(January 22, 2004)
Skate Canada and the US Figure Skating have created a new format for the North American Challenge Skate (NACS) events, which takes effect in the 2004 skating season.
The new structure will include one event in each of the countries. The U.S. event will take place Aug. 19-22, 2004 in San Jose, California, in conjunction with the Silicon Open, and will include Junior Ladies, Junior Ice Dance, Novice Ladies, Novice Men and Novice Ice Dance.
The Canadian NACS event will be held Aug. 26-29, 2004 in Waterloo, Ont., and will include Junior Men, Junior Pair, Novice Men, Novice Pair and Novice Ladies.
Skaters from Mexico have participated in the NACS events in past years, and have been invited to continue their involvement in the 2004 series.
Skate Canada and US Figure Skating introduced the NACS events in 1996. Originally, the NACS structure consisted of four competitions, two in the U.S. and two in Canada, which featured novice singles, pair and ice dance events.
Junior events were added to the NACS structure in 1998.
After six years, it was determined that the events needed some refurbishing, so as to not diminish the original intent. The goal of the NACS events is to provide international competitive experience for young skaters. The NACS events also provide skaters with the opportunity to enhance technical skills and improve their level of performance early in the competitive season. Through the re-structuring of the events, the competitions will become more competitive and will provide an excellent introduction for athletes and coaches to international competition.
Apart from learning how to compete internationally and, ideally, win medals, NACS events are meant to provide other learning opportunities as well, including increased self-confidence that comes from being selected for the team, which aids in athlete short and long-term development. The athletes from each country, as well as their coaches and support teams, are exposed to competitors from another country, most for the first time. This provides the opportunity to be part of the Unites States or Canadian team experience, and being introduced as representing a country and not a club. A whole new ballgame, so to speak!
NACS competitors are selected based on each governing body’s selection criteria and selection process. Interested Skate Canada members should contact their Section offices to get information on the Canadian selection criteria and selection process.