Figure skating at its best
March 22–28 2021

Figure Skating for Rookies Part 2: Jumps

Figure skating jumps differ in how you take-off, although you always land in the same direction: facing backwards. The majority of figure skaters take-off and rotate to the left (counter-clockwise), and then always land on the right foot, on the so-called outside edge. This means that the skater travels in an arc, putting weight on the little toe. The opposite is the inside edge, where weight is instead put on the big toe.

Jumps can be edge jumps, jumps made from one or other edge, or toe jumps, which means that you jump by using the toe picks at the front of your blades.

*The take-off foot mentioned below applies if you jump to the left and rotate counter-clockwise, which is the most common.

Falling is not necessarily the worst thing that can happen…
Accidentally doing a single or a double jump instead of the triple jump you intended is often equally or more costly than falling on a fully rotated triple jump.
  • Successful Single Lutz: 0.6 points
  • Successful Double Lutz: 2.1 points
  • Triple Lutz with fall: 2,95 points (and -1,0 point extra deduction from total score) 
  • Successful Triple Lutz: 5.9 points
The Axel is perhaps the easiest jump to identify. It is the only jump that begins with a forward take-off, so you need to do an extra half rotation in the air than with other jumps, because you always land backwards. Because the Axel requires an extra rotation and you always land backwards, it is considered to be the hardest of all jumps.
Toe loop
For the toe loop, you take-off from the toe pick of the left foot*, while the opposite foot travels on the back outside edge. It is generally considered the easiest jump in figure skating. The first time a skater successfully performed a quadruple – four revolutions in the air – it was a toe loop. Canadian Kurt Browning achieved a quadruple toe loop at the 1988 World Championships. In later years it has been successfully completed by female skaters as well.
With a flip, you use your right toe pick* to take-off, while skating backwards on the inside edge of the left foot. Because the toe pick is used, this is counted as a toe jump. A triple flip is worth 5,3 points. The quadruple flip, which only a few skaters in the world can execute, has a base value of 11,0 points.
The lutz also involves a right toe pick* take-off, but in this case the opposite foot is on the outside edge. The jump is named after Austrian Alois Lutz who first performed it in 1913. The world’s top skaters can perform the quadruple lutz, which is a highly impressive and extremely difficult jump, and has a base value of 11,5 points.
Salchow is an edge jump that is executed by jumping from the back inside edge of the left foot*. Salchow is considered to be the second easiest figure skating jump. Today, many male and a fewfemale skaters can successfully attempt a Quadruple Salchow. The Salchow jump is named after Sweden’s most successful figure skater of all time, Ulrik Salchow, who won Olympic gold in 1908, ten World Championship gold medals between 1901 and 1911, and nine European Championship golds between 1898 and 1913. He performed a Salchow jump for the first time in 1909.
The loop is an edge jump where you take-off on the same foot that you land on. For those who jump to the left, take-off is from the right foot backward outside edge. A successful triple loop is worth 4,9 points, and a quadruple loop has a base value of 10,5 points. The loop is also referred to as the Rittberger after German skater Werner Rittberger who invented the jump in 1910. The jump gets its name in English from the take-off arc being exactly like the arc of a loop.
Here is a Beginner’s Guide To The Different Types of Olympic Figure Skating Jumps:
And don’t miss this! The most controversial Olympic figure skating jump