The history of ice skates takes us back a very long time. An ancient pair of ice skates was found at the bottom of a lake in northern Europe. Scientists estimate the skates may have been worn in about 3000 B.C.
The skates were made from the leg bones of large animals. Holes were drilled on each end of the bone, and skaters used leather straps as laces to tie the skates onto their feet.
In the 14th century, the Dutch invented wooden platform skates with iron runners on the bottom. Much like skiing, skaters would then use poles to push their body weight over the ice.
In the next century, the Dutch added a double-edged blade to the bottom of ice skates, which meant poles were no longer necessary. Skaters could propel themselves by pushing and gliding with their feet.
Until the 17th century, ice skating was mostly used for transportation. Sometime in the 17th century, however, King Charles II saw ice skating in Holland and decided to introduce it to England.
Historians believe that the British used the blades of their skates to make tracings and drawings on the ice. In 1763, England became the site of the first official ice skating competition, as skaters raced across 15 miles of frozen canals.
Historians give credit to an American, Jackson Haines, for making figure skating what it is today. Haines developed a special skating blade in 1865.
With this new blade, he was able to accomplish new skating moves, jumps, and spins. A few years later, Haines added the toe pick to his skates, which allowed skaters to master all sorts of new leaps and jumps.
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