You can say that high-level Figure Skating came to Korea with Yuna Kim, who took the scene by storm when she emerged out of nowhere on the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating series back in 2004. The 2010 Olympic Champion was the trailblazer for the sport in the country and has inspired many young Korean Figure Skaters to follow in her impressive footsteps. One of them is Young You, who was born in the year Kim started her international career.
It took Pair skater Aljona Savchenko (GER) five Olympic Games, three partners and two countries to reach her ultimate goal: the top step of the Olympic podium. There were quite a few bumps on the road, but the petite skater never gave up. Now Aljona Savchenko is not only one of the most successful skaters of our time with three Olympic medals and six ISU World Figure Skating titles, but more than that, she is an inspiration and role model for many young skaters out there.
The Biellmann spin is one of the best known spins in figure skating – and the only one named after a person. It is an upright spin, a variation of the layback spin. While spinning on one leg, the skater pulls the other leg up and holds the foot extended over and behind the head. By ISU rules, the spin is a Biellmann, when "the level of the boot passes the head so that the boot is above and behind or over the head”. There are various degrees of extension of the free leg.
Men wear black skating boots, women wear white or sometimes tan-coloured skating boots. However, that was not always the case. In the first decades of Figure Skating competitions, men and women wore only black skating boots as you can see on old footage and photographs.
Many National Figure Skating Federations hold „test skates“ at the beginning of the season where their top skaters present their new programs to judges and technical specialists to receive valuable feedback. These test skates take place in August or September and they are generally closed to the public, sometimes allowing Media to attend.
Kamila Valieva (RUS) landed a quadruple toeloop on her way to gold at the first ISU Junior Grand Prix event of the season in Courchevel and Alysa Liu (USA) hit a quad Lutz in her winning Free Skating at the second ISU Junior Grand Prix in Lake Placid. They now have joined the exclusive Ladies‘ quad club.
When Mao Asada burst on to the international scene at the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating in Long Beach (USA) in fall 2004, she became a star right away. This tiny Japanese skater nailed the triple Axel in competition and it looked effortless. She came from Nagoya, a powerhouse of Japanese Figure Skating that already produced the legendary Midori Ito, the first woman to land a triple Axel in competition. Mao had the same coach, Machiko Yamada.
Japanese star Shoma Uno has surprised the skating world recently when he announced that he is leaving his long-time coaching team of Mihoko Higuchi and Machiko Yamada and has not picked a new permanent coach. “I want a new start,” the Olympic silver medalist stated on his official homepage.
Jayne Torvill/Christopher Dean. Ice Dance. Bolero. These three terms probably will be connected forever in the world of Figure Skating. The British ice dancers made history with their Bolero Free Dance at the Olympic Winter Games 1984 in Sarajevo (at the time Yugoslavia) and revolutionized the sport.
Russia’s Evgenia Medvedeva is only 19 years old, but her career already is a story good enough for two skaters. Instant success at the senior level and two ISU World Figure Skating titles were followed by injury, disappointment, a hotly discussed move to Canada and a difficult post-Olympic year. Evgenia ended the season with a personal victory by returning on to the ISU World Figure Skating podium in Saitama, Japan, in March 2019 which gave her confidence for the future.
Who would have guessed that a kids’ birthday party would lead Vincent Zhou (USA) into a successful figure skating career. When he was around five and a half, Vincent attended the party of a friend at a local ice rink. He had so much fun that his mother decided to register him for group lessons.
When they started, there was no tradition of Pair Skating in their country, not any notable results. When they ended their career as Olympic Champions, China had become a Pair Skating powerhouse: Xue Shen/Hongbo Zhao and their legendary coach Bin Yao built Chinese Pair Skating from scratch.
Tracy Wilson, three-time ice dance World bronze medalist and 1988 Olympic medalist, broadcaster, mother and coach, tells us about her experience and the precious lessons learnt along all the different stages of her life and career.
Kaori Sakamoto (JPN) can look back at an exciting and successful season with many firsts: she reached her first ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final, competed at her first ISU World Figure Skating Championships, won her first National title at the senior level and went to her first ISU World Team Trophy.