Nathan Chen made headlines last year when he announced that he would become a full-time student at Yale University. Not many Singles, Ice Dance or Pairs skaters of Chen’s calibre have gone on to pursue both academics and athletics. However, for many Junior and Senior Synchronized Skaters, this balancing act is all too familiar.
The Biellmann spin is one of the best known spins in figure skating – and the only one named after a person. It is an upright spin, a variation of the layback spin. While spinning on one leg, the skater pulls the other leg up and holds the foot extended over and behind the head. By ISU rules, the spin is a Biellmann, when "the level of the boot passes the head so that the boot is above and behind or over the head”. There are various degrees of extension of the free leg.
Olympic and World Champion Alina Zagitova (RUS) will take a break from competing and will not participate in the ISU European and World Figure Skating Championships this season, but has not retired.
This week, In Focus brings you the best pictures of the ISU World Cup Speed Skating event that took place this weekend in Nagano (JPN).
Pavel Kulizhnikov and Danila Semerikov raced to gold in the 1000m and 5000m on Sunday to maintain their country’s stranglehold on the fourth leg of the ISU World Cup in Nagano. Russia’s men dominated the three days of competition, winning five out of seven events. With silver behind Semerikov, New Zealand's Peter Michael grabbed his first individual World Cup medal in two years.
Local hero Nao Kodaira (JPN) may have had to settle for bronze, losing out to Russia’s Angelina Golikova in the 500m, but the excited crowd in Nagano’s M-Wave still had a gold medal to cheer for as Japan, back in their 2018 Olympic Games-winning line-up, triumphed in the Team Pursuit.
The world’s leading female speed skaters are still trying to work out just how to slow the progress of Ivanie Blondin (CAN) and Brittany Bowe (USA). The pair swept all before them once again on Saturday: Blondin adding a track record and 3000m gold to her ever-growing collection, while Bowe showed no mercy in the 1000m, taking her third gold in three races so far this season and adding her own track record for good measure.
Yuma Murakami handed himself a golden birthday present at the ISU Speed Skating World Cup on Friday, winning the 500m in a track record time the day after he turned 27. His compatriot Tatsuya Shinhama came second and world record holder Pavel Kulizhnikov (RUS) returned from injury to claim bronze in his first World Cup appearance this season. Jordan Belchos (CAN) won the men's mass start while Russia clinched the Team Sprint gold.
Nao Kodaira grabbed a much-coveted 500m gold on her home track to start the fourth leg of the ISU World Cup in Nagano, Japan, on a high note. Ivanie Blondin (CAN) continued her remarkable run of form by adding the Mass Start gold to the ones she collected in the 1500m, 5000m and Team Pursuit in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, last weekend. To conclude Friday's action for the women, the Dutch ladies won the Team Sprint, with Dione Voskamp making a victorious first appearance in the squad.
The ISU World Cup Speed Skating returns to Japan for the fourth leg of the 2019/20 season. After Obihiro and Tomakomai last year, the skaters will visit Nagano, home of the 1998 Olympics, this weekend. The sprinters will look forward to racing two 500m races in one weekend again. Nao Kodaira, born in Chino near Nagano, hopes to shine on home soil, just like Japan's ace in the 500m Tatsuya Shinhama.
The young talent of Figure Skating competed this weekend in the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final. Have a look at the extraordinary perfomances thanks to the highlights.