Want to know more fun facts about figure skating, your passion? I have gathered 25 interesting ice skating facts to learn more about the history of the sport, the ice rink, the first jumps and more! Have fun discovering this trivia.
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FUN facts about figure skating
#1 - The rink is resurfaced with hot water
That will blow most people's minds but the Zambonis (ice resurfacer), after scraping the ice, puts a thin layer of water that is heated to 140 to 145 °F (60 to 63°C). Actually, the hotter the water, the more even surface will get!
You would think you need cold water to make ice; But hot water contains less oxygen which makes it easier for molecules to bind and freeze.
#2 - Why it is called figure skating...
OK. Ice skating makes sense. Ice dancing and synchronized skating do too.
However figure skating does not make sense at first. So, where does the name come from?
The term "figure" refers to the "compulsory figures" or designs skaters had to make on the ice. It all started with the basic figure eight they had to be able to draw on one foot with the blade.
The figures used to be the most important part of figure skating. But as television started broadcasting the sport, it had to change to make it more appealing. They disappeared from competitions in the early 1990s.
#3 - There is a trick to keep shirts tucked in
Have you ever watched a man figure skate with a shirt and wonder how in the World we are not seeing skin with all the arm movements he is making?
Well, they are wearing special underwear that is attached to the shirt so that it does not come out of the pants when they raise their arms.
#4 - A Zamboni is a brand not a machine
For a long time, everyone has been talking about the Zamboni at the rink. However, the machine is an ice resurfacer. Frank J. Zamboni invented the first ice resurfacer in 1947.
#5 - The first skating moves were made on animal bones
Archaeologists have found that skating on frozen lakes and rivers was used to improve transportation in Finland thousands of years ago (to avoid walking all around a lake for example). At the time, there were strapping animal bones to be able to glide. They made holes at each end of the bones and used twine to go through them and attach to their feet. Archaeologists think they were using wooden poles to help with propulsion.
The metal blades appeared only during the 13th century.
#6 - "Kiss and cry area" is an official term
During the televised competitions, at the end of a program you always see the skaters sit with their coaches in a specific area. The camera will stay on them until they hear their marks. This area is officially called "Kiss and cry" (It is so identified in the ISU constitution and regulations of 2018).
The term was coined by Jane Erkko. She was part of the organizing committee for the 1983 World Figure Skating Championships in Helsinki. She commented with others that skaters would kiss and cry in that area and the name was a joke at first. But it was introduced in the regulations.
#7 - Skaters can be afraid of feathers
There is a rule in figure skating that if a piece of your costume falls on the ice, you get a deduction.
Therefore there are materials that most figure skaters don't like using - a few points can mean a gold medal or not.
Feathers are the worst. You may see other materials imitating the shapes of feathers. But actual feathers are not used because they tend to lose pieces.
NUMBERS & RECORDS - Figure skating facts
#8 - 342 RPM
Have you seen the top figure skaters spin on the ice and how their faces are smashed by the speed.
Have you ever wondered how fast they spin? The answer is that they can reach 6 revolutions per second which is over 300 revolutions per minute!
The current World record dates back to 2015. Olivia Oliver spinned at 342RMP.
#9 - 84
84 is the number of participants for the largest ice skating pinwheel as recorded by the Guinness World records.
It happened in 2012 in the United Kingdom with the Trafford Youth synchronized ice skating teams.
#10 - 14 and 15
In 1997, Tara Lipinski became the youngest woman to win the World championships. And the next year, she became the youngest Olympic figure skating champion at 15.
#11 - 24 to 26°F
Surprising fact about the ice skating rink... No, a colder rink does not mean a better ice. When under 20°F (-6°C), the ice actually becomes brittle. Not good when you want to skate on it.
The sweet spot is considered to the be between 24°F and 26°F (-4°C and -3°C).
#12 - 1000lbs pressure
Depending on paper readings, measurements show that a skater landing a triple or quadruple jump will have a landing force of 5 to 14 times the body weight on impact.
Therefore, a male skater weighing 150 pounds can land with a pressure of 1000 pounds!
THE FIRST - Interesting facts about figure skating
#13 - Axel Paulsen
In 1882, Axel Paulsen was the first skater to perform a jump starting forward. It is now known as the axel. And he did it wearing speed skates!
#13 - Triple Axel
The first triple axel landed in competition was performed in 1978 by Vern Taylor at the World Championships.
For women, the first was landed in 1988 by Midori Ito during the Eastern Japanese championships.
#14 - Ulrich Salchow
In 1909, Ulrich Salchow, a Swedish figure skater who won 10 World Championships, created the salchow. This jump takes off on the back inside edge and lands on the back outside edge of the other foot. This jump is known as a Salchow.
The first woman to perform this jump was Theresa Weld in 1920 at the Olympics.
#15 - Quadruple Salchow
The first quadruple salchow landed in competition was performed in 1998 by Tim Goebel at the Junior Series Final.
For women, the first quadruple salchow was landed in 2002 by Miki Ando at the Junior Grand Prix Final.
#16 - Werner Rittberger
In 1910, Werner Rittberger lands the first single loop.
#17 - Quadruple Loop
The first quadruple loop landed in competition was performed in 2016 by Yuzuru Hanyu at the Junior Series Final.
For women, the first triple loop was landed in 1968 by Gabriele Seyfert.
#20 - Alois Lutz
In 1913, Alois Lutz, an Austrian figure skater, performs the Lutz for the first time.
For women, the first triple Lutz was landed in 1978 by Denise Biellman.
#21 - Quadruple Lutz
The first quadruple Lutz landed in competition was performed in 2011 by Brandon Mroz.
For women, the first quadruple Lutz was landed in 2018 by Alexandra Trusova at Junior competitions.
#18 - First toe loop
In 1920, Bruce Mapes lands the first toe loop (and it is called a Mapes in artistic roller skating).
#19 - Quadruple Toe Loop
The first quadruple toe loop landed in competition was performed in 1988 by Kurt Browning at the World championships. It was the first quadruple jump ever.
For women, the first quadruple toe loop was landed in 2018 by Alexandra Trusova at Junior competitions.
You can learn more on the dates and evolution of jumps on this page.
HISTORY - Ice skating facts
#22 - Gender-mixed at first
At first, figure skating competitions were for men.
Then in 1902 the World Championships took place in London. Madge Syers, a female British figure skater, entered the competition and won the second place behind Ulrich Salchow.
Just a few years later, a separate division was created for women to allow them to have their own competitions.
#23 - The oldest Winter Olympic game
The first time figure skating appeared at the Olympics was during the London Games in 1908, that is to say the Summer Olympics. But it was held in October with 4 events.
Formally, the Winter games only started in 1924.
#24 - It could have started in the USA, but it did not...
Modern figure skating was imagined by American ballet dancer Jackson Haines in the mid 1860s.
However the Americans first did not appreciate his style of skating. He was incorporating ballet moves into the skating, which was before mostly technical drawing movements on the ice. Therefore, he traveled to Europe to share and teach it. And it developed from there.
It became popular in the US only after his death.
#25 - First Book
The oldest book identified that treats the subject of ice skating, dates back to 1772. "A Treatise in Skating" was written by a British man: Robert Jones.
In it, he describes how to choose skates, how to start skating and the techniques of the formal style of figures to be made such as figure eights.
You can purchase a re-edition is you are intrigued:
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