Yesterday, when I should have been studying for upcoming exams, purely by accident, I stumbled upon coverage of the 2010 World Synchronized Figure Skating Championships.
I couldn’t believe the changes in the sport since skated precision – now called synchronized skating.
It used to be a sport that wouldn’t bankrupt parents. Today, the costumes alone looked as though Vera Wang had a hand in the design.
They were breathtaking.
When our first competitive coach came to Arborg, she proposed the idea of starting precision teams – which wasn’t a new concept. Most of the older girls in private lessons were on the Arborg precision team. However, these teams would be competitive – and open to the skaters in CanFigure.
I was part of the oldest team, and we were a mighty team of eight – ranging in age from 12 to 14 years old. Two sister acts made half the team. Including my sister and me.
To prepare for competition our coach, Joanne, suggested we guest skate at ice shows around the Interlake region.
But first – costumes. The younger groups wore all black with gold sequence. However, our team went a different direction. Looking back at photos, they were definitely memorable.
Rather than dresses, we wore black bodysuits. With a detachable black half-skirt, hot pink cumber belt, silver lapels and – to finish of the ensemble – black leotards and a hot pink bow tie.
It reminded me of my jazz dancing costume – we were only missing the black top hat, tails, and white gloves.
At the time, I loved the outfits. But when we competed at our first competition – the 1989 Interlake Regional Precision Competition – we didn’t have team jackets. The judges marked our compulsory elements while we skated in baggy sweatshirts and cable knit sweaters.
To our surprise, we won silver. Watching the footage of the medal ceremony is humorous. We looked ridiculously out of place, shivering and standing among most of the other teams, who wore beaded skating dresses and warm woollen team jackets.
However, our costumes garnered the local media’s attention. There was a story in our local paper, the Interlake Spectator, about the competition. And we graced the front page of the Spectator rather than a team who won a gold medal.
The journalist dubbed us “Antics on Ice.” Earlier that week, we skated in the Riverton Ice Show and we were in the sports section. The week after, we competed at the 1989 Interlake Winter Games – with another photo. Mind you, all the precision teams were in the photo, however, we were closest to the camera.
Another photo followed with our ice show, then our Winter Ice Revue during the Arborg Winter Carnival with only the the precision teams and solos from the majority of skaters in private lessons.
While the exposure caught us off guard, it was awesome. The next season didn’t start how we wanted, but our first-year out of the gate? Clearly, we were noticed.
Hot pink bow ties and all!