Figure Skating 101: Jumps

Figure Skating

If you think about it, figure skaters are gliding into jumps at top speed, throwing themselves into the air to complete an absurd amount of rotations before (hopefully) landing backwards on a quarter-inch blade. On ice. Why do we do it?

Because behind all that hairspray, glitter, and dazzling smiles, we’re bat sh!t crazy.

So, what goes into these jumps? What the hell is a salchow and why is it spelled that way? Read on.

Jumps 101.

First, let’s review the names: Salchow, Toe Loop, Loop, Flip, Lutz and Axel. No matter the name, they all hurt the same when you fall. I promise.

The differences between these jumps are few but major, including the entry into each jump and the number of revolutions. You may be familiar with Axels – they’re either 1.5, 2.5, or 3.5 rotations, as opposed to the 1,2,3, or (now) 4 rotations done in the rest of the jumps.

Landing that freaking SOB took several months and hooking me up to a fishing pole.

You read right. A fishing pole.

Credit: Gifer

Figure skaters need to feel what it’s like to complete a specific number of rotations in the air, the correct air positions, and the landings. So, many rinks have harnesses set up for this purpose.

A coach will strap in their student to said harness and when practicing these jumps, yank the student into the air, then lower them to the ice to “land” the jump.

Butt Pads are a thing.

Not that kind, you weirdo.

They’re called “crash pads” but, honestly, what sane 7-year-old would want to stick with a sport if they were introduced to something called “crash pads”? (And then were subjected to wear these?

Any other types of padding.

Credit: Metro

We have it all. Knee pads, elbow pads, little “jellies” that wrap around your ankles for extra cushion between the top of your boots and your ankles. As elegant as figure skating seems, it can be “uncomfy” – especially with the amount of falling when learning jumps (and practicing in general.

Face it: no matter how good you are, ice is slippery and the blades are thin AF.

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