|Competitions held||90 (Venues)|
|IF||International Skating Union|
Figure skating began in the mid- to late-19th century almost concurrently in Europe and North America, but two Americans are responsible for major developments in its history. In 1850, Edward Bushnell of Philadelphia revolutionized skating technology when he refined the use of steel-bladed skates. This allowed the creation of fancy twists and turns on the ice. Another American, Jackson Haines, a ballet master, visited Vienna in the 1860s and added the elements of music and dance to figure skating. Originally, free skating was subordinate to school figures, or the tracing of pretty patterns on the ice.
International figure skating competitions were held in Europe in the 1880s and the International Skating Union (ISU) was formed in 1892, the first true international governing body of any winter sport (now with 77 members, but representing only 60 nations). Originally men and women competed together, with the first world championship being held in what was then and is now St. Petersburg, Russia (formerly Leningrad) in 1896. The first women’s championship was held in 1906.
Figure skating is the oldest sport on the Olympic Winter Games program. It was contested at the London Olympics of 1908 and again in 1920 at Antwerp. Events for men, women, and pairs were contested thru 1972. In 1976, ice dancing, long a popular event, was added to the program as a fourth event, although it had been held as a demonstration event in 1968.
Scoring has evolved during the century also, as the former predominance of compulsory figures in the scoring gave way in the early 1970s. A short program of free skating was added, primarily to equalize results among skaters who were excellent at compulsories but lesser free skaters, to those who were poor compulsory skaters but top-notch free skaters. This was exemplified in that era by Beatrix “Trixi” Schuba (AUT), who was an excellent skater in compulsories, but was a relatively poor free skater, and Janet Lynn (USA), who was a superb free skater but was usually beaten by Schuba because of her lesser skill in the compulsories. This gave impetus to the movement to decrease the importance of compulsory figures. At the end of the 1980s the International Skating Union ruled that compulsory figures would no longer be held at international competitions. They last were contested at the 1990 World Championships and they have not been a part of the Olympic figure skating program since 1988.
After a controversial judging decision in the pairs at Salt Lake City in 2002, the ISU overhauled the scoring system again, replacing the time-honored system of 6.0 maximum and positions decided by majority placements with a system that awards points to successful execution of various elements with no theoretic limit on the number of points that may be scored.
Since World War II, figure skating has been dominated in the men’s and women’s singles by the United States which has won six men’s gold medals and seven women’s gold medals. In pairs and ice dancing, by far the dominant nation has been the Soviet Union and its former republics. Since 1964, the Soviet Union (or its former republics) has won every pairs and dance gold medal available, with the exception of the 1984 ice dancing gold medal that went to Great Britain’s Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, the 2002 ice dancing gold medal, won by France’s Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat, both 2010 mixed golds, won by the Chinese pair of Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo, and the Canadian ice dance couple of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, and the 2014 ice dance gold, won by Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White.
|People's Republic of China||CHN||1||3||4||8|
|Olympic Athletes from Russia||OAR||1||2||0||3|
|Republic of Korea||KOR||1||1||0||2|
|Artur Dmitriyev|| RUS
|Katya Gordeyeva|| RUS
|Pasha Grishchuk|| RUS
|Katarina Witt|| GDR
|Sergey Grinkov|| RUS
|Yevgeny Platov|| RUS
|Tetiana Volosozhar|| RUS
|Name||Gender||Still contested?||Times held?|
|Ice Dancing||Mixed Youth||3|