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A Look at the Art of Ice Skating
By Coleen Smith
The sport of ice skating is popular around the world,
especially during winter time. The indoor rink has made ice
skating year round a possibility, while many seasonal rinks will
be implemented out of doors during the cooler months of the
year. This winter sport has also established a name in Olympic
sports. Many countries send athletes to the Olympics to compete
in figure skating, ice dancing, speed skating and ice hockey.
The most important piece of equipment needed for ice skating
is, of course, the skates. There are different types for the
various kinds of skating, but all include shoes that provide
strong support for the ankles. Ice skates usually have a single
metal blade and will allow one to glide smoothly over an icy
surface or frozen body of water such as a lake or pond.
Of course, frozen bodies of water also represent significant
danger if one is not properly trained to recognize whether or
not it is fully frozen. Often it requires many consecutive days
of very cold temperatures to completely freeze a large lake or
other body of water.
Natural bodies of water such as lakes and ponds used to be the
only way to enjoy ice skating. Of course this meant that you
could only skate in places where the temperature dropped below
the freezing level for extended periods. But in the late 1870s,
an indoor refrigerated ice rink was created in London, starting
a new trend that immediately became popular all over the world.
Since, many more rinks have popped up everywhere, and the
development of the Zamboni machine for better ice maintenance
has made indoor skating more feasible.
Many figure skaters have mastered complex techniques including
spins and jumps. This makes skating more interesting and fun
while still providing good exercise. While this sport is more
difficult to learn than some, those who to learn it find that it
is fun to enjoy either alone or with a group of friends.
Some areas of the world are more involved in the art and sport
of ice skating than others are. In many places, ice skating is a
part of the culture. Despite the availability of indoor rinks,
people who live in colder climates still tend to appreciate ice
skating and other winter sports more than those in warmer
climates. There are some cities in which ice skating still
serves as a mode of transportation. Certainly it's more
practical than walking if there's ice in the streets! In
Scandinavian countries almost everyone knows how to ice skate.
It has long been a part of their culture and many people skate
The holiday season is also synonymous with the sport of ice
skating. It is a form of entertainment that many enjoy partaking
in with friends and family. Outdoor rinks in areas decorated for
the holidays, with music and Christmas shopping going on around
you, can be especially festive. During the holidays you can find
many places that hold entire outdoor fairs on ice, including hot
cocoa and other toasy treats, games and a lot of holiday spirit.
Humans have been learning the art of transportation on ice for
centuries. Crude ice skates from as early as 3000 BC have been
discovered. Wood, bone or even stone were some of the materials
used to construct these early ice skates. Modern high-tech ice
skates and other equipment as well as consistently smooth ice
rinks have brought ice skating to a level that was unimaginable
only a short time ago.
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