Last weekend, 12 year old Amber Glenn qualified to compete in the U.S. Championships. She will be the youngest figure skater to compete for the Championships, held in San Jose this January.
So how does this top skater stand out against competitors that have twice her experience with only a couple minutes to wow the judges? One part choreographers and performance experts, one part raw talent, plus one part a costume that wows!
Figure skating costumes have long been made of sequins and sparkly stretch fabrics. Initially, figure skating was viewed as a combination of ice skating and ballet. This is why figure skating is the only Olympic sport where competitors wear bright and glittery costumes rather than their team colors.
The first figure skating costumes were actually made of wool. It wasn’t until 1924 when Sonje Henie popularized the short-skirted outfit made of a lighter fabric. As the skaters are becoming more and more athletic, their outfits are becoming more and more stretchy! Stretch fabrics such as Lycra and Spandex and even stretch velvets didn’t become the norm until around the 1970s. One reason why stretch velvets are so popular in figure skating is that they provide an extra layer of warmth that is comforting on the ice rink. Simply adding glitter to the stretch velvets makes it a perfect fabric to the sport of figure skating.