AskDefine | Define salchow

Extensive Definition

The salchow is a figure skating jump with a takeoff from a back inside edge and landing on the back outside edge of the opposite foot after one or more rotations in the air. It was invented by the Swedish skater Ulrich Salchow in 1909.

Salchow technique

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. 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. 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". 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.

Salchow variants

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 1970's, Canadian skater Toller Cranston sometimes performed a jump combination consisting of a one-foot axel, one-foot double salchow, and regular double salchow.

Salchow history

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", but that did not stop other female skaters from performing jumps.
Double salchows were first performed by Gillis Grafström for men in the 1920's, and Cecilia Colledge for women in the late 1930's.
The first triple salchow was landed by Ronnie Robertson at the 1955 World Figure Skating Championships. The first by a woman was by Petra Burka at the 1962 Canadian Championships; the latter was also the first triple jump of any kind landed by a woman.
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 successful quadruple salchow in competition with an indisputably clean takeoff was probably that by Li Chengjiang at the 2001 ISU Four Continents Championships. 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 was performed on November 17, 2007 by Tiffany Vise and Derek Trent of the United States at the 2007 Trophée Eric Bompard competition.

Usage note

Ulrich Salchow's surname was reportedly pronounced "sal-kov", but the name of the jump is invariably pronounced as either "sal-kow" (in North America) or "sal-koh" (in Europe).
Skaters sometimes abbreviate the name of the salchow to either sal or sow.


  • Sonia Bianchetti Garbato: Cracked Ice. ISBN 88-86753-72-1.
salchow in German: Salchow (Sprung)
salchow in French: Salchow
salchow in Italian: Salchow
salchow in Japanese: サルコウジャンプ
salchow in Polish: Skoki łyżwiarskie#Salchow
salchow in Russian: Сальхов (прыжок)
salchow in Swedish: Salchow
salchow in Chinese: 后内跳
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