In competition, single skaters perform twice ©Getty Images

In competition, single skaters perform twice ©Getty Images

Single skaters

In events for single skaters, each skater performs twice. In a short program which lasts two minutes, the competitor must skate seven set moves. The skater can perform the moves in any order to music they have chosen for themselves.

The second program is a freestyle event in which the skaters performs their own routines of jumps, turns and spins. Men skate for four and a half minutes while women skate for four minutes.

A pair of skaters. ©Getty Images

A pair of skaters. ©Getty Images

Pairs

In the pairs competition, partners perform spins, lifts, throws and jumps in a short program of set moves which lasts for two and a half minutes. Each pair also skates a freestyle program which they have planned themselves, to music of their choice. This freestyle program must last four and a half minutes.

Ice dance

Ice skates are blades attached to firm boots. ©Getty

Ice skates are blades attached to firm boots. ©Getty

Ice dancers skate to a dance rhythm accompanied by music.

The competition is in 3 parts. In the first part the skaters perform compulsory dances, in the second part a set pattern dance, and in the third part a free dance.

In ice dance the man may not lift his partner over his shoulders, and skaters are not allowed to do jumps of more than one revolution.

 

History of figure skating

International figure skating competitions were first held in Vienna in 1882.

Figure skating events for men, women and pairs were Olympic events in 1908. Ice dancing was added  in 1976.

Read more about this sport and watch a video:

 http://www.olympic.org/figure-skating