Figure Skating

Who names these moves? Sow Cow? Flying Camel? Yikes! Those sure sound graceful.

And what is the difference between a Sow Cow, a flip, a toe loop, a lutz (sp) an axel…? To me it’s all just “jump up in the air and spin around a few times”…

That said, I really like watching figure skating.

Oh, this “Grand Prix” skating thing on ABC… I can’t believe how MEAN these commendators are! “her choreography looks like she just threw it together” “sloppy floppy” “very weak performance”… damn! They can’t say anything nice!

Teeming Millions:
“Meat flaps, yellow!” - DrainBead, naked co-ed Twister chat
O p a l C a t


Ok, so it is spelled a little better than “sow cow”

Teeming Millions:
“Meat flaps, yellow!” - DrainBead, naked co-ed Twister chat
O p a l C a t

OpalCat, I love figure skating! I’m so glad you posted this topic, or I wouldn’t have known it was on tonight. Thank you!

To answer your questions about the various jumps, they’re different based on the foot and edge used to take off, as well as the direction you’re facing, and which foot and edge you land on. For instance, the axel has a forward facing takeoff, whereas all the others are facing backwards. The salchow (named after a famous skater from the early 1900’s named Salchow), takes off from a left, back, inside edge, whereas the toe loop is approached from a right, back, outside edge.

There is more information, including the history of all the basic jumps and who they’re named for, here

And you can see some diagrams of how they’re done, here

Hope that helps.

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” - Anne Frank

Opal, FWIW, until just this minute I thought it was sow cow, too.

I know what you mean about their comments. They are always so negative. Maybe it’s becuase I’m just so impressed by anyone who can do more than skate in a straight line (which is the extent of my skating talent) that I’m blind to the mistakes. But it always seems that I’m thinking “wow, did you see that jump. Wasn’t that awesome?” but the announcer is complaining about something so subtle and technical that I don’t think the average skating viewer would pick up on. Or, maybe they would and I’m just to wowed. I mean I can tell if they’ve made a big mistake (like falling on their butt) and I can tell a good routine from a bad one - but otherwise I just like to sit back and enjoy the show.

I suppose that criticism can be construed as negative, but personally, I prefer commentators who call it like it is. A good commentator will explain the major mistakes like doubling instead of tripling a jump, for example (falls are rather self-explanatory). They’ll also explain what the judges are looking for, how many triples should be done during the program, foot work, spins, and so on and so forth.

I can’t stand commentators who suck up to everyone and praise everything a competitor does. If it’s crap, I expect commentators to say so.

Some drink at the fountain of knowledge…others just gargle.

I don’t mind a commentator pointint out errors, but these two were being outright mean, and making all kinds of derogatory remarks that weren’t technical at all. At one point they said the audience had better be careful lest they get hit with falling bodies.

Teeming Millions:
“Meat flaps, yellow!” - DrainBead, naked co-ed Twister chat
O p a l C a t

I don’t much care for figure skating anymore. I used to love it, when the skaters were actually doing something besides jumping. Now all they do is skate in circles, jump, and flap their arms a bit. The women’s competition in the last Olympics bored me to tears. Now I watch the ice dancing.

I like the non-competitive shows, though. It’s nice to see the skaters do what they want.

“The quickest way to a man’s heart is through his ribcage.” --anonymous redhead

I love figure skating.Sure can’t do it myself,though.Tara rules!

I love figure skating as well, did it for many years… one year I was a skunk in the carnival (ok ok I was only a kid) and a fine skunk I made :wink:

We are, each of us angels with only one wing,and we can only fly by embracing one another

The reason that all the various different types of spins are classified at all(I mean really…the foot and edge?) is that it gives the announcers something to say. How interesting would it be if all the announcers did was say…“There she just jumped in the air and spun around. Now she’s doing it again. Now she’s spinning around, and jumping in the air a third time…”
This is also the reason that they critique the performances.

You’re kidding, right? Did you bother to check the site I have linked above, regarding the various spins? I’m going to take a huge leap here and say no, because if you had, you’d have seen that each jump carries with it a differing degree of difficulty. It does matter which edge a skater takes off and lands on, and not for the sake of mere banter for the announcers. That’s precisely what makes each jump more or less diffult than another, and those are the criteria on which the skaters are scored by the judges. And one can’t possibly understand the scores (not that I always do anyway) if you don’t go in with the basic knowledge that skater1 got 5.8s and skater2 got 5.3s, even though neither one fell and you, the casual observer, saw them each do equally beautiful routines with an equal number of jumps, because skater1 had the higher degree of difficulty in his/her routine.

And not that anyone cares, but I thought the announcers were right on the money last night in their comments and observations. And not only that, but they showed close-up, slow motion shots of the places where skaters made mistakes, giving an excellent visual to back up their statements. I’m a huge fan of Elvis Stojko, but he was clearly outskated, as was Michelle Kwan. I enjoyed the program and I’m looking forward to watching the pairs and ice dancers, and hearing the commentators’ calls on the quality of the performances.

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” - Anne Frank

Shayna, I hope this doesn’t come off as a stupid question, but, here goes.

How can they tell? After reading this, I was watching skating again this afternoon, I was making an effort to tell the difference in the jumps. The foot was obvious, but front - back - inside edge - outside edge, it was all lost on me. I would think as a TV viewer I might have a better view than the announcers. Are there other clues in the skater’s form that they are looking at, or are their eyes just that sharp?

I always thought that the commentators had a detailed list of each skater’s routine. At least it seems that way. Often, I hear them preparing the audience for the next jump:

“And now, the triple lutz – (skater jumps) – nicely done!”

This may just be in compulsory competitions like the Olympics when everybody has to do the same thing. As usual, I don’t really know what I’m talking about.

At the risk of killing my masculine image, I will admit I like to watch skating. (Notice I said watch.) However, in my defense I should say that I really like the short skirts.

Though I haven’t been watching lately.

Definitely not a stupid question at all, Minxsmom.

The announcers for figure skating are extremely familiar with the technical moves because they are trained in the sport. Most all of them at one time were professional skaters themselves. They’ve done these jumps over and over and over again, and that familiarity affords them a great advantage to be able to discern the subtle differences in things such as edges. Their trained eye can see just as clearly what’s being done as a trained musician’s ear can hear the subtle differences between chords.

And just as some pieces of music are considered more difficult to play, some moves in figure skating are more difficult to perform. To you and I, it’s obvious why a triple jump is harder than a double jump - you have to have greater strength and skill to get your body to complete three revolutions in the air than you do to complete two. What’s less obvious to us is why it’s harder to jump from one edge versus another, etc.

To illustrate slightly, consider the Loop vs the Salchow, and forget anything about edges for a moment. Skaters approach the Loop by skating backwards on two feet, with the left foot crossed in front of the right. They then jump up into the air with their feet still crossed at the ankles. The Salchow has a similar approach, but the right leg is swung just before the jump to assist in the rotation. Jumping up into the air with your ankles crossed is more difficult than swinging one leg to help provide leverage. Therefore, while the Loop and the Salchow look pretty much the same, in one case you’ll see the skater swing their leg and in the other you won’t.

Try standing in one spot with your ankles crossed and jumping straight up in the air. Now do it again, only lift the back foot off the floor and when bringing it down, use the ball of the foot to push off before jumping up. You can get higher pushing off with one foot than jumping from a standing position. Now try doing it on the edge of a blade - LOL :wink:

And yes, the announcers are made aware of the routines prior to their performance so they do know what to expect. However, often when a skater is having trouble with a certain jump (maybe they fell every time they tried it in practice), or is feeling tired toward the end of a routine, they may choose to do a different one than planned because it’s less difficult. The announcers will always mention this when it happens. Therefore it’s not just that they know ahead of time. If a skater changes a planned jump, they can tell.

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” - Anne Frank

Wow, thanks for all that info, I think I’ll enjoy watching skating even more now. :slight_smile:

A girl-friend of mine and I were watching the '92 Olympic Figure Skating competition. She was surprised that I liked watching it so much. I said, “Sure. I especially like it when they skate backwards and their little skirts blow up around their waists.” :wink:

Sure it was sexist. But it was also the truth. :slight_smile:

I looked in the mirror today/My eyes just didn’t seem so bright
I’ve lost a few more hairs/I think I’m going bald - Rush