Figure skating is an Olympic sport in which individuals, pairs, or groups perform spins, jumps, footwork and other intricate and challenging moves on ice skates. Figure skaters compete at various levels from beginner up to the Olympic level (senior), and at local, national, and international competitions. The International Skating Union (ISU) regulates international figure skating judging and competitions. Figure skating is an official event in the Winter Olympic Games. In languages other than English and Russian, figure skating is usually referred to by a name that translates as "artistic skating".
While people have been ice skating for centuries, figure skating in its current form originated in the mid-19th century. A Treatise on Skating (1772) by Englishman Robert Jones, is the first known account of figure skating. Competitions were then held in the "English style" of skating, which was stiff and formal and bears little resemblance to modern figure skating. American skater Jackson Haines, considered the "father of modern figure skating", introduced a new style of skating in the mid-1860s. This style, which incorporated free and expressive techniques, became known as the "international style." Although popular in Europe, Haines' style of skating was not widely adopted in the United States until long after his death.
The International Skating Union was founded in The first European Championship was held in 1891, and the first World Championship was held in 1896 and won by Gilbert Fuchs. Only men competed in these events. In 1902, a woman, Madge Syers, entered the World competition for the first time, finishing second. The ISU quickly banned women from competing against men, but established a separate competition for "ladies" in Pair skating was introduced at the 1908 World Championships, where the title was won by Anna Hübler & Heinric Burger. The first Olympic figure skating competitions also took place in 1908.