July/August 2019

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PHOTOS: U.S. FIGURE SKATING O ffering a unique fusion of competition, camp and camaraderie, the inaugural Excel National Festival in Coral Springs, Florida welcomed 367 skaters from 25 states and boasted a noteworthy panel of officials that included Olympians, national and international officials and two U.S. Figure Skating past presidents. The event was held June 7-9 at the Panthers Ice Den and featured three action-packed days of on- and off-ice activities for skaters as well as educational and social activities for parents and coaches. In addition to competing with peers from across the country, each participant enjoyed a memorable half- day camp experience that included meet and greets with Team USA athletes, dance and movement seminars with well-known choreographers and team- bonding opportunities unique to the festival experience. The Vision "The excitement of skaters who attended the Festival was palpable," said Elise Preston, chair of the U.S. Figure Skating Program Development Committee. "Two of our primary goals for the Excel program were to reignite the fire for athletes who may be losing interest in our sport and to provide our youngest grassroots skaters with an exciting, tangible, competitive experience that motivates them to continue setting higher technical goals for their skating. U.S. Figure Skating's support of this new program is providing these skaters with that spark." The Competition The Excel National Festival represented a brand new competitive opportunity for singles skaters across the country, as it allowed for recognition and advancement to extend beyond the local level and onto a national stage. Skaters ranged in age from 3-20 and included first-time competitors at the Snowplow Sam levels and accomplished regional competitors at the senior level. 46 / JULY.AUGUST.2019 USICERINKS.COM REAL PROGRAMS Excel National Festival BY ERIKA LEHMAN AND ELISE PRESTON Sparking the Future U.S. Figure Skating Motivates and Inspires with the Excel National Festival

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