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Olympic Figure Skating

Canadian Figure Skating

Hockey holds its own special place in the nation’s heart, but so does figure skating. Little did the British know that they would inspire generations of Canadian figure skaters to come when they first introduced the sport in 1833.

Canadian figure skating boasts a great track record in international competition, and Canada is tied with Russia for second spot for overall Olympic figure skating medals (22).

While the Canadian Figure Skating Championships (Skating Nationals) celebrates its 100-year anniversary, Canada qualified to send the largest skating team to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Canadian figure skaters also qualified for the team figure event, which makes its Olympic debut. During the Games’ first figure skating event, Team Canada will compete against the United States, Japan and host nation Russia.

Other medal contenders are three-time World Champion Patrick Chan, and defending gold medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.

Take a look at where Canada’s Sochi 2014 Figure Skating athletes call home

Figure Skating Rulebook

World Figure Skating Rulebook

In all four disciplines (men’s and ladies’ singles), pairs and ice dance), skaters perform two routines, the short dance program/dance and the free skate/dance.

For each program, skaters receive two sets of scores, the Technical Elements Score (TES) and the Program Components Score (PCS). The TES is based on each element performed (jumps, spins, footwork, lifts, etc.) having a set point value, which can increase or decrease depending on how the element is executed.

The PCS evaluates the program as a whole and is divided into five areas (skating skills, transitions/linking footwork, performance/execution, choreography/composition, and interpretation) with each scored on a scale from 0.25 to 10.0.

To calculate the TES and PCS, the highest and lowest scores from the nine judges for each element/component are discarded with the remaining scores averaged. The TES and PCS are then added together for the Total Segment Score (TSS) for each program. The TSS from the short programs and free skates are added together to determine the final results.

Team Canada

Skate Canada oversees the national team, which represents Canadian figure skating internationally.

The 2014 Canadian Olympic figure skating team was announced on January 12.

On the men’s side, skaters Patrick Chan, Kevin Reynolds and Liam Firus will represent Canada at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

Women securing spots and hoping to bring back Canadian figure skating medals are: Kaetlyn Osmond and Gabrielle Daleman.

In pairs, Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford will lead the three pairs teams to Sochi. The Canadian champions are to be joined by Kristen Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch. Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers are also Sochi-bound.

Ice dance: Defending Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir will be one of three Canadian ice dance teams in Sochi. Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje will join Alexandra Paul and Mitchell Islam to round out the ice dancing squad for Team Canada.

A History of World Figure Skating

Skating’s origin can be traced back to the 13th century Netherlands before it eventually spread to other northern European countries. The British brought figure skating to Canada, and established the first known club on Lily Lake in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833. Within three years, the first Canadian figure skating association was formed.

The first European championship took place in 1891, and 18 months later, the International Skating Union was founded. The first official world figure skating championship (for men only) was held in 1896. The first world figure skating championship for women was held in 1906 with the pairs following two years later.

In 1908, figure skating became the first winter sport to be included in the Olympic Games at London. The Antwerp 1920 Summer Olympics also included figure skating before the sport moved to the Olympic Winter Games, with the first edition held in Chamonix in 1924.

The Golden Age of Canadian Figure Skating

With the birth of Canadian figure skating came the Amateur Skating Association of Canada in 1887, and later the Figure Skating Department of the Amateur Skating Association of Canada in 1914. The organization’s first members were Ottawa’s Minto Club and the Early Grey Club in Montréal.

The first Canadian Figure Skating Championships were held at Ottawa’s Dey’s Arena on January 13, 1914.

The Canadian Figure Skating Association, founded in 1939, brought figure skating into the limelight and paved the way for several successful Canadian figure skaters. (In 2000, the Canadian Figure Skating Association changed its name to Skate Canada.)

Barbara Ann Scott is the golden girl of post-war Canadian figure skating. She became the first Canadian figure skater to win Olympic gold in 1948 in London, and also won back-to-back World figure skating titles.

Barbara Wagner and Robert Paul followed Scott, becoming the first Canadian pair to win gold at the figure skating event at the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir made their first Olympic appearance one to remember when they claimed Canada’s first ice dancing gold medal at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

It all makes for great Canadian figure skating history.


Ice Dance - Mixed

Ice dance underwent a major change in 2010-11 when it went from three phases of competition (compulsory dance, original dance and free dance) to two phases. The free dance remains, while the new short dance is a hybrid of the compulsory and original dances. Each season the ISU selects from the compulsory dances a required pattern to be included in the short dance as well as the rhythms that are permitted. The short dance is two minutes and 50 seconds, plus or minus 10 seconds. In addition to the compulsory pattern, skaters also perform one twizzle sequence, one step sequence and one lift. The free dance is four minutes, plus or minus 10 seconds. Free dances feature one spin, two step sequences, one twizzle sequence and either four or five lifts, depending on how the program is choreographed.

Pairs - Mixed

The pairs’ short program has a maximum length of two minutes and 50 seconds. It includes seven elements: one lift, one twist lift, one throw, one solo jump, one spin, one death spiral and one step sequence. The pair’s free skate is four minutes and 30 seconds, plus or minus 10 seconds. Free skates feature 12 elements: three lifts, one twist lift, two throws, one solo jump, one solo jump combination, one solo spin, one pair spin, one death spiral, one step sequence.

Singles - Men

The men’s short program has a maximum length of two minutes and 50 seconds. It includes seven elements: three jumping passes (including one combination), three spins and one step sequence. The men’s free skate is four minutes and 30 seconds, plus or minus 10 seconds. Free skates feature 13 elements: eight jumping passes (including three combinations), three spins and two step sequences.

Singles - Women

The ladies’ short program has a maximum length of two minutes and 50 seconds. It includes seven elements: three jumping passes (including one combination), three spins and one step sequence. The ladies’ free skate is four minutes, plus or minus 10 seconds. Free skates feature 12 elements: seven jumping passes (including three combinations), three spins and two step sequences.

Team - Mixed

Because ice dance is now just two phases, there is room on the Olympic schedule for a team event. At Sochi 2014 it will include 10 countries, each comprised of one man, one lady, one pair and one ice dance couple. The top five teams from the short programs will advance to the free skates. Team standings will be decided on aggregate placement points for each skater/couple, ie: first place earns 10 points, second place earns nine points down to tenth place earning one point.

Canadian Medallists







GoldBarbara Ann ScottSt. Moritz 1948Ladies -
GoldBarbara Wagner, Robert PaulSquaw Valley 1960Pairs -
GoldJamie Salé, David PelletierSalt Lake City 2002Pairs -
GoldTessa Virtue, Scott MoirVancouver 2010Ice Dance -
SilverFrances Dafoe , Norris BowdenCortina d'Ampezzo 1956Pairs -
SilverDebbi Wilkes, Guy RevellInnsbruck 1964Pairs -
SivlerKaren MagnussenSapporo 1972Ladies -
SilverBrian OrserSarajevo 1984Men -
SilverBrian OrserCalgary 1988Men -
SilverElizabeth ManleyCalgary 1988Ladies -
SilverElvis StojkoLillehammer 1994Men -
SilverElvis StojkoNagano 1998Men -
BronzeMontgomery WilsonLake Placid 1932Men -
BronzeSuzanne Morrow, Wallace DiestelmeyerSt. Moritz 1948Pairs -
BronzeDonald JacksonSquaw Valley 1960Men -
BronzePetra BurkaInnsbruck 1964Ladies -
BronzeToller CranstonInnsbruck 1976Men -
BronzeTracy Wilson, Rob McCallCalgary 1988Pairs -
BronzeIsabelle Brasseur, Lloyd EislerAlbertville 1992Pairs -
BronzeIsabelle Brasseur, Lloyd EislerLillehammer 1994Pairs -
BronzeJeffrey ButtleTurin 2006Men -
BronzeJoannie RochetteVancouver 2010Ladies -
Olympic Club

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