Figure skating -- two questions (use of hands, and "trick" jumping)

  1. Is it a stiff deduction for a skater to touch the ice with their hands during a routine? For instance, while I think I’ve seen male skaters do flips on skates during competition (Scott Hamilton did this back in the day, right?), I’ve seen no skater attempt a handspring, a cartwheel, or anything like that. Too hard? Against the rules?

  2. I understand that some male skaters have landed quadruple jumps in competition. What is about the max number of revolutions a skater can do in practice or exhibition? Has anyone been known to land a quintuple while messing around in practice? Has anyone ever tried to use some kind of short ramp or trick skates to accomplish a sextuple (or better) jump … like maybe for an ice show or something?

  1. Under the current judging system, I’m pretty sure that touching a hand down on the landing of a jump is -1 point on the execution of that element. All the other stuff you mentioned is against the rules. Backflips are used in shows, but never in competition. As a point of interest, Suriya Bonaly was a French skater in the '90s who had what could politely be referred to as a difficult relationship with the judges. She could land a backflip on one foot, which could be interpreted as being allowed, depending on just how creatively you read the rules, so in her final competition she threw a backflip into her long program as kind of a “Fuck you” to the judges.

  2. Quadruple jumps are really pushing at the boundaries of what the human body is capable of. Even I highly doubt that anyone is messing around with attempting quintuples, and I’d be shocked if we ever see one.

A. Ice will cut your hand up if you put your hand on it at any speed.

B. You can do all kinds of stuff with ramps. But it’s not really in the same catagory as a regular jump. There was a time when doing a triple was a rare event, so who knows.

Surya Bonaly (sp?), the black female French skater, landed quads pretty regularly during competitions…if I remember correctly.

No. AFAIK, she’s never landed a triple axel, let alone a quad of any kind.

I admit to speaking from a position of absolutely no experience, having been raised in the Deep South … but that’s about the most counterintuitive thing I’ve ever read.

Short-track speed skaters put their hands on the ice. No cuts, right?

Many figure skaters have taken spills on the ice during the current Olympic Games … no apparent blood.

What would be doing the cutting? Is the ice surface not smooth? Ruts from the many blades? If there are ruts of significant depth, are they razor-sharp?

Hamilton must’ve done it in the Olympic ehibition, then. I distinctly remember him doing a back flip at the Sarajevo games in 1984, and getting a huge crowd reaction.

According to Surya Bonaly’s official website

( What’s a Quad? )

I also read that Tonya Harding is one of two women ever to complete a triple axel in competition.

They said she used the axle from a 1977 Pontiac Trans Am. :smiley:


No difinitive answer (I’ve been ice skating three times in my life), but (at least most Olympic) speed skaters wear gloves.

I was wondering about that comment too. I wouldn’t particularly want to attempt a cartwheel or something like that on the ice without gloves that would give me some grip, just to avoid slipping and killing myself. However, I used to figure skate and I hated wearing gloves if I didn’t have to, so I’ve fallen and put my bare hands on the ice at varying speeds countless times without any injuries.

If it’s been a while since the ice was last cleaned, the ice will definitely be full of ruts, but the edges aren’t generally sharp. In fact, we’d often get put to work filling in the worst of the holes at the end of a session, which consisted of using your blades to scrape up some snow and packing it into the rut by hand.

  1. There are no backflips or such listed in the official list of elements. It would either not be scored at all, or possibly they could count it as a single loop or something completely inappropriate for this competition level.

  2. I think the next step up from a quad would be a quad axel, which is 4.5 turns.

BTW, in the scoring table, a triple axel is 7.5 pts, a quad loop is 10, and a quad axel is 13. They don’t even lists any quints, which tells you something.