World Ice Skating Day Date in the current year: December 1, 2024

World Ice Skating Day World Ice Skating Day is celebrated annually on the first Sunday of December. It was launched in 2022 by the International Skating Union (ISU), the international governing body that regulates four competitive ice skating disciplines: figure skating, synchronized skating, speed skating, and short track.

According to research, ice skating originated in Finland over 4,000 years ago. Of course, it wasn’t a sport back then; people used primitive skates without sharp blades to save energy while traveling long distances in winter. The invention of a steel blade with sharpened edges, which occurred sometime during the 13th or 14th century, led to the emergence of true ice skating.

Over the following centuries, skating became popular not only as a means of transport, but also as a recreational activity and spectator sport. In 1772, British artillery lieutenant Robert Jones published The Art of Figure Skating, a book describing basic figure skating forms. The publication of Jones’s manual marked the split of ice skating into figure skating and speed skating. The person credited with the invention of modern figure skating is Jackson Heines, who incorporated dance into his skating and improved blade design.

The International Skating Union was founded in 1892. It laid down the rules for speed skating and figure skating, and hosted its first skating championship in 1896. Speed skating and figure skating were first included in the Olympic program in 1924, and short trek speed skating became an Olympic sport in 1992.

Figure skating is arguably the most popular ice skating discipline due to being quite spectacular and having ties to show business. It includes four Olympic disciplines: men’s singles, women’s singles, pair skating, and ice dance. Synchronized skating can be considered a sub-discipline of figure skating as far as skills are concerned, but it is governed separately and is not an Olympic sport. The two main forms of speed skating are long-track speed skating, commonly referred to as simply speed skating, and short-track speed skating, commonly known as short track.

The ISU established World Ice Skating Day to popularize the sport and art of ice skating around the globe. World Ice Skating Day events are held in more than 70 countries around the world by national skating federations and Olympic committees, as well as by skating clubs, ice rinks, and enthusiasts who live ice skating in all its forms. The best way to celebrate the holiday is to check out what your local rink has to offer. If there are no events near you, you can organize an event of your own or simply spend an hour or two enjoying the ice and honing your skating skills.

Other ways to celebrate include learning more about different ice skating disciplines and famous athletes, watching a skating competition (World Ice Skating Day usually falls during the annual Grand Prix of Figure Skating) or a movie/TV show that features ice skating, introducing your friends and family to the beauty of ice skating, and, of course, spreading the word about the holiday on social media with the hashtag #WorldIceSkatingDay.

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World Ice Skating Day, International Skating Union, international observances, figure skating, speed skating