(March 9, 2004)
It was quite a weekend in Brandon.
The 2004 edition of the BMO Financial Group Skate Canada Synchronized Championships, held in Brandon, Man., started with an exclamation point on March 4 and finished with a flourish on March 7 for the 78 participating competitive and festival synchronized skating teams.
The event commenced with a grand City of Brandon sponsored welcome ceremony on Thursday evening for the almost 1,600 athletes. The ceremony featured Ukrainian dancers and a World Synchronized Skating video presentation, as well as several special guest speakers.
Spectators attending the championships witnessed to some spectacular competition throughout the weekend. Teams ranging in skill level and experience from Novice Festival to Senior Competitive skated to near capacity crowds at the Keystone Center.
Almost as memorable as some of the skating performances were the supportive fans, some of whom came dressed in characters representing their teams’ musical selections including pirates, gladiators, and even several Spidermen. Fans sang, danced and cheered for their teams, creating an environment of celebration in the venue. “Thundersticks,” provided by the Government of Canada, were a huge hit with spectators and skaters alike, who used the noisemakers to show their appreciation for the skating and performance talents of their favorite teams.
Les Suprêmes, the defending Canadian Senior Synchronized Skating Champions, reigned supreme in the Senior final, but were hotly contested by Fusion, who won the short program and placed second in the free skate to take home the silver medal.
Both Les Suprêmes and Fusion will travel to Zagreb, Croatia to represent Canada at the 2004 International Skating Union (ISU) World Synchronized Skating Championships, which will be held April 1-4, 2004.
Placing third in the Senior event was Nexxice.
In the Junior event, Gold Ice, the defending Canadian Junior Synchronized Skating Champions, and black ice heated up the ice and were first and second, respectively. Ice Image captured the bronze medal.
Gold Ice and Ice Image were selected prior to the 2004 BMO Financial Group Skate Canada Synchronized Championships to represent Canada in the 2004 ISU World Junior Challenge Cup, which will be held March 11-14, 2004 in Milan, Italy.
The Novice medals were won by Ice Image, who captured the gold medal, Les Suprêmes, who took home the silver medal, Whitby Ice Fyre, who won the bronze medal.
In the Adult event, the Emerald Blades recaptured the title they won last year with two solid choreographic performances. Finishing in second-place was Burlington Ice Image, and the bronze medal went to Team Xtreme.
The Festival Open category showed growing depth and quality of skating. The gold medal went to Elite Edge, with the Ilderton Silver Jets and the Edmonton Northern Lites placing second and third, respectively.
In the Festival Junior event, Ice Image, Ice Excellence and The Blades were the podium finishers.
Iced Energy, Leaside Ice Elite and Gold Ice/Elite Edge medalled in the Novice Festival event, and Edmonton Ice Edition, Midnight Ice and Ice Symphony reigned in the Adult Festival category.
The skating calibre throughout the competition was very high, with the competitive teams demonstrating higher technical content than ever before. The test pre-requisites for the competitive teams, implemented last year, have pushed the level of these teams forward in an attempt to set the pace for international standards.
The festival teams also performed very well, and had opportunities throughout the week to watch the competitive teams work through off ice preparation, as well as observe their competitive strategies. Both the competitive and festival groups were supportive of each other’s events, making for a unique celebration and fellowship of synchronized skating at all levels in Canada.
Congratulations to all who participated in the 2004 BMO Financial Group Skate Canada Synchronized Championships.