WIN Program

By: Terri Milner Tarquini

April 1, 2017
   In The Loop Extended Articles

When it comes to synchronized skating, the WIN program has its goal in its name.

WIN (World, International, National), overseen by the Synchronized Skating Development Subcommittee as part of the Athlete Development Committee of U.S. Figure Skating, is interested in novice, junior, senior, and collegiate synchro coaches looking to take their programs to the next level.

Alternating between the World Synchronized Skating Championships, last year in Budapest, and the World Junior Synchronized Skating Championships, in March in Mississauga, Canada, coaches selected as part of the program are treated to hotel accommodations, airfare, an event ticket - and a rinkside view through the coaches, judges, and officials eyes.

“At practices, they will participate in mock calling and pretend they are on the technical panel,” said Leslie Graham, Director of Synchronized Skating and Skating Programs for U.S. Figure Skating, “They’ll be worked with on why they made the calls they did, as well as awarding GOEs and discussing the programs from a judge’s perspective. They’ll get to see how the coaches interact with their teams and what they focus on in the unofficial practices, things like skills and drills, individual elements, and running the full program.”

This year the official leading the coaches at the World Junior Synchronized Skating Championships is Karin Sherr, international judge and national technical specialist and controller.

“U.S. Figure Skating is always looking to help with the tools and resources teams need,” Graham said. “We want to provide support to advance teams.”

Alana Christie, one of the WIN participants, is a natural fit for the program: a brand new coach of a brand new junior synchro team.

Christie, up until last year a competitor with Miami University’s Senior Varsity Synchronized Skating Team, is a coach for the Shattuck-St. Mary’s Team Sabres, a team from Faribault, Minnesota, that saw their first year in 2015 at the intermediate level, making the jump to the junior division in only its second season in existence.

“I talked about how great a place Shattuck-St. Mary’s can be with regards to synchro,” said Christie, of the application process. “There are no competitive teams in the Twin Cities anymore, which is weird because it’s a big skating community. I want to bring synchro back here.”

Christie formerly skated on Team Braemar, earning a gold medal at the U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships in the junior division and a bronze medal at the World Junior Synchronized Skating Championships. She went on to be co-captain of the Miami team, was on Team USA for four years, was a three-time world competitor at the senior level and a four-time national medalist. As such, she is interested in continuing to grow into the coach who can aid Team Sabres on their new journey.

“I am so honored and so excited to have the opportunity to go to junior worlds with U.S. Figure Skating,” she said. “I just want to immerse myself in the sport and learn as much as I can. I know it will be incredibly inspirational.”

Synchronized skating coaches interested in applying for the WIN program next year can contact U.S. Figure Skating for more information.