: stop moving your skates)
Synchro can instil a sense of teamwork.
There are lines to keep straight, pinwheels to perfect and blocks to keep square. After practising two or three times a week, or more before competitions, if someone falls in the program it means deductions. And it means as a team you take deductions. You win as a team, you lose as a team.
Yes, it’s hard, as is every discipline of figure skating. The upside is the travelling, the practices, the ground training in school gymnasium, the times during medal ceremonies when you hear the chant “Hey, we are proud of you, say, we are proud of you, hey,” and reciprocate it.
Skaters of all ages need to try this sport to know why I smile whenever I hear “Come Dancing” by The Kinks or “One More Night,” by Phil Collins. I could fill this blog with my memories of synchro, in fact I could probably write a book about them.
Yes, synchro is hard, and that’s why it’s worth it.
Synchronized Skating in Edmonton:
Edmonton Synchronized Skating Club – All ages (six to adult)
Northern Lites Synchronized Skating Club – All ages (Can Skate Stage 4 – adult)