Learning a Hamill Camel (Charyl Brusch)

Figure skating spin specialist Charyl Brusch explains and demonstrates the process of teaching a Hamill camel to a skater who can already spin well. The move was popularized by 1976 Olympic Champion Dorothy Hamill and it’s not so much a spin as a unique transition from a back camel spin to a back sit spin. To see a Hamill camel, watch the following video of Dorothy Hamill’s 1976 US Figure Skating Championships free skate. (The video quality for her 1976 Olympic performance isn’t quite as good.) The Hamill camel is at the very end of the program at 4:15 in the video. Everyone should be familiar with this great skater from the past and watch this video!

For a skater who can spin well and has already mastered the back camel layover, learning the Hamill camel is very straightforward. The key is to enter a strong back camel spin and then begin a layover. Once the body gets to about 90 degrees, the skater needs to deeply bend the skating knee. From that position the body flips into the back sit spin, keeping the free foot low to the ice. In the video above, you’ll notice that Dorothy Hamill actually makes contact with the ice. But most modern executions of this skill do not touch the ice. Notice the difference in arm positions for how Charyl begins this spin and how Ms. Hamill performed it.


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