¡Vamos! Team Mexico is back!


Team Merging Edge from Mexico competed at Senior Worlds in 2016. (Credits: Jura Synchro)

The first time the world met Team Merging Edge was in 2013 during the World Synchronized Skating Championships in the USA.

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Between their first Worlds in 2013 and their last participation in 2016, the team had improved a lot. But unfortunately, we didn’t see the team anymore afterwards.

Today, let's go a bit deeper into their history, what happened since 2016 and how their future will look since they announced that the team is back! 

Before becoming a synchro coach, Ana Cecilia Cantu Felix was a former competitive figure skater. She was a four-time national champion in Mexico. 

A team motivated by the 2022 Olympics
Team Merging Edge started in 2012-2013 under the wings of former single skater and world competitor Ana C. Cantu Felix.

At the start, Ana was a skater in the team and, at the same time, the coach. She was choreographing the programs, the team leader and also the team manager, all in one. Just to make sure the project of starting a synchronized skating team in Mexico would succeed.

With the announcement of the possible inclusion of synchronized skating at the 2022 Olympics, the motivation to found a team had grown even stronger than before. Ana and her sister started to recruit (former) single skaters to join her with this project. Without any experience as a synchro skater or synchro coach Ana started to build the programs and the synchronized skating basics. 

The team was already on the entry list for the World Championships 2013 in Boston, but their programs were never judged or reviewed by another coach. Just three weeks before Worlds, Ana and the team got help from Donna Mitchell from the USA.

With some big changes to both programs, the team was ready to make their debut in front of a super enthusiastic audience in the USA. Improving year after year, the team represented Mexico in every World Championships until their final free program in Budapest in 2016.

Three double axels!
You can say the team left their mark during the free program by surprising the judges and the audience with three double axels during the creative element.

"It’s actually a funny story how this happened," said Ana. "At first, we were planning to do two double lutzes and one double loop. But one of the girls wasn’t feeling 100% about her double loop at that time, so we had to change something."

The double axels were only added to the creative element during the official practice when Donna Mitchell decided to change the other jumps into the double axels. "I hadn’t jumped or practiced a double axel since 2012, but Donna told me just to do it," Ana explained. 

The 2016 free program presented at the Budapest Worlds with the three double axels certainly marked the synchro fans! (Credits: Jura Synchro)

Every year right after Worlds, the skaters were extra determined to improve everything were they had been working on. But at the beginning of the 2015-2016 season, some skaters already knew that Budapest would be the last competition for the team Merging Edge.

Struggling to get at least 16 skaters with the same skating level to form a senior team, the team decided to have a break.

With the lack of events in Mexico itself, the team has to travel to the USA or Canada to compete "nearby". It also makes it very hard to create awareness and visibility for the team.

"When Team Merging Edge will get the possibility to skate a competition or even some exhibition programs in Mexico, it will maybe be easier to get skaters interested in joining the beautiful world of synchronized skating," Ana said. "Unfortunate, there are no synchro judges in Mexico, making it even harder to organize a competition for synchro teams."

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Not letting go of her love for synchronized skating, Ana kept herself up to date with the rules and regulations each season and joined several Nexxice Camps to learn more about the sport.

"In November/December of 2020, some former team members were trying to find enough skaters to go back on the ice."

Of course, Mexico is also dealing with the Covid-19. Luckily, the team is allowed to train together off-ice and will start training on ice very soon.

At this moment, there are 19 skaters in the team Merging Edge. The youngest skaters are 14 years old, and most skaters are 20 or above.

With some skaters being underage for the ISU senior level and the pandemic, the team signed up for the moment as a Mixed Age team and will participate at the Global Synchro Showcase "From Darkness to Light" held by the organization OneTeamMVMT. 

Ana: "The goals for the team in the short term are to fall in love with the sport first and to experience how much fun it is to share your passion for skating in general with your teammates."

For the long term, Team Merging Edge's future is bright according to the coach, especially with the announcement of the new "Elite 12" division by the ISU at the end of February.

"Every season, we are trying super hard to have enough skaters to form a team. Coming from a smaller skating nation like Mexico, having at least 16 skaters is hard on its own, let alone 16+ skaters of the same level. Elite 12 will make it easier for countries like Mexico to participate in World Championships. And if cutting the number of skaters to 12 will help get synchronized skating into the Olympics, this is definitely something to try," added Ana.

"But for now, the goal is to do well, to skate better every time we are on the ice, and of course to have fun."

In a few days...
Don't miss the interview with Ana Cecilia Cantu! The Mexican coach will be the guest of the "Faces of Synchro" section!

Stay tuned!