I’m mesmerised by figure skating. It’s a stunning sport, requiring grace, athleticism, musicality, and almost superhuman skill. When I was working on my latest novel, Strictly on Ice, I loved having the excuse to spend hours watching YouTube videos of figure skaters as inspiration.
This week the World Figure Skating Championships are being held in Stockholm. To kick off the week, I’ve gathered together some of the sport’s most memorable moments.
Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, Sarajevo, 1984
Of course this had to be top of my list! Their world famous routine to Bolero by Ravel won them a perfect score and earned them a place in ice skating history. And it was performed on Valentine’s Day too! (I’m not crying…)
Nancy Kerrigan, Lillehammer, 1994
After all the DRAMA with Tonya Harding (if you don’t know, watch the film I, Tonya – it’s awesome) Nancy pulled off a spectacular performance at the 1994 Olympics. It was just seven weeks after an attack left her with an horrific knee injury, but she still won the silver medal.
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, PyeongChang, 2018
Did you know that PyeongChang was the first Olympics where figure skaters were allowed to incorporate music with lyrics? World-renowned Canadian ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir performed to the soundtrack of Moulin Rouge – one of my favourite films. They won gold!
Yuna Kim, Vancouver, 2010
Korea’s Yuna Kim made history at the Vancouver Games in 2010, gaining world-record scores with her flawless routines. I just love to watch her skate.
In my novel Strictly on Ice, Katie can land a triple axel. It’s one of the most challenging jumps a female skater can do, and only 12 women have done a triple axel in competition. Tonya Harding, mentioned above, originally shot to fame for her ability to land a triple axel, but her legacy was cemented not by her skating achievements, but by her suspected involvement in an attack on her competitor Nancy Kerrigan.
Mao Asada from Japan once landed a record-breaking three triple axels in her routines at the 2010 Winter Olympics, including two in her free skate:
Canadian Kurt Browning was the first person to land a quad jump (a toe loop) in competition, in Budapest in 1988. Since then quad jumps are becoming more common for male competitors, although no one has ever successfully completed a quadruple axel in competition.
In 2002 Miki Ando became the first woman to successfully land a quad jump in competition.
And check out Nathan Chen from the USA, referred to as the “quad king” for his ability to land all quad jumps, (aside from that impossible axel!) At the PyeongChang Olympics in 2018 Chen gave an historic performance when he landed six quads in his free skate.
Have I missed any? I bet I have! What are your favourite moments in figure skating? Which skaters are you excited to see these World Championships? Do get in touch with me on social media, I’d love to connect!
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And if you love figure skating, reading, and romance, perhaps you’ll like my latest novel, Strictly on Ice, available now!