thumb Elaine Zayak (born thumb, thumb) is an thumb thumb. She won the United States national title in thumb and the thumb title in 1982. Zayak was coached jointly by thumb and thumb throughout her amateur and professional career.


At age two, Zayak lost part of her left foot in a thumb accident. On the advice of her doctors, she began figure skating as physical therapy, but her injury was not generally known to the skating world during her amateur career. Her left boot is stabilized with a wood mold to compensate for the irregularity in the shape of her left foot.

Zayak grew up in thumb. where she attended thumb.

In 1980, Zayak was part of the first trip to thumb by American skaters.

An excellent student, she was awarded the thumb for the national high-school scholar-athlete of the year in 1982.

Zayak was the first woman to consistently land many triple jumps in her programs. At the 1982 World Championships, she landed 6 triple jumps to win the title, but 4 of them were triple thumbs. While she also had triple thumb and thumb jumps in her repertoire, they were less consistent. Zayak was not the only skater of her time who repeated the same jump multiple times to add technical content to her programs, nor was she the worst offender; thumb's thumb, for example, often incorporated solely multiple triple toe loops and double axels in her 4-minute free programs, perhaps to cover up her deficiencies in other jumps. Still, Zayak's skating contributed to the creation of what became informally known as the “Zayak Rule,” enacted at the 1982 ISU Congress, which states that a skater may not repeat a triple jump more than twice, and after the first instance the jump must be done in combination or sequence. The rule encouraged skaters to display a greater variety of skills.

After winning the World Championships in 1982, however, Zayak was never able to regain the same level of skating. Zayak's placements suffered from generally poor performances in the then-prevalent thumb (attributed after the fact to her damaged foot).

Although she continued to train fiercely and entered the 1984 Olympics season well prepared, Zayak was no longer considered a top contender nationally or internationally. After placing 3rd at the 1984 U.S. Nationals, she performed very strong short and free programs at the thumb in Sarajevo, for which the judges only awarded her marks good enough to place her sixth. Still, Zayak persevered and won the Bronze Medal at the 1984 thumb, with equally good performances as the ones she displayed in Sarajevo.

Zayak turned professional in 1984. She competed and toured professionally for a number of years. However, her early professional career was mediocre at best, and it did not take long before she drifted away from the sport.


In 1993, Zayak was the only U.S. female singles skater to reinstate to eligible status in an attempt to make the thumb team. While she was unsuccessful at attaining this goal, placing fourth in the thumb U.S. Championships, the members of the skating community were elated with her skating performance, which included difficult triple jumps she had not completed in a decade. She was named an alternate for the Olympic Games.

She is married and the mother of a son, Jack. She teaches figure skating at the Ice House in thumb, and is spokeswoman for the thumb. She recently coached thumb to a 12th place finish at the thumb.

Zayak was inducted into the thumb in 2003 and the thumb in 2004.

Competitive highlightsEdit

Event/Season 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1994
thumb - 4th 1st 3rd 2nd 3rd 4th
thumb 1st - - - - - -
thumb - 11th 2nd 1st - 3rd -
thumb - - - - - 6th -


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