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Figure Skating

Figure skating tests a skater's control and balance and demands lots of practice, patience and time.

The English style of figure skating began towards the end of the 18th century. Unlike the International style seen on the television today, where the skater is continually moving position, the English style involved holding graceful positions until a turn or change of direction.  Skaters kept an upright posture with arms often held at their sides. Great concentration was on the figures performed on the ice.  Skating remained the sport of the aristocracy for only they - being short of neither time nor money - could afford the very expensive lessons!

Figure skating, alongside speed skating, became one of the first sports in competition at international level following the formation of the International Skating Union (ISU) in 1892. Today, the ISU oversees all major international ice skating competitions and championships.

Under the general term of "figure skating" there are five separate competitions at International level:

  • Men's single skating
  • Ladies' single skating
  • Ice dancing
  • Pairs skating
  • Synchronized skating

 

Today's competitive skaters aim to:

  • Perform as difficult a routine as possible (technical merit)
  • Present the routine so that it looks it's best (presentation)

 

Figure skating today is forever making sporting leaps because it constantly offers new challenges, such as higher jumps and more rotations. With their amazing levels of fitness, agility and artistic talent, top skaters strive to be the world's best.

Ice dancing is a popular recreational sport as well as a major focal point of international competitions.  Like competition-level pairs skating, it is elegant and dazzling, but it does not have the jumps, over-head lifts or extended spins. Ice dancing has different rules and a greater emphasis on the way skaters move to the music.