Figure Skating

Short History

     Research suggests that the earliest ice skating happened in southern Finland more than 4,000 years ago. Originally, skates were merely sharpened, flattened bone strapped to the bottom of the foot. Skaters did not actually skate on the ice, but rather glided on top of it. True skating emerged when a steel blade with sharpened edges was used. Skates now cut into the ice instead of gliding on top of it. Adding edges to ice skates was invented by the Dutch in the 13th or 14th century. These ice skates were made of steel, with sharpened edges on the bottom to aid movement. Skating became popular as a recreation, a means of transport and spectator sport. Skating as a sport developed on the lakes of Scotland and the canals of the Netherlands.
     The founder of modern figure skating as it is known today was Jackson Haines, an American. He introduced a new style of skating in the mid-1860s, incorporating ballet and dance movements into his skating. Although popular in Europe, Haines' international style of skating was not widely adopted in the United States until long after his death. Figure skating was the first winter sport introduced to the Olympics, its Olympic debut came at the 1908 Summer Olympics. World Championships had begun in the 1890s for speed skating (men only) and figure skating. 1967 World Championships was the last event held on an outdoor rink.