|This article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2007)|
|Figure skating element|
|Element name:||Loop Jump|
|Alternative name:||Rittberger Jump|
|Take-off edge:||Back Outside|
|Landing edge:||Back Outside|
The Loop jump is a figure skating jump that takes off from a back outside edge and lands on the same backwards outside edge. For a jump with counterclockwise rotation, this is the right back outside edge. It is named from its similarity to the loop compulsory figure. The invention is widely credited to Werner Rittberger, and the jump is also known as the "Rittberger" in Europe. However, evidence exists that it may have been first done as early as the 1880s.
To do a loop jump, a skater typically does a 3 turn or mohawk turn onto a left back inside edge, then reaches into the circle on the right back outside edge while drawing the left foot (still on the ice) to cross in front of the right. The knees are deeply bent, so that it sometimes appears that the skater is almost in a sitting position. On the approach edge, the rotation is strongly checked with the shoulders facing into the circle. At takeoff, the skater lifts the left leg while simultaneously pushing off with the right; the rotational momentum for the jump comes from releasing the check of the shoulders and pressure on the edge, rather than by swinging the arms or free leg. The skater maintains the cross-legged position, known as a back spin position, in the air before landing after one or more rotations. Some skaters use a controversial two-footed takeoff technique where both feet are used to gain more spring, similar to one used for the Salchow jump.
The loop can also be done as a double or triple, with two or three rotations, respectively. Dick Button performed the first triple loop jump at the 1952 Winter Olympics. The first female skater known to be able to perform a triple loop was Gaby Seyfert in 1968. No skater has yet successfully performed a quadruple loop in competition.
Since the loop takes off the edge that is used as the landing edge for most jumps, it is often seen as the second element of a jump combination. In this case, it is necessary for the skater to keep the free leg (the left leg for a counterclockwise rotator) and the same shoulder forward on the landing of the preceding jump, instead of bringing it backward in the normal check-out or for a toe loop jump. The timing for loop-based combinations is thus much quicker than toe-loop-based combinations.
Éric Millot of France was the first skater to perform a triple loop/triple loop combination, in 1996. In the years since, doing triple loops in combination has become considered somewhat hazardous, since a number of skaters including 1998 Olympic champion Tara Lipinski have suffered serious hip injuries from practicing them.
A related jump in figure skating is the half loop. In spite of its name, it is a full rotation jump. It differs from a regular loop jump in that it is landed on the opposite foot, on a backward inside edge. Half loops are only done as single jumps, and are primarily used as connecting elements in a jump sequence, before a salchow jump or flip jump which take off from a back inside edge. The half loop is normally taught to figure skaters after they are able to land their regular loop jump. This jump is also known as the Thoren (after Per Thorén), or, especially in artistic roller skating, as the Euler jump.
The true half-rotation jump with a loop entrance, landed forward (on the left toe pick and right forward inside edge, for a counterclockwise jump), is called a falling leaf. This jump can be performed with a split position at the peak of the jump, which is called a split falling leaf (see split jump).
The loop jump should not be confused with the toe loop jump, which has significantly different mechanics and technique.