Can a figure skater do a quintuple jump?

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Male figure skaters have achieved the quadruple jump, but a quintuple jump is theoretically possible if skaters can jump higher and wrap their bodies closer. Female skaters jump 15-20 inches and men 20-23 inches vertically off the ice. Experts say skaters are close to the physical limit, but it’s possible with the right skater.

Male figure skaters have broken the quadruple jump barrier, now regularly completing four rotations in the air during competition. For example, in the men’s free skating final at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, US figure skater Nathan Chen landed a record six of these extremely difficult maneuvers. But will anyone ever make a quintuple jump? Experts say it’s, in theory, physically possible, if skaters can jump an inch higher and wrap their elbows and knees even closer to their bodies. But it certainly won’t be easy.

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In general, female skaters tend to jump between 15 inches and 20 inches (38 and 51 cm) and men typically jump between 20 inches and 23 inches (51 and 58 cm) vertically off the ice.
The quad requires a skater to override his survival instinct to spin faster than 400 rotations per minute without losing control. By comparison, the wheels of a car moving at 60 mph (97 km/h) rotate 800 times per minute.
“I think skaters are close to the limit of what’s physically possible,” says Ithaca College sports biomechanics professor Deborah King. “I have to think that yes, a skater could do it, but it would take a very specific type of skater.”

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