Camel spin

Camel spin

A camel spin, also known in Europe as a parallel spin, is one of the three basic figure skating spins, along with the sit spin and upright spin. The basic camel spin position is defined as one in which the free leg is extended backwards with the knee held above hip level.


Most sources credit the invention of the camel spin to British skater Cecilia Colledge, who first performed it in 1935. Like the layback spin, also invented by Colledge, the camel was originally considered a move for women only. According to figure skating coach Gustave Lussi, the camel spin was invented not by Colledge but by an Australian skater named Campbell, and is properly known as the Campbell spin.

The Grafström spin may predate the invention of the "regular" camel spin. Although it is named after Gillis Grafström, its best practitioner is said to be Czechoslovakian skater Otto Gold, who won the silver medal at the 1930 European Figure Skating Championships.

Dick Button is credited with inventing the flying camel spin in the 1940's. It was originally known as the Button camel.

The "illusion spin" was accidentally invented by Jacqueline du Bief when she lost control on the entrance to a camel spin.


  • Flying camel spin – formerly known as a Button camel, initiated with a jump from a forward outside edge to a back camel spin.
  • Layover – performed by upturning the torso and free leg so that the skater's torso and free foot are pointing toward the ceiling, rather than toward the ice. This spin is frequently seen in artistic roller skating, where it is called a "layback spin" (but is distinct from the layback spin performed on ice).
    • Bent-leg layover – similar to a layover, except with a bent free leg. Josee Chouinard and Kim Yu-Naare among the best-known practitioners of this spin variation. This spin has also been called the "Harding camel", after Tonya Harding.
  • Catch-foot camel – performed by the skater grasping the free leg's blade with either hand. The skater's torso remains pointed toward the ice, and the free leg is held upward. A catch-foot camels with free leg extended upwards is sometimes called a one-hand Biellman or a half-Biellmann.
    • Doughnut or donut spin – a catch-foot camel, but the skater's head is pulled toward the free leg's foot so that the skater's head, torso, and free leg form a toric shape parallel to the ice. Oksana Baiul and Shizuka Arakawa frequently perform this spin.
  • Grafström spin – camel with a bent skating leg, with the free foot still in the arabesque position.
  • Hamill camel– not a true camel per se, but rather a transition from a backwards camel to a backwards sit spin by bending the skating leg and dropping the torso and free leg simultaneously.
  • Illusion spin – performed by the skater keeping their head, torso, and free leg in a straight line, and rhythmically bobbing above and below the position of a standard camel spin. Tiffany Chin performed this spin frequently as an amateur. However, because the spin is dynamic and does not involve holding a static posture while rotating, it is not recognized as a valid difficult variation under the ISU Judging System.


In single skating

In pairs and ice dancing


  • Figure Skating: Championship Techniques. John Misha Petkevich, 1989. ISBN 0-452-26209-7.
  • Systematic Figure Skating: The Spin & Jump Techniques of Gustave Lussi. (instructional videos)
  • Single Figure Skating. Josef Dĕdič, 1974.
  • Dick Button on Skates. Dick Button, 1955.

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