Can Synchronized Skating Finally Make the Leap to Olympic Sport?
It started as hokey entertainment during hockey games, but now this unlikely team sport is all grown up—and the impressive athletes of “synchro” want respect on the world stage.
Photos by Elina Paasonen
In accouterments reminiscent of traditional matadors – black capri pants and red jackets –the Marigold IceUnity synchronized skating team from Finland prepares to perform their short program, lasting an intense three minutes. It is December 3, 2016 and these ladies, ranging from high-school to post-college age, are competing in Helsinki at their second major competition this year. They’re up against other teams from their home country and a few from Russia as well. In combination with scores from a series of events, their finish here could advance them to the synchronized skating world championships in Colorado Springs in April.
Disconnected in four lines of four in the middle of the rink, the horns of Spanish music flow from the speakers. They glide across the ice in an almost dreamlike fashion, rarely straightening their knees. The skaters are powerful and strong, every arm and head movement synchronized. There is no anxiety in their steps. In unison they cros…