Interview

Philippe Maitrot (ISU): "A very uncertain season is coming but..."


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Team Unique (FIN) was the winner of the first Synchronized Skating Challenger Series. (Credits: Ru Pho - 2020)

After the announcement of the Challenger Series cancellation, Philippe Maitrot, Chair of the ISU Synchronized Skating Technical Committee, answered our questions and expressed his views on the upcoming season.


Jura Synchro: The COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of the Challenger Series. What's your reaction?

Philippe Maitrot: It was a bit to be expected. The period we are living in is uncertain in many areas.

Does this cancellation surprise you?

Not at all.

Does this mean that the competitions that had been selected to host a stage of the Challenger Series in 2020-21 will keep their tickets for the following season 2021-22?

The competitions selected for the Challenger Series this season still retain their importance in points for the World ranking. Even if there is no prize money or ranking at the end of the five selected competitions, the teams will still get more points than for a competition that is not part of the Challenger Series. The scale of points remains the same. So these five competitions are always of great importance for the teams and their World ranking. If certain SyS Challenger Series competitions should not take place due to COVID-19, then yes these competitions could be chosen again next season.

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A lot of people wonder if synchro competitions can take place during the 2020-21 season. How is the ISU preparing?

Each competition is treated in the same way, depending on the organizing country. Is it possible to go to the country, are regroupings authorized, if so up to how many people? Can there be an audience? What are the health measures in the country? Will there be a maximum of competitors or participating teams? ISU teams have been formed and closely follow each event for all disciplines.

Are closed doors competitions planned? Or are there other alternatives?

Everything will be considered! Even competitions judged through the net! Online seminars and training! All doors remain open.

Are you personally concerned about the events taking place during the 2020-21 season?

For 2020 I am quite pessimistic, moreover some countries are more than two months late in their preparation. 2021 would seem more likely, but it all depends on the country hosting the event.

The communication also mentions the 2021 Senior World Championships, specifying that the “entries” will remain the same as in 2020. Does this mean that the teams that qualified for the 2020 Worlds will automatically do so in 2021 or the countries may decide to send other teams?

These quotas remain the same, members with two teams can send two teams etc. The teams that were to participate in the World Championships will not necessarily be the same registered this season. Everything will depend on the countries and their regulations.

It is a very uncertain season ahead but with a little optimism, good follow-up and good reactivity we will do our best to make everything work. The important thing is to preserve the health of our athletes, officials, organizers, volunteers and fans.