5. Learning spins means making yourself dizzy and nauseated a couple times a day.
Most coaches won’t even let skaters do more than two rotations until he or she has had years of practice. Then skaters work their way up to as many as eight rotations with complicated flourishes like this Biellmann spin by Team USA’s Gracie Gold.
8. The path to the Olympics is a trajectory of perfection.
For example, medaling at the Olympics without first claiming a World Figure Skating Championships (Worlds) medal is extremely rare. Or consider how this win for Gracie Gold in January ensured her spot on Team USA a month later.
9. Skaters are scrutinized for subjective things like partner chemistry and not engaging the audience.
The International Skating Union (ISU) judges the Olympics and Worlds down to the most minute details, so even landing a perfect combination jump like Gracie Gold’s here still isn’t enough for a perfect score.
10. Total points for each jump demands the accuracy to launch and land on the correct edge of the correct feet.
A total of eight blade locations — the front and back of the inside and outside of both blades — requires the ISU to use instant replay to ensure that all six available jumps start and end in the right place.
11. The Quad (quadruple jump) is so difficult that not even all professional figure skaters can do it.
The ones who can, though, earn big points for jumping upward against forces comparable to the weight of a sofa, then landing smoothly under weight similar to a refrigerator.