Ice skating is an activity characterized by smooth movement across ice with the use of a bladed skate.
Ice skating can be practiced as a recreational activity, but a competitive sport has evolved out of it as well. Moreover, different kinds of skates have been specifically developed for the demands of each sport.
The first sport is figure skating, which can be broken down into singles and pairs. These events consist of techniques such as jumps and spins in singles and throw-jumps in pairs. The skates used in these events have a toe pick, which is used for jumps.
Speed skating has participants compete races of varying distances. Depending on the event, skaters compete against the clock or other skaters. Skates used in competitions like this need to be fast and have an especially long blade, among other characteristics, to accomplish this.
Finally, ice hockey is a sport that takes place on an ice rink in which two teams attempt to get a puck past the opposing goalie in order to score a goal. Rather than simply using their hands or feet, hockey players use sticks to control the puck. The hockey boot has a shorter blade with curved ends.
Ice skating dates back to at least 1000 BCE, where the skates used were quite simple, comprised of animal bone and leather straps. However, they were not used for leisure or sport, but to hunt or to escape from danger.
The 13th century saw a more advanced looking skate made of wood and iron, which allowed skaters to move about without the help of a large stick, as was the case with the bone skates.
In 1742, skating as a recreational activity came to be as the first skate club appeared in Edinburgh.
The modern skate was born in the 20th century, which includes a much longer blade than previous iterations that screw into an actual boot.