Synchronized skating (or synchro) is the newest ISU discipline of figure skating having had its first ISU World Championship in 2000. It involves a team of nine to sixteen skaters (eight to sixteen for Adult and Mixed Age teams) performing various elements and transitions to music. The objective is for the skaters to perform as one unit as opposed to individual soloists.
"Synchronized skating" refers to the quality of skating, importance of unison, the accuracy of the formations such as circles, blocks, wheels, lines and intersections and performing spirals, lifts, spins and footwork and precision of the team, incorporated into a programme of a specified time limit. Additional features such as travelling, rotations and change of direction or configuration can also be part of the performed element. This discipline is primarily judged on skating skills, transitions, performance, composition, interpretation and difficulty of elements. What makes the sport so unique is the incredible teamwork, speed, and intricate formations In lower grades only a Free Skate programme is performed. At the Junior and Senior level, teams perform both a Short Programme and Free Skate. Generally, the short program is more technical in nature where the free skating program is longer and provides an opportunity to showcase expression, emotion and interpretation.
Short Programme - Circles, lines, wheels, intersections, no holds (like a block but not connected), movement element and step sequences may be prescribed elements in the short programme. Teams have prescribed requirements that must be met to receive higher levels of elements or to have the element credited at all.
Free Skate - Circles, lines, wheels, intersections, blocks, no holds (like a block but not connected), movement in isolation and moves in the fields. At the higher level’s additional elements such as artistic / creative elements, lifts, spins and a pairs elements are included. In this programme, the team has more freedom in the choreography and types of elements that are included. Judging of synchronized skating is focused on the unison of the team while performing the elements, the cleanness and sureness of edges, the creativity and originality of the programme, the interpretation of the music, the execution of the elements and overall performance of the programme.