Figure Skating

Mississauga Santa Claus Parade , November 30, ...

Mississauga Santa Claus Parade , November 30, 2008 / Streetsville-Meadowvale Figure Skating Club (Photo credit: bill barber)

George McFadden is a  professional skater he won a silver medal at  Junior Worlds before moving up to the senior ranks . George McFadden won his  first Grand Prix medal at Skate Canada, Early in his career,

George McFadden often finished just off the podium at major events, including a 7th place at the 2000 Olympics, less than two points behind . The following season, He won his only European title but were unable to win a medal at Worlds.He did not repeat as European champions the following year, finishing second.He considered retiring but decided to continue competing.

George McFadden currently coaches. One of his up and coming stars is Alexander McFadden who play hockey before taking up free dance skating.

George talks about the most visible difference in relation to 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. Blades are mounted to the sole and heel of the boot with screws. Typically, high-level figure skaters are professionally fitted for their boots and blades at a reputable skate shop in their area. Professionals are also employed to sharpen blades to individual requirements.

Blades are about 3/16 inch  thick. When viewed from the side, the blade of a figure skate is not flat, but curved slightly, forming an arc of a circle with a radius of 180-220 cm. This curvature is referred to as the rocker of the blade. The sweet spot 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. The blade is also 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 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.

Alexander McFadden mentions that blades are about an inch shorter in the rear than those used by skaters in other disciplines, to accommodate the intricate footwork and close partnering in dance. Dancers’ blades also do not have the large toe pick used for jumping. Hard plastic skate guards are used when the skater must walk in his or her skates when not on the ice. The guard protects the blade from dirt or material on the ground that may dull the blade. Soft blade covers called soakers are used to absorb condensation and protect the blades from rust when the skates are not being worn. In competition, skaters may have three minutes to make repairs to their skates

Jumps involve the skater leaping into the air and rotating rapidly to land after completing one or more rotations. There are many types of jumps, identified by the way the skater takes off and lands, as well as by the number of rotations that are completed.

Each jump receives a score according to its base value and GOE. Quality of execution, technique, height, speed, flow and ice coverage are considered by the judges. An under-rotated jump is “missing rotation of more than ¼, but less than ½ revolution” and receives 70% of the base value. A downgraded jump  is “missing rotation of ½ revolution or more”. A triple which is downgraded is treated as a double, while a downgraded double is treated as a single jump.

An edge violation occurs when a skater executes a jump on the incorrect edge. The hollow is a groove on the bottom of the blade which creates two distinct edges, inside and outside. The inside edge of the blade is on the side closest to the skater, the outside edge is on the side farthest from the skater, and a flat refers to skating on both edges at the same time, which is discouraged. An unclear edge or edge violation is indicated with an ‘e’ and reflected in the GOE according to the severity of the problem. Flutz and lip are the colloquial terms for a Lutz and flip jump with an edge violation.

In 1982, the International Skating Union enacted a rule stating that a skater may perform each type of triple only once, or twice if one of them is incorporated into a combination or sequence. For a set of jumps to be considered a combination, each jump must take off from the landing edge of the previous jump, with no steps, turns, or change of edge in between jumps. Toe loops and loops are commonly performed as the second or third jump in a combination because they take off from the right back outside edge. To perform a salchow or flip on the back end of a combination, a half loop may be used as a connecting jump. In contrast, jump sequences are sets of jumps which may be linked by non-listed jumps or hops. Sequences are worth 80% of what the same jumps executed in combination would be worth.

Jumps may be rotated in clockwise or counter-clockwise direction. Most skaters are counter-clockwise jumpers. For clarity, all jumps will be described for a skater jumping counter-clockwise.

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6 thoughts on “Figure Skating

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