Around the world, synchro teams gradually back on track


Hockettes Junior - USA (Credits: Sean McKinnon - 2019)

Some ice rinks and training centres are beginning to reopen in low-risk areas. In a few countries, strict regulations are in place. Skaters are limited to 5 or are encouraged to wear masks.

Many countries are resuming some of its ice surface operations after almost three months of crisis. Despite tight restrictions and sanitary rules, many synchro teams from around the world posted these last days their excitation to be back on the ice.

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Finland was one of the first countries to reopen ice rinks (not to mention Sweden which has never closed). Synchronized skating training resumed in early June, or even a little earlier for some high-level teams. All athletes can practice on the ice at the same time as "normal" teams.

"At first, it was a little weird, but after the two first ice practices everything felt normal," explains a Novice skater from Finland to Jura Synchro. Synchro teams don't wear face masks but don't really hold neither. "We mostly practise our No Nold and Twizzle Element", adds the skater from Team Dynamique.

After a few weeks of ice and training on the new programs, many teams have indicated that they will take a well-deserved summer break at the end of June.

In Canada, if the Senior international teams from Quebec have just felt the joys of ice in groups, others will have to wait a little longer. The junior teams, in particular, have resumed training in small off-ice groups but have not yet been able to get on the ice.

Skate Canada and its various sections of provinces are gradually reopening the rinks. In Ontario, several rinks and sports centres will open again at the end of June, but the safety protocol remains very strict for the athletes.

In the United States, several skating rinks and training centers in low risk areas are reopening or will reopen in the coming weeks. Ice time is sometimes very expensive right and some skaters are traveling far to skate at these places.

Elite level skaters have also returned to training in Central Europe.

Austria, France, Germany or even Switzerland reopened a few ice rinks. For most of them, only national athletes (Senior ISU) are allowed to practise again. Synchro skaters are divided into groups, have to skate in No Hold formation and must keep the social distance. In some countries, coaches must be behind the boards.

Switzerland re-opened its land borders on Monday. Events with more than 1,000 people like for example festivals and sporting events will not be allowed until the end of August at the earliest. Many teams still practice only off-ice.

Some countries are still waiting
But the chance of getting back on the ice are not yet for everyone.

In Great Britain and also in Spain, synchro skaters are impatiently awaiting the reopening of the sports centers and ice rinks, so that they can finally practise and live their passion.

"I miss my teammates and skating itself very much. But it also gave me time to work on my flexibility for our return to the ice," said a skater from the Adult team Ice Diamonds (GBR). Near Madrid, some skating rinks were even transformed into morgues during the coronavirus pandemic.

In the countries most affected by the Covid-19, it could therefore take several weeks, even months, for skaters and synchro teams to put their skates on again.