"Elite 12" New Category: The Answers To Your Questions


Team Passion at the Hungarian National Championships last month. (Credits: Synchro Skating Moments - 2021)

Following the announcement of the new "Elite 12" category, Jura Synchro received many questions. Philippe Maitrot, Chair of the ISU Synchronized Skating Technical Committee, gives us more details.

It was the big surprise of the end of the season. On January 19, in a video interview, Philippe Maitrot, Chair of the Technical Committee for Synchronized Skating at the International Skating Union (ISU) announced to viewers on YouTube the creation of a new category.

Called "Elite 12", for the number of skaters (12) per team, this new division offered to ISU Juniors and Seniors should allow the discipline to increase its chances of becoming an Olympic sport in the coming years.

Skaters, coaches or fans... Jura Synchro has collected all the questions and classified them into three different parts. Check them out below!

Part 1 - The new category
Can a club field an "Elite 12" team and at the same time a team of 16?


Is it allowed to have the same 12 skaters from the Elite team to also skate in the normal Senior team?

Yes, il will be allowed.

When could be the first season with this category? 2021-22 already? 

Some international competitions already accepted to include this category into their schedule. So yes, next season you will see this category on the international stage.

Will the age limit remain the same as the 16 Junior and Senior? 


Will there be a minimum level for the teams to enter Elite 12? A technical evaluation? 

No, we still need to attract more members.

Will this new category replace the normal team of 16? 


Part 2 - The rules
 Will the Elite 12 have the same elements? 

It will have some elements of the actual category + hopefully some new ones. It's possible that some new/different elements only appear in this division in the future.

Would group lifts be done with 4 groups of 3 skaters? 

Yes, it is a possibility.

What about the currents rules made for 16 skaters? For example, Group Lifts Level 4 could be ''4 Groups lifts'' but a team of 12 couldn't maybe not reach 4 Group Lifts. Same for Intersections (I4 is an angle Intersection with 2 lines of 8 skaters), Move Elements (ME4 can't be reached with 12 skaters), etc. 

We will have to adapt the rules. For some elements, we will have to re-think the Difficulty Groups. And the Elite 12 will also have the possibility to reach Level 4.

The Junior team Sun City Swing from Finland. (Credits: Kirsi Laine Photography - 2020)

Part 3 - Others
Will there be competitions only for Elite 12? 

Not at the beginning. Elite 12 will be included in the existing international competitions.

Are there gonna be Worlds for Elite 12? 

The goal is to have it in the future, maybe in 2023 or 2024.

Does that mean that there be 2 World Championships (Elite 12 + Senior ISU)?

This is a possibility. We will work on it once the category will be established.

Will there be a European Championship for Elite 12 next year and the years after? 

Not next year for sure, maybe in the future.

Do you think it will affect team dynamics if ~ 25% of the team's skaters are removed?

I don’t know, but for sure it will attract more members and more teams.

Will Elite 12 compete in real or just send in videos for review?

In April, there is no competition or evaluation. For the moment, the videos are for review and only for the Technical Committee and the Council.

Will Elite 12 compete only with a Free Program? Or with Short and Free? 

In the future, they will compete with both programs, short and free.

How many Elite 12 teams could participate in the Olympics?

Six members at the beginning, like it was previously imagined with teams of 16 skaters. Women hockey for example started with six teams and in the next Olympics, they will be 10 teams. The goal is to enter into the OWG with a reasonable number and increase in the future.

When will the decision be made whether or not to include synchro in the Olympic Games?

Should be in one year, in 2022.

With their reduced number of skaters, "Elite 12" teams will be able to get even more speed in the elements according to Philippe Maitrot. (Credits: Ru-Pho - 2020)

Still have questions?
Rediscover our recent article on the Elite 12 category or contact us on social media or write us an email (!

Teams in the Junior and Senior category who have had the opportunity to create a free program this season can register with the ISU (, adapt their program and present it before the 15th April 2021.