2014 Olympics Figure Skating

Campbell Staton, Daniel Ruiz, and Bryce Moore

The First Olympics

The Olympics originated in Greece.

According to historical records, the first ancient Olympic Games can be traced back to 776 B.C.

The reason for the Olympics

The Olympic Games were closely linked to the religious festivals of the cult of Zeus, but were not an integral part of a rite. Indeed, they had a secular character and aimed to show the physical qualities and evolution of the performances accomplished by young people, as well as encouraging good relations between the cities of Greece. According to specialists, the Olympic Games owed their purity and importance to religion.

The original events


Athletes used stone or lead weights called halteres to increase the distance of a jump. They hold on to the weights until the end of their flight, and jettisoned them backwards.

Discus Throw

The discus was originally made of stone and later of iron, lead or bronze. The technique was very similar to today's freestyle discus throw.


This was highly valued as a form of military exercise without weapons. It ended only when one of the contestants admitted defeat.


Boxers wrapped straps (himantes) around their hands to strengthen their wrists and steady their fingers. Initially, these straps were soft but, as time progressed, boxers started using hard leather straps, often causing disfigurement of their opponent's face.


This was a primitive form of martial art combining wrestling and boxing, and was considered to be one of the toughest sports. Greeks believed that it was founded by Theseus when he defeated the fierce Minotaur in the labyrinth.

Equestrian events

These included horse races and chariot races and took place in the Hippodrome, a wide, flat, open space.


Running contests included:

  • the stade race, which was the pre-eminent test of speed, covering the Olympia track from one end to the other (200m foot race),

  • the diaulos (two stades - 400m foot race),

  • dolichos (ranging between 7 and 24 stades).

First Modern Summer Olympics

Athens, 1896

First Modern Winter Olympics

Chamonix, France 1924

The Most Recent Winter Olympics

Vancouver, Canada

Introducing Figure skating to the Olympics

1908 London Games

Figure Skating History

The Dutch were arguably the earliest pioneers of skating. They began using canals to maintain communication by skating from village to village as far back as the 13th century. Skating eventually spread across the channel to England, and soon the first clubs and artificial rinks began to form. Passionate skaters included several kings of England, Marie Antoinette, Napoleon III and German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Figure Skating Rules

Figure skating singles

Men and women compete in the singles, pairs and ice dance events. The singles event consists of two sections: the short programme, and free skating. The short programme combines eight prescribed elements, such as jump combinations and spins, performed to music of the skater’s choice. In the free skating programme, skaters perform an original arrangement of techniques, also to music of their choice. To gain a high score from the judges, a balanced programme is important.

Figure skating pairs and ice dance

The pairs event also consists of a short programme and free skating. The couple works as one unit, demonstrating overhead lifts, throw-jumps with the man launching his partner, and many other highly technical manoeuvres. This contrasts with ice dance, which is composed of a Compulsory Dance, Original Dance and Free Dance and is more akin to ballroom dancing on ice.


Olympic disciplines

Olympic sports in figure skating comprise the following disciplines:

  • Singles competition for men and women (who are referred to as "ladies" in ISUrulebooks), wherein individual skaters perform jumps, spins, step sequences, spirals, and other elements in their programs

      • Pair skating teams consist of a woman and a man. Pairs perform elements specific to the discipline such as throw jumps, in which the man 'throws' the woman into a jump; lifts, in which the woman is held above the man's head in one of various grips and positions; pair spins, in which both skaters spin together about a common axis; death spirals; and other elements such as side-by-side jumps and spins in unison.

  • Ice dancing is again for couples consisting of a woman and a man skating together. Ice dance differs from pairs in focusing on intricate footwork performed in close dance holds, in time with the music. Ice dance lifts must not go above the shoulder.

The four disciplines of men's singles, ladies' singles, pair skating and ice dancing

will also appear as part of a team event for the first time at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Olympic Figure Skaters