Complied by Kyleigh Gaff
Posting a season-best score, basking in the applause of a standing ovation, executing a perfect intersection — there’s virtually nothing like sharing these moments as a member of a synchronized skating team.
The only thing that could make it an even better experience is getting to share these memorable accomplishments with a sibling — or two.
In the February issue of SKATING, siblings talk about what it means to compete together on the same team, or cheer for a brother or sister who skates on different team.
This season, Team USA has 16 families with siblings on 11 teams — three of those families have twins. Four families each support two teams.
Below are quotes from synchronized skating siblings on what it means to share the ice in this ultimate team sport.
“Skating on the Skyliners [senior] together gives us a chance to see each other every week, even though we attend separate colleges.”
— Spencer Emerson (Skyliners Senior)
“It is nice to have your sibling on the ice with you, because [he or she] often knows just what to say to help work through any confusion at practice. We really appreciate the chance to make memories by traveling and competing for the USA together.”
— Rosie Emerson (Skyliners Senior)
“Being able to live out my dream of competing on behalf of Team USA is an amazing opportunity in itself, but having my sister by my side makes it so much better.”
— Amy Czujahewski (Adrian College)
“It has been an absolute pleasure skating alongside my younger sister for years. We constantly challenge each other to keep improving. I can’t imagine what my synchro experience would be like without her by my side.”
— Nikki Czujahewski (Adrian College)
“As we’ve grown up, we’ve had the chance to be teammates, competitors and each other’s biggest role models. Whether we were competing against or with each other, we’ve always been one another’s #1 supporters. Skating together has brought out the best in us and we wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for family. We push each other to continuously improve on and off the ice and know how to comfort each other when things get tough. No matter the circumstances, we are always each other’s motivation for reaching our most monumental goals.”
— Jordan and Kristen Alexander (Skyliners-senior)
"Team has brought these two closer together. They are compassionate, caring and full of laughter, along with being proud members of Team USA and all that it represents."
— Brittney and Brianna (Teams Elite) Zausa’s parents
“After skating on a team together for four seasons, this is our first season competing against each other. Regardless of what teams we’re on, it’s nice to always have someone to work with on footwork, skills and maybe a few fun tricks.”
— Katie (Haydenettes) and Emily Melsky (Skyliners Senior)
“I can count on one hand the number of seasons I was not on the team with one of my siblings, and I can honestly say I missed them so much those years. Part of why I love synchronized skating so much is sharing the experience with my sisters as my teammates, or watching them create their own experiences in the sport in which we all love. We can be goofy on the ice yet still push each other to get better because we know what the other is capable of. One of my favorite memories was watching my two younger sisters win the gold medal at Spring Cup 2018 in Italy. I cried and held them so tight, sharing the moment together representing Team USA, doing what we love to do. I have never been so proud. They have come so far and it’s been an honor to watch them grow into the beautiful skaters they are today. Having a sister as a teammate is an indescribable feeling, and I couldn’t be more thankful I get the opportunity to share that feeling with my best friends, with my sisters.”
— Julia Dolce (Adrian College)
“Competing with my sister, Erin, has been an experience I will never forget. I look back at when we skated together as 9- and 12-year-olds on a juvenile line and realize how much we have grown as skaters and as individuals. Being coached by Cindy Kim and Alexis Leahy has instilled within us the strength, determination and humility it takes to be a synchronized skater at a high level. Now, skating as 15- and 18-year-olds on Team USA, I’ve come to see how amazing this accomplishment is. I can’t help but smile as I consider all the hard work we put in to reach this point. Sharing the Team USA experience with Erin is special because it connects us in the present and in all we have accomplished together in the past. We were in this together from the beginning and it is amazing to see where we are now. We have been through so many ups and downs and were always there to pick each other up. I could not be happier to be on a team with her.”
— Taylor Olender (Team Image)
“One of my favorite memories of us skating together was when we were competing at the Eastern Synchronized Skating Championships in 2018. We had gotten onto the ice and were warming up, both of us were quite nervous. We made eye contact and I swear most my nerves just left and I couldn’t help but smile. We joined hands right before setting up to perform, squeezed each other’s palms right as we let go, and continued to place first in the novice division. I still watch the video today and see that interaction and feel warmth in my heart.”
— Erin Olender (Team Image)
“Competing with my sisters is such a fulfilling experience. While I don’t compete against them at the same level, I love knowing that I’ll see them at competitions throughout the season, and I take so much pride in watching them skate at every chance I get. It’s been an amazing way to watch them grow up.”
— Sarah Checkosky (Haydenettes)
“Of my 14 years of competing on a synchronized skating team, I have only not shared one season with Victoria, my identical twin. We have skated on teams from pre-juv to the senior level today together. Victoria and I are the epitome of teamwork; we were forced at one point growing up to have private lessons together, rather than separate, because our coach got tired of repeating herself. We analyze each other at practice because we are practically mirror images of each other. Skating on the same team is a memorable experience because we are able to constantly give feedback to one another, reminding each other of program changes, while pushing each other. The twin synchro vibe is like no other.”
— Nicole Buddie (Crystalletes Senior)
“My sister reminds me to be driven, and ready for the next challenge, and that nothing is more important than the power of strength when a few passionate people join together to do what they love. Being able to represent my country internationally is a bonus to this opportunity.”
— Victoria Buddie (Crystalletes Senior)