Figure skating at the Olympic Games

Figure skating was first contested in the Olympic Games at the 1908 Summer Olympics. Since 1924, the sport has been a part of the Winter Olympic Games.

Figure skating at the Olympic Games
Governing bodyISU
Events5 (men: 1; women: 1; mixed: 3)

Men's singles, ladies' singles, and pair skating have been held most often. Ice dance joined as a medal sport in 1976 and a team event debuted at the 2014 Olympics. Special figures were contested at only one Olympics, in 1908. Synchronized skating has never appeared at the Olympics but aims to be included.[1]


Figure skating was first contested as an Olympic sport at the 1908 Summer Olympics, in London, United Kingdom. As this traditional winter sport could be conducted indoors, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved its inclusion in the Summer Olympics program.[2] It was featured a second time at the Antwerp Games,[3] after which it was permanently transferred to the program of the Winter Olympic Games, first held in 1924 in Chamonix, France.[2]

In London, figure skating was presented in four events: men's singles, women's singles, men's special figures, and mixed pairs. The special figures contest was won by Russian Nikolai Panin, who gave his country its first ever Olympic gold medal.[4] He remains the event's sole winner, as it was subsequently dropped from the program.

Ice dance joined as a medal sport in 1976, after appearing as a demonstration event at Grenoble 1968.[3]

A team event debuted at the 2014 Olympics.[5] It consists of two segments: qualification and finals. During qualification each team has one men's single skater, one ladies' single skater, one pair, and one ice dance couple skate their short program/dance. Before the finals, each team is allowed to replace up to two skaters/couples. The final consists of each skater/couple skating their short program/dance. Results are determined by placement points.[6]


The number of entries for the figure skating events at the Olympic Games is limited by a quota set by the International Olympic Committee. There are 30 participants in each singles events (ladies and men), 20 pairs, and 24 ice dance duos.

Skaters must represent a member nation of the International Skating Union and reach the age of fifteen before July 1 of the previous year. They are also required to be citizens of the country they are representing.[7] Competitors have until just before the Olympics to receive citizenship. Since nationality rules are less strict for the ISU Championships, sometimes skaters who have competed at World or European championships are not eligible for the Olympics.

80% of the Olympic spots (24 men/ladies, 19 dance couples, 16 pairs) are allotted to countries according to the results of the previous year's World Figure Skating Championships. A country may have a maximum of three entries per discipline. Countries earn two or three entries by earning points through their skaters' placements. The points are equal to the sum of the placements of the country's skaters (top two if they have three). If a country only has one skater/couple, that skater/couple must place in the top ten to earn two entries and in the top two to earn three entries. If a country has two skaters/teams, the combined placement of those teams must be 13 or less to qualify 3 entries, and 28 or less to qualify two entries. The remaining places are awarded to one skater/couple each from countries that failed to get multiple places, in order of their skaters' placement in the world championships.

Following the World Championships, countries that have not qualified an entry in a particular discipline receive another opportunity in an international competition held in the autumn (usually the Nebelhorn Trophy) prior to the Olympic Games. Six spots are available in men's singles, six in ladies' singles, four in pairs, and five in ice dance. At some Olympics, the host country is automatically entitled to one entry in each discipline, e.g. in 1994,[8] 2010,[9] and 2018 if minimum scores are achieved.[10] If a country receives a spot by being the host, one fewer spot is available in the autumn qualifying competition.

The selection of representatives is at the national governing body's discretion. Some countries rely on the results of their national championships while others have more varied criteria. This may include reaching a certain placement at the European Figure Skating Championships and the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships.[8]


Men's singles25
Men's special figures1
Ladies' singles25
Pair skating25
Ice dance12
Mixed team2
Total events40333333333333444444444455

Medal table

Updated after the 2018 Winter Olympics.

1 United States (USA)15162051
2 Russia (RUS)149326
3 Soviet Union (URS)109524
4 Austria (AUT)79420
5 Canada (CAN)6111229
6 Great Britain (GBR)53715
7 Sweden (SWE)53210
8 Germany (GER)4239
9 France (FRA)33713
10 East Germany (GDR)33410
11 Japan (JPN)3317
12 Norway (NOR)3216
13 Unified Team (EUN)3115
14 China (CHN)1348
15 Netherlands (NED)1203
 Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR)1203
 United Team of Germany (EUA)1203
18 Czechoslovakia (TCH)1135
19 Finland (FIN)1102
 South Korea (KOR)1102
21 Belgium (BEL)1012
 Ukraine (UKR)1012
23 Russian Empire (RU1)1001
24 Hungary (HUN)0246
25 Switzerland (SUI)0213
26 Italy (ITA)0022
 West Germany (FRG)0022
28 Kazakhstan (KAZ)0011
 Spain (ESP)0011
Totals (29 nations)919090271

Participating nations

The number in each box represents the number of figure skaters the nation sent.

Nation08202428323648525660646872768084889294980206101418 22Years
 Argentina1------------------------ -1
 Armenia-------------------432--- -3
 Australia-------326---222432421144 -15
 Austria--4921210486108363-21-1-1242 321
 Azerbaijan-------------------432-2- 15
 Belgium-232143--------11---11212 114
 Belarus------------------5221--- 15
 Brazil-----------------------11 -2
 Bulgaria---------------2211435--- 18
 Canada--256646781210711615171313101213121717 1224
 China--------------2664441199911 812
 Chinese Taipei----------------21-1----- -3
 Croatia-----------------2-111--- -4
 Czechoslovakia--13137-4288162366------- -15
 Czech Republic------------------8541435 48
 Denmark------11--------1211----- -6
 Estonia-----2-----------1111352- 29
 Finland-32311-21----12--331123-1 117
 France-2532-323455511561291488898 324
 Georgia--------------------12311 26
 Germany3--816-----------6106458108 513
 United Team of Germany-------841112-------------- -4
 East Germany-----------8710785-------- -6
 West Germany-----------1154798-------- -6
 Great Britain11666412988457512910976122762 326
 Hungary----47662-2213223532253-1 220
 Israel------------------1344237 -7
 Italy-----2212222172347-69791111 820
 Japan----25---34543345647468109 1119
 Kazakhstan------------------25--223 -5
 South Korea-----------3111222214-237 316
 North Korea----------------26---41-2 -5
 Latvia-----4-----------23-----2 15
 Lithuania-----------------22222-2- 27
 Luxembourg-------------------1-1--- -2
 Malaysia------------------------1 -1
 Mexico----------------22------- 13
 Netherlands-------1221-11----------- 17
 Norway-6131434--2------------1- -9
 Philippines-----------------------11 -2
 Poland-----------223-13235444-2 213
 Romania-----3-----11----1212211- -10
 Russia------------------151716161615- 177
 Russian Empire1------------------------ -1
 Olympic Athletes from Russia------------------------15 -1
 Serbia and Montenegro---------------------1--- -1
 Slovakia-------------------13-113 -5
 Slovenia-----------------2-1112-- -5
 South Africa---------4--------11----- -3
 Spain--------1-----1-1-11--244 29
 Sweden441121-21-111-1221-1-1121 221
 Switzerland-112-375438113222-11434-1 122
 Turkey---------------------1122 -4
 Soviet Union---------44101016161717-------- -8
 Ukraine------------------10101111764 -7
 Unified Team-----------------17------- -1
 United States12361299101012121211151418161612131416151514 1426
 Uzbekistan------------------4243111 -7
 Yugoslavia--------------121-------- -3
Skaters 2126295139846463597188966710583112128133129145143147146149153 1172448
Nations 681112131712151514151718182020262828373135313032 30
Year08202428323648525660646872768084889294980206101418 2226

Medals per year

# Number of medals won by the NOC at these Games NOC did not win medals at these Games NOC did not participate at these Games (in 1912, there was no figure skating)
NOC 08 12 20 24 28 32 36 48 52 56 60 64 68 72 76 80 84 88 92 94 98 02 06 10 14 18 Total
 Austria (AUT) 342321211120
 Belgium (BEL) 11 2
 Canada (CAN) 1212211131211123429
 China (CHN) 1112218
 Czechoslovakia (TCH) 11111 5
 East Germany (GDR) 113311 10
 Finland (FIN) 112
 France (FRA) 11111111121113
 Germany (GER) 2 2 1 11119
 United Team of Germany (EUA) 12 3
 Great Britain (GBR) 6 11111111115
 Hungary (HUN) 1111116
 Italy (ITA) 112
 Japan (JPN) 112127
 Kazakhstan (KAZ) 11
 Netherlands (NED) 111 3
 Norway (NOR) 3111 6
 Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) 33
 Russia (RUS) 555425 26
 Russian Empire (RU1) 1 1
 South Korea (KOR) 112
 Soviet Union (URS) 1234455 24
 Spain (ESP) 11
 Sweden (SWE) 3 3111110
 Switzerland (SUI) 1113
 Ukraine (UKR) 112
 Unified Team (EUN) 5 5
 United States (USA) 1112145422122333123222251
 West Germany (FRG) 11 2
Year 08 12 20 24 28 32 36 48 52 56 60 64 68 72 76 80 84 88 92 94 98 02 06 10 14 18

See also




  1. Chernoff, Allan (28 February 2013). "A Move to the Front of the Line". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2016-11-21. Retrieved 2017-02-26.
  2. "Figure Skating". Official website of the Olympic Movement. International Olympic Committee. Archived from the original on 2008-12-06. Retrieved July 14, 2009.
  3. "Figure Skating: History". Official website of the Olympic Movement. International Olympic Committee. Archived from the original on 2008-09-07. Retrieved July 14, 2009.
  4. Windhausen, John D. (1976). "Russia's First Olympic Victor" (PDF). Journal of Sport History. United States of America: North American Society for Sport History. 3 (1): 35–44. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2010-08-07. Retrieved July 15, 2009.
  5. Sarkar, Pritha (29 March 2012). "Figure skating-New team event at Sochi Olympics will begin early". Reuters. Archived from the original on 2012-10-22. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  6. Anderson Cezar (25 October 2018). "Official Results Book Figure Skating" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2018-02-25. Retrieved 2018-03-03.
  7. "2012 Constitution and General Regulations: Rule 108" (PDF). International Skating Union. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2014-02-22. Retrieved 2014-02-11.
  8. Hersh, Phil (26 January 1994). "Hard To Figure: No Norwegian Skaters". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 2014-03-28. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
  9. "Special Regulations & Technical Rules" (PDF). International Skating Union. June 2008. pp. 36–38. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 March 2010.
  10. "55th ISU Ordinary Congress". International Skating Union. 13 June 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-08-03. Retrieved 2014-06-14.