Definition of Figure Skating Terms
Age-eligible to the top of the solid barrier. In most practice
The term age-eligible refers to the age of a rinks a curtain of netting is attached to the clear
skater that allows them to compete internationally sheets of the barrier to protect spectators in the
in specific event level. stands.
A Junior-age-eligible skater is one currently In non-Olympic competitions, the ice barrier is
under the age of 19 (21 for the man in pairs and usually covered with advertisements for the
ice dancing), whereas a Senior-age-eligible skater sponsors. At the Olympics, they are usually
is over the age of 16. covered by designs or the Olympic logo.
There is an overlap in age eligibility that allows
for some Senior-age-eligible skaters to compete at Bracket Turn
Junior-level events, and vice versa. A one-foot turn with a change of edge that
results in a '}' shape traced on the ice.
The Attitude position in figure skating is an Butterfly Jump
upright position that is derived from ballet. The A flying spin with a two-foot takeoff. The
free leg position is lifted behind the body with the body goes almost parallel to the ice in the air, with
knee bent at an angle and is held behind at a 90- a scissoring leg motion.
degree angle to the skating foot. This leg position is
often used for the Layback spin. Bye
Permission to compete in a higher level of
Arabesque competition without having competed in the
The move is performed while skating forward or requisite qualifying competition.
backwards on an outside, flat, or inside curve. The
free leg position is extended behind the body in a Cantilever
straight line and elevated above the hip. This also An inside spread eagle in which the skater
is the leg position used in the basic camel spin. bends backwards at the knees at a 90-degree angle
creating a cantilever with the back parallel to the
Axel Jump (Axel Paulsen Jump) ice. The hands can be extended to the side or in
The only forward take off jump that is counted the air or with the hands on the ice.
as a jump element. An axel jump has an extra half
rotation (180 degrees), and as all jumps is landed CD
with the skater gliding backwards. A scoring abbreviation for the compulsory
dance in an ice dancing competition.
Back flip Jump
A backward somersaulting jump performed CD
with a tap to propel the skaters upwards to allow a Compact Disk is a computer disk containing
full revolution somersault landing backwards on music or data.
one foot. Performed only in exhibitions and shows
and banned in competition. COP
Abbreviation for Code of Points
The performance of a spread eagle with the Camel spin
knees bent in a squatting position and the torso A spin position during which the free leg is
held upright. It is named for Natalia Bestemianova. extended in the air in an arabesque position
parallel to the ice.
A catch-foot position where the free leg is Catch-foot
pulled above the head from behind. Can be either a A spin or spiral position in which the free leg is
spin or a spiral position. By regulation, a spin held by one or both hands. The most notable
becomes a Biellmann at the moment the skate catch-foot position is the Biellmann.
passes over the level of the head. It is named after
Denise Biellmann, who popularized the position. Centered
A spin that that stays in one spot on the ice.
Boards The opposite of traveling.
The vertical barrier surrounding the ice surface
that forms a physical part of the game of ice Chasse
hockey. Clear sheets of glass/plastic are attached A step used in ice dancing and MITF that can
be a simple chasse, a crossed chasse, or a slide stroke from the outside edge. The legs cross above
chasse. the knee.
The crossing foot should actually skate in front
Check so the motion is begun by the outside edge of the
Stopping the rotation of a jump or a spin. free foot. The crossing action should be in the air
which is a cross step.
Another name for the Toe-Loop jump. Crossed chasse
In ice dancing, a series of two edges across two
Cheated steps (such as inside and outside). On the second
A jump that was not fully rotated in midair, step, the free foot crosses the skating foot and is
with either the first rotation starting on the ice or placed on the ice beside the skating foot.
the final rotation finishing after the landing.
Crossed step behind
Choctaw Turn In ice dancing, a step that is begun with the
A two-foot turn with a change of edge that free foot in the air. It is then crossed below the
results in a change of lobe. knee to the opposite side of the skating foot, so
that the free foot touches down on the ice on the
Choke outside edge of the skating foot. The leg is crossed
To perform poorly under competition pressure. behind.
Charlotte Spiral Crossed Step Forward
A spiral position in which the torso is bent In ice dancing, a step that is begun with the
down towards the skating leg, with the free leg held free foot in the air. It is then crossed below the
in a 180 degree vertical split position. Also known knee to the opposite side of the skating foot, so
as a candlestick spiral. that the free foot touches down on the ice on the
outside edge of the skating foot. The leg is crossed
Clean Program in front.
A skating program with jumps fully rotated
without falls, hands on the ground in jumps and Crossovers
spins, or illegal use of toe picks in edge jumps that Crossing one foot over the other as a way of
can all result in point deductions. gaining speed and turning corners. Identical to
dance progressive except crossovers and not
Code of Points limited to 3 strokes (steps).
An informal name for the ISU Judging System.
Combination A two-foot skating move in which the skater's
Two or more elements (jumps, spin positions) legs are both bent at least a 90-degree angle.
performed in succession.
Compulsory Dance In ice dancing, a small jump used to change
The first of the three programs in ice dance in foot or direction. The jump is performed by both
qualifying competitions. All teams perform the partners while in hold or while very close together.
same dance to the standard music. The male skater cannot lift his arms above his
Specific patterns traced in the ice by a skater's Dance Spin
blade. While originally a major part of a skating A spin performed in ice dancing by both
competition, figures were removed entirely from partners while in hold. It is similar to a pair spin.
international competition in 1990.
Counter turn An element in pair skating in which the woman
A one-foot turn on the same edge but results in skates on a deep edge with her body close to the
a change of lobe with the rotation outside the ice and skates in a circle around the man, who is
original lobe. in a low pivot position and holding her by the arm.
Cross stroke (Forward) Discipline
A stroke that is starts with a crossing motion of A specialized form of skating governed by
the new skating foot’s outside edge that supplies unique rules established by the International
the initial power and the previous skating foot Skating Union (ISU). Currently, there are four
extends backwards over the tracing to complete the disciplines that compete at the winter Olympics -
men's singles, ladies singles, pair skating, and ice FS
dancing. Synchronized Team Skating has a world The scoring abbreviation for the free skating in
championship, but is not an Olympic event. a singles and pairs competition.
Double Fan Spiral
A jump with two full rotations (720 degrees) in A spiral position in which the free leg is lifted,
the air (two and a half rotations for double Axel). held upwards in front of the body, and lowered, in
the style of an opening and closing Japanese fan.
The process of determining the starting order Figures
before the event. Can be either open (public) or See compulsory figures.
Element A grouping of skaters at a competition who
An identifiable component of a program. warm up together immediately prior to competing.
Includes spins, spirals, jumps, footwork, lifts, etc. The final flight of the free skating in single skating
An identifiable component of MITF tests. is made up of the highest-scoring six skaters from
the short program.
Skaters who earn money only from ISU- Flip Jump
approved competitions and exhibitions. Only A toe-assisted figure skating jump that takes
eligible skaters may compete in the Olympic off from the back inside edge.
Edge An old fashion term referring to the processes
Can refer either to part of the skate blade, or used to resurface the ice prior to the Zamboni ice-
the result of skating on that part. Can be either resurfacing machine.
inside (towards the body) or outside (away from the
body), and forward or backward, for a total for four Flutz
different edges. A "deep edge" is a deep lean on the The common term used when a "Lutz” jump
edge of the skate. does not occur from the outside take-off edge, but
is changed to an inside edge, making it a flip jump.
A general term to refer to any of the three Flying Spin
jumps (waltz type, Loop, and Salchow) that take off A jump that lands in a spinning position.
from an edge. Commonly performed flying spins include flying
camel spins and flying sit spins.
European Figure Skating Championships
An ISU Championship for skaters from Free Dance
European countries. The third and final program in a qualifying ice
An informal name for the European Figure Free Leg
Skating Championships. The leg that is not on the ice.
Exhibition Free Skating
A non-competition skating activity or a show. Originally a term for the part of the skating
Exhibitions often feature elements banned in competition that was not compulsory figures. Now
competition as well as spotlights and show the official name of the long program. Also: free
lighting. Also: the gala after a competition in which skate.
the highest placing skaters perform a show
program. Four Continents Figure Skating Championships
An ISU Championship for skaters from
Extension countries that are not in Europe.
The way a body part is held in a stretched
An abbreviation for a Grand Prix event.
A scoring abbreviation for the free dance event GPF
in an ice dancing competition. An abbreviation for the Grand Prix of Figure
GOE Inside Edge
An abbreviation for Grade Of Execution. The edge of a skate blade facing towards the
In addition to referring to the winner of a I-Spin
particular figure skating competition, all skaters An upright spin position in which the skater
who have passed the USFSA's highest-level skill pulls the free leg up in a split towards the front of
tests are called "gold medalists"; the latter usage is the body, creating an I position.
especially common on coaches' resumes.
International Skating Union
Grade Of Execution The international governing body for ice skating
A part of the ISU Judging System. sports.
Grapevines ISU Championship
A type of figure performed on two feet. A championship-level competition held by the
ISU. The four figure skating ISU Championships
Grand Prix are the World Figure Skating Championships, the
A series of six international invitational events World Junior Figure Skating Championships, the
that build to the Grand Prix Final. Four Continents Figure Skating Championships,
and the European Figure Skating Championships.
Haircutter The synchronized skating ISU Championships is
A catch-foot layback spin where the free leg is the World Synchronized Skating Championships.
brought up to head level, but not above. In some
cases, the head is dropped back and it appears ISU Judging System
that the skate blade is in a position to cut the hair The judging system in which the elements
of the skater performing the spin. This position is skaters perform (TES) and the way in which they
often performed as a smooth transition between a perform them (PCS) add up to a total score. The
layback spin and a Biellmann spin. highest score wins.
The groove in the middle of a blade between the An abbreviation for the Junior Grand Prix.
inside and outside edges.
Jackson Haines Spin
Hop The original name for the sit spin.
A small jump that does not include a rotation.
IJS A skating move where a skater pushes off the
An abbreviated term for the ISU Judging ice, springing into the air, rotates, and typically
System lands on one foot going backwards.
ISU Jump combination
An abbreviation for the International Skating Two or more jumps performed one right after
Union. the other, without intervening steps or turns.
Jump combinations most commonly involve the toe
Ice Dancing loop or loop jump as the final jump, because they
The skating discipline in which two skaters start from the back outside edge, which is the
perform a choreographed program of dance steps, normal landing edge for all 6 jumps.
turns, spins, and lifts.
Ina Bauer Two or more jumps connected by turns or
A two-footed move in which the skater skates hops.
with the legs parallel, with one foot on a forward
edge and the other leg on a backward edge on a Junior Age Eligible
different but parallel edge (i.e., inside or outside). A skater who has reached the minimum age
and has not exceeded the maximum age defined by
Ineligible the ISU for junior level competition.
"Professional" skaters; skaters who receive
money from sources not approved by the ISU.
Junior Grand Prix Level (skating)
A series of eight international events that build The division by competitive level of skill.
to the Junior Grand Prix Final. It is the junior level International ISU competitions currently take place
complement to the ISU Grand Prix of Figure at the Novice, Junior, Senior, and Adult levels.
Junior level A pairs and ice dance element in which one
The level below Senior (Olympic) level skater lifts his or her partner while rotating. Pair
competition. International competitions for Juniors lifts, unlike dance, go over the head. Some dancers
include the ISU Junior Grand Prix and the World perform "reverse" lifts, in which the woman lifts the
Junior Figure Skating Championships. man.
Junior Olympics Lobe
A name for various different competitions in A semicircle created on the ice
different countries. In the United States, the Junior
Olympics referred to a competition held to Long Program
determine the national champions at the An unofficial, but widely-used, name for the
Intermediate and Juvenile levels. second and longer of the two programs performed
by singles and pair skaters at a competition. The
Junior Worlds time limit is 4.5 minutes for men's singles and
An informal name for the World Junior Figure pairs and 4 minutes for ladies' singles at the senior
Skating Championships. Also: World Juniors. (Olympic) level.
Killian Loop Jump
A dance hold used in ice dancing. An edge jump that takes off from the back
Kiss and Cry
The area next to the rink at major competitions Lunge
where the skaters wait to get their results. A skating move in which one leg is bent sharply
at the knee and the other is extended backwards in
LP a straight line with the boot or blade touching the
An abbreviation for the long program. ice.
Ladies Lutz Jump
The official term for female competitors. A toe-assisted jump with an entrance from a
back outside edge and landing on the back outside
Landing Leg edge of the opposite foot.
The leg on which a skater lands a jump.
Opposite of free leg. Mirror Skating
Two or more skaters skating in such a way that
Layback Spin they are mirroring each other. The opposite of
A spin position in which the back is arched and unison skating.
the shoulders and head lean backwards, the free
leg bent behind, and the arms often stretched to Mohawk Turn
the ceiling or arched overhead. A two foot turn on the same edge that
continues along the same lobe.
An air position in jumps where the free leg is Nationals
held at a right angle to the landing leg, crossing it A country's national championships, used to
above the knee, so that it appears to be "wrapped" decide their national champion. The highest-level
around the other. competition on the national level. See: List of
Most skaters keep their legs more vertical and national championships in figure skating.
crossed at the ankles when they jump.
Level (judging) A level of competition below Junior. Novice level
The assigned difficulty of an element under the skaters compete in some international events, but
ISU Judging System. The highest difficulty level is there are no Championship-level events for Novice
Level 4. level skaters.
OD Positional Jump
A scoring abbreviation for the original dance in A jump for the purpose of displaying a position,
an ice dancing competition. such as stag and split.
Open Stroke Presentation
A step that is started close to the skating foot The second set of scores in the old 6.0 judging
that doesn't cross in front or behind. system, otherwise known as "Artistic Impression".
Under the 6.0 system, the skater's ranking Skaters who are not eligible to compete in ISU
within the group of skaters by a specific judge. events. See: Ineligible.
Ordinals were what counted, not the specific
Skating elements set to music performed by a
Original Dance skater in a defined length of time. There are
The second program of an ice dance usually two programs for pairs and single skaters
competition. and three for ice dancers in ISU competitions.
Outside Edge Quad - See quadruple jump.
The edge of a skate blade facing away from the
body. Quadruple Jump
A jump with four full rotations (1440 degrees)
Overrotated in the air. The only quadruple jumps to have been
A jump in which the skater rotates past the completed in competition are the Toe Loop and
position for landing the jump in the air, or fails to Salchow by men, and just the Salchow for ladies.
check the rotation on landing. In a quadruple Axel, the skater would have done
4.5 revolutions (1620 degrees).
A spin in which two skaters rotate around a Qualifying Round
single axis while holding on to each other. A round of competition prior to the short
program or compulsory dance to determine which
Pair Skating skaters qualify to compete in the next part of the
The skating discipline where two skaters event.
perform overhead lifts, side-by-side spins and
jumps. Usually refers to a man and a woman Rittberger
skating together. Two men or two women together Another term for the Loop jump.
are called a similar pair.
Pancake Spin A one-foot turn on the same edge but results in
A sit spin that has the leg tucked over the other a change of lobe with the rotation inside the
and the upper body is bent over the leg. original lobe.
Personal Best Roll
The highest score a skater has earned in A forward or backward edge that is either short
qualifying competitions ranked by the status of the or long. Can be a swing roll or a cross roll.
competition – regional, sectional, national,
international, worlds, and Olympics. Rotational Jump
A jump done for the purpose of rotating in the
Pivot air. All jumps which count as elements under the
A two-footed movement in which one foot is ISU Judging System are rotational jumps.
flexed and the toe picks are inserted into the ice as Positional jumps count as transitions.
a pivot point, and the other foot travels around the
pivot point, such as the movement of a drafting Russian Split
compass. A split jump in which the skater performs a
straddle position with the legs and the body
Popping (a jump) forming a "v" shape. Many also touch their toes.
When a jumps "opens up" in mid-air, resulting
in the skater performing fewer than the desired SP
rotations. The scoring abbreviation for the short program
in a singles or pairs competition.
SBS - See side by side. Signature Move
A move that a skater is known for and
Salchow Jump frequently performs, sometimes performed in a
An edge jump that takes off from the back unique or unusual way.
inside edge. The jump is named for Ulrich Salchow.
Sanction A pair team made up of two men or two
Permission to hold a competition or show, women.
granted by the ISU or national governing body.
Eligible skaters may only compete in sanctioned Simple Chasse
events. In ice dancing, a series of two edges across two
steps (such as inside and outside). On the second
School figures - See compulsory figures. step, the free foot is placed on the ice beside the
skating foot and is then lifted up parallel to the ice.
An upright spin in which the skater has the Single Jump
free leg crossed over the ankle of the spinning leg. A jump with one full rotation (360 degrees) in
the air (one and a half rotations for a single axel)
Senior Age Eligible
A skater who has reached the minimum age Single (discipline)
defined by the ISU for senior level competition. The skating discipline where one skater
performs alone on the ice.
A senior-level international competition held Slide Chasse
with an ISU sanction that is not a Grand Prix or In ice dancing, a series of two edges across two
ISU Championship event. Senior B events include steps (such as inside and outside). On the second
the Nebelhorn Trophy. step, the free foot is placed on the ice beside the
skating foot and then slides off the ice in the
Senior level direction the skater is skating.
Shotgun Spin A rotation upon the ice surface. Spins are
An upright spin position in which the leg is performed on the round part of the blade, just
held upwards towards the front of the body, but behind the toe pick.
not all the way. The leg is held by the ankle or the
calf, not the blade. Spiral
An edge skated with the free leg extended at or
Sit Spin above hip level. Spirals are a required element for
Spin performed in a shoot-the-duck position. A ladies' and pairs competitions. A good spiral
spin position with the spinning leg bent at the knee depends on edge control and speed across the ice,
and the free leg extended forward. not necessarily leg position.
A skating position in which the skater travels A position in which the legs are parallel to each
on one foot with the skating leg in a bent position other and extended in opposite directions on either
and the other leg held forward, parallel to the ice. the horizontal or vertical axes.
This is the basic position for a sit spin.
Short Program A jump in the air in which a split is achieved,
The first and shorter of the two programs rather than any specific rotation.
performed by singles and pair skaters at a
competition. This program has certain required Spread eagle
elements that must be completed. An element performed with both feet on the ice,
the blades turned out with the heels pointing
Side by Side towards each other. It can be performed on inside
Pair skating elements such as spins and jumps edges or outside edges.
that are performed with the skaters next to each
other, as opposed to pair spins or throw jumps, Stag Jump
which are performed as a team. A split jump in which the front leg is bent
under the body.
Step Toe pick
In ice dancing, a one-foot tracing on the ice. The teeth at the front of a skate blade that
assists a skater in jumps and spins.
When a skater either under- or over-rotates a Toe step
jump so that he or she does not land cleanly and In ice dancing, a step in which the skater
must put the free leg down prematurely. walks from one toe pick to the other.
Step Sequence Traveling
A series of footwork and field moves performed When a spinning skater moves across the ice
during a program. Can be circular, straight line, or while spinning instead of centering the spin in one
serpentine in pattern. spot.
Stroking Triple jump
A way of moving across the ice and gaining A jump with three full rotations (1080 degrees)
speed by using the edges of the blades. in the air (3 and a half rotations for the triple axel)
Soldatova Rule Three turn
Unofficial name of the rule stating that a skater A one-foot turn with a change of edge that
must wait out a certain amount of time from results in a '3' shaped tracing on the ice.
international competition when changing the
country they represent. The nickname refers to Two-footed landing
Julia Soldatova. The landing of a jump where both feet touch
the ice. A proper landing is on one foot.
A way of moving across the ice on two feet by Twizzle
pushing the feet outwards from a 90 degree angle A quick multirotational turn on one foot while
V and then pulling them together again, forming moving forwards or backwards.
an oval on the ice. Also known as scissors, fishes,
or sculling. Underrotated
A jump that does not complete the expected
Synchro number of rotations.
A common shortening for Synchronized
skating. Unison in Skating
Two or more skaters performing the same steps
Synchronized skating or elements at the same time.
A discipline of ice skating in which groups of
figure skaters perform together as one unit. Upright spin
The body is in an erect position. One of the
'Tano Jump three main spin positions.
An arm position variation in jumps made
famous by Brian Boitano (hence 'Tano) where one Vocal music
arm is extended overhead instead of folded at the Music with people singing. This kind of music
chest during a jump. This increases the difficulty is allowed in ice dancing competition, but not in
of a jump. singles or pairs.
Throw jump Warm-up group - See Flight.
A pair element in which one skater throws the
other into the air, where she completes a normal World Figure Skating Championships
skating jump. Throw jumps usually have more An ISU Championship at the World-level in
height and power than normal jumps because of which skaters compete for the title of World
the extra help involved. Champion.
Toe loop jump World Junior Figure Skating Championships
A toe-assisted jump that takes off from the An ISU Championship at the World-level in
back outside edge. which skaters who are Junior age eligible compete
for the title of World Junior Champion.
A general term to refer to any of the three World Juniors
jumps that use a toe pick assist. Informal name for the World Junior Figure
Skating Championships. Also: Junior Worlds.
Informal name for the World Figure Skating
An upright spin position in which a skater
pulls the free leg up into a vertical split towards
the side of the body, creating a Y shape.
A spiral position in which the free leg is held up
in a vertical split towards the side of the body,
creating a Y position.
A rule stating that skaters are only allowed to
perform a jump once in a program, twice if the
jump is in combination with another jump. This
rule applies only to triple jumps in senior level
competition. The rule is named after Elaine Zayak.