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Terminology

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Competition Edit

Short Program Edit

The short program of figure skating is usually the first of two phases in figure skating competitions. As the name suggests, it is the shorter of the two programs. Short programs typically lasts two minutes and forty seconds long, and are generally seen as an opportunity for the skaters to show off their skills.

According to the official ISU regulations handbook, required elements for the short program are:

  • A double or triple axel jump
  • A triple or quadruple* jump immediately preceded by connecting steps
  • A jump combination consisting of a double jump and a triple jump, two triple jumps, or a quadruple jump and a double or triple jump
  • A flying spin
  • A camel spin or sit spin with one change of foot
  • A spin combination with one change of foot
  • Two step sequences of different natures (straight line, circular, or serpentine) had been a requirement up until 2010. Starting with the 2010–11 season, only one step sequence is now required.

*Ladies are not allowed to have quads in their short programs, if they are even able to land one.

Free Skate/Long Program Edit

The free skating portion of figure skating, sometimes called the "free skate" or "long program", is usually the second of two phases in major figure skating competitions. The free skate typically lasts around four and a half minutes for senior men, and is generally seen as an opportunity for the skaters to show off their stamina.

According to the official ISU regulations handbook, a "well-balanced" program must consist of:

  • A maximum of 8 jump elements (one of which must be an Axel type jump)
  • A maximum of 3 spins, one of which must be a spin combination, one a flying spin or a spin with a flying entrance, and one a spin with only one position
  • A maximum of 1 step sequence
  • A maximum of 1 choreographic sequence. 

Kiss and Cry Edit

The area where the skaters and their coaches wait to get their results. It is so named because the skaters and coaches often kiss to celebrate after a good performance, or cry after a poor one. The area is usually located in the corner or end of the rink and is furnished with a bench or chairs for the skaters and coaches and monitors to display the competition results. It is often elaborately decorated with flowers or some other backdrop for television shots and photos of the skaters as they react to their performance and scores.

Scoring Edit

TES Edit

The Technical Element Score (TES), is the total amount of points awarded to a skater based on the technical elements of their programs. It is a cumulative of both the base scores of the jump and spin elements in the program along with GOE and deductions.

GOE Edit

In the ISU Judging System each element in a figure skating program has a base value. For example, a double Toe loop has a base value of 1.3, and a double Lutz has a base value of 1.9. The Grade of Execution score (GOE) measures the quality of the element and is added to the base value.

The final GOE of an element has to be calculated considering first the positive aspects of the element that result in a starting GOE for the evaluation. Following that a Judge reduces the GOE according to the guidelines of possible errors and the result will be the final GOE of the element.

PCS Edit

The Program Components Score (PCS) awards points to holistic aspects of a program or other nuances that are not rewarded in the total element score. The components are:

  • Skating skills (SS)
    • rewards 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 feet).
  • Transitions (TR)
  • Performance/Execution (PE)
  • Choreography (CH)
  • Interpretation (IN)

Contrary to popular belief, the components score is not purely a nominal measure of the judges' evaluation of a skater's artistic interpretation of their program.

The maximum PCS is 50 for the short program and 100 for the free.

Skates Edit

Edges Edit

The blade of a figure skate is hollow 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; the outside 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.

Sweet Spot/Front Rocker Edit

The sweet spot (or front rocker) of the blade is below the ball of the foot. This spot is usually located near the stanchion of the blade, and is the part of the blade where all spins are spun on.

Toe Pick Edit

The most visible difference in relation to ice hockey skates is that figure skates have a set of large, jagged teeth called toe picks on the front of the blade. The toe picks are used primarily in jumping and should not be used for stroking or spins. If used during a spin, the toe pick will cause the skater to lose momentum, or move away from the center of their spin.

Program Elements Edit

Jumps Edit

Different jumps are identified by the take-off edge and the number of revolutions completed. There are six kinds of jumps currently counted as jump elements in ISU regulations.

Single/Double/Triple/Quadruple (1,2,3,4) Edit

Refers to the number of revolutions in a jump. Quadruple jumps (commonly referred to as "quads") are the most difficult jumps.

For a jump to be considered clean, a skater must land on the right outside edge (for a counter-clockwise skater and vice versa), with the other leg stretched behind them, and arms stretched to the side. Double-footing and hand downs result in lower GOEs, but don't usually result in penalties. Changing planned jumps already carries a 'penalty' which lowers the base score.

Types of Jumps Edit

Toe Jumps Edit

In a toe jump, the skater spikes the toe picks of the free foot into the ice at the same time he or she jumps off the edge of the skating foot, providing a kind of pole-vaulting action to convert the skater's horizontal speed over the ice into a vertical leap.

The three types of toe jumps are:

  • The Toe Loop (T)- a toe jump that takes off from a back outside edge and lands on the same back outside edge (in other words, a toe-pick assisted loop jump, although the mechanics of the two jumps are very different). This is sometimes known in Europe as a cherry flip. Toe loops can be done immediately after other jumps in combinations. As solo jumps, they are most commonly entered from a three turn.
    • The toe loop was the first quad to ever be attempted in competition, by Kurt Browning in 1988.
  • The Flip (F) - a toe jump that takes off from a back inside edge and lands on the back outside edge of the opposite foot. A flip is usually preceded by a forward outside 3 turn or forward inside mohawk.
  • The Lutz (Lz)- a toe jump that takes off from a back outside edge and lands on the back outside edge of the opposite foot. The Lutz is a counter-rotated jump, meaning that the takeoff edge travels in a rotational direction opposite to which the skater rotates in the air and lands. Lutzes can often be identified by the long, backward diagonal glide preparation, though this is not necessary to do a Lutz. Lutzes that are not taken off of an outside edge are called "Flutzes" because the only difference between Flip and Lutz is the takeoff edge. Doing this results in a downgrade.

Edge Jumps Edit

An edge jump takes off directly from the edge without assistance from the other foot.

The three types of edge jump are:

  • The Salchow (S)- an edge jump that takes off from a back inside edge and lands on the back outside edge of the opposite foot. Salchows are most often preceded by a forward outside 3 turn, but a mohawk entrance is not unusual.
  • The Loop (Lo)- an edge jump, launched from the back outside edge and landing on the same back outside edge. It is also known in Europe as the Rittberger after its inventor, Werner Rittberger. Loops can be done immediately after other jumps in combinations.
  • The Axel (A)- an edge jump launched on the forward outside edge and landed on the back outside edge of the opposite foot. Because it has a forward takeoff but lands backwards, an Axel actually has half an extra rotation (i.e. a single Axel is 1.5 revolutions, a double is 2.5 revolutions, a triple is 3.5 revolutions, etc.).
    • As of date, no skater has ever successfully landed a Quad Axel in competition or at an exhibition gala or show.

Jump Combos and Jump Sequences Edit

Because all jumps land on the outside edge of the right foot for a counter-clockwise skater and vice versa, jump combos refers to the second jump starting from the same edge, i.e. toe loop and loop jumps. Jump sequences refers to any jump where at any point has a change of edge or foot before entering the second or third jump. A common jump sequence includes any jump, followed by a half loop and a Salchow. Also, there are no ratified jump sequences which resulted from a change of direction (e.g. a counter-clockwise double Axel, clockwise Flip). Also, as jump sequences are less difficult than jump combos, the score is 80% of what could had been for a jump combo.

Spins Edit

Spins are an element in figure skating where the skater rotates, centered on a single point on the ice, while holding one or more body positions. The skater rotates on the part of the blade just behind the toe pick, with the weight on the ball of the foot. There are many types of spins, identified by the position of the arms, legs, and torso, the foot on which the spin is performed, and the entrance to the spin. A combination spin is a spin with a change of position or foot.

Spins are a required element in all four Olympic disciplines. There are three basic positions — sit, camel, and upright — and numerous variations.

The three basic positions are:

  • The Camel Spin - a spin in which the free leg is held backwards with the knee higher than the hip level.
    • variations include catch-foot, layover, and doughnut.
  • The Sit Spin - a spin in which the buttocks are not higher than the level of the skating knee.
    • variations include pancake, broken leg, tuck behind, cannonball, and clam.
  • Upright Spin -  a spin where the skater is in an upright position and their head is in line with their spine.
    • variations include layback, Biellmann, haircutter, layover layback, needle, and pearl.

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 learning to spin, one will typically learn a forward spin then once completing that will learn how to execute a back spin.

Other Elements Edit

There are additional figure skating elements that can add to a skater's PCS and/or TES.

  • Hydroblading
  • Ina Bauer
  • Spiral
  • Cantilever
  • Spread Eagle
  • Lunge
  • Russian Split

Non-Figure Skating Edit

SNS Edit

Social media sites are also known as Social Networking Sites (SNS) in Japan.

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