Ten Figure Skating Trivia Facts

This is a list of some unusual and unique facts that you may not know about the world of figure skating.

01
of 10

Sonja Henie Founded White Skates and Short Skating Skirts

Sonja Henie
Sonja Henie. IOC Olympic Museum /Allsport - Getty Images

In 1928, when Sonja Henie was fifteen years old,  she became the youngest woman ever to win an Olympic figure skating gold medal. Henie held that title for seventy years until Tara Lipinski of the USA won Olympic gold in 1998.  Lipinski was two months younger than Henie when she won gold in 1998 at the Olympic Winter Games that took place in Nagano, Japan.

Sonja Henie won the ladies Olympic figure skating title three times. Her first Olympic gold was in 1928 followed by more wins in 1932 and in 1936.

Before Sonja Henie appeared in the figure skating world, female ice skaters wore black figure skates. Henie introduced the idea that women and girls should wear white ice skating boots.

Ice skating attire until Sonja Henie's time was similar to street clothing. Sonja introduced the idea of short and beautiful figure skating skirts and dresses.

02
of 10

Jackson Haines Is Considered the Founder of Modern Figure Skating

Jackson Haines -
Jackson Haines - "The Father" of Modern Figure Skating. GNU Free Documentation License

The founder of the figure skating of today is Jackson Haines, an American ballet dancer and figure skater.   Since Jackson Haines' style of skating was not well received in the U.S.A., he traveled to Europe to show off and teach his figure skating ideas.  His style of skating did not actually become popular in the United States until after his death, and the first U.S. figure skating competition that included the "International Style of Skating" was held in 1914.

03
of 10

The First Figure Skating Club Was Founded In 1742

Edinburgh Skating Club Logo
Edinburgh Skating Club Logo. Public Domain Image

The first figure skating club was founded in 1742 in Edinburgh, Scotland and was comprised entirely of men.  In 1865, The Skating Club of Edinburgh finally allowed female members to join the club.

In order to be accepted into the Edinburgh Figure Skating Club in the mid 1850s, that members were required to be able to skate complete circles on one foot in a figure eight pattern and then jump over one hat, two hats, and three hats with skates on!

04
of 10

Figures Are No Longer a Part of Figure Skating Competitions

1972 Olympic Figure Skating Bronze Medalist Janet Lynn - Judge 2015 World Figure Championship
1972 Olympic Figure Skating Bronze Medalist Janet Lynn - Judge 2015 World Figure Championship. Popperfoto Collection / Getty Images

Figure skating is called "Figure Skating" because, years ago, designs were skated on clean ice in the shape of a figure eight. These designs were called figures.

Compulsory figures were eliminated from all official figure skating competitions in the early 1990s, and 1992 was the first Winter Olympics to not include compulsory figures at ice skating events.

05
of 10

1960 Olympic Champion Carol Heiss Married 1956 Olympic Champion David Jenkins

Olympic Figure Skating Champions Hayes Jenkins and Carol Heiss Jenkins
Olympic Figure Skating Champions Hayes Jenkins and Carol Heiss Jenkins. Photo by Larry Busacca / Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images

The 1960 Olympic Figure Skating Champion Carol Heiss is married to Hayes Jenkins, who won the 1956 Men's Olympic figure skating title. Hayes Jenkins'  brother, David Jenkins, is the 1960 Olympic Men's Figure Skating Champion.   

06
of 10

The First Figure Skating Website Went Live in 1995

U.S. Figure Skating Logo
U.S. Figure Skating Logo. Permission to Use U.S. Figure Skating Logo Granted by Ramsey Baker, U.S. Figure Skating

 The first figure skating website that ever went live on the internet was US Figure Skating's website which went live in 1995. 

07
of 10

Dorothy Hamill's Wedge Haircut Received Attention Worldwide

1976 Olympic Figure Skating Champion Dorothy Hamill - Inventor of the Hamill-Camel
1976 Olympic Figure Skating Champion Dorothy Hamill - Inventor of the Hamill-Camel. Photo by John G. Zimmerman - Getty Images

 The classic "Dorothy Hamill Haircut" short hair style became very popular after Hamill won Olympic gold in 1976. Her hairstyle received national attention and many little girls in the USA cut their hair short so they could look like Dorothy.

08
of 10

The First Quadruple Figure Skating Jump Was Landed By Kurt Browning

Kurt Browning - World Figure Skating Champion Kurt Browning
Kurt Browning - World Figure Skating Champion Kurt Browning. Photo by Chris Cole - Getty Images

The first quadruple figure skating jump was successfully landed in competition by Canadian and world figure skating champion Kurt Browning.  He landed a quadruple toe loop at the 1988 World Figure Skating Championships.

09
of 10

There Was a "Battle of the Carmens" at the 1988 Winter Olympic Games

Two Time Olympic Figure Skating Champion Katarina Witt
Two Time Olympic Figure Skating Champion Katarina Witt. Photo by Steve Powell - Getty Images

The “Battle of the Carmens” involved East German's figure skating champion Katarina Witt and American Debi Thomas during the 1988 Winter Olympics which took place in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Both skaters, Witt and Thomas, skated to Bizet’s opera Carmen.  Thomas won bronze, and Witt won Gold. 

10
of 10

The Tonya and Nancy Figure Skating Scandal Increased Figure Skating's Popularity

Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding at the 1994 Winter Olympics
Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding at the 1994 Winter Olympics. Photo by Pascal Rondeau/ALLSPORT - Getty Images

The Tonya-Nancy figure skating scandal may be considered the most bizarre story in ice skating history. 

The "Kerrigan Attack" increased the popularity of figure skating. A novel was written, followed by a musical play, and a few television movies were made about the incident.  Twenty years later, in early 2014, two more documentaries brought the incident back into the public's eye.