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Falling Is Part of Figure Skating

If You Are Going to Skate, You Are Going to Fall - That's a Fact

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Figure skater falling on the ice

All figure skaters fall down, even he very best.

Ryan Pierse/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

All figure skaters fall down, even he very best. When figure skaters begin to learn new jumps or spins, they may fall hundreds of times. If a skater falls in an ice skating competition, points are deducted.

If You Are Going to Skate, You Are Going to Fall:

If you are a figure skater, you must understand that if you are going to skate, you are going to fall. That's a fact. Practicing falling over and over again is the only way to learn how to fall safely.

How To Fall On the Ice Without Getting Hurt:

It may help to practice falling when you are off the ice. Then, practice falling on the ice from a standstill, then while moving slowly, and then while moving more quickly. Wearing gloves may help.

Don't Lean Backward:

If you anticipate a fall, do not lean backward, but try to move your body and head forward. Relax. Do not stiffen up; allow your body to go limp.

More Falling Tips:

Beginning ice skaters can practice falling from a dip position.

To do a dip, first glide forward on two feet and squat down as far as possible. Fall to the side and lean a bit forward. Do not lean back, or you may hit your head. Put your hands in your lap and not on the ice. If you leave your hands on the ice, another skater could skate over your fingers!

Don't Cry When You Fall Down:

All figure skaters should remember that falling down is part of our sport. If possible, avoid crying after a fall.

In addition, the skater should return to the ice as soon as possible and do the move on which the fall occurred.

The skater should remember to get up from a fall as soon as possible. Remaining sitting or lying on the ice poses a danger to both the skater and to others. It is important to get up quickly.

Serious Figure Skating Falls:

Ice dancing falls can be dangerous, but pair skating falls can be more serious.

At the 2006 Olympic Games, Dan Zhang fell as the team attempted a throw quadruple Salchow. The crowd gasped. She doubled over in pain, and it seemed that the team's Olympics were finished. Instead, she recovered; the team returned to the ice and completed their program. The pair won the Olympic silver medal.

Zhang's story is a happy one, but in the late 1990s, Paul Binnebose, a pair skater, was seriously injured from a fall. He was practicing a lift with his partner when he fell backward and hit his head on the ice. That injury nearly cost him his life. He did not compete again but did continue in the sport as a coach.

Pair skating at one time was more graceful than athletic. It did require some risks, but it was not considered as dangerous as it is today. Skaters were rarely thrown through the air or held upside down. Things were not done at the high speed required for today's athletic moves. Even though pair skating was safer at that time than it is now, falls did occur, as they do in all branches of figure skating.

Figure Skaters That Fall Down Can Still Win:

At a figure skating competition, each move in an ice skater's program equals certain points. For example, a triple jump is assigned many more points than a double jump.

Spectators can see what they think is a "perfect program," but if the competitor doesn't have elements in their routine that will get high points, a skater can place behind someone who attempted jumps and spins that are awarded higher scores. This means that even if a skater falls down and makes obvious errors, that a skater with a flawless program can place behind a skater that falls.

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