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Top 7 Basic Figure Skating Jumps Every Ice Skater Must Know


There are certain jumps that all ice skaters learn and that figure skating fans should try to recognize.

These jumps are usually practiced in a certain order. The jumps listed in this article are listed in that order. The jumps that are considered most difficult jumps are listed last.

Skaters receive more credit for the more difficult jumps. All of these jumps can be done as doubles or triples (with the exception of the waltz jump.)

1. Waltz Jump

Harry How/Staff/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
A waltz jump takes off from a forward outside edge. A half revolution is made in the air, and the ice skater lands on a back outside edge on the opposite foot.

2. Salchow

US Figure Skating Champion Max Aaron Can Do Triple Salchows
Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
A salchow jump is done from the back inside edge of one foot to the back outside edge of the other foot. A half revolution is done in the air.

The salchow jump was invented by Ulrich Salchow in 1909.

The salchow is usually done from a forward outside three turn. After the three turn, the skater stops momentarily with the free foot extended behind, then swings the free leg forward and around with a wide scooping motion. Then, the skater jumps in the air and lands backwards on the foot and leg that did the scooping motion.

Sometimes, the salchow is entered from a forward inside mohawk instead of a three turn.

3. Toe Loop

Evgeni Plushenko Did a Quadruple Toe Loop at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver
Photo by Vincenzo Pinto - Getty Images
A toe loop is done with a toe assist. While skating backward on an outside edge, the figure skater picks with the other toe, then jumps a half revolution in the air like a waltz jump, and lands on the foot that did not pick. The skater should be gliding backward on an outside edge when he or she lands.

This jump was invented during the 1920's by Bruce Mapes who was an American professional show skater. In fact, in artistic roller figure skating, the toe loop is called a Mapes Jump.

Most of the time, the toe loop is entered from a forward inside three turn.

4. Loop

Ryan Jahnke does a very high triple loop jump
Photo by Doug Pensinger - Getty Images
In a loop jump, an ice skater takes off from a back outside edge, jumps a full revolution in the air, and lands backward on the same back outside edge from which he or she took off.

This jump is easy for non-skaters to recognize since there is no toe assist. It is considered an "edge jump" since no toe assist is used on the take off. Loop jumps are often done as the second jump in figure skating jump combinations.

5. Flip

Olympic Figure Skater Mirai Nagasu Jumps
Photo by Jeffrey Ufberg - Getty Images
A flip jump is a move where the skater glides backward on a back inside edge, picks with the other skate, jumps a full revolution in the air, and lands on the back outside edge of the foot that picked.

Most figure skaters enter the flip jump with an outside three turn and then "pick" with the free toe. The three turn done before the flip jump must be done in a straight line. The toe pick assist looks a bit like a pole vault. Some skaters enter the flip with alternative entries, such as a forward inside mohawk.

6. Lutz

Brandon Mroz - First Figure Skater In History to Land a Quadruple Lutz Jump
Video Photo Still by Local Motion Productions
A lutz jump is done just like the flip, but the takeoff is from a back outside edge instead of a back inside edge.

The lutz jump was invented by a Austrian man named Alois Lutz who first performed the jump in competition in 1913.

The lutz jump must be taken off from the back outside edge and is considered a counter-rotated jump. It is very difficult to stay on a back outside edge as the skater takes off; if the skater does allow the blade of the take off edge to roll over to an inside edge, the jump does not receive full credit and is consided a flip jump. This mistake on a lutz has been nicknamed a "flutz."

7. Axel

A Figure Skater Jumps in the Air
A Figure Skater Jumps in the Air - iStockphoto.com
The takeoff of an axel jump is on a forward outside edge. After jumping forward from that forward edge, the skater makes one and one-half revolutions in the air and lands on the other foot on a back outside edge.

This jump was invented by a skater named Axel Paulsen who first performed this jump in 1882.

It takes time to master an axel jump. It may take years for some skaters to master an axel. Once a skater "gets an axel," double jumps usually come quite easily.

Join the Discussion - What is Your Favorite Ice Skating Jump?

What is your favorite ice skating jump? Do you like doing waltz jumps? Do you like watching triple loops and double axels? Do you like doing salchows or axels? Share your thoughts with About.com's readers.
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