History On Ice

Adam Rippon Looks Back on His “Dream Olympic Games” | Vanity Fair
Adam Rippon, olympic figure skater, at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games.

By Makenna Adams

Elegant, the sport of ice skating originated in Scandinavia, as early as 1000 B.C.E. Since then, the majestic realm of ice skating has evolved and expanded. Curious as to how? Consider the following fascinating facts about the history of ice skating.

  • Ice skating is the oldest Winter Olympic sport.

Dating back to the London Games in 1908, figure skating has remained a winter sport staple for years. 

  • Ice dancing grew out of one particular dance.

The base for modern figure skating holds its roots in the iconic “Waltz” dance.

  • A plane once crashed killing the entire American skating team.

In 1961, a plane crashed carrying the best American skaters en route to a competition in Prague, killing everyone on board. The competition was canceled out of respect for those who were lost. It would be several years before the U.S. could rebound from the tragedy and once again become a presence on the international scene. 

  • When spinning, they move at 300 rpm.

At more than 300 revolutions per minute (RPM), figure skaters experience as much RPM as astronauts in centrifuge training. 

  • Figure Skaters can’t use props in competitions.

Points are awarded to skaters exclusively for their skill-set. Props can only be used during exhibitions as accessories.