Skater Services at U.S. Figure Skating Championships

by Bob Mock

April 1, 2017
   In The Loop Extended Articles

I recently received a letter for the Cleveland Coaches Council regarding the lack of skater services at the U.S. Championships.

It has been brought to our attention that the amenities of hairdressers, makeup artists, seamstresses, and blade and boot specialists available for the competitors at the U.S. Championships the past few years has dwindled. It is important that competitors look and feel fabulous when they step on the ice to perform their programs, as they have worked long and hard to get there. Dressing for the event is part of the process.

We understand that some seasoned skaters may prefer to do their own hair and makeup, but that is not necessarily the case with the up-and-coming competitors. It is the finishing touch that makes the performance experience special. In past years, these services were offered and were greatly appreciated by the competitors. Where did they go and why?

The U.S. Championships is a goal for many and should be a positive and a fun experience to remember. Let's bring back the services and give our skaters the advantage of looking great and feeling good when they step out onto the ice to skate their programs.

The Cleveland Coaches Council  

To get to the bottom of the mystery, I contacted Bob Dunlop, Senior Director of Events for U.S. Figure Skating. He said that the observation by the coaches is correct and it is a very pertinent and timely topic. According to Bob, coaches who have been attending the U.S. Championships for a length of time have seen fewer skater services in the areas of hair styling, make-up, sewing services, boot repair, and blade sharpening.

There was no budgetary factor for cutting skater services. The reality is that fewer and fewer athletes were using the services, and in many cases the service staff was not seeing any activity in these areas. Mr. Dunlop stated, "There has been a definite evolutionary change in skater habits and they now are arriving at major events very well prepared in these areas. Additionally, the skaters have become very specific and ritualized in how they have their skates sharpened, and certainly how their hair and make-up is done. In many cases, we may have these services on call but not in the building. The changing landscape of skater needs has resulted in more effort placed for stretching areas, exercise bikes for warm-up, medical services, and fitness assistance. We have simply responded to the current skaters needs."