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!

Ilia Malinin wins U.S. Figure Skating Championships despite quadruple Axel miss

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One year ago, Ilia Malinin came to the U.S. Championships as, largely, a 17-year-old unknown. He finished second to Nathan Chen in 2022 and was left off the three-man Olympic team due to his inexperience, a committee decision that lit a fire in him.

After the biggest year of change in U.S. figure skating in three decades, Malinin came to this week’s nationals in San Jose, California, as the headliner across all disciplines.

Though he fell on his quadruple Axel and doubled two other planned quads in Sunday’s free skate (the most ambitious program in history), he succeeded the absent Chen as national champion.

Malinin, the world’s second-ranked male singles skater, still landed two clean quads in Friday’s short program and three more Sunday. He totaled 287.74 points and prevailed by 10.43 over two-time Olympian Jason Brown, a bridge between the Chen and Malinin eras.

“This wasn’t the skate that I wanted,” said Malinin, who was bidding to become the second man to land six quads in one program after Chen. The Virginia chalked up the flaws at least partially to putting more recent practice time into his short program, which he skated clean on Friday after errors in previous competitions.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Results

Brown, a 28-year-old competing for the first time since placing sixth at the Olympics, became the oldest male singles skater to finish in the top three at nationals since Jeremy Abbott won the last of his four titles in 2014. As usual, he didn’t attempt a quad but had the highest artistic score by 9.41 points.

Brown’s seven total top-three finishes at nationals tie him with Chen, Michael WeissBrian Boitano, David Jenkins and Dick Button for the second-most in men’s singles since World War II, trailing only Todd Eldredge‘s and Hayes Jenkins‘ eight.

“I’m not saying it’s super old, but I can’t train the way I used to,” Brown said after Friday’s short program. “What Ilia is doing and the way he is pushing the sport is outstanding and incredible to watch. I cannot keep up.”

Andrew Torgashev took bronze, winning the free skate with one quad and all clean jumps. Torgashev, who competed at nationals for the first time since placing fifth in 2020 at age 18, will likely round out the three-man world team.

Japan’s Shoma Uno will likely be the favorite at worlds. He won last year’s world title, when Malinin admittedly cracked under pressure in the free skate after a fourth-place short program and ended up ninth.

That was before Malinin became the first person to land a quad Axel in competition. That was before Malinin became the story of the figure skating world this fall. That was before Malinin took over the American throne from Chen, who is studying at Yale and not expected to return to competition.

Malinin’s next step is to grab another label that Chen long held: best in the world. To do that, he must be better than he was on Sunday.

“You always learn from your experiences, and there’s always still the rest of the season to come,” he said. “I just have to be prepared and prepare a little bit extra so that doesn’t happen again.”

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Mark McMorris breaks Winter X Games medals record; David Wise wins first title in 5 years

Mark McMorris
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Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris broke his tie with American Jamie Anderson for the most Winter X Games medals across all sites, earning his 22nd medal, a slopestyle gold, in Aspen, Colorado.

On the final run of Sunday’s contest, McMorris overtook Norway’s Marcus Kleveland with back-to-back 1620s on the last two jumps. McMorris’ last three Aspen slopestyle titles were all won on his final run (2019, 2022).

“It’s something I never thought would ever come to me as a kid from Saskatchewan,” McMorris, 29, said on the broadcast. “Everything’s just been a bonus since I became a pro snowboarder.”

In a format introduced three years ago, athletes were ranked on overall impression of their best run over the course of a jam session rather than scoring individual runs.

McMorris won his record-extending seventh X Games Aspen men’s slopestyle title, one day after finishing fourth in big air.

“It just keeps getting crazier because I keep getting older,” he said. “People just keep pushing the limits, pushing the limits. Last night was such a downer, almost bums me out, like, dude, do I still have it? … To have one of those miracle wins where you do it on the last run and someone makes you push yourself, those are the best feelings.”

McMorris won slopestyle bronze medals at each of the last three Olympics and reportedly said last February that he was planning to compete through the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games.

Canadian Max Parrot, the 2022 Olympic slopestyle champion, is taking this season off from competition.

Anderson, a two-time Olympic snowboard slopestyle champion, is expecting her first child.

Later Sunday, American David Wise earned his first major ski halfpipe title since repeating as Olympic champion in 2018. Wise landed back-to-back double cork 1260s to end his winning run, according to commentators.

“I wouldn’t still be out here if I didn’t think I had a chance,” Wise, 32 and now a five-time X Games Aspen champ, said on the broadcast. “I’m not going to be the guy who just keeps playing the game until everybody just begs me to stop.”

U.S. Olympian Mac Forehand won men’s ski big air with a 2160 on his last run, according to commentators. It scored a perfect 50. Olympic gold medalist Birk Ruud of Norway followed with a triple cork 2160 of his own, according to commentators, and finished third.

Canadian skier Megan Oldham added slopestyle gold to her big air title from Friday, relegating Olympic champion Mathilde Gremaud of Switzerland to silver.

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