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Second, Prize Figure Skating Championship of the World, I902, London ; Lady Figure Skating Champion of the International Skating Union, I906, Davos, I907, Vienna; Winner of the Ladies Figure Skating Competition, Olympic Games, I908, London '.
Figure Skating Champion of Great Britain, I903, I904, London, etc.. etc.
"A third young lady said it was elegant, the orange-peel), have professed to distinand a fourth expressed her opinion that guish certain characters. it was swan-like.". - The Pickwick Papers.
Figure skating as we know it to-day is the most modern of sports. A few decades ago, movements which we now class among the elements were the acme of experts.
We have all heard the oft-told tale (the grandfather of the narrator usually being the apocryphal person) of skaters who could write their names on the ice, and the early historians of the art with one accord set forth similar fictions.
The fact is that no skater has ever been able to write his or her or anyone's name on the ice, or to do more than suggest in such attempts a faint resemblance to such letters as E, L,s,o, etc., and the performer and admiring or partial friends may, by making believe very much (like the Marchioness with
The two-foot pirouette, by Mrs. E. Syers
As long ago as I772, one Robert Jones described the edges, the forward change, the 8, and the outside forward 3, which he fancifully designated the "Figure of a Heart on one leg."
It was not, however, until about I870 that Messrs.vandervell and Witham, and later Messrs. Monier Williams and Pidgeon, evolved the sequence of turns which we know as rockers, counters, brackets, loops, etc.
During the last two decades, owing to the introduction of artificial ice rinks in London, Glasgow, and Manchester, a new generation of skaters has arisen to carry the art still further, and now the best of our lady skaters are fully equal to their sisters of any country.
In skating, as in all sports, progress is easier and more rapid if the learner is provided from the outset with the best possible appliances.
For the international style the best skates ' are those which have a rounded toe, or prow, in which a row of small teeth is cut to enable toe spins and pirouettes to be performed easily, and without damage to the ice.
The radius of such skates should not be more than five feet, with acute-angled blades of a width of a quarter of an inch, tapering very slightly to the toe and heel.
We have found that the skates made by Messrs. Deane, I 0 4, Knightsbridge, London, are always to be relied on. They are rather expensive - about two guineas a pair - but it must be remembered that good skates last a lifetime.
These skates are screwed to the boots. The old system of strapping, so effective in the production of cold feet and chilblains, is now obsolete. For English style skating a different type is used. The best are known as the Mount Charles. These also are screwed on, and have right-angled blades with a radius of six or seven feet. Next in importance to the skates are the boots to be used with them; and here an apparent extravagance appears, for one should have a pair of boots for skating and nothing else. These must on no account be thick or clumsy. They should fit closely, and reach to about the swell of the calf, and be made of ordinary, never of patent, leather. The heels should be flat, and not more than an inch in height.
Another important item is the choice of an appropriate costume. Nothing should be worn which restricts the movements. Every true sportswoman knows that in choosing such a costume it is impossible to follow the fashions. For skating, wear a skirt of fairly heavy material, weighted at the hem with a band of some close fur. It should be about two and a half yards wide, and long enough to cover the top of the boot. With it can be worn a loose coat ; and to complete a suitable costume, wear a close-fitting soft fur hat.
Pair-skating -Mr.and Mrs E.syers
A long skirt is sure to be the cause of a fall, and a dangerous one, if the wearer is skating backwards.
And now as to the first steps. Beginners in skating, as in other matters, should work out their own salvation, and bravely go alone almost from the first, remembering that tumbles must be endured, and that they very rarely result in 'more than a momentary loss of dignity, except - and here a most important note of warning - to those learners who are thoughtless enough to wear tight or heavily boned corsets.
If such impediments to all effective movement are worn, skating can never be acquired. In this sport it is absolutely necessary for the body to be quite free and lissom, and for the back and waist muscles to have entire freedom.
The reason why many girls fall so as to bring the back of the head in contact with the ice is that they wear tight corsets. The body, when so encased, cannot be bent or the back rounded in the instinctively protective attitude which we see our unembarrassed male companions adopt. For the first few days the novice will do little more than shuffle ; and at this stage the almost invariable lament concerning weak ankles will be heard, and a consequent demand for the artificial support of straps.
Remember that the ankles are not weak, but that the muscles which are being used are at other times more or less quiescent, and that they cannot at once respond to the unaccustomed demands made upon them.
Do not be discouraged if at first your feet double under you in a feeble and disconcerting manner. "Rejoice rather that your muscles are sufficiently supple and flexible to permit of this, as those whose ankles are stiff and unyielding rarely learn to skate well. Never use straps or artificial supports of any kind, but persevere. The writer walked on the sides of her feet for several weeks before the previously little-used muscles were able to assert themselves.