Why Figure Skating Is One Of The Hardest Sports In The World
Start writing a post
Sports

Why Figure Skating Is One Of The Hardest Sports In The World

It isn't all pretty dresses and makeup.

30898
Why Figure Skating Is One Of The Hardest Sports In The World
Amanda Greel

I’m sure some of you laughed at that title, but the men and women who have participated in this grueling sport understand it’s the truth. I’ve been athletic my entire life. I’ve done soccer, basketball, softball, tennis, gymnastics, swimming, dance, field hockey, lacrosse, and figure skating, and I dedicated myself to all those sports. I can say honestly, however, that figure skating is the hardest sport and therefore the most rewarding.

While the stereotypical figure skating music is soft and slow and pretty, the people who compete with it are tough, fierce and driven. How would you feel after skating triple sessions in one day and you still can’t get the majority of jumps in your program? What about when there’s a competition coming up and your coach is making you do double run-throughs? We want to yell in our coaches’ faces but we can’t get enough air back into our lungs to express how badly our legs are burning. So without further ado, here are four reasons figure skating is incredibly difficult.

Blades

Our blades are four millimeters thick…four millimeters. We balance on very small metal edges as we fling our bodies into spins and jumps and footwork. It takes a heck of a lot more coordination and strength to stay standing as we go through our routines as opposed to running around on a field. Also, the smallest changes make the biggest differences. If you go too long without sharpening your blades, you won’t be able to do your jumps or spins with the proper speed or height. If you go too long without getting new blades, they will flatten out and make it literally impossible to do any skills. While it’s also important to get new sneakers or cleats for other athletes, using run-down equipment will not completely stop your ability to compete as it does with skating.

Falls

The falls are painful and frequent. The only way to improve is to try new jumps and spins…the only way to learn those new skills is to try wholeheartedly. Nobody lands a double jump for the first time if she doesn’t really try to jump. When you really jump high and lose control, you fall hard on freezing cold ice, which is just as soft as pavement and we don’t use pads. I’ve had bruises on my knees, hips, tailbones, elbows, even shoulders. I’ve dislocated my shoulder and knee during skating. However, when you fall that hard, you have to just skate it off. You won’t improve if you don’t take the falls, but just imagine that time you took a tumble on public ice that one time you went with some friends…you have to keep falling until you get better at gliding, but at least you’re not flying into a double double combination jump.

Flexibility

Personally, this was always the hardest part of the sport for me because I’m not naturally flexible. It is incredibly important, but not for the reason most of you are probably thinking of. It doesn’t matter so much if you can’t lift your leg over your head during a spin or a spiral. That skill is great for bonus points, but you have to be flexible enough to do the little things. For example, if my hip flexor is tight, I won’t be able to take off vertically for my jumps, which could lead to some fantastic falls. If my hamstrings are tight, I won’t be able to bend at the waist enough for a spin because it hurts too much. However, it’s very difficult to stay flexible enough because your muscles get tight when you work out hard on the ice, so you need to stretch enough after every practice to make sure you can still do the skills. It’s a relentless, difficult cycle.

Grace

While skating for four minutes straight and flinging your body into the air to do jump after jump and doing difficult footwork to get crucial points, you have to be present. The. Entire. Time. You can’t be hunchbacked with spaghetti arms as you skate. That presents a terrible image to the judges and audience. When you can barely breathe and you are frantically trying to stay calm for your next jump passage, you have to keep your shoulders down, have your arms out, your head held high and your torso upright. It takes so much more strength to stand straight while doing these skills as supposed to just channeling that strength into getting up in the air. Try this right now: keep your arms straight out from your body at shoulder length for four minutes straight. It’s not as easy as it seems, so imagine doing that while going all over the ice.

How on Earth is this sport worth it? What insane people would put their bodies through the constant pain and humiliation and stress just to do a perfect program on the ice? The answer is the people who have felt the incredible satisfaction and pride in themselves when they finally get it right. It could take months, but when you’re as stubborn as a skater, it eventually comes together and it’s the most rewarding feeling in the world to finally land that jump on the toe or to nail that jump passage in the program. The sport only attracts the type of athletes who are willing to go through hell and back to do their passion and do it well. It, therefore, is not for the faint hearted and should be recognized as one of the most difficult sports out there.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee
nappy.co

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

90098
college students waiting in a long line in the hallway
StableDiffusion

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less
a man and a woman sitting on the beach in front of the sunset

Whether you met your new love interest online, through mutual friends, or another way entirely, you'll definitely want to know what you're getting into. I mean, really, what's the point in entering a relationship with someone if you don't know whether or not you're compatible on a very basic level?

Consider these 21 questions to ask in the talking stage when getting to know that new guy or girl you just started talking to:

Keep Reading...Show less
Lifestyle

Challah vs. Easter Bread: A Delicious Dilemma

Is there really such a difference in Challah bread or Easter Bread?

62214
loaves of challah and easter bread stacked up aside each other, an abundance of food in baskets
StableDiffusion

Ever since I could remember, it was a treat to receive Easter Bread made by my grandmother. We would only have it once a year and the wait was excruciating. Now that my grandmother has gotten older, she has stopped baking a lot of her recipes that require a lot of hand usage--her traditional Italian baking means no machines. So for the past few years, I have missed enjoying my Easter Bread.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments