The moves of figure skaters are dashing and spectacular, and it is just impressive how natural on ice humans can be! Spectacular high jumps, step sequences, throws (in pair skating), spins make performances on ice to real works of art. However, even if the skating performance looks fluid, it is the combination of the difficult elements that skaters train for many years. Here are five most spectacular moves in single figure skating you definitely need to know to better track what is happening across the board.
QUAD AXEL (OR 4A)
This edge jump is widely considered to be the hardest jump in figure skating. First, the Axel itself is the most difficult jump in figure skating to execute. It is called the “edge” jump, it means the skaters have to skate on one side of the blade when lifting off the ice. The Axel has also the highest value in skating programs. And then, this Axel is a quad jump, so it is a jump with four rotations. To execute it the skater must complete a quad Axel rotation and an extra half-revolution.
To learn how to do a multi-turn jump, athletes train and bruise for a long time. The technique is that the skater picks up speed and makes a U-turn to move faster. Then he enters the cushioning phase when he squats all the way down on one leg. The skater makes a push and in flight makes circular motions. Performing this element is equally traumatic in singles and pairs skating. There is no skater yet who had done the quad Axel, however the famous Japanese skater Yuzuru Hanyu had given it the closest go during the Japanese national championship in 2021.
THE BIELLMANN SPIN
The element is named after the Swiss figure skater Denise Biellmann. She was the first skater to do a number incorporating this technique in 1976. But she was not the first to discover it; two years before her, skater Karin Iten had already demonstrated it to the judges. After Bielmann’s performance, it was noted that the skater performed the element with maximum stretch.
The technique consists of grabbing the skate with her hands at the top and rotating in that position. Judges give the highest score if it occurs at high speed and with a large number of rotations. In 1981, Denise did 105 spins at 1.8 per second. The speed was extreme. And this spin requires extraordinary flexibility, in which the skater spins on one foot with their other leg extended behind them and above their head, forming a teardrop shape.
THE KERRIGAN SPIRAL
At first glance, the “Kerrigan Spiral” technique seems easy, but its execution requires stretching and the ability to keep the balance. The skater slides for a long time on one leg in a fixed pose, and the second leg is lifted up. At the same time, the gliding hand holds the knee of the raised leg. The technique is named after the American skater Nancy Kerrigan. She performed a number that includes this element at the Olympic Games in 1994. After that, it was included in the main program of the women’s performances.
It is a beautiful and complex element in figure skating. A characteristic feature of the cantilever in figure skating is the spiraling movements that are performed to the beat of the music. In doing so, the skater keeps his legs in a position parallel to each other, his knees bent, and his torso leaning as far back as possible howitstart.
Prior to 2012, the judges did not give a score for the binding components of the number. Nowadays, the so-called “choreographic track”, consisting of a variety of ligatures between complex elements during the performance, is evaluated.
THE “INA BAUER” ELEMENT
Another element, “Bauer”, is named after the German figure skater. It was first performed by Ina Bauer. It is named after the performer Ina Bauer and was originally not bent back, but now it is more often performed in this way, which makes it look even more spectacular.