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Will a Figure Skater Ever Land a Quintuple Jump?

Male figure skaters have broken the quadruple jump barrier, now routinely completing four rotations in the air during competitions. For example, in the men's free skate final at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, U.S. skater Nathan Chen landed a record six of these extremely difficult maneuvers. But will anyone ever be able to land a quintuple jump? Experts say that, theoretically, it’s physically possible, if figure skaters can manage to jump a couple of inches higher and wrap their elbows and knees even closer to their bodies. But it certainly won’t be easy.

Pursuing revolution No. 5:

  • In general, female skaters tend to jump between 15 inches and 20 inches (38 and 51 cm) and men usually jump between 20 inches and 23 inches (51 and 58 cm) vertically off the ice.
  • The quad requires a skater to ignore his survival instincts in order to spin faster than 400 rotations per minute without losing control. By comparison, the wheels on a car that is moving at 60 mph (97 km/h) rotate 800 times a minute.
  • “I think skaters are close to the edge of what is physically possible,” says sports biomechanics professor Deborah King of Ithaca College. “I have to think that yes, a skater could do it -- but it would take a very specific type of skater.”
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