Pairs Skating Elements: Pair spins & twist lifts

This post covers two entirely different elements, pair spins and twist lifts (aka. twists). Pair spins (PSp or PCoSp for combinations) are spins where the two partners are in physical contact and spin together. Pair spins are almost always combination spins and must include at least two different basic spin positions (camel, sit, upright). Partners can do different positions at the same time. Depending on the season, one pair combination spin may be required in the short program. One pair combination spin with a change of foot is required in the free skate. Pair spins are leveled from 1 to 4 just like regular spins and level features include variations in position, number of revolutions, changes of foot and direction, difficult entries, etc.

None of the examples shown here show the entire combination spins because they wouldn’t fit into single gifs. These are only a few examples of the possible variations in pair spin positions; there are a lot more than shown here. In the first gif, Tatiana and Max both start in a camel position; she goes into a sit spin while he does a catchfoot while still in the camel position. In the second gif, Narumi and Mervin both start in a camel position and go into an upright spin position. In the third gif, Aliona and Robin both start with a camel spin and go into a sit spin variation. In the fourth gif, Qing and Jian both change the foot they’re skating on after the sit spin and go into a camel spin.

A twist lift (“twist”), abbreviated “Tw” on protocols, is an element where the man throws the woman up into the air and catches her by the waist after she does a number of revolutions in the air. Twist entries are almost always based on the lutz or flip jump entry and the man must set the woman down on a back outside edge. Axel and toeloop entries are also possible, but are very rare. Twists are a leveled element and can consist of one to four rotations; the greater the number of rotations, the greater the base value of the element. Most senior teams do double or triple twists; some teams have done quad twists.

The twists shown above both have lutz entries; in both cases the female partner enters the twist on her left back outside edge and taps her right toepick into the ice as her partner throws her. She exits the twist on her right back outside edge. Examples of triple and quad twists are shown. The woman can also hold an arm above her head during a twist, which would count as a level feature:

Carolina Kostner, Bolero step sequence || Worlds 2013 (x)
Anonymous said: A Gif of Julia Lipnitskaia/Yulia Lipnitskaya please?

you’re gonna have to be more specific

Pairs Skating Elements: Side-by-side jumps and spins

Side-by-side (SBS) jumps and spins in pairs skating are more or less the same as in singles skating, except both partners do them at the same time. (I recommend you read the jump and spin guides for singles skating first, because they already cover the same basics used in pairs.) They are abbreviated on protocols the same way as in singles protocols (ex. 3T for a triple toeloop, FCCoSp4 for a level 4 flying camel combination spin). Synchronization is important; if the jumps/spins are not synchronized, the team will be marked down on grade of execution.

One solo SBS jump is required in the short program and two sets of jumps are required in the free program. Of the two sets in the free, one should be a solo jump and another should be a combination or sequence. If one partner “pops” their jump (doesn’t do the planned number of revolutions), the lesser number of revolutions will be applied to the entire SBS jump. If one partner falls, the team gets a 1-point deduction. If both partners fall, they get a 2-point deduction.

SBS spins are always combination spins; ie. they must include more than one basic spin position (upright, camel, sit) done in sequence. Depending on the season, an SBS spin combo or a pair spin (we’ll get to those later) is required in the short program. An SBS spin combo is always required in the free skate. SBS spin levels are assigned with similar criteria as those used in singles skating (ex. number of revolutions, variations in position, change of foot, change of edge).

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Pairs Skating Elements: Death spirals

A death spiral (Ds) is a unique pairs element where the male partner pivots on one toepick while holding his partner by one hand as she spins around him on one blade with her body in a near-horizontal position. The woman’s head cannot be higher than the knee of her skating leg and her body is not allowed to touch the ice. One death spiral is required in both the short program and free skate.

There are four types of death spirals, depending on the woman’s direction of entry (forwards or backwards) and the edge she maintains on the ice during the death spiral (inside or outside). Outside edge death spirals have higher base values than inside edge death spirals and are generally seen as “harder”. Death spirals are a leveled element; like spins and step sequences, levels range from 1 (least points) to 4 (most points). The level of the death spiral depends on criteria such as the number of revolutions, difficult entries or exits, change of hand during the death spiral, and variations in body position.

Back inside death spiral (BiDs): Qing enters the death spiral on the inside edge of her left foot while going backwards.

Back outside death spiral (BoDs): Aliona enters the death spiral on the outside edge of her right foot while going backwards. Robin is doing something like a Y-spiral during the entry to the death spiral; this would count as a level feature.

Forward inside death spiral (FiDs): Cheng enters the death spiral on the inside edge of her right foot while going forwards. She maintains a catchfoot position during the entry and death spiral itself; this would count as a level feature.

Forward outside death spiral (FoDs): The “hardest” death spiral; not commonly seen. Xue enters the death spiral on the outside edge of her left foot while going forwards. She maintains a catchfoot position during the entry and death spiral itself; this would count as a level feature.

Pairs Skating Elements: Throw jumps

Before you go any further: read the singles jump guide first, because the jumps in pairs are the same as the jumps in singles, only with some extra fancy maneuvers.

Throw jumps are jumps where the male skater of the pair throws the female skater into a jump. They are abbreviated on protocols with a “Th” after the name of the jump. Each short program has one throw jump and each free program has two. There are six types of throw jumps, the same as in singles skating: toeloop (T), salchow (S), loop (Lo), flip (F), lutz (Lz), axel (A). Throw flips and lutzes are considered as essentially the same jump and pairs are not allowed to do both a throw flip and lutz of the same number of revolutions in the same program. In elite senior level skating, triple throw jumps are the norm. Some teams have landed quad throws in competition.

As in singles skating, all throw jumps land on a backwards outside edge (usually on the right foot) and the only difference between the jumps is the entry. The axel is the only jump with a forward entry.

Throw triple toeloop (3TTh): Natasha takes off on the outside edge of her right foot; her left toepick taps into the ice as Mervin throws her.

Throw triple salchow (3STh): Qing takes off on the inside edge of her left foot as Jian throws her. Since the salchow is an edge jump, there is no toepick assistance. Notice her “knock-kneed” position prior to takeoff, characteristic of the salchow jump.

Throw triple loop (3LoTh): Tatiana takes off on the outside edge of her right foot without toepick assistance as Maxim throws her. Notice how her legs appear crossed prior to takeoff, characteristic of the loop jump.

Throw triple flip (3FTh): Aliona takes off on the inside edge of her left foot; her right toepick taps into the ice as Robin throws her.

Throw triple lutz (3LzTh): Meagan takes off on the outside edge of her left foot; her right toepick taps into the ice as Eric throws her. In throw flips and lutzes, one of the woman’s legs is between the legs of her partner during the setup for the jump.

Throw triple axel (3ATh): Rena takes off on the outside edge of her left foot as John throws her. The axel is easy to identify since it’s the only jump with a forward takeoff. Only a few teams have attempted the throw 3A; Inoue/Baldwin (as shown here) are the first team to perform one in international competition, at the 2006 Olympics.

Favorite Mao Step Sequences: Nocturne in E-flat major (ver.2) || Worlds 2014 (x)
Akiko Suzuki, Mao Asada & Kanako Murakami || Stars on Ice Japan 2014 (x)

Figure Skating Elements: Sit spins and combination spins

Time to refresh you memories on upright and layback spins and camel spins because here’s the final installment of the spin intro posts - sit spins! (And combination spins, but we’ll get to those in a second.) Sit spins are denoted as “SSp” on protocols and are defined as spins where the skating leg is bent so that the thigh is at least parallel to the ice. Basically, it looks like the skater is squatting down while spinning. There are numerous variations in sit spin positions and most of them don’t have names. I’ve only included some common and famous variations in this post. Both men and women can do some of these positions.

Basic sit spin: Sasha’s skating leg is bent and her free leg is extended in front of her.

Sit spin variations: The free leg can be bent, the torso can be twisted, and the arms can be in various positions.

Flying sit spin: Stephane “jumps” into the spin. This particular flying entrance is called a death drop. Flying sit spins appear as “FSSp” on protocols. Flying entrances are common for camel and sit spins, not so common for upright spins. A “hop” in the middle of a sit spin is another way to do a flying sit spin.

Pancake spin: A sit spin variation where the free leg is crossed on top of the thigh of the skating leg and the torso is bent over it. Mao’s arms are above her back in this example; if the skater’s arms are holding their skating leg instead, it is known as a cannonball spin.

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Anonymous said: do you know any blogs that do pairs guides?

no, sorry, i don’t :( i was actually planning on doing gif guides for pairs elements too but they’re so time-consuming and i don’t think i will be able to start on them for a while. it would be great if someone else wants to do it. in the meantime, i recommend just reading wikipedia’s fs articles and looking up videos of the elements on youtube…

figure skating gifs by magicaleggplant. i post team japan a lot. requests are currently: open