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Ice skating in pre-Civil War America

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"International Style" Figure Skating Championship
March 20, 1914

Humans may have skated across the ice on a pair of rib bones from a local reindeer as early as 1000 B.C. Some 2,800 years later, just before the start of the Civil War, an ice skating craze swept across the U.S. In big cities and small towns, people strapped skates over their shoes and took to the ice.

Unlike today's competitors, skaters who participated in ice skating championships in the mid-1800s had a limited number of moves, made in a stiff and rigid style. It took the father of figure skating, and a new century, to add grace and flair to the sport.

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