Figure skating jumps

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Figure skating jumps are a major element of competitive figure skating. Different jumps are identified by the take-off edge and the number of revolutions completed. There are six kinds of jumps currently counted as jump elements in ISU regulations.



Jumps can be performed with either clockwise or counter-clockwise rotation. The vast majority of skaters rotate all their jumps and spins in the same direction; counter-clockwise jumping is more common than clockwise. All jumps are landed on a back outside edge (except stylized variations on some jumps like the half loop or one-foot axel). The type and amount of steps before a jump do not affect the jump's definition, but certain jumps have common and recognizable set-ups that help the skater do the element correctly and that also help spectators in identifying the jumps.

Jumps are classified as either edge jumps or toe jumps. An edge jump takes off directly from the edge without assist from the other foot; while in a toe jump, the skater spikes the toe picks of the free foot into the ice at the same time he or she jumps off the edge of the skating foot, providing a kind of pole-vaulting action to convert the skater's horizontal speed over the ice into a vertical leap.

Most jumps have a natural rotation; that is, the approach and landing curves both have the same rotational sense as the jump in the air. A few jumps, notably including the lutz and walley, are counter-rotated, with the approach edge having an opposite rotational sense to the rotation in the air and landing curve.

In the modern jumping technique first developed by Gus Lussi and his pupil Dick Button, skaters are taught to jump up first, and then assume a back spin position in the air to complete the rotation. For a jump with counterclockwise rotation, the left leg should be crossed in front of the right at the ankles, with the feet together, the arms pulled into the chest and the head turned to look over the left shoulder. If the legs are crossed above the knee, it is referred to as a wrap, and is considered poor technique, not only because it looks unattractive but because it interferes with the jump's mechanics. For multi-rotational jumps, it is important that the skater assume a "tight" position in the air by holding the arms close to the body, to concentrate their body mass around the axis of rotation and minimize the rotational moment of inertia.

Jumps can also be performed with variations in the arm positions in the air to add difficulty. These variations include one or both arms overhead, both hands on the hips, or arms folded in front of the chest. The variation with one arm overhead is often called a Tano position, after Brian Boitano, who performed a triple lutz in this position as one of his signature moves.

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