How to Become an Olympic Figure Skater

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To become an Olympic figure skater, an athlete must devote much of his or her early life to training and practicing. Most Olympic athletes, including figure skaters, begin their training during childhood and compete in several meets and exhibitions during adolescence. Figure skating is the oldest event of the Winter Olympics, having first been held in 1908 in London, England.[1]

Wikimedia Commons:
Education Formal ice skating lessons
Starting pay Prize money varies by country
Median pay Prize money varies by country
10 yr growth Slower than average[2]
Related professions Olympic speed skater
Author Selena Robinson

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Olympic Figure Skater Job Overview

Olympic figure skaters are required to perform two routines: a short program and a free skate. After their performances, the judging panel issues two scores, one for technical execution and another for style. The combination of both scores becomes the skater's score, which determines where he or she places in the medal race. Skaters may compete as singles or as pairs during the games, and they often appear in more than one event. For example, a single skater may compete as an individual and on his or her country's team.[3]

Olympic Figure Skater Education

While no formal education is required to become an Olympic figure skater, athletes must meet the IOC's age requirements. For the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, this limit was 15 years old, and athletes had to meet this age requirement by July 1 of the preceding year. Though athletes must be at least 15 in order to compete during the games, they can begin training for the event at any age.[4]

Along with meeting the age requirement, skaters must qualify for the Olympics by finishing in a high place at selected skating competitions held during the years leading up to the games. For Team USA figure skating, Olympic-eligible figure skaters had to place highly in events such as the World Junior Figure Skating Championships, the Grand Prix Series, and the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.[4]

Olympic Figure Skater Training

Figure skaters who intend to compete at the Olympic Games follow a rigorous training schedule. Since lower body strength is required to master skating jumps and lifts, athletes must maintain a regular strength training program.[5] Figure skaters must also develop serious endurance to deal with regular injuries they sustain as a result of falls and missed landings. Those who are serious about reaching the Olympic Games must be exceptionally determined. To make the team, skaters must generally place within the top three spots in their home country.[6]

Olympic Figure Skating Jumps

Along with learning their routines, Olympic figure skaters must perfect several complex figure skating jumps in order to gain a high score during the games. Some jumps are required of all skaters during the Olympics. Olympic figure skating jumps include the Axel Jump, the Lutz Jump, and the Quadruple Jump, which features four complete revolutions in the air.[1]

Yuna Kim Olympics Performance

Olympic figure skater Yuna Kim performs at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia

Also See: How to Become an Olympic Skier, How to Become an Olympic Snowboarder, How to Become an Olympic Athlete, How to Become an Olympic Coach


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