Since figure skaters execute their jumps and spins with such grace, it’s easy to forget how athletic these Olympians are. Don’t let the bedazzled outfits fool you, these figure skaters are insane athletes.
When a figure skater goes into a spin, they average about five revolutions per second. This roughly translates into 200-300 pounds of centrifugal force.
When Nathan Chen completed the quad jumps, The New York Times reported that he topped out around 440 rotations per minute. To put that into perspective, the rotor blades of a helicopter average 450 RPMs.
In order to accomplish those insane jumps without getting dizzy, figure skaters have to reprogram their brains. It’s a pretty complicated process that is explained in this
Scientific American article.
When a skater performs a jump, they will absorb the equivalent of eight to 17 times their bodyweight upon landing … on one leg.
Figure skating injuries are no joke, which is understandable considering the toll these athletes take on their bodies. Former Olympic figure skater Yevgeny Plushenko had to have one of his spinal discs removed and replaced with a synthetic one.
A figure skater’s heart rate averages around 200 beats per minute during their program. This is equivalent to the same BPM that runners experience in an 800-meter race.
While their bodies are spinning as fast as helicopter blades and traveling at insane speeds, they must do so with grace. Not many sports require Olympians to accomplish such athletic feats while also being judged on artistry.
When most Olympic athletes experience horrific falls they walk off of the course or are moved out of the way. When figure skaters crash on the ice, they have to get back up, put on a smile, and finish their program with style and grace.