In honor of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, I would like to dedicate this post to my favorite winter Olympic sport, figure skating. Figure skating is the sport that I like to call dancing on ice, because of its beauty of combining difficult physical movements and jumps with grace and ease, set to music.

Since the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, when fifteen-year-old American Tara Lipinski won the women’s gold medal, I have watched the sport every four winters, eagerly awaiting the new champions. This evening, I watched the pair’s short program, and realized that I knew little about the sport itself, so I have decided to do a little research.

The first appearance of figure skating in the modern Olympic Games occurred in 1908, at the London games, before there was a division of summer and winter games. Only one American figure skater participated in the events, out of 21 competitors from six countries. The first Olympic Winter Games were held in 1924 in Chamonix, France, and have been held every four years since with the exception of the years 1940 and 1944, due to World War II. The United States has won the most gold medals and overall medals in the sport, 13 gold medals, and 44 medals over all in the 102 years of inclusion in the games.

I have always been fascinated with Olympic skating because of the atmosphere and the similarity to dance. The costumes of both the men and women are always vibrant and sparkly, spinning and whirling across the ice. There is always the moment before the judges announce the scores, where the pair or single skater awaits with their coaches the moment of victory or defeat. I watched over the years amazing figure skaters from my own home country win the medals, Michelle Kwan, Sasha Cohen, Sarah Hughes, Tara Lipinski, Nancy Kerrigan. Perhaps I always knew that I would never be on that ice and skate as gracefully as those men and women. After all, once I put on a pair of ice skates I am doomed to fall face first into the ice. Coordination is not exactly my strong point. Rooting for Olympic skaters, however, is something I could always do, and will continue to do so this February, waiting for the gold.

Here is a great video clip of some amazing Olympic figure skating fashion, enjoy!