"In the future, we will probably use the Challenger Series as a qualification for Worlds"


Skyliners Senior (USA) will skate this weekend in Milan, at the 4th and last Challenger Series of the season. (Credits: Daniel Klerfors - 2020)

The 4th and last stage of the Synchronized Skating Challenger Series will be held this weekend in Italy! With 15 Junior and 23 Senior teams announced this weekend, the Spring Cup will be a really important competition and teams will try to collect a maximum of points. A few hours before the start of the event, we take stock of the situation with Philippe Maitrot, the Chair of the ISU Technical Committee!

As the Chair of the ISU Technical Committee, what do you think of these first three stages of the Synchronized Skating Challenger Series (CS)? 

Philippe Maitrot: I am really happy about the quality of each CS we had during this season. The competitions were all high standard and prepared the teams for championships. The CS are for us the GP of Figure Skating. Teams have to understand that they have to be prepared for competing at these CS. The CS must not be their 1st and only competition before Worlds. More they compete, the better they are, and we can talk about athletes. The structure of synchronized skating has started and now we can develop it.

Are you satisfied with the organization of those three events (California Cup 2019, Leon Lurje Trophy 2020 and French Cup 2020)?

All Organizing Committees were very proud to be part of the CS. They all had a long and great experience in organizing synchro competitions. I would like to thank them for having taken the 1st CS without any reserve, and to still support our discipline.

The mascot of the French Cup 2020 in Rouen whispered in Philippe Maitrot’s ear.

The participating teams have collected points that add up. Do they have a link with the 2020 Worlds qualifications? 

Their placement at each competition gives them points for the World Ranking and World Standing which will be used for the draw at Worlds.

And in the long term, can they be used as real world qualifications?

Yes, in the future, we will probably use the CS as a qualification for Worlds.

Having taken part in two CS competitions, Team Paradise (RUS) has accumulated the highest score in the Senior division. (Credits: Sebastien Muller - 2020)

This year, only four stages have been organized. What about next year? Will there be five steps?

The CS in Hong Kong has been postponed by a year due to the demonstrations which happened at that time. It will be on the calendar next season. For the 2020-2021 season, five CS competitions will be on the calendar.

Do you already know when will take place the different stages next season?

I have some ideas because some members contacted us already. Communication is going to be published soon, and ISU members could apply for it during the month of February.

How does the CS work? Here’s a summary!
Senior and Junior ISU teams can participate in a maximum of 2 CS per season.

The two total scores are added and, at the end of the series, the 3 best teams, of each category, will receive price money (between CHF 5’000 and 3’000 for the Senior champions and between CHF 2’500 and CHF 1’500 for the Junior medallists). 5000 Swiss francs is approximately 3900 GBP, 4700 EUR, 5100 USD or 6700 CAN.

For the moment, before the last stage this weekend (Spring Cup), 22 Senior and 30 Junior teams have participated in at least one CS competition and have accumulated points.

If two teams are tied with their total score after the two competitions, the "tie" will be used. What is it? This is a way to separate teams using either the two scores of the free programs to break the tie, and after if necessary the two short programs scores, etc.

The current Challenger Series Standings 2019/20
For the moment, after 3 stages...

Team Paradise (RUS) is leading the Senior Challenger Series competition with a score of 449.08. The Finnish Helsinki Rockettes are currently second with 439.05, and Les Suprêmes (CAN) are 3rd with a total of 410.97. All those teams already took part in 2 CS competitions. But the final CS ranking could still hold some surprises with the participation this weekend of world-class teams like Team Unique (FIN), Marigold Iceunity (FIN) or Nexxice (CAN) and Skyliners (USA).

In the Junior competition, Skyliners (USA) is currently in the first position of the Challenger Series event with a total of 364.17 points. Nexxice Junior from Canada is placed second (331.42) and Starlights (USA) is third with 304.72. Those three teams already took part in two CS events. Also note that the Russian team Junost is currently 5th while they have only participated in one CS. It means that everything is likely to change again this weekend in Italy.

Would you like to see the current Challenger Series scores? Click here!