Toe loop jump

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Figure skating element
Element name: Toe loop jump
Scoring abbreviation: T
Element type: Jump
Take-off edge: Back outside
Landing edge: Back outside
Inventor: Bruce Mapes

The toe loop is one of the simplest jumps in figure skating.[1] It is usually the second jump learned after the Salchow. It is a toe pick-assisted jump that takes off and lands on the same backward outside edge.[1]

Toe loop technique[edit]

The most commonly taught entrance to a toe loop is straight-line approach into a right forward inside 3 turn. The skater then vaults into the air from the right back outside edge with an assist from the left toe pick, planted well behind the right foot, before rotating counterclockwise in the air and landing on the right back outside edge. For a clockwise jump, left and right are reversed.

Another common entry to the toe loop is from a forward outside 3 turn with a step to the back outside edge on the other foot just before the pick. The toe loop is also often used as the second jump in jump combinations, because it takes off on the same edge on which most jumps land.

In a toe loop, the skater must be careful not to pre-rotate the upper body prior to or during the toe pick action, as this is considered a serious flaw in technique. A pre-rotated toe loop, where the skater has turned to jump forward off the toe pick instead of backward, is nicknamed a toe Axel because it is essentially an Axel jump.


There are two half-rotation jumps in figure skating which use a toe loop takeoff:

  • The ballet jump bears the same relation to the toe loop as the half flip, half Lutz, and falling leaf to the flip, Lutz, and loop jumps, respectively. Like the other half jumps, the ballet jump is landed forward, on the left toe pick and right forward inside edge for a counterclockwise jump.
  • In the mazurka, after picking with the left foot for the jump takeoff, the skater kicks the right leg forward in a scissoring motion, so that the legs are crossed in the air. The jump lands forward on the right toe pick and pushes immediately onto a left forward outside edge. Tenley Albright was particularly known for this jump.

Another toe loop variant is the one-and-a-half toe loop. As the name implies, this is a 1.5 rotation jump that lands forward, like the ballet jump. Up until the 1970s it was quite commonly used as an element of jump sequences, but is almost never performed today because of the emphasis on triple and quadruple jumps.

Toe loop history[edit]

The toe loop was invented in the 1920s by Bruce Mapes, an American professional show skater.

Toe loops can be done as singles (one revolution is completed in the air), doubles, triples, and even quadruples. Thomas Litz was the first skater to land a triple toe loop, which he accomplished at the 1964 World Figure Skating Championships; Grzegorz Filipowski of Poland was the first skater to perform a triple-triple toe loop combination in competition, in 1980. Jozef Sabovcik of Czechoslovakia landed a quadruple toe loop at the 1986 European Championships which was recognized at the event but then ruled invalid three weeks later due to a touchdown with his free foot.[2] At the 1988 World Championships, Kurt Browning of Canada landed the first quad toe loop which has remained ratified.[1][3]

Today, many elite-level male skaters perform quadruple toe loops as a regular part of their repertoire, but so far no senior female skater has been credited with landing one successfully in competition. French skater Surya Bonaly made numerous attempts to land a quadruple toe loop in her career, but the judges deemed her attempts over-rotated triple jumps instead.[citation needed]

In 2018 at the World Junior Figure Skating Championships, Russian skater Alexandra Trusova successfully landed a fully rotated quadruple toe loop thus becoming the first woman in history to land it.[4]

Usage note[edit]

In skating parlance, a toe loop jump is often referred to simply as a toe; for example, double toe, triple toe.

In British English, this jump is sometimes (confusingly) called a cherry flip, but a toe loop is not the same as a flip jump. In artistic roller skating, the toe loop is also called the Mapes after its inventor.


  1. ^ a b c Yamaguchi, Kristi; Christy Ness; Jody Meacham (1997). Figure Skating for Dummies. Hungry Minds. ISBN 0-7645-5084-5. 
  2. ^ "The quad: Skating's evolution is for more revolution". CBS Sports. December 2, 1999. Retrieved October 31, 2011. 
  3. ^ "A Quadruple Jump on Ice". The New York Times. Associated Press. 1988-03-26. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  4. ^ "Trusova (RUS) makes history with two quads in golden performance". International Skating Union. 10 March 2018. Retrieved 11 March 2018.