Figure skating is a sport in which individuals, pairs, or groups perform on figure skates on ice. It was the first winter sport to be included in the Olympic Games, when contested at the 1908 Olympics in London. The four Olympic disciplines are men’s singles, ladies’ singles, pair skating, and ice dance; the non-Olympic disciplines include synchronized skating, Theater on Ice, and four skating. From intermediate through senior-level competition, skaters generally perform two programs (the short program and the free skate), which, depending on the discipline, may include spins, jumps, moves in the field, lifts, throw jumps, death spirals, and other elements or moves.
Figure skaters compete at various levels from beginner up to the Olympic level (senior) at local, regional, sectional, national, and international competitions. The International Skating Union (ISU) regulates international figure skating judging and competitions. These include the Winter Olympics, the World Championships, the World Junior Championships, the European Championships, the Four Continents Championships, the Grand Prix series (senior and junior), and the ISU Challenger Series.
The sport is also associated with show business. Major competitions generally conclude with exhibition galas, in which the top skaters from each discipline perform non-competitive programs. Many skaters, both during and after their competitive careers, also skate in ice shows, which run during the competitive season and the off-season.
Team lineups (open)