Ice Sports

Best Figure Skating Performances Of All Time [2024 Update]

By Kapil Sapkota / 9 November 2023 07:06 AM

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Best Figure Skating Performances include Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean's Free Dance from 1984 and Joannie Rochette from the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Torvill and Dean's free dance at the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympics is regarded among the best figure skating performances of all time.

Figure skating was included in the Olympic Games at the 1908 Summer Olympics for the first time. The sport has been a part of the Winter Olympic Games since 1924.

Categories of figure skating competitions in the Olympic Games are Men's Singles, Ladies' Singles, Pair Skating, and Team Event.

Yuna Kim's 2010 Vancouver Olympics short program was also loved by most figure skating fans and players.

What is the best Olympic figure skating score? The best figure skating score in an Olympic game is 310.05 recorded by Japanese skater Yuma Kagiyama in the 2022 Winter Olympics.

The American figure skater Nathan Chen scored 335.30 in the 2019-20 Grand Prix Final.

Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean - Sarajevo 1984 Winter Olympics

Torvill and Dean created the best Olympic figure skating moment in the 1984 Winter Olympics.

The ice pair a free dance to Maurice Ravel's Bolero on Valentine's Day in 1984. The performance was ground-breaking from the beginning.

Their dancing set a new standard for world-class figure skating in the history of the Winter Olympics. The duo tried an innovative way of kneeling on the ice and facing each other at the beginning to extend the performance.

A flawless performance of the ice pair earned them perfect marks for artistic impression and a stunning gold medal.

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Dean explained in an interview with The Guardian newspaper, “The stopwatch only started when you began to skate. And our blades don’t hit the ice for several bars”.

Courtney Jones made costumes for them, who was a champion skater himself. They delivered flawless dancing for four minutes and 28 seconds with perfection.

For their phenomenal performance, they received 6.0 scores across the board, the maximum number of points awarded under the old system.

Joannie Rochette - Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics

Rochette won the bronze at the 2010 Winter Olympics following his dominant performance. 

It was Canada’s first Olympic medal in women’s figure skating since Elizabeth Manley's silver win at Calgary 1988 Olympics.

Just a couple of days before the tournament, her mother passed away unexpectedly. The ice skater performed in the original French version of Celine Dion's song Fly as a tribute to her mother, who was a long-time fan of Dion.

For her outstanding free skating performance, Rochette received a standing ovation from the crowd.

The Canadian was awarded the inaugural Terry Fox Award for the 2010 Winter Olympics along with Petra Majdic. She was selected as the flag bearer for the closing ceremony.

Yuna Kim - Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics

Kim Yuna won the first-ever Olympic gold medal for Korea in Vancouver in 2010.

She received a score of 78.50 for her elite skill and enchanting performance in the finals in 2010.

Yuna accomplished her best score in the short program, breaking her world total of 228.56 points by over two points. The figure skater was seen as a sweetheart on skates.

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Kim's skating royalty was observed during her short program. The Korean decided to perform her short to a medley of soundtracks from the 2007 James Bond movies with a majestic choreography.

She impressed the audience and the judges with her technical prowess and bold artistry. Yuna danced with some of the most difficult jumps such as triple lutz and triple toe loops without a flaw.

Brian Boitano - Calgary 1988 Winter Olympics

 Famous male figure skaters Boitano and the Canadian Brian Orser had one of the most thrilling competitions in men's figure skating history.

The competition was divided into 3 phases, the compulsory figures, the short program, and the long program.

After the compulsory figures, Boitano had a better score but Orser won the short program. Compulsory figures and short programs would count for 30% and 20% of the score at that time.

Boitano skated first with no mistakes and made it technically perfect. He skated to the music of Napoleon that showed five stages in a soldier's life.

The American skater made eight triple-jumping lands two of them triple Axels. He had ten seconds of a prolonged spread eagle signature move.

Orser fought Boitano skate for skate and made a two-footed landing on a triple flip jump and passed on his own triple Axel.

The contest was decided in a 5-4 split among the judges that made Boitano the winner of the title.

Sarah Hughes - Salt Lake 2002 Winter Olympics

Sarah Hughes won gold in the 2002 Olympics held in Salt Lake City.

Hughes ascended from fourth position to the gold medal podium with the performance of her life. Delivered a magnificent free-skating, she surprised even herself when she saw off tough competition to win gold.

With some of the most competitive figures such as Michelle Kwan, Sasha Cohen, and Irina Slutskaya in the field, Hughes was not actually among the favorites in the ladies' figure skating competition.

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Sarah had just an average performance during the short program. She was penalized for under-rotating a triple flip and lutz.

However, she made a significant comeback in the free, nailing her first jump and a double axel before landing a triple toe loop-triple loop. She also performed a triple salchow-triple loop combination.

Kwan followed Sarah out onto the ice. However, she fell on landing a triple-flip and was placed behind Hughes. The Russian Slutskaya could only finish second behind the unfancied Hughes.

Katarina Witt - Calgary 1988 Winter Olympics

Katarina Witt from East Germany had another memorable moment from the 1988 Winter Olympic Games with her performance.

She already captured gold in 1984 before winning her second in 1988 with a stellar performance of “Carmen”.

American skater Debi Thomas also performed to “Carmen," so this matchup was regarded as the “Battle of the Carmens.”

Both Witt and Thomas were favoured contenders during the tournament. The skaters held the top two positions after the compulsory figures and the short program.

In the compulsories, Witt was placed third behind the Russian figure skater Kira Ivanova and Thomas before winning the short.

Witt landed four triple jumps and downgraded her planned triple-loop jump to a double-loop in her long program. Following this, Thomas had room to win the long program but she missed three of her five planned triple jumps.

Canadian skater Elizabeth Manley won the long program convincingly against Witt. But Witt retained her Olympic title based on her overall scores.

Nancy Kerrigan - Lillehammer 1994 Winter Olympics

Nancy Kerrigan from Team USA won the silver medal with her most remarkable performance in the history of figure skating.

Ukraine's Oksana Baiul won the title and the score was split 5-4 between Baiul and Kerrigan. Kerrigan was in first place after the short program but lost in the free skate.

The Chinese skater Chen Lu won the bronze. Kerrigan elected not to attend the closing ceremonies of the event.

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What made Nancy's performance more impressive is that she came back from an attack that injured her knee at the 1994 U.S. Nationals seven weeks earlier.

As reported by Cosmopolitan, the brutal attack was orchestrated by people close to her rival, Tonya Harding.

Kerrigan handled the disappointment of missing out on gold with grace and dignity. She has remained as one of America's most beloved figure skaters of all time.

Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov - Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics

Famous Russian skating pair Volosozhar and Trankov captured the gold medal performing to rock opera classic Jesus Christ Superstar

The skating duo retold the love story of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene inspired by the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.

The pair had pressure to restore the grand tradition of Russian pairs, which had dominated Olympic figure skating for over half a century. They succeeded in living up to the expectation.

The drama was sustained until the very last moment huge lifts and gravity-defying throws leaving the audience mouth-opened.

The night they finished their free skate, Volosozhar bent over, sobbing. Trankov slid on the ice on his knees before bending over and touching his head to the ice.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir - PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics

The ice dancers Virtue and Moir performed an impassioned routine to Roxanne from Moulin Rouge in the 2018 Olympics.

It was the first event where figure skaters were allowed to incorporate lyrics as well as music into their performances.

The Olympic gold medalist duo was named CBC Sports Athletes of the Year. In addition to dance pairs, the duo won gold in team events as well.

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The famous Canadian figure skaters Virtue and Moir followed up and set a new record minutes afterward with a total score of 206.07 including 122.40 in the free dance.

Going undefeated en route to their third career world title, the most decorated figure skaters in Olympic history produced one of their best seasons ever in 2016-17.

They first captured Olympic gold on home ice at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. The pair won ice dance and figure skating team silver medals four years later at Sochi 2014.

Virtue and Moir, the legendary ice dance duo are announced to be inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.

Tara Lipinski - Nagano 1998 Winter Olympics

Lipinski became the youngest skater to win an individual event in the history of the Winter Games.

She was one of the famous popular skater figures in the 1998 Winter Olympics.

Michelle Kwan, Lipinski, and Nicole Bobek were selected by the U.S. Figure Skating to send to the 1998 Winter Olympics. Lipinski and Kwan entered the Olympic tournament as co-favorites to win the gold.

Kwan led the competition following the short program, but Lipinski's extraordinary long program won the votes of six judges among nine for first place. Tara edged ahead to take the gold medal.

Lipinski's free skate, featuring her signature triple loop-triple loop combination and seven triple jumps total, was considered technically the most difficult program in Olympic history up to then.

Kwan took home the silver medal while Chinese skater Chen Lu won the bronze.