Andreja Milenkovic: Figure Skater
Artist: Andreja Milenkovic
Ice skating has become an increasingly popular sport over the centuries. Evidence indicates that skates were fashioned out of bones in prehistoric days, and the same type of skate was made well into the 12th century. Metal blades for skates were introduced in the 14th century, and various developments since that time have made possible the intricate maneuvering associated with figure skating, a widely popular sport in the Olympic Winter Games. There are three branches of figure skating, each based on the curves and turns produced by the skates: freestyle, pair skating, and ice dancing. It is the control of the edges of the blades that determines every graceful movement. Balance is not easily acquired in figure skating, and it takes constant practice to develop and maintain control. When a skater has control of his blades, he is able to make geometric patterns on the ice, known as figures. Judging in the figure skating competition takes these marks into consideration, as one requirement is the ability to skate in such a manner as to place a mark, or tracing, exactly on top of the preceding one. There is also critical judging of the skater's grace, sharpness of form, and symmetry. When the figure skater uses the freestyle form in competition and skates to music for a specified length of time, the event is called a program, and is judged on technical merit and the appearance of the ice. Figure skating, indeed, is a graceful sport and a real challenge to all contenders in the Winter Olympic Games.
This artwork was originally published on the Fleetwood® First Day Cover for the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo Yugoslavia issued November 25, 1983.
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