In 1956, the first synchronized skating team was formed by Dr. Richard Porter, who became known as the 'father of synchronized skating'. The 'Hockettes' skated out of Ann Arbor, MI and entertained spectators during intermissions of the University of Michigan Hockey Team. In the early days, precision skating (now called Synchronized) resembled a drill team routine, or a precision dance company such as The Rockettes.
During the 70s, the interest for this new sport spawned tremendous growth and development. As each season passed, more and more teams were developing more creative and innovative routines incorporating stronger basic skating skills, new maneuvers and more sophisticated transitions with greater speed, style and agility. Due to the enormous interest in the sport in North America, the first official international competition was held between Canadian and American teams in Michigan in March 1976. With the internationalization of the sport, it has evolved rapidly, with increasing emphasis on speed and skating skills, and "highlight" elements such as jumps, spirals, spins, and lifts that originally were not permitted in competition.
There are international synchronized skating competitions at the Senior, Junior, and Novice Levels. The top junior teams from around the world compete at the ISU Junior World Challenge Cup (JWCC), held in a different location every year. Other long-running and major international events attracting elite teams include the French Cup, Spring Cup, Neuchâtel Trophy, Cup of Berlin, Zagreb Snowflakes Trophy, Prague Cup and the largest Synchronized Skating Competition in the Midwest, the Dr. Porter Classic, held annually right here in Ann Arbor, MI at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube.