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Encyclopedia > Ice skating
Outdoor ice skating in Austria

Ice skating is traveling on ice with skates, narrow (and sometimes parabolic) blade-like devices moulded into special boots (or, more primitively, without the boots, tied to regular footwear). People usually skate on frozen rivers and lakes and at skating rinks. It is mainly done for recreation and as a sport. Many musicals like Starlight Express have been performed on ice. iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Download high resolution version (1600x1200, 165 KB)Outdoor ice skating in Austria Photographed by Klafubra on the 28. ... Download high resolution version (1600x1200, 165 KB)Outdoor ice skating in Austria Photographed by Klafubra on the 28. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article is about water ice. ... Ice skates are boots with blades attached to the bottom, used to propel oneself across a sheet of ice. ... Parabolic figure skating blades were first introduced by HD Sports in order to employ new scientific developments in the creation of figure skating blades, which are mounted on the bottoms of skates. ... For other senses of this word, see boot (disambiguation). ... High-heeled shoe Footwear consists of garments worn on the feet. ... For the Second World War frigate class, see River class frigate The Murray River in Australia A waterfall on the Ova da Fedoz, Switzerland A river is a large natural waterway. ... Lake Clearwater, Ontario, Canada A lake is a large body of water, usually fresh water, surrounded by land. ... Rockefeller Centre ice rink An ice rink is a frozen body of water where people can ice skate or play winter sports. ... “Fun” redirects here. ... Starlight Express is a rock musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber (music) and Richard Stilgoe (lyrics), with later revisions by Don Black (lyrics) and David Yazbek (music and lyrics for the 2nd US tour, though much of his contribution was removed for the UK tour after Andrew Lloyd Webber saw it...



The exact time and process by which humans first learned to ice skate is not known, though archaeologists believe the activity was widespread. The convenience and efficiency of ice skating to cross large, icy areas is shown in archaeological evidence by the finding of primitive animal bone ice skates in places such as Russia, Scandinavia, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland. The first recorded skates were found at the bottom of a lake in Switzerland and dated back to 3000BC. The runners were made from bones of cattle. They were ground down until they formed a flat gliding surface, and thongs tied them to the feet. [1] Ice skates are boots with blades attached to the bottom, used to propel oneself across a sheet of ice. ... For other uses, see Scandinavia (disambiguation). ... Radiocarbon dating is the use of the naturally occurring isotope of carbon-14 in radiometric dating to determine the age of organic materials, up to ca. ...

Earliest historical documentation

Lidwina's fall, a 1498 woodcut.
Lidwina's fall, a 1498 woodcut.

The first concrete mention of ice skating is found in a biography of Thomas Becket written by his former clerk William Fitzstephen in about 1180. The book includes a description of London, with its popular sports. Image File history File links Lidwinas_fall. ... Image File history File links Lidwinas_fall. ... Four horsemen of the Apocalypse by Albrecht Dürer Ukiyo-e woodcut, Ishiyama Moon by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1889) Woodcut is a relief printing artistic technique in printmaking in which an image is carved into the surface of a block of wood, with the printing parts remaining level with the surface... St. ... William Fitzstephen (died 1190) was a servant of Thomas a Becket, witnessed his murder, and wrote his biography, which contains an interesting account of London in the 12th century. ... Events April 13 - Frederick Barbarossa issues the Gelnhausen Charter November 18 - France Emperor Antoku succeds Emperor Takakura as emperor of Japan Afonso I of Portugal is taken prisoner by Ferdinand II of Leon Artois is annexed by France Prince Mochihito amasses a large army and instigates the Genpei War between... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ...

When the great marsh that laps up against the northern walls of the city is frozen, large numbers of the younger crowd go there to play about on the ice... Others are more skilled at frolicking on the ice: they equip each of their feet with an animal's shin-bone, attaching it to the underside of their footwear; using hand-held poles reinforced with metal tips, which they periodically thrust against the ice, they propel themselves along as swiftly as a bird in flight or a bolt shot from a crossbow. But sometimes two, by accord, beginning far apart, charge each other from opposite directions and, raising their poles, strike each other with them. One or both are knocked down, not without injury, since after falling their impetus carries them off some distance and any part of their head that touches the ice is badly scratched and scraped. Often someone breaks a leg or an arm, if he falls onto [the ice].


The sticks that Fitzstephen refers to were used for movement, as the primitive bone-made ice skates did not have sharp gliding edges like modern ice skates.[1]

The first depiction of ice skating in a work of art was made in the 15th century by the Dutch artist Johannes Brugman. The picture of Saint Lidwina, patron saint of ice skaters, falling on the ice was the first work of art by a major artist 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.[1] (14th century - 15th century - 16th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 15th century was that century which lasted from 1401 to 1500. ... Saint Lidwina (April 18, 1380 – April 14, 1433) was a Dutch saint. ... Saint Quentin is the patron saint of locksmiths and is also invoked against coughs and sneezes. ...

Development of skates

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. The construction of modern ice skates has remained largely the same. The only other major change in ice skate design came soon after. Around the same time period as steel edges were added to ice skates, another Dutchman, a table maker’s apprentice, experimented with the height to width ratio of the metal blade of the ice skates, producing a design that remains almost unaltered to this day. The user of the skates no longer needed to use sticks for propulsion, and movement on skates was now given more freedom and stability. (12th century - 13th century - 14th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 13th century was that century which lasted from 1201 to 1300. ... This 14th-century statue from south India depicts the gods Shiva (on the left) and Uma (on the right). ... For other uses, see Steel (disambiguation). ... If youre looking for the TV show, see The Apprentice. ...

Social status of ice skating

The Skater, 1782, a portrait of William Grant by Gilbert Stuart.

In the Netherlands, ice skating was considered proper for all classes of people to participate in, as shown in many pictures by the Old Masters. However, in other places, 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 1610 in order to popularize the sport. James II of England came to the Netherlands in exile, and he fell for the sport. When he went back to England, this "new" sport was introduced to the British aristocracy. 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. It is said that Queen Victoria got to know her future husband, Prince Albert, better through a series of ice skating trips. Image File history File links GSskater. ... Image File history File links GSskater. ... Glenfiddich whisky range William Grant & Sons Ltd. ... Self portrait, 1778 Gilbert Charles Stuart (né Stewart) (December 3, 1755 - July 9, 1828) was an American painter. ... An Old Master (or old master) is one of the great European painters who lived 1500 through 1800, or a painting by one of these painters. ... An emperorrefers to Nick Herringshaw, a title, empress may only indicate the wife of an emperor (empress consort. ... Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II Rudolph IIs personal imperial crown, later crown of the Austrian Empire Rudolf II Habsburg was an emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, king of Bohemia, and king of Hungary. ... This article is about the medieval empire. ... // Events January 7 - Galileo Galilei discovers the Galilean moons of Jupiter. ... James II (14 October 1633 – 16 September 1701)[1] became King of England, King of Scots,[2] and King of Ireland on 6 February 1685. ... For other uses, see England (disambiguation). ... Louis XVI Louis XVI (August 23, 1754 - January 21, 1793), was King of France and Navarre from 1774 until 1791, and then King of the French in 1791-1792. ... This article is about the capital of France. ... Madame de Pompadour, portrait by François Boucher circa 1750 Madame de Pompadour (December 29, 1721 – April 15, 1764) was a well known courtesan and the famous mistress of King Louis XV of France. ... For other uses, see Napoleon (disambiguation). ... Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte (April 20, 1808 - January 9, 1873) was the son of King Louis Bonaparte and Queen Hortense de Beauharnais; both monarchs of the French puppet state, the Kingdom of Holland. ... The Coat of Arms of King James I, the first British monarch of the House of Stuart The House of Stuart or Stewart was a royal house of the Kingdom of Scotland, later also of the Kingdom of England, and finally of the Kingdom of Great Britain. ... Victoria Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Empress of India Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria) (24 May 1819–22 January 1901) was a Queen of the United Kingdom, reigning from 20 June 1837 until her death. ... Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (in full Francis Charles Augustus Albert Emmanuel), later The Prince Consort, (26 August 1819 – 14 December 1861) was the husband and consort of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. ...

How it works

Ice skating works because the metal blade at the bottom of the ice skate shoe can glide with very little friction over the surface of the ice. However, slightly leaning the blade over and digging one of its edges into the ice ("rockover and bite") gives skaters the ability to increase friction and control their movement at will. In addition, by choosing to move along curved paths while leaning their bodies radially and flexing their knees, skaters can use gravity to control and increase their momentum. They can also create momentum by pushing the blade against the curved track which it cuts into the ice. Skillfully combining these two actions of leaning and pushing— a technique known as "drawing"— results in what looks like effortless and graceful curvilinear flow across the ice. For other uses, see Friction (disambiguation). ...

Experiments show that ice has a minimum kinetic friction at −7°C (19°F), and many indoor skating rinks set their system to a similar temperature. The low amount of friction actually observed has been difficult for physicists to explain, especially at lower temperatures. On the surface of any body of ice at a temperature above about −20°C (−4°F), there is always a thin film of liquid water, ranging in thickness from only a few molecules to thousands of molecules. This is because an abrupt end to the crystalline structure is not the most entropically favorable possibility. The thickness of this liquid layer depends almost entirely on the temperature of the surface of the ice, with higher temperatures giving a thicker layer. However, skating is possible at temperatures much lower than −20°C, at which temperature there is no naturally occurring film of liquid. For other uses, see Fahrenheit (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Celsius (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Fahrenheit (disambiguation). ... Thin films are material layers of about 1 µm thickness. ... In mineralogy and crystallography, a crystal structure is a unique arrangement of atoms in a crystal. ... The thermodynamic entropy S, often simply called the entropy in the context of thermodynamics, is a measure of the amount of energy in a physical system that cannot be used to do work. ... For other uses, see Celsius (disambiguation). ...

When the blade of an ice skate passes over the ice, the ice undergoes two kinds of changes in its physical state: an increase in pressure, and a change in temperature due to kinetic friction and the heat of melting. Direct measurements[2] show that the heating due to friction is greater than the cooling due to the heat of melting. Although high pressure can cause ice to melt, by lowering its melting point, the pressure required is far greater than that actually produced by ice skates. Frictional heating does lead to an increase in the thickness of the naturally occurring film of liquid, but measurements with an atomic force microscope have found the boundary layer to be too thin to supply the observed reduction in friction.


The first main danger in ice skating is falling on the ice, which is dependent on the quality of the ice surface, the design of the ice skate, and the skill and experience of the skater. While serious injury is rare, a number of (short track) skaters have been paralyzed after a fall when they hit the boarding. An additional danger of falling is injury caused by the skater's own metal blades or those of other skaters. Short track speed skating (also Shorttrack speedskating) is a form of competitive ice speed skating. ... Paralysed redirects here. ...

The second and more serious danger is the chance of falling through the ice into the freezing water underneath when skating outdoors. This can lead to serious injury or death due to shock, hypothermia or drowning. It is often difficult or impossible for skaters to climb out of the water back onto the ice due to the ice repeatedly breaking, the skater being weighed down by skates and thick winter clothing, or the skater becoming disoriented under water and being unable to find the entry hole which can lead to being trapped under the ice.

Sports based on ice skating

A number of sports are played while ice skating:

  • Figure skating is a sport in which individuals, mixed couples, or groups perform spins, jumps, and other moves on ice, often to music.
  • Bandy is a team sport played on ice, with sticks, a small ball and rules similar to those of field hockey.
  • Ice hockey is a team sport played on ice, where the objective of the game is to score goals by shooting a puck into the opponent's goal using a long stick with a blade that is commonly curved to accommodate the shooter's handedness.
  • Ringette is a team sport played on ice, where the objective of the game is to score goals by shooting a ring into the opponent's goal using a long bladeless stick.
  • Speed skating is a sport in which the competitors attempt to travel a certain distance as quickly as possible on skates.
  • Tour skating is a recreational activity where participants travel long distances by ice skating on natural ice.

Communal games on ice

A number of recreational activity games can be played on ice. There are many recreational / fun games that can be played on ice during ice skating besides official sports like Ice hockey, Curling, or Figure skating. ...

Rosette skating is a lively skating event usually organized by schools, student organizations, or sport clubs. ... There are many recreational / fun games that can be played on ice during ice skating besides official sports like Ice hockey, Curling, or Figure skating. ...

Synthetic "ice"

In recent years, a new surface made of plastic has been commercialised. Sheets of interconnected polyethylene panels covered with a thin film of grease allow skating with the same blades used for ice skating.[3]


  1. ^ a b c van Voorbergen, Bert. The virtual ice Skates museum - Ice skates and their history (1). Retrieved on 2006-09-18.[1]
  2. ^ Colbeck et al., American Journal of Physics. vol. 65, no. 6; June 1997; p.488-92; abstract at http://www.skridsko.net/klubbar/data/science.html

Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 261st day of the year (262nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Ice skating
Look up ice skating in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
  • Scientific Papers
  • Gabor Somorjai, the father of modern surface chemistry
  • NHL US Website
  • Queens Finest Skaters, A UK run ice skating community site with hockey skate reviews and a forum

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