Why Don’t Figure Skaters Get Dizzy?

If you have been watching the winter Olympics, you’ve probably seen men’s or women’s figure skating. One of the most popular Olympic sports, figure skating is an impressive combination of grace and athleticism.

How they can jump and spin multiple times in the air is beyond me. I can’t even jump and spin like that when I’m on a trampoline. And my trampoline always rips when I try to do it wearing skates.

Watching highlights of the men’s skating competition, I started to wonder…how are they not dizzy? With all of the twirling, whirling and rotating, I get dizzy just watching. How are they able to spin that much and stay on their skates?

For our answer we turn to none other than two-time Olympic silver medalist Elvis Stojko.

Stojko explains in this video that one of the main reasons figure skaters don’t get dizzy is practice. Turns out that skaters do get dizzy when they are new to the sport, but their inner ear learns to get used to spinning after years of training.

I didn’t know this, but apparently all skaters have a dominant side. They either spin clockwise or counterclockwise. When they are just about finished with their spin, they spot with their eyes to find out where in relation they are to the arena. Doing this helps their eyes adjust when spinning and prevents them from getting dizzy.

So next time you are watching figure skating, spin a little and see if you are a clockwise or counterclockwise spinner. But don’t do it too long, you might get dizzy.

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