The figure skating competitions at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics – the singles skating, pair skating, ice dancing, and team event – are going to occur on one rink. The graceful movements are going take place at Gangneung Coastal Cluster, 30 kilometers east of Pyeonchang. The ice arena hosts 12,000 seats and the skating area is 60 x 30 meters in dimension.
Figure skating seems to be a favorite among observers at past Olympic games. Their glide across the newly sharpened ice requires delicate foot work. It was in the 14th century that the Dutch began using street shoes, and attached wooden platforms with flat iron bottom runners by way of a strap. Olympic figure skater’s boots are custom-made for each foot and have thick leather interiors. Skates have a tongue and rubber or sponge padding. The blade, perhaps the most necessary piece of the skate, is faintly curved.
At a radius of 180 to 220 centimeters. The ice skate blade is prepared by creating a flat cross section. This cut, acts as steerage on the rink. There are two edges on an ice blade, inside and outside. There is also a hollow between the edges. This hollow, arced section is in the center of the blade. The weight and ability of the skater determines the depth of the hollow on their blade. A typical freestyle blade is 15 inches thick. The radius of the hollow, can be between 1/4-inch and 1 1/2-inch wide. The bigger the radius, the shallower the hollow on the blade will be. A deeper hollow will also press down on the ice and create more grip, while a shallow hollow will allow the skater to glide more easily on the ice.
Toe picks may be the most important part of the skate for some of the most demanding parts of the competition. The toe pick works as teeth are carved into the toe of the blade and are thereby used so competitors can push-off in jumps. They also serve as the pivot-point during a spinning segment.
Perhaps the most difficult area of the routine and where skaters seem to fall the most, is at the moment of a jump. One type of jump is called an axel jump. It is named after the Norwegian inventor, Axel Paulsen.
The jump begins from a forward position. Skaters use their arms to balance and form the spiral in the air. Skaters then launch into the air from their forward outside edge and land on the back outside edge of their opposite foot. Another well-known act, is the camel spin; it is a spin on one leg with the non-skating leg extended parallel to the ice and the upper body pointed forward, with arms opened.
Often mentioned is a combination where two skills are performed immediately one after the other. This is why, it is referred to as a “combination.” During this movement, a skater cannot turn or change feet between jumps. It will most likely be packed here on the day of competition at Gangneung Coastal Cluster. Ice skating is such a memorable sport because of its close attention to detail and ability to work independently or with just a partner. It requires a lot of dance routines and much athletic strength. But, it all relies on that thin blade that movies across the ice, catching an edge before a move.