The following comes directly from U.S. Figure Skating:
The 2016 Eastern Synchronized Skating Sectional Championships comes to the Richmond Coliseum and Greater Richmond Convention Center, January 28-30, 2016. More than 2,000 skaters from 15 states will join together to compete in this qualifying competition hosted by the Richmond Figure Skating Club and sanctioned by U.S. Figure Skating. Synchronized team skating is rapidly gaining popularity in the United States with more than 8,000 skaters competing as part of teams of 8 to 20 skaters. Teams execute intricate formations and perform elements in perfect unison set to music. Synchro, as it’s commonly called, requires athletes who are not only skilled individually in figure skating, but who also spend many hours developing the ability to track the teammates around them and stay in tightly knit formations on the ice.
The top teams at this competition will earn the right to compete at the 2016 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships, set for Feb. 25-27 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. From there, senior-level teams will compete for a spot on the U.S. World Synchronized Skating Team.
“The Richmond Figure Skating Club is delighted to have won the bid to host this event again,” Laurie Brand, competition chair and Vice President of the Richmond Figure Skating Club, said. “We can’t wait to welcome the skaters and show them everything Richmond has to offer.”
With the help of Richmond Region Tourism, a second ice surface is being installed at the Greater Richmond Convention Center specifically to facilitate practices and competition at both venues simultaneously during the event.
“The sport has grown so rapidly that only those cities with two skating venues near each other are able to compete in the bidding process for this event,” Brand noted.
Skaters of all ages will be participating, from preliminary through adult and masters levels.
Synchronized team skating was submitted by the International Skating Union (ISU) to the U.S. Olympic Committee in 2015 for consideration as a new sport in the Olympic Winter Games. Although the proposal did not pass for 2018, the submission is seen as a first step toward the inclusion of synchronized skating in the Olympic Games.
Events begin Thursday, Jan. 28, at 3:30 p.m. and run through Saturday night, Jan. 30. The Opening Ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 29, at the Richmond Coliseum. A schedule of events is available on the event website at www.synchroeast2016.org with highest level events held Friday and Saturday, afternoon and evening. Tickets are available at the sweetFrog Box Office at the Richmond Coliseum or via Ticketmaster. Tickets are good at both venues and guests may come and go to watch multiple events. Prices range from $16-20 daily. Weekend packages are also available. Children under 8 and active Military with ID get in for free.