Both men and women in senior competition must now do four spins, one of which must contain a combination of positions. The men must do two sets of footwork, either straight line, circular or serpentine, which fully utilise the ice surface. The women must do one set of footwork and one set of spirals (gliding arabesques) and spreadeagles. Skaters may not repeat the same type of triple jump, although one may be repeated if it is combined with another jump.
These regulations will particularly handicap skaters such as Elaine Zayak, USA, who are known for their jumping ability. Zayak won the 1982 World Championship, stunning the audience with six triple jumps, four of which were toe loops (two of those in combination with other jumps), and two triple salchows. Her showing was enough to catapult her from seventh place at the halfway stage to win. Now, however, she will be limited to only one triple toe loop and one triple saichow, one of which may be repeated in combination with another jump.
Spectators at the professional ice shows tend to applaud spins but largely ignore jumps, unless they are performed by someone like Cousins, whose jumps are so spectacularly high. Yet spins have not developed much in the past few decades. Ronnie Robertson, who won the Olympic silver medal in 1956, is believed to have been the fastest spinner ever. His arms would pull so strongly against the centrifugal force that specks of blood would ooze through his pores. Skaters have to learn to ignore giddiness. Robertson learnt so well that when NASA tested him in their antigravity chamber, they could not even make him dizzy.
Spins can be done in almost any position. Cousins performed a variation of the sit spin in which he pulled his head down into his lap, and this was copied by other skaters. Cousins, John Curry and Toller Cranston of Canada were all known for their excellent arabesque positions on their camel spins, so called because novice skaters cannot bring their leg high enough to form an arabesque and their position is marred by a hump. A popular way of completing a routine is with a basic stand spin. Scott Hamilton uses this move extremely effectively. His blurring image is guaranteed to bring an audience to its feet.
Spinning is done on the primary foot on a back inside edge, or on the flat of the blade with its weight towards the front. (In an unusual case, such as Cousins's and Cranston's camel spins, a forward outside edge is employed. This aids the line of the spin but is extremely advanced.) Most skaters spin on their left foot counter-clockwise. Advanced skaters change feet while spinning. On their second foot they rotate in the same direction as before, but on a back outside edge which is more difficult.
When John Curry went to the United States to train he worked briefly with Gus Lussi, the coach who had guided Dick Button towards the world's first triple jump. Curry was having problems with his triple jumps. Lussi immediately decided Curry spun on the wrong foot, and insisted he try to spin the other way round. It was pretty humiliating having to go through all the basic moves again - dancers learn everything on both feet in both directions, but skaters are one-direction people. However, Lussis advice paid off. Learning to spin in the same direction in which he rotated his jumps in the air helped Curry to speed his airborne revolutions. A by-product was that he was able to introduce a spin first one way and then the other, an unusual choreographic feature, into his breathtaking Olympic programme. The layback, one of the most attractive spins to watch, was used by Peggy Fleming to great advantage. Denise Biellmann has a variation, which delights everyone who sees it. She grabs her foot and hoists it above her head so that it obscures her view of the stadium ceiling. She pays a high price for her gymnastic ability, however. When she leaves the ice after doing her spin she has to lie down for half an hour with ice packs on her back.
The Singles Competition
Chapter 4
Page 7
The Single Competition (Page 8). The Single Competition Index Page..