BISMARCK, ND (KFYR) — In 1984, USA Figure Skating held the first U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships and the sport has flourished ever since. Today, there are approximately 600 synchronized skating teams in the United States. Two of those teams represented North Dakota at the Nationals in Colorado Springs, CO earlier this month: the Capital Ice Chips and the Capital Ice Connection.
For hours each week, these motivated young women train on the ice.
“A lot of us also do individual skating. So most of us are on the ice four or five times a week, but as a team we skate twice a week,” said Capital Ice Chips skater Adriel Vetter.
The elements of Capital Ice Chips practice may seem easy, but having the skills and timing is the hardest part.
“Synchronized skating is usually a whole bunch of skaters skating in unison on the ice. It’s not like the team event at the Olympics where each skater does their own performance and it’s a community score. [Synchro] it’s more the whole team working together,” Vetter said.
At each level of the sport, officials judge different moves required, such as cartwheel and intersection elements, to form a total score.
“We have wheels this year, which is pretty cool and different,” said Capital Ice Connection skater Lexi Stenberg.
At this year’s national competition, the Capital Ice Chips won the Intermediate Silver level for the second year in a row. They scored 70.42 points.
The Capital Ice Connection finished fifth at the youth level with 47.18 points.
“We were against a lot of big cities like New York and Boston, which is pretty cool because we’re just the little Bismarck,” Stenberg said.
Since the formation of the Bismarck-based teams in 2003, the sport has changed a lot. Synchronized skating now incorporates more moves seen in other figure skating divisions. Skaters say it allows them to grow as individuals and as a team.
“The team is turning into a little family, and that’s really great,” Vetter said.
The 21 skaters from the Capital Ice Chips and the 20 skaters from the Capital Ice Connection say the best part of the sport is teamwork.
Last season, Bismarck-based teams competed across the country, including Minnesota, Michigan and California.
Trials for the next season are underway and new teams will start training in a few weeks.
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