Who Invented Speed Skating?
Speed skating is a fast-paced ice sport that originated in the Netherlands and spread across Europe. The sport gained international prominence when it was included in the first Winter Olympics in 1924.
Skates began with bone blades, and later, in the 16th century, iron blades were developed. It took a while for the sport to gain popularity, however.
The Netherlands has a deep connection to skating. Its people began traveling by skates across frozen canals and rivers as early as the thirteenth century to deliver messages from town to town. The sport spread throughout Europe, and by the 1800s there were skating clubs and artificial rinks everywhere. Passionate skaters included several kings of England, Marie Antoinette and the German writer Goethe.
Speed skating is a sport that relies on innovations to help its athletes get faster. In 1850 Philadelphia’s E.W. Bushnell created the first pair of steel runners that didn’t require frequent sharpening, allowing skaters to cover long distances more easily.
The Dutch have produced many top skaters, including Ard Schenk who won a silver medal in the 1968 Olympic Games and three gold medals at the following games in 1972. He is considered one of the greatest skaters in history. His achievements set world records over all four distances of long-track competition.
The sport of speed skating, on ice skates, may have started in the Netherlands as early as the 13th century. However, organized international competition developed in the late 19th century. The sport was included in the first Winter Olympics in 1924 as a men’s-only event; women’s events were added at the 1960 Games in Squaw Valley.
Modern speed skates have blades that are long and thin, with a little less rocker (or curve) than hockey or figure skates. This helps speed skaters glide in long, straight lines. They also wear special, skin-tight suits that reduce air resistance.
In the early 1900s, American speedskaters led the world in this fast sport. One of the most popular was Bonnie Blair, who competed in four Olympic Games and won five medals. She was a role model for female athletes and helped to increase interest in this exciting cold-weather sport. A bronze medal winner in the 1500m race at the 1960 Games, she is now a member of the National Sports Hall of Fame.
Speed skating is a sport in which athletes compete to be the fastest over a set distance. The sport requires a lot of physical training and a strict diet to reach optimum performance. Speed skating is a very popular sport around the world, and it’s a great way to stay fit.
The Silver Skates competition in Chicago fueled huge interest and growth in speedskating, as thousands of city and suburban residents, boys and girls, flocked to outdoor skating rinks and ponds and lagoons, competing for medals at the annual Silver Skates competitions. The Chicago Tribune daily promoted and reported on every meet, high and low, resulting in tremendous excitement as the sport spread across America.
Inline speed skating is a demanding sport that requires intense physical training and a strict diet to achieve optimal performance. Athletes must develop strong calves and thighs, and a flexible upper body. The sport also requires a lightweight, streamlined suit to reduce air resistance.
Short track speed skating, which makes its Olympic debut in PyeongChang, is an elimination race that challenges the bravery and skill of athletes. In addition to competing against the clock, athletes race in packs, and the first two skaters to cross the finish line advance to the next round.
The sport began as a quick form of transportation on frozen lakes and rivers, with people using polished shank or rib bone skates before wood replaced bones in the fourteenth century. A Philadelphia entrepreneur invented the first all-steel skate in 1850, and the game quickly gained popularity as a sporting activity.
Short-track speedskaters wear boots made from fiberglass, graphite and Kevlar with extremely sharp metal blades that attach to the base pieces of their shoes. They also wear skin suits and helmets for protection. To compete in short track, a skater needs instant acceleration, agility and nerves of steel. This is a sport that requires a lot of passing and can result in lots of collisions.