Flip jump

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Figure skating element
Element name: Flip jump
Scoring abbreviation: F
Element type: Jump
Take-off edge: Back inside
Landing edge: Back outside

The flip jump (usually just flip) is a figure skating jump which takes off from a backward inside edge with a toe pick assist, and lands on the backward outside edge of the opposite foot.[1] In the early 20th century, the jump was known as a Mapes. In international competition, women have landed flips with three rotations since 1981, and men have landed flips with four rotations since 2016.


A flip is a figure skating jump which takes off from a backward inside edge with a toe pick assist, and lands on the backward outside edge of the opposite foot.[1] The name is generally modified by number of rotations performed while the skater is airborne (e.g., a triple flip for three rotations).


The origins of the flip jump are obscure. Starting in 1913, the jump was known for many years as a Mapes (now applied to the toe loop in the jargon of artistic roller skating), but it is not known for certain if Bruce Mapes was the inventor. It was certainly being commonly performed by the 1930s.

It is also not definitely established who performed the first triple flip; David Jenkins may have landed the jump in the 1950s, but perhaps only in practice. Donald Jackson is said to have performed one at the 1961 North American Figure Skating Championships.[2] Another source claims that no skater had yet landed one in competition as late as 1968, when John Misha Petkevich was performing them in practice.[3]

Katarina Witt was one of two female skaters to land a triple flip for the first time at the 1981 European Championships.

Daisuke Takahashi made an attempt at a quad flip at the 2010 World Championships.[4] Shoma Uno became the first skater to ever land a quadruple flip at the 2016 Team Challenge Cup[5]


The most common entry into a flip, for a counterclockwise jump, is a long forward straight-line glide on the left foot down the center of the rink with the (right) free foot held forward. The skater uses the toe of the right foot to push into a left forward outside 3 turn, reaching back to pick with the right foot to vault into the jump from the left back inside edge immediately after the turn. The skater performs one or more rotations in the air before landing on a right back outside edge.

The flip can also be entered from a mohawk turn, and lends itself well to being performed out of a more complicated footwork approach.

In British English, the flip is sometimes called a toe salchow, but in fact it is a mistake to think of the jump as a toe pick-assisted salchow because the technique and mechanics of the two jumps are very different. The flip is actually quite similar in mechanics to the loop jump; in both jumps, the rotation comes from the right side of the body (for counterclockwise rotation), and the left leg is already crossed in front of the right in what is called a back spin position when the skater springs into the air.

Common technique flaws[edit]

The flip is also similar to the Lutz jump, a toe-assisted jump which takes off a back outside rather than back inside edge. In the same way that some skaters flutz, or turn an intended Lutz jump into a flip by mistakenly changing to the wrong edge on the takeoff, some skaters have a tendency to lip their flips by mistakenly changing to an outside edge so that it is actually a Lutz jump. Some skaters never manage to get on a strong edge for either the flip or Lutz, a habit that is probably reinforced by the trend to enter both of these jumps from a straight line rather than on a curve. Skating experts tend to be critical of wrong-edge takeoffs, although judges have dealt inconsistently with edge errors over the years. During the 2007 Grand Prix series, however, the technical judges began penalizing wrong-edge takeoffs on all skaters. Since then, penalties have become more severe; beginning in 2015, the ISU implemented a 30% reduction in base value for flip and Lutz jumps with incorrect take-off edges. Today, the detection and penalization of wrong-edge takeoffs on flip and Lutz jumps remains a controversial topic, due mostly to the unclear range of acceptable edge degrees for respective jumps, as well as the seemingly selective use of the penalty on the part of the judges.

Another notable technique flaw that appears in many skaters' flips (and Lutz jumps) is "mule kick" or "toe hammering," which occurs when the free leg rises unusually high, typically near (in some cases above) hip height, before descending to strike the ice. This can make the jump easier to rotate but sacrifices height and some control.


A half-rotation jump with a flip entrance, typically landed on the left toe pick and right forward inside edge for a counterclockwise jump, is called a half flip. The half flip, in turn, forms the basis for the common split jump, in which the skater achieves either a front-to-back or sideways (Russian or straddle) split position at the apex of the jump. A full-rotation flip jump with a split position is sometimes seen as well; this is called a split flip. In the past, it was also quite common for skaters to perform a one-and-a-half flip jump as an element in jump sequences or as a highlight in step sequences.

In general, the International Skating Union's new "code of points" judging system now discourages skaters from putting variety jumps such as the split flip or one-and-a-half flip into their competitive programs because they count towards the number of permitted jumps but carry a very low point value.


  1. ^ a b John Misha Petkevich, Figure Skating: Championship Techniques, ISBN 0-452-26209-7
  2. ^ "North Americans", Skating magazine, April 1961
  3. ^ "Difficult Choice Faced by Skater", Spokane Daily Chronicle, Feb 5 1968
  4. ^ "Daisuke Takahashi is first Japanese man to win gold at world figure skating championships". ESPN.com. Retrieved 12 December 2014. 
  5. ^ "2016 Team Challenge Cup".