Brief history of figure skating

Jackson Haines

Today, figure skating is a very popular winter sport; professional skaters have the chance to compete in a number of competitions, such as the World Championships, the European Championships, the Winter Olympics and others.

Figure skating has a lot of fans around the world. Also, many people, who can’t be called as constant skating fans, find it relaxing and therapeutic to watch figure skating; it is perfect for those chilled out Sunday afternoons where you can simply lie on the couch with your laptop, playing games of chess or poker, while watching the skaters elegantly glide and dance along to soothing classical music. The sport has developed and modernized over the years, but where did skating first originate?

It is thought that figure skating dates as far back as the prehistoric age. The exact time has not been pinpointed, but archaeologists have evidence to believe that the activity was widespread. They believed that cavemen would have needed to cross icy patches of land and used animal bones as ice skates. Bones were found buried in the ice around Russia, Germany, Switzerland and Great Britain.

The first piece of evidence which clearly depicted ice skating was found between the 13th and 14th century. It was thought that the Dutch moulded skates out of steel before sharpening the edges to aid movement and grip. Soon after this, a Dutch table maker developed the structure further; he experimented with the length to width ratio of the metal blade. Modern skates have kept a very similar design, even to this day.

The sport grew increasing popular over the years until large competitions began to be held. It was Jackson Haines who won the first Championship of America in 1864. He introduced the art of ballet and dance into his skating, which is still a very strong theme today. Haines was also responsible for creating the famous sit-spin movement. He specifically designed a pair of skates for this spin and was the first person to wear a pair of skates which had blades permanently attached to the boot.

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