Appendix:Glossary of figure skating

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The following is a glossary of figure skating terms:

Contents: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


axel, axel jump
The only jump counted as a jump element that starts from skating forward. An axel jump has an extra half rotation (180 degrees), and as all jumps is landed with the skater gliding backwards.


The vertical barrier between the ice and the ground. In non-Olympic competitions, they are usually covered with advertisements for the sponsors.
bracket, bracket turn
A one foot turn with a change of edge that continues along the same lobe with the rotation outside the lobe. Results in a '}' shaped tracing on the ice.
Permission to compete in the a higher level of competition without having competed in the qualifying competition.


Code of Points, an informal name for the ISU Judging System.
A spin or spiral position in which the free leg is held by one or both hands.
chack, chacked, chacking (v.)
When a medal-winning or otherwise noteworthy program is not shown on television. See Michael Chack.
A jump that was not fully rotated in midair, with either the first rotation starting on the ice or the final rotation finishing after the landing.
A two foot turn with a change of edge that results in a change of lobe.
clean program
A skating program without falls, hands on the ground in jumps and spins, or illegal use of toe picks in edge jumps that can all result in point deductions.
Two or more elements (jumps, spin positions) performed in succession.
compulsory dance
The first of the three program in ice dance. All teams perform the same dance to the same music.
counter, counter turn
A one foot turn on the same edge but results in a change of lobe with the rotation outside the original lobe.
Crossing one foot over the other as a way of gaining speed and turning corners.


A jump with two full rotations (720 degrees) in the air (two and a half rotations for double Axel).
The act of choosing the starting order before the event. Can be either open (public) or closed (private).


Skaters who earn money only from ISU-approved competitions and exhibitions. Only eligible skaters may compete in the Olympic Games.
A sharp part of the skate blade. Can be either inside (towards the body) or outside (away from the body), and forward or backward, for a total for four different edges. A "deep edge" is a deep lean on the edge of the skate.


A grouping of six skaters at a competition. The final flight of the long program is made up of the highest-scoring six skaters from the short program and are considered to be the main medal contenders.
A portmanteau of "flip" and "Lutz", for an improperly executed lutz jump, where the outside take-off edge is mistakenly changed to an inside edge, making it a flip jump.
free dance
The third and final program in an ice dance competition.
free leg
The leg that is not on the ice.
free skate, free skating
Originally a term for the part of the skating competition that was not compulsory figures. Now the official name of the long program.


gold medalist
In addition to referring to the winner of a particular figure skating competition, all skaters who have passed the USFSA's highest-level skill tests are called "gold medalists"; the latter usage is especially common on coaches' resumes.
Figures performed on two feet.


The groove in the middle of a blade between the inside and outside edges.


ice dancing
The skating discipline in which two skaters perform a choreographed dance.
"Professional" skaters; skaters who receive money from sources not approved by the ISU.
inside edge
The edge of a skate blade facing towards the body.


A skating move where a skater pushes off the ice into the air, rotates, and lands on one foot going backwards.
jump combination
Two jumps performed one right after the other. The only jumps that can be performed as the second jump in a jump combination are the toe loop or loop, because they are the only jumps that start from the back outside edge, which is the edge on all properly-performed jumps are landed.
jump sequence
Any jump followed by anything but loop or toe loop, i.e. with a change of edge.


The official term for female competitors in the singles category.
landing leg
The leg on which a skater lands a jump. Opposite of free leg.
leg wrap
An air position in jumps where one of the legs is held at a right angle to the other, crossing it around the knee, so that it appears to be "wrapped" around the other. Most skaters keep their legs pointing down when they jump.
A pairs and ice dance element in which one skater lifts his or her partner while rotating. Pairs lifts, unlike dance, go over the head. Some dancers perform genderbending lifts, in which the woman lifts the man.
A portmanteau of "lutz" and "flip", for an improperly executed flip jump, where the inside take-off edge is mistakenly changed to an outside edge, making it a lutz jump.
long program
An unofficial, but widely-used, name for the second and longer of the two programs performed by singles and pair skaters at a competition. The time limit is 4.5 minutes for men's singles and pairs and 4 minutes for ladies' singles at the senior (Olympic) level.


mirror skating
Two or more skaters skating in such a way that they are mirroring each other. The opposite of unison skating.
Mohawk, Mohawk turn
A two foot turn on the same edge that continues along the same lobe.


A country's national championships, used to decide their national champion. The highest-level competition on the national level.


original dance
The second program of an ice dance competition.
outside edge
The edge of a skate blade facing away from the body.
A jump that has more than the expected number of rotations, mostly from landing the wrong way around.


pairs, pair skating
The skating discipline where two skaters perform overhead lifts, side-by-side spins and jumps. Usually refers to a man and a woman skating together. Two men or two women together are called a similar pair.
personal best
The highest score a skater has earned.
popping (a jump)
When a jumps "opens up" in mid-air, resulting in the skater performing fewer than the desired rotates.
The second set of scores in the old 6.0 judging system, otherwise known as "Artistic Impression".
Skaters who are not eligible to compete in ISU events.


A 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.


rocker, rocker turn
A one foot turn on the same edge but results in a change of lobe with the rotation inside the original lobe.


short program
The first and shorter of the two programs performed by singles and pair skaters at a competition. This program has certain required elements that must be completed. The program lasts two minutes and fifty seconds.
signature move
A move that a skater is known for and frequently performs, sometimes performed in a unique or unusual way.
A jump with one full rotation (360 degrees) in the air (one and a half rotations for a single axel)
singles, single skating
The skating discipline where one skater performs alone on the ice. Can be men's or ladies.
Extending the free leg in the air while moving across the ice. A required element for ladies' competitions. A good spiral depends on edge control and speed across the ice, not necessarily leg position.
step sequence
A series of footwork and field moves performed during a program. Can be circular or straight line.
A way of moving across the ice and gaining speed by using the inside edges of the blades.
A way of moving across the ice by pushing the feet outwards from a 90 degree angle V and then pulling them together again, forming an oval on the ice. Also known as scissors, fishes, or sculling.


throw jump
A pair skating element in which the male skater throws the woman into the air, where she completes a normal skating jump. Throw jumps usually have more height and power than normal jumps because of the extra help involved.
toe pick
The teeth at the front of a skate blade that assists a skater in jumps and spins.
When a spinning skater is moving across the ice while spinning.
A jump with three full rotations (1080 degrees) in the air (3 and a half rotations for the triple axel)
three turn
A one foot turn with a change of edge that continues along the same lobe with the rotation inside the lobe. Results in a '3' shaped tracing on the ice.
two-footed landing
The landing of a jump where both feet touch the ice.


A jump that does not complete the expected number of rotations.
unison Skating
Two or more skatings skating the same steps at the same time.



warm-up group
Group of skaters who warm up together immediately before skating their programs.




Zayak rule
A rule stating that skaters are only allowed to perform a jump once in a program, twice if the jump is in combination with another jump. See Elaine Zayak.