Europe's best skate into Tallinn

  • 2010-01-13
  • By Ella Karapetyan

PRINCESS ON ICE: Estonian champion Elena Glebova will join teammates in this month's European Championship in Tallinn.

TALLINN - The history of figure skating stretches back to prehistoric times, as archeological evidence of the activity shows. Figure skating is one branch of ice skating, a sport which has divided itself into several separate activities since its prehistoric beginnings.

The exact time and process by which humans first learned to ice skate is not known, though archeologists believe the activity was widespread. The convenience and efficiency of ice skating to cross large, icy areas is shown in archeological evidence by the finding of primitive animal bone ice skates in places such as Russia, Scandinavia, Great Britain, Germany and Switzerland.

While people have been ice skating for centuries, figure skating in its current form originated in the mid-19th century. The first skates were made from animal bones and attached to the feet with leather straps. People used skates as a way of crossing frozen lakes and rivers in the winter. In the 1850s, figure skating started when skaters started trying various spins and jumps on ice.

“A Treatise on Skating” (1772) by Englishman Robert Jones is the first known account of figure skating. Back then competitions were held in “English style” of skating, which was stiff and formal and bears little resemblance to modern figure skating. American skater Jackson Haines, who is considered the “father of modern figure skating,” introduced a new style of skating in the mid-1860s. This style, which incorporated free and expressive techniques, became known as the “international style.” Although popular in Europe, Haines’ style of skating was not widely adopted in the United States until long after his death.

Despite the somewhat cold weather and short winter days Tallinn invites everybody to one of the most exciting sporting events in Europe - European Figure Skating Championships 2010, where the performances of European top skaters will fill you with excitement and warm up your heart. Organizers of the event hope that the Championships will spin your emotions and you will leave the show with unforgettable memories.

The Estonian Skating Union and its athletes and trainers have recently opened the 2010 EC season in Tallinn at Town Hall Square. The European Skating Championships will be held in Tallinn on Jan. 19- 24, which means Estonia’s skating team will get an opportunity to organize and to participate in an international competition, which is one of the most important and most viewed professional sports events in the world.

The EC 2010 is an exceptional opportunity to see Europe’s best ice skaters competing and witness the performances of future Olympic medalists. “Tallinn 2010 EC is in the spotlight in front of an  international audience, as European Championships is followed by the Winter Olympics, which means the EC is the last chance for qualification,” said vice - president of the Estonian Skating Union Margus Hernits. “160 professional athletes and over 200 journalists are expected in Tallinn, along with 100 million spectators all over the world,” he added.
“Tallinn 2010 EC is comparable to Eurovision in its size. This gives Estonia and Tallinn an opportunity to improve its reputation and also gives a boost to the development of ice skating in Estonia,” says president of the Estonian Skating Union Maire Arm.

Estonian champion Elena Glebova in women’s short program, Viktor Romanenkov in men’s short program, Maria Sergejeva and Ilja Glebov in the pairs’ short program and Cailtlin Mallory and Kristian Rand in ice dance are expected to represent Estonia at the championships.

Head coach of the Estonian skating team Anna Levandi says that ice skating in Estonia has gone through large developments in the past few years, both as a professional sport and as a hobby. “We have a fantastic team of coaches, strong athletes and incredible enthusiasm. Estonian athletes have given great performances in both international arenas and in front of the home crowd,” she added.

Vice mayor of Tallinn Kaia Jappinen noted that the city cannot underestimate an opportunity to draw the attention of such a large number of people around the world and host this many guests throughout the event. All the competitions will be held in Saku Suurhall, but the practices will take place in the Premia Ice Hall.