U.S. Figure Skating Championships
The United States Figure Skating Championships, held annually since 1914, is the nation's most prestigious figure skating event, crowning national champions in ladies, men's, pairs and ice dancing in each of the senior, junior and novice divisions.
In addition to determining the U.S. champions, the event serves as the final step in determining the U.S. teams for the World Figure Skating Championships, World Junior Figure Skating Championships, Four Continents Figure Skating Championships and Olympic Winter Games.
The road to the U.S. Championships each year begins with the U.S. Figure Skating qualifying structure of nine regional events and three sectional events. Skaters who place in the top four at a regional qualify for a sectional; skaters who place in the top four at a sectional qualify for the U.S. Championships. Skaters compete in the region and section that correspond with the location of their skating club.
Some senior- and junior-level skaters may receive byes that qualify them automatically for the U.S. Championships:
- A skater with an international competition that conflicts with a regional or sectional
- A senior-level skater or team placing in the top five at the previous year's U.S. Championships
- A skater or team who won a medal at the most recent Olympic Winter Games
- A skater or team who won a medal at the most recent World Championships
There are no age restrictions to compete on the senior, junior or novice levels in the United States. Athletes must have passed the following U.S. Figure Skating testing requirements prior to Sept. 1, 2010, to compete at their corresponding levels:
- Senior moves-in-the-field test (all disciplines)
- Senior free skate test (singles only)
- Gold pairs test (pairs)
- Gold dance test or higher and senior free dance test (ice dancing)
- Junior moves-in-the-field test or higher (all disciplines)
- Junior free skate test but no higher (singles only)
- Junior pairs test (pairs)
- Junior free dance test and at least two pre-gold dances (ice dancing)
- Novice moves-in-the-field test or higher (all disciplines)
- Novice free skate test but no higher (singles)
- Novice pairs test (pairs)
- Novice free dance test and at least one silver dance test
U.S. Figure Skating also hosts other championship events, including the U.S. Junior Figure Skating Championships, U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships, U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championships, U.S. Collegiate Figure Skating Championships and U.S. Intercollegiate Figure Skating Championships.
U.S. Junior Championships - This annual event crowns the U.S. champion in ladies, men's, pairs and ice dancing in the first two levels of the U.S. Figure Skating competitive structure: juvenile and intermediate. Skaters qualify for the U.S. Junior Championships by finishing in the top four at one of nine regional championships. The competition is formerly known as the U.S. Junior Olympic Figure Skating Championships.
U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships - Held annually since 1984, this three-day event crowns national champions in eight levels: senior, junior, novice, intermediate, juvenile, collegiate, adult and masters. The top two senior teams qualify to compete at the World Synchronized Skating Championships. Teams qualify for this event by placing in the top four at one of three sectional championships.
U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championships - This event was first held in 1995. Competitors are divided into five age categories (21-30, 31-40, 41-50, 51-60 and 61+) and two tracks (masters and adult). Events are held in singles, pairs, ice dancing and interpretive. Skaters qualify for the championship and championship gold events by placing in the top four at one of three sectional championships.
U.S. Collegiate Figure Skating Championships - The competition, first held in 1985, is staged every summer and is the only figure skating event in the country open solely to high-level, full-time college students. To qualify for the U.S. Collegiate Championships (formerly called the National Collegiate Championships), a skater must be 1) a current U.S. Figure Skating member and high school graduate who is enrolled full time in a college or university degree program, 2) a recent graduate of an accredited institution or 3) entering a college or university as a first-year student for the upcoming academic semester. Titles are handed out in senior ladies, senior men's, junior ladies and junior men's.
U.S. Intercollegiate Figure Skating Championships - This competition is the culmination of the Intercollegiate Competition Series, in which colleges participate in three conference events in their respective sections (Eastern, Midwestern and Pacific Coast) throughout the year, earning team points for each skater's placement in an individual event. The three teams in each section that collect the most points throughout the season qualify to compete at the U.S. Intercollegiate Team Championships.
For more information on the 2011 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships, visit the event page on U.S. Figure Skating Online.