Hanyu is one to watch for next year’s Winter Olympics

From Issue 10

Figure skating is a popular sport that many people watch, but not everyone knows the scoring process or the athletes that compete against each other. The 2022 Winter Olympics are not for a while, but it’s never too early to start learning about some of the popular sports that are going to be featured in the games. 

Figure skating is judged off of two components, degree of difficulty, and how well each element is executed. Each element in figure skating is assigned a base value, which determines the level of difficulty. Judges grade the quality of each element on a scale of -5 to +5, the highest and lowest scores are thrown out then the rest are averaged together for a total score; the free skates and short programs. Each individual skater has different elements that they incorporate into their routines, judges look for the level of difficulty in jumps and the emotion that skaters put into their performances. 

Many Olympic skaters are known for their versatile style. Skaters such as Yuzuru Hanyu are well known for the ability to combine a strong technique with a wide variety of styles. He has mastered the Biellmann spin and the doughnut spin, both of which are known for their difficulty due to the flexibility required. He combines these spins and jumps with an emotional performance that leaves the judges and audience in awe. Many of the famed jumps in figure skating, such as the triple axel, have only been accomplished once or twice in figure skating history. American figure skater Mirai Nagasu, is the third woman in the world to land a triple axel without stumbling. Many other jumps such as the throw quad salchow, can only be performed by a pair and when one partner has been thrown into the air. These jumps have been landed rarely in competitions, but the majority of these jumps are what skaters attempt in order to win gold. While a list of competitors has not officially been released yet, many wait in anticipation for the winter games to begin.