The winter Olympics are in full swing and this gives the world the opportunity to see some of the lesser-known sports. One of the most popular Olympic events is figure skating which depicts skilled skaters moving fluidly across an ice rink either dancing in pairs or solo. Figure skating combines gymnastic elements with theatrical performances and that makes this event somewhat of a mix between sport and performance art.
Ice skating dates back thousands of years but figure skating is thought to have started in Northern Europe several centuries ago. Over time the sport has evolved into an event that showcases gravity defying jumps and twists. The first World Figure Skating Championship was held in 1896 in Russia and was intended for male athletes only. The first World Figure Skating Championship for women was held in Switzerland in 1906.
Below are some interesting facts about the sport:
• In Olympic figure Skating athletes cannot perform their routine to music with vocals; all music must be instrumental only.
• Figure Skating has been an Olympic event since 1908—and it was introduced as part of the Summer Olympic Games! At that time, there were no “winter” games.
• Figure Skating was added to the list of Winter Olympic Games in 1924. This was the first “Winter Olympics” ever held.
• Olympic figure skaters must be at least 15 years old to compete.
Figure skating is a difficult sport to master but it is also fun and rewarding. Most ice skaters start training at extremely young ages (sometimes only three or four years old) and, with the invention of indoor ice rinks, train all year long and can come from even the warmest countries.
Children who are interested in ice skating should be encouraged to take lessons at a rink near their home. This is a sport that is a great way for homeschooled children to get gym credit. In fact, many professional ice skaters (including Olympians) are homeschooled!