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Here's How Much Figure Skating Has Changed In The Past 100 Years


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Plus, the outfits were a little different. Men used to skate in full suits. Check out that belt situation.

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This is Austrian figure skater Karl Schaefer during the 1936 Olympics.


And women's skirts used to be significantly longer. Check out these three medal winners at the 1924 winter Olympics.

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That's from left to right: Herma Planck-Szabo of Hungary, Ethel Muckelt of Britain, and Beatrix Loughran of the US. Women also wore hats while competing, which would definitely be frowned upon these days, considering you can be deducted points for having any part of your costume fall on the ice.

While figures were one part of the competition, artistry was another, and over the years, creating elegant, artistic routines became increasingly important. One of the main proponents of that was Norwegian skater Sonja Henie.

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Henie competed in her first games in 1924 when she was just 11 and was reportedly so nervous during her debut that she stopped halfway through, skated over to her coach, and asked him to remind her of the routine.

Henie won Olympic medals in 1928, 1932, and 1936, and an impressive 10 world titles. She's widely credited with infusing the sport with a more balletic and elegant approach.

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This is her looking fly as hell in an all white Norwegian-flagged themed get up. She went on to become a Hollywood star, appearing in 13 films, many of them skating themed.


So what can you expect when you tune in to this year's Olympic figure skating competitions?

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Probably more jumps, triple, and quadruple axels than ever before — though some skating experts wonder if we've reached peak difficulty in the sport. In a 2014 interview with the website Deadspin, 2002 bronze medalist Timonthy Goebel said, "I don't think it's maxed out yet, but we're getting close. I can't imagine someone going out and doing six or seven quads in a program. Physically, training-wise, injury-wise—I think it's a little bit beyond what people are capable of doing."