The first International Skating Union Adult Figure Skating Competition was held in Oberstdorf, Germany in 2005.
Despite very little advertising and without the benefit of today’s social networking, 120 figure skaters from 12 countries participated, including skaters from as far afield as Australia, New Zealand and Thailand. The upper age limit was 65, and there was no artistic free skating event. The competition began on Friday afternoon and ended Saturday evening. But a grand time was had by all – and the “buzz” had begun.
A few years later (2011) more than 300 skaters from more than 25 countries competed. The competition lasted four and a half days and included skaters from all disciplines – freeskate, artistic, pairs, ice dance and synchronized skating.
The 10th competition was held in 2015 and it hit all the records! Almost 500 skaters participated and the competition had to be extended to last for six days!
This is a true success story!
Adult figure skating competitions are relatively new and all started because of the determination of key adult skaters in the US who had staged eight years of increasingly successful competitions in the US, as well as skaters in France who had staged the annual Mountain Cup in Villard de Lans following the success of the American competitions.
At the 2003 ISU World Championships held in Washington, DC, Rhea Schwartz was asked to meet with ISU President Ottavio Cinquanta to discuss ways in which the ISU could support the growth and development of adult skating worldwide. The ISU expressed an interest in holding a competition and in forming a Working Group to advise the ISU Council about adult figure skating. A year later, in 2004 Rhea was asked to serve as chair of the Working Group.
The original members of the Working Group were Paula Smart (2nd chairman of the US Adult Figure Skating Committee), Barbara Standke (administrative head of the Coupe de la Montaigne [the Mountain Cup] competition in France), and Wolfgang Stummer (a synchro skater from Zurich).
In 2010, the Working Group was reorganized and currently consists of Rhea Schwartz, Chairman, Diana Barkley (representing Ice Dance), John Fisher (Freestyle, Pairs) and Ville Penttinen (Synchro).