Written By: 2018 U.S. Figure Skating DREAM Program and Haydenettes Member, Eri Lee
This April, one of the most exciting World Synchronized Skating Championships took place in Stockholm, Sweden. 25 teams from 20 countries came together to compete and conclude a long and intense season. Being my first senior World Championships, the atmosphere was incredibly vibrant, and Skate Sweden did such an amazing job organizing the competition. The Ericsson Globe was the perfect location for the event, with the hotel and the competition rink under the same roof. My favorite feature of this venue was that athletes and staff were able to observe practices from the dining area, adding a unique touch to the entire experience. As a whole, the competition ran seamlessly, making the event stress free and fun for all athletes.
The short program competition was an exciting start to the event, showcasing the strengths of each team. After two clean skates, The Haydenettes placed 4th, and the Skyliners placed 9th. The Haydenettes felt incredibly confident on the ice, and we skated one of the best short programs of our season. The audience was so energetic, and contributed to the dynamic beat of our “Run Boy Run” themed program. It was such an amazing experience, and a feeling that I will never forget. Skating in front of such a large and receptive audience is something that is extremely special, and makes competing so much more memorable. The competition was close, with teams 2nd through 7th being less than three points apart.
The free skate event was especially exciting since the short program had been so successful; the top 7 teams had equal chance of landing on the podium, making for an unpredictable night. Many teams had put out their strongest free skates of the season. Unfortunately, we hadn’t skated to the best of our abilities, placing us in 7th overall and 8th in the free. We were disappointed with our skate that day, but we are incredibly proud to represent Team USA and display our growth at such an esteemed event. Despite our unexpected placement, we are so impressed with the caliber of skating that was presented at this World Championships.
The majority of teams put out clean, strong programs, both in the short and free, really showcasing the growth of our sport and the hard work that all the teams have put in this season. In total, there were 36 clean performances in the entire event, a huge improvement from last season’s 25. Skate Sweden did an outstanding job of bringing media attention to the event as well, with posters scattered all over the city of Stockholm and even having the opening ceremonies on live TV. The entire event was a huge step forward for synchronized skating, both in media exposure and overall performance, at an especially important time with the upcoming decisions for adding new sports and disciplines to the 2020 Winter Games. I loved seeing all the teams evolve from last season, and to be a competitor rather than a spectator made the event unforgettable. It was inspiring to see so many teams display their strongest skates, and I am hopeful for the future of our sport.