Sports that have been around for a long time often don’t give us the thrills, unless they are very dangerous or exciting, or we are passionate about this specific sport. In general, winter sports tend to be a lot more entertaining than summer ones, unless the summer sports are rather extreme and thus, interesting by their nature.

Winter sports tend to be faster and more dangerous on average, not to mention that there are many extreme winter sports that made it to the Olympics.

Most people wouldn’t consider ice skating to be a dangerous sport, but then again, they haven’t bailed the landing of a triple pirouette.

Here is everything that you should know about ice skating, a rather interesting and still exciting sport.

Early History – Ice Skating in Ancient Times

Actually, it comes as no surprise that ice skating has been done for multiple millenia, mostly because there were plenty of frozen lands at the time, more than today, on average, thanks to global warming.

However, people who lived in the extreme north or south, had access to snow and in some cases, permanent ice.

There are pointers that tell us Finland used to be the first ice skating country, around 4000 years from now in the past. They used ice skating to make winter journeys faster.

Actual ice skates were invented in the 13th century, when the Dutch added edges to the skates, making them cut into the ice instead of gliding on it. Skating was done in most of Europe, but also in China since the 8th century and onwards.

Ice Skating Getting More Popular

Europe was the cultural cradle for ice skating. Skating found its way to the UK in the 12th century, but it wasn’t until the 1660s that metal skates were in use. Garden canals were also becoming more frequent at the time, leading to people skating in the canal in St. James’s Park. King James II, then the Duke of York, was seen skating on one of those canals, much to the dismay of Samuel Pepys who was accompanying him and later wrote of the occasion. 

The first ice skating club was opened in Edinburgh, Scotland, under the name of Edinburgh Skating Club, in 1740, though there are claims that it dates back to 1642. In 1783, there was an entry in the Encyclopedia Britannica about the club, describing both figure skating and speed skating.

Modern Ice Skating

Modern ice skating is mainly thought of to have been invented by Jackson Haines, American ballet dancer who took up skating and added ballet moves to it. This would be figure skating. The International Skating Union was formed in 1892 in Scheveningen, Netherlands. The very first championship was held in 1896 in St. Petersburg and had a total of four competitors. 

Since then, other forms of skating emerged, speed skating, barrel hopping, ice cross downhill and many others. It is a common hobby for people during winter nowadays, as well as a professional Olympic sport with multiple events.

This is a brief overview of ice skating, basically everything you should know about it.