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 Information on figure skating competitions


Most serious figure skaters train each year with the goal of participating in a competition.

What Are Competitions?

A competition is test of skill or ability where a winner is selected from among a number of contestants.   Much time and preparation goes into preparing for figure skating competitions.  Your first introduction to the world of competition will be basic skills events.  These competitions can be local or can include skaters from one or more states.   Once your child advances out of the basic skills level the skater will be eligible for non-qualifying and qualifying competitions.  Non-qualifying means that skaters participating do not advance to another level.  Qualifying competitions are those where if a skater places in the top four they will advance to another level.  These levels of competition are regionals, sectionals, nationals and world.  To qualify for a regional non-qualifying or qualifying event is an accomplishment in itself since there are very difficult figure skating tests that must be passed before a figure skater is eligible.

What Are The Divisions For Regional And Sectionals?

The United States is divided into three sections, Pacific Coast, Midwestern and Eastern. Each of these sections is divided into three regions, making it a total of nine regions in the United States. 

Singles skaters in the juvenile/intermediate/novice/junior/senior levels compete in these nine (9) regional championships across the United States earning spots to the U.S. Junior Championships (juvenile/intermediate), or to the second leg of qualifying, the three (3) sectional (Eastern/Midwestern/Pacific Coast) championships (novice/junior/senior).

Regionals And Sectional Events...

A skater that is training for regionals, is preparing to compete in a competition that will usually include several states. Regional competitions are the first in a series of qualifying competitions, sanctioned by U.S. Figure skating, which usually takes place in October. Most events at regionals are “qualifying” events. This means that if a skater places in the top four at a regional qualifying event, he or she qualifies to compete in sectional competitions.  Sectionals are usually held in November. If he or she places in the top four in a sectional qualifying event, the skater advances to nationals which take place in January.  Regionals and Sectionals are very inexpensive so it is worthwhile. Winning or placing in any qualifying competition is quite an accomplishment!

Regional competitions also hold some non-qualifying events. These events give lower level skaters an experience at participating at a regional. They are called "non-qualifying" because winning one doesn't make you eligible to skate in another competition. Skaters participating in non-qualifying events do not advance to sectionals or nationals You will find, at these events, children experiencing their first competition and high-level athletes trying out a new program.

Click here for current U. S. Figure Skating Regional Map


U.S. Nationals...

"Nationals" is considered the most prestigious event of the U.S. competitive figure skating season. Nationals is the competition that helps determine which skaters representing the United States will compete in the World Figure Skating Championships. Those who place in the top in championship events at U.S. Nationals usually qualify for the World Figure Skating Championships which are held in March or April.   During an Olympic year, the Olympic Figure Skating Team is chosen from those who place in the United States National Figure Skating Championships. There are some elite, eligible skaters that are exempt from qualifying for Nationals each year, they compete in a series of events with the best skaters in the world. This series of competitions is called the Grand Prix, and it consists of six events held in North America, Europe, and Asia.

World Championships...

Every skating season ends with the World Championships and this event is hosted by a different country each year.  "Worlds" is the only event where all the top skaters from every country meet and it is therefore seen as the worlds top competition of the year.  The World Figure Skating Championships is the most prestigious of all figure skating competitions. The only event that is considered more important is the Olympic figure skating event.

Finally, there are the top figure skating competitions in the world: the Winter Olympics.  These events are held once every four years, and it is every skaters dream to win an Olympic gold medal.

How Often Should Your Child Compete?

Remember that preparing for competitions is very time consuming and you will want your child to be very successful so choose your competitions accordingly.   It is important to discuss with your coach which non-qualifying competitions your child should enter to give them the experience needed to compete in regionals. The same routine can be used for several competitions and realize that your child will become a better skater in the process of doing a program to music.