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Oslo, Almaty and Beijing confirmed as 2022 Winter Olympic Ca

Oslo, Almaty and Beijing confirmed as 2022 Winter Olympic Ca

The race to host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games has taken significant step forward after the International Olympic Committee unanimously agreed t...

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Sochi success sees winter sport funding doubled until 2018

Sochi success sees winter sport funding doubled until 2018

Great Britain’s record-equalling performances at Sochi 2014 have resulted in a doubling of funding from UK Sport for winter sports over the next...

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Glasgow to bid for 2017 World Figure Skating Championships

Glasgow to bid for 2017 World Figure Skating Championships

The National Ice Skating Association has submitted a bid to host the 2017 ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Glasgow – and expect to hear...

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Joy for Coomes and Buckland; despair for McCorkell at worlds

Joy for Coomes and Buckland; despair for McCorkell at worlds

British ice dance duo Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland and fellow Brit Jenna McCorkell suffered contrasting fortunes on the final day of the W...

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Coomes and Buckland on track in Japan

Coomes and Buckland on track in Japan

Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland are on course to surpass their best ever finish at a World Figure Skating Championships after finishing ninth...

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History

Like many winter sports, figure skating's roots grew from necessity. As a mode of transportation for warfare and hunting in Northern Europe, skating was a swift way to traverse frozen lakes, ponds, rivers and streams. Warriors and hunters crafted makeshift skates of reindeer antlers or elk bones, and later iron and steel. By the 16th century, skaters were transporting goods across frozen waterways.

As the technology of the skate and blade improved, skating slowly emerged as a recreational and leisure sport. In the 1600’s, the Dutch used their frozen canals to skate from village to village, mastering the skating manoeuvre known as the "Dutch Roll," a simple skill that involves pushing off from one skate and gliding on the other.

To this, the French added pirouettes and spins. In 1892, the International Skating Union (ISU) was founded. Six years later, the first ISU-sanctioned event was held, and organisers hoped it might soon become an official Olympic sport. Because competitions could be held indoors, figure skating was added to the Olympic program for the 1908 Summer Games. Figure skating became an official Olympic Winter Games sport at the 1924 Winter Games in Chamonix.

 

Olympic History

Figure skating made its Olympic debut at the London 1908 Summer Games and appeared later at the Antwerp 1920 Games. It became an official Olympic Winter Games sport at the inaugural Winter Games in Chamonix 1924 and has remained on the program ever since. It is the only winter sport to have mixed competitions. The ice dancing competition was added at Innsbruck 1976.

One of the superstars of the Winter Olympics was Sonja Henie, who at just 11 years of age, made her Olympic debut finishing eighth at Chamonix 1924. Four years later she returned to win her first of three consecutive gold medals.

Team GB has won five gold medals, three silver medals and seven bronze medals at Olympic figure skating events. The most recent being Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean’s ice dance bronze in 1994.

Technical

There are five Olympic figure skating events: ladies singles, mens singles, pairs, ice dancing and the newly introduced event for the 2014 Olympics – the Team Event

The mens, ladies, pairs and dance competitions consist of two separate parts: the short programme (or Short Dance) and the free programme (or Free Dance).

The short programme combines up to seven prescribed elements such as step sequences, lifts, jumps, jump combinations and spins. In the free skating programme, skaters perform an original arrangement of techniques to music of their choice.

Following the Short Programme (or Short Dance) the top 24  competitors in the singles events and  the top 20 teams in the pairs and dance events qualify for the next section of the competition, the Free Programme (or Free Dance) .

In the pairs the couple works as one unit, demonstrating overhead lifts, throw-jumps with the man launching his partner, and other skilful and dangerous manoeuvres. The performance requires harmony, strength and grace.

In the Ice Dance event every routine should be a dance that is intended to be performed to music with an audible rhythmic beat.  Couples skate mostly in close dance holds or with a very small distance apart but are still required to include intricate and creative lifts, superlative footwork and spins within their routine.

equipment

Figure skating blades are made of high carbon steel which is hardened and tempered for strength and reliability. The blades are 3.175mm wide and are concave so that movements can be executed on different edges. Skaters use plastic or rubber guards to protect their blades. The skating rink is 30m x 60m and the ice has no markings.

rules

Judging

Following a judging controversy in Salt Lake 2002, the ISU adopted a new system in 2004 to award points for each element of a skater’s routine, based on degree of difficulty and level of performance. In addition, a computer scoring programme was introduced which randomly selects the scores from seven judges from the panel of nine, discarding the highest and lowest scores from that seven, leaving five judges' scores to produce the final result.

A total score is based on the addition of points of two segments.

1.  The technical score (or Total Technical Element Score) comprised of points gained on the required elements. Each element of the performance is assigned a base value relating to its degree of difficulty, with judges evaluating the quality of the performance on each element within a range of plus 3 to minus 3

2.  The Program Component Score comprised of points gained from the evaluation of five components: Skating Skills; Transitional/Linking Footwork and Movement; Performance/Execution; Choreography/Composition and Interpretation of the music The program component scores range from 0.25 and increases in increments of 0.25 up to 10.0 and ranges from very poor to outstanding.

Team HeroesEntire Team

Jeannette Altwegg made history when she won gold in the Women's Singles Figure Skating event at the Oslo 1952 Olympic Winter Games. Her 1952 success made her the first (and only to date) female double Winter Olympic champion, havi...

Robin Cousins, alongside Vancouver 2010 Olympic gold medallist Amy Williams, is an official Team GB Ambassador for 2014.

A former British Figure Skater, Robin Cousins  won his first national title in 1969 at the age of just twelve ...

John Curry became a British figure skating legend when he won gold in the Men's Singles competition at the Innsbruck 1976 Olympic Winter Games, having been the Team GB flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony.

Famous for combining b...

Ethel Muckelt won a bronze medal for Team GB at the Chamonix 1924 Olympics; the first official Olympic Winter Games. She  did however also compete at the 1920 Summer Games, where she finished fifth in the mixed pairs alongside Sydney Wallw...

John and his sister Sinead Kerr represented Great Britain at the Winter Olympics in 2006 and 2010 finishing in the top 10 on both occasions.

At the 2006 Olympics in Turin they performed to Scottish music from the Porridge Men which was ...

Our Results

Total: 13 medals
  • 5 Gold
  • 2 Silver
  • 6 Bronze
London 1908
  • 1 Gold
  • 2 Silver
  • 3 Bronze
Chamonix 1924
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 1 Bronze
St Moritz 1928
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Lake Placid 1932
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
St Moritz 1948
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 1 Bronze
Oslo 1952
  • 1 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Squaw Valley 1960
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Innsbruck 1964
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Grenoble 1968
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Sapporo 1972
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Innsbruck 1976
  • 1 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Lake Placid 1980
  • 1 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Sarajevo 1984
  • 1 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Calgary 1988
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Albertville 1992
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Lillehammer 1994
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 1 Bronze
Nagano 1998
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Winter EYOF 2013
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Sochi 2014
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
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