You might know about ice skating and maybe you have done it before. It’s very popular and it’s even a sport in the Winter Olympics. A lot of people compete in ice skating competitions, do it for fun, and for a winter activity. However, Ice skating hasn’t always been the way it is now, it went through a very long process before it got to its full glory of gliding across smooth hard ice. Before all of that, there were a lot of problems with things like machines, the skates, and the ice.
Ice skating actually started a really long time ago, before the Christian Era in Scandinavia, but really but really developed as a sport in the 13th and 14th centuries around Scotland and the Netherlands with wood blades. The first iron skates were developed and manufactured in 1572. The iron blades made it easier by reducing the friction of forward motion and their resistance to slipping let skaters push themselves ahead. Books were made to teach people how to skate and the first skate club was founded in 1742 in Edinburgh. The metal skate was finally introduced to America by Scottish Immigrants.
Ice skating did not start as a competitive sport until steel blades permanently attached to leather boots was introduced. The earlier iron blades dulled quickly, and street shoes, to which they were tied with straps, lacked ankle support and were uncomfortable to do tricks and things in. Using the new skates a U.S. ballet dancer, Jackson Haines, made up free-flowing technical moves on the ice that were more comfortable on the feet and could move more easily. His new style became really big in the skating community. This kind of created a lot of figure skating which later became an Olympic sport in 1908. Speed skating became part of the Olympics in 1924 for men and then women were incorporated in 1960.
Ice skating now is very very different but also a lot the same. The blades have only changed a little and they added a few more moves but it took a lot to get there. The process was long and many contributed to it and now it’s a fun winter activity and a competitive sport in which many participate in. It went from wood blades in the 13th century to steal blades with nice boots on them now. I love ice skating and recommend that you do it to sometime if you haven’t already.
Story by Mira Phillips