What does it mean to kiss and cry?

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In competitive figure skating, the kiss and cry is the designated off-rink area where skaters await their scores from the judges following their routine.

The nickname is based on the fact that skaters and their coaches (and sometimes loved ones there in support) often react emotionally when scores are revealed, with high scores often resulting in kisses and congratulations, while low scores result in commiseration and sometimes crying.

The term became so widely used in figure skating that it has even been referenced in official rules documents of the International Skating Union, which requires all competition venues to designate such an area and limit who has access to it.

Example: Figure skating fans are familiar with the tense few minutes that skaters must sit in the kiss and cry and await their scores.

The coining of the name kiss and cry is often traced back to the late 1970s or early ’80s. According to some accounts, it was coined by Finnish skating official Jane Erkko. It is also variously credited to figure skating broadcasters or producers in the 1980s, when it became popular within the figure skating community and also began to gain more widespread usage.

Since then, kiss and cry has become a widely accepted name for the area.


The term kiss and cry is popularly used within the figure skating community and by commentators and fans. It’s so widespread within figure skating that it’s sometimes even used as the official name of the area. The emotional moments before and after scores are announced are associated with the drama of the sport.