Colorado Springs, Colo. (April 2, 2007) – The Miami University (Ohio) synchronized skating team won the silver medal at the 2007 World Synchronized Championships last weekend in London, Ontario, Canada, marking the first U.S. medal at the event and the highest placement ever by a U.S. Team.
After seven straight World Championships in which Team USA just missed the podium with a fourth- or fifth-place finish, Miami finally broke through, earning the silver medal. To top off the event, the second U.S. team competing at the event, the Haydenettes, finished fourth. The second- and fourth-place finishes were not only the best finish ever for Team USA but the strongest overall finish of any country at the event.
Miami finished fourth at the event last year after winning the 2006 U.S. Synchronized Team Skating Championships. It finished second at the 2007 U.S. Synchronized Championships.
The Red Hawks drew to skate last Saturday and performed their “Black Magic” program one last time. A small fall in the third element, the line, could have rattled the team, but it regrouped.
Miami completed the program with growing energy from the audience, nailing every other element and earning 128.96 points. The score was not as high as the 130.31 it earned at the U.S. Synchronized Championships, but it was good enough for second place in the free skate. The Red Hawks’ total score of 198.71 landed them on the podium.
“Our focus was on ourselves tonight and what we could bring to the table – not what anyone else was doing,” teammate Ashley Diederich said. “We love our long, and we felt the strength. We just flipped on a switch in the beginning and got it done. It was a really great performance.”
Entering the free skate in sixth place, the Haydenettes were determined to move up. They finished seventh at the 2006 World Synchronized Championships, and won gold at the 2007 U.S. Synchronized Championships. They had nothing to lose Saturday and skated that way, putting out one of their strongest programs of the season.
Starting with a beautiful circular step sequence, they floated through each element of their free skate to “Atlantis” with strong edge quality and flow. Their program was highlighted by an excellent no-hold step sequence and an impressive moves-in-the-field section. The team earned 125.65 points in the free skate and 193.36 overall – less than one point away from a bronze-medal finish.
It was a breakthrough year for Team USA, as both teams demonstrated the depth of quality of U.S. figure skating. In addition to the top placements at the event, the U.S. teams at the 2007 World Challenge Cup for Juniors (the World Junior Championships for the synchronized discipline) finished third and fifth – the Chicago Jazz and the Colonials. No other country in the world had both of their teams in the World Championships and World Challenge Cup for Juniors secure spots in the top five.
Finishing first at the 2007 World Synchronized Championships was Team Surprise of Sweden. In third place was the hometown team, NEXXICE. Overall, 21 teams competed from 16 countries.
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Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com
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