The Westwind

Figure skating is harder than hockey

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When people watch Olympic figure skating, they often think, Wow, that skirt is a little short. Their arms look pretty there. Oh, they fell. A lot of people don’t think about the technicality of figure skating. But, the reality is that figure skating is far more difficult than hockey in the terms of technicality, equal access to practice times, and cost.

In the United States Figure Skating Association (USFS), skaters need to have “flow and effortless glide” as well as “balance and rhythmic knee action and precision of foot placement.” Yet some hockey players and their fans think it requires no talent.

As a figure skater, I have been the target of  a lot of rude comments attacking my sport. At my old ice arena, figure skaters got two hours of ice time on Friday and two hours on Saturday. Most of that time was for classes for kids who were learning to skate. Four hours may seem like a decent amount of time to a non-figure skater, but real Olympic skaters skate every day for multiple hours. Having ice time is important because that’s obviously how a skater progresses. At my old rink, all the ice time was given to the hockey players and, at school, they would tell me that my sport required no talent. and that I was taking their ice time.

When hockey and figure skating are compared, I feel it’s obvious that figure skating is harder. Sure, they both take years to perfect, but figure skating requires way more skills. According to the Beginners’ Guide to Ice Hockey, hockey skills are basically knowing how to skate, stick handling, shooting the puck, and stopping a puck if it comes to the goalie. But figure skating requires more skills. In the beginning levels in USFS, figure skating requires a skater to do edge work, half rotation jumps, and spins. And in the more advanced levels, skaters have to launch themselves onthe ice and rotate one or more times in the air and land perfectly on one leg. Along with that, a skater has to do complicated edge work and spins with their leg in different places on the very top of their blade.

Figure skating also costs more than hockey. According to New to Hockey, used basic hockey gear costs $50-200 and hockey skates cost different price points depending on what type of player is using them. Recreational skates cost $150-$400 and competitive skates cost $400-$800. Adding up the highest amount of those prices for a competitive player equals $1,600.

Figure skates have an interesting system: as a skater progresses in levels, they have to keep getting new skates so that the ankle has more resistance so the skater can jump higher. According to Skaters Dad, beginning figure skates cost $50-$75 and higher level skates cost $400-$2,000  and are especially expensive if a skater buys the boot and blade separately. And don’t even get me started on figure skating dresses! Those tiny pieces of fabric can cost parents and skaters so much money. Time says that figure skating dresses can reach $10,000 and over when they are custom made. When my mom and I went shopping for a dress for my competition, we had a budget set for $100 and found about three dresses that fit that price point, not to mention skaters also have to pay to participate in competitions and to be in a club so that they can compete. Adding all the highest prices for figure skating gear equals about $12,000. That is about a $10,400 difference between the two highest levels. I feel that this proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that figure skating is harder than hockey.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Figure skating is harder than hockey”

  1. Mary Ellen Gabler on May 16th, 2018 2:32 pm

    Pro hockey players get paid astronomical salaries for their trouble of getting there, and they get contracts no matter how they play. The professional opportunities for figure skaters are not as lucrative. It’s always been figure skating vs. hockey at the ice rinks, but try being a senior citizen at the rink trying to get a fair shake. Not pretty.

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