Combined senior category: a game-changer for synchronized skating?


The combined senior category aims to enhance competition viability and team participation globally. (Credits: Paul Carrolo, UnisonPhoto - 2024)

Philippe Maitrot, Chair of the Synchronized Skating Technical Committee at the ISU, discusses the proposal for a combined senior category in synchronized skating. The ISU Congress recently accepted this proposal, which could reshape the competition landscape and influence the Elite 12 category's future.

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What do you think of this proposal for a combined senior category? Were you in favour of it?
Philippe Maitrot: Yes, very much in favour. Last season, if the combination had been possible, we could have saved competitions like the CS Senior category in Dumfries. There would have been enough teams and participating countries to allow the teams to earn points and for the organizing committee to have a valid senior competition.

Where did the idea of introducing a combined senior category come from?
From the Technical Committee.

From the 24-25 season, teams of 12 or 16 skaters could compete in the same category if the number of teams is insufficient in Senior or Elite 12. (Credits: Paul Carrolo, UnisonPhoto - 2024)

Does this proposal mark the end of the Elite 12 category?
Not at all. Even though the main reason was the Olympics, the category remains for various reasons, such as team formation. Not all countries have 20 skaters of the same level to place in a team. In Asia, the 12-skaters category is more promising than the 16-skaters one. This category also allows teams that no longer have the required number of skaters to remain active and participate in international competitions.

What is your assessment of the Elite 12 category so far?
Mixed, with some positive aspects (see above) and promising ones. As long as this category does not have a World Championship, it will be difficult to make progress. If the number of teams increases gradually, we can then propose a championship for this category.

"Organizers can mix the two categories"
Does this mean there will be teams of 12 and 16 skaters in the same category?Yes, it is already the case in Junior and Novice. There is no real difference as the age is the same, and so is the technical regulation.

How could this new category influence the competitiveness and performance levels of the teams?
More teams competing for the podium and points instead of 4 or 3 teams per category can make the competition more attractive.

What challenges do you anticipate in implementing this combined category?
There are no challenges. Organizers can mix the two categories if one does not have the expected number of teams.

How could this proposal simplify the structure of international competitions?
It allows organizers to have a viable competition and teams to compete against more teams.

How do you think teams and coaches will react to this new category?
It is not a new category but allows organizers to have a viable competition and teams to compete against more teams and earn points for their World Ranking and World Standing.

Other proposals on synchronized skating were also accepted at the ISU annual congress. We'll be talking about them shortly.