Layback & cross-foot spins

I wrote about the cross-foot spin in a previous post. This post is about how its neglect led to different requirements for male and female skaters.

The cross-foot spin became a short program requirement for men parallel to the layback spin requirement for women in 1975. It also began to parallel the layback spin in the test structure and remained on the Junior Free Skate Test through the 2006–07 season. In May 2007, at Governing Council, the requirement was changed to a “[s]pin in one position.” The rationale given for this change was “[t]o make the junior free skate test requirements consistent with the junior well-balanced program requirements.”

Today, the layback spin first appears on the Juvenile Free Skate Test, the fourth of eight tests in the series. Ladies must perform a layback, sideways leaning, or attitude spin. Men must perform a camel spin—the spin everyone must do on the previous test! The layback spin reappears on the Novice Free Skate Test, where everyone has the opportunity to perform it—all skaters get to choose to do a layback, camel, or sit spin; other tests are even more open about which spins are allowed. The cross-foot spin is not explicitly mentioned in USFS’s test requirements, but the openness of the requirements at higher levels means it is permissible for anyone to perform.

The outcome of these rule changes is that women must learn one more spin than men. And they must do it early.