Steel City Trophy 2019: "We’ve already planned the date for 2020"
Sheffield's first international synchronized skating competition took place last weekend. 33 teams competed across two days, from Elementary to Senior B. Let's take a look at the Steel City Trophy with Amanda Hembrow-Jones.
How was the competition for you?
Amanda Hembrow-Jones: We set out to make it a world class event right from the start. From the moment the teams entered the arena, they were telling us how impressed they were with the communication beforehand, the facilities when they arrived, and the friendliness of our team of volunteers. The timetable ran smoothly, and everything went better than we could have hoped for, so we’re all delighted with the outcome!
This year was the first edition. Why did you decide to start a synchro skating competition in Sheffield?
Having started the Sheffield Synchronized Skating Academy more than ten years ago, it’s always been my dream to host a competition of our own. When the iceSheffield Ice Arena started talking to us about the potential to put on an event, I took it to our AGM and the response from all the parents in the club was overwhelmingly positive. One concern was that we wouldn’t have the space to accommodate hundreds of skaters, all requiring changing and off-ice facilities, so when we were offered the opportunity to utilise the English Institute of Sport (EIS) just across the road, we started seriously thinking about whether we could make it work. The visiting teams all commented on the high quality of the facilities at both the EIS and iceSheffield and it didn’t matter that there was a short walk between the two buildings.
Does the city of Sheffield have a special link with synchronized skating?
I believe I was the first to start a synchro team in Sheffield – the city is more famous for its ice hockey team, the Steelers! – but my own links with synchronized skating date back to when I was a young skater myself. Synchro gave me the opportunity to travel the world and form lasting friendships, so I wanted to give the same chance to other skaters. The Academy has grown and grown and we now have four teams, with more new recruits planned now the season is over. The Steel City Trophy itself has also raised the profile of synchronized skating in Sheffield, as we’ve had lots of enquiries from young skaters who came to watch the competition and liked what they saw.
What was your favourite moment and why?
There were lots of amazing moments, but our favourite has to be on the first day. We had the local television station reporting live from the rink just after the competition ended, and they asked if we could keep skaters on the ice in the background. We asked our Elementary team Novus to stay on, and they didn’t need much persuading, having just won their first ever gold medal! The silver medallists, Deeside Angels from Wales, also stayed on the ice, and the two teams ended up having an impromptu training session with a few of our older girls. Watching them have fun whilst working together, even though they were rivals earlier in the day, really embodied the true meaning of synchro for us all. They have since kept in touch on Instagram and we can already see friendships being formed – exactly what synchro is all about.
How do you imagine this competition in the future?
We’ve already planned the date for 2020 – the 7th and 8th of March – and we also have the option of adding on the 6th if we need to, based on demand. We see it as a perfect celebration towards the end of the synchro season for all levels of teams. It’s also one week before the Junior World Championships, which will be held just 45 minutes from us in Nottingham next year, so it’s an ideal opportunity for teams to compete in Sheffield, train at our Olympic standard twin ice pads for a week and then compete at the Worlds. We see the competition growing quickly, to the extent that we’re already considering how many teams we can accommodate in order to set an entry limit.
So there will definitely be a new competition next year!
Definitely! We are already making plans and will announce when the entry forms are available as soon as we can, in order to give everyone enough time to plan it into their schedules. We carried out lots of fundraising activities as a club during the summer last year, as we knew the competition would be expensive. We’re now hoping that with a full year to plan, and a proven track record in delivering a world class event, we will attract companies to sponsor the event in 2020.
Thanks Amanda and see you next year!
Results - TOP 3
Steel City Trophy
MAR 08, 2019 - MAR 09, 2019
|1||Phoenix Gold (GBR)||41.98|
|2||Wight Crystals (GBR)||27.73|
|3||Brilliance Malachite (GBR)||22.57|
|1||Team Aura (GBR)||39.87|
|2||Stavanger Pearls (NOR)||35.26|
|3||Gosport Allstars (GBR)||35.14|
|1||Ice on Fire (ITA)||124.80|
|1||Whiz Kids (GBR)||90.17|
|2||Team Unum (GBR)||80.98|