Hi everyone, I hope you don’t mind another post about figure skating.

Today I talk about competitive programs and exhibition programs in figure skating. Please NOTE that I am talking about single skaters at senior level. 

1) The modern figure skating competitions have 2 phases: “short program” and the “free skate” or “long program”

Figure skating competitions used to consist of compulsory figure round in which skaters technically draw patterns or figures on the ice. This is where the name “figure skating” came from. By late 90s, compulsory figure round was abolished from major competitive events.

2) A short program is limited to around 2.5 minutes. Skaters are required to execute 7 elements.

a) 3 jump passes, including

One Axel jump, below is a triple Axel

One solo jump preceded by connecting steps, below is a quad Toe loop

One jump combination, below is a quad Toe loop and triple Toe-loop.

b) 3 spins 

One spin with flying entry:

One camel spin or sit spin

One spin combination

c) 1 step sequence which It is a sequence of steps or moves in the field in a prescribed pattern across the ice. http://gph.is/2eND7vI

3) A long program is limited to around 4 minutes for ladies, including 12 elements. While men are required to execute 13 elements in around 4.5 minutes.

a) 8 jump passes including
An Axel Jump

3 jump combinations, like this: 

This 3A1lo3S, or 3A2T 

And other jumps, like this triple lutz:

b) 3 spins including a spin with flying entry, a camel spin or sit spin, a spin combination (almost same as in the short program) 
c) 1 step sequencehttps://youtu.be/EhU_5Y7x9PM
d) 1 choreographic sequence consisting of any kind of movements such as steps, turns, spirals, arabesques, spread eagles, Ina Bauers, hydroblading, transitional (unlisted) jumps, spinning movements etc: http://gph.is/2eC9vqk

While short program is to test your technical skills, long program is to test your stamina. In a short program you show all the best basics of figure skating, in a long program you show your endurance. After a long program, skaters might feel like they have just finished a marathon. 

4) After big competition, there is often a gala in which skaters are invited to perform their exhibition programs.

Gala is actually an ice show. In exhibition programs, skaters are free to do whatever they want, there is no rule about what you must do to earn points. The main goal of exhibition programs is to entertain the audience. 

In exhibition program, skater can be a fairy: https://youtu.be/gHzTL9AZp5g
Or a rock star: https://youtu.be/x_QJo3ItJFI
A prince: https://youtu.be/E3th5CFvoOY
A swan: https://youtu.be/_8TLD10Rzug
A playboy: https://youtu.be/zhFL_HBNDwE
A flower boy: https://youtu.be/WZMsYWykcQY 

Please note that most skaters earn money from doing ice shows or coaching. Below are some other exhibition programs I like:
Yuko Kawaguchi and Alexander Smirnov: https://youtu.be/9UJ_r67vzh0
Anna Pogorilaya: https://youtu.be/bmSAn1zXK70
Mao Asada: https://youtu.be/-ZJUgH6Mjv8
Shibutanis: https://youtu.be/FReX83934kg
Plushenko: https://youtu.be/ogpwrc6oCKM

If there is any question about figure skating, don’t hesitate to send me. I will try my best.

My previous posts related about figure skating: Who is Yuzuru Hanyu, Blade in ice skating, Kiss and cry area, Fitness of figure skaters, Spins in figure skating, Figure skating disciplines at Olympic, Costumes in figure skating, and Jumps in figure skating.

PS: Gifs are from anniesgifs and hanyuedits Tumblr, I did not make them.

Leave real-life athletes, artists, etc. out of your fandom commentary.

These are real people, not anime characters. They put in more work than you could even fathom to get to where they are, and I’m sure that “omg i ship u with ________ lulz” or flooding their social media accounts with fandom vomit is the last thing they want, and the last things their fans want.

If you’re a fan of someone because of a character inspired by them, fantastic. They are NOT that character though. What you’re doing can not only reflect poorly on them and their fanbase, but also negatively affect their publicity as well. 

Have some respect for these people and yourselves and leave your damn fandom commentary out of it.


im in awe

Article from SPUR magazine ‘Skating is Life!’ by sports writer Naoko Utsunomiya, translated by me:

…… 2016-17 season has started….. But when I first started writing this article, it was just after Hanyu had announced his music for this season.  At the venue of the open practice (Toronto Cricket Club), he said, “I want to evolve even further.”

World Championship (Boston) in March 2016;  after it ended, Hanyu could not be seen, to an extreme degree.  He had plans to perform in ice shows, but in the end, his performances were all cancelled.  In the shows, his video message was played, and in the audience, there were fans who were in tears.  Some had their hands clasped together in front of their chest.   I was moved at the sight. And then, I realised, I was also crying.  Really, many people were waiting for his return.    

“Please look forward to my new programmes!”  It was August when we finally saw him, saying that with his refreshing smile.  It was the news of the certification of his Guinness World Records for the short programme 110.95, free skate 219.48, and total score 330.43, achieved at Grand Prix Final 2015 in Barcelona, Spain.  Of course, I already knew about this achievement, but watching him receive the certificates officially, I felt very proud. 

“If only wings grew on my back”

The certification ceremony was actually planned to be held in spring.  It was pushed to later because of waiting for him to recover from injury.  Hanyu’s left foot recovered slowly.  Because of that, he must have been deeply troubled. During days when he could not jump well, he mumbled, “If only wings grew on my back.” 

In the past, I heard from skaters abroad, ‘if you are away from the rink for 3 days, the control of the body becomes difficult’.  That is how complex figure skating is.  For Hanyu, there was a period that he could not go into the rink at all.  And there was a period that his jumps were limited.   Jumps are supported by delicate balance.  Hanyu must have fought against impatience and frustration.  It would also affect the completion of the programmes (for competition).   However, 4 months after Worlds, Hanyu is able to jump like he did before.      

For me, I love his jumps which are like a dance in mid-air.  They have great distance and are so beautiful.  If I am allowed to be indulgent in expression, there are even times when he looks like he has wings.  Perhaps, this is what first class skaters are like.  On the ice, they are free, they can become anyone.

In any case, whether or not he has wings, Yuzuru Hanyu really seems to have had something special from way before. Of course, without something special, one cannot become an Olympic gold medalist. That he is very special, everyone already knows. However, I am going to talk about something from more than 10 years ago. When Hanyu was an elementary school student, he participated in a ‘national promising newcomers discovery camp’ (全国有望新人発掘合宿) held in Nagano. At that time, he was not very good at jumps (although it’s hard to think of that now). In his own words, he was a boy who was “only falling down”. “But in spite of that, I was kept on for some reason and I am grateful for that,” he said.

“An ordinary boy who continued to have an exceptionally cool dream”

Not anyone can participate in this camp; there are clear entry qualifications. It is a system to gather outstanding young skaters from all over the country and only a handful of them can advance to the end. ISU judge Nobuhiko Yoshioka (吉岡伸彦) who also served as supervisor for the Vancouver Olympics, said this when he thought back about the camp at that time. “It has always been a sport with very few people at competitive level. Generally so for girls, and for boys, it is really insufficient. To find a ‘promising newcomer’ is extremely difficult. It will vary from year to year, but out of 100 participants, the ones retained are 2 or 3 at most. It was that kind of feeling.”

In that small number, Hanyu was retained. He prevailed through the stringent selection tests. But there is no exciting story in there. Yoshioka said, “Talking about Hanyu, I have no memory of thinking ‘Oh this boy is amazing’. In his novice days, he was not very different from the others.  They were sorted based on skating, jumps, overall ability, and a few were retained. Hanyu’s skating was beautiful and he was good at music expression. But at that point in time, he was not a skater that had great expectations put on him for the future.”

An informed person’s words have weight.  Actually I like this episode a lot. The story did not end there. The ordinary child who was not very different from the others continued to have an exceptionally cool dream. Then 10 years later, that dream was fulfilled, the dream of ‘winning the Olympic gold medal’.  Almost nothing is more exciting than this story and it was written by Hanyu.

At that training camp, what if there was a promising newcomer who stood out from the rest.
What if his skating did not catch their eye.
Perhaps the birth of a star, unexpectedly, starts in that way. From a very small chance, it goes on to change fate, like a rolling snowball.  Yuzuru Hanyu has special strength.  And he has the strength to draw good fortune to himself too.

– apologies to Utsunomiya-san if I did not translate it well enough.  Much thanks to Charliebenbrown for sharing the article with me. 

Figure Skaters Mentioning Yuri!!! on Ice Masterpost

Evgeni Plushenko, one of the most renowned figure skaters, is probably who Victor is based off of. He is a 4x Olympic medalist, 3x World champion, 7x European champion, 4x Grand Prix Final champion, and 10x Russian national champion. His official Facebook page consistently posts about YOI, but it is confirmed that his media twitter is linked to the page. He has an official personal twitter and a media twitter account run by his staff.

Kenji Miyamoto, an ice dancer and figure skating coach who is the choreographer for YOI, posts about YOI on his blog. He has also choreographed for both Evgeni Plushenko and Yuzuru Hanyu in the past. Here’s a photo of him with Plushenko.

Evgenia Medvedeva, a 16-year-old Russian figure skater who is the 2016 World champion, 2016 European champion, 2015 Grand Prix Final champion, and 2016 Russian national champion, posts about YOI and other anime often on her twitter account. You may have seen her Sailor Moon program before!

Masato Kimura, a Japanese figure skater who has competed in national championships such as the 2015 Japan Figure Skating Championships, posts about YOI on his twitter and even posted a video of himself skating to History Maker.

Nobunari Oda, is a retired Japanese figure skater who is a former Olympian, 2006 Four Continents champion, 4x Grand Prix Final medalist, and 2008 Japanese national champion. He is also a TV personality and often gives figure skating commentary. He tweeted the following, which roughly translates to: “Yuri!!! On Ice is really amusing.”

Tarah Kayne and Danny O’Shea, are partners and American pair skaters who are the 2014 Four Continents silver medalists and 2016 U.S. national champions. They exchanged the following tweets:

Thanks to @offtosingapore for the last two!

Michael Martinez is a Filipino figure skater who is the 2015 Asian Figure Skating Trophy champion, 2x Triglav Trophy champion, and medalist at the 2014 Warsaw Cup. He is the first skater from Southeast Asia to qualify for the Olympics and the only athlete to represent the Philippines at the 2014 Winter Olympics. He tweeted videos of watching YOI!

Johnny Weir is a renowned American figure skater who is the 2008 World bronze medalist, a 2x Grand Prix Final bronze medalist, and 3x U.S. national champion. Although he has retired from competitions, he continues to skate in ice shows and makes TV appearances. He has designed figure skating costumes for various figure skaters, including Yuzuru Hanyu. He retweeted one of Evgenia Medvedeva’s tweets:

Fun Fact 

See the doggie tissue box behind Victor? Doesn’t it look familiar? 

Victor’s poodle tissue box was inspired by Yuzuru Hanyu’s Pooh Tissue Box! 

For those of you who don’t know the backstory on this beautiful tissue box: Figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu always had a miniature pooh bear along with his tissue boxes during his junior days, 2009-2010 season. Then a simple pooh cover with tissues coming out of his nose was introduced in the 2010-2011 season. Then finally, the Pooh tissue box was born in the 2011-2012 season and they have been inseparable ever since. Most of the times, Pooh is seen beside Yuzuru’s coach cheering him on in every competition outside the rink. Funny fact to go along with it, when Yuzu moved to Toronto, his coach Brian Orser stated in an interview, that when he saw Yuzuru, he said, “I always thought he was that weird kid with the Winnie the pooh doll. Now I’m that kid’s coach…and I have to carry it.”


So, I heard that you guys in the anime fandom are interested in yuri!!! on ice. If any of you are interested in the figure skating sport beyond the show, I strongly recommend you check out the guy in my avatar pic. Who the hell is he? Why, he’s just the reigning Olympic champion, rank No. 1, world record holder and full-time absolute dork.

He’s the one and only Yuzuru Hanyu (Hanyu Yuzuru (羽生結弦) in Japanese because surname goes first). You might have heard of him here on Tumblr but just let grandma* here tell you his full story, ok friends? Now sit tight, you wonderful fellas.

*I’m not actually grandmother-age. But I figured I’m “older” than most of you guys when it comes to stanning figure skating. I adopt you all now.

Yuzuru Hanyu… How do I begin to explain Yuzuru Hanyu? I don’t think I have the words to do so - indeed, the fine gentlemen at British Eurosport have “nearly run out of superlatives for Yuzuru Hanyu”, and they’re the ones who called him “the greatest figure skater of all time”. I myself run out of superlatives for how much the B.Eurosport uncles love Yuzuru Hanyu, so… just watch for yourself.

Just listen to all those superlatives. Just calm your thirst, you fine gentlemen at B. Eurosport!

Of course, he won. For those of you who don’t know this, figure skating is not just about competitions. After every major competition skaters do a little informal performance (called an Exhibition) at a Gala and that’s the time for everyone to just kick back, relax, and just have fun. The next video is one of Yuzuru’s most beautiful exhibitions. Plus some cute moments with his training mate Javier Fernandez in front. <3 (The same Javier also once called Yuzuru his “skating esposa” which is, of course, Spanish for “skating wife”. WTF, Javi.) 

For a guy who won the (Winter) Olympics at 19 you’d think Yuzuru would be generally satisfied with what he’s achieved in life, but this is Yuzuru Hanyu we’re talking about. UPPING THE DIFFICULTY OF STUFF is his way of life. So, for some time Yuzuru was struggling a bit with his triple lutz, the same jump he fell on in Phantom of the Opera. So of course he decides to take it out and substitute it with a friggin’ quadruple salchow. A quad is much harder than a triple because you have to make ONE MORE ROTATION IN THE AIR. Most people make their program easier if they’re having trouble with it, but it’s Yuzuru Hanyu. Easier is unacceptable.

He ended up casually smashing the world record (set by none other than Yuzuru Hanyu of the past).

Then, he smashed it again.  

For some context, only 2 people have ever gotten over 100 points in the short program (Yuzuru Hanyu and Javier Fernandez). The 100-point club is a very exclusive club reserved for only the skating esposos and esposas of this world.

This is Yuzuru Hanyu we’re talking about, so he simply has to up the difficulty for his free program as well. (All skaters have to do 2 programs, one long (free) and one short.) Yuzuru’s weak point is his stamina, so by the second half of the free program he usually looks like a dying fish, but after his Phantom of the Opera program he decided to make a new program with INCREASED DIFFICULTY and MORE JUMPS IN THE SECOND !DYINGFISH HALF. 

He then smashes the world record for the free program, breaking the 200-point barrier for the very first time in the entire history of figure skating

He smashed the record again at the Grand Prix Final (after this competition). Welcome to Planet Hanyu… Population: 1, himself! (As the Italian Eurosport commentators would put it.) Can you even believe this guy? 

In my next post, follow me as I go back in time to bring you the tale of younger Yuzuru Hanyu. Tiny, wee Yuzuru wasn’t quite yet the OP MOFO he is now, but he certainly showed the beginnings of what was to come.


Is there some sort of Oscar for a jump??? Like, give it to him already???

Well hello there again, Yuri!!! On Ice fans and potential figure skating enthusiasts. Hope you enjoyed my last post introducing to you the BAMF that is Yuzuru Hanyu. Let’s go back in time to when Yuzuru was not yet the legend that he was now. 

Now figure skating is not just about looking pretty and graceful on the ice. Because figure skating is art, figure skaters tell a story when they’re on the ice. One of my favourite programs from Yuzuru ever is this one he did when he was just 17 years old. Watch out for the tragic, unexpected fall a la an anguished Romeo beside Juliet’s deathbed (at 2:52) and his scream of defiance at 4:11 (apparently he swore, but (unfortunately) the music is too loud for us to hear it). As the commentator says, “when Yuzuru is on, his jumps are sensational, and when he’s off, his falls are spectacular”. 

I’ve talked at length about impossibly difficult programs, blood, sweat, tears and art, but that isn’t everything figure skating is about. It may have 10837283231 different rules and snobby ~arty farty~ fans, but it can also be fun and indeed, it can also be silly. Still, figure skaters are held to certain standards. For example, you have to (1) pick up your own props and (2) try not to lose all your clothes. Here we have a young Yuzuru almost breaking all the rules.

Once upon a time, songs with lyrics weren’t allowed in figure skating competitions (except for ice dancing), because judges were stuffy and boring like that. They’ve since changed the rules, but back then figure skaters only ever used songs with lyrics in exhibitions because exhibitions are where you can just about do anything except for leaving your props on the ice and losing all your clothes. My absolute favourite exhibition from Yuzuru ever is this one where he skates to Hana ni Nare by his good friend Sashida Fumiya. 

You guys might be wondering at this point about what exactly Yuzuru did to win himself an Olympic Gold Medal. OGMs are mystical stuff, but honestly? I think Yuzuru’s Olympic achievements are but just one more trophy on his shelf, given all the spectacular things he’s gone on to do after that. But still, an OGM is… still regarded as one of the highest honours in sport. So I’m practically obligated* to link you guys his Olympic short program.

*I may equivocate, but I’m not actually reluctant to show you guys this, because this was the program that made me a fan. > < Don’t be afraid to be a fan of Parisian Walkways, guys! It may be Yuzuru’s most ~mainstream~ program but that’s nothing to be ashamed of! 

That was, by the way, the first time anyone had ever broken the 100-point barrier for the short program. For a whole season and a half after that Yuzuru remained the only person in the 100-point club. (As I said in the previous post, even now there are only 2 people in this very exclusive club.)

In the next post, follow me as I go back even further in time to show you the Junior days of an even tinier baby Yuzuru*. 

*Back when he still sported a mushroom cut a la Evgeni Plushenko, his skating idol and possibly the inspiration for Viktor Nikiforov.