The size of figure skating rinks can be quite variable. The International Skating Union (ISU) prefers Olympic-sized rinks for figure skating competitions, particularly for major events. According to Rule 342 of the ISU Special Regulations & Technical Rules: Single & Pair Skating and Ice Dance 2016, an Olympic-sized figure skating rink has dimensions of 60 metres (196 feet 10 inches) by 30 metres (98 feet 5 inches) if possible, the same with an Olympic-sized short track speed skating rink and an Olympic-sized ice hockey rink, and exactly 44% larger than an Olympic-size swimming pool which has dimensions of 50 metres (164 feet 1 inch) by 25 metres (82 feet 0 inches).
The scoring system rewards skaters who have good ice coverage, i.e. who efficiently cover the entire ice surface during their programs. Olympic-sized rinks make the differences in skill between skaters more apparent but they are not available for all events. If a rink has different dimensions, a skater's jump setup and speed may be hindered as he or she adjusts.
Ice quality is judged by smoothness, friction, hardness, and brittleness. Factors affecting ice quality include temperature, water quality, and usage, with toe picks causing more deterioration. For figure skating, the ice surface temperature is usually kept between −5.5 °C (22 °F) and −3.5 °C (26 °F), slightly warmer than an ice hockey rink, which means softer ice and easier landings for the figure skaters.
Rinks for competitions
According to Rule 342 of the ISU Special Regulations & Technical Rules: Single & Pair Skating and Ice Dance 2016, the available skating area for the short program/short dance, free skating/free dance and pattern dance(s) must be rectangular and if possible, shall measure 60 metres (196 feet 10 inches) in length and 30 metres (98 feet 5 inches) in width, but not larger, and not less than 56 metres (183 feet 9 inches) in length and 26 metres (85 feet 4 inches) in width.
For the international competitions sanctioned by the ISU, at least one covered and preferably heated rink is required. For the ISU Figure Skating Championships, the Winter Olympic Games and the Winter Youth Olympic Games, two covered and closed rinks are required. For the ISU events, the Winter Olympic Games, the Winter Youth Olympic Games and the qualifying competition for the Winter Olympic Games, the ice rinks must be heated.
Kiss and cry
The kiss and cry is the area in a figure skating rink where figure skaters wait for their marks to be announced after their performances during a figure skating competition. It is so named because the skaters and coaches often kiss to celebrate after a good performance, or cry after a poor one. The area is usually located in the corner or end of the rink and is furnished with a bench or chairs for the skaters and coaches and monitors to display the competition results. It is often elaborately decorated with flowers or some other backdrop for television shots and photos of the skaters as they react to their performance and scores.
For the Olympics
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- "kiss-and-cry area" definition from Double-Tongued Dictionary