I have been a fan of Figure Skating ever since the 1994 Olympics, which we all remember as the year of the Tonya/Nancy scandal. Anyway....I've gotten pretty good at judging skaters' programs and knowing what to look for in terms of difficulty and precision. However, I've always struggled to identify the jumps as they all look so similar except for the axel, which utilizes a forward takeoff while others use a backward takeoff. I found this video series starring US national champion Michael Weiss and it is actually pretty informative. He describes each jump in detail and then shows examples of each jump in single, double, and triple form. My goal is to be able to identify each jump by the Grand Prix final in December. Enjoy the videos and we will learn together!
Introduction: Michael tells us about the 6 main figure skating jumps in order of difficulty as well as the difference between an edge jump and a toe jump.
Salchow: This is the easiest of the edge jumps. You take off skating backwards with the left back inside edge of the blade. You then use the edge to spring into the air with no assistance from the right foot and perform 1, 2, 3, or 4 rotations. You always land every jump on the right back outside edge. Most skaters jump and spin rotating to the left, but for the rare 15% that jump rotating to the right, they will take off from the right back inside edge and land on the left back outside edge. A 3-turn, or a 1/2 turn my happen on the ice prior to the jump in order to gain momentum for the takeoff.
Loop: This is the second easiest of the edge jumps. You begin on the right back outside edge. After performing your revolutions, you also lend on the right back outside edge.
Axel: This is the most difficult of the edge jumps because it involves an extra revolution. You take off going forward on your left outside edge, perform 1.5, 2.5, or 3.5 revolutions and then land on the right back outside edge.
Toe Loop: This is the easiest of the toe jumps. It takes off on a right back outside edge and uses the left toe in back to vault the skater into the air. This also utilizes a 3-turn or 1/2 turn to create momentum going into the jump. Like all other jumps, this is landed on the right back outside edge.
Flip:This is the second hardest of the toe jumps. You skate backward on your left back inside edge and toe in the back with your right foot. This is more difficult because the hips are closed to the rotation. This has a 3-turn or 1/2 turn going into the jump to help with momentum and ends on a right back outside edge.
Lutz: This is the cousin of the flip and the hardest of the toe jumps. You skate backward with a long left back outside edge and toe in the back with the right foot. The skater will skate backward for a long time to prepare for this jump. A common mistake is to switch to an inside edge before take-off which is commonly called a "flutz" and will be downgraded by judges. This ends on a back right outside edge as other jumps.