Twist lifts

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Figure skating element
Meagan Duhamel & Craig Buntin Twist 2008 TEB.jpg
A double twist lift in mid-air
Element name:Twist lift
Scoring abbreviation:Tw
Element type:Lift
Disciplines:Pair skating

A twist lift is a pairs figure skating hand-to-waist lift. The man lifts the lady in the air, where she performs one or more rotations in a laid-out position. He catches her in the air and lets her down onto one foot. The element is judged on a variety of factors, such as speed, smoothness of the take-off and landing, the height reached, the position of the lady in the air, the continuous rotation, and good coverage of the ice surface.


The twist lift movement starts with both skaters skating backward.[1] The man holds the lady by the waist and she holds him on his wrists.[1] The lady toe-picks into the ice and springs into the air, while the man assists into lifting her above his head and then throwing her into the air.[1][2] In the short program in International Skating Union (ISU) competition, the twist lift take-off is either a Flip take-off or a Lutz take-off.[3] In the free skating of ISU competition, there is no such restriction.[4]

The lady rotates a specific number of times in the air.[5] The number of rotations may be part of the requirement for the element.

As the lady completes the element in the air, the man rotates forward to catch her at the side of her waist.[1][6] Under ISU rules, the man's secure contact with her waist should be made while the lady is in the air and prior to her landing on the ice.[3] The lady's hands should not touch the man during the catch.[7] In 2007, the ISU rules were revised to indicate that the lady's arms as well as her hands were not to touch the man on reentry to the ice.[8] The man then assists the lady into a smooth landing on the ice.[1] For ISU competitions, the lady lands on the ice on a backward outside edge on one foot.[3] The man also exits from the twist-lift on one foot.[3]

Types of twist lifts[edit]

Pang Qing and Tong Jian perform a triple twist at the 2010 Olympics

Twist lifts are categorized by the edge and type of take off. The three types of twist lifts are named for the jump entrance take-off that they use. The Toeloop twist lift uses the toe loop jump take off, the Axel twist lift users the axel jump take off, and the Lutz/Flip twist lift uses either the Lutz jump or the Flip jump take off.

Twist rotations are counted the same as with jumps. Therefore, a one-rotation twist is a single twist, a two-rotation twist is a double twist, a three-rotation twist is a triple twist, and a four-rotation twist is a quad twist.


In some twists, the lady performs a split before rotating. This is credited as a difficult feature if each leg is "at least 45° from the body axis and [her] legs are straight or almost straight."[6] Other variations which may increase the score include steps or other skating moves going into the twist, delayed rotation, or the lady holding her arms over her head.

A twist may be performed in either vertical or lateral position. Although vertical was traditionally preferred by the judges, lateral ones have become more common since the 1990s. The pair's choice does not affect the score. A lateral twist involves the man slightly tipping the lady to twist almost parallel to the ground.[1]

In competition[edit]

In ISU competitions on the junior level, the twist in the short program must be a double or a triple,[3] Here, double or triple twists are a required element in the pairs short program at the senior level,[9] but there is no rotation restriction in the free skating.[4] In 2007, the ISU rules were revised to require a minimum of one full revolution.[8]


Under the ISU Judging System, twist lifts are graded on the four levels of difficulty, with level one being the easiest, and level four being the hardest.[8] In the protocol abbreviations, the number of rotations precedes the abbreviation and the level of difficulty follows it. A triple toeloop twist lift that was awarded a level four would be abbreviated "3TTw4" in the protocol.[10]

In determining the quality of twist lift execution at ISU competitions, each judge will mark every element with positive and negative points as a function of the features of the execution.[11] The ISU judge will consider factors such as the speed, smoothness of the take-off and landing, the height reached, the position of the lady in the air, the continuous rotation, and good coverage of the ice surface.[11] Points are deducted for an awkward catch, if the twist rotations were not completed, if one of the partner falls, if the lady collapses on the partner during the catch, if she is not caught at the waist or in the air, or if she lands on two feet.[12] In addition, deductions are taken if the man finishes the element on two feet, there is poor height or distance on the twist, poor speed at take-off or landing.[12] Further, serious scratching on take off, touch down with the free foot, and missing a 1/4 or more of a revolution could result in deductions.[12]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Kerrigan, Nancy (2003). Artistry on Ice: Figure Skating Skills and Style. Human Kinetics. p. 148. ISBN 0736036970. Retrieved 12 December 2008.
  2. ^ Hanlon, Thomas W. (2004). The Sports Rules Book: Essential Rules for 47 Sports. Human Kinetics. p. 98. ISBN 0736048804. Retrieved 12 December 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d e Agenda of the 51st Ordinary Congress, 2006: p. 91.
  4. ^ a b Agenda of the 51st Ordinary Congress, 2006: p. 96.
  5. ^ Mishin, Alexei (1981). Biomechanics of figure skaters' moves (in Russian). Moscow: Fizkultura i sport. p. 144.
  6. ^ a b "Communication No. 1861: Single & Pair Skating Scale of Values, Levels of Difficulty and Guidelines for marking Grade of Execution" (PDF). International Skating Union. 28 April 2014.
  7. ^ "Communication No. 1384: Single & Pair Skating Levels of Difficulty of Single and Pair elements, season 2006-2007" (PDF). International Skating Union. 20 April 2006. p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 February 2012.
  8. ^ a b c ISU Communication No. 1445, 2007: p. 6.
  9. ^ ISU Single & Pair Skating and Ice Dance 2008: p. 96.
  10. ^ ISU Communication No. 1445, 2007: p. 14.
  11. ^ a b ISU Single & Pair Skating and Ice Dance 2008: p. 110.
  12. ^ a b c ISU Communication No. 1445, 2007: p. 9.