Athletes are participating in the Olympic figure skating championship since 1908, when it was part of the London Summer Olympics (!).
This popular discipline of the Olympics is since1924 part of the Winter Olympics, making it one of the oldest elements of the Winter Games.
Nowadays, Olympic figure skating includes the following competitions: individual men’s and ladies’ events, pair skating, ice dance and team event.
Men and Ladies Single Event
The single men and ladies Olympic figure skating event consists of two programs: a short program and a free program. The short program should include seven compulsory elements, while the free program should include steps, spins and jumps. The International Skating Union (ISU) counts currently six jump elements in their regulations: the Axel, Lutz, Flip, Loop, Salchow and Toe loop. The most difficult one out of those six is the Axel.
The pairs also compete in a short program and a free program. Just like in the short program in the single event, there are also compulsory elements in the short program for pairs, which include jumps, spirals and throws. The judges will also watch how the movements of the pair mirror each other.
Ice dancing is the ballroom version of figure skating and is since 1976 part of the Winter Olympic Games. Many people might think that figure skating and ice dancing might look very similar, but there are certainly some significant differences. With ice dancing, the skaters dance to the rhythm of the music, while figure skaters move more to the melody of the music. Furthermore, ice dancers are not allowed to jump or throw. The Olympic Ice Dance has two elements: the short dance and the free dance. The short dance has compulsory elements, while judges watch closely the dancing positions and the ability to express the character of the music during the free dance.
The Team Event is a competition between national teams, in which representatives of the above mentioned Olympic figure skating disciplines compete against each other. The national team consists of a male and female single event skater, a figure skating pair and a dance pair.
(Sources: Wiki, Sochi2014; )