Figure Skating Terms, Explained: Ice Skating 101 & Glossary for the 2022 Winter Olympics

Figure Skating - Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Day 4
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The Figure Skating competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics runs from Friday, February 4 through Sunday, February 20. We’ve seen some incredible performances and have watched athletes like Nathan Chen (Salt Lake City, UT), Madison Hubbell (Lansing, Michigan), Zach Donohue (Hartford, Connecticut), and Kamila Valiyeva raise the sport of figure skating to a new caliber.

RELATED: How to watch Figure Skating at the 2022 Winter Olympics: TV schedule, live stream

Below is a figure skating glossary with some commonly used terms that you will likely continue to hear for the remainder of the Beijing Winter Games. Click here for the full figure skating schedule and be sure to follow all of the action on NBC and Peacock.

RELATED: 2022 Winter Olympics – TV schedule, day-by-day viewing guide to the Beijing Winter Games

Figure Skating Glossary

Axel: A forward-facing jump invented by Norwegian Axel Paulson in 1882. The Axel is the only jump in which skaters take off from a forward outside edge. The skater rotates one-and-a-half times in the air – two-and-a-half times for a double, and so on – before landing on the back outside edge of the opposite foot from which they took off.

Camel Spin: The skater spins on one leg with the free leg extended in the air, parallel to the ice.

Combination Spin: The skater changes positions while maintaining speed and a continuous spin (may or may not include a change of foot).

Crossovers: Foot movement in which the skater crosses one foot over the other in order to gain speed and turn corners. This step can be done forwards and backwards.

Death Spiral: A pair spin in which the man stands as the anchor in a pivot position while holding his partner’s hand as she spins, body extended low and parallel to the ice, around him.

Edge Jump: In an edge jump, a skater takes off from the entry edge of the skating (takeoff) foot without bringing the free foot into contact with the ice to assist the takeoff. The three edge jumps are the Axel, loop, and Salchow.

Flip: A toe-assisted jump in which the skater takes off from the back inside edge of one foot and lands on the back outside edge of the opposite foot.

Flutz:  “Flutz” is an unofficial term for a common mistake made by skaters attempting the Lutz jump. A Lutz is “flutzed” when a skater switches from a back outside edge to an inside edge right before takeoff.

Flying Spin: A spin with a jumping entry. For example, in a flying sit spin, the skater leaps upwards and assumes a sitting position at the peak of the jump before landing in a similar sitting position on the ice and performing a sit spin.

Lift: Some of the most exciting elements in pairs and ice dance, lifts involve the hoisting of the female partner above the head of the male partner. There are several different types of lifts, differentiated according to style of entry and the position and hand holds of the pair during the lift.

Loop: A jump in which skaters take off of a back outside edge and land on the same edge of the same foot.

Salchow: Edge jump named after Sweden’s Ulrich Salchow, 10-time world champion from 1901 through 1911. Skaters take off from the back inside edge of one foot and land on the back outside edge of the opposite foot.

Shadow Skating: Identical movements performed by pairs skaters in close proximity to one another.

Sit Spin: A spin performed in a sitting position. Low to the ice, the skater spins with one leg bent and the other leg extended beside it.

Spiral: A move in which the skater extends his or her free leg behind him or her during a long glide to demonstrate both flexibility and fluidity, often included in the choreographic sequence of a program.

Stroking: A maneuver used to gain speed. Skaters push forward from one inside edge to the other inside edge.

Throw Jump: A maneuver in pair skating in which the male throws his partner in the air, and she lands unassisted on a backward outside edge.

Toe Pick: The teeth-like ridge at the front of the blade used for spinning and jumping.

Twizzle: This is one of the most easily identifiable moves in ice dancing. Twizzles are a series of turns on one foot. The skaters perform the rotations quickly with a continuous action, side by side, preferably close to each other on the ice (though not touching). The weight remains on the skating foot, with the free foot in any position during the turn.

RELATED: 2022 Winter Olympics updates – Best moments, highlights from the Beijing Winter Games


How to stream the 2022 Winter Olympics on Peacock:

Stream the Olympics on Peacock to never miss a second of the action this year. Peacock will be the streaming home of the Beijing Winter Games offering live stream coverage of every single event–that’s over 2,800 hours of Olympic action. In addition, to live stream coverage of every event, viewers will also be able to enjoy the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, NBC’s nightly primetime show, full replays of all competition available immediately upon conclusion, exclusive daily studio programming, medal ceremonies, extensive highlight clips, and more. Click here to sign up.


How to watch the 2022 Winter Olympics on NBC:

For the second consecutive Winter Games and third overall, NBC will broadcast its primetime Olympic show live across all time zones.

What time does primetime coverage begin each night on NBC?

  • Monday – Friday: 8:00 pm ET
  • Sunday: 7:00 pm ET

RELATED: 2022 Winter Olympics Figure Skating – Schedule, live stream, TV channel, how to watch online

Be sure to follow OlympicTalk and NBC Olympics for the latest news and updates about the Beijing Winter Games!