Calgary Speed Skating History

Speed Skating is essentially a competition among Ice Skaters wherein the skaters race on skates on a defined track and distance. Since its inception, Speed Skating has evolved mainly into three forms of racing games: Long Track Speed Skating, Short Track Speed Skating, and Marathon Speed Skating. Long Track Skating is widely known as Speed Skating while the other two are known by their specific names.

Long Speed Skating is mostly organized on 400m long track, and 200m, 250m tracks are used occasionally. Short Track Skating is organized on comparatively shorter tracks almost equivalent to an Ice Hockey rink. While Marathon Speed Skating does not have a fixed length of track. This varies depending on the organizers for example 100 cycles of 400m track.

Speed Skating got organized and became famous as an established sport after international federation was founded in 1892 to support the Ice Sports. This has got an official acclimation in North America in 1970 and listed among the Olympic Games in 1992. Although, many countries have international tracks for Speed Skating like Canada, United States, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, China & Russia, this is most popular in Netherlands and Norway. There is a World Cup organized with events mainly held in these countries and two events in the ice hall in Heerenveen, Netherlands known as Thialf.

Historically, Speed Skating had roots back over a millennium to Northern Europe and the Netherlands and it was played using bones attached to the shoes to skate on frozen rivers and lakes. It added to the fun activities across societies in 16th century and later the Norway king Eystein Magnusson raced using ice legs. It was also played by a Scotsman who crafted a skate using an iron blade and that has gained huge popularity. With rising popularity, The Skating Club of Edinburgh was formed in 1642 as the first skating club and the first official race was organized in 1763 in England by National Ice Skating

Association. It didn’t have to look back thereafter and it became famous across the world by 1850. With all-steel blade equipped skates, North America had shown a love for the sport and started organizing several races & competitions.

The most famous speed skating race organized in the history was Elfstedentocht. It was organized in 1909 at irregular intervals because of the condition of the ice on the course. Post 1909, the Elfstedentocht was organized 15 times in 100 years.