Elected last June as the Chair of the ISU Technical Committee, Philippe Maitrot answers questions from Jura Synchro. In this interview, we're interested particularly in the recent announcement by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding synchronized skating at the 2022 Games.
First of all, why did you want to work for synchronized skating?
Philippe Maitrot: Passion for sport and challenges. It's an awesome discipline to watch. The technical side and the artistic side make it a rich discipline that borrows elements from the other three major skating disciplines that everyone knows.
Which program or team did you like last season?
We had an extremely high level World Championship. I do not think I have a favorite. And if I had, I would not tell you! I love diversity, and last season we were able to admire different styles. Some more artistic than others. Others more technical. I like when the teams manage to make me forget that I am on a platform to officiate. It's a wonderful feeling to get goose bumps. The goal for our teams is to make us travel, to make us dream. For us as Officials, we have to be open and cultivated enough to appreciate and judge all styles. The important thing, of course, is that the best team wins.
Synchronized skating is not selected for the 2022 Olympics. What is your reaction?
Of course, I was disappointed, like everyone else, but I was more or less expecting this result. The IOC does not want to increase its number of competitors. The cost is already important, we can understand it. Nevertheless, I do not give. It's quite the opposite because the challenge is now more important. I think that a rapprochement with the IOC (perhaps with a different approach) as well as a substantive work with the Committee and the ISU on regulations, international development, and the creation of a "SyS Challenge Series ", we can hope to change the opinions.
The media approach on the subject must be optimistic. As I said before, it is by working together in the same direction that we will achieve this goal. The IOC has not definitively closed the door. Our goal is now to change their minds and turn the negative points into positive points. The more we have an international opening with a high level, the more we will be taken seriously.
For the Olympics, we know that it is important to have a better Asian participation...
Yes, we will try to develop the sport in Asia, and other continents, by helping to train new coaches, by adding more accessible international competitions for these countries. Their support is indispensable for the future of our discipline.
Today, what do you want to say to fans and the synchro community around the world?
Especially not to lose hope, and with passionate people like Marie Lundmark, Council Member at the ISU, we will fight to continue the development of this wonderful sport, and for its inclusion in the Winter Olympics.