Salchow jump

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Figure skating element
Element name: Salchow jump
Scoring abbreviation: S
Element type: Jump
Take-off edge: Back inside
Landing edge: Back outside
Inventor: Ulrich Salchow

The Salchow is a figure skating jump with a takeoff from a back inside edge of one foot. The rotation in the air is made in the direction of the curve of the take-off edge. The landing is made on the back outside edge of the foot opposite the one used for take-off. One or more rotations may be made in the air.[1] It was invented by the Swedish skater Ulrich Salchow in 1909.[2]


The Salchow is normally approached from a forward outside 3 turn, on the left foot for a counterclockwise jump. On the left back inside edge after the turn, the skater checks the rotation momentarily with the right foot extended behind, then initiates the jump by swinging the right leg forward and around with a wide scooping motion. The rotational momentum for the jump is gained by the swinging movement of the free leg and the coordination of the free leg and arms at the point of takeoff.

The Salchow can alternately be entered from an inside mohawk turn or from back crossovers.[3] As an edge jump, it is usually performed on a circular pattern instead of from a straight-line approach.

Occasionally, the Salchow is performed as the second or third jump in a jump combination, following a one-foot axel or half loop, which land on a back inside edge.

The mechanics of a single Salchow are quite similar to those of the waltz jump, the half-rotation jump from a forward outside edge. The Salchow is therefore usually the first full-rotation jump taught to beginning figure skaters.[4] It teaches the skater to check his or her turn and how to jump off the edge rather than the toe pick.

An alternate technique used by many skaters on the takeoff for multi-rotation (especially triple and quadruple) Salchow jumps is to allow the free foot (the right foot for a counterclockwise jumper) to rest on the ice while bringing it around to the front, instead of using the scooping motion. Sometimes this is merely the result of a deep knee bend on the takeoff leg. While Salchows performed with this technique have been ratified by the International Skating Union in recent years, some skating purists object to it because in some cases it is clear that the skater is gaining material assist into the jump from pushing off the supposed "free foot", instead of merely skimming it over the ice. For example, Sonia Bianchetti, former chair of the ISU Technical Committee, has referred to the two-footed Salchow entry as "a severe error for which a steep deduction had to be applied by the judges".[5] The two-footed Salchow entry is also confusing to spectators because the resulting jump can more strongly resemble a loop jump or toe loop jump than a traditional Salchow.


A variant of the Salchow that is rarely performed today is the one-foot Salchow, which lands on the same back inside edge used for the jump takeoff, much like a half loop or one-foot axel. The one-foot Salchow can be used in a jump combination followed by a regular Salchow jump. For example, in the 1970s, Canadian skater Toller Cranston sometimes performed a jump combination consisting of a one-foot axel, one-foot double Salchow, and regular double Salchow.


Ulrich Salchow invented the jump that bears his name in 1909. Theresa Weld was the first female skater to perform it, at the 1920 Summer Olympics; she was reprimanded for attempting anything so "unladylike",[6] but that did not stop other female skaters from performing jumps.

Double Salchows were first performed by Gillis Grafström for men in the 1920s, and Cecilia Colledge for women in the late 1930s.[6]

The first triple Salchow was landed by Ronnie Robertson at the 1955 World Figure Skating Championships.

Petra Burka has been credited as being the first woman to land a triple salchow jump (and also the first triple jump of any type by a woman), in domestic competition at the 1962 Canadian Championships and in international competition at the 1965 World Championships.[2] However, according to a contemporary report on the 1961 European Figure Skating Championships, both Helli Sengstschmidt and Jana Mrazkova did triple salchows at that event,[7] predating Burka's earliest claim.

Timothy Goebel is recognized to have landed the first quadruple Salchow at the 1998 Junior Series Final. Goebel's jump, however, used the aforementioned controversial two-footed Salchow technique. The first (and, so far, only) female skater to have landed a quadruple Salchow in competition was Miki Ando at the 2002 Junior Grand Prix Final.

The first throw quadruple Salchow pair element in international competition[8] was performed on November 17, 2007 by Tiffany Vise and Derek Trent of the United States at the 2007 Trophée Eric Bompard competition.[8][9]

Usage note

Ulrich Salchow's surname was pronounced [ˈsalkɔv] (anglicized to /ˈsælkɒv/), but the name of the jump in English is invariably pronounced as /ˈsælk/ in North America and /ˈsælk/ in Europe.

Skaters sometimes abbreviate the name of the Salchow to either sal[10] or sow.


  1. ^ Yamaguchi, Kristi (1997). Figure Skating for Dummies. Hungry Minds. ISBN 0-7645-5084-5. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
  2. ^ a b Figure skating: a celebration by Beverly Smith and Dan Diamond. p 18, McClelland & Stewart, ISBN 0771081057
  3. ^ Artistry on ice: figure skating skills and style by Nancy Kerrigan and Mary Spencer, p. 71, ISBN 0-7360-3697-0, 2003.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ Sonia Bianchetti Garbato: Cracked Ice. ISBN 88-86753-72-1
  6. ^ a b Culture on ice: figure skating & cultural meaning by Ellyn Kestnbaum, pp.92-93, 2003, Wesleyan University Press, ISBN 978-0-8195-6642-3
  7. ^ "The European Championships", Skating magazine, May 1961
  8. ^ a b ISU : Full Story
  9. ^ Template:PDFlink
  10. ^ Competitive Figure Skating: A Parent's Guide by Robert S. Ogilvie, p. 261, 1985, Harper Collins, ISBN 978-0-06-015375-5

External links