As a Canadian, it’s embarrassing to admit that I can’t skate. I was never much of an athlete, and quite frankly, I don’t like the cold.
Still, I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of synchronized skating.
Seeing the skaters gliding across the ice in perfect synchrony was always mesmerizing for me to watch. They practice for months in advance, timing every movement— graceful skill disguising the labor behind the act. And that’s where the true beauty lies, isn’t it? The way they make it look so freaking easy. But as we all know, synchronized skaters are highly-trained athletes.
Since 2000, elite teams have been competing in the International Skating Union (ISU) World Synchronized Skating Championships to bring back the first-place title.
The annual event attracts teams from around the world. Although Finland and Sweden are known for often taking the gold, back in 2013, the Russian team gave them a run for their money.
Clad in white, gauzy dresses with shoulders exposed, the women are visions of swan-like beauty.
They had practiced for months, perfecting every detail of their routine, and now they’re ready to show the world what they’ve got.
Warming up, the women clasp hands in two lines, flowing around the ice in symmetrical patterns.
But when the music begins to play, things start to get real.
Aligning in the shape of a diamond, the women take their starting pose. Soon, Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” begins to play over the loudspeaker, and the women flow together.
Each individual body forms part of the beautiful whole. It’s hard to take your eyes away as their spin and glide around the ice, breaking into separate lines and segments then coming back together again.
As you look around the arena, not a person in the crowd is moving. The air is still as the chorus of the song floods the room.
The women spin in circles, each moving synchronously to the rhythm of the song.
By the time they are finished, the crowd is paralyzed with awe.
According to the International Skating Union website, synchronized skating is the youngest of all skating disciplines. Originally known as ‘precision skating’, it was developed in the United States when Dr. Richard Porter organized the first team.
In 1994, the ISU officially recognized synchronized skating as a discipline, holding the first world championships six years later. Now, the sport has grown in popularity with teams traveling from Europe, North America, and Asia to compete.
Since being uploaded, the team’s amazing performance has been viewed over 12 million times.
It’s such a mesmerizing thing to watch; people can’t tear their eyes away.
“Beautiful performance by Russian girls :) “
“Russians are amazing in skating and ballet! Really more than perfect!”
“So beautiful. Wow Wow. I’ve never seen this before.”
“Wow this was beautiful beyond belief. Such wonderful ladies and fantastic skating.”
Watch the gorgeous performance below.
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