Last year, ESPN put up a report on Sport Skills Difficulty.
Ten categories, or skills, were identified, and used to rank 60 sports. Overall, figure skating ranked 19th. Here is how figure skating ranked in the individual categories (and my response to them):
Skaters have to maintain the energy and keep up the performance throughout their program. It is, however, not a very long-duration endurance. Funny how the last time I went jogging, I noticed that I lasted barely two minutes and forty seconds - about the length of my program!!
Everything in figure skating looks so easy - it must be hard to tell that any strength is needed for the multi-rev jumps, or the pairs lifts, or the death spiral...
I wonder if high jump does require more power than figure skating... After all, figure skaters jump too - among many other things we do.
Oh c'mon, I'm absolutely certain figure skaters move with greater speed than tennis players... unless they're talking about the ball!
Umm... Must be the need for the fast-twitching muscle motion?
Really, you don't have to be all that flexible to skate. It is only when you want those beautiful spirals or incredible layback positions... Then again, few other sports require much flexibility either.
This was defined as "the ability to overcome fear". I find it hard to believe that cycling ranked higher than figure skating in this! I suppose being on one wheel would be scarier than on two blades!
From the definition of "the ability to withstand physical punishment over a long period of time", I wouldn't expect figure skating to rank anywhere higher.
Hand-Eye Coordination: 45th
This must be the most undeserved ranking figure skating gets! So much coordination goes into skating, so much feedback control to keep a skater balanced, to keep the spin centered, to save a slightly flawed jump...
Analytic aptitude: 30th
The ability to evaluate and react appropriately to strategic situations - this is not brought out in pre-choreographed programs!