The Top Figure Skating Performances of All Time
This list of the top figure skating performances of all time takes into account factors such as difficulty, speed, impact, point-of-view, choreography, performance, and the skater's overall contribution to the sport of figure skating. While the performances on this list date all the way back to 1968, many modern skaters are included as well, and most skaters listed here have been judged based on modern scoring tactics. Since the implementation of progressive scoring, many fans and critics agree figure skating has grown markedly better.
From champions of ladies' figure skating to triumphs from the best couple ice skating routines, browse the below list and watch the videos to help determine the best figure skating performances of all time. This list includes male and female figure skaters, Olympic skaters, skaters who have competed in national and international championships, and other famous ice skaters. Shattering records and garnering high scores, these are some of the best skaters in the world.
All these skaters are great athletes. You'll be astounded by the footwork of legends like Sasha Cohen or Michelle Kwan. Iconic pairs of skaters - like the incomparable Torvill and Dean - also leave viewers in awe. Young champions, like Adam Rippon or Alina Zagitova, are astounding modern fans of the sport.
Read the list below to familiarize yourself with the greatest figure skating performances of all time.
Alina Zagitova - 2018 Olympics (Women's Singles)
During the 2018 Winter Olympics, Russian figure skater Alina Zagitova came in first in the Women's Singles figure skating competition. However, it wasn't just her high score and accolades that made this performance one of the best of all time. Zagitova landed a world record score of 82.9 during her routine, in which she danced to "Black Swan" and landed three triple jumps. Even more impressive? The previous world record had been set just 15 minutes prior by the previous performer.
Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron - 2018 Winter Olympics (Ice Dancing)
Despite suffering an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction at the 2018 Winter Olympics, French ice dancer Gabriella Papadakis and her dance partner Guillaume Cizeron took home the silver medal for the ice dancing competition. During the competition, Papadakis's dress came unhooked. Social media users - and apparently the judges! - were impressed with how the dancers gracefully pushed forward with the routine, despite the setback.
Papadakis and Cizeron have been dancing together since the ages of nine and 10. Together, the pair won two World Championships, four European Championships, three Grand Prix medals, and three French National Championships.
Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir - 2010 Olympics (Free Dance)
At the 2010 Winter Olympics, the defending silver medalists did not just win; they won by enormous 15-point margin over their training mates Meryl Davis and Charlie White. Skating to Gustav Mahler's "Symphony No. 5," the pair won Canada the first ever gold medal in figure skating. The couple notably performed a complicated lift called "Goose," in which Virtue rested one knee on Moir's crouched back, balancing with her arms outstretched before collapsing into his arms.
Known to fans as the ShibSibs, the brother/sister pair began dancing together at the ages of four and seven. During the 2018 Winter Olympics, the pair gave an amazing performance that secured them the silver medal for ice dancing. Being siblings, the Shibutanis were aware the relationship may count against them. Judges tend to value romantic chemistry. The pair focused instead on their powerful brother-sister bond and the inherent joy of figure skating, basing their stunning routines off of old videos from their childhood.
The ShibSibs now boast an impressive resume. The pair finished third in their first national championship and have two bronze medals and one silver medal for World Championships.
Jane Torvill and Christopher Dean - 1984 Olympics (Ice Dancing)
Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean triumphed at the 1984 Winter Olympics with a long program that remains the highest scoring single program in the history of figure skating. The performance was also one of the most watched events in British history, with nearly 43% of the UK tuning in. Choreographically, the routine remains a benchmark even today; it is always interesting, unexpected, original, passionate, and musical. Dancing to Maurice Ravel's "Boléro", the team took home the gold medal for ice dancing. Viewers were taken on a journey that became a testament to the power of movement and its ability to tell a story that feels epic in the span of four minutes.
Yuna Kim - 2010 Olympics (Ladies' Singles)
With the weight of Korea on her shoulders, Yuna Kim became the first South Korean Olympic figure skating champion when she brought home the gold in 2010. Before then, the only medal South Korea had won for the winter games was in speed skating. Her routine involved complicated footwork and loopy motions, which impressed the judges and audience. The lightness of this otherwise sophisticated performance is made all the more remarkable by the magnitude of the jumps, the intricacy of the transitions, and the complexity of the choreography.