Figure skating is the oldest sport on the Olympic Winter Games programme. It was contested at the 1908 London Games and again in 1920 in Antwerp. Men’s, women’s, and pairs were the three events contested until 1972. Since 1976, ice dancing has been the fourth event in the programme, proving a great success
The exact time and process by which humans first learned to ice skate is unknown. In the archaeological record, the oldest surviving sign of the activity dates to about 3000 B.C.—primitive animal bone ice skates found on the banks of Lake Moss, Switzerland. The first depiction of ice skating in a work of art was made in the 15th century. The picture, of Saint Lidwina, patron saint of ice skaters, falling on the ice was the first work of art to feature ice skating as a main theme. Another important aspect of the painting is a man seen in the background, who is skating on one leg. This means that the ice skates the man was wearing must have sharp edges similar to those found on modern ice skates. Edges were added by the Dutch in the 13th or 14th century. International figure skating competitions began appearing in the late 19th century—in 1891, the European Championships were inaugurated in Hamburg, Germany, and in 1896, the first World Championships were held in Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire.
At the 1908 Summer Olympics in London, England, figure skating became the first winter sport to be included in the Olympics. Two Americans are responsible for the major developments in the history of the sport. In 1850, Edward Bushnell of Philadelphia revolutionised skating when he introduced steel-bladed skates allowing complex manoeuvres and turns. Jackson Haines, a ballet master living in Vienna in the 1860s, added elements of ballet and dance to give the sport its grace.
reference: wikipedia, olympic games
image: fen runners 1572, Lidwina’s fall on the ice 1498, stockphoto – ice skating