In the USFSA competition structure
for eligible (amateur) skaters, there are 2 categories of
competition. Most of the competitions that you will enter
throughout the year are called "non-qualifying" or "local"
competitions. "Qualifying" competitions include Regionals and
Sectionals which are considered to be the qualifying events or
"elimination rounds" preliminary to US National competition.
The local competition is the
mainstay of amateur figure skating competitions. Every year,
hundreds of non-qualifying competitions are held at
USFSA-affiliated clubs throughout the nation. These competitions
are created, planned, and implemented solely through the work of
the club members in the sponsoring clubs. These events do not lead
directly to any National or World competition, but do provide
skaters the opportunity for experience in the competitive
environment, the chance to earn medals and ribbons, and the
opportunity to preview the work of skaters in other clubs.
Local competitions are judged by
USFSA appointed judges, using the same standards as they would for
Qualifying competitions. Local competitions, however, have the
opportunity to "make their own rules" when they see fit, and create
unique new events, or variations of standard events. They may relax
qualification rules if desired to permit skaters the opportunity
for growth experiences. For all local competitions, the Club's
Competition Announcement should be considered the "rulebook" for
Oftentimes, age restrictions will
be relaxed in local competitions. Frequently, skaters will be
permitted to skate "one level up" from their current test level
(for instance, this means that a Juvenile skater would be permitted
to skate in an Intermediate event). And most frequently, events
will be available which are not part of the standard rulebook (see
Typical Competition Events for some examples).
Qualifying Competition is the broad
label which refers to all those competitions which lead to US
National and World competitions. These competitions start at the
Regional level. Successful competitors from Regional competition
advance to Sectional level competition, and then to US Nationals or
Junior Olympic competition (see the page on Competitive
Qualification Requirements for details on who may advance from each
Qualifying competitions follow the
Rulebook format for events and all age and test-level
qualification. See Qualifying Competition Progression for a graphic
depicting the relationship of these competitions)
There are 9 Regions in the US, each
of which holds an annual Regional competition (see the page on
Regions & Sections for information on the geographic areas
covered by each region). The location for the Regional competition
within each region is established by the USFSA each year on the
basis of applications by potential sponsoring clubs, and is usually
known about a year in advance. Regional competitions are generally
held in early October.
According to the Rulebook,
Regionals competition will hold events at levels ranging from
Juvenile to Senior. Organizers are permitted to hold additional
events if time permits however and often PreJuvenile and other
non-qualifying events will be included.
There is no requirement other than
test level (and, for some levels, age) for entering into Regional
competition. Any eligible USFSA skater of the appropriate test
level may enter his or her region's Regional Competition.
If you choose to enter, you will
find that the Application form will probably be the longest one you
have ever filled out. You may be required to furnish proof of age
(birth certificate) and test level.
You will probably be requested to
provide a black-and-white photo. Be aware also, that those
competitors who place well enough to qualify for advancement to
Sectionals will probably be expected to sign up and pay
There are 3 Sections in the US,
each of which holds an annual Sectional competition (see the page
on Regions & Sections for information on the geographic areas
covered by each section). The location for the Sectional
competition within each section is established by the USFSA each
year on the basis of applications by potential sponsoring clubs,
and is usually known about a year in advance.
Sectional Competition is the second
rung on the road to Nationals; skaters qualify to skate in
Sectionals based upon performance at Regionals.
Sectional competitions are
generally held in late November or early December.
US Nationals is held annually in a
city whose location is established by the USFSA each year on the
basis of applications by potential sponsoring clubs. The location
is generally known about 2-3 years in advance.
US Nationals holds events for
Novice, Junior, and Senior level skaters.
The Junior Nationals is the
national level competition for skaters at the Juvenile and
Intermediate levels. Qualification for Junior Nationals is through
Regional performance. Junior Nationals is generally held in
December of each year.
The US Adult Figure Skating
Championships is the National level competition for adult (age 21
and over) skaters. At present, there is no requirement for Regional
or Sectional qualification to enter the US Adult Nationals at most
levels, although some higher-level events do require
Each August at the Broadmoor in
Colorado Springs, college students gather for a skating competition
called the "National Collegiate Championships". This competition is
open to all USFSA members who are enrolled in a college degree
program. Junior and Senior level events are offered in singles
Freeskating, Pairs, Dance, and Figures. No Regional or Sectional
qualification is required for entry to this competition. Note that
the element requirements are slightly relaxed for the singles short
program (see CR 83.00 or each year's competition announcement for
To qualify as a college student for
this competition, singles skaters must be enrolled full-time in a
college or university degree program, or have graduated from such a
program the previous academic year, or be currently admitted for
the coming academic year. Pairs skaters must meet the same
criteria, except that "half-time" enrollment is acceptable.
An annual event for skaters who
have placed well in Artistic Showcase, and Interpretive events in
local non-qualifying competitions.
To help provide for recognition of
skaters as athletes within their schools, the USFSA has recently
begun promoting the development of High School competition series.
Several states now have very active high school skating programs.
Skaters from both USFSA and ISI clubs are now permitted to skate as
representatives of their schools in these competitions. Generally,
the competitions include "team events" with compulsory elements
skated by various team members as well as individual events in
which the skaters accumulate points for their teams. Many skaters
find that the team spirit and fellowship fostered by these
competitions is very fun and rewarding. Many schools reward skaters
with varsity status in recognition of their participation.
Similarly, there is a growing
movement towards collegiate skating programs. There are currently
more than 25 colleges in the US which support active skating clubs;
many of these have elevated the sport to varsity status within the
school. In the 2000-2001 season there will be at least 8 local
competitions for intercollegiate skating.
Basic Skills competitions are
frequently held at clubs throughout the country. These competitions
enjoy a relaxed rules structure, described in CR 90.00. Basic
Skills competitions are available to both USFSA members and
non-members. These competitions hold events at various levels,
equivalent to those specified in the Basic Skills training
curriculum (see "Events for Basic Skills Competitions" elsewhere in
Judges for Basic Skills
competitions may be officially-appointed USFSA judges, or may be
other eligible persons (i.e. Instructors) approved by the
sponsoring club or organization (note: occasionally Basic Skills
competitions include events for Pre-Preliminary or Preliminary
tested skaters - if this is the case, these events are judged by
official USFSA judges).
Many US States now hold "State
Games" competitions. These are often multi-sport competitions that
are open to all residents of the State. Typically at these
competitions, figure skaters from both USFSA and ISI are encouraged
to compete. Each year a national-level "State Games of America"
competition is offered to skaters who have qualified based on their
performance at their own state's State Games competition.
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