Austria Skating Story I

Ballet-Scene from the Viennese Eisrevue-movie "Springtime on the ice" in 1950 // (c) Wienbibliothek im Rathaus

Figure Skating is coming home!

These roots reach back to the second half of the 19th century with the Wiener Eislaufverein (Viennese Skating Club) developing and bringing out amazing talents and thus obtaining international reputation. Starting from the first European Championships in 1891 Austrian skaters were regularly taking top spots with Eduard Engelmann winning the gold medal in 1892 and 1894.

Austria has a long and rich figure skating history. The achievements of Austrian skaters as well as their technical and artistic innovations are acknowledged as groundbreaking for the most populare Winter Olympic discipline. Therefore, in January 2020 we invite the European Figure Skating elite, their coaches, teams, families, officials, fans and everyone who loves artistic sports, to Graz for the ISU European Figure Skating Championships®. Then we will not only celebrate the new generation but also reminisce about the Austrian roots of this unique sport.

First Artificial Ice Rink in Austria

After his retirement from competitive skating Engelmann stunned the world with a brilliant invention: The first artificial skating rink opened its doors 1909. This novelty gained advantage for Austrian skaters, because from now on they could practice a much longer periode of time each year. Just a few years later the next step was done to extend the lead of Austrian athletes in competitive figure skating: Europe’s largest artificial ice rink was built in Vienna. The huge skating sureface of 4.000 square meter was opened in 1912.

The 1930s were the time of Karl Schaefer, probably Austria’s most successful Figure Skater ever. He earned an impressive amount of European- and World-Titles as well as two Olympic gold medals. After WWII he founded the precursor of the “Wiener Eisrevue”, one of the first figure skating entertainement shows.

Wiener Eisrevue conquers the World

Being tremendously popular in the 1950s and 60s Wiener Eisrevue generated international attention. Its appearances even in the US and in Northern Africa were crucial to change the global image of Austria in the aftermath of WWII. The show was highly responsible that the small Cenral European country could be recognized again as heartland of music and dance. Eva Pawlik was the rising star of the show's starting time. The European Champion of 1949 was famous for her pair-performances, mainly with husband Rudi Seeliger.

Read the 2nd part of the Austrian Skating Story!
Tickets für die Eiskunstlauf EM hier kaufen