Figure Skating

Carolina Kostner of Italy competes in the Figure Skating Team Event – Ladies’ Single Free Skating on day three of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Ice Arena on February 12, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea.
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Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026

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Figure Skating

Elegance, grace, precision, and skill come together in one of the most popular events in the Winter Olympics. As we look forward to Milano Cortina 2026, let’s learn all about this sport.

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Competitions

Figure skating perfectly showcases the technical and physical abilities of its incredible performers. Whether solo or in pairs, figure skaters demonstrate balance and control on the ice, setting beautiful routines to music. It is a combination of athleticism and top-notch technical skill. The figure skating competitions at Milano Cortina 2026 will include five events:

  • Men's singles 
  • Women's singles 
  • Artistic pairs 
  • Ice dance 
  • Team competition

The competitions will be held at the Ice Skating Arena in Milan

Territory

Milano
Milano

Olympic History

Figure skating is the oldest sport in the Winter Olympic Games, but it was already part of the the 1908 Summer Games in London and in Antwerp in 1920. Up to 1972, there were competitions for men’s and women’s singles and pairs. Ice dance was added in 1976.

Basic Rules

Figure skating is divided into 5 events covering 4 disciplines: men's and women's singles, pairs (artistic and dance), and the team event.

There are two rounds in the men's, women's and pairs competitions: a short programme with mandatory technical elements, and a free programme with mandatory technical elements but more freedom in the execution.

Both programmes are set to music chosen by the skaters themselves.

In particular, the skaters in pair skating have to perform a few technical movements together, such as jumps and parallel spins, trying to be as synchronized as possible. The difference between the artistic pair and dance pair disciplines is that the latter does not include technical elements such as jumps or overhead lifts.

In ice dance competitions as well, skaters perform both a short programme and a free dance. The music genre for the short programme is chosen each year by the International Skating Union (ISU).

The scores for event are decided by a panel of 2 technical specialists and a technical controller, which determines the level of execution of the technical element performed by the skater. The quality of execution and other artistic elements, such as interpretation, are decided by a panel of 9 judges.

The sum of the scores determines the winner at the end of the two rounds.

The team event consists of a qualifying phase and a final phase, divided into the traditional skating programmes: the short programme and the free skate.

During the qualifying phase, a man, dance pair, artistic pair, and woman present their short programmes to earn the highest score for their team. This event takes place before the Opening Ceremony and involves the top 10 nations in the world based on the seasonal ranking.

Curiosities about Italian Championships

Italy's first unforgettable finish at the Olympic Games was a bronze medal won by Barbara Fusar Poli and Maurizio Margaglio in ice dance in Salt Lake City 2002.

The other Italian medal in figure skating was a bronze medal won by Carolina Kostner for the women's singles at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi.

FAQ

Here are the answers to your questions.

  • Who are the most decorated couple in figure skating at the Olympic Games?

  • Who has won the most medals in figure skating at the Olympics?

  • Which country has won the most medals at the Olympic Games?

  • What is the difference between pair figure skating and pair dance?

  • Where will the figure skating competitions at Milano Cortina 2026 take place?

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