- Figure Skating
Inside the sport: Figure skating event basics
How does figure skating run at the Olympics? Here, we break down the events - including the new team competition - and explain to who is entered and what makes up each event.
The Olympic figure skating competition consists of five medal events: the team event, ladies' singles, men's singles, pairs and ice dancing. The team event is a new Olympic competition introduced at the 2014 Sochi Games.
All events consist of two portions: the short program and the free skate. In ice dancing they are known as the: the short dance and the free dance.
In the singles events, the 24 best placed skaters in the short program qualify to skate the free program. In the pairs event the skaters placed 1-20 after the short program qualify for the free program.
Yan Han of China will skate in both the team event and men's singles. (AP Photo)
How the events work
All short programs have required elements that must be done in a span of 2 minutes, 40 seconds. Skaters are heavily penalized for missing any of the requirements, ranging from jumps to spins to footwork. In pairs, requirements also include lifts, jumps and twists. Skaters may choose any music they like.
Basically, skaters can do almost anything they want, but must include all basics such as jumps, spins, footwork. No jumps can be repeated unless done in a combination with another jump. Skaters may choose any music they like. Free programs last 4 minutes for women, 4:30 for men and for pairs.
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The short dance this year is the quick step, which can also be the Charleston or fox trot. Each couple has required steps, turns, twists and twizzles (multi-rotational one-foot turns), that must be done in 2 minutes, 50 seconds. In all dances, the full rink must be used. The free dance has no required music, but must feature the elements of ice dance on display in the short dance. It lasts 4 minutes and is judges on technical merit and artistic impression.
The Iceberg Skating Palace (Getty Images).
The Iceberg Skating Palace will host figure skating at the Sochi Games. The 12,000-seat multi-purpose arena will also host short track speed skating events. It cost an estimated $43.9 million to build, including the temporary works for the Olympics. Following the Sochi Games, the venue may be converted into a velodrome.
Skaters receive two sets of marks for each program, one based on the difficulty and execution of the technical elements and the second mark based on artistry, interpretation and presentation.
The maximum number of entries for the Olympic Winter Games is as follows: 30 ladies, 30 men, 20 pairs and 24 ice dancing couples. In the two singles events, 24 of the 30 competitors advance from the short program to the free skate. All 20 pairs advance to the free skate and all 24 ice dancing couples advance to the free dance. All participants must have turned 15 before July 1, 2013 to be eligible. The majority of berths were based on the results of the 2013 World Championships, with additional spots allotted at qualifying competition in September 2013.
The Olympic figure skating competition consists of five medal events: the team event, ladies' singles, men's singles, pairs, and ice dancing.
(Content from the Associated Press is used in this article.)
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