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Figure Skating in the Formative Years

Figure Skating in the Formative Years: Singles, Pairs, and the Expanding Role of Women

JAMES R. HINES
Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 224
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5406/j.ctt13x1kwp
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  • Book Info
    Figure Skating in the Formative Years
    Book Description:

    Once a winter pastime for socializing and courtship, skating evolved into the wildly popular competitive sport of figure skating, one of the few athletic arenas where female athletes hold a public profile--and earning power--equal to that of men. Renowned sports historian James R. Hines chronicles figure skating's rise from its earliest days through its head-turning debut at the 1908 Olympics and its breakthrough as entertainment in the 1930s. Hines credits figure skating's explosive expansion to an ever-increasing number of women who had become proficient skaters and wanted to compete, not just in singles but with partners as well. Matters reached a turning point when British skater Madge Syers entered the otherwise-male 1902 World Championship held in London and finished second. Called skating's first feminist, Syers led a wave of women who made significant contributions to figure skating and helped turn it into today's star-making showcase at every Olympic Winter Games.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09704-1
    Subjects: History, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. xv-xx)

    Skating has been a popular social activity for centuries, as is evidenced by numerous paintings from countries blessed with frozen surfaces on which skaters could glide across the ice under vibrant winter skies. Wintertime courtship often included couples traversing skating ponds, usually hand in hand. Such picturesque and romantic settings are described in poetry as well. Still today, outdoor rinks, especially those set up at Christmastime, serve as much-appreciated and special gathering places for enthusiastic participants, while indoor rinks allow skaters to enjoy the sport year-round, even in countries with temperate climates.

    Although “boys will be boys” and young men...

  6. CHAPTER 1 A GODDESS, A SAINT, AND A DARING PRINCESS
    (pp. 1-4)

    The beginning of figure skating is usually traced back to 1660, the period of the Restoration in England, but movement on ice, both as a necessity and as a recreational activity, is much older. We begin this survey with three women: a goddess, a saint, and a princess, all of whom have interesting connections to the sport.

    Our earliest knowledge of skating comes from myths from the ancient world of the North. Long, cold winters, especially in the Scandinavian countries, required a means of traversing frozen landscapes efficiently, a necessity for survival. Short days and long nights provided only a...

  7. CHAPTER 2 THE PIONEERING YEARS, 1662–1772
    (pp. 5-10)

    Oliver Cromwell, who in 1649 had brought a king to the scaffold, died in September 1658. His eldest son, Richard, his named successor, proved to be a weak and ineffective leader. In less than a year, in May 1659, he retired to France. Months of internal turmoil followed before the “Convention Parliament” restored the Stuart monarchy in March 1660. Two months later, King Charles II arrived in England. The famed diarist Samuel Pepys, a member of the Convention Parliament, provides detailed and vivid descriptions of a revitalized society. In celebratory prose, he wrote: “The whole design is broken, and every...

  8. CHAPTER 3 THE DEFINING YEARS, 1772–1869
    (pp. 11-29)

    The birthplace of figure skating is England at the time of the Restoration, and for two hundred years after reinstatement of the Stuart monarchy in 1660, England remained the undisputed leader in the evolution of the sport. By the 1860s a unique English style was evolving, but throughout the skating world, including Russia, Germany, France, and the Scandinavian countries, other traditions were being established and important advancements were being made. In Austria, specifically Vienna, and in North America, different styles developed, which along with the English style were to become dominant. Before continuing our survey of skating in England, we...

  9. CHAPTER 4 TOWARD AN INTERNATIONAL STYLE
    (pp. 30-48)

    The years from 1869 through 1892 are in many ways the most important in the history of figure skating. National styles reached a high level of development with skaters striving to excel and wanting to be the best. Skating remained primarily a social activity, but a growing number of talented skaters were enjoying the satisfaction and pride of accomplishment realized from skating difficult figures and creating new ones, an achievement possible only after years of diligent practice. Those skaters, the best in their communities or clubs, gradually developed a natural desire to compete and to test their skills against friends...

  10. CHAPTER 5 THE RISE OF INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION
    (pp. 49-70)

    Figure skating competitions after the 1860s gradually increased in frequency. As skaters gained proficiency, they wanted to test their skills against friends in their own clubs, against skaters from clubs in adjoining communities, then regionally, and eventually nationally. By the 1880s, a few international competitions had been held. The Great International Skating Tournament, sponsored by the Vienna Skating Club in 1882, attracted some of the best skaters of the day. Leopold Frey, one of Haines’s students, won the event; Eduard Engelmann, Jr. (1864–1944), a future European champion, placed second; and Axel Paulsen (1855–1938) of Norway, inventor of the...

  11. CHAPTER 6 SKATING BETWEEN THE WORLD WARS
    (pp. 71-93)

    The number of competitors in the prewar championships was small by today’s standards. During the four years from 1908, the first year in which three disciplines were contested, through 1911, the average number of entrants in the World Championships was nine. The number jumped to twenty-one in 1912 and increased in each of the remaining two years before the war to twenty-three in 1913 and twenty-eight in 1914. This statistical documentation shows that the ISU had overcome its problems of two decades earlier and had established itself as a strong organization. At the first postwar congress, held in October 1921,...

  12. CHAPTER 7 SHOW SKATING
    (pp. 94-108)

    Samuel Pepys described the skating he witnessed in 1662 as “a very pretty art.” Two centuries later, observers in Victorian England watched in amazement as members of the London Skating Club went through their paces while proudly wearing club badges signifying their skating expertise and superiority. This was amateur skating at its best. Jackson Haines arrived in Europe as a professional skater in 1864 and presented shows demonstrating his consummate skill, apparently above anything previously seen. For nearly two hundred years, figure skating had been admired by onlookers. Its speed and flow across the ice were exciting to watch. Skaters’...

  13. CHAPTER 8 WHAT LIES AHEAD
    (pp. 109-118)

    War clouds hung over Europe when the championships of 1939 were held. The tension and effects of an unsettled political situation gripped the continent. Austria, the most dominant and successful country in the realm of competitive figure skating, had been annexed by Germany in 1938, its skaters now required to compete under the German banner. The number of Austrian entrants decreased slightly from seven to six at the European Championships, but more dramatically from eight to four at the World Championships. Let us review the future of those four Austrians who competed at the World Championships in 1939.

    Edi Rada,...

  14. PREFACE TO THE APPENDIXES
    (pp. 119-120)
  15. APPENDIX A COMPETITORS AT THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, 1896–1939
    (pp. 121-137)
  16. APPENDIX B COMPETITORS AT THE EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS, 1891–1939
    (pp. 138-150)
  17. APPENDIX C COMPETITORS AT THE NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIPS, 1923–1941
    (pp. 151-157)
  18. APPENDIX D COMPETITORS AT THE OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES, 1908–1936
    (pp. 158-164)
  19. APPENDIX E MEDAL COUNTS BY DISCIPLINE AND COUNTRY
    (pp. 165-168)
  20. APPENDIX F HOST CITIES FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIPS
    (pp. 169-170)
  21. APPENDIX G WORLD FIGURE SKATING HALL OF FAME (PRE–WORLD WAR II MEMBERS)
    (pp. 171-172)
  22. APPENDIX H THUMBNAIL SKETCHES OF WORLD AND OLYMPIC CHAMPIONS
    (pp. 173-178)
  23. NOTES
    (pp. 179-188)
  24. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 189-194)
  25. ILLUSTRATION SOURCES AND CREDITS
    (pp. 195-196)
  26. INDEX
    (pp. 197-210)
  27. Back Matter
    (pp. 211-212)