Winter Olympic Sports: Figure Skating

In 1908, the Olympic Games were held in London. It is noteworthy that the first gold medalist in this sport was Russian figure skater Nikolai Panin-Kolomenkin. He became the best in the artistic skating program, which was then called “special figures”. The first winners in pair skating were German skaters.

Figure skating is a favorite Olympic discipline for spectators, even for those not very interested in the sport. This beautiful action on ice, performed to music, is more like a dance. Judges evaluate not only the technique of performance, but also the artistry of the participants. Thus, there are high requirements for figure skaters. The higher the level of fitness of an athlete, the easier and more graceful the dance seems.

Olympic figure skating competitions have four kinds, matched by the same number of medal sets. Distinguishing between men’s and women’s singles skating, pair skating and ice dancing. A single program must include several mandatory elements, i.e., certain steps, jumps, and rotations. In addition, it must be performed to the music of a given character and rhythm. All these parameters are determined by the International Skating Union.

Skaters first enter a short program, which must also contain mandatory elements such as support, emissions, etc. Here it is important to show the technique and artistic performance, and for the pair it is also important to demonstrate the full synchronicity of the skaters movements. After that, an arbitrary program is executed.

In ice dancing, skaters are allowed to choose any music, including those with vocals. However, all movements must conform to the character of the accompaniment, and athletes – strictly follow the rhythm. Dance couples perform three times.

A total of 30 men and women in single skating, 20 pairs and 24 dance duets compete in the Olympics. At the same time, only representatives of teams whose federations are part of the International Skaters Union are allowed to play. Athletes must be at least 15 years old.

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