The 2014 ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships are slated to start this week, April 3-5, 2014, in Courmayeur, Italy. This year 23 teams from 18 countries will take the ice to compete for the ultimate synchronized skating honor: to become world champions.
Representing the United States are Team USA 1, the Haydenettes of Lexington, Mass. and Team USA 2, the Crystallettes of Dearborn, Mich. This year marks the fourth time that these two teams compete together at the world level, the first three occurred in 2004, 2010, and 2012. Two U.S. teams are eligible to compete at the World Championships because the U.S. was one of the top five ISU members in 2013 (along with SWE, CAN, FIN, and RUS).
The Haydenettes enter this competition on a four-year streak of winning world bronze medals. They aim to maintain their world medal status, and improve their placement for a shot at world gold. The Crystallettes look to improve on their highest 9th place finish at the world level, which they captured in both 2004 and 2010.
Based on international competition this season top contenders for medals include Team Finland 1 (Marigold IceUnity), Team Finland 2 (Rockettes), and Team Russia 1 (Paradise), who placed second through fourth respectively at this year’s French Cup, with scores of 195 and higher, losing only to Team Unique from Finland—last year’s World Champions. Team Unique did not qualify to compete at worlds this season, demonstrating the strength and competitiveness of the Finnish teams.
The Haydenettes finished just behind Team Russia, placing fifth at the French Cup, with the Crystallettes finishing seventh, separated only by Team Canada 2, Les Supremes. Team Canada 1, Nexxice, is also a top contender for a world medal, having placed third at the Mozart Cup with a score of 194.64, just behind Marigold IceUnity and the Rockettes.
Teams from Belgium, Spain, Great Britain, and Switzerland did not compete in 2013, but join the lineup this season. Team South Africa, who was in attendance last season, will not have a team competing in Italy this year.
Unofficial practices begin in Courmayeur, Italy on Wednesday. The Opening and Draw Ceremony will take place on Thursday, followed by short program official practice and competition on Friday, and long program official practice and competition on Saturday.
Stay tuned for updates from Italy!