Glossary of Terms


ACCOUNTANT - An official at a figure skating competition who compiles and computes marks awarded by judges to determine the placement of competitors.

AXEL JUMP - One of the most difficult jumps, which takes off from the forward outside edge and is landed on the back outside edge of the opposite foot. A single Axel consists of 1.5 revolutions, a double is 2.5 revolutions, and a triple is 3.5 revolutions. The jump is named for its inventor, Axel Paulsen. It is easily recognizable as it is the only jump that takes off from a forward position.

BIELLMANN POSITION - Named after Denise Biellmann, this is a difficult variation where the skater's free leg is pulled from behind to a position higher than and towards the top of the head.

BRACKET - A turn from forward to backward or backward to forward that is executed on one foot in the direction opposite the curve from an outside edge to an inside edge or vice versa with the exit curve continuing on the same lobe as the entry curve. The pattern the turn creates on the ice looks like a "{".

CAMEL SPIN - A spin which is done on one leg with the non-skating leg, or free leg, extended backward with knee higher than hip level. The body remains in this "spiral" position while spinning.

CHOCTAW - A turn from forward to backward (or backward to forward) from one foot to the other in which the curve of the exit edge is in the opposite direction to the curve of the entry edge. The change of foot is from outside edge to inside edge or from inside edge to outside edge.

CODE - With the inception of the international judging system, every element listed in the scale of values was given a short-hand set of letters and numbers to designate the element and it's level of difficulty. These codes are used on skater protocols to identify the elements attempted. Any element listed in this glossary which has a code is listed with the code provided in parentheses after the name of the element.

COMBINATION SPIN - A spin in which the skater changes feet and/or positions.

COUNTER - A turn made on one foot from a forward to backward (or backward to forward) edge maintaining the same character, i.e., outside to outside or inside to inside, where the body rotation is counter to the natural direction of progress.

CROSSOVERS - A method of gaining speed and turning corners in which skaters cross one foot over the other. There are both forward and backward crossovers.

DANCE LIFTS - A movement in which one of the partners is elevated with active and/or passive assistance of the other partner to any permitted height, sustained there and set down on the ice. Any rotations and positions and changes of positions during the lift are permitted. Lifts should enhance the music and be performed in an elegant manner.

DEATH SPIRAL - A pairs move in which the man rotates in a pivot position while holding one hand of his partner, who is rotating in a horizontal position around him with her body low and parallel to the ice.

DIFFICULT VARIATION - A movement of a body part that requires physical strength or flexibility and has an affect on the balance of the main body core. Only these variations can increase the level of an element.

DOWNGRADED - A jump, throw jump or twist lift that is missing 1/2 revolution or more. A downgraded jump is indicated on a skater protocol with a "<<" symbol and receives the value for the jump of one rotation less (i.e. a downgraded triple loop will receive the value of a double loop).

DRAW - The process to determine the starting or skating order for each event. Either the referee or chair of the competition conducts the process in the presence of other judges (closed draw) or in an open setting where the athletes participate and actually draw a number from a pouch (open draw).

EDGES - The two sides of the skate blade on either side of the grooved center. There is an inside edge - the edge on the inner side of the leg - and an outside edge - the edge on the outer side of the leg. There is a forward and backward for each edge and each side, equaling a total of eight different edges.

EDGE JUMP - A jump where the skater takes off from the entry edge of the skating foot without bringing the free foot in contact with the ice to assist the take off. The Axel, loop and Salchow are common edge jumps.

ELIGIBLE - The term used to define skaters or competitions that meet the requirements and follow the rules of U.S. Figure Skating and/or the ISU. All eligible skaters, judges and officials are members of U.S. Figure Skating and have not participated in any activities, competitions or events that are not sanctioned by U.S. Figure Skating or the ISU.

ENVELOPE SYSTEM - In the United States, the envelope system is a part of the U.S. National Team and separates skaters for ASUPP funding levels. Based on prescribed criteria, U.S. athletes can be placed in Team A, B, C, the reserve team or the developmental team. The U.S. Figure Skating Athlete Support Fund (ASUPP) financially supports the U.S. Team envelope athletes by assisting them with their skating expenses.

FEATURES - Additions that make elements more difficult and increase the base value.

FLIP JUMP - A toe-pick-assisted jump taken off from the back inside edge of one foot and landed on the back outside edge of the opposite foot.

FLYING SPIN - A spin in which the entrance is a jump. No rotation on the ice is permitted before the take-off.

FOOTWORK - A series of steps and turns that immediately follow one another, executed in time to the music and choreographically related to each other. Also referred to as a step sequence, footwork is intended to show the precision and dexterity of the skater's movements.

FREE DANCE - The free dance is relatively unrestricted, and skaters select the mood and tempo as long as it is danceable. Couples (for senior level) are allowed four minutes to display their full range of technical skills, interpretation and inventiveness. It is preceded by the short dance.

FREE SKATE (OR FREE SKATING) - The free skate does not have required elements, so skaters select their own music and theme, and choreograph the many difficult jumps, spins and step sequences that best display their technical and artistic skills. The free skate (for senior level) has a length of 4 1/2 minutes for men and pairs, and four minutes for ladies. It is preceded by the short program.

HAND-TO-HAND LOOP LIFT - A press lift in which the man raises his partner, who is in front of him and facing the same direction, above his head. She remains facing the same direction, in the sitting position with her hands behind her, while her partner supports her by the hands.

HYDRANT LIFT - A lift in which the man throws his partner over his head while skating backward, rotates one-half turn and catches his partner facing him.

INTERMEDIATE SPIN POSITION - Any position that does not fit the definition of a camel, sit or upright position.

JUMP COMBINATION - A jump element consisting of two or three listed jumps where the landing foot of one jump is the take-off foot of the next jump.

JUMP ELEMENT - An individual jump, a jump combination or a jump sequence. Singles and pairs skaters are limited in the number of jump elements they can attempt in a program.

JUMP SEQUENCE - A jump element consisting of any number of listed jumps that are be linked by non-listed jumps and/or hops immediately following each other while maintaining the jump rhythm. There can be no turns, steps, crossovers or stroking during the sequence.

LASSO LIFT - A hand-to-hand overhead lift in which the man swings his partner from one side of his body, around behind his head and into a raised position. Once in the lift, the lady is in a split position facing the same direction as the man. There are four different types of lasso lifts, determine by the take off: toe lasso, step in lasso, reverse lasso and Axel lasso.

LAYBACK SPIN - Generally performed by women, the layback spin involves an upright spin position where the head and shoulders are dropped backward and the back arches.

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY - A measure of the complexity of an element. Skaters can achieve higher levels of difficulty through the use of features. In singles, pairs and ice dancing, levels range from 1 to 4, with Level 1 having the lowest base value and Level 4 having the highest base value.

LISTED JUMP - A jump that is listed in the scale of values. Listed jumps are defined by their take off. There are six different types of listed jumps: toe loop, Salchow, loop, flip, Lutz and Axel.

LIFTS - Pair moves in which the man lifts his partner above his head with arm(s) fully extended. Lifts consist of precise ascending, rotational and descending movements.

LOBE - The pattern made on the ice by an edge or steps, forming an arc of a circle that starts and finishes on an axis.

LONG LIFTS - Dance lifts with a maximum duration of 12 seconds. There are three different types: reverse rotational, serpentine and combination.

LONG PROGRAM - Old term for the free skate portion of the singles and pairs competitions.

LOOP - A one-foot movement where the skater skates an oval pattern within a circle without changing direction or edge. The entry and exit of the loop must cross.

LOOP JUMP - An edge jump, taken off from a back outside edge and landed on the same back outside edge.

LUTZ JUMP - A toe-pick-assisted jump taken off from a back outside edge and landed on the back outside edge of the opposite foot. The skater glides backward on a wide curve, taps his toe pick into the ice, and rotates in the opposite direction of the curve. The jump is named for its inventor, Alois Lutz.

MIRROR SKATING - Any movements in pairs skating or ice dancing where the partners perform the same movements but in opposite directions, thus creating a mirror-image effect.

MOHAWK - A turn from forward to backward (or backward to forward), from one foot to the other, each edge forming parts of the same curve.

MOVES IN THE FIELD - One of three test structures in U.S. Figure Skating, moves in the field tests help develop all basic fundamental edges and turns while emphasizing edge quality, extension, quickness and power.

NON-LISTED JUMPS - Jumps that are not listed in the scale of values and do not count as jump elements which can be used throughout a program to enhance the choreography. Such jumps are typically one revolution or less.

NONQUALIFYING COMPETITION - Also referred to as a club competition, nonqualifying events are those that are not part of the U.S. qualifying structure leading up to the U.S. Championships.

ORIGINAL DANCE - The second competition phase in ice dancing that falls after the pattern dance and before the free dance. Skaters are given a prescribed rhythm (such as the paso doble or rhumba) with a defined tempo range and must create a completely original version of the dance. It has a time limit of 2 1/2 minutes.

OVERHEAD LIFTS - The group of pair lifts in which one or both of the man's arms are fully extended as he holds his partner overhead. The man does not let go of his partner during the lift, except momentarily during changes in her position or during the dismount.

PAIRS LIFTS - Lifts done in pairs skating, which are classified into five groups. Group 1 = armpit hold position. Group 2 = waist hold position. Group 3 = hand-to-hip or upper part of the leg (above the knee) position. Group 4 = hand-to-hand press position. Group 5 = hand-to-hand lasso position. Groups are listed in order of difficulty from easiest to most difficult; however, Groups 3 and 4 are of the same difficulty. Senior pairs teams are most likely to perform lifts from Groups 3, 4 and 5.

PATTERN DANCE - A dance that has prescribed rhythms and specific steps that must be done in an exact manner with exact placement on the ice.

PLATTER LIFT - A hand-to-hip lift in which the man raises his partner overhead with his hands resting on her hips. She is horizontal to the ice, facing the back of the man, in a platter position.

PRESS LIFT - A hand-to-hand overhead lift in which the man presses the lady into the air above his head. The partners may be face to face on the take off, or they may both be traveling backward, with the lady in front of the man.

PROTOCOL - A term used to describe the individual score sheet that each skater receives after completing a program in a competition judged using the international judging system. This score sheet shows every element attempted in a program, how the element was called by the technical panel and scored by the judges in GOE, the points received for each element, and the program component scores received from the judges.

QUALIFYING COMPETITION - In the U.S., qualifying competitions are those that are part of the competition structure leading to the U.S. Championships, U.S. Adult Champion-ships, U.S. Synchronized Team Skating Championships, and U.S. Junior Championships. Qualifying competitions are all regional and sectional events.

REFEREE - The official at a competition who has full authority over all aspects of the event and is the chairperson for the panel of judges. It is the referee's responsibility to ensure that all rules are observed, that a high standard of judging is maintained, and that all technical aspects of the competition are satisfactory.

REGIONALS - The regional championships are the first step in the U.S. qualifying competition structure that leads to the U.S. Championships. U.S. Figure Skating currently breaks down the U.S. into nine regional areas and competitions. Skaters must place in the top four at their regional event to advance to sectionals (the second step in the qualifying competition structure). Juvenile and intermediate skaters go directly from regionals to the U.S. Junior Championships (top four places only).

ROCKER - A turn executed on one foot from a forward to backward (or backward to forward) edge maintaining the same character, i.e., inside to inside or outside to outside, where the body rotation is in the same direction as the natural progress.

SALCHOW - Another edge jump taken off from the back inside edge of one foot and landed on the back outside edge of the opposite foot. Created by Ulrich Salchow.

SANCTION - Permission or approval given by U.S. Figure Skating or the ISU to member clubs, competition organizers, individuals or national federations to conduct competitions, shows or events featuring eligible athletes. Registered U.S. Figure Skating athletes can only participate in sanctioned activities to remain eligible.

SCRATCH SPIN - Also known as an upright spin. After entering from a controlled forward outside edge, the spin begins on a back inside edge. Gradual acceleration begins by moving and placing the free foot toward the top of the skating knee and drawing the arms close to the body. The spin exits into a backward outside edge.

SECTIONALS - The sectional championships are the second and final step in the U.S. qualifying competition structure that leads to the U.S. Championships. The top-four finishers from each sectional advance to the U.S. Championships. There are currently three sectionals - Eastern, Midwestern and Pacific Coast - within U.S. Figure Skating competition structure.

SET OF SEQUENTIAL TWIZZLES - An element performed in the short dance consisting of two twizzles skated simultaneously by both partners with up to one step in between the twizzles.

SET OF SYNCHRONIZED TWIZZLES - An element performed in the free dance consisting of two twizzles performed simultaneously by both partners with up to three steps in between the twizzles.

SHADOW SKATING - Any movement in pairs skating performed by both partners simultaneously while skating in close proximity.

SHORT DANCE - The short dance consists of required elements including dance lifts, spins, twizzles, step sequences and sequences or sections of pattern dances. Teams choose their own music and choreography, but it must conform to the specified rhythms and requirements. For 2010-11, the specified pattern dance within the short dance (for the senior level) is the Golden Waltz. Couples can choose up to two additional rhythms from the following: Foxtrot, Quickstep, Tango.

SHORT LIFTS - Dance lifts with a maximum duration of six seconds. There are four different types: stationary, straight line, curve and rotational.

SHORT PROGRAM - Official name for a two minute, 50 second program in singles and pairs that consists of eight required elements and is set to music of the skater's choice. No more than eight required elements can be done. It is followed by the free skate.

SIT SPIN - A spin which is done in a "sitting" position with the upper part of the skating leg at least parallel to the ice.

SPIRAL - A position with one blade on the ice and the free leg (including knee and foot) higher than hip level. Spiral positions are classified according to the skating leg (right or left), edge (outside or inside), direction (forward, or backward) and position of the free leg (backward, forward or sideways).

SPIRAL SEQUENCE - A sequence of steps which incorporates various spirals in a pattern across the ice. Spirals in a spiral sequence may be done going forward, backwards, in a straight line or on a curve, or on an inside or an outside edge.

STAR LIFT - A hand-to-hip lift in which the man raises his partner by her hip, from his side into the air. Her legs are in a scissor position, with either one hand touching his shoulder, or both hands free.

STARTING ORDER - The result of the draw which lists the order in which the athletes will compete and the group in which each athlete will warm up prior to competition.

STEP SEQUENCE - A sequence of steps and turns that immediately follows one another, executed in time to the music and choreographically related to each other.

STROKING - Fluid movement used to gain speed in which a skater pushes off back and forth from the inside edge of one skate to the inside edge of the other skate.

SWIZZLE - A method of two-foot progression, either forward or backward, by an in-and-out movement of the feet on inside edges.

TECHNICAL PROGRAM - Former term for the short program.

THREE TURN - A turn from forward to backward or backward to forward that is executed on one foot in the direction of the curve from an outside edge to an inside edge or vice versa with the exit curve continuing on the same lobe as the entry curve. The pattern the turn creates on the ice looks like a "3".

THROW JUMP - A pairs move in which the male partner assists the woman into the air, she then executes 1, 2, 3 or 4 revolutions and lands skating backward.

TOE LOOP - A toe-pick-assisted jump that takes off and lands on the same back outside edge.

TOE OVERHEAD LIFT - A lift in which the man swings his partner from one side of his body, around behind his head and into a raised position. She is facing the same direction as the man in a split position.

TOE PICKS - The teeth at the front of the blade used primarily for jumping and spinning.

TWIST LIFTS - The group of pairs lifts where both partners begin skating backwards, and the man lifts his partner over his head and tosses her in the air. While airborne, she will execute full or half rotations. The man catches his partner and places her back on the ice.

TWIZZLE - A traveling turn on one foot with one or more rotations, which is quickly rotated with a continuous (uninterrupted) action. The weight remains on the skating foot with the free foot in any position during the turn, and then is placed beside the skating foot to skate the next steps.

UNDER-ROTATED JUMP - A jump or throw jump that is missing more than 1/4 but less than 1/2 revolution. Such jump is indicated on a skater protocol with a "<" symbol and receives 70 percent of the base value of the intended jump.

UPRIGHT SPIN - Any position with the skating leg extended or almost extended that is not a camel position.

Terms Applying to the International Judging System

THE PLAYERS

TECHNICAL PANEL - Consists of five people that work as a team and have direct communication with each other in running the new ISU judging system. These positions include a technical controller, a technical specialist, assistant technical specialist, data operator and a video replay operator. All final decisions made on elements and levels will be made from the majority opinion of the first three technical positions.

TECHNICAL SPECIALIST (CALLER) - The person who identifies and calls performed elements and their level of difficulty. This person has the highest knowledge of figure skating or ice dancing.

TECHNICAL CONTROLLER - The person who supports the technical specialist to ensure that any potential mistakes are corrected immediately.

TECHNICAL SCORE

TECHNICAL SCORE (TOTAL ELEMENTS SCORE) - The sum of scores for the technical portion of a skater's program.

BASE VALUE - A value assigned to each element depending on the degree of difficulty.

GRADE OF EXECUTION - The grade of execution, ranging from -3 to +3, that is given for every element per the judge's discretion.

SCALE OF VALUES - Determines how much each performed element is worth.

PROGRAM COMPONENTS

PROGRAM COMPONENTS - The five components that express the overall presentation: skating skills, transitions, performance/execution, choreography/composition and interpretation. The compulsory dance(s) in ice dancing uses one additional component: timing.

SKATING SKILLS - Overall skating quality: edge control and flow over the ice surface demonstrated by a command of the skating vocabulary (edges, steps, turns, etc.), the clarity of technique and use of effortless power to accelerate and vary speed.

TRANSITIONS/LINKING FOOTWORK & MOVEMENTS - The varied and/or intricate footwork, positions, movements and holds that link all elements. In singles, pairs and synchronized, this also includes the entrances and exits of technical elements.

PERFORMANCE/EXECUTION - Performance is the involvement of the skater/couple/teams physically, emotionally and intellectually as they translate the intent of the music and choreography. Execution is the quality of movement and precision in delivery. This includes harmony of movement in pairs and ice dancing.

CHOREOGRAPHY/COMPOSITION - An intentional, developed and/or original arrangement of all types of movements according to the principles of proportion, unity, space, pattern, structure and phrasing.

INTERPRETATION - The personal and creative translation of the music to movement on ice.

TIMING - The ability of the couple to skate strictly in time with the music and to reflect the rhythm patterns and prescribed beat values of the compulsory dance.

PROGRAM COMPONENT SCORE - The sum of the factored scores for the five (or four) program components.

SCORING

SEGMENT SCORE - The technical score plus the factored program component score.

COMPETITION SCORE (FINAL SCORE) - The qualifying segment score ( x 0.25 ) + short program segment score + free skate segment score, or the compulsory dance segment score + original dance segment score + free dance segment score.

SYNCHRONIZED SKATING TERMS

BLOCK - A formation in which skaters line up one behind the other in more than two straight lines forming a block or formation. The block moves on the ice utilizing the entire surface.

CIRCLE - A maneuver in which skaters are linked and rotate with step combinations in a circular motion. Skaters can skate forward or backward trying to hold form for a perfect circle.

INTERSECTION - An intersection is a required element for the synchronized team skating short program and a common synchronized team skating formation. It is any type of maneuver that incorporates movement of one part of the team through the other part of the team.

LINE - A formation in which the skaters are arranged in a single line, side by side. For the synchronized team skating short program, the line must extend across the ice surface width and travel the full length of the ice.

WHEEL - A formation in which skaters form lines that are connected and rotating from one central point, similar to the spokes on a bicycle wheel.