Although the long travel to California made the IOC worried about participation, the figure skating fields were quite full, with all the top skaters there. The Soviet Union made its Olympic figure skating début, entering two pairs, a discipline in which they would soon dominate. In all three events, the defending champions and heavy favorites won the gold medals. The events were held indoors at the Blyth Memorial Arena. Previously, Olympic figure skating had been contested outdoors, except in 1908, 1920, and 1932, but from 1960 on, it has always been held indoors. Men and women skated compulsory figures and a free skating program, with the compulsory figures counting towards 60% of the final score, while pairs skated a single free skate program. Overall placements were determined by the majority placement system. The compulsory figures were changed from six to five figures, but the percentages were not changed.