INDEPENDENCE, Mo. - Local synchronized ice skaters are making a big push to get their sport in the 2018 Winter Olympics.
At Centerpoint Community Ice Rink in Independence, Team Amore has more than 40 synchronized ice skaters who range in age from 3-18.
Synchronized skating is already a global event, but the Amore team is hopeful to see their sport on the Olympic stage in four years.
They're already at 12,000 signatures on a global petition to add the sport to the 2018 Olympic Games, and they hope to gather as many as they can before turning the signatures in to the International Olympic Committee.
They hope to turn the signed petitions over to IOC by the end of the Sochi Games.
Synchronized skating is one of the fastest-growing ice sports in the world. Currently, 22 countries and five continents compete at a global level.
Teams can have as many as 20 members, plus alternates. That large number could be a factor that keeps the sport from the Olympic Games, because it would mean adding hundreds of athletes to those housed in the Olympic Village.
The International Olympic Committee looks at several things, including the popularity of the sport, the number of players, how well it will work on TV and the size and type of venue the sport requires when adding a new sport to the Olympics. This winter, seven new sports were added in Sochi.
In Independence, the McPike family is hopeful that 2018 will be the year for their sport. Jessika, Jennifer, Jordan, their mom and little brother started the local Amore synchronized skating program in Jackson County.
"For all of us who have spent so many years in this sport it would be amazing to see all the hard work we've put into it over the years to build it into a sport that should be showcased in the Olympics and for people to see the difficulty, the intricacy and the beauty of our sport,” said synchronized skating coach Jessika Richards.
Rose Genaris, 15, is hopeful one day she will be able to watch the sport she loves on the Olympic stage.
“It is a really big sport. It's very competitive. We have nationals and world championships and it's a lot bigger than people think so I think an Olympic sport for synchronized skating would be great,” she said.
The response to the petition is global, with signatures and tweets with the hashtag #WhyNotSynchro2018 coming from supporters in the United States, Russia, Japan, Germany, Czech Republic, Canada, France, Italy, Poland, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Great Britain, South Korea, Belgium, Austria, Australia, the Netherlands and Croatia, among others.