With its excitement and risk, figure skating is one of the most elegant sports in existence. Figure, spins and different jumps, skating with harmony and flexibility, dancing as a couple on the chosen music- this is the real essence of figure skating and ice dancing.
The sport became very popular as a leisure activity and an organized sport in the mid of 19th century and the skating rink and clubs flourished all over the world. The most notable difference in relation to the ice hockey skates and the figure skates is that the latter have a set of large jagged teeth called toe picks on the front part of the blade. The teeth are used mainly in jumping and should not be used for spins or stroking.
Figure skating is an Olympics sport since 1908, and the official governing body that governs all the rules and regulations and organizes world championships of the same is the International Skating Union (ISU).
The objective for individuals, pairs, and teams is to score points based on program components, skating skills, transitions, performance, interpretation, and choreography.
The Dutch were the earliest pioneers of skating. They started utilizing trenches to keep up communication by skating from town to town as far back as the thirteenth century. Skating spread over the channel to England, and soon the clubs and artificial rinks started to form. Figure Skating at that point turned into a great past time in winter. Be that as it may, initially, only men contended in Figure Skating, beginning in the nineteenth century.
Two Americans are credited for the real advancements ever made in the game. In 1850, Edward Bushnell of Philadelphia improved skating when he presented steel-bladed skates permitting complex moves and turns. Jackson Haines, a ballet master, living in Vienna during the 1860s, included components of ballet and dance to give the game its soothing quality.
The primary European Figure Skating Championships were held in Hamburg, Germany, in 1891 and the International Skating Union was established in 1892. The debut World Figure Skating Championships were held in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1896. The first lady to contend in a Figure Skating contest was Madge Syers (GBR), who took part in the World Figure Skating Championships in 1902, going up against men – and completing second to them.
Figure skating is the oldest game on the Olympic Winter Games program. It was first contested at the 1908 London Games. The ISU World Figure Skating Championships included Ladies singles from 1906 and Pair Skating from 1908. Ice Dance was incorporated as the fourth sport in 1952 to the ISU World Figure Skating Championships and 1972 to the program of the Olympic Winter Games.
The skaters compete in singles skating, pairs skating, ice dancing.
In singles skating, age qualifications are under 13 for juveniles and 18 for intermediates.
In pairs skating and ice dancing the age qualifications are under 16 for juveniles and under 18 for intermediates.
There are no age restrictions for novices, juniors and seniors in all the three types of competitions (singles, pairs, and ice dancing).
Figure skates are a type of skating boots with blades, preferred in figure skating. The skaters are required to put on the boots equipped with blades in the bottom and perform their artistic piece.
Figure Skating - Clothing
Skaters are free to select their attire; however it must be modest, dignified and appropriate for athletic competitions. Men must wear trousers and females may wear skin-colored tights under dresses or skirts.
The rink consists of a smooth ice surface, typically 100 ft. by 200 ft. It has rounded corners with a low wall.
The best-known moves are the front and back spiral, holding the skate, and the death spiral.
The death spiral can be skated in two positions, inside and outside and the position of the women skater determines the direction of the spiral. The male partner energetically moves the female partner by the arm. The woman leans back until her head is just a few cms. from the ice. The aim of the death spiral is to have the lady as low as possible, with her back parallel to the ice.
A good spin should meet four parameters- speed, balance, aesthetic line and centering.
The main jumps namely- The Axel, The Salchow, The flip, The Lutz, The Toe loop often executed as doubles or triples are an integral part of figure skating. Out of all the jumps, the Axel is considered to be the most difficult one.
The international system has new officials involved in the scoring process of the competition. There are two new panels of the officials-
Generally made of 5 persons that comprises of a technical specialist, assistant technical specialist, technical controller, video replay operator and data operator. They work by communicating directly to each other.
The Judging Panel
The judging panel of a figure skating competition works according to the ISU Judging system. There are nine judges, but the number may vary in smaller competitions.