I've been watching women's figure skating on Youtube for two seasons, but this year I've convinced my boyfriend to watch the Olympics with me! The only figure skater he's ever heard of is Michelle Kwan, so he's quite a newbie. I'd like to help provide commentary because I feel that's not something I get from our American commentators. I can pick out three voices: a woman, an over-excitable man, and a lower-pitched calmer man.
But the problem is, I'm just a bit more experienced than the non-watcher. I watch my favorite skaters on Youtube, but I have no technical training in skating and I've never bothered to look at protocols. But I'd still like to offer helpful commentary during the performances. Anyway, here is my repertoire of things I know about figure skating. Can you guys check my accuracy?
1. Types of jumps I can identify:
Axel: the skater skates forward, and then lunges into air.
Flip/Lutz: the skater skates backward, and then sticks one leg behind them and digs into the ice. Caroline Zhang does an exaggerated version of this, the “mule kick.” The lutz is taken from an outside edge, and a flip is taken from an inside edge.
Salchow/Loop: the skater stands with one foot in front, one in back, and corkscrews into the air. I can't tell the difference between the two. Is it an edge difference?
The big thing with jumps is that they have to fully rotated, three times in the air for triples. If you rotate on the ice, it's called pre-rotation and it doesn't count. If it's sort by more than one fourth of a rotation, then it is downgraded to a double, and that's bad because you can't win the Olympics with glorified doubles. Falls have a deduction of -1.00, but it's not so bad if you fully rotate three times in the air, because the landing is more susceptible to chance.
A spiral is when a skater sticks a leg in the air for at least three seconds, and she has to do several in a row for it to be a spiral sequence. Good spirals don't necessarily have to be “bendy.” It has something to do with the angle of the ice blade to the ice. I'm sort of confused on this; more on edges later.
3. Step sequence
I have no idea what makes one step sequence better than another.
Spins are fun, I think these will be no problem. Good spins are ones that show off flexibility, have changes in positions, and are centered.
5. Basic Skating skills
How can tell whether one skater has better basic skating skills than another? I keep hearing edges and speed. Speed is easy – I just watch how fast the boards are moving behind the skater. But what do people mean by deep edges? How can I identify this? Do good skaters lean to one side while skating so to only use one edge of the blade and splay up the ice?
There are two sections of scoring, TES (Technical) and PCS (Artistry). Every element is given base value of something, harder elements have higher base values. If you do the element well, you get a positive GOE, and if you don't, you get a negative GOE. A good SP score is 70+, and a FS is 130+.
Anyway, that's about everything I know about skating. I hope to be competent when explaining how figure skating works. Any comments or advice to better explain it?