Ice skating

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Outdoor ice skaters in 1925 Skating, man, woman, ice-skating rink, winter, smile, free time Fortepan 14348.jpg
Outdoor ice skaters in 1925
A postman in Germany during the winter of 1900 (stamp from 1994) DBP 1994 Tag der Briefmarke.jpg
A postman in Germany during the winter of 1900 (stamp from 1994)

Ice skating is the self-propulsion of a person across a sheet of ice, using metal-bladed ice skates to glide on the ice surface. This activity can be carried out for various reasons, including recreation, sport, exercise, and travel. Ice skating may be performed on specially prepared ice surfaces (arenas, tracks, parks), both indoors and outdoors, as well as on naturally occurring bodies of frozen water, such as ponds, lakes and rivers.

Ice water frozen into the solid state

Ice is water frozen into a solid state. Depending on the presence of impurities such as particles of soil or bubbles of air, it can appear transparent or a more or less opaque bluish-white color.

Ice skate boots with blades attached to the bottom for propelling the bearer across a sheet of ice

Ice skates are metal blades attached underfoot and used to propel the bearer across a sheet of ice while ice skating.

Ice rink frozen body of water and/or hardened chemicals where people can ice skate or play winter sports

An ice rink is a frozen body of water and/or hardened chemicals where people can ice skate or play winter sports. Besides recreational ice skating, some of its uses include ice hockey, bandy, rink bandy, ringette, broomball, speed skating, figure skating, ice stock sport and curling as well as exhibitions, contests and ice shows. There are two types of rinks in prevalent use today: natural, where freezing occurs from cold ambient temperatures, and artificial, where a coolant produces cold temperatures in the surface below the water, causing the water to freeze. There are also synthetic ice rinks where skating surfaces are made out of plastics.



Early history of ice skating

Skating fun by 17th century Dutch painter Hendrick Avercamp SCENEONICE.jpg
Skating fun by 17th century Dutch painter Hendrick Avercamp

Research suggests that the earliest ice skating happened in southern Finland more than 4,000 years ago. This was done to save energy during winter journeys. 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. [1]

Finland Republic in Northern Europe

Finland, officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country in Northern Europe bordering the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, and Gulf of Finland, between Norway to the north, Sweden to the northwest, and Russia to the east. The capital and largest city is Helsinki. Other major cities are Espoo, Vantaa, Tampere, Oulu and Turku.

Netherlands Constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Europe

The Netherlands is a country located in Northwestern Europe with some overseas territories. In Europe, it consists of 12 provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba—it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian.

The fundamental construction of modern ice skates has stayed largely the same since then, although differing greatly in the details, particularly in the method of binding and the shape and construction of the steel blades. In the Netherlands, ice skating was considered proper for all classes of people, as shown in many pictures by the Old Masters.

Old Master skilled painter

In art history, "Old Master" refers to any painter of skill who worked in Europe before about 1800, or a painting by such an artist. An "old master print" is an original print made by an artist in the same period. The term "old master drawing" is used in the same way.

Ice skating was also practiced in China during the Song dynasty, and became popular among the ruling family of the Qing dynasty. [2]

Song dynasty Chinese historical period

The Song dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China that began in 960 and lasted until 1279. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Taizu of Song following his usurpation of the throne of the Later Zhou, ending the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. The Song often came into conflict with the contemporaneous Liao, Western Xia and Jin dynasties to its north. It was eventually conquered by the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty. The Song government was the first in world history to issue banknotes or true paper money nationally and the first Chinese government to establish a permanent standing navy. This dynasty also saw the first known use of gunpowder, as well as the first discernment of true north using a compass.

Qing dynasty Former empire in Eastern Asia, last imperial regime of China

The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing, was the last imperial dynasty of China. It was established in 1636, and ruled China proper from 1644 to 1912. It was preceded by the Ming dynasty and succeeded by the Republic of China. The Qing multi-cultural empire lasted for almost three centuries and formed the territorial base for modern China. It was the fifth largest empire in world history. The dynasty was founded by the Manchu Aisin Gioro clan in Manchuria. In the late sixteenth century, Nurhaci, originally a Ming Jianzhou Guard vassal, began organizing "Banners", military-social units that included Manchu, Han, and Mongol elements. Nurhaci formed the Manchu clans into a unified entity and officially proclaimed the Later Jin in 1616. By 1636, his son Hong Taiji began driving Ming forces out of the Liaodong Peninsula and declared a new dynasty, the Qing.

The Skating Minister by Henry Raeburn, depicting a member of the Edinburgh Skating Club in the 1790s The Skating Minister.jpg
The Skating Minister by Henry Raeburn, depicting a member of the Edinburgh Skating Club in the 1790s

Rising popularity and first clubs

Ice skating was brought to Britain from the Netherlands, where James II was briefly exiled in the 17th century. When he returned to England, this 'new' sport was introduced to the British aristocracy, and was soon enjoyed by people from all walks of life.

James II of England 17th-century King of England and Ireland, and of Scotland (as James VII)

James II and VII was King of England and Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685 until he was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. The last Roman Catholic monarch of England, Scotland and Ireland, his reign is now remembered primarily for struggles over religious tolerance. However, it also involved the principles of absolutism and divine right of kings and his deposition ended a century of political and civil strife by confirming the primacy of Parliament over the Crown.

The first organised skating club was the Edinburgh Skating Club, formed in the 1740s, (some claim the club was established as early as 1642). [3] [4] [5]

A figure skating club is a local organization of figure skaters, often centered on a single ice rink. Typical club activities include arranging practice ice time, hosting test sessions and competitions, and producing an annual ice show in which club skaters may take part. Some clubs also emphasize non-skating social activities for members.

Edinburgh Skating Club organization

The Edinburgh Skating Club is recognized as the first organized figure skating club. While some sources claim the club was established in 1642, most sources accept 1742 or 1744 as the date of its founding. The next-oldest skating club, in London, was not founded until 1830.

An early contemporary reference to the club appeared in the second edition (1783) of the Encyclopædia Britannica:

The metropolis of Scotland has produced more instances of elegant skaters than perhaps any country whatever: and the institution of a skating club about 40 years ago has contributed not a little to the improvement of this elegant amusement. [3]

From this description and others, it is apparent that the form of skating practiced by club members was indeed an early form of figure skating rather than speed skating. For admission to the club, candidates had to pass a skating test where they performed a complete circle on either foot (e.g., a figure eight), and then jumped over first one hat, then two and three, placed over each other on the ice. [3]

On the Continent, participation in ice skating was limited to members of the upper classes. Emperor Rudolf II of the Holy Roman Empire enjoyed ice skating so much, he had a large ice carnival constructed in his court in order to popularise the sport. King Louis XVI of France brought ice skating to Paris during his reign. Madame de Pompadour, Napoleon I, Napoleon III and the House of Stuart were, among others, royal and upper class fans of ice skating.

Interior of the Glaciarium in 1876 Glaciarium Ice Rink.jpg
Interior of the Glaciarium in 1876

The next skating club to be established was in London and was not founded until 1830. [3] By the mid-19th century, ice skating was a popular pastime among the British upper and middle classes—Queen Victoria became acquainted with her future husband, Prince Albert, through a series of ice skating trips [6] —and early attempts at the construction of artificial ice rinks were made during the "rink mania" of 1841–44. As the technology for the maintenance of natural ice did not exist, these early rinks used a substitute consisting of a mixture of hog's lard and various salts. An item in the 8 May 1844 issue of Littell's 'Living Age' headed the 'Glaciarium' reported that "This establishment, which has been removed to Grafton street East' Tottenham Court Road, was opened on Monday afternoon. The area of artificial ice is extremely convenient for such as may be desirous of engaging in the graceful and manly pastime of skating".

Emergence as a sport

19th-century fen skating Fenskaters ronden ton.jpg
19th-century fen skating

Skating became popular as a recreation, a means of transport and spectator sport in The Fens in England for people from all walks of life. Racing was the preserve of workers, most of them agricultural labourers. It is not known when the first skating matches were held, but by the early nineteenth century racing was well established and the results of matches were reported in the press. [7] Skating as a sport developed on the lakes of Scotland and the canals of the Netherlands. In the 13th and 14th centuries wood was substituted for bone in skate blades, and in 1572 the first iron skates were manufactured. [8] When the waters froze, skating matches were held in towns and villages all over the Fens. In these local matches men (or sometimes women or children) would compete for prizes of money, clothing or food. [9]

The winners of local matches were invited to take part in the grand or championship matches, in which skaters from across the Fens would compete for cash prizes in front of crowds of thousands. The championship matches took the form of a Welsh main or "last man standing" contest. The competitors, 16 or sometimes 32, were paired off in heats and the winner of each heat went through to the next round. A course of 660 yards was measured out on the ice, and a barrel with a flag on it placed at either end. For a one-and-a-half mile race the skaters completed two rounds of the course, with three barrel turns. [9]

Fen runners Fen Runners.jpg
Fen runners

In the Fens skates were called pattens, fen runners, or Whittlesey runners. The footstock was made of beechwood. A screw at the back was screwed into the heel of the boot, and three small spikes at the front kept the skate steady. There were holes in the footstock for leather straps to fasten it to the foot. The metal blades were slightly higher at the back than the front. In the 1890s, fen skaters started to race in Norwegian style skates.

On Saturday 1 February 1879, a number of professional ice skaters from Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire met in the Guildhall, Cambridge, to set up the National Skating Association, the first national ice skating body in the world. [10] The founding committee consisted of several landowners, a vicar, a fellow of Trinity College, a magistrate, two Members of Parliament, the mayor of Cambridge, the Lord Lieutenant of Cambridge, journalist James Drake Digby, the president of Cambridge University Skating Club, and Neville Goodman, a graduate of Peterhouse, Cambridge (and son of Potto Brown's milling partner, Joseph Goodman). [11] The newly formed Association held their first one-and-a-half-mile British professional championship at Thorney in December 1879.

Jackson Haines Jackson Haines.png
Jackson Haines

Figure skating

The first instructional book concerning ice skating was published in London in 1772. The book, written by a British artillery lieutenant, Robert Jones, describes basic figure skating forms such as circles and figure eights. The book was written solely for men, as women did not normally ice skate in the late 18th century. It was with the publication of this manual that ice skating split into its two main disciplines, speed skating and figure skating.

The founder of modern figure skating as it is known today was Jackson Haines, an American. He was the first skater to incorporate ballet and dance movements into his skating, as opposed to focusing on tracing patterns on the ice. Haines also invented the sit spin and developed a shorter, curved blade for figure skating that allowed for easier turns. He was also the first to wear blades that were permanently attached to the boot.

Central Park, Winter - The Skating Pond, 1862 lithograph by Currier and Ives NSAPINY9 EXTR.jpg
Central Park, Winter – The Skating Pond, 1862 lithograph by Currier and Ives

The International Skating Union was founded in 1892 as the first international ice skating organisation in Scheveningen, in the Netherlands. The Union created the first codified set of figure skating rules and governed international competition in speed and figure skating. The first Championship, known as the Championship of the Internationale Eislauf-Vereingung, was held in Saint Petersburg in 1896. The event had four competitors and was won by Gilbert Fuchs. [12]

Physical mechanics of skating

A skate can glide over ice because there is a layer of ice molecules at the surface that are not as tightly bound as the molecules of the mass of ice beneath. These molecules are in a semiliquid state, providing lubrication. The molecules in this "quasi-fluid" or "water-like" layer are less mobile than liquid water, but are much more mobile than the molecules deeper in the ice. At about −250 °F (−157 °C) the slippery layer is one molecule thick; as the temperature increases the slippery layer becomes thicker. [13] [14] [15] [16] [17]

It had long been believed that ice is slippery because the pressure of an object in contact with it causes a thin layer to melt. The hypothesis was that the blade of an ice skate, exerting pressure on the ice, melts a thin layer, providing lubrication between the ice and the blade. This explanation, called "pressure melting", originated in the 19th century. This, however, did not account for skating on ice temperatures lower than −3.5 °C, whereas skaters often skate on lower-temperature ice. [18]

In the 20th century, an alternative explanation, called "friction melting", was proposed, whereby the frictional heat generated between skate and ice melts a layer of ice. [19] [20] [21] This is a self-stabilizing mechanism of skating. If by a fluctuation the friction gets high the layers grows in thickness and lowers the friction and if it gets low the layer decreases in thickness and increases the friction. The friction generated in the sheared layer of water between skate and ice grows as √V with V the velocity of the skater, such that for low velocities the friction is also low.

Whatever the origin of the water layer, skating is more destructive than simply gliding. A skater leaves a visible trail behind on virgin ice and skating rinks have to be regularly mopped up to improve the skating conditions. It means that the deformation caused by the skate is plastic rather than elastic. The skate ploughs through the ice in particular due to the sharp edges. Thus another component has to be added to the friction: the “ploughing friction” [21] [22] . The calculated frictions are of the same order as the measured frictions in real skating in a rink. [23] The ploughing friction decreases with the velocity V , since the pressure in the water layer increases with V and lifts the skate (aquaplaning). As a result the sum of the water-layer friction and the ploughing friction only increases slightly with V, making skating at high speeds (>90 km/h) possible.

Inherent safety risks

Adult and child ice skating Ice Skating (12).jpg
Adult and child ice skating

A person's ability to ice skate depends on the roughness of the ice, the design of the ice skate, and the skill and experience of the skater. While serious injury is rare, a number of short track speed skaters have been paralysed after a heavy fall when they collided with the boarding. A fall can be fatal if a helmet is not worn to protect against severe head trauma. Accidents are rare but there is a risk of injury from collisions, particularly during hockey games or in pair skating.

A significant danger when skating outdoors on a frozen body of water, is falling through the ice into the freezing water underneath. Death can result from shock, hypothermia or drowning. It is often difficult or impossible for the skater to climb out of the water, due to the weight of their ice skates and thick winter clothing, and the ice repeatedly breaking as they struggle to get back onto the surface. Also, if the skater becomes disoriented under the water, they might not be able to find the hole in the ice through which they have fallen. Although this can prove fatal, it is also possible for the rapid cooling to produce a condition in which a person can be revived up to hours after falling into the water.

Communal activities on ice

A number of recreational and sporting activities take place on ice.

Broomball and curling are also played on ice but the players are not required to wear ice skates.



See also

Related Research Articles

Bandy ballgame on ice played using skates and sticks

Bandy is a team winter sport played on ice, in which skaters use sticks to direct a ball into the opposing team's goal.

Hockey is a sport in which two teams play against each other by trying to manoeuvre a ball or a puck into the opponent's goal using a hockey stick. There are many types of hockey such as bandy, field hockey, and ice hockey.

Speed skating competitive form of ice skating in which the competitors race each other

Speed skating is a competitive form of ice skating in which the competitors race each other in travelling a certain distance on skates. Types of speed skating are long track speed skating, short track speed skating, and marathon speed skating. In the Olympic Games, long-track speed skating is usually referred to as just "speed skating", while short-track speed skating is known as "short track". The ISU, the governing body of both ice sports, refers to long track as "speed skating" and short track as "short track skating".

Winter sports sport mainly practiced during the wintertime, often on snow or ice

Winter sports or winter activities are competitive sports or non-competitive recreational activities which are played on snow or ice. Most are variations of skiing, ice skating and sledding. Traditionally, such games were only played in cold areas during winter, but artificial snow and artificial ice allow more flexibility. Artificial ice can be used to provide ice rinks for ice skating, ice hockey, and bandy in a milder climate.

Roller skating traveling with roller skates

Roller skating is the traveling on surfaces with roller skates. It is a form of recreational activity as well as a sport, and can also be a form of transportation. In fact, as the United States readied for World War II, the government entertained the notion to add roller skates as essential equipment to move infantry around Europe to save gas. Skates generally come in three basic varieties: quad roller skates, inline skates or blades and tri-skates, though some have experimented with a single-wheeled "quintessence skate" or other variations on the basic skate design. In America, this hobby was most popular first between 1935 and the early 1960s and then in the 1970s, when polyurethane wheels were created and disco music oriented roller rinks were the rage and then again in the 1990s when in-line outdoor roller skating, thanks to the improvement made to inline roller skates in 1981 by Scott Olson, took hold.

Ice resurfacer vehicle or hand-pushed device used to clean and smooth the surface of an ice sheet

An ice resurfacer is a vehicle or hand-pushed device used to clean and smooth the surface of a sheet of ice, usually in an ice rink. The first ice resurfacer was pioneered and developed in 1949 in the city of Paramount, California by American inventor and engineer Frank Zamboni. As such, an ice resurfacer is often referred to as a "Zamboni" regardless of brand or manufacturer.

International Skating Union international sport governing body

The International Skating Union (ISU) is the international governing body for competitive ice skating disciplines, including figure skating, synchronized skating, speed skating, and short track speed skating. It was founded in Scheveningen, Netherlands, in July 1892, making it one of the oldest international sport federations. The ISU was formed to establish standardized international rules and regulations for the skating disciplines it governs, and to organize international competitions in these disciplines. It is now based in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Vikingskipet Indoor arena in Hamar, Norway

Vikingskipet, officially known as Hamar Olympic Hall, is an indoor multi-use sport and event venue in Hamar, Norway. It was built as the speed skating rink for the 1994 Winter Olympics, and has since also hosted events and tournaments in ice speedway, rally, association football, bandy, ice sledge speed racing, flying disc and track cycling. The arena is also used for concerts, trade fair and the annual computer party The Gathering. It is the home arena of Hamar IL bandy team. The venue is owned by Hamar Municipality, and along with Hamar Olympic Amphitheatre is run by the municipal Hamar Olympiske Anlegg. Vikingskipet has a capacity for 10,600 spectators during sporting events and 20,000 during concerts.

Premelting refers to a quasi-liquid film than can occur on the surface of a solid even below melting point. The thickness of the film is temperature dependent. This effect is common for all crystalline materials. Premelting shows its effects in frost heave, the growth of snowflakes and, taking grain boundary interfaces into account, maybe even in the movement of glaciers.

Federation of International Bandy international bandy governing body

The Federation of International Bandy is the international governing body for the sport of bandy, including the variant called rink bandy.

Synthetic ice

Synthetic ice is a solid polymer material designed for skating using normal metal-bladed ice skates. Rinks are constructed by interlocking panels. Synthetic ice is sometimes called artificial ice, but that term is ambiguous, as it is also used to mean the mechanically frozen skating surface created by freezing water with refrigeration equipment.

Icehouse (arena)

The Icehouse is an Australian ice sports and entertainment centre, located in the Docklands precinct of Melbourne, in Victoria, Australia. It is open to the public 7 days a week and offers an extensive range of educational ice-skating classes for customers, as well as pathways to ice sports.

A speed skating rink is an ice rink in which a speed skating competition is held.

City Park Ice Rink ice rink in Budapest, Hungary

The City Park Ice Rink is a public ice rink located in the City Park of the Hungarian capital Budapest, between the Heroes' Square and the Vajdahunyad Castle. Opened in 1870, it is the largest and one of the oldest ice rinks in Europe. In summer months the area is filled up with water to create a pond, which is primarily used for boating, but also hosted several special events, such as the snowball fight world record attempt in 2009 or the Art on Lake exhibition in 2011.

2017 World Figure Skating Championships sports competition in Helsinki, Finland, on 29 March – 2 April 2017

The 2017 World Figure Skating Championships were held 29 March – 2 April 2017 in Helsinki, Finland. The host was named in June 2014. Medals were awarded in the disciplines of men's singles, ladies' singles, pairs, and ice dancing. The event also determined the number of entries for each country at the 2018 World Championships and the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Figure skating rink

A figure skating rink is an ice rink designed for figure skating. Alternatively it is used for other sports such as short track speed skating and ice hockey. It is usually rectangular.


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