Synchro Challenger Series: There will be 5 stages!
Each season, a stage is planned in North America. / Credits: Haydenettes, Sébastien Muller - Jura Synchro 2019
The ISU recently announced that a Synchronized Skating Challenger Series will be held for the first time in history next season (2019-2020). But what is it exactly? We tell you everything!
"In order to be able to apply for the Olympic Games, we need to put in place a strong structure for our sport," says Philippe Maitrot, Chair of the ISU Synchronized Skating Commission. For him, the World Championships once a year are not enough and real international events must be developed, as is already done for other disciplines of skating. That's how he came up with the idea of a Challenger Series.
Five cities different each season
From next season, five international competitions will be chosen to become "stages" of the Challenger Series: three are held each season in Europe, one in North America and one in Asia. The idea is that those competitions can turn and change every year. To do this, the organizing committees will have to send in their application and fulfill more stringent rules concerning the technical panel. The ISU financially supports these competitions if they become officially "stages" of the Challenger Series.
For the 2019-2020 season, the five following events have already been designated: Leon Lurje Trophy (SWE), French Cup (FRA), Spring Cup (ITA), as well as a competition near Anaheim (Los Angeles, USA) and one in Hong Kong (Asia Trophy).
How does it work?
This new competition format only applies to the Junior and Senior categories. "The teams will only be able to compete in two Challenger Series stages per season and there will be quota per country for each event so that we do not end up with four teams from the same country. This will allow the teams to develop a real competition strategy by choosing what seems best for them to gain the most points," explains Philippe Maitrot. Obviously, the Challenger Series will not be mandatory and will not, for the moment, in any case, be qualifying for the World Championships.
The goal is for teams is to collect a maximum of points. A different number of points will be awarded to the team depending on the type of competition. The World Championships will collect the most points (840 pts for the Seniors winners, 600 pts for the Junior winners), followed by the Challenger Series competitions (410 pts max for the Seniors, and 300 pts for the Juniors), then finally international competitions (250 pts and 200 pts, only the two best results will be counted in the "Season Best").
"Hey, we will finally be able to talk about "Season Best" in synchro," smiled Philippe Maitrot. "It will also open up our sport, show it and develop it," he says. Another desire was to offer more opportunities for teams from North America, Asia and even Australia to participate in international events closer to home geographically.
The new Challenger Series concept will begin at the beginning of the new season in November. "I hope that it works and I think that athletes and coaches are ready to take part in the challenge to be seen in the eyes of the Olympic Committee," says Philippe Maitrot.