In San Francisco, you must now be vaccinated to train


This is the 23rd season for Tremors SST in the USA. (Credits: Tremors)

San Francisco became the first major city in the USA to require proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 for people working out in gyms or attending synchro lessons. Tremors SST, the largest synchronized skating program in the Bay Area, explains this new reality.

"As of August 20th, everyone 12 and older must show a proof of vaccination to go indoors, like restaurants, gyms, as well as the ice rink in San Francisco. Additionally, we must keep the masks on. A self-attestation or a negative Covid test result is not accepted," says Zeynep Aydin, former head coach of Team Vizyon - Senior team in Turkey, and currently coaching Tremors Preliminary and Open Juvenile teams, as well as assisting the Adult team with the choreography. 

Currently, almost 80% of those eligible to be vaccinated are fully vaccinated in the city of San Francisco. Still, the mandate aims to protect the children and the people who are not eligible to get vaccinated.

Luckily, Tremors Synchronized Skating Teams have had full compliance. According to the coaches, there has been no negative effect. "So far there have been no complaints! Our skaters and families are thrilled to continue skating and be back on the ice with each other," explains Lindsey Wolkin, the Director and head coach of the Tremors SST.

"I think parents feel a lot safer knowing everyone is doing what they can to stay safe and healthy. We continue to practice with masks on as we did prior to this decision," continues Chantal Hersey, head coach of the Pre-Juvenile Team and assistant coach on all other levels.

"It definitely reduces the stress on us"
"All across the world, synchronized skating has been one of the sports most negatively affected during the pandemic. Keeping distance between skaters is not in our sport’s nature. It definitely reduces the stress on us to see skaters, parents, coaches, and administrators are doing their best to keep the environment safer and healthier so that we can skate as we used to," explains Zeynep Aydin.

What does happen to the skaters who do not want to be vaccinated? Is there a risk they will stop skating? "We have not experienced this. Everyone is doing everything they can to stay safe and healthy," the coaches say.

"We are taking it day by day and are grateful to be skating with the teams again. There is a certain level of risk for all athletic sporting activities - synchronized skating is a fast and powerful sport. We try to take every precaution to ensure our athletes have the physical and mental training they need to succeed. This includes healthy nutrition, adequate sleep, masking and hand washing while training on the ice," Lindsey Wolkin and Chantal Hersey explain.

The skaters are getting ready. (Credits: Tremors)

Skaters' opinion
Martina Lee, Tremors Adult Team Skater: "When I heard about the vaccine mandate at our rink, I was relieved and happy. It gave me a greater sense of safety, not only for myself but also for the people we all lived with. Many of us live with roommates and families who are at higher risk, so this vaccine mandate helps protect not only the skaters but also their friends and families."

Anahita Memerzadeh - Tremors Intermediate Skater: "I felt as if it was necessary especially in our sport when we were constantly in close proximity of each other, and being in California, this felt normal and good to protect everyone around us and ourselves."

Will this change anything for you?
"This doesn't change much for me; it allows my teammates and me to feel safe at the rink, especially amidst everything going on outside of the rink," explains Anahita Memerzadeh, 17, skating her 5th year skating with Tremors.

For Martina Lee, however, changes are big. "Previously, I minimized the amount of time I spent inside the rink; we would even put our skates on outdoors and then walk in for practice. Now, I can feel confident knowing that the rink is taking all the necessary precautions to keep its skaters safe. It's like a heavy burden has been lifted off my shoulders knowing that everyone is vaccinated, even as we continue to wear masks," says this member who has been skating for 15 years and has been on the SF Tremors Adult team for the last 4 years.

Masks on for safe skating. (Credits: Tremors)

It is thus in a completely new configuration that the Tremors SST teams begin this new season. This year, they will compete in 5 divisions: Preliminary, Pre Juvenile, Open Juvenile, Intermediate and Adult.