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Figure skating

Figure skating is a sport and activity in which individuals, duos, or groups perform onfigure skates on ice. The
four Olympic disciplines are men's singles, ladies' singles,pair skating, and ice dancing. Non-Olympic disciplines
include synchronized skatingand four skating. In senior-level competition, skaters generally perform two programs (short and
long) which, depending on the discipline, may include spins, jumps, moves in the field, lifts, throw jumps, death spirals, and other
elements or moves.
The blade has a groove on the bottom creating two distinct edges inside and outside. In figure skating, the skater should skate
on one edge of the blade and not on both at the same time, which is referred to as a flat edge. Skates used in single and pair
skating have a set of large, jagged teeth called toe picks on the front of the blade. Ice dancing blades are an inch shorter in the
rear and have smaller toe picks.
Figure skaters compete at various levels from beginner up to the Olympic level (senior) at local, national, and international
competitions. The International Skating Union (ISU) regulates international figure skating judging and competitions. These
include theWinter Olympic Games, the World Championships, the World Junior Championships, the European Championships,
the Four Continents Championships, and the Grand Prix series (senior and junior).
The sport is also associated with show business. Major competitions generally conclude with exhibition galas, in which the top
skaters from each discipline perform non-competitive programs. Many skaters, both during and after their competitive careers,
also skate in ice shows which run during the competitive season and the off-season.

The term "professional" in skating refers not to skill level but competitive status. Figure skaters competing at the highest levels of
international competition are not "professional" skaters. They are sometimes referred to as amateurs, [1] though some earn
money. Professional skaters include those who have lost their ISU eligibility and those who perform only in shows. They may
include former Olympic and World champions who have ended their competitive career as well as skaters with little or no
international competitive experience.
In languages other than English and Russian, figure skating is usually referred to by a name that translates as "artistic skating."

Figure skates[.]
The most visible difference in relation to hockey skates is that figure skates have a set of large, jagged teeth called toe
picks (also called "toe rakes") on the front of the blade. The toe picks are used primarily in jumping and should not be used for
stroking or spins. Blades are mounted to the sole and heel of the boot with screws. Typically, high-level figure skaters are
professionally fitted for their boots and blades at a reputable skate shop in their area. Professionals are also employed to
sharpen blades to individual requirements.[2]
Blades are about 3/16 inch (4 mm) thick. When viewed from the side, the blade of a figure skate is not flat, but curved slightly,
forming an arc of a circle with a radius of180-220 cm. This curvature is referred to as the rocker of the blade. The sweet spot of
the blade is below the ball of the foot. [3] This spot is usually located near the stanchionof the blade, and is the part of the blade
where all spins are spun on. The blade is alsohollow ground; a groove on the bottom of the blade creates two distinct edges,
inside and outside. The inside edge of the blade is on the side closest to the skater; theoutside edge of the blade is on the side
farthest from the skater. In figure skating, it is always desirable to skate on only one edge of the blade. Skating on both at the
same time (which is referred to as a flat) may result in lower skating skills scores. The apparently effortless power and glide
across the ice exhibited by elite figure skaters fundamentally derives from efficient use of the edges to generate speed.

Ice dancers' blades are about an inch shorter in the rear than those used by skaters in other disciplines, to accommodate the
intricate footwork and close partnering in dance. Dancers' blades also do not have the large toe pick used for jumping. Hard
plastic skate guardsare used when the skater must walk in his or her skates when not on the ice. The guard protects the blade
from dirt or material on the ground that may dull the blade. Soft blade covers called soakers are used to absorb condensation
and protect the blades from rust when the skates are not being worn. In competition, skaters may have three minutes to make
repairs to their skates.

Ice rinks and rink equipment[.]

Main article: Ice rink
There is significant variation in the dimensions of ice rinks but the International Skating Union prefers Olympic-sized rinks for
figure skating competitions, in particular major events such as the Olympics. Olympic-sized rinks have dimensions of 30 60 m
(98.4 197 ft), NHL-sized rinks are 26 61 m (85 200 ft), while European rinks are sometimes 30 64 m (98 210 ft).

According to ISU rule 342, a figure skating rink for an ISU event "if possible, shall measure sixty (60) meters in one direction

and thirty (30) meters in the other, but not larger, and not less than fifty-six (56) meters in one direction and twenty-six (26)
meters in the other."[5]
An ice resurfacer is a vehicle used to clean and smooth the surface of an ice sheet at a rink. It is colloquially called
the Zamboni afterFrank Zamboni, who developed it in 1949.
Some rinks use harness systems to help skaters learn jumps in a controlled manner. The ice rink installs a heavy-duty cable that
is securely attached to two walls of the rink. A set of pulleys ride on the cable. The skater wears a vest or belt that has a cable or
rope attached to it. That cable/rope is threaded through the movable pulley on the cable above. The coach holds the other end
of the cable and lifts the skater by pulling the cable/rope. The skater can then practice the jump, with the coach assisting with the

Olympic disciplines[.]
Olympic sports in figure skating comprise the following disciplines: [6]

Singles competition for men and women (who are referred to as "ladies" in ISU rulebooks), wherein individual skaters
performjumps, spins, step sequences, spirals, and other elements in their programs.

Pair skating teams consist of a woman and a man. Pairs perform elements specific to the discipline such as throw
jumps, in which the man 'throws' the woman into a jump; lifts, in which the woman is held above the man's head in one of
various grips and positions; pair spins, in which both skaters spin together about a common axis; death spirals; and other
elements such as side-by-side jumps and spins in unison.

Ice dancing is again for couples consisting of a woman and a man skating together. Ice dance differs from pairs in
focusing on intricate footwork performed in close dance holds, in time with the music. Ice dance lifts must not go above the

The four disciplines of men's singles, ladies' singles, pair skating and ice dancing will also appear as part of a team event for the
first time at the 2014 Winter Olympics.[7]

Other disciplines[.]

Synchronized skating (formerly known as precision skating) is for mixed-gender groups of 12 to 20 skaters. This
discipline resembles a group form of ice dance with additional emphasis on precise formations of the group as a whole and
complex transitions between formations. The basic formations include wheels, blocks, lines, circles, and intersections. The
close formations and need for the team to stay in unison add to the difficulty of the footwork performed by the skaters in
these elements.

Fours, a discipline in which a team of four skaters, consisting of two men and two women, perform singles and pairs
elements in unison, as well as unique elements that involve all four skaters.

Special figures is the tracing of elaborate original designs on the ice. It was a common discipline in the early days of
skating and appeared once at the Olympics, in 1908.

Theatre on ice, also known as "ballet on ice" in Europe. This is a form of group skating that is less structured than
synchronized skating and allows the use of props and theatrical costuming.

Adagio skating, a form of pair skating most commonly seen in ice shows, where the skaters perform many acrobatic
lifts but few or none of the other elements which competitive pairs must perform.

Acrobatic skating, also known as "Acrobatics on ice" or "Extreme Skating", is a combination of circus arts, technical
artistic gymnastics skills, and figure skating.

Elements and moves[.]

Main article: Glossary of figure skating terms
Each element receives a score according to its base value and grade of execution (GOE), resulting in a combined technical
elements score (TES). At competitions, a technical specialist identifies each element. Elements may be assigned a level of
difficulty, ranging from B (Basic) to Level 4 (most difficult).[8] A panel of judges determines GOE, ranging from +3 to -3, based on
how well the skaters execute the elements. The GOE is weighted according to the element's base value. [8]
The ISU defines a fall as a loss of control with the result that the majority of the skater's body weight is not on the blade but
supported by hands, knees, or buttocks.[9]

ISU abbreviations:

Main article: Figure skating jumps
Jumps involve the skater leaping into the air and rotating rapidly to land after completing one or more
rotations. There are many types of jumps, identified by the way the skater takes off and lands, as well as by
the number of rotations that are completed.

Each jump receives a score according to its base value and GOE. Quality of execution, technique, height,

Toe loop








speed, flow and ice coverage are considered by the judges. An under-rotated jump (indicated by < ) is
"missing rotation of more than , but less than revolution" and receives 70% of the base value. A downgraded jump (indicated
by <<) is "missing rotation of revolution or more". A triple which is downgraded is treated as a double, while a downgraded
double is treated as a single jump.

An edge violation occurs when a skater executes a jump on the incorrect edge. The hollow is a groove on the bottom of the
blade which creates two distinct edges, inside and outside. The inside edge of the blade is on the side closest to the skater, the
outside edge is on the side farthest from the skater, and a flat refers to skating on both edges at the same time, which is
discouraged. An unclear edge or edge violation is indicated with an 'e' and reflected in the GOE according to the severity of the
problem. Flutz and lip are the colloquial terms for a Lutz and flip jump with an edge violation.
In 1982, the International Skating Union enacted a rule stating that a skater may perform each type of triple only once, or twice if
one of them is incorporated into a combination or sequence. For a set of jumps to be considered a combination, each jump must
take off from the landing edge of the previous jump, with no steps, turns, or change of edge in between jumps. Toe loops and
loops are commonly performed as the second or third jump in a combination because they take off from the right back outside
edge. To perform a salchow or flip on the back end of a combination, a half loop (which is actually a full rotation, but lands on a
left back inside edge) may be used as a connecting jump. In contrast, jump sequences are sets of jumps which may be linked by
non-listed jumps or hops.[10] Sequences are worth 80% of what the same jumps executed in combination would be worth.
Jumps may be rotated in clockwise or counter-clockwise direction. Most skaters are counter-clockwise jumpers. For clarity, all
jumps will be described for a skater jumping counter-clockwise.
There are six jumps in figure skating that count as jump elements. All six are landed on one foot on the right back outside
edge (with counterclockwise rotation, for single and multi-revolution jumps), but have different takeoffs, by which they may be
distinguished. The two categories of jumps are toe jumps and edge jumps.
The number of rotations performed in the air determines whether the jump is a single, double, triple, or quadruple (known
commonly as a "quad"). Senior-level male single skaters perform mostly triple and quadruple jumps in competition. Triple jumps
other than the Axel are commonly performed by female single skaters. Only one female skater, Miki Ando, has been cr.ed with a
quadruple jump in international competition.
Some elite skaters can complete a jump in about one second, with 26 inches of height and 10 feet in distance. [citation needed] The
takeoff speed of a jump can reach up to 15 mph.[citation needed]

Toe jumps[.]
Toe jumps are launched by tapping the toe pick of one skate into the ice, and include (in order of difficulty from easiest to
1. Toe loops take off from the back outside edge of the left or right foot and are launched by the opposite toe pick (toe
walleys are similar, but take off from the back inside edge of the right foot);
2. Flips, which take off from the back inside edge of the right or left foot and are launched by the opposite toe pick;
3. Lutzes, which take off from the back outside edge of the right or left foot and are launched by the opposite toe pick.

Edge jumps[.]

1. Salchows, which take off from either the left or right back inside edge. Allowing the edge to come round, the opposite
leg helps launch the jump into the air and land on one foot;

2. Loops (also known as Rittberger jumps) take off from either the left or right back outside edge and land on the same
3. Axels, which are the only rotating jump to take off from a forward edge. Because they take off from a forward edge, they
include one-half extra rotations and are considered the hardest jump of the six.

Other jumps[.]
There are also a number of other jumps that are usually performed only as single jumps and in elite skating are used as
transitional movements or highlights in step sequences. These include the half toe loop (ballet jump), half loop, half flip, walley
jump, split jump(there are two kinds of split jump, Russian split, performed in a position that is similar to that of a straddle split
and ladies split performed in the position of the more traditional split, facing the direction of the front leg), waltz jump, inside Axel,
and one-foot Axel.

Spins are a required element in all figure skating competitions, and they exist in all four Olympic disciplines. There are three
basic spin positions in figure skating the sit spin, the camel spin, and the upright spin. There are a number of variations.

Camel spins variations include catch-foot, layover, and doughnut.

Sit spins variations include pancake sit spin, broken leg, tuck behind, canon ball, and clam sit spin.

Upright spin variations include layback, Biellmann, haircutter, layover layback, and pearl.

There are many different interpretations of these spins and skaters who create new ones may have the element named after
them. They may also receive points for creativity. During a spin, the skater rotates on the round part of the blade, called the front
rocker, just behind the toe pick (the ball of the foot). Spins may be performed individually or in a sequence combining different
types of spins. A spin may be executed on the back rocker of the blade during a change of edge spin. For example, a back
scratch spin will flip edges to a forward inside edge. This feature of a spin will change the level of a spin. Spins may be
performed on either foot. Like jumping, skaters mostly rotate in the counterclockwise direction, but there are some skaters who
rotate in the clockwise direction. Some skaters are able to rotate in both directions. For skaters who rotate in a counterclockwise
direction, a spin on the left foot is called a forward spin, while a spin on the right foot is called a back spin.
When performing some types of spins, an elite skater can complete on overage 6 rotations per second, and about 70 rotations in
a single spin.[citation needed]
Spins can be entered on the ice or through a jump or sequence of jumps known as star jumps. Spins that are entered through a
jump are calling flying spins. Flying spins include the flying camel, flying sit spin, death drop, and butterfly spin. Flying spins may
go from a forward spin to a back spin. A flying spin can also be performed as part of a spin sequence.
In pair skating, spins may be performed side-by-side with both partners doing the same spin or combination spin at the same
time. Additionally, in pairs and in ice dancing, there are pair and dance spins, during which both skaters rotate around the same
axis while holding onto each other.

Death drop


Lifts are a required element in pair skating and ice dancing.

Pair lifts[.]
Pair lifts are generally overhead. According to the current ISU rules for senior-level competition, the man must rotate more than
once, but fewer than three-and-a-half times. In competitive pair skating, lifts must travel across the ice to be included in the
technical elements score (TES); stationary lifts are included in choreography. Pair lifts are grouped by the holds involved.
Legal holds:

Armpit holds are not generally used in elite senior competition.

Waist holds

Hand-to-hip holds

Hand-to-hand lifts are divided into two types:

Press lifts

Lasso lifts, in order of increasing difficulty: [8]

Toe or step in lasso

Axel or backward lasso

Reverse lasso

The judges look at speed, ice coverage, the quality of the lady's position, position changes, and the man's stability and
cleanness of turns throughout. Skaters may also raise their score by having a difficult entry such as in spiral or spread eagle
position, a difficult exit, or other features such as stopping the rotation, turning a carry lift into rotational one, or reversing rotation
(i.e. both clockwise and counter-clockwise directions).
Twist lifts are a form of pair lifts, where the lifted partner is thrown into the air, twists, and is caught by the lifted partner. The
lady may do a split before the twist, called a split twist. This is not mandatory, but it increases the level of difficulty if each leg is
separated by at least a 45 angle from the body axis. The lady is caught by her waist in the air and lands on the backward
outside edge. Judges also look at the height of the element. Skaters may raise their score by performing turns, steps or other
moves before the element, the lady holding her arms over her head, or delayed rotation.

Dance lifts[.]
Ice dancers are not allowed to lift their partners above their shoulders. Dance lifts are separated into short lifts and long lifts.
There are many positions each partner can take to raise the difficulty of a lift. Each position must be held for at least three
seconds to count and is permitted only once in a program.
Short lifts may last up to six seconds in competition on the senior level.

Stationary lift - A lift performed "on the spot". The lifting partner does not move across the ice, but is allowed to rotate.

Straight line lift - The lifting partner moves in a straight line across the ice. This lift may be performed on one foot or two.

Curve lift - The lifting partner moves along a curve across the ice. This lift may be performed on one foot or two.

Rotational lift - The lifting partner rotates in one direction while traveling across the ice.

Long lifts may last up to ten seconds in competition on the senior level.

Reverse rotational lift - The lifting partner rotates in one direction, then switches and rotates in the other direction, while
traveling across the ice.

Serpentine lift - The lifting partner moves in a serpentine pattern across the ice.

Combination lift - A lift combining two of the four short lifts. Each part of the lift must be fully established.

In both pairs and dance, lifts that go on longer than allowed receive deductions.

Turns, steps, moves in the field, and other moves[.]

Step sequences are a required element in all four Olympic disciplines. The pattern can be straight line, circular, or serpentine.
The step sequence consists of a combination of turns, steps, hops and edge changes. Additionally, steps and turns can be used
as transitions between elements. The various turns, which skaters can incorporate into step sequences, include:

Choctaws are the two-foot equivalents of rockers and counters. Other movements that may be incorporated into step sequences
or used as connecting elements include lunges and spread eagles. An Ina Bauer is similar to a spread eagle performed with one
knee bent and typically an arched back. Hydroblading refers to a deep edge performed with the body as low as possible to the
ice in a near-horizontal position.
Moves in the field emphasize basic skating skill and edge control. In the context of a competitive program, they
include spirals, spread eagles, Ina Bauers, hydroblading, and similar extended edge moves.
A spiral is an element in which the skater moves across the ice on a specific edge with the free leg held at hip level or above.
Spirals are distinguished by the edge of the blade used (inside or outside), the direction of motion (forward or backward), and
the skater's position. A spiral sequence is one or more spiral positions and edges done in sequence. Judges look at the depth,
stability, and control of the skating edge, speed and ice coverage, extension, and other factors. Some skaters are able to change
edges during a spiral, i.e. from inside to outside edge. Spirals performed on a "flat" are generally not considered as true spirals.
Spiral sequences are required in ladies' and pair skating.
A death spiral is a required element of pair skating. There are four varieties distinguished by the lady's edge and direction of
motion. The man performs a pivot, one toe anchored in the ice, while holding the hand of his partner, who circles him on a deep
edge with her body almost parallel to the ice. As of 2011, the woman's head must at some time reach her skating knee. The man
must also be in a full pivot position and the death spiral must be held for a minimum amount of rotation, depending on the level.
Male ice dancer in Besti squat while lifting partner

Compulsory figures[.]
Compulsory figures involves using blades to draw circles, figure 8s, and similar shapes in ice. Skaters are judged on the
accuracy and clarity of the figures and the cleanness and exact placement of the various turns on the circles. Figures were
formerly included as a component of singles competitions but were eliminated from international events in 1990. [11] The United
States was the last country to retain a separate test and competitive structure for compulsory figures, but the last national-level
figures championship was held in 1999. Moves in the field (known in the United Kingdom as field moves) replaced compulsory
figures as a discipline to teach the same turns and edge skills.

Competition format and scoring[.]

The International Skating Union (ISU) is the governing body for international competitions in figure skating, including the World
Championships and the figure skating events at theWinter Olympic Games. Medals are awarded for overall results. The
standard medal colors are gold for first place, silver for second, and bronze for third place. U.S. Figure Skating also awards

pewter medals for fourth-place finishers in national events. At the World, European, Four Continents, and World Junior
Championships, the ISU also awards small medals for segment results (short and free program).
In singles and pairs figure skating competition, competitors must perform two programs, theshort program, in which the skater
must complete a list of required elements consisting of jumps, spins and steps; and the free skate, also known as the long
program, in which the skaters have slightly more choice of elements. Under both the 6.0 system and the ISU Judging System,
the judges consider the "complete package" when evaluating performances, i.e. The best jumper is not always placed first if the
judges consider another skater's speed, spins, presentation, etc., to outweigh the difference in jumping execution. [12][13]
Ice dancing competitions formerly consisted of three phases: one or more compulsory dances; an original dance to
a ballroom rhythm that is designated annually; and a free danceto music of the skaters' own choice. Beginning in the 201011
season, the compulsory and original dances were merged into the short dance.

6.0 System[.]
Main article: 6.0 system
Skating was formerly judged for "technical merit" (in the free skate), "required elements" (in the short program), and
"presentation" (in both programs).[13] The marks for each program ran from 0.0 to 6.0, the latter being the highest. These marks
were used to determine a preference ranking, or "ordinal", separately for each judge; the judges' preferences were then
combined to determine placements for each skater in each program. The placements for the two programs were then combined,
with the free skate placement weighted more heavily than the short program. The highest placing individual (based on the sum
of the weighted placements) was declared the winner.[14]

ISU Judging System[.]

Main article: ISU Judging System
In 2004, in response to the judging controversy during the 2002 Winter Olympics, the ISU adopted the International Judging
System (IJS), which became mandatory at all international competitions in 2006, including the 2006 Winter Olympics. The new
system is often informally referred to as the Code of Points, however, the ISU has never used the term to describe their system
in any of their official communications.
Under the system, points are awarded individually for each skating element, and the sum of these points is the total element
score(TES). Competitive programs are constrained to have a set number of elements. Each element is judged first by a
technical specialist who identifies the specific element and determines its base value. The technical specialist uses instant
replay video to verify things that distinguish different elements; e.g., the exact foot position at take-off and landing of a jump. The
decision of the technical specialist determines the base value of the element. A panel of twelve judges then each award a mark
for the quality and execution of the element. This mark is called the grade of execution (GOE) that is an integer from 3 to +3.
The GOE mark is then translated into another value by using the table of values in ISU rule 322. The GOE value from the twelve
judges is then processed with a computerized random selection of nine judges, then discarding the high and low value, and
finally averaging the remaining seven. This average value is then added to (or subtracted from) the base value to get the total
value for the element.[15]
The program components score (PCS) awards points to holistic aspects of a program or other nuances that are not rewarded in
thetotal element score. The components are:

1. Skating skills (SS) reward use of edges and turns, flow over the ice surface, speed and acceleration, ice coverage,
clean and controlled curves, multi-directional skating, and mastery of one-foot skating (no overuse of skating on two
2. Transitions (TR)
3. Performance/Execution (PE)
4. Choreography (CH)
5. Interpretation (IN)
The only exception is the compulsory dance, which has no choreography or transition marks because the steps are preset. A
detailed description of each component is given in ISU rule 322.2. Judges award each component a raw mark from 0 to 10 in
increments of 0.25, with a mark of 5 being defined as "average". For each separate component, the raw marks are then
selected, trimmed, and averaged in a manner akin to determining a grade of execution. The trimmed mean scores are then
translated into a factored mark by multiplying by a factor that depends on the discipline, competition segment, and level. Then
the five (or four) factored marks are added to give the final PCS score.
The total element score and the program components score are added to give the total score for a competition segment (TSS).
A skater's final placement is determined by the total of their scores in all segments of a competition. No ordinal rankings are
used to determine the final results.

Other judging and competition[.]

There are also skating competitions organized for professional skaters by independent promoters. These competitions use
judging rules set by whoever organizes the competition. There is no "professional league". Well-known professional competitions
in the past have included the World Professional Championships (held in Landover, Maryland), the Challenge Of Champions,
the Canadian Professional Championships and the World Professional Championships (held in Jaca, Spain).
The Ice Skating Institute (ISI), an international ice rink trade organization, runs its own competitive and test program aimed at
recreational skaters. Originally headquartered in Minnesota, the organization now operates out of Dallas, Texas. ISI competitions
are open to any member that have registered their tests. There are very few "qualifying" competitions, although some districts
hold Gold Competitions for that season's first-place winners. ISI competitions are especially popular in Asian countries that do
not have established ISU member federations. The Gay Games have also included skating competitions for same-gender pairs
and dance couples under ISI sponsorship. Other figure skating competitions for adults also attract participants from diverse
cultures and sexual orientations.

World standings and season's bests[.]

World standings[.]
A skater/couple's world standing (WS) is calculated based on results over the current and preceding two seasons. Competitors
receive points based on their final placement at an event and the event's weight. The following events receive points: [16]

ISU Championships (World, European, Four Continents, and World Junior Championships) and Olympic Winter Games:
The best result by points per season, the best two results by points over the three seasons.

ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating and Final (senior and junior): The two best results by points per season, the best four
results by points over the three seasons.

International senior calendar competitions: The two best results by points per season, the best four results by points
over the three seasons.

Following the current season's World Championships, the results from the earliest season are deleted. A new partnership starts
with zero points there is no transfer of WS points if a pair or ice dancing couple split up and form a new partnership.
These standings do not necessarily reflect a skater/couple's capabilities. Due to limits on entries to events (no more than three
from each country), and varying numbers of high-level skaters in each country, skaters from some countries may find it more
difficult to qualify to compete at major events. Thus, a skater with a lower SB but from a country with few high-level skaters may
qualify to a major event while a skater with a much higher SB but from a country with more than three high-level skaters may not
be sent. As a result, it is possible for a skater who regularly scores higher to end up with a much lower world standing.
A skater/couple's season's world ranking is calculated similarly to overall world standing but is based on the results on the
results of the ongoing season only.[16]

Season's bests[.]
A skater/couple's season's best (SB) is the highest score they have achieved within a particular season. There may be SB for
combined total and segment scores (short program/dance, free skating/free dance). Each skater or couple's best combined total
appears on a list of season's bests.[17] The list may be used to help determine assignments to the following season's Grand Prix
series. Only scores achieved at select international competitions are considered. Scores from national competitions and certain
international events are excluded.
There are also personal best (PB) scores, i.e. the highest scores a skater or couple has achieved over their entire career, in
terms of combined total and segment scores. However, PB scores are not completely comparable if achieved in different
seasons because the ISU modifies requirements and rules between seasons. In different seasons, there may be different
requirements to achieve a certain level or different elements may be required. New elements may become allowed (for example,
two quads in the short program were permitted starting in the 201011 season). There may be a change in point values. For
example, the values of quads were increased after the 2010 Olympics and a second step sequence in men is no longer
assigned a level. As a result, the ISU now places more weight on SB.

Music and clothing[.]

For competitive programs, figure skaters are generally restricted to instrumental music. Vocal music is allowed only if it contains
no lyrics or words. The restriction does not apply to exhibition programs. Beginning in the 19971998 season, the International
Skating Union decided to allow lyrics or words in ice dancing. The ban continued in singles and pair skating, however, judges do
not always penalize violations. At the 2011 World Championships, Florent Amodio's long program music included words but an
insufficient number of judges voted to penalize it.[18] In June 2012, the International Skating Union voted to allow skaters from all
disciplines to choose music with words in their competitive programs beginning in the 20142015 season.
Ice dancers are required to skate to music that has a definite beat or rhythm. Singles and pair skaters more often skate to the
melody and phrasing of their music. For long programs, figure skaters generally search for music with different moods and

Skaters are generally free to select their own attire, with a few restrictions. In competition, females may wear a dress, typically
with matching attached briefs, and since 2004, they may also choose trousers. [20] They may wear opaque flesh-colored leggings
or tights under dresses and skirts, which may extend to cover their skates. Men must wear trousers they are not allowed to

wear tights, although, officials do not always impose a deduction for violations. [21] Matching costumes are not required in pair
skating and ice dancing.[22]
Competition costumes vary widely, from simple designs to heavily beaded or trimmed costumes. Skaters risk a deduction if a
piece of their costume falls onto the ice surface. An official may stop a program if he or she deems there to be a hazard. Skaters
and family members may design their own costumes, sometimes with assistance from their coach or choreographer, or turn to
professional designers.[22][23][24][25] Costumes may cost thousands of dollars if designed by a top-level costumemaker.
According to current ISU regulations, costumes in competition "must be modest, dignified and appropriate for athletic
competition not garish or theatrical in design. Clothing may, however, reflect the character of the music chosen." [5] Although the
use of flesh-colored fabric means the costumes are often less revealing than they may appear, there have been repeated
attempts to ban clothing that gives the impression of "excessive nudity" or that is otherwise inappropriate for athletic competition.

In general, accessories or props are not permitted in competition. [5] The ISU allowed an exception for the original dance in the

20072008 season but never since.

Age eligibility[.]
The International Skating Union imposes age requirements which have changed from time to time. Prior to the 1990s, 12 was
the minimum age for senior international competitions. [27] The current minimums were set in 1996.[28] In order to compete at
Worlds, Europeans, Four Continents or the Olympics, skaters must be at least 15 before July 1 of the preceding year, while for
other senior international competitions, skaters must have turned 14. To be eligible for junior-level events, a skater must be at
least 13 but cannot have turned 19 before that date (or 21 for male pair skaters and ice dancers). [28][29] A skater must meet the
age requirement before it becomes July 1 in their place of birth. For example, Adelina Sotnikova was born a few hours into July
1, 1996 in Moscow and consequently, was not eligible to compete at Junior Worlds until 2011 and senior Worlds until 2013.

The ISU's rules apply to international events. Many countries have no age requirements for domestic non-ISU competitions,

thus, some skaters compete at the senior level nationally while not eligible for international competition.
During the 20052006 season, Mao Asada of Japan was age-eligible to compete at the Grand Prix Final, where she claimed the
title, but she was not permitted to compete at the Olympics. For the 2008 World Championships, the United States was obliged
to send skaters who had placed 5th and 7th at nationals because higher-placed skaters were too young, including a skater who
missed the cutoff by 20 days.[28][31] The ISU has strictly enforced the rules in recent years. [28] However, American pair
skater Natasha Kuchiki was allowed to compete at the 1990 World Championships when she was two years too young and
American single skater Tara Lipinski, who was 13 at the time the 1996 rules were introduced, was grandfathered into remaining
eligible for future events, along with other skaters who had already competed at the World Championships. A loophole also
existed for a few years for underage skaters who had medaled at Junior Worlds.[32]
As in gymnastics, skating has experienced controversy surrounding possible age falsification. On February 14, 2011, questions
emerged surrounding nine Chinese skaters. The Associated Press found that birthdates listed on the Chinese skating
association's website suggested five female skaters, Sui Wenjing, Zhang Dan, Yu Xiaoyu, Geng Bingwa, and Xu Binshu, were
younger than their ISU ages, and four male skaters, Han Cong, Zhang Hao, Jin Yang, and Gao Yu, were older.[28] The dates
disappeared from the website by February 15.[33] On February 17, the ISU said there were no discrepancies for Zhang Dan,
Zhang Hao, and Xu Binshu between the birthdates listed on their passports, ISU registration forms and the Chinese Olympic
Committee's website.[33] Athletes in China sometimes face pressure to falsify their age. [34]

Other eligibility rules[.]

Skaters may represent a country of which they are not yet a citizen in most competitions, except the Olympics which require
At most international events, each country may send one to a maximum of three entries per discipline. Consequently, even if a
skater has a high season's best, he or she may not be sent to major events if their country has many good skaters in their
discipline. Some skaters have tried to circumvent this by switching to another country. In response, the ISU introduced rules
barring skaters from international events for a certain period of time. According to the 2012 ISU regulations, the previous
federation may block skaters for 18 months or more from the date of their last ISU Championships (Worlds, Europeans, Four
Continents, Junior Worlds) or 12 months if he competed in some other international competition. [35] In the 2010 regulations, it
was 24 months or more from the date of the last ISU Championship. [36] The previous country may block skaters for longer if they
have competed at a major event like the Olympics. To reduce the difficulty of finding a new partner, the waiting period for pair
skaters and ice dancers may be reduced to 12 months from the date of the last ISU Championships if the previous country
grants a release.
Skaters may lose their ISU eligibility if they perform in an unsanctioned show or competition.
Beginning in the 20102011 season, minimum scores were introduced for the World, European, or Four Continents
Championships. In the 201112 season, different minimum scores were introduced for the Grand Prix series.

Competitors' expenses, income, and funding[.]

Figure skating is an expensive sport.[37][38][39][40] This is particularly due to the costs of ice time and coaching. [41] In October 2004,
aU.S. Figure Skating article estimated the annual expense at $9,000-$10,000 for pre-juvenile, $18,000 for juvenile, $35,000$40,000 for novice, and said junior and senior levels were somewhat more expensive. [37] In the 2010s, American senior national
medalists had expenses in the mid-five-figure range.[38][42] Swiss skater Stphane Lambiel said his costs were around 100,000
Swiss francs per season.[43] World champion Patrick Chan's expenses were $150,000 (Canadian dollars).[44]
Prize money is relatively low compared to other sports.[45] A men's or ladies' singles skater who won the 2011 World
Championshipsearned $45,000 (USD),[46] about 1.8% to 2.5% of the $1,800,000-$2,400,000 USD for winners of the tennis US
Open and Australian Open.[47][48] A couple who won the pairs or ice dancing title split $67,500. [46] A winner of the senior Grand
Prix Final in December 2011 earned $25,000 USD.[49] Some national associations provide funding to some skaters. [50] Many
skaters take part-time jobs.[51] In Germany, many elite skaters choose to join the army to fund their skating. [52] In Italy, some
skaters join sports group of police agencies, such as the Polizia Penitenziaria's Fiamme Azzurre (Carolina Kostner, Anna
Cappellini, Luca Lanotte)[53][54] or Polizia di Stato's Fiamme Oro (Federica Faiella, Paolo Bacchini).[55] Some competitive skaters
depend on income from shows. [56][57] Certain shows are unsanctioned, i.e. skaters may lose their competitive eligibility if they take
part. In some cases, skaters may feel pressure to compete through injury in order to be allowed to perform in a show. [56]

Injuries and health issues[.]

Competitive skaters generally do not wear helmets or other protective gear. There is a risk of head injuries, particularly in pair
skating as a result of falls from lifts.[58][59] Although pair skaters are most susceptible, serious head injuries can occur in all
disciplines, including ice dancing.[60][61] Partners have accidentally slashed each other;[62][63] this has sometimes occurred when
partners drift too close during side-by-side camel spins. Several female pair skaters have suffered head/face injuries during this
element, including Elena Berezhnaya,[64] Jessica Dub,[65] Mandy Wtzel,[66] Galina Maniachenko (Efremenko),[67] and Elena
Riabchuk.[68] Single and pair skaters may develop serious damage to their hips after many years of practicing jumps and throws.

Foot, knee, and back injuries may affect all four disciplines.[2][70][71] In rare cases, intensive training of spins may result in

subtle concussions (Lucinda Ruh).[72]

Injuries have also been sustained by skaters from different teams when there are many skaters practicing on the ice. [73] Midori
Itocollided with Laetitia Hubert at the 1991 World Championships, while Oksana Baiul and Tanja Szewczenko collided at the
1994 Olympics, but all went on to compete. On practice sessions with multiple skaters on the ice, the skater whose music is
playing conventionally has right of way. In addition, pairs and ice dancers skating as a unit have right of way over those skating
separately as changing course is more difficult for a couple.
In some countries, medical personnel may be slow to respond to accidents. At the 2000 World Championships in Nice, France, a
pair skater who had been injured in a lift accident lay on the ice for several minutes and had to get up and leave the ice on his
own before being offered medical attention. [74]
Eating disorders are reportedly common in figure skating.[75][76][77]

While people have been ice skating for centuries, figure skating in its current form originated in the mid-19th century. A Treatise
on Skating (1772) by Englishman Robert Jones, is the first known account of figure skating. Competitions were then held in the
"English style" of skating, which was stiff and formal and bears little resemblance to modern figure skating. American
skater Jackson Haines, considered the "father of modern figure skating", introduced a new style of skating in the mid-1860s.
This style, which incorporated free and expressive techniques, became known as the "international style." Although popular in
Europe, Haines' style of skating was not widely adopted in the United States until long after his death. [78]

Early 1900s[.]
The International Skating Union was founded in 1892. The first European Championship was held in 1891, and the first World
Championship was held in 1896 and won by Gilbert Fuchs. Only men competed in these events. In 1902, a woman,Madge
Syers, entered the World competition for the first time, finishing second. The ISU quickly banned women from competing against
men, but established a separate competition for "ladies" in 1906. Pair skating was introduced at the 1908 World Championships,
where the title was won by Anna Hbler / Heinrich Burger. The first Olympic figure skating competitions also took place in 1908.

On March 20, 1914 an international figure skating championship was held in New Haven, Connecticut. This was the ancestor of
both the United States and Canadian National Championships. However, international competitions in figure skating were
interrupted byWorld War I.
In the 1920s and 1930s, figure skating was dominated by Sonja Henie, who turned competitive success into a lucrative
professional career as a movie star and touring skater. Henie also set the fashion for female skaters to wear short skirts and
white boots.[80] The top male skaters of this period included Gillis Grafstrm and Karl Schfer.

After World War II[.]

Skating competitions were again interrupted for several years by World War II. After the war, with many European rinks in ruins,
skaters from the United States and Canada began to dominate international competitions and to introduce technical innovations
to the sport.Dick Button, 1948 and 1952 Olympic Champion, was the first skater to perform the double axel and triple loop
jumps, as well as the flying camel spin.
The first World Championships in ice dancing were not held until 1952.[79] In its first years, ice dance was dominated by British
skaters. The first World title holders were Jean Westwood / Lawrence Demmy.

Rise of the Soviet Union[.]

On February 15, 1961, the entire U.S. figure skating team and their coaches were killed in the crash of Sabena Flight
548 in Brussels, Belgium en route to the World Championships in Prague. This tragedy sent the U.S. skating program into a
period of rebuilding.
At the same time, the Soviet Union rose to become a dominant power in the sport, especially in the disciplines of pair skating
and ice dancing. At every Winter Olympics from 1964 until 2006, a Soviet or Russian pair won gold in pair skating, often
considered one of the longest winning streaks in modern sports history.[81][82][83] The 1967 World Championships was the last
event held in an outdoor rink.[84]

Effect of television and the present day[.]

Compulsory figures formerly accounted for up to 60% of the score in singles figure skating, [11]which meant that skaters who
could build up a big lead in figures could win competitions even if they were mediocre free skaters. As television coverage of
skating events became more important, so did free skating. Beginning in 1968, the ISU began to progressively reduce the
weight of figures and introduced the short program in 1973.[11] With these changes, the emphasis in competitive figure skating
shifted to increasing athleticism. By the 1980s, some skaters began practicingquadruple jumps. Jozef Sabovcik of
Czechoslovakia landed a quad toe loop at the 1986 European Championships which was recognized at the event but then ruled
invalid three weeks later due to a touchdown with his free foot. [85] At the 1988 World Championships, Kurt Browning of Canada
landed the first quad toe loop which has remained ratified.[86] Although it was expected that quads would soon become an
important part of men's skating, it was a number of years before this happened. [85] Japan's Midori Itolanded the first triple axel by
a woman. Worth only 20% by 1989, figures were eliminated entirely from international competition in 1990. [11]
Television showing skaters in the kiss and cry area after competing contributed to the sport's popularity.[87] Television also played
a role in removing the restrictive amateur status rules that once governed the sport. In May 1990, the International Skating Union
voted to allow skaters who were intending to skate professionally to return to ISU competition if they obtained their national
association's permission.[88] To retain skaters who might otherwise have given up their eligibility to participate in lucrative
professional events, in 1995 the ISU introduced prize money at its major competitions, funded by revenues from selling the TV
rights to those events.
In the 1993 National Sports Study II, considered by the Associated Press as the largest study of spectator sport popularity in
America, ladies' figure skating was the second most popular spectator sport in America, just behind NFL football out of over 100
sports surveyed.[89] The 1993 study found that three figure skaters Dorothy Hamill, Peggy Fleming, and Scott Hamilton[90] were
among the eight most popular athletes in the United States, out of over 800 athletes surveyed. [91] Dorothy Hamill was statistically
tied with Mary Lou Retton as the most popular athlete in America. The Tonya Harding scandal in 1994 increased interest in
figure skating.[92] The first night of the ladies' figure skating competition in the 1994 Winter Olympics achieved higher TV Nielsen
ratings than that year's Super Bowl and was the most watched sports television program of all-time, to that date. [93]
Spectators sometimes throw a variety of items, most commonly stuffed toys and flowers, onto the ice in support of their favorite
skaters but officials discourage flowers which are not fully wrapped due to the possibility of debris disrupting or endangering the
following skaters.[94][95]
Countries who have produced many successful skaters in recent decades include Russia and the former Soviet Union, the
United States, Canada, Japan, China, France, Germany, and Italy. While the sport has grown in East Asia, training opportunities
in South Asia are limited due to a scarcity of ice rinks. India had only four major indoor ice rinks as of 2011, but there were plans
for ten more to be built, mostly in malls, over the following five years. [96]

Four skating has mostly disappeared while synchronized skating and solo ice dancing have grown. On April 6, 2011,
the International Olympic Committee officially confirmed the approval of a team event, to be introduced at the 2014 Winter
Olympics.[7] The elimination of the compulsory dance provided space for the team event.[97] Each team will be composed of a
men's and ladies single skater, a pair, and an ice dancing team. Ten teams may compete, with five eliminated after the short
program.[98] In December 2011, the International Skating Union released details of the qualifying system and the competition. [9