Synchronized Skating is the fastest-growing discipline of figure skating both in the U.S. and around the world. In synchro, teams of 8 to 20 skaters compete together in unison. As with the other figure skating disciplines (Singles, Pairs, and Ice Dance), teams perform a Free Skate with required program elements. In addition, teams at the Junior and Senior level perform a Short Program. Required elements include blocks, circles, wheels, lines, intersections, move elements, creative elements, no holds elements, spins, and pairs moves. Synchronized Skating is judged using the International Judging System - the same system which is used to judge Singles, Pairs, and Ice Dance - and the rules evolve each season to add difficulty and excitement to the sport. The difficulty and variety of elements require synchro athletes to be students of all disciplines of figure skating.
In 1994, the International Skating Union (ISU) recognized Synchronized Skating as a discipline of figure skating, and in 2004, the first ever ISU-sanctioned World Synchronized Skating Championship was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Since then, the U.S. has hosted the World Championship three additional times: 2010 in Colorado Springs, 2013 in Boston, and 2017 in Colorado Springs. The 2017 World Championship included 24 teams from 19 countries and four continents. In addition to the World Championship, annual international competitions which attract elite teams from across the globe include: Cup of Berlin in Berlin, Germany; French Cup in Rouen, France; Neuchâtel Trophy in Neuchâtel, Switzerland; Prague Cup in Prague, Czech Republic; Spring Cup in Sesto San Giovanni, Italy; and Zagreb Snowflakes Trophy, in Zagreb, Croatia. Today, the ISU is working to gain Synchronized Skating’s inclusion in the Olympics.