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Famous Ice Skaters in History

Sep 8, 2008
Ice events like figure skating and speed skating are some of the most-discussed and watched events in the Olympic Games, time after time. Much of the appeal of this graceful winter sport must come from the fact that so many people love it and engage in public skating every year, waiting for those numbing mornings with excitement and anticipation, because it means the local lake will be open as a winter wonderland. The love of ice skating covers all social strata, though, and there are many famous faces that hold the sport in the highest esteem. Here we look at some of ice skating's most well-known proponents.

Queen Victoria was Britain's longest serving monarch to date, being in power for over 63 years. She was also the first Empress of India - although this hot country, with temperatures covering tropical, desert and arid, but little in the way of fresh or chilly, offers little opportunity for ice events! The Victorian era is famous in Britain as the height of the Industrial revolution, and showed great progress in social, economic and technological areas. During Victoria's reign the British Empire expanded to become the globe's foremost power. It is said that Queen Victoria got to know her husband, Prince Albert through a series of ice skating trips, although these monarchs would have no doubt enjoyed their skating in the great outdoors, rather than at ice rinks, as we would.

The importance of public ice skating in the centuries prior to ours is evidenced in a beautiful, and very artistic way, in many paintings by the Old Masters. Painters such as Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Poussin, Rembrandt, and Goya all painted pictures of men and women enjoying public ice skating. While ice events were popular among the nobility, the sport was not confined to the classes. Everyone, from peasants to dukes, duchesses, queens and kings loved ice skating, and this was especially true in the Netherlands.

James II was one of the first to bring ice events to England, from the Netherlands. James II's reign was from 1633 to 1701 - so the sport has had quite a time to develop in the Western world. He was famous for his attempts to create religious freedom for his subjects, a luxury we take for granted nowadays. He also brought the sport of ice skating to France, where his friend, Louis XIV, helped popularize it. Following in Louis XIV's tradition were several other French monarchs or political figures, including Napoleon I, Napoleon II, and Madame du Pompadour.

Of course, there are many people that have risen to prominence because of the beautiful, free and graceful ice events. One of the sport's most famous women, and the first woman to land a triple axel in a major international competition, was Midori Ito. This Japanese woman started skating when she was 5, and developed her jumping abilities to the point where she was nicknamed 'The Tsunami Girl', and 'The Japanese Jumping Bean' affectionately by the judges. She won several large competitions several years before finishing high school, and helped bring ice events to Asia.

Janet Champion is perhaps the US's best skater, beginning her figure skating career at the tender age of three. She performed amazing acrobatics like back handsprings, back somersaults on the ice. She was routinely described as 'cute as a button', "loaded with talent" and "cool as an old campaigner as she deliberately stole the hearts of the audience". She inspired thousands of little girls to try skating, and fall in love with ice events, even if they couldn't quite perform back handsprings on the ice!

Tamami Ono is a Hong Kong figure skater that is rapidly rising to fame. She has been involved in National Championships since 2003, when she was only 14. This was also the year that she debuted internationally, and Tamami Ono continues to build the profile of Hong Kong ice skating and Hong Kong figure skating with her grace, poise and prodigious talent.
About the Author
The Mega Ice Ice Rink is the only international sized Ice Rink in Hong Kong bringing world class Ice Hockey, Ice skating and Figure Skating. A multi-purpose venue designed for performances, concerts, exhibitions, corporate and private functions and birthday parties.
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