Figure skating

Figure skating

is a complex co-ordinated type of speed skating, in which the main task of an athlete (pairs, groups) is to move around an ice skating rink, which involves changing the direction of movement and performing various elements (steps, jumps, rotations, supports, etc.). ) to the music.

At first, figure skating was practiced only in the winter, on ice of frozen ponds. However, in our days competitions on this sport are held on artificially created ice areas, the size of which can range from 51х24 m to 61х30 m. The Olympic standard for the skating rink is 60х30 m, the angular radius is 8 m. The ice temperature should not be lower from -3 to -5 ° C to ensure good adhesion to the skates of athletes.

Figure skating

Skating is known to man since time immemorial. The most ancient skates, made from the bones of a horse, were found by archaeologists near the Southern Bug River, not far from Odessa and by the time of their creation date back to the Bronze Age. Mention of skates from the tibia of animals is placed in the “Chronicle of the noble city of London,” written by the monk Stephanius in 1174.

Over time, the construction of skates gradually became more complicated. In the annals of the XIV-XV centuries. you can find information about wooden skates with metal blades attached to them (first – iron or bronze, later – steel). There are also engravings depicting skating of this kind.

The homeland of figure skating is considered to be Holland – a considerable number of canals, which turned into excellent running tracks in winter, served as a reason for the keen interest of the inhabitants of this country to move on ice on skates. And the Dutch not only engaged in figure skating, at that time consisted in skilfully drawing on the ice various, sometimes rather complex figures (the skater himself had to maintain beautiful and steady postures), but also made short trips along the frozen riverbeds.

However, the first skating club originated in Edinburgh (Great Britain) in 1742. In the same country, the rules for the competitions in figure skating were developed, and in 1772 – the book “The Treatise on Skating” (authored by Lieutenant of the British Artillery Troops Robert Jones) was published, containing the above rules, as well as practical recommendations to skaters and skaters.

The first international competition in figure skating took place in Vienna (Austria), in 1882. The program of these competitions formed the basis for the current appearances of skaters. At first, the athletes performed compulsory figures and an arbitrary program. Short programs, in which skaters to music should demonstrate the ability to perform the most complex elements, appeared only a century later.

In Russia skates appeared in the time of Peter I. It was he who introduced some improvements in their design – he suggested to fasten skates directly to the sole of shoes. Since the front part of the wooden “runners” was decorated sometimes with a horse’s head skillfully carved out of wood, “Dutch fun” was called “skate.”

In 1838 in St. Petersburg was published a manual for skaters – “Winter fun and the art of running on skates with figures,” written by the teacher of gymnastics military schools GM. Pauli. The first public ice rink in Russia was opened in 1865 in the Yusupov Garden (St. Petersburg), here in 1877, the Society for Skating Enthusiasts was established.

The first international tournament of figure skaters, which received the status of an unofficial world championship, was held in the winter of 1890 in St. Petersburg. In the same city, 6 years later, under the auspices of the International Skating Union (ISU), established in 1892, the first official world figure skating championship was held. Participants – exclusively male athletes – were only four.

The European Figure Skating Championships among men was held in 1891 in Hamburg.Women began to take part in competitions of this kind since 1930 (the first European Figure Skating Championships was held in Vienna).

In 1906, in Davos (Switzerland), the first World Figure Skating Championships for women was held. And the first joint championship, in which both women figure skaters and male figure skaters took part, was held only after the First World War.

In 1976, in Mejevo (France), the World Figure Skating Championships for juniors was held for the first time. The figure skating competitions were included in the program of all winter Olympics.

Ranks of figure skating:

Single skating

(male and female), in which the main task of athletes is to demonstrate a high level of mastering the basic elements (jumps, spirals, rotations, steps, etc.), as well as plasticity, artistry, the ability to coordinate movements with music. Competitions are divided into two stages: a short program and an arbitrary program;
– Competitions of sports couples – held since 1908, for the first time held in the Yusupov garden of St. Petersburg. Athletes not only demonstrate the level of mastery of the basic elements, both traditional and inherent only in this kind of figure skating (support, emissions, todes, etc.), but also try to give the impression of unity of action through synchronous execution of various movements. In this type of competition there are also two stages: a short and an arbitrary program;

Sports dancing on ice

– this kind of competition appeared in the UK in the late 40-ies of the last century. The list of categories of contests of the European Championship was included in 1952, the program of the Winter Olympics – in 1976. Unlike pair skating, ice dancing sports do not provide for emissions, jumps, etc., as well as long separation of partners. This line of figure skating is the most spectacular, since the smoothness of movements and the attractiveness of the appearance of the pair, as well as the harmonious combination of the dance figure with the rhythm-melodic characteristics of the musical work, is of decisive importance here. The program of this type of competition includes compulsory, original and voluntary dances;

Synchronized figure skating

– is not an Olympic sport. World fame gained in the late 80-ies of the XX century. It is especially popular in the USA, Canada (here since 1983 there have been annual championships in this category of figure skating), England, Sweden, Finland. Usually the team consists of 16 people (there can be no more than 6 men), however, according to the regulations of some competitions, the number and composition of the speakers can vary. Athletes in this category of figure skating are divided into “Novis” (age – up to 15 years), “Juniors” (15-18 years) and “Seniors” (over 18 years). Competitions are held according to the standard rules of figure skating on an ordinary hockey ground. In 2007, synchronized figure skating was included in the list of competitions of the winter Universiade as a demonstration sport;

Skating “fours”

is a competition that differs from pair skating only by the fact that there are 4 sportsmen (ie 2 pairs) on the ice at the same time. Speeches of this kind were first held in 1914, and were held regularly until 1964. After a long break, the skating of the “fours” resumed in 1981 and is very popular these days in the USA and Canada.

Figure skating

The most famous world figure skating competitions held under the auspices of the International Skating Union:

European Figure Skating Championships

– runs from 1891 yearly, usually in January;

World Figure Skating Championships

– runs from 1896, once a year, most often in March;

“Four Continents”

or the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships – has been held annually since 1999.It is an analogue of the European Championship for non-European countries. In these competitions athletes compete on four continents (Australia, Asia, America and Africa);

The World Figure Skating Championships among juniors

has been held since 1976. Skaters from 13 to 21 take part in these competitions. Competitions are held annually in late February – early March;

World Cup in synchronized figure skating

– held annually, starting in 1983;

World Championship in synchronized figure skating

– held since 2000;

ISU World Team Trophy in Figure Skating – a tournament held since 2009 in which teams from six countries compete for the cash prize ($ 1,000,000) season under the auspices of the ISU highest level. This kind of competition was organized on the basis of the tournament “Japan Open” held in Japan since 1997 and more reminiscent of the show (the teams were invited not according to the rating, but according to the level of popularity in Japan). The main task of the competition, held every 2 years in April, is to stimulate the development of all kinds of figure skating. And if the skaters refuse to participate in the above-mentioned competitions, they are subject to various penalties (for example, a ban on participation in the next World Championships, as well as any shows and shows that take place until April 26 inclusive, etc.).

In Holland – at the birthplace of figure skating – all the mandatory figures performed by athletes during the performance were developed.

Indeed, this sport was born in Holland. However, all the mandatory figures, like the rules of the competition, were created and developed in the UK, since it was there that the first skating club was formed.

There is an international figure skating federation.

No, skaters do not have their own international association and are members of the International Skating Union (ISU). Under the auspices of the aforementioned organization, all world-class competitions in figure skating are held.

Figure skaters performed in long skirts until the beginning of the XX century.

Wrong opinion. Even in the XIX century, on the initiative of the English princess Mary, the skirts of the skaters were half shortened.

Until 1906, women in the world competitions in figure skating did not participate.

Yes, it is. But in 1901, an athlete from England, Madge Sayers, as an exception, was given the opportunity to participate in figure skating competitions on a par with male athletes.

Skaters are professional athletes.

These days it really is. However, in those days when figure skating was just emerging, this sport was considered just a fun and enjoyable pastime, which every citizen could not afford to deal with for a long time and seriously. Therefore, the most famous figure skaters were scientists, engineers, public figures, artists and actors. For example, the famous Russian writer Leo Tolstoy often visited the ice rink, and later detailed and truthfully displayed his impressions in the pages of his own works. Wisdom of figure skating is extremely successfully mastered and mathematician Sofya Kovalevskaya led by Professor of the Royal University of Stockholm Lefler. And in France, the best skater was Queen Maria-Antoinette, who surpassed many men who practiced this sport in the ice field.

Figure skating, as a winter sport, is included in the program of the Winter Olympic Games.

Yes, but in the beginning, figure skating was included in the program of the IV Summer Olympic Games in 1908 (London, UK), although the creation of a skating rink with artificial ice (one of the first in Europe) required considerable effort from the organizers of the game.

Shoes for skaters should be selected for a larger size.

No, this rule applies only to the choice of shoes for skaters.Figures also choose shoes size in size, with the expectation that it will be worn on a woolen sock. To ensure that the legs do not become numb during training, under the tongue of the shoe, it is recommended to put or sew a special foam pad – this should also be taken into account when choosing shoes.

The skater’s shoes must be high and very stiff.

Indeed, the height of the shoe for figure skating is approximately 20 cm higher than the height of ordinary shoes. This feature of the design is due to the fact that when performing some complex shapes, the greatest possible unity of the skate, boot and legs of the skater is required. The rigidity of shoes of this kind should take place, but sometimes the back of new shoes is characterized by excessive stiffness, and rubs his foot in the process of training on ice. In this case, it is recommended to stretch your back with your hands.

For beginners, shoes of any color are suitable.

Yes, however, according to the routine, skaters prefer white shoes, skaters – black.

Skates before the first exit to the ice should be secured as much as possible.

This is not quite true. First, only a few control screws are used for fixing, and only after the skater completes the approbation of the skates on the ice pad, they are fixed completely to all the screws and, if necessary, shifted in one direction or another. Some experts believe that the skate blades should be moved inwards in relation to the central line of the shoe – in this case, skating will help strengthen the ankle.

Figure skating

Lace the shoes very tight.

No, in this case the mobility of the foot will be disturbed, which will negatively affect the skater’s well-being and the quality of the movements that he performs. Before the bend of the foot, the shoes are laced tightly enough to prevent footsteps and hypothermia during training. A simple knot is tied at the bend, the ends of the lace are turned over to improve the fixing of the tightening, and continue lacing, making it less tight.

You can use sets for mass skating at the beginning of training.

Wrong opinion. Neither young skaters, nor amateurs shoes, intended for visits to the ice rink several times a year for the purpose of entertainment, are not recommended. The fact is that such footwear does not have a high level of strength, it is made of too soft materials that do not provide a reliable fixation of the foot in the ankle and heel area. Because there is a risk that the shoes either very quickly tear, or cause injury to a beginner athlete. And the blades in the “riveted” sets do not have the necessary curvature, and the shape and quality of the teeth are far from perfect, which, firstly, will not allow the athlete to learn to maintain balance, and secondly, it will make it extremely difficult to perform even the simplest elements of figure skating. Therefore, it is best to purchase special shoes for figure skating and blades for them, and to attach the skate to the sole to an experienced master or coach.

The most effective workouts are those that take place on the ice ground.

This is not quite true. Experts say that young skaters must first be trained on less slippery surfaces – for example, on a wooden floor, and firstly the movements are practiced in ordinary shoes, and only then – in the covered skates. Very useful are various kinds of imitative exercises (jerks, slip, etc.), which are often used not only by beginners, but also by experienced athletes. After such training, people will feel much more confident on the ice.

During training, you must avoid falling completely.

Certainly. However, this is by no means all. Even experienced athletes sometimes lose balance when mastering complex jumps and elements. Therefore, coaches from the very beginning teach young figure skaters to fall correctly.Ability to group in the fall, saving athletes from serious injuries and bruises, is useful not only in the training process, but also in everyday life (for example, during the ice, when people fall in the streets quite often). It should also be taken into account that the skater must be able not only to fall correctly, but also to get up quickly and correctly – during the performance this skill will allow him not to get out of the musical rhythm.

Injuries in the training of figure skating are quite frequent.

Because figure skating does not provide for any protective equipment, the injuries of the athletes do happen. Especially vulnerable is the locomotor system, in particular the lumbar region, knee joints and ankles, and fractures are quite rare, while sprains and tendons are a very common phenomenon. It should be noted that the greatest number of injuries occurs in pair skating, when mistakes are allowed by skaters during jumping with the support of a partner (most often in training, during the development of new complex elements). The least injuries are for athletes engaged in dancing on ice.

Beginners should learn to stand on skates, leaning on the edge of the platform.

In some cases, some novice figure skaters do exactly that, others, on the advice of the coach, use as a chair a support or ask for support from older comrades more experienced in this sport. However, experts warn that such a state of things does not contribute to rapid acclimatization, therefore it is best to take the first steps on the ice platform away from the rim and without assistance.

To accelerate the movement of ice skaters use the movement of the body.

Absolutely mistaken opinion. Athletes move around the ice area exclusively at the expense of legs bent at the knees, the body at the same time remains stationary, the back is straight.

Beginners often do not know where to put their hands – they only interfere with finding balance.

Most often, it happens – a man accustomed to the fact that his hands move in tact with his legs (most often with a left foot, the right hand is swinging and vice versa), being on the ice, realizes that this mode of movement is absolutely not suitable for sliding on skates on the level surface of the site. Therefore, young figure skaters first learn how to properly hold their hands, slightly spreading them to the sides with their hands down. It is their position that helps the athlete to find a stable balance.

In order to move along the arc, the figure skater has to make a lot of effort – it is much easier to travel in a straight line.

This is not true. If you watch the skaters, you can see that they are not moving in a straight line, but along large arcs. Beginners sometimes turn their backs on the movement. It is not surprising to be surprised by this state of affairs due to the special construction of skates for figure skating, which differ from hockey and cross-country skating. Carefully looking at the edge of the ridge, you can see that it is carved in the shape of a gutter with ribs (raised sharp edges) and slightly arched. It is because of this form of the skate that it is easier to skim across the arc to the figure skater than on a straight line (provided that it slightly tilts the trunk towards the center of the circumscribed circle – without this simple maneuver, it is simply impossible to move around in a circle). And to perform rotations, abrupt stops and many complex elements using sharp teeth placed on the front of the ridge.

To increase speed while ice skating, you should tilt your body slightly forward.

Such a rule is effective in speed skating, but not in figure skating. If the skater wants to gain speed, he will keep his torso straight, not leaning forward and not bending back. After all, only when the center of gravity of the body is located above the center of the ridge of the supporting leg, it is possible to develop a rather high speed without risk of catching the ice with the teeth of the skates, which leads to a stop.However, it should be noted that for the performance of some elements and figures, athletes can use the slopes of the hull forward and sideways.

The teeth on the front of the skate blade help the skater to stop almost instantly.

The use of teeth in conjunction with the torso tilt, or other forms of braking (such as jumping) will certainly lead to a halt. However, it should be remembered that the inertia of the figure skater’s movement will continue, and it will be the more, the greater was the speed of the athlete. Therefore, an instantaneous stop is simply impossible.

The most simple and not so important elements in figure skating are the steps.

For some time it was believed that the steps in figure skating are just different ways to help the athlete to accelerate the movement along a certain trajectory and in the right direction. However, in fact, the role of the steps is by no means exhausted by the foregoing. First, it is the steps that connect the elements or parts of the composition, secondly, they reveal the rhythmic features of the musical work, and also contribute to the demonstration of the artistry and technique of figure skaters; thirdly, the steps are included in the mandatory program, which is an undeniable proof of their recognition complex elements of figure skating. And, finally, it should be remembered that it is this element that allows the originality of the thinking of both the skaters themselves and their coaches to show originality – after all the steps included in the compulsory and free program of athletes should not be repeated the ones invented earlier. Most often, the effect of novelty is achieved due to a change in rhythm and various combinations of constituent elements of the step.

Figure skating

Begin figure skating at an early age.

Indeed, experts believe that the wisdom of this sport should be comprehended from 4-5 years of age, when the ligaments and muscles are the most elastic, and the fear of falls has not yet been worked out.

The more often a young skater will train – the more hardy, healthy and smart he will grow.

Yes, regular figure skating helps improve coordination of movements, mobility, vigor, and learning achievement. In addition, children become more disciplined and purposeful. However, if the training is too often – every day, or even twice a day (in the morning and in the evening) – the health of small athletes not only does not improve, but sometimes worsens (for example, lethargy, headache, lack of appetite, which often indicates overwork). In addition, young skaters can completely lose interest in this sport. Therefore, experts believe that the optimal mode of training, especially at the initial stage of training – no more than three lessons per week.

It’s easy to make a musical program for a skater – just pick up a few excerpts from various works (best classical ones) that correspond to the rhythmic pattern of the future performance, and put them together.

Wrong opinion. Experts believe that, firstly, the music for the performance needs to be selected taking into account the age of the skater, since in some cases the use of deep and serious symphonic music to accompany a short or arbitrary program can negatively affect the formation of the musical taste of the young athlete. Secondly, a person who knows the laws of the development of a musical work should be engaged in creating a composition from various musical passages. If, in such a difficult matter, rely only on intuition, the composition will turn out to be imperfect and disharmonious. And, at last, it is necessary to take into account the general laws of preparation of musical accompaniment for performances of figure skaters of different categories. For example, in short programs, small fragments of musical compositions with different rhythm-melodic characteristics are most often used. In some cases, the compulsory program is performed with music provided for by the rules of the competition, etc.

The free program can be increased or decreased by 10 seconds.

In some cases, this tolerance is indeed permitted. However, it should be remembered that basically the rules of the competition do not allow the reduction or increase in the time of skiing, therefore for every 5 seconds a non-skid (or rolling) in an arbitrary program, the skater gets 1 penalty point, 6-10 seconds – 2 penalty points, etc.

If the skater’s performance is interrupted for any reason – he has the right to re-execute the program.

According to the rules, if in the event of a stopping of music, damage to the equipment, or under the influence of other factors, the performance is interrupted, the competitor receives three minutes for troubleshooting or obstacles. At the end of the specified period, at the signal of the referee, the athlete continues the performance from the place where it was interrupted. You can not run the entire program again.

The scale of the complexity of the elements of figure skating sometimes changes.

This is indeed so. For performing the most complex elements (for example, triple and quadruple twist, double axel, etc.), today the athlete is awarded more points than a few years ago. The thing is that these movements are difficult to perform, which is why they are used by athletes rather rarely, and increasing the base cost encourages the skaters to include these elements in the program of performances at competitions of various kinds.

All jumps in figure skating begin with a sharp jerk, performed by the edge of the ridge.

Wrong opinion. In figure skating, there are 6 types of jumps:


(English toe loop jump – “loop jump from sock”) – appeared in the 1920s. Triple sheepskin coat was first performed in 1964, quadruple with errors – in 1983 and 1988, clean – in 1991. It is this complex leap in our days that brings the athlete the highest score – 9 (while the triple – 4, double – 1.3, ordinary – 0.4);


(loutz) – the second most difficult jumping jump. His name was given in honor of Alois Lutz, an Austrian figure skater, who first performed this element in 1913;


(flip – “flip, loop”) – jump, starting with a jerk of the right leg;


(English salchow) – is named after the figure skater from Sweden Ulrich Salhov, who first performed this jump in 1909;


(“loop jump”, English loop – “loop”) – one of the most difficult rib jumps. Got its name in honor of Werner Rittberger, a German figure skater, who, according to some reports, was the first to perform this element in 1910. However, the famous figure skater from Russia Nikolai Panin-Kolomenkin argued that the author of the above jump is not Rittberger at all, but Russian athlete A. Lebedev, who performed the leap in 1890. The triple rhythmberger was first demonstrated by male figure skaters in 1952, by women in 1968;


(English axel jump) is the most difficult jump. Unlike the others, it is executed when moving forward, as a result of which the number of revolutions in it is not an integer (1.5, 2.5, etc.). Named after the skater from Norway Axel Paulsen, who first performed this jump in 1882. Most often, the axel is performed by male athletes, and only occasionally by women.
The first three (sheepskin, lutz, flip) refer to the so-called toe (jagged) jumps – repulsion from the ice is made by the toe of the ridge. The last three jumps refer to the ribs, because when they are performed the skaters repel the edge of the ridge.
In addition, there are jumps that are used only as bundles in combinations of other jumps, but do not have the status of independent elements of figure skating. For example, the half loop is usually a bunch between two successively executed sheepskin coils, and a jump jump (“cadet”, “flying three” or waltz jump) preparatory to the axel.

The nickname of the famous figure skater Nikolai Kolomenkina was his own invention.

Yes, the figure skater actually performed at the competitions under the name Panin. However, this pseudonym was not invented by the skater himself, but was “gifted” to him by his friend and pupil Sergei Krupsky (Kolomenkin was Krupsky’s trainer, not in figure skating, but in cycling). After a severe injury, Krupsky had to end his sports career. It was then that he persuaded Kolomenkina to use the pseudonym Panin, because he considered this name happy.

Figure skating classes help to lose weight better than fitness.

During the lessons of this sport for 1 hour the body burns about 400 kcal, while those muscles of the body (especially the legs) are involved, which are very difficult to work with even using different simulators. It should be noted that the impact is on many muscle groups at the same time, which saves a considerable amount of time (which would be required to work out each of these muscle groups separately by means of an exercise or a simulator) and the means. Because figure skating is really quite an effective means of getting rid of excess kilograms. The main thing, especially at first (as well as in fitness) – do not overdo it so as not to earn the krepature. And in no case should you try to master complex figures (especially jumps) without the help of a coach – it is fraught with falls and injuries.

Figure skating

Before the competition, figure skaters sit on a strict diet.

Changes in the diet of figure skaters in the specified period do occur. Reducing the total caloric content of the diet (by 1 kg of body weight – 30-35 kcal, while the caloric intake of skaters is usually 60-65 kcal / kg), reducing the intake of protein and fat, and also excluding certain foods (bakery products, potatoes, garnishes, etc.) and applying a salt-free diet (in the first 2-3 days), athletes achieve a reduction (“sgonki”) of body weight. But such restrictions are more an exception than a rule. Most often the regulation of body weight of figure skaters is carried out gradually, for a long time, and includes not only the subordination of food to certain rules, but also various types of thermal procedures, as well as training of different intensity levels.
Most often, changes in nutrition skaters before the performances are not aimed at reducing weight, but on the development of so-called “supercompensation” (maximum muscle saturation with glycogen). After all, muscle fibers with the maximum content of glycogen become stronger and able to withstand heavy loads for a long time. It is with the aim of achieving the above-described effect, that athletes change the training schedule one week before the competition (the first 4 days are trained no more than 1-2 hours a day at medium intensity, in the next 3 days – reduce the duration of training to 30-60 minutes) and consume few carbohydrates (not more than 350 gr per day).

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