Dance lifts are separated into short lifts and long lifts. There are many positions each partner can take to raise the difficulty of a lift. Each position must be held for at least three seconds to count and is permitted only once in a program. Along with other forms of skating , figure skating is one of the only human powered activities where travelling backwards is integral to the discipline.
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The ability to skate well backwards and forwards are considered to be equally important, as is the ability to transition well between the two. Step sequences are a required element in all four Olympic disciplines. The pattern can be straight line, circular, or serpentine. The step sequence consists of a combination of turns, steps, hops and edge changes. Additionally, steps and turns can be used as transitions between elements. The various turns, which skaters can incorporate into step sequences, include:. Three turns , so called because the blade turns into the curve of the edge or lobe to leave a tracing resembling the numeral "3".
Mohawks , the two-foot equivalents of three turns and brackets.
Rockers , one-foot turns that involve a change of lobe as well as of direction. Counters , one-foot turns that involve a change of lobe as well as of direction. Choctaws are the two-foot equivalents of rockers and counters.
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Other movements that may be incorporated into step sequences or used as connecting elements include lunges and spread eagles. An Ina Bauer is similar to a spread eagle performed with one knee bent and typically an arched back. Hydroblading refers to a deep edge performed with the body as low as possible to the ice in a near-horizontal position.
Moves in the field emphasize basic skating skill and edge control. In the context of a competitive program, they include spirals , spread eagles , Ina Bauers , hydroblading , and similar extended edge moves. A spiral is an element in which the skater moves across the ice on a specific edge with the free leg held at hip level or above.
Spirals are distinguished by the edge of the blade used inside or outside , the direction of motion forward or backward , and the skater's position. A spiral sequence is one or more spiral positions and edges done in sequence. Judges look at the depth, stability, and control of the skating edge, speed and ice coverage, extension, and other factors. Some skaters are able to change edges during a spiral, i. Spirals performed on a "flat" are generally not considered as true spirals.
Spiral sequences were required in ladies' and pair skating prior to the —13 season,  but from the —13 season onward, they were replaced by the choreographic sequence. The choreographic sequence consists of moves in the field, unlisted jumps, spinning movements, etc. A death spiral is a required element of pair skating.
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There are four varieties distinguished by the lady's edge and direction of motion. The man performs a pivot , one toe anchored in the ice, while holding the hand of his partner, who circles him on a deep edge with her body almost parallel to the ice. As of , the woman's head must at some time reach her skating knee. The man must also be in a full pivot position and the death spiral must be held for a minimum amount of rotation, depending on the level.
Compulsory figures involves using the blades of the figure skates to draw circles, figure eights, and similar shapes on the surface of the ice. Skaters are judged on the accuracy and clarity of the figures and the cleanness and exact placement of the various turns on the circles. Figures were formerly included as a component of singles competitions but were eliminated from international events in The ISU is the governing body for international competitions in figure skating, including the World Championships and the figure skating events at the Winter Olympic Games.
Medals are awarded for overall results; the standard medals are gold for first place, silver for second, and bronze for third place. Figure Skating also awards pewter medals for fourth-place finishers in national events. A medal is generally attributed to only one country, even if a partnership is composed of skaters with different nationalities. A notable exception was the pair skating partnership between Ludowika Eilers and Walter Jakobsson ; their —11 medals were attributed to both Germany and Finland.
In singles and pairs figure skating competition, competitors perform two programs: the short program , in which they complete a set of required elements consisting of jumps, spins and steps; and the free skate , also known as the long program , in which they have a slightly wider choice of elements. Under both the 6. Ice dance competitions formerly consisted of three phases: one or more compulsory dances ; an original dance to a ballroom rhythm that was designated annually; and a free dance to music of the skaters' own choice. Beginning in the —11 season , the compulsory and original dances were merged into the short dance , which itself was renamed the rhythm dance in June , prior to the —19 season.
Skating was formerly judged for "technical merit" in the free skate , "required elements" in the short program , and "presentation" in both programs.
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These marks were used to determine a preference ranking, or "ordinal", separately for each judge; the judges' preferences were then combined to determine placements for each skater in each program. The placements for the two programs were then combined, with the free skate placement weighted more heavily than the short program. The highest placing individual based on the sum of the weighted placements was declared the winner. In , in response to the judging controversy during the Winter Olympics , the ISU adopted the International Judging System IJS , which became mandatory at all international competitions in , including the Winter Olympics.
The new system is sometimes informally referred to as the Code of Points , however, the ISU has never used the term to describe their system in any of their official communications. Under the IJS, points are awarded individually for each skating element, and the sum of these points is the total element score TES. Competitive programs are constrained to include a set number of elements.
Each element is judged first by a technical specialist who identifies the specific element and determines its base value.
This is done using instant replay video to verify features that distinguish different elements; e. A panel of twelve judges then each award a mark for the quality and execution of the element. The GOE value from the twelve judges is then processed with a computerized random selection of nine judges, the highest and lowest values are then discarded, and finally the average of the remaining seven is calculated. This average value is then added to or subtracted from the base value to determine the total value for the element. The program components score PCS awards points to holistic aspects of a program or other nuances that are not rewarded in the total element score.
The components are: . A detailed description of each component is given in ISU rule Judges award each component a raw mark from 0 to 10 in increments of 0. For each separate component, the raw marks are then selected, trimmed, and averaged in a manner akin to determining a grade of execution. The trimmed mean scores are then translated into a factored mark by multiplying by a factor that depends on the discipline, competition segment, and level. Then the five or four factored marks are added to give the final PCS score.
The total element score and the program components score are added to give the total score for a competition segment TSS. A skater's final placement is determined by the total of their scores in all segments of a competition. No ordinal rankings are used to determine the final results. There are also skating competitions organized for professional skaters by independent promoters. These competitions use judging rules set by whoever organizes the competition. There is no "professional league". The Ice Skating Institute ISI , an international ice rink trade organization, runs its own competitive and test program aimed at recreational skaters.
Originally headquartered in Minnesota, the organization now operates out of Dallas, Texas. ISI competitions are open to any member that have registered their tests. There are very few "qualifying" competitions, although some districts hold Gold Competitions for that season's first-place winners. The Gay Games have also included skating competitions for same-gender pairs and dance couples under ISI sponsorship. Other figure skating competitions for adults also attract participants from diverse cultures.
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Competitors receive points based on their final placement at an event and the event's weight. The following events receive points: . Following the current season's World Championships, the results from the earliest season are deleted.
A new partnership starts with zero points; there is no transfer of WS points if a pair or ice dance couple split up and form a new partnership. These standings do not necessarily reflect the capabilities of the skater s. Due to limits on entries to events no more than three from each country , and varying numbers of high-level skaters in each country, skaters from some countries may find it more difficult to qualify to compete at major events.
Thus, a skater with a lower SB but from a country with few high-level skaters may qualify to a major event while a skater with a much higher SB but from a country with more than three high-level skaters may not be sent. As a result, it is possible for a skater who regularly scores higher to end up with a much lower world standing. Only scores achieved at selected international competitions are considered; scores from national competitions and some international events are disregarded.