Simpleton’s Guide To The Winter Olympics (Figure Skating and Freestyle Skiing)

Simpleton’s Guide To The Winter Olympics (Figure Skating and Freestyle Skiing)

After the Winter Olympics has kicked off with Curling and Ski Jumping, day two brings us the excitement and glamour of Figure Skating and the thrills and spills of Freestyle Skiing.

Figure Skating

Figure Skating is the only sport where American Tan tights are not only acceptable but compulsory for women and where the men dress as if they are going to an American Prom in the early eighties (and probably still wear American Tan tights under their trousers).

Mention Figure Skating to anyone of a certain age and they will hear the tune of Ravel’s Bolero playing in their head, they will picture John Curry in his brown corduroy dungarees and wince at the thought of Tonya Harding smashing their kneecaps in with a metal bar.

In the Olympics, the sport is split into three disciplines, Pair Skating which is a bit dull, Ice Dancing which is the only one that people remember and Singles for those too ugly to find a partner.

There’s a panel of judges and points are awarded out of six for how well jumps and spins are performed. Nobody knows why the points are out of six rather than the far more sensible ten. Well, somebody probably knows but I couldn’t be bothered to look it up, I assume it’s because they just roll a dice when they haven’t been watching properly.

Surprisingly, the names of some of the manoeuvres sound more suited to desert dwellers than those of more icy climes. This is due to Figure Skating being invented by intrepid explorer Frosty Butts and the moves ‘Camel Spin’, ‘Layback spin with catch-foot’ and ‘Death Drop’ are named after the last three moves he made after an unfortunate sexual liaison in the Sahara.

What to say: ‘That’s a fantastic Triple Salchow” or “What a marvellous Axel”.


What not to say: “That’s a fantastic Triple Salako” or “What a marvellous Axl.”

Can you recreate it at home? Yes. Spray your mother’s laminate flooring with furniture polish and watch your Dad and her glide across the floor like Torvill and Dean.

Freestyle Skiing

Freestyle skiing is one of the newer sports in the Winter Olympics and can best be described as what happens when other sports go wrong or Bill and Ted’s Excellent Winter Adventures.

There are a number of disciplines, Aerials being the most popular where a series of somersaults and twists are performed in the air and these were first demonstrated in the 1988 Winter Olympics by Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards whilst attempting to do the ski jump.

Moguls is the skiing equivalent of accidentally riding down a cobbled street on a your bicycle and once again was first demonstrated by Eddie The Eagle when he fell of the ramp and skied over the helmeted heads of his fellow competitors.

Other disciplines include ‘Half-pipe’ for those competitors who aren’t totally stoned and ‘Slopestyle’ which is the winter equivalent of an episode of Some Mothers Do Ave ‘Em.

Bizarrely there is also a discipline called ‘Ballet’ but let’s be honest, if you turn up for ballet wearing skis, you have definitely been smoking too much.

What to say: “Dude”, “Most excellent”, “Cowabunga”.

What not to say: “I love them moguls”.

Can you recreate it? Yes. A steep bank, some leather soled shoes and an icy day is all you need.

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