Olympics 2018: Name Those Jumps and Skaters

The Winter Olympics are in full swing and we will be posting some factoids about the history and current Olympics with a Scandinavian flavor to it.

Ice skating is one of the favorite events. Two words you will hear a lot in the commentary are “axel” and “salchow” (not sow cow). These terms pay homage to two Scandinavian skaters.

Norwegian Axel Paulsen was the first to do the jump now referred to as an axel. The axel is a figure skating jump with a forward take off. It is named after Norwegian figure skater Axel Paulsen who, in 1882, was the first skater to perform the jump.

Here is a description of how what the axel jump is and how to do it:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFGLGFv8Mu0?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

In 1909 Swedish skater Ulrich Salchow was the first skater who landed a jump in competition in which he took off on the back inside edge, and landed on the back outside edge of his other foot. This jump is now known as the Salchow jump in his honor.

Here is a description of how the Salchow is done:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_KZeYwD2dU?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

You can see more about Paulsen and Salchow in this video (the skating segment starts at 0:48 if you are impatient like this writer). [Note this link will take you to YouTube.]

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxtm5cW_YxE&w=560&h=315]


More Scandinavian Olympic posts to come. Subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss them.



Written by Mary Hirsch