During the last half of the nineteenth century, informal international competitions in both Speed Skating and Figure Skating were organized occasionally in different parts of the world. The first modern Speed Skating competition was held in Norway in 1863 and the first major International Speed Skating race was held in Hamburg (GER) in 1885. In 1882, the first International Figure Skating competition took place in Vienna (AUT).
With the emergence of international competitions, in both Speed Skating and Figure Skating, as well as the forming of skating clubs and of national associations, the need to establish international standards to govern these sports became more and more apparent. In July 1892, the Dutch association took the lead in calling for a meeting of representatives of all countries interested in international ice skating competitions. As a result, the first Congress convened in Scheveningen (NED) and the ISU was created. The fifteen delegates present at the time, all from Europe, began to establish firm rules, laying down the foundations for international competitions in both disciplines. With the addition of Canada as a Member in 1894, the ISU expanded its horizons to become a truly international governing body.
Since the foundation of the ISU the ice skating disciplines have developed steadily over time to occupy the significant role they now enjoy in the world of sport.
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