Wenjing Sui/Cong Han continue the tradition of successful Chinese Pair Skating, once founded by their coach Hongbo Zhao and his partner Xue Shen. At the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Seoul (KOR) in February, the Olympic silver medalists once again proved their class.
Alysa Liu (USA) made headlines already last year when, at age 13, she became the youngest US Ladies’ Champion in history, but she was still too young to compete at the international junior level, as her birthday is in August. The whirlwind from California then entered the junior scene with a bang and jumped right into skating history when she became the first female skater to land a triple Axel and a quadruple jump (Lutz) in one program at her very first ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating event in Lake Placid (USA).
Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) is one of the most successful skaters of our time: He is a two-time Olympic Champion (2014 and 2018), a two-time ISU World Figure Skating Champion and overall a six-time ISU World Figure Skating medalist. He struck gold four times at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final and at numerous ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating events plus he is the 2010 ISU World Junior Figure Skating Champion. There was only one title missing: The title as the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Champion.
Kamila Valieva (RUS) debuted at the international level in ISU events this season and impressed from start to finish. Her Short Program to the subtle pieces “Spiegel im Spiegel” and “Allerdale Hall” that was inspired by Picasso’s painting “Girl on the Ball” – an idea of coach Eteri Tutberidze - has become a signature piece already.
Canadian Ice Dancer Piper Gilles, who competes with her partner Paul Poirier, was preparing for the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2017 in the pre-Olympic season when she found out that her mother Bonnie was fatally ill.
For Keegan Messing, one of his happiest days and one of his saddest days in his life were just a few weeks apart. On August 3, the Canadian skater married his long-time girlfriend Lane Hodson in his home in Alaska. On September 22, he lost his beloved younger brother Paxon. Paxon, 26, died in a motorcycle accident in Alaska. He left a wife and three young children behind.
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.
Olympic and World Champion Alina Zagitova (RUS) will take a break from competing and will not participate in the ISU European and World Figure Skating Championships this season, but has not retired.
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.