Sheffield’s synchronised skaters have hopes of taking their sport to the Olympics as the city hosted its first skating event this weekend.
More than 30 teams of 500 skaters came to Sheffield for the international event at the iceSheffield Arena, with participants from as far as Italy and Norway.
Linda Harrow, 73, from Aberdeen is the oldest contestant at the competition. She’s been skating since the age of nine and moved to synchronised skating in 2014.
Linda doesn’t think her age makes a difference to her skating. “Some of them I don’t think realise my age, it doesn’t make any difference. We’re part of a team and that’s it,” she said.
At 11-years-old, Logan Bennett is one of the younger skaters competing. He is part of Novus, Sheffield’s youngest synchronised skating team, and managed to win his first gold medal at the event.
When asked to describe how it felt to be awarded gold, Logan said: “It felt amazing when we got given the gold medals, I felt like we’ve really improved over the terms that we’ve done competitions.”
Jessica Hardy, 29, who competes in Sheffield’s adult team Perpetuum, described the feeling she gets performing with her team as “amazing.”
“It’s a buzz that you can’t describe. The adrenaline that you get, the high that you get. It’s just out of this world. It’s amazing.
“Imagine wishing for something as a kid, you just hope and dream and all of the sudden one day it turns up, that feeling is what you get when you finish and you’ve done your final position. That cheer you get at the end.
“I can’t describe it. It’s electric, it’s amazing. I love it.”
Jessica, like many others at the event, is hoping to see synchronised skating become an Olympic sport. She hopes that holding competitions will be able to raise the sports profile.
Bev Pearson, 54, is also hopeful for synchronised skating to gain Olympic recognition. “People tend to think that synchronised skating is for skaters who are not good enough to make it on their own,” she said.
She thinks people who aren’t sure on synchronised skating should look up groups such as Finnish world champions Marigold IceUnity, who recently featured on Dancing on Ice.
“It’s like 16 people playing a piano.”