Category: Athlete

What to Watch at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships

Beginners Guide­BEGINNERS GUIDE: WHAT TO WATCH at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships

This page found at the following link :   on the US Figure skating web page


The U.S. Figure Skating Championships, held annually since 1914, is the nation’s most prestigious figure skating event, with past winners including Michelle Kwan, Kristi Yamaguchi and Scott Hamilton.


In addition to determining the U.S. champions, the event serves as the final step in determining the U.S. teams for the World Figure Skating Championships, World Junior Figure Skating Championships, Four Continents Figure Skating Championships and Olympic Winter Games.


The road to the U.S. Championships each year begins with the U.S. Figure Skating qualifying structure of nine regional events and three sectional events. Skaters who place in the top four at a regional qualify for a sectional; skaters who place in the top four at a sectional qualify for the U.S. Championships. Skaters compete in the region and section that correspond with the location of their skating club.


Some skaters may receive byes that qualify them automatically for the U.S. Championships, including skaters with an international competition that conflicts with a regional or sectional, senior-level skaters or teams placing in the top five at the previous year’s U.S. Championships, skaters or teams who won a medal at the most recent Olympic Winter Games and skaters or teams who won a medal at the most recent World Championships.


Championship Ladies

The ladies competition is a highlight of the U.S. Championships with an impressive list of past champions including Peggy Fleming, Dorothy Hamill, Kristi Yamaguchi, Nancy Kerrigan, Tara Lipinski and Michelle Kwan among the almost 100 year history of the event. This event highlights beauty, grace and style as the nation’s leading female skaters take center ice in Saint Paul. Competed over two separate evenings, the event is comprised of two parts: the short program, which is skated first, and the free skate. Both programs display the elegance and talent synonymous with the sport of figure skating.


Championships Ladies Short Program | Session 8 | Thursday, Jan. 21, at 7:30 p.m. The championship ladies short program is the first of two parts of the overall ladies competition. It features each athlete performing the seven required elements. While connecting steps will factor a skater’s components score, the ladies will attempt to maintain their composure as each jump and spin earns placements and points heading into the free skate competition.


Championship Ladies Free Skate | Session 14 | Saturday, Jan. 23 at 6 p.m.

The championship ladies free skate will crown the coveted title of U.S. ladies champion, an honor Ashley Wagner hopes to defend after her victory last year. If Wagner succeeds, she will become a four-time U.S. champion. Others to watch: Gracie Gold, Polina Edmunds, Courtney Hicks, Karen Chen, Mirai Nagasu.



Championship Men

Dick Button, Scott Hamilton, Brian Boitano, Todd Eldredge and Evan Lysacek are just some of the historic names that have been crowned U.S. champion in this event. The history is undeniable and the strength of field makes this one of the toughest events to win annually. Technique, concentration and the ability to perform under pressure are the key requirements to claim victory in the men’s event. As strength is showcased and quadruple jumps are attempted, the men will compete over two days in the short program and a free skate, similar to the ladies competition.


Championship Men’s Short Program | Session 11 | Friday, Jan. 22 at 7:30 p.m.

The men’s short program will consist of seven required elements, including two jumps, a jump combination, three spins and one step sequence. The elements may be done in any order within the 2:50 time limit.


Championship Men’s Free Skate | Session 15 | Sunday, Jan. 24 at 1 p.m.

In the free skate, reigning U.S. champion Jason Brown, known for his choreography and emotional musicality, will face-off against the likes of Max Aaron, Adam Rippon, Ross Miner, Nathan Chen and Richard Dornbush.



Championship Pairs

The pairs event combines the athleticism of singles skating with the precision of ice dancing, mixed with the thrilling acrobatics of overhead lifts and throws. Each movement is performed in unison, demonstrating exact timing and line between partners. Similar to singles events, the pairs competition includes a short program and a free skate, each packed with difficult elements and artistry.


Championship Pairs Short Program | Session 7 | Thursday, Jan. 21 at 2:45 p.m.

Pairs short programs consist of required elements, which include overhead lifts, side-by-side solo jumps, spins, step sequences and death spirals. In this event, reigning U.S. champions Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim will take their first steps toward repeating as titlists.


Championship Pairs Free Skate | Sessions 12 & 13 | Saturday, Jan. 23 at 1:30 p.m.

The 2016 U.S. pairs champions will be named following the championship pairs free skate competition. For any skating fans who enjoy the classic movie The Cutting Edge, the pairs event is a must-see! In addition to Scimeca and Knierim, look out for Tarah Kayne and Daniel O’Shea, Madeline Aaron and Max Settlage, Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir and Gretchen Donlan and Nathan Bartholomay.



Championship Ice Dance

If you like “Dancing with the Stars,” the ice dancing event is for you. Unlike pairs skating, ice dancing is based on different aspects of dance, including rhythm, interpretation of the music and precise steps. Its beauty lies in its limitless creativity, choreography and theatrical and innovative aspects. Ice dancing is the only discipline that permits vocal music and costumes are traditionally more elaborate in order to enhance the performance.


Championship Short Dance | Session 10 | Friday, Jan. 22 at 2:30 p.m.

The ice dancing competition consists of two segments. The championship short dance will feature elegant performances to waltz, foxtrot, march and polka selections. Each team will display a range of technical ability and sophisticated style as they set the pace for the final round of competition.


Championship Free Dance Competition | Sessions 12 & 13 | Saturday, Jan. 23 at 1:30 p.m.

The championship free dance will close out the event to the music of each team’s choice. Innovative choreography will highlight each dramatic performance as reigning U.S. champions Madison Chock and Evan Bates take the ice in pursuit of their second U.S. title. Others to watch: Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani, Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker and Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus.



Smucker’s Skating Spectacular– Sunday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m.

The Smucker’s Skating Spectacular will take place at the conclusion of the competition and feature the top four place winners in each of the Championship events, as well as each of the champions from the novice and junior divisions. Skaters will perform creative programs of their own choosing, free from the scrutiny of the judges, with show lighting and costumes. The exhibition is a fun and entertaining event for the whole family celebrating all the newly crowned U.S. champions.



Would your young athlete benefit from a Strength and Conditioning Coach?


Investigating the need for a youth strength and conditioning coach
9 Year Old

It is no secret that the level of competition in youth sports has been on the rise over the past decades. What used to be recreational teams, city leagues, and neighborhood games has evolved into an entire industry of club sports, elite traveling teams, and hefty participation fees for the young athletes’ parents.

A growing number of parents are asking, “With all the extra practices and increased competition, how can I be sure my son or daughter is not going to get injured? And how can I give my child an extra advantage?”

To help answer these questions, we need to look at the way we train in the U.S. compared to our European neighbors. Historically, many European countries used general physical preparation training with young athletes to build the foundation of development for their later years of training.

Within this general physical preparation training, coaches utilized movements and exercises that developed many different motor abilities or skills. These training sessions were not specific to any one sport, they were specific in providing a general foundation of motor abilities (speed, agility, quickness, strength endurance, relative strength, flexibility, etc.).

These young athletes then transitioned into more specific training based on their sport as they aged. This is a direct contrast to the North American model, in which children typically specialize in their respective sports at a much earlier age.

For this reason it is vitally important for parents to consider having their children train with a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®), who understands the specific needs of the children based on their developmental window of adaptation.

A CSCS® is responsible for building the foundation and the groundwork for later years of development, while doing so in a safe and healthy environment. These certified individuals have a wealth of knowledge that allows them to provide proper program design for the children throughout the course of their development.

For more information, check out these helpful links:

  1. Check out the NSCA’s Position Stand on Youth Resistance Training
  2. Take advantage of NSCA’s Personal Trainer Locator service, a helpful tool for parents to find an NSCA-certified strength coach or trainer in their area.
  3. Parents can get educated by joining the NSCA as an Associate Member for as little as $47/year.


It is important for parents to utilize certified coaches to train their children in order to get the most beneficial training based on each child’s chronological age and developmental age. This will provide a safe environment in which to promote long-term health and athletic development.

Disclaimer: The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) encourages the exchange of diverse opinions. The ideas, comments, and materials presented herein do not necessarily reflect the NSCA’s official position on an issue. The NSCA assumes no responsibility for any statements made by authors, whether as fact, opinion, or otherwise.

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