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Swizzles, Axels and Camels – Figure Skating Terms You Need to Know

Figure Skater

Do you know all about swizzles, axels and camels? If not, read on…

Jumps are an important part of competitive figure skating.  There are triples, doubles and quads.  There are Toe Loops,  Flips, Salchows, Axels,  Lutzs and Sequence Jumps. Each is identified by the take-off edge and the number of revolutions completedGet ready for Sochi by learning all the different jumps and spins.

A figure skating jump with a forward take-off. It is named after the Norwegian skater Axel Paulsen who first performed the jump in 1882.

Besti Squat
A spread eagle in a squating position with the torso held upright; named for Natalia Bestemianova.

Butterfly Jump
A flying spin with a two-foot takeoff. The body goes almost parallel to the ice in the air, with a scissoring leg motion.

Also known in Europe as a parallel spin; one of the three basic figure skating spins, along with the sit spin and upright spin. The basic camel spin position is defined as one in which the free leg is extended backwards with the knee held above hip level.

Charlotte Spiral
A spiral position in which the torso is bent down towards the skating leg, with the free leg held in a 180 degree vertical split position. Also known as a candlestick spiral.

A turn from forward to backward (or backward to forward) from one foot to the other in which the curve of the exit edge is in the opposite direction to the curve of the entry edge. The change of foot is from outside edge to inside edge or from inside edge to outside edge.

An identifiable component of a program. Includes spins, spirals, jumps, footwork, lifts, etc.

Death Spiral
An element in pair skating in which the woman skates on a deep edge with her body close to the ice and skates in a circle around the man, who is in a low pivot position and holding her by the arm.

Flip Jump
A toe-pick-assisted jump taken off from the back inside edge of one foot and landed on the back outside edge of the opposite foot.

A glide in figure skating is a one or two footed movement across the ice, either forward or backward.

Grand Prix
A series of six international invitational events that build to the Grand Prix Final.

A lobe is a pattern made on the ice by an edge or steps, forming an arc of a circle that starts and finishes on an axis. In other words it is pattern that is a half circle.

Loop Jump
A jump in which the skater takes off from the back outside edge of the skating foot, turns one rotation in the air and lands on the back outside edge of the take-off foot. Variations: double loop, triple loop, 1/2 loop

Move done with knee bent and free leg extended

A figure skating jump, named after Alois Lutz, an Austrian skater who performed it in 1913. It is a toepick-assisted jump with an entrance from a back outside edge and landing on the back outside edge of the opposite foot.

A turn performed from forward to backward with a change of foot.

Skating elements set to music performed by a skater in a defined length of time. There are usually two programs for pairs and single skaters and three for ice dancers in ISU competitions.

A turn made on one foot from a forward to backward (or backward to forward) edge maintaining the same character, i.e., outside to inside or inside to outside.

Quality as all about putting together the basics of power, edge control, extension, and speed.

Quadruple Jump
A jump with four full rotations (1440 degrees) in the air. The only quadruple jumps to have been completed in competition are the toe loop and salchow by men, and just the salchow for ladies. In a quadruple Axel, the skater would have done 4.5 revolutions (1620 degrees)

A figure skating jump with a takeoff from a back inside edge and landing on the back outside edge of the opposite foot after one or more rotations in the air; invented by the Swedish skater Ulrich Salchow in 1909.

Scratch Spin
A spin done standing straight up with legs crossed

An edge skated with the free leg extended at or above hip level. Spirals are a required element for ladies’ and pairs competitions.

When a skater either under- or over-rotates a jump so that he or she does not land cleanly and must put the free leg down prematurely.

Using the edges of the skates to push off and gain speed.

A scissor-like skating move in which the skates don’t leave the ice.

Toe Loop
A toe-pick-assisted jump that takes off and lands on the same back outside edge.

Toe Pick
The teeth at the front of a skate blade that assists a skater in jumps and spins.

A quick multi-rotational turn on one foot while moving forwards or backwards

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