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What is the point of figure skating as sport?

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by gkelly, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    Imagine that you're given the task of introducing the sport of figure skating to a group of people who are interested in sports but know nothing about figure skating.

    How would you describe in a couple of sentences what the athletes are trying to achieve, what's being evaluated, and how?

    (For the "how," for brevity choose either 6.0 or IJS. You can write two separate explanations if you like. :) )
  2. love_skate2011

    love_skate2011 Well-Known Member

    because it beautiful to watch and its one of the sports when you see jumps you feel like flying, lol

    FS is subjective sports but so is gymnastics etc.
  3. Lanna

    Lanna Well-Known Member

    Acrobatics (jumps, spins)/special skills (footwork) on ice where the point is to make it look like dance.
  4. Really

    Really I need a new title

    Skating is a unique blend of physics, strength, agility, balance, and art. The first four are mostly assessed in a technical score that, as of yet, has no real upper limit; and the art, along with other skills on the blade that use agility and balance, make up the program components score. Usually, the skater who best combines both technical and components will win.
  5. Iceman

    Iceman Well-Known Member

    well, first, such persons might want to know why it is called "figure" skating. And I would guess they would have some expectation that figures are a part of it. I guess I would tell them it is athletic solo dance on ice, involving jumps and spins and footwork.
  6. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

    In french, it's called "patinage artistique" (artistic skating). I'd say it can live without music. It's not dance on ice, it's a technical sport before being an artistic sport.
  7. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Yuzuru, Medvedeva, T&M, Shibs, P&C

    If I am talking to people that don't view FS as a sport, I would focus on the athleticism- the speed, power, jumps in particular, and spins too, to explain this. Describe how the blade works against the ice, and the physics of it. Then describe hockey players, except that they don't have to land a jump on one foot, and they don't have to use edges to the extent a figure skater has to. On top of that, figure skaters take a huge risk in not wearing helmets and other protective equipment.

    Once they are convinced that there may be athletic merit to FS, I would go into where the presentation (don't use the word artistry or artistic) part comes in, how it is judged, and the role of musical interpretation- the kind of precision needed in performing the very difficult athletic tasks to match the music. The finer parts make it even more difficult to execute the athletic moves.

    The thing that hurts FS the most in being accepted as a sport are the costumes. We all love those, and would hate to see everyone skate in a black leotard, but others cannot see how a costume can enhance the skating program and performance. Unless there is a question about the costumes, I would not even mention those, except that the tight fitting clothes make it easier to do the rotations and look nice while doing it.
    gkelly and (deleted member) like this.
  8. bardtoob

    bardtoob Former Choreographer for Anna Maria Tragikova

    The intention of this term is often misunderstood. Figure skating, as in compulsory figure skating, was called artistic skating in romance languages because skaters would make artistic tracing in the ice. It had nothing to do with making one's body appear pretty above the ice or performing acrobatics skills above the ice. Compulsory figures used to be the "sport" part of the competition, while Freeskating was the victory lap.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012
  9. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

    Continuous flow across the ice is what makes figure skating unique. This is achieved by skating on the edge of the blade rather than the flat. A deep knee bend is required to maintain your balance on the edge of your blade. The deeper the knee bend, the deeper the edge.

    Skate blades are also curved or "rockered" from front to back, which produces the curved lobes that skaters trace on the ice when doing their turns.

    Deep edges and continuous flow are what separate a great skater from a mediocre one.
  10. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    Except that the "artistic" tracing on the ice as shown in your second link was never part of the ISU championships and was only competed at one Olympics and some smaller nonchampionship events around the turn of the 20th century.

    The compulsory figures, as shown at the bottom of your first link, are not exactly artistic.

    However I can't speak to the intention of francophone figure skaters of a century or more ago.
  11. bardtoob

    bardtoob Former Choreographer for Anna Maria Tragikova

    People skated before there were competitions, so the name of the activity was not named for what was done in competition.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012
    gkelly and (deleted member) like this.
  12. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    My try:

    Figure skating is based on using the whole body to control the edges of a blade around in curves moving across the ice. Most of the skills involve different ways of transitioning from one edge to another or converting the curving motion of the edges into rotation on the ice (spins) or in the air (rotational jumps). Skaters are rewarded for demonstrating difficulty and variety of different skills linked together into a single performance (program) and for the quality with which they execute these skills. The programs are set to music and skaters are rewarded for demonstrating enough mastery of the technical skills to vary the timing of the moves in subtle ways to match the music.

    I could expand further as appropriate.
  13. Mafke

    Mafke Well-Known Member

    Sacre bleu! I have to say au contraire mon ami.

    A well-skated figure is a beautiful thing to watch.


    Not 'artistic' in the traditional sense but a very aesthetic experience.
  14. Mafke

    Mafke Well-Known Member

  15. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

  16. Morry Stillwell

    Morry Stillwell Well-Known Member

    A Figure Skater must performer as if running a 4 minute mile while navigating over the high hurdle course and must look like Nuryev:)

  17. loulou

    loulou Let It Snow

    I agree!

    I'm very unique in the fact I like trainings more than competitions - and you often see people train to other people's musics, or train single elements to random music/non-competition music, which benefit that music in the same way a bus ride does.
  18. Rock2

    Rock2 Well-Known Member

    Figure skating is mainly an athletic pursuit that has two essential components:

    It's first about what you can do with a blade: jump, spin, turn, push, lean and move...all adeptly with speed, control and efficiency of energy

    It's second about what you do with your entire body: precise, sincere, unique, varied, complex and interesting movement that is seamlessly woven together and with specific interpretation of the chosen music.

    That's all I got
  19. spikydurian

    spikydurian Well-Known Member

    A single figure skater is an all-round gymnast, speed skater and ice-carver roll into one.
    It is a sport which demands stamina, agility, balance, strength, precision, focus with a touch Baryshnikov/Fonteyn.
    The speed and footwork across ice, the spins, the jumps, the intricacy and weaving of all these componenst into ONE makes this complex sport more exciting but certainly no less very demanding on the athlete.
  20. rvi5

    rvi5 Active Member

    I think costumes are only part of the reason why some people don't consider Figure Skating a sport. Figure Skating also involves dancing and acting. Neither are considered a sport (you won't see ballet at the Olympics, although you can argue it is also athletic). I have heard people describe Figure Skating as just dancing while wearing skates. With Gymnastics, they stand in front of the apparatus and then do their thing. Except for the floor exercise and Rythmics, there isn't dancing or acting involved. If the artistic portion of Figure Skating were removed, it would better resemble what people consider a sport...but would also be very boring.

    Regardless of whether people consider Figure Skating a sport or not, it does appear to be popular at the Winter Olympics (judging by ticket prices). At Vancouver 2010, the most expensive tickets were for mens hockey, followed by womens hockey and figure skating. However, I guess that depends on the country hosting the Olympics.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012
  21. os168

    os168 Active Member

    Show them Yuna Kim's Danse Macabre. Ask them to copy it.

    (& get insurance + profit, voila!)