Anatomy Of A Figure Skater: What Are Maé-Bérénice Méité’s Hidden Powers?

Anatomy Of A Figure Skater: What Are Maé-Bérénice Méité’s Hidden Powers?


We’ve taken six of the world’s
top athletes, to find out what it
takes to make a true Olympian. That’s it, come on! As we push
their bodies to the max. (ANATOMY OF A FIGURE SKATER) Now, what we
expect a figure skater to be is number one – strong. In addition to that,
they need to be stable. Often what they are
performing is multiple skills, back-to-back, and all of that
is wrapped around an aesthetic. Maé-Bérénice Méité has been French national figure
skating champion three times. At her first Olympic
Winter Games in Sochi, Russia 2014, she placed tenth. Maé’s been skating
since the age of five and her physical strength
and energetic routines have made her one
of the most popular performers on the ice. I think the typical body
shape of a female figure skater is actually very similar
to that of a gymnast. it is relatively short,
it’s very compact, it tends to be light because power to weight
ratio is really important. It’s actually the ability
to propel their own body weight into the air. We’re really looking
at a gymnast but with the aerobic capacity
of a middle-distance athlete. My body type is completely
different from the body type you can see when you’re
watching figure skating. I’m more
muscular, more athletic, so that’s my strength and
I try to play on that strength to do some things
other girls cannot really do. We’ve brought Maé to
Buckinghamshire New University and its class-leading
Human Performance Lab, to analyse every
area of her anatomy and see just what makes her one of her sport’s
stand-out competitors. The Bod Pod will show us just how muscular
Maé really is. By measuring the
volume of air her body displaces within the chamber,
we can calculate her body’s true composition – both her muscle mass
and more importantly her percentage of body fat. OK, testing is complete. Let’s see what
results we got this time. You’ll be pleased to hear
that its just over 12%, 12.2%. – You’re very happy with that?
– I’m very happy about that. What fat is, is effectively
non-functional mass. So the less fat she has, the more powerful
she can become. An Olympic female gymnast has
a body fat percentage of 14.0, an elite track cyclist 13.7,
but Maé’s 12.2% is astonishing, less even than a world-class
triathlete or cross-country skier. (POWER) The vertical jump test
is absolutely key to figure skating. What we expect to see with Maé, is an exceptional
vertical jump, because it’s indicative of
power output, power production. To perform the toe loops,
axels, salchows and lutzes of an Olympic
routine, requires a figure skater to convert the explosive
power of the lower body into the perfect take-off, to gain the optimum
vertical height. Jump upwards,
as far as you can and then land with
both feet on the mat. When you’re ready! Female figure skaters achieve
a rotational speed of up to 300 revolutions per minute
during their routines in order to perform
the high-scoring jumps that will get
them the top marks – and these jumps need
instantaneous power. Your jump height was 45.1cm
and the amount of time that you spend in the
air was 607 milliseconds. They’re both excellent,
well done you! Thank you! She jumped vertically
45.1cm from a standing start, now, that really
is exceptional – but it’s exactly what
she requires. The higher she jumps,
the greater the period of time she has to execute
the skill and that’s going to gain her more marks. (SPIRO) Lung function
tests are really important, particularly for figure
skating. What we are
looking for is to make sure that the lung
function is both normal but also
looking to see if it is above normal
in terms of performance. Winter sports athletes like
skaters and ice hockey players who train in cold,
indoor environments, experience higher
rates of exercise-induced asthma than most elite
athletes. The spirometry or lung
function test will show us just how efficiently Maé’s
respiratory system is working. I’ll ask you
to wear this nose clip. Take a deep breath. Keep blowing,
keep blowing, keep blowing, keep blowing, keep blowing… and stop when you’re ready. Deep breath. Keep blowing,
keep blowing, keep blowing, keep blowing – and stop. If we take a look at
something like the peak flow, which is actually the
maximum flow rate, she’s got a peak flow
which is 113% above normal. So what we know about Maé, is that her lungs
aren’t enormous, because she’s only 169cm tall,
but they are functioning well above normal. (STABILITY) One of the key tests
we’re going to do with Maé is the knee stabilisation test, and really what that tells us
is Maé’s stability under load. Why does that matter? Well, it’s crucial
in terms of execution of skill. It’s also about aesthetic, it’s about how
that skill looks. The more stable she is,
the better it looks, the higher
the mark she will get. Have you ever
had any knee injuries before? Yes, I had a tear in my tendon,
and it’s the right one, so it’s the one where
I am landing all my jumps. That’s your
dominant leg, as well? Yeah, exactly. So that was a little bit
bothering me for years. Now it’s getting better,
so I’ll see today how it is. For many elite athlete groups,
the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is one of the most
vulnerable parts of the anatomy and an injury
can mean many months away from competition. In your own time. Female athletes are
three to four times more likely to suffer ACL injury
than their male counterparts. One more on
the left when you’re ready. Hold that nice
and steady for me. The rapid decelerations,
changes in direction and the force of landing
after multiple aerial movements make figure skaters especially
vulnerable to knee injuries. Just step off and jump
as high as you can for me. That’s it, and hold that. So stability and control
of the knee joint under load is vital to keep Maé
at the top of her sport. Perfect, thanks very much.
That’s us done! The maximum angle of
Maé’s knee abduction or inward collapse
of the joint, measured across both her legs, shows a remarkable
level of muscular control and balance – vital if
she is to protect herself against injury and to give
her the physical platform to perform her
demanding routines. Obviously she’s been
carrying an injury, which affected her 2015 season,
in the right knee. But there’s
no evidence of that now. Her left knee and
her right knee are similar, in other words they’ve
got bilateral symmetry, so she is stable in both knees. It’s very important to be
strong enough everywhere so then, you can
protect your whole body. Obviously, after
skating I’ll have to walk and do everything I want to do, so I have to take care of
my body now so then in the future
I’ll be able to do whatever I want. (UP CLOSE) When I first started I just really liked the fact that we can go fast, and it’s cool because I am
by myself and I can fly and that’s awesome. Maé-Bérénice Méité! During the Olympics, you know, its like only every four years, so not everyone gets
the chance to go there, so just being here
was like a big step for me. It’s a mix of excitement
and you’re like a little child for two days during
the event and that’s amazing! If I have a medal
from the Olympics I’ll be very happy no matter the colour
of the medal, and I want to be remembered as the smiling, crazy,
maybe pretty, I don’t know, figure skater, and I think that would be
great! (COGNITIVE) CogniSens NeuroTracker is really a test
of decision-making, and it’s decision-making under
pressure and at speed. Fundamentally,
it is the link between eyes, brain and the hand – everything that a
figure skater needs. In the short programme, Maé
has to perform seven mandatory elements –
jumps, spins and steps, all in less than three minutes. Cognitive control and focus
is vital to maintain the concentration
that delivering an Olympic-level routine
demands. We’re surrounded
by the public, the judges the photographers,
the TV, the cameras. You have to be focused for two minutes 50
and four minutes, so this test is going to be
very, very interesting. OK, here we go. The CogniSens NeuroTracker
requires Maé to follow a series of objects in 3-D
space, and then to identify them among
other similar-looking shapes. – 7-8-6-2
– 7-8-6-2. OK, well done, and again. This tests Maé’s
ability to focus on precise visual targets
and to block out distractions, a crucial skill she needs
when skating in the intense pressure of elite competition. 3-6-5-4. OK, that’s great. How did you find that? It was really interesting. You started off here at 0.94
and made an improvement to 1.36 in your second trial, and then
a slight improvement to 1.46. So that’s a good
first attempt, well done! – Not bad!
– That’s very good! If we take a look at elite ice
hockey players, for example, they score 1.29
on average on this test. Now, Maé scored 1.25.
Now, that’s not unusual to see that type of comparison because they’re trying to make
very rapid decisions under extreme conditions. Decision-making is everything
and Maé has that in absolute bundles. You can be
good at training, if your head is not following,
you won’t succeed. So the biggest issue for
most of the girls, actually, it’s in here. (VO2 MAX) Now, the interesting
thing about the VO2 Max test, which is a measure
of aerobic capacity, in other words,
aerobic endurance, you would think isn’t important
to figure skating – but when you look inside
the sport, what you realise is that Maé has to execute
highly-technical skills with pinpoint accuracy and maintain that
through a programme that lasts in excess
of four minutes. Now that puts her into
the realm of elite middle-distance
athletes. Maé’s ability to perform
multiple aerial moves, rapid and complex combinations
and deliver a fast, fluid and precise performance requires real
aerobic capacity – but just how much
can she endure before total fatigue takes
over? Three, two, one, next stage. You’re doing really well,
keep it up! Maé is pushing
her body to the max. As the gradient increases
and her heart rate rises, her reserves of stamina are
being tested like never before. You really need
to focus now, Maé, keep breathing,
keep breathing! Focus! Deeper breaths, that’s it! Really good, push,
push, push! Focus, deeper breaths! Well done, Maé, well done! She scored 51.1 millilitres
per kilogram per minute. Now, that is a very,
very good score, particularly when it is
almost unexpected for a figure skater –
and why is that? It’s because she’s required to
execute those skills not once, but multiple times
during the free programme. Maé’s astonishing
physical response to our tests has shown the truly
elite athlete that lies behind the perfect artistic performance
on the ice. Push, push, push! Mental agility and
physical strength, combining to make one of winter
sport’s ultimate competitors. She is incredibly powerful, she has a massive
vertical height jump. She’s also incredibly stable
when she is jumping and then to complete
this package, her endurance capacity, her VO2 Max,
is exceptional and that is why she is
one of the best figure skaters on the planet. I just have to perform
and do my best and try to show the world who I am and how I feel. You can feel the
audience is with you and, like, clapping
and screaming and being like,
“Oh, my God, that’s crazy!” That’s the feeling I like
the most, because it’s just unbelievable.

100 thoughts on “Anatomy Of A Figure Skater: What Are Maé-Bérénice Méité’s Hidden Powers?

  1. I hope they an maybe do it with a male figure skater like Adam Rippon or Nathan Chen, to show the differences between male and female figure skaters! It would also be nice to see a comparison between a smaller and leaner figure skater, as she is a very muscular one, something you do not see that often in figure skating

  2. Mae is a man/ just be honest. Check the testosterone, and shave the Adam's apple. An announcer slipped at Olympics and said " he " instead of she.

  3. I thought the point of this was to show the body of a typical figure skater and than the first thing they say is her body is not the typical figure skating body?

  4. I'm a bit puzzled as to why they chose a skater who has a more muscular body type. The average skater is a bit lighter, like Mirai or Evgenia…

  5. She's beautiful: )))) I did both figure skating and gymnastics also, both demand similar skills and abilities. She's awesome!!!!

  6. She's nearly perfect…Great cheekbones, nice teeth, tight flexible body, cool personality, articulate…I envy her 🙂

  7. My first time seeing her personality, she is so cute! Now I'll remember Mae as funny smiling pretty skater!

  8. Uhm, couldn't you have picked a better example? Mae neither has a typical figure skater's shape, nor has she been successful

  9. And then there is me. I’m a figure skater with all my doubles, I’m 5’8 and my legs are 3’4. My legs are awful to work with on the ice.

  10. I love ice skating but I know that I'll never make it to the top or be really good because I started on ice the first time with 11 Years which is only 3/4 Years ago so pretty Late, I've never done Ballett and my parents would never pay a Coach or private lesson because they think it's expensive (which is true and I don't want to practically Rob my parents money just because I want to skate) I'm really sad that my parents never skated with me before I decided to do it alone and well my body type isn't the best for ice skating either. I'm on the smaller side of size but I have more muscles and rather heavier bones

  11. The ice gymnasts. The aerial sense required is pretty amazing…besides the sheer muscle flexibility and power.

  12. I like her but i wish she was more feminine and graceful. She has a potential to be number one that's for sure.

  13. I started skating when I was 12 so I was a bit behind. Hearing how people started skating when they were toddlers is really discouraging some times considering I’ve only been skating for 4 years.

  14. 45.1 cm is not very high tho. Not saying she isn't an exceptional athlete, but her vertical is not her strong suit.

  15. The tests are mainly jump-related. I heard that ice dancers are trained to use different muscles / different methods of using the muscles(?). Hope to see an analysis on that too!

  16. The body of a Figure Skater is totally different than of a Gymnast.When I had my ice skating,I can say it is hard because you need to have strong lower extremities.Aside from that,lungs should be in a good condition,too bad for my my other lung is not working properly,so I easily get exhausted when I do activities that has something to do like this.

  17. У негров вообще другие физические возможности!Как можно их сравнивать с людьми?С белыми?

  18. She is incredible and this was really interesting but I feel like for this type of test they should have used a shorter athlete – 169cm is pretty tall for a top figure skater so the results aren't really a reflection of most skaters of her calibre.

  19. Чемпионат мира 25 место !!!! Олимпиские игры 19-е! хахахахахахаа, те еще козыри

  20. I no this is different sport and not in the Olympic but would like to see Matt Fraser from CrossFit do this test to see how he matches up.

  21. She was saying how she’s more muscular than many skaters, but nowadays more and more skaters are becoming more muscular and it’s really cool

  22. As an ice skater whomever was narating im not tryna hate but u pronounced some of the words wrong like salchow(sow-cow)

  23. This girl is in a league of her own. What strength! Endurance, agility, grace, power….and confidence! She is the total package for what it takes to make it in elite figure skating. And if I may add, I love her figure!! I am so sick of these anorexic skaters, most of which wind up with very short careers due to extreme diets. Mae looks super strong & she is the epitome of health! Her career will be long & successful because she takes such good care of herself!! We love you Mae!!!

  24. Why are people upset or wondering about her body type like she looks fine her skill is good and she is good at what she does leave the woman alone

  25. Super cool video. Shld do more with different athletes.
    Yours truly
    Someone already fascinated with the human mind.

  26. Why wouldn’t they want to find a figure skater that most accurately represents the average elite skater? She said that she was more muscular than her competition, so why wouldn’t they find somebody who’s a more accurate representation?

  27. euuh saying that the body of figure skater is very similar than a gymnast is silly… gymnast are all upper body strength, figure skaters are all lower body…And also taking an unusual physique for this kind of show is also a bit silly, she says it herself, she is not your your typical figure skating body. She's legit of course, but I don't think she should be the first choice for this.

  28. Hmmm, they actually showed her weight… almost 70 kg… big amount of muscle… kinda contrast to what Eteri's girls are (she bragged how none of them has over 50 kilograms :O)

    I like Mae, her athleticism, her aesthetic, the joy she radiates.

  29. She is gorgeous! WOW! I have a very similar body type/proportion to her, and sometimes I felt like I didn't have control over my long legs. She is definitely my inspiration.

  30. To all the triggered people in the comments: people from lots of places pronounce it "sal-ko", such as Europe and Japan. This includes Sweden, where Ulrich Salchow is actually from. From what I can tell, the "cow" pronunciation is usually used in North America.

  31. I am a gymnast and I just started to figure skate as well I. Find it cool that the body’s are very similar

  32. на фигуристку она не похожа. было бы интересно посмотреть на настоящих профи – Загитову и Трусову

  33. What really crushed me is that you have to be skinny to be a professional figure skater… I know it’s a requirement but you know different girls have different body type and maybe they’re just as professionals but not the body type they have :/

  34. i know this is supposed to be an individual thing and this one is the only video on figure skating of this series. But it would be intresting to take a look to ice dancing. Tessa Virtue would be very intresting bc of her strugles and surgeries and bc of the cognitive side of her control while in the Olympics.

  35. Mae is a beautiful skater but she is far from a regular figure skater.And what she said is the pure truth of figure skaters. To be successful you need to be the full package and the head is critical. There are many wonderful skaters that were crushed by the stress of competition. It happens in many sports not just figure skating.

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