If you’ve been watching NBC’s coverage of Olympic figure skating, you’ve probably noticed those “judging squares” at the top of the screen. During a skater’s routine, the squares will turn green, yellow or red.
Bottom line: you’re good if you stay in the green.
A red square means the judges determined there was a problem with an element in the routine like a fall or underrotated jump. A yellow square means the judges are reviewing an element. Before you rush to judge a figure skater by those colored squares, just try to wrap your head around what goes into a triple Axel. On Sunday, Mirai Nagasu became the first American woman to land a triple Axel at the Olympics.
“She takes off from her left forward, outside edge,” Gerry Lane explained. “She’s doing three-and-a-half rotations in the air, landing backwards on the right foot on a back outside edge.”
Gerry is the director of skating at the South Suburban Ice Arena. He’s been coaching figure skating for 42 years. He understands better than most the incredible skill and speed involved in Olympic figure skating.
“When you’re just seeing kind of a captured shot and one frame, you don’t really get an appreciation for how fast some of these kids are moving,” Lane said. “They’re going upwards of 20 to 24, 25 miles per hour depending upon the athlete.”
It got us thinking, how hard would it be for a former pro hockey player to master even a basic figure skating move? Randy Murphy is the hockey director at South Suburban. He’s been skating his whole life – well, at least since he was three-years-old. He also played professional hockey for 12 years. On Monday, Randy laced up his skates and did his best to perform some basic spins.
“I’ve skated my whole life and it’s just a total different application,” Randy said. “It’s a different discipline, although there are similarities with some crossovers, with edgework.”
Watch the video to see how Randy did. Hint: there’s a lot of red in his judging squares.