Figure Skating Olympic Sport: Debut Flashback

  • The debut of figure skating at the Summer Olympics in London.
  • Figure skating is the oldest sport at the Winter Olympics.
  • Who was the main star 100 years ago?

The first modern Olympic Games were in Athens in 1896. And for quite a long time the competitions were held only in summer sports. However, the first preconditions for the Winter Games appeared back in 1901, when the first Northern European Games took place. The tournament was considered international. But it was mainly attended by athletes from Scandinavia: Danes, Finns, Norwegians, and Swedes. Athletes competed in the skeleton, cross-country skiing, ice hockey, figure skating, ski jumping, and other sports that were absent from the Summer Olympics program. The figure skating Olympic sport wasn’t on the list.

The Debut of Figure Skating at the Summer Olympics

Figure skating gained particular popularity at the Northern European Games. So in 1908, they included this winter sport in the program of the Summer Olympic Games in London. That Olympics lasted for six months and lasted from April 27 to October 31. Figure skating competitions were held at the very end of the Games on an indoor skating rink in the Knightsbridge area. The skaters were allowed to train there for 10 hours a day. And the rest of the time the skating rink received ordinary visitors. This is difficult to imagine these days.

At the 1908 Olympics, 21 skaters from six countries competed. In addition to participants from Great Britain, Germany, the Russian Empire, the USA, and Sweden, there was even a place for a 47-year-old athlete from Argentina. Horatio Torrome is still the only Argentinean to represent the country at the Olympic Games in figure skating. The skaters competed for medals in four disciplines. Pair skating, men’s and women’s single skating remained in the program of the Games forever. But the discipline “special figures” was present only at the Olympics-1908. This type of figure skating required special skills. The skater had to depict a figure on the ice with just one push and one leg. Check out the online sportsbook sites in Sweden for the best odds in figure skating and more. 22Bet Sportsbook offers the best odds for the Olympic Games.

Figure Skating Olympic Sport: The Legends

Legendary figure skaters Ulrich Salkhov and Nikolai Panin-Kolomenkin became the main stars of the box office in London. The Swede invented his jump, won 10 world championships and nine European championships. And in London, he added Olympic gold in free skating to his collection. Panin-Kolomenkin impressed the judges in the “special figures”. And he also won the highest award. There were no figure skating competitions at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, but Panin-Kolomenkin still took part. The athlete from the Russian Empire represented the country in pistol shooting. Nikolai stopped a step away from the medal but still went down in history. He is the only athlete who performed in winter and summer sports as part of the Summer Olympics. You can also read about the 7 best figure skaters in history.

Figure Skating Olympic Sport
Who are the legends of Figure Skating? Source: Wikimedia

At the next 1920 Games in Antwerp, figure skating returned to the program. Also according to online sportsbook news in Sweden, at the Olympics, ice hockey made its debut. Competitions in these sports took place in April. Four months before the opening ceremony. The most talked about event on the ice was men’s single skating. The 43-year-old Salchow was still good but gave the title to a younger compatriot, Gillis Grafström. Having won gold, this Swedish skater created a sensation. At the Olympics in Antwerp, everything was against him. Grafstrom caught a cold, broke his skates, and injured his knee. But he won anyway.

Gillis Grafström – Legendary Olympic Medalist

In 1924, Gillis competed in the first-ever Winter Olympics and won another gold. Thus, the Swedish figure skater became the only person who managed to become the champion of both the Winter and Summer Olympic Games in the same sport. At the 1928 Games in St. Moritz, Grafstrom took the third consecutive Olympic gold. Even bad weather conditions did not interfere. The weather was unseasonably warm outside. And the competitions were in the open air. Because of this, the ice cover was not ideal in all areas. As it turned out, even such a force majeure will not hurt the real champions.

Gillis also did not leave the fourth Olympics in his career without a medal. Despite a collision with a photographer on the ice, the skater from Sweden won silver. In total, Grafström won four Olympic medals in figure skating. It was possible to repeat this achievement only in 2014 when Evgeni Plushenko took the fourth medal for himself. Find the best odds in 22Bet Sportsbook and place your winning bet.

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