June/July 2003

2003 World Synchronized Skating Championships

For the first time since the inaugural World Synchronized Skating Championships were held in Minneapolis in 2000, the event came back to North America. In a country where skating is a national passion, Ottawa, Canada, couldn't have been a better host for the 2003 event.

In front of an audience of more than 7,500 enthusiastic fans, the best synchronized skating teams in the world competed for the honor of becoming the World champion.

Once again Scandinavian teams dominated the event. The rivalry between Sweden and Finland has pushed the creativity and technical skill of the sport to new heights. That, combined with new rules that encourage greater freedom in the free skate, allowed for some of the most exciting programs that have been seen to date.

U.S. teams held their own, with the Haydenettes and Miami University both finishing in the top 10. This was the third consecutive year that the two teams made up the U.S. World Team. With four clean programs between the teams, they left with no regrets.

Read more about the 2003 World Synchronized Skating Championships in the June/July issue of SKATING.

Also featured in this issue ...

U.S. Adult Championships
by Marla Mangeot Brown, Andy Schell, and Shannon Keeler

For the third time the 2003 U.S. Adult Championships were held in Ann Arbor, Mich. One thing was consistent at the event - the determination seen in these adult competitors. That dedication and determination was evident in Karen Napoli, a championship masters ladies competitor who almost dislocated her shoulder about two-thirds of the way through her program, but finished in great pain with a spin as her arm dangled at her side.

ABC Sports International Figure Skating Challenge
by Michelle Wojdyla

Less than two weeks after the World Figure Skating Championships came to a close, eight ladies and four men competed in this event at Bridgeport Arena at Harbor Yard in Connecticut. Michelle Kwan and Evgeny Plushenko both won with unanimous decisions in the singles free skate event held April 8, keeping both of their undefeated seasons intact.

Pairing Up - Rena Inoue and John Baldwin Jr.
by Bob Schaller

At the highest level of the sport, it's rare to honestly say a skater "came from nowhere" to land on the podium at a major competition. Kids are tracked from preteen years now, so no one just lands on the scene without a lot of fanfare and media attention. Yet in 2003, Rena Inoue and John Baldwin Jr. were the closest things to a dark horse that happened at the 2003 State Farm U.S. Figure Skating Championships and again at the 2003 World Figure Skating Championships.