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Origins


Ice-skating is an ancient means of transportation emerging from the need to journey across frozen lakes during winter months. The earliest evidence available of the existence of ice-skating was uncovered when a pair of skates were retrieved from the bottom of a Swiss lake. These skates dated back to some 3000 years before the birth of Christ. The first skates were made from honed animal bone and attached to the feet with leather straps. The Dutch word for skates means 'leg bone'.

Early History


The use of iron blades on ice-skates dates back to 1250 in the Netherlands. During the early 1500's, the Dutch invented the double edge iron blade that allowed for propulsion without the use of poles. This method of propelling while on ice-skates is still used today and is known as the Dutch roll.

During the 1600’s and 1700's, ice-skating became a popular winter recreation amongst Europeans. It was a sport that was participated in by peasants as well as the aristocrats of all ages. By the year of 1642, Scotland had organized the first ice-skating club in its capital, Edinburgh. As popularity grew, the need for competition arose. The first documented organized ice-skating competition was held in East Anglia, England on February 4, 1763. This was a speed skating event that consisted of a 15-mile race on the frozen canals.