Thousands of synchronized skaters and fans around the world were disappointed when the list of new sports to be contested at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games was announced and synchronized skating was not one of them.
Many knew it would be a hard sell to the International Olympic Committee, given that the Team Event was added to the Olympic roster just six years earlier.
With the demise of the Swedish synchro skating program — the most successful in the sport’s history — many wondered if that might mark the beginning of the end. But in fact, a new era has dawned for the sport. The International Skating Union (ISU) is committed to growing synchronized skating and is pushing it forward in new directions. This season it has agreed to financially support a restricted number of nations that traditionally host synchro skating competitions. Each host nation will receive the equivalent of US$20,000.
In that regard, the ISU has implemented a five-event Challenger Series that will begin in November and conclude in February 2020. Though the top teams currently come from Russia and Finland, none of the new Challenger Series events will take place in either of those countries.
These competitions will provide other teams with new opportunities to compete at the international level and earn World Standing points.
They will also benefit officials who will gain experience working at international level competitions that may not have been otherwise possible.
The events are open to teams at both the junior and senior levels.
At the end of the Series, the combined scores of the teams that participated will be tallied and prize money will be awarded to the top three.
A trio of senior teams will receive 5,000, 4,000 and 3000 Swiss Francs (approximately the same value in U.S. dollars), respectively.
The top three junior teams will likewise receive 2,500, 2,000 and 1,500 Swiss Francs, respectively.
Lake Placid, New York, will host the 2020 World Synchronized Skating Championships April 3 – 5.