Ice Skating History

Ice skating is a winter sport where athletes equip skates to their feet in order to glide over ice. There are several branches of ice skating, including figure skating, speed skating, and recreational. Figure skating is similar to dance where competitors perform routines and are given scores from judges. Speed skating is a race on an oval track where competitors skate either individually or with a relay. Recreational skating is a leisurely activity where you can skate around for fun at an ice rink.

Country of Origin

Ice skating was first introduced in Finland over 4,000 years ago. However, The Fins did not create the concept as a sport. Ice skating was originally made to assist with travel. Early Finnish people found that they could move faster if they were skating than if they were walking. Not only that, they would also be able to conserve some of their energy, with more energy efficient strides. The sport at the time looked nothing like it does today. That changed when The Dutch added sharp edges onto ice skates.


There is no one singular person credited with the invention of ice skating. There are however certain individuals who have been credited with advancing the sport. Jackson Haines - Figure skating. James Creighton - Hockey


It was not until ice skating was brought to England that it gained prominence as a sport. Citizens would compete for cash prizes in ice skating races. This happened in the 1700s under the rule of James II. From there the sport grew and split into the three directions of figure skating, speed skating, and hockey. Today hockey is a major sport that is watched by millions every year.

Ice skating is played where the climate allows for water to be frozen into ice. Colder countries tend to have better ice skating athletes as well as more ice skaters. These countries do well in figure skating competitions and have strong hockey teams. Some examples of popular countries with ice skating are:

  • Russia
  • Finland
  • Canada
  • Norway
  • United States