By Jennifer Swartz
It is often said that synchronized skating is not simply a sport, but a way of life. As a skater growing up in Lexington, Mass., I found this to be extremely true, in great part due to Lynn Benson.
I only skated for Lynn for two years, but in that short amount of time, she managed to completely transform me as a skater, as well as shape the rest of my skating years. Lynn had a way of training her skaters and pushing them to become the absolute best skaters that they could be. There was some intangible quality about Lynn – an “X” factor if you will – that made her a force to be reckoned with. This transcended to the rest of the synchronized skating community, where Lynn would serve as a trailblazer throughout her career, compelling the sport to reach new heights in creative choreography and accomplishments.
When Lynn first created the Haydenettes in 1979, there were very few synchronized skating teams, and the sport had yet to hold a national championship competition. However, Lynn became a true innovator and her keen eye for detail drew in skaters from across the country and even the world. Her immense skills and dedication to the sport undoubtedly propelled synchronized skating to grow over the past three decades, both in the number of teams and competitions. According to U.S. Figure Skating, there are now approximately 525 synchronized teams registered with U.S. Figure Skating, and nearly 5,000 athletes participating annually in the synchronized skating sectional championships. Furthermore, synchronized skating began holding the World Championships in 2000 and currently has its sights set on becoming an Olympic sport in the near future. Lynn’s induction to the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame on January 10, 2014 only further cements the sport’s significant accomplishments.
This tremendous honor is a great feat for the world of synchronized skating, as Lynn will be the first person from the sport to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. All of the excitement surrounding such recognition for synchronized skating has indeed stirred up conversations of what this means for the sport’s future, specifically, if this has any implications for it becoming a part of the Olympic Winter Games. Lynn has always been optimistic about synchronized skating’s chances of becoming an Olympic sport, and has previously been quoted saying that “as long as individual skaters improve in their individual skills year after year [it could happen].” Hopefully, this esteemed recognition will be one more stepping block to making synchronized skating’s dream of becoming an Olympic sport a reality. At the very least, Lynn’s induction to the Hall of Fame is a huge accomplishment for the sport and is just one more way in which Lynn has paved an incredible path in the synchronized skating community.
For more information on the ceremony visit: http://www.getitcalled.com/honoring-lynn-benson-supporting-synchronized-skating/