Feb 27, 2012

Star Power

My daughter and I went and saw her student skate in an exhibition for the Starlights Synchro team yesterday. On the way we made all the jokes about Synchro--the girls who can't skate, the less-than-svelte body types, the long dresses, the cult-like devotion to matching polar fleece.

But there's something about Synchro.

First of all, the place was packed. When you've got 7 teams of 16 to 24 people, you do the math. Every time you have an exhibition, you're going to have at least 300 people there, between the parents, and the grandparents, and the siblings and the coaches. You never see singles exhibitions with anything like this kind of turnout.

And no one left.

Okay, we left. We had another obligation that we had to get to.

One of the things that really bothers me with some skating exhibitions, is that parents come, watch their kid, and then they're out the door. There's no sense that it's a team, that one skater should support another. By the end of a singles exhibition at a local program, there will be 14 people in the stands. It's just sad.

These people all stayed. They had each team skate twice, so if you wanted to see your skater, you had to stick around. Further, and more importantly, it's really understood that it's a team. You stay and support your teammates.

Even with the inevitable spills and mishaps, everyone came on and off the ice smiling. They looked like they were having a blast. Someone on the Juvenile team made a joke, and they all burst out laughing, and kept that energy throughout the entire adorable number.

In my opinion, synchronized skating is going to save figure skating in this country. It's going to keep kids in the sport who might otherwise leave--the heavy girls, the non-jumpers,  the ones without the financial resources or access to coaches that might get them to the big show in singles, let along pairs or dance. A lot more universities are starting to support Synchro teams, meaning that these kids don't have to give up their lifelong passion when they go to college anymore.

Now if they would just make it an NCAA sport, so that universities would start offering scholarships (no, there are no "skating scholarships" right now, sorry.)

The Startlights are on their way to Nationals.  Watch them and all the teams live on Ice Network this week February 29  through 3. 

Now where's my team scarf....

40 comments:

  1. I thought much higher of you before reading this. I'm really disappointed to know you are yet another coach that makes those jokes about synchro. I'm happy you ended the post by saying synchro has value, but it is painful to see you made those jokes, rather than pointing out their flawed logic.

    Oh- and a few colleges do offer synchro scholarships. It is a varsity sport at two schools (at least)Miami University and Adrian College. Adrian college regularly advertises in skating magazine that their team is fully funded and athletes receive full scholarships. I know Miami has scholarships available too.

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    1. I knew I would get this reaction, which is why I wrote it. Those jokes and attitudes are ubiquitous; you cannot pretend that they don't exist. My point is that, in fact, there IS something about Synchro--it doesn't really take much of a push to get people past the stereotypes. Once you watch even a mediocre team you don't see the body types or even the falls much anymore, you just see a lot of gifted athletes having a lot of fun.

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    2. Yes, I know those attitudes are out there. That doesn't mean you have to make the jokes. The people who do that are ignorant. At the high level of synchro- the athletes are just as talented as other disciplines. At the low levels- I've seen just as many crappy singles skaters.

      The tone of the rest of the post seems to make it sound like you support synchro, so why would you make those jokes? There are negative attitudes about all kinds of groups of people, and even if I know there are jokes out there about them, I don't participate in that behavior.

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    3. Because I'm human? Because it makes a good lede? But mostly because it creates a narrative-- from disrespect to fan-- for the purposes of the post. You're a long-time reader so you know that I have an unusually inclusive attitude when it comes to skating. And truly, no one is such a saint that they NEVER, in the privacy of their car, with a trusted associate, indulges in statements and behavior that they know is wrong. Rather than losing respect for me for acknowledging that even I am susceptible to these attitudes, I think I deserve credit for not being afraid to say I'm fallible.

      Does that make sense?

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  2. I don't know if it is fair to say that synchro is what the skaters that fail choose. There are many elite synchro teams that require their skaters to be gold test medalists in Moves in the Field and Pattern Dance and many of these skaters also have high test levels in Freeskate. As far as I'm concerned it not exactly easy to be a double/triple US Figure Skating gold medalist. So to say that synchro is easy is to make light of the blood, sweat and tears so many skaters put in to their sport.

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    1. Nowhere did I say "skaters that fail." This is your phrase. I said "non-jumpers" and "lack of resources" which are often the same thing. Saying that a skater who can't jump is a failure is like saying that long distance runners who can't jump are failures. It's an entirely different animal. In fact, I would bet that a lot of Synchro skaters, because of the testing requirements that you cite, are better skaters than a lot of local singles skaters howsoever many times they spin in the air. Forget jumping. Skating is about edges and turns, and these women do it at speed, in unison, a blade length apart.

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  3. I was able to attend last year's Synchro National Championships. I have to say, it was a total blast. What struck me was really how much everyone was a team. All the girls doing each other's hair and make-up and all the families making signs and support posters. What was even more amazing to see - the teams at different levels even supported each other - the senior level girls all stayed to support the skaters in adult and masters levels even though they had their own competitions later that evening. Truly, the lifts and footwork performed at the collegiate and senior levels are breathtaking to behold. Certainly at the lower levels you see a lot of poor skating, and there probably will always be some of that stigma that synchro is for the skaters who "can't really skate" but honestly, you have to start somewhere. Creating a team is much more than throwing individuals together. We had a team (we call it Precision Skating in roller), and it was comprised of a lot of national champions. It wasn't a great team though - everyone skated like an individual. Developing unison and teamwork takes dedication on the parts of the skaters, coaches, and parents, and that dedication deserves respect.

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  4. I also don't know what I should think of this post. I don't understand why these jokes should be made and why one (individual) should rival the other (team). I also don't understand why synchro should have the stigma of low-level skating, because as the poster above points out you have to start out somewhere. My DD is in a synchro team, the requirement is Gamma for her team and the next level up FS3 and working on pre-preliminary. She is currently doing that, but still in FS2. She'll be trying out this summer and she's 8 and she has skated less than 2 yrs. I'm so proud of her! Synchro has done worlds for her, for her self-esteem, finding skating friends who are not competing against her but with her, feeling part of a team, improved her stroking, flow of skating because you have to keep up. I'm at a loss, because I don't see how it would benefit DD if she spent another 2 hours practicing on her own as opposed to doing synchro. Well, I suppose it probably would benefit her individual skating. But let's be serious, how many skaters end up on that national podium, even if the finances are all lined up, who has the time, dedication and talent it requires? It's few! So why not engage in a team sport that's a blast and leaves you with friends for life? And you never know, you might end up on that podium one day...!

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    1. As I said to Jessim, I made the jokes to make a point--those attitudes are out there. Did you read below the fold? "Synchro is going to save figure skating" is not exactly a lukewarm endorsement about girls who can't skate. I watched 8 kids from the Ice Rink of the Damned turn from sullen, bored, about-to-quit into beautiful lyrical skaters who have a shot at going to Nationals because of this team.

      So in fact, I absolutely agree with you!

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  5. Hm, knowing Xan personally, I think that her thoughts and feelings toward synchro did not come across accurately.

    She has been, from the start, a big advocate of synchronized skating. I believe in many previous posts, she has defended synchro to all the naysayers in figure skating who do not believe that "real skaters" can also be on a team. I know that she has mentioned the hard wor, skill and dedication it takes to get even the worst of teams to kind of skate together and the difficulty at which it takes a skater to commit to the timing of everyone else. Each of the "jokes" she and her daughter made, I can guarantee you, were because, at one point, someone probably joked about to Xan ABOUT her daughter (who was one of the first skaters on our first synchro teams and a triple gold medalist to boot).

    The bottom line is, Xan knows that synchro embraces all kinds of skaters and not just the ones that fit in the conservative box of a singles, pairs or dance skater (and you can't deny "the box" that all of the nationally accepted and revered skaters fit into as far as body type, style of dress, and body movement). Synchro offers a bigger platform to success in an otherwise difficult sport to make it as an individual skater, with many of the same challenges and obstacles, and a big support group to help a skater get there.

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    1. Chalk it up to my poor writing! /humorfail ;)

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  6. Just a quick addendum--Starlights you ROCK. You took several of my favorite favorite kids from the Ice Rink of the Damned who were getting no respect, and you turned them into skaters. THANK you for that, at the very least.

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  7. Ok, I get that you are trying to be positive here and promote a pro synchro attitude among the non synchro coaching community, but some of the things you said are not really Correct, and are just the kinds of stereotypes that constantly follow synchro. Synchro at a qualifying level is no more a place for heavy set skaters than singles are. You're a coach, so im sure you understand that there are many opportunities for single skaters outside the simple realm of of qualifying levels. Showcase events, test track events, spin and compulsory events, and solo dance. These are all outlets for skaters who's either have difficulty with or don't enjoy the jumping aspect of freestyle. So, yes at lower levels of synchro it may appear that there are more skaters that do not have that typical high level freestyle build, but that's low level, more recreational, not unlike all the other areas I just mentioned in singles. Starting even at the novice level, which would likely be the next qualifying level destination for the Juvie kids you just saw off ice fitness requirements are commonplace. I know teams that do all kinds of fitness testing at that level involving timed running, core strength measurement and flexibility. And I'm not talking about just national powerhouses, like hayden.

    Also, again, lower level synchro, maybe that is more accessible financially, but move beyond the open levels and maybe juv and it gets extremely expensive. You're not only paying for all the costs associated with the team, but your own skating as well, because you would need to be talking lots of moves and dance lessons at that point.

    And finally, though I'm sure it's not what you ment, saying that synchro is a destination for skaters are non- jumpers, implies that synchro skaters are skaters who can't jump. I hate, hate hate this. And it's just not true. There are many synchro skaters who are very gifted jumpers. I find that most of those who switch from singles to synchro like I did, do it because they find greater meaning in competing together. Not, because they are non jumpers. I may never compete a freestyle program again, but I'll always be a jumper.

    So if synchro is to save skating in the U.S., it won't be because it's cheaper or more accessible, or a haven for non jumpers. It will be because, as you so correctly pointed out, it promotes the team over the individual. That working together to archive a goal creates bonds that last a lifetime. That you can be a supremely talented and extremely well conditioned skater and still have so much to learn.

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  8. You wrote:

    "It's going to keep kids in the sport who might otherwise leave--the heavy girls, the non-jumpers, the ones without the financial resources or access to coaches that might get them to the big show"

    Shame on you for writing this.

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    1. For the last two anons--

      I'm sorry, but it is true. Heavy girls get a lot of flack EVEN AT RECREATIONAL skating. You are not there on the ice hearing what coaches say about these kids, often to their faces. They aren't telling their parents about this because they are ashamed, which just makes me want to cry. It is absolutely appalling. So yes, girls like that-- without the ideal body type, without the jumping ability, without the financial resources for the extra coaching, QUIT at the recreational level, even though if they could join, for instance, a Synchro team a lot of these problems a) wouldn't matter, and b) would be solved because of the testing demands.

      Further, many synchro teams have scholarship options for their skaters, including support for coaching through the tests, which is unheard of for singles outside of classes in municipal rinks.

      When I say "non jumpers" I'm not talking about someone without a waltz jump. I'm talking about someone without a double axel. And I'm sorry, but Synchro IS the place for these kids. Why is it considered "shameful" to point this out? To overuse the track analogy, you wouldn't tell some kid who couldn't do the long jump not to try out for the running events.

      I'm frankly kind of appalled that everyone on this thread considers the term "non jumper" to be an insult, as though that's the only thing that matters in skating, and that to say "non jumper" is like saying "bad skater." I'm not sure which of us is buying into the stereotypes more.

      Please look back over some of my prior posts and you will see that I believe very strongly that there is a place for EVERYONE who loves this sport.

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    2. Because it implies something about the sport of synchronized skating that isn't true of all or even the majority of athletes that participate in the sport and it is condescending. Just because there are some heavy or non-jumpers doesn't mean the sport should be defined in this way. You are denigrating the sport and the athletes that chose to participate in it. And because you aren't highlighting the skating-specific skills that a high-level synchronized skater needs to develop to be successful.

      My daughter chose synchronized skating at an early age, while she was routinely medaling at singles competitions because she loved the team experience. It wasn't because she was heavy, couldn't jump or didn't have the financial resources to compete at singles. Many of her team-mates over the years have similar stories and motivations.

      I repeat ... shame on you.

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    3. It's great that your daughter felt she had a choice. But for kids who don't fit the stereotype the choice has often been "quit." Now, because of synchro, with its inclusive culture and emphasis on basic skating skills, they DO have a choice that allows them to continue to skate.

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  9. Well I have to stand up (partially) for Xan here. Not for her approach, but for her (slightly missed) sense of recognizing a difference. Simply put, Synchro is a Completely Different Sport from single competitive figure skating. It's like saying cricket is different than baseball. Yeah there are some similarities, but the differences are enough to attract different participants. It's not however that one is any "better" than the other. And this is mainly where I also disagree with Xan: since they are different sports, Synchro will not "save" figure skating. Figure skating still needs to save itself.

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  10. At the risk of running afoul with Rodney Dangerfield fans through a miss-quote - Synchro does have trouble getting respect from individual skaters. I find it troubling; yet at times the Synchro coaches are not much better insisting on total focus on Synchro (or ice dance) at an age too early (10 or younger) for any child to be "exclusive".
    A skater, any skater, who makes it to Intermediate moves or freestyle, is one heck of an athlete. As Xan mentions, the atmosphere at a Synchro event is exciting when compared to even a competitive area Open competition. But to Jeff’s point, unless the culture of skating changes to be more inclusive, the individual sport will be left to those with extreme means or the willingness to define themselves as a figure skater and nothing else.

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  11. Xan, I suspect that the negative comments indicate deep-seated insecurities that have resulted from years and years in mean-spirited skating communities. I did not find your post insulting or demeaning to synchro at all. By most accounts, synchro is extremely difficult and awesome fun. It's a team sport and terrific to watch. For these reasons and the ones you have already cited, it brings more spectators and skaters into figure skating than anything else these days. Everywhere you look figure skating programs are shrinking; synchro is not. You're completely correct to point out that it's more diverse, more inclusive, and creative than singles.

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  12. My daughter got a choice - synchro or individual skating. My budget and schedule cannot allow for both. She chose individual skating. Her reasons had nothing to do with your stereotypes - she has no idea about them because the girls at her rink have parents who model well - they don't make negative remarks about the program. Her decision was based on the fact if she makes an error in a program, it will only effect her - not an entire group. We don't talk badly about the hockey program, synchro, or other skaters. Life is too short to be negative about other kids and their passions.
    ~Meg

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  13. Welllll...I kinda read it with the same bit of salt I use for many of your posts. I don't think there's a sub-group of skaters out there who you haven't held up, so I think you're an equal opportunity offender. ;-)

    And I read it differently: yes, those stereotypes are out there - about all kinds of skaters, from rec to competitive, no matter the discipline. It's a rhetorical device to disarm the reader who might have not-nice opinions about synchro by semi-agreeing, and then going on to paint a picture of synchro that is positive. Which I think, overall, you did.

    I've seen lots of kids get turned off by skating for all different reasons; from not being the right "type" for a competitive level to floundering at IJS level and not wanting to compete anymore - and so losing the thrill.

    Most people only think of skating once every four years when Olympics roll around. And even then, I get "skating isn't a real sport" from people who Just Don't Know. And Ice Dancing? Try explaining how a twizzle is difficult and most people just don't believe you.

    At the upper levels, every discipline requires a highly-trained, in shape, and dedicated athlete. But I see a difference in the highly-trained athletes at an Intermediate synchro level and the somewhat less diverse look of athletes placing at Intermediate singles level. And most of those kids are about 11-14 years old. 14 years old and that's the end of the line without a double axel? That's insane. Add to that the general height for competitive singles women of between 5'0" and 5'5" and 100-115 lbs ...that's insane. I do see more diversity in synchro even at higher levels - again, and that's only a good thing.

    Anyway, if synchro becomes NCAA, maybe, finally, all skating will be considered a "real sport."

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  14. I have a Kinder daughter who is skating… I skated recreationally and teach a bit… Up to me I would choose Synchro over individual for her. The odds of making a Jr/Sr team are much better and in comparison to a competitive indv path synchro is more affordable. Also, there are more opportunities to travel and skate in college. In 10 / 15 years things will be different and I hope by then it is an Olympic sport. All this needs to be kept quiet though as I don't want her to be pigeon-holed as a synchro skater so early. As for body type, I think the opposite is true. While accomplished singles skater bodies are varied, dance and elite synchro team bodies are typically long and lean. But I would love for this not to be the case.

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    1. This is the main thing to say to the haterz. "Um, *my* daughter went to Nationals. How about your singles skater?" (Now, all you singles advocates, do NOT start in on me-- I love ALL skating disciplines, and will also poke fun at ALL skating disciplines"

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  15. Come on, if you're involved in synchro or have ever been involved in synchro, you have heard the stereotypes before...it's nothing new. And, there are coaches who don't support synchro, you all know there are. Why is everyone so shocked? Xan isn't criticizing synchro, she's just reiterating the prejudices we've all heard before.

    Some individual coaches are worried that the money being spent on synchro will limit the money being spent on individual skating. They are concerned about the competition for your skating dollars and your dedication. But these are the same coaches who are concerned about competition from other sports and activities as well. For every coach that is threatened by synchro, there are (at least) an equal number of individual coaches that recognize that synchro IS keeping some of the marginal skaters on the ice as well as some of the more accomplished skaters who might otherwise become disenchanted with individual skating. It keeps them testing and progressing and therefore keeping those coaches employed.

    Synchro IS a great team sport. It does build comradery among the skaters. But, you also have to be careful that it doesn't create a clique at the rink--among the skaters, parents and the coaches.

    I think our prejudices about synchro result from our personal experiences with the sport. I know mine are. If you've had a good eperience with synchro, you support it. If you've had a disappointing experience with synchro, you can see its potential problems while still appreciating the beauty of a really good performance.

    Synchro is very different from individual skating. Synchro skaters definitely have different goals and needs. There are differences for the parents as well. Skating parents are used to being autonomous, particularly in the financial decisions of individual skating. In synchro, you have to give up your power and defer to the synchro coaches, who you do not hire. Also, it can be difficult for the skaters and parents to understand that a team is only as good as its weakest skater, and when something goes wrong during competition, you don't have control over the situation. You are a team and you succeed or fail as a team.

    Synchro can be very expensive, and synchro is often not very transparent in both finances and structure. I think the coaches, and their ability to manage a team, make or break the program.

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  16. Synchro is HUGELY competitive in my daughter's club, from the lowest levels to adult. Not only are the kids required to be strong individual skaters, they're required to have completed specific dance and freestyle tests to even be able to try out for a given level. Apart from the practices, all are also required to skate a minimum number of times per week in individual freestyle sessions, take a demanding group skills class and do team specific off-ice training. Oh, and progress through dance/freestyle/skills tests throughout the year.

    The kids on her synchro team are not also-rans; they're some of the club's best skaters and are typically also competing in singles. That combination makes for a lot of on-ice/off-ice training time and coaching which leads to very solid skaters in both disciplines.

    It's well known which coaches sneer at synchro at our club. More than a few synchro parents have been voting with their wallets by hiring the coaches who respect and support the kids' right to perform in the discipline(s) of their choosing. You can almost see the light beginning to dawn.

    At a recent club competition, the synchro kids took a very large number of the singles medals. It's not either/or. At our club, it's increasingly both.

    Another difference; the synchro kids (and their families) stayed and watched all of their friends and teammates compete (against them, typically) and all cheered for each other. This sport could use a lot more of that.

    At some point my daughter (she of the 'right' body type) may need to choose. Right now, synchro and the competitive singles program are complementary.

    It's all figure skating, it all takes hard work and discipline and it's all glorious to watch; I suggest that people grow up, stop feeling the need to bash those who choose a different path and get over themselves and their personal vision of the One.True.Path. I don't really know what to say about adults (ADULTS!!!) who feel the need to criticize a little girl's choice of sport or suggest that she must be a marginal athlete. I think it might be time to get a hobby (perhaps a life).

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    1. I think this (synchro skaters taking singles medals) is a very likely outcome, because of the discipline required, emphasis on testing, amount of time spent on the ice, and most importantly, the motivational aspects. If you've been a marginal skater and suddenly see that spot at Nationals via a Synchro team, and then start thinking hmmmm Haydonettes, then you're going to have a lot more motivation to get the job done.

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  17. I stand behind Xan and support her post. LEts celebrate everyone's freedom of speech, opinion, and right to figure skate in any form.
    'nuff said :)

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  18. Stop Stop Stop with the "also rans" and similar comments. First, this is not what I mean at all, EXCEPT WHEN IT IS.

    There are teams that are recreational and non-competitive, there is ISI which is specificially recreational, there are adult teams where the entire point is going to the bar afterwards). There are events at ISI competitions that are there specifically for the "non jumpers." You all know it's true, why is pointing it out "shameful."

    And if you have a "marginal" skater (great phrase) who loves skating but is getting crap (or no) solos in the ice show, is feeling embarrassed and discouraged about trying and trying and trying and STILL not landing a double loop, or is being made fun of by coaches and dissed by the snotty skater grrrls, then why the hell not be a member of a marginal or recreational team? Why be offended by the idea that you're never going to be in the big time, but you can do this at a higher level than you may have thought? Why deny that you don't have the body type to be a singles skaters (and I'm sorry, but if you're heavy you're going to have to have the talent of Sonja Henie, Michelle Kwan and Dorothy Hamill combined to get anywhere) then sure, (and I'm going to get killed for this remark) join the other overweight girls and have a blast at Synchro. And if you ARE talented enough, maybe you'll get to go to nationals, extra baggage and all.

    See, now y'all have just pissed me off and made me say something I'll regret.

    Nah.

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    1. I was just reading "The Second Mark" about pairs skaters. In some Russian and Chinese training centers, the women/girls (but not the men?) were weighed-in every day. At one rink, each girl's weight was announced over the PA. Xue Shen eats only on meal a day.

      Now I know pairs have all kinds of crazy lifts and throw - and synchro has lifts as well - but I'm going to toss out there the point (not to you, I know you know this) that there is overweight and there is "overweight". 120 lbs for an elite competitive female singles skater is pushing a relative overweight. I'm guessing that for pairs females, the "overweight" is relative to the height/weight of the male, but it's still going to be low.

      It does seem that at higher levels, synchro also looks for a certain "type" (as someone mentioned.) However, our local Intermediate team is going to Nationals for the second time (medal two years ago), and these young women are all highly-skilled skaters, but with more diversity in "look". I understand that synchro requires a uniform look, and that at higher levels, it seems to include uniform body type as well. However, I'd consider being competitive in Intermediate synchro to require a high level of skating...so I don't know what conclusions to draw. Hopefully, the conclusion is that a team with diverse body types can continue to be judged moreso on their skill...even though we've all discussed before that skating, overall, is a performance/artistic sport and - for better and worse, from tied back hair to visible pantylines - look does matter to some extent, for now.

      Here's an interesting article:

      http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/gi_0199-576945/Weight-pressures-and-social-physique.html

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  19. @Xan,

    In case it wasn't clear, my rant wasn't directed at you (or a response to the terms you used in your post) but rather the club whisperers (frequently parents of kids who don't do synchro) who feel the need to criticize what other children are doing. Why would they care?The kids who choose to do synchro are in no way harming the non-synchro kids or their chances and I just don't understand the mean-spirited venom coming from those who should be more than old enough to know better.

    Not only is it petty and mean-spirited, they're investing way too much competitive mojo in what is supposed to be their own child's activity. Time to get their own, compete with other adults and let the kids (who have no problem with each other) be.

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  20. There just isn't much diversity of body types at the highest levels of synchro. Senior and junior teams require higher test levels and higher levels require greater ability in order to pass, so there is a limited pool of qualified skaters. Also, there are fewer junior and senior level teams which means greater competition for positions on these teams. Perhaps this means that the diversity of body types has a glass ceiling of intermediate or novice levels.

    But that's OK. These levels still offer skaters the ability to continue to skate at a challenging and competitive level (qualifying level) through high school and perhaps in college on collegiate level teams.

    Let's face it, there isn't much diversity of body types at any elite level sport...except maybe golf.

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    1. "Let's face it, there isn't much diversity of body types at any elite level sport...except maybe golf."

      Or baseball first basemen. ;-)

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    2. Challenge accepted! Will watch the Senior teams on Ice Network and see if this is true!

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    3. FWIW, here's our Intermediate Team. They were National Silver Medalists and are going to national again.

      http://tinyurl.com/7l54a5e

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  21. Trying watching this montage of worlds.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=em51PRTeh4E&feature=fvwrel

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  22. I saw most of the Saturday part of Nationals this weekend (I saw half of the Adult division, the Collegiate division, and the Senior division) and it was AWESOME. Really fabulous skating, and very exciting to watch. I last saw watched synchro at the 2008 Nationals, and it was interesting how it has changed - more difficult moves and higher quality and more teams - it is really a rising sport. I am looking forward to the 2012 Worlds - it will be in Boston, MA, USA!!! I am very curious to see a team *BETTER* than the Haydenettes. (Their highest finish at Worlds was 3rd.)

    My daughter is a beginner skater at the Hayden rink - I am amazed to see that requirements for the beginner team (ages 7-9) there is Freestyle Badge 2, the preliminary team (under age 12) needs Preliminary Moves. At age 7, I suspect that my daughter is starting too late to make a team here - how depressing. (I hope I'm wrong.) I think the team aspect to synchro is great, and that my daughter would enjoy it. HaydenMom

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  23. Correction - make that the 2013 Worlds that will be in Boston. (Sorry for the confusion.) HaydenMom

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