As the USA Dance Delegates to the WDSF Annual General Meeting in Shanghai this past June, Senior Vice President, Bill Rose and I were tasked to vote on the Presidium’s motion to drop the age categories for senior age DanceSport athletes by five years for one member of the couple. For instance, Senior I would be dropped to 30 from 35 for one member of the couple so that this age category would become 35/30, Senior II would become 45/40; Senior III would become 55/50 and Senior IV would become 65/60. The Presidium motion was introduced at the request of organizers of WDSF events who believed this would provide for greater participation in the WDSF’s Senior competitions.
A USA Dance survey of our senior age competitors found that they were split on this issue, with couples who were of disparate ages tending to support the motion while couples who were closer in age tending to oppose it.
The concern I faced with regard to this motion is that many Olympic athletes who are 30 years of age are still going to the Olympic Games and a number are still winning medals for their respective nations. I am not sure it is appropriate to label a 30 year-old in peak physical condition as a senior age athlete.
I expressed my concern to the General Assembly in Shanghai but it was not shared by other national federations to a degree that they were willing to oppose the Presidium’s motion. The result was that while the delegates from USA Dance voted against the motion and there were several abstentions, the motion nevertheless passed.
Now the DanceSport Council is tasked with implementing the new age categories and will be notifying senior athletes of the implementation of this new WDSF provision and its time frame.
USA Dance delegates attempt to provide the best representation possible for athletes at the WDSF. Sometimes the motions being presented there do not impact all athletes in the same way, as evidenced in this instance. However, we do try to solicit input from our members so that we are prepared to vote in a knowledgeable way when we get to the WDSF AGM.