To do a Biellmann, a skater holds the free leg's blade with both hands and pulls it back way above the head. The legs become completely split, although the free leg is bent. The free foot must be over the head.
A Variety of Hand Positions :Some skaters use only one hand to hold the free leg. The signature move of world figure skating champion, Mao Asada, is a cross-grab Biellmann in which she uses the opposite hand to hold her free leg.
Origins:The Biellman position is named after Denise Biellmann, a Swiss skating champion. The move became her trademark when she competed in the 1970s. She is credited for inventing the Biellmann position, not the spin. Although the Biellmann spin also has her name attached to it, no one is quite sure who first did the spin at a major competition. Some say that another Swiss skater, Karen Iten, taught her how to do the spin.
Is the Biellmann Done Too Much?:The Biellmann position has become very popular among today's skaters since the position earns additional points at competitions. However, it has been used so much in recent years that the International Skating Union's rules have now limited the number of times skaters can use the position for an increase in points in the marking of spins and spiral sequences.
Spins, Spirals, Glides, Steps:The Biellmann position is done in a variety of ways. In addition to doing Biellmann glides and spirals, there are Biellmann spins. The position is also seen in step sequences.
Who Invented the Biellmann Spin?
There have also been reports that skaters from long ago also did the position and the spin. Tamara Moskvina, the iconic Russian coach of Olympic pair skating champions, competed as a singles skater in the 1960s. It has been said that she did the spin. Janet Champion, a prominent coach who was a child ice skating star with Ice Follies, performed the position as a glide during her show days. At the 1937 World Championships, British champion Cecilia Colledge performed with one hand a move that resembles the Biellmann spin of today.