Specialty Figures – Maltese Cross (Kirsten Olson)

Specialty figures expert Kirsten Olson continues her presentation on specialty figures by demonstrating and explaining the Maltese Cross.  The Maltese Cross uses the cross-cuts or fishtails learned in the previous video and is a pattern skated entirely on one foot.  Kirsten starts by marking an X on the ice and skating the pattern.  She uses a marker to help us see the pattern.  To use the easier inside crosscuts, the skater starts on the forward outside edge tangent to the center circle.  Kirsten describes the overall pattern like this, “So essentially what this is is cross-cuts and edge changes.  It will take a lot of patience especially as you sit around that inside center circle to go to the next leg…”  She continues, “You have to know when to push and when to pull, how much energy to put into it so you don’t end up going too fast.”

Next Kirsten addresses common issues.  One is overall body alignment for the pattern to allow balanced and quick movements that are precisely controlled.  Edges and knee rhythm and body twist must be mastered without losing alignment.  Kirsten recommends working on “mini-power pulls” and even two foot slaloms to review the proper edge pressure and knee timing.

At the end, Kirsten takes a moment to address why skaters should be working on patterns like this.  She notes that even relatively low level skaters can be introduced to this pattern.  Even if a skater cannot master the pattern, just working on the skills builds overall skating mastery at a rapid rate.


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