Winter Olympics

Your guide to the women's figure skating competition

February 21, 2006

SKATERS TO WATCH

SASHA COHEN

United States

Won her first U.S. championship in January, finally escaping Michelle Kwan's shadow.

Finished 2nd at the 2005 world championships.

Finished 4th at the 2002 Winter Olympics

KIMMIE MEISSNER

United States

At 16, youngest member of the U.S. Olympic team

Silver medalist, U.S. Figure Skating Championships

Maryland's only Winter Olympics athlete

EMILY HUGHES

United States

Bronze medalist, U.S. Figure Skating Championships

Sister of 2002 Olympic champion Sarah Hughes

Named to team after Michelle Kwan withdrew

IRINA SLUTSKAYA

Russia

World's topranked skater the past two years

Seven-time European champion, a record surpassing Katarina Witt and Sonja Henie

Silver medalist at the 2002 Winter Olympics

CAROLINA KOSTNER

Italy

Placed 3rd at the 2006 European championships and the 2005 world championships

Pressure on the 19-year-old to perform well at home will be great

SHIZUKA ARAKAWA

Japan

Became Japan's third female world champion in 2004

Third at the 2006 Japanese nationals

FUMIE SUGURI

Japan

Placed 7th, 3rd, 3rd, 7th and 5th in the past five world championships

Skates with emotion, consistency

MIKI ANDO

Japan

Japanese national champion in 2004 and 2005

Junior world champion in 2004

Will attempt to land a quadruple salchow in this competition

THE PROGRAMS

SHORT PROGRAM // 8 P.M. // TONIGHT // NBC (CHS. 11, 4)

Each of the skaters must produce a program - performed to an instrumental piece of music - no longer than one minute, 50 seconds and complete eight required compulsory elements. The elements consist of aerials, spins and movements in an order chosen by each skater. The top 24 skaters advance to the free skate program.

FREE PROGRAM // 8 P.M. // THURSDAY // NBC (CHS. 11, 4)

The program is four minutes long with music and attire chosen by each skater. There are no compulsory elements required for the free skate. Judges evaluate each performance for variety, clean skating with few mistakes, sureness of the skater and speed.

PROGRAM COMPONENTS

Skaters are judged on five categories of required elements and artistic impression:

Skating skills // Overall skating quality, looking for control of movement and speed

Transitions // Footwork and movements between elements in the program

Performance and execution // How the skater emotionally and intellectually interprets the music and choreography; execution is scored on quality

Choreography // The original arrangement of all movements

Interpretation // Personal and creative translation of the music

SCORING

NEW JUDGING SYSTEM

After the judging scandal in the pairs competition at the 2002 Winter Olympics, the International Skating Union instituted a new scoring system. Unlike the old 6.0 standard for marks, this system is based on cumulative points for technical score combined with points accumulated for execution of the five program components. There are no more deductions for mistakes. Fewer points are given for an element not well done, and more points can be awarded for flawless execution. How a judge would enter a score for Kimmie Meissner:

VIDEO SCREEN

When deciding scores, judge can see instant replay

A code is entered for each jump, turn or other element as skater does it, and judge instantly sees code here

Judge watches video screen with buttons for entering scores

Judge clicks button giving skater a "basic mark" for the exercise and adding or deducting as many as three points

Judge enters additional scores after skater ends program:

skating skills

transitions

performance

choreography

interpretation

SEGMENT SCORE

Technical score +

program components score

COMPETITION SCORE

Short program segment score +

free skate segment score

THE JUMPS

In women's figure skating, jumps are typically done with two, three or four rotations - called doubles, triples and quads. Most women in the competition will be doing triple-triple or triple-double combination jumps as well. Bel Air's Kimmie Meissner, who landed a triple axel in competition at the U.S. championships in January, has ruled out using the 31/2-revolution jump this week. The types of skating jumps:

TOE JUMPS (Using toe pick on front of skate to vault skater into the air)

Toe loop // Skater glides backward on the outside edge of the right skate, jabs the toe pick into the ice and rotates to the left

Flip // Skater glides on the inside edge of the left skate, jabs the toe pick into the ice and rotates to the left

Lutz // Skater uses the toe pick to vault off the outside edge of the left skate instead of the inside edge

EDGE JUMPS

(Jumps without the use of trailing foot or toe pick to begin move)

Salchow // Using the right leg over the left to initiate the motion, skater jumps counterclockwise, landing on the left leg

Loop // Skater glides backward on two feet, crosses left in front of right and springs off the right foot, rotating left into the jump

Axel // Moving forward, the skater takes off on the left foot, rotating and landing backward

The elements of Meissner's Olympic programs:

SHORT PROGRAM

Tonight

Triple lutz-triple toe combination

Triple flip with footwork

Layback spin

Spiral sequence

Double axel

Combination spin

Footwork

Flying spin

FREE PROGRAM

Thursday

Opening sequence

Triple flip-triple toe combination

Double axel

Triple lutz-triple toe combination

Combination spin

Slow sequence

Layback

Triple loop

Spiral sequence

Triple lutz

Triple salchow

Combination spin

Ending sequence

Footwork

Double axel-double loopdouble

toe combination

Flying spin

SOURCES: International Skating Union, U.S. Figure Skating Association, Torino2006.org, Knight Ridder/Tribune, Getty Images and Associated Press photos, news reports

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.