What was the biggest difference between Team USA and everyone else on the skating rink?
According to Olympic figure skating coach Mary Lynn Gelderman, Team USA’s figure skaters have always been known as the entertainers.
“We have always loved the showmanship of it," explains Gelderman. "Some of the foreign nations were developing more on a technical level quicker than we did … They have to watch out, because when we catch up technically, we know how to perform it. We know how to entertain.”
But being a showman only gets a skater so far: British ice dancer and two-time Olympian Sinead Kerr says the scoring system for skating is based on more than just who has the flashiest moves.
“The scoring has definitely changed how skaters skate,” Kerr explains. “It’s become a little bit more technical, it’s become much more athletic, which is originally why the scoring system was put into place, so it could be judged as an Olympic sport and [be] less subjective.”
But whether viewers are watching for the incredible athleticism or simply the fancy twirls, former French Olympic figure skater Line Haddad stresses that viewers should try to “enjoy the development of a story in a program and try to get connected with the skaters.”
Be sure to check out the full interview above with Mary Lynn Gelderman, Sinead Kerr, and Line Haddad to find out more about Olympic skating, both past and present.