Speed Skating, development throughout the ages
The founding of the second oldest international sports federation, the International Skating Union, in July 1892 in Scheveningen, the Netherlands, signalled the beginning of a new competition era and set the ancient sport of Speed Skating on an exceptional trajectory. Over the course of close to 120 years the sport has seen the original World Championships for men revolutionized by the introduction of World Championships for women in 1936, for sprinters in 1972, and for juniors in 1974. Speed Skating was on the program of the very first Olympic Winter Games in 1924 and for a long time the Games were the only occasion to gain individual distance titles in Speed Skating. Only since 1996 has there been the World Single Distances Championships every year under the ISU flag. The later part of the century saw many other exceptional developments including the introduction of Team Pursuit, which went all the way to the Olympics in flying colours in 2006.
Improvements in technique, clothing, material, and infrastructure have accelerated the racing beyond comparison. In 1893, Jaap Eden won the first ISU world title on open natural ice, wearing warm, vaguely baggy, woolen clothes. Nowadays, champions skate in feather light aerodynamic suits and on slap-skates. Almost all top level events are today held in the comfort of indoor rinks with deftly created artificial ice, rather than on the cold wind swept expanses of natural outdoor ice.
This book tells in detail for the first time the story of international Speed Skating and the Great Skaters who have marked its history.
For details of how to order the Speed Skating Book, which costs 60 CHF.- (286 pages, hard cover, sewn binding) please click here to access ISU Publications.