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Figure Skating: Physiology, Styles and Lines

Updated on January 6, 2015

Peggy Fleming: the skater of lyricism

Now let us define the style of figure skating.

"Lyrical skater" is a term often used to define a style in which skaters demonstrate quality of musical evocation.

Lyrical is defined as being "expressing emotions in an imaginative and beautiful way". Although it has to do with musical quality, now it is used to explain a broad range of aesthetic quality, especially in figure skating.

Aesthetics is also a term commonly used for artistic quality of ladies figure skating. In fact, aesthetics is the ultimate goal ladies figure skating pursues. The ideal of ladies figure skating lies in a form of abstract art performance represented by aesthetics.

The first skater who defined "lyricism" is Peggy Fleming.

Fleming knew how to use her body in the dynamics of her momentum to heighten definitive lines and its aesthetic language. Fleming's skating was stylistically outlined, and her moves showed how ladies figure skating should be done.

You will "see" a totally different language from Fleming's moves even if she exactly copies other skater's moves.

Peggy Fleming in 1966

Peggy Fleming, skater of lines and extensions

Lines and extensions are created when figure skaters' physiological presentation is heightened by and coincided with dynamic moves.

Skaters are often limited to a certain type of moves or skating style due to their unique physiology.

For example, if you are short and stocky, you have advantage in mastering jumps, but your appeal may be limited in presentation. If you are tall and muscular, then the odds that you may excel others in power and stamina, which will give you advantage in handling exhausting programs.

Or if you are slim and slender, you are better in flexibility and may look visually desirable, but you will be easily exhausted compared to other muscular skaters .

The more you engage in bodily moves using arms and legs, the more and faster you will get tired than others whose skating heavily depend on power and strength.

There are pros and cons in a particular physiological type. Hard to have all the advantages in one body, because they are pretty much contradictory each other.

But as ladies figure skating evolved, lyrical skaters have become more and more accepted as the ideal type of female skater. The model was the Great Peggy Fleming.

Peggy Fleming in 1965

Peggy Fleming was perhaps best ever in terms of aesthetic lines and extensions.

Fleming's skating was characterized by blade like sharpness and precision, and tender and soft yet strong and stable as a rock; it's a compacted beauty that makes Fleming's skating unique and incomparable in artistic quality.

Peggy Fleming in 1968

No skater ever flaunted hypnotic attraction, physiologically, like Fleming.

Even among five legends, no one can match Fleming. Maybe Yuna Kim seems a bit close to Fleming.

In short, Fleming's stylistic edge entombed in graceful moves that incorporated into her physiological magnet became a legend by itself.

Fleming was an incarnate of feathery grace.


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