What's it all about?
When you're at the ice rink with your friends and family for a fun skate day, are you thinking "Look at me! I bet I could do a spin!" Or maybe you're already taking lessons and thinking of competing. Either way, you should check out the best of the best in figure skating.
How it's played
The sport: It's dancing on ice, but with some death-defying spins and throws added in for big points. The only sport that also has artistic points!
The events: There are five events — men's singles, women's singles, pairs, ice dance and team event. Each event has two routines.
The equipment: A big slab of ice, a really sharp pair of figure skates and of course, a standout costume.
The strategy: Execute your routine of compulsory moves perfectly and within the time limit, without falling or stumbling, and score higher than your competitors.
The points: Skaters get two sets of scores — one for difficulty and one for presentation. There's a bunch of complicated math and the top score wins.
The athletes: Athletes have to be strong to do this beautiful sport. Whether it's lifting or jumping, they need strong legs and arms. Teamwork plays a big part when trusting your partner with throws and lifts.
Did you know? It's called figure skating because skating designs like figure eights and figures (loops) into the ice used to be required.
Things to watch for
Catch foot layback spin
- You'll see this elegant upright spin a lot in competition.
- The skater leans back and brings up one leg towards their head. They hold onto the skate with their hands.
- The move can be done upright or with the body tilted to the side.
- It can increase the technical score of their routines.
- You'll see these spins a lot in both the pairs and individual events.
- The skater holds their leg straight out behind them at hip level.
- In pairs skating the skaters will hold on to each other during the spin, making a T shape.
- It sounds scary... but don't worry, dying isn't part of the move.
- The male skater spins while holding the hand of his female partner.
- Her body is horizontal and it looks like she's going to touch the ice, but only her skates can touch!
Thousands of years ago, skates were used for transportation in Scandinavia. They strapped animal bones to their feet to glide on frozen lakes.
Spinning jumps can reach speeds of more than 300 revolutions per minute — that's as much as astronauts in centrifuge training!
You won't ever hear music with vocals being played during a competition. That's a big no-no!
Skaters have been known to lose points if the judges think their costume is in poor taste.