ScoutJr, figure skating

Figure skating jumps and spins – what’s the diff? An Olympics Primer!

The figure skating jumps and spins that you’ll see during this year’s Olympics are some of the most challenging in the sport.

This year you’re going to be hearing a lot about triples and quads (cause Nathan Chen has basically changed the entire men’s figure skating program).

Here’s what you need to know, so you can be a better judge:

Ok, so first familiarize yourself with Tara Lipinsky and Johnny Weir since they’re super talented Olympic figure skaters and will be the announcers for the figure skating competitions. We LOVE this because they strike a great balance of being informative and educational while also letting the viewer watch and enjoy the program without a constant play by play.

What Tara & Johnny are most likely to critique…

Possibly the most popular critique of figure skaters is when they under rotate. Under rotating means that the skater didn’t complete the circle of a spin….it could be one spin or more. If they don’t complete a spin, their technical score is penalized (so far example, a double axel is more difficult than a single axel — if they are supposed to go for a double axel, but can’t complete it then they are scored for the the single).

You’ll also end up hearing about some of the more competitive moves that may be giving a skater a problem….such as these key figure skating jumps:

  1. Salchow
  2. Toe Loop
  3. Loop Jump
  4. Flip Jump
  5. Lutz Jump
  6. Axel Jump

Instead of trying to describe what they look like, here’s a great video that shows the difference between each figure skating jump (NOT the first one that he does at the start of the video), which is basically how they lift off:

After the Olympics, everybody wants to try figure skating. Where to start!

Your child can learn how to figure skate at most local skating rinks. But if he or she wants to compete (and possibly make it to the Olympics!) then they’ll have to join a proper figure skating club and there’s only a handful on Long Island – I have them listed here.

Figure skating is a tough sport – read this post about what it takes to become a figure skater and then search here for a figure skating program nearby.

p.s. Remember, we’re for parents, by parents. Be sure to post a review after you’ve tried one of the clubs so parents can learn from your experiences!

So, there’s no way that I’m going to try a figure skating jump – or spin –  on my own, especially after my latest injury.  There’s a chance that I can get the kid to try, but so far she’s been really resistant too. So, I found this great video from Steve Spangler that gives viewers a good idea of what spinning on the ice feels like and how they get to go so fast. Honestly, it made me realize how much goes into the sport….it’s definitely for the brave.

Here it is:



p.s. just in case you were interested, check out this neat clip of the Guinness Book of World Records’ fastest spin…wow!



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