Monday, 4 Dec 2023

History of Ice Skating

History of Ice Skating

Ice Skating is both a sport and a recreational activity and involves gliding across an ice surface using ice skates.  Two sports have come out of ice-skating and they are figure skating and speed skating. Figure skating is a performance of jumps, spins and dance while speed skating is racing on ice skates.  A team sport that uses speed skating is ice hockey which was probably first played in Scandinavia around 1000BCE.  The first ice skates are thought to have been made from the bones of elk, oxen or reindeer but when the metal blades were introduced is not known.

The First Skates

During the 19th century the metal part of the skate was attached to the footplate and the whole skate was kept together using leather thongs or a strap.  In 1850 a great improvement was made when EW Bushnell launched an all steel skate that was much lighter than the wooden footplate. After 1900 the toe pick was added as well as saw-like teeth near the toe of the blade allowing the skater more control when doing jumps.  The closed toe blade made from one-piece steel made the skate stronger and made the blade lighter.

The usual skate used for figure skating has a toe pick at the front with a hollow ridge along the blade emphasising two sharpened outer edges and these are the surfaces used when skating.  The blade is about the same length as the boot and is black for men and white for women with a reinforced support for the arch and a stiff material around the heel.  A speed skate is low cut, which allows for easier movement and the blade is longer; and these days modern versions are as sophisticated as the online slots real money Canada has to offer.

When Skating Began

Recreational skating has been done in the Netherlands as far back as the Middle Ages on the canals.  Skating on frozen ponds was popular in England during the 17th century with the first skating club established in Edinburgh in 1742. Ice-skating was first brought to North America in the 1740s and became popular in France in 1776 in the French court with Marie Antoinette being one of the skaters.

Ice-skating became a major sport and recreational activity when refrigerated rinks were introduced making it not only a seasonal pastime.  The first artificial frozen ice rink, the Glaciarium, opened in 1876 in London while the first artificially frozen rink in the US was in Madison Square Garden, the old one, in New York in 1879.  Artificial ice arenas also allowed ice-skating to be established in warmer climates.

Ice skating sports were organised by various groups during the late 1880s, and these groups together with other national groups founded the International Skating Union (ISU) in 1892. The ISU later became the governing body for various ice-skating sports like figure skating and ice dancing. Figure skating was included in the 1908 Olympic games in London and other types of ice skating events were added later.