Figure Skating 101 - March 14

Flying sit spins

Evan Lysacek performs at the 2008 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
Evan Lysacek performs at the 2008 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. (Michelle Harvath)


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By Jo Ann Schneider Farris, special to
(03/14/2008) - A flying sit spin, sometimes referred to as a "flying sit," is one of the most spectacular and dazzling figure skating moves.

It is easy for ice skating fans to recognize the flying sit spin, since skaters jump from and land on the same leg. Although the move is considered a spin, it is really a combination of a jump and a spin since a skater jumps into the air, but then lands in a sit spin position. After the jump occurs, the skater does a traditional sit spin.

To perform the move, the skater enters the move in the same way he or she would enter a traditional sit spin, but as soon as the skater begins the entry, he or she jumps in the air while bending the entry leg. The free leg swings around as the skater jumps in the air. Then, the free leg extends forward into the sit-spin position.

Usually skaters enter the move from back crossovers. The motion of the entry is a bit similar to an Axel take-off, since the arms push back and then move forward close to the skater's body. The take-off knee bends and then straightens, but as the skater jumps into the air, the skating knee bends again and is tucked to achieve the sit-spin position.

As the skater jumps, the arms are open and a bit out to the side, but they move forward to prepare for the landing. Then, the tucked foot moves down a bit and the skater first lands on the toe pick of the blade. The landing knee bends as the skater goes into a traditional sit spin. The free foot stays extended and is straight in front of the skater and should be parallel to the ice. The free foot should be slightly turned out, and the back should be straight but slightly bent forward. Most skaters stretch the arms forward as the spin proceeds.

Unlike a figure skating jump that moves across the ice, the take-off and landing of the flying sit spin should occur in about the same place. Once the spin is completed, the skater should exit the spin in the same way as he or she would exit a traditional sit spin.

The skater must jump high as the move is performed. When the move is done with height and speed, it is very impressive to watch.

Happy Skating!

For more information on the fundamentals of figure skating visit U.S. Figure Slating's Basic Skills Program.