How Figure Skating Originated—and Became a Winter Olympics Favorite

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Perhaps the most anticipated event at the Winter Olympics, figure skating dazzles audiences with daring jumps, dizzying spins and glamorous costumes. The artistry and athleticism of the modern-day sport, however, bears little resemblance to its origins when skaters diligently traced geometric patterns—or “figures”—on the ice.

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Ice Skating Evolves Over Centuries 

The earliest evidence of ice skating dates to approximately 3,000 B.C. when inhabitants of Scandinavia and Russia filed and fashioned the shin bones of large animals such as horses, deer and sheep into skates for wintertime travel on frozen lakes and waterways. Since these primitive skates strapped to their feet lacked edges, skaters relied upon poles and staffs for propulsion. 



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