Technology is transforming all aspects of our lives and the sport of figure skating is not immune to this never ending march forward. While figure skating may be seen as a traditional sport with a stubborn reliance on so called old ways of doing things nothing could be further from the truth. The sport has actually embraced new technologies over the years and that pace of acceptance has continued to increase with each passing year. Here are some interesting ways that technology is transforming the sport of figure skating.
Waterproof Toe Picks
Technology hasn’t always been about how to make Wi-Fi routers get smarter every day. In the 1940’s figure skaters just wanted to be able to keep their feet dry and believe it or not that it was a serious issue back then. Technology isn’t always glamorous and it isn’t always spectacular, but more often than not it does change the world for the better in some way or another. That’s what happened when the first waterproof toe pick was placed on a skate in the 1940’s. Today this type of technology is taken for granted and we have 1940’s technology to thank for that.
I remember watching a figure skating competition as a small child in the 80’s and listening to my mother remark how unfair the judging was. That may have had something to do with less than honest judges at the time, but it also had a fair bit to do with the limits of the technology at the time. There was no such thing as instant replay in any sport in the 80’s and definitely not in figure sporting. Fast-forward about three decades and times sure have changed. Like many sports figure skating has now adopted instant replay technology that allows judges to take a second look and make sure they made the right call.
Watching figure skaters perform almost inhuman feats has become something we’re used to and they make it look effortless. Whether it’s a triple Lutz, a quad, or any other number of jumps they provide us with a magical viewing experience just about every single time. It may all look effortless, but it’s not. Those jumps we see on television are the result of hours of choreography and practise. By using a new stop motion technology known as stromotion coaches can now analyze their skaters jumps one frame at a time.
Smart Ice Skates
All of that jumping that figure skaters do has to have an effect on the body – especially when you consider that the force exerted on the body from each jump is roughly 6 times the skater’s body weight. That’s a lot of force being applied every time they come down on their feet and that takes a toll on the body. Well now there’s a new type of skate called a smart skate that can actually measure and record the impact of each jump. With the use of this technology trainers and coaches can potentially help to prevent injuries to athletes going forward.