Competition Opportunities

Hosted by
San Diego Figure Skating Communications

Aspiring to Achieve

What is required to be an achiever?
      An elite skating athlete in figure skating is defined as someone whose goal is to qualify for our national championships and place in the top three. The USFS Nationals is used by the USFSA as part of the selection process to determine which skaters will represent the USA at international, world, and Olympic competitions. 

      The USA Olympic Committee has conducted a survey in which they have determined, on average, an athlete in any sport will spend 10,000 hours over a ten year period to reach the skill levels required to qualify for selection to compete internationally.

      Along the way there are many athletes who become discouraged because they did not develop the fundamental skills necessary to be competitive in their sport, become frustrated by injuries, and/or are unable to perform at their full potential during the selection process.

NOTE: some sports use national trials to select a "team" of athletes, who usually train together  under a coach paid for by the sport association.

USA Qualifying Process
      The process for USA figure skaters involves entering and placing in the top four in an regional qualifying event held in one of nine regions. These skaters then proceed to the sectional championships which is next level in the qualifying process. 

      There are three sections - West, Midwest, and the East. The top four skaters from each sectional competition qualify to compete in the USA National Senior or Juvenile Championships.  Selections are made at the Senior US Nationals for athletes and alternates to World and Olympics. The selection committee considers placements in the National Ladies, Mens, Pairs, and Dance events along with how well the athlete(s) have performed in international competitions in the season leading up to the US Nationals.

      Regional, Sectional, and National competitions are rotated to different regions throughout the country as a means of providing more affordable access to skaters and spectators who reside throughout the USA.

Winter Olympics
      The number of skaters that each country can send in ladies and Mens Free Skating, Pair Skating, and Ice Dancing depends on the placements in the previous World Championships. The default is one skater or couple per each of the four events. 

      Synchronized Team Skating, Theater on Ice, Showcase Case, and Adult skaters have not been accepted as Winter Olympic Sports. Synchronized Team Skating has its own Senior and Junior World Championships.  Theater on Ice has its own federation.

      The USFS hosts a national championship for Showcase, Collegiate, and Adults. However, these events are not recognized and included in the annual  ISU World Junior and Senior Figure Skating Championships.

International Events
      The Grand Prix ISU Championship series are organized by the skating federations of their host countries. These competitions previously had been held as separate individually hosted events. In 1995,  the United States, Canada, Germany, France, and Japan skating federations began to plan their events as a series with cooperative marketing of the television rights in those countries, and with prize money funded by the sale of those rights. At this point, the International Skating Union asserted its ownership of the international television rights to the series. The series consists of six competitions:

      The series ends with the Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final, which features the top six skaters or couples from the six competitions.

      Skaters who participate in the individual events by:

  • The seeding of top skaters at Grand Prix events basically takes into account their placement from the previous World Championships, as well as their ISU international ranking.
  • Invitation by the host country which can invite up to three of their own skaters for each discipline. This is to give a balanced field throughout the series, as well as allowing the hosting country a chance to showcase their top competitors.
      The ISU Junior Grand Prix is the junior equivalent of the senior Grand Prix series.

      The number of skaters who start out in beginning skating classes each year forms the base of the pyramid that ultimately narrows at the top and results in the crowning of World and Olympic champions. 

      What happens to the other skaters?  Along the way there is a drop in the number of skaters who realize they either lack the talent or don't wish to make the personal and financial sacrifices necessary to keep up with skaters to be competitive free skaters. Some skaters shift their focus to skating pairs, ice dancing, synchronized skating theater on Ice or Showcase/artistic events.

      For many families there are financial constrains and the decision is made to emphasize the child's academic pursuits rather then mortgage the the home to finance the pursuit of possible athletic glory.

USFS Open Competitions

PDF Announcement 2010 Orange County Figure Skating
Date for entries July 19, 2010,, shall determine eligibility to compete in events ... Figure Skating Rule 3235, entry fees will be refunded only if the event is not held.

Individual State Games and National Championships
PDF New Hampshire Figure Skating Festival
Requirements for eligibility include: 1. A skater who is a resident of New Hampshire.  US Figure Skating rules, as set forth in The Current Official USFS Rulebook.

U.S. Figure Skating rules addressing issues of ethics, membership,  Figure Skating rules on eligibility, and rules concerning Ineligible persons who are not permitted to compete.

Alternatives to Traditional (Conventional) Competitive Pursuits

Basic Skills and Test Track Event Competitions

PDF Basic Skills Competition Manual
Basic Skills Competition – Rules of Sport, U.S. Figure Skating Rulebook ...... Eligibility Rules: All skaters on the team must either be full U.S. Figure ..... selecting the harder element. The criteria for each element.

PDF April 8-10, 2011 - Oregon Skating Council
The competition is open to all registered eligible skaters of US Figure Skating. Basic ... This US Figure Skating rule 3235 shall be strictly enforced.

PDF Rules and Eligibility: The 14th annual Broadmoor The 14th annual Broadmoor Open will be conducted according to USFS rules.

PDF 2011 NAM Announcement FINAL Updated
Aug. 14, 2010 ... ELIGIBILITY: All entrants must be members in good standing of the USFS ...Figure Skating rule CR 3222. .. Skaters may not have passed tests higher than U.S. competing in accordance with USFS.

Collegiate Team Skating Programs

PDF 2010-2011 Intercollegiate Figure Skating Competitions
synchronized team skating events, which follow the eligibility rules as set forth in the 2011. U.S. Figure Skating Rulebook, per rule 3056.

College Club and Varsity Skating

Team Ice Sports

College and University Synchronized Skating Programs

High School Team Skating Competitions

High School Skating Programs

2011 Denver Invitational
Feb. 4, 2011 ... One step or spiral sequence (see Rule 3660 for description). .... Subsequent changes will not affect eligibility. Sanctioned by USFS and hosted by Denver Figure Skating Club at the South Suburban Ice Arena, Denver, CO.



The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

School Skating Clubs & Teams
Aspiring To Achieve
Team Ice Skating Sports
Managing Sports Teams
Team Teaching/Coaching
Building Team Cohesion
Interscholastic Skating
State Interscholastic Sports Federations
PDF  How to Start a High School Program
PDF  School Affiliated Membership Letter
PDF  Application School Affiliated Club Membership
PDF  List of School affiliated Clubs

All materials are copy protected. 
The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.

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