The Bulgarian Skating Federation Celebrated its 50th Jubilee

̉he Bulgarian Skating Federation (BSF) celebrated its 50th anniversary with a grand Christmas party and gala exhibition on the ice at the end of 1999. The Executive Board of the Federation, represented by its President - Mrs. Evgenia Karnoslka, paid tribute and awarded prizes for different merits to former presidents, coaches, judges, competitors, functionaries. The best figure skaters of the 90's were announced: Ivan Dinev - Men, deceased Viktoria Dimitrova - Ladies in Figure Skating, Ice Dancing couple Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviyski. Evgenia Radanova and lady's relay /Radanova, Georgieva, Vlaeva, Krasteva/ took the prize of the best Short Track Speed skaters. The awards for the best coaches were given to Mrs. Ludmila Mladenova, Mrs. Evelina Panova, Mrs. Fani Parusheva in Figure Skating and Mr. Ivan Pandov in Short Track Speed Skating.

BSF was founded on September 16th 1949, when the Republican section of skating and ice hockey had been established within the former Bulgarian Committee of Physical Culture and Sports. That chronology, of course, is connected only with the institutional development of the Skating sport in our country. Skating with primitive skates made of bone or wood dates back to the distant past and the fashion of the "patinage" came from Europe at the end of 19th century.
Alexandar Batenberg I, Head of the Third Bulgarian Kingdom /1879 - 1886/ opened the first "ice rink" leaving his golden tracks on the ice of a frozen marsh in the outskirts of Sofia.

The first skating, walking and breathing instructions on the ice rink were given in a guidebook, printed in 1901, even before the manual of the Russian Figure skater Panin Kolomenkin to come to Bulgaria in 1938. In the 20's the "skilful skating " definitely made its way in Bulgaria and what is more it had attracted not only the young people.
There is a statistic data about an independent metropolitan society of figure skating from the end of January 1929. Sections to some sports clubs were created - "AS 23", "FC Slavia", FC "Levski" and there were training sessions in individual skating, waltz in couple and relay skating.



The ice on the lake at the entrance of the Park "Borisova gradina" was preferable place for the skating-minded people. On February 17th 1929 the first competition of "skilful skating and speed skating with a special program" was held. The old registers show that more than 10 000 people practiced ice- skating in the capital. Most of them were active athletes - football players, tennis players, field and track athletes, basketball players who kept fit in winter.
After the World War II, for lack of artificial ice rinks and insufficient and primitive equipment, broke down the earlier progress and enthusiasm of the Bulgarian skaters. Nevertheless, at the beginning of the 50's the most tenacious dreamers made a real exploit - an effort worthy of the Guiness book. The competitors froze over the 250-meters strip of "Musala" peak - 2400 m. above the sea level, in order to convert it into a track for speed skating. 12 men and 2 women for the first time ran at 500, 1000, 1500 meter /men/ and 500, 1000 meter /ladies/.

In 1954 at the frozen capital cycling track the first Bulgarian figure skating champions were nominated.

Right after the building of the first artificial ice rink in 1960, at the "Druzhba" Stadium, the skating sport assumed more specific character. Parallel with the building of new sports facilities, the teams and sections of figure skating won recognition in the bigger sports societies in Sofia, Pernik, Stara Zagora, Veliko Tarnovo. There is active participation in all the competitions part of the national and international events. The Sofia - Zagreb bilateral figure skating meeting in 1965 initiated the beginning of an international tournament, later known as "Sofia Cup", which has a well-known reputation. Future celebrities like Katarina Vit, Anet Piotch, Hayko Fisher and many others participated in this tournament. Its 31st and 32nd editions /1997 and 1998/ now are part of the Junior Figure Skating Grand Prix Series of the International Skating Union /ISU/



Bulgaria has been a member of the International Skating Union since 1967.
At the first World Junior Figure Skating Championships in 1976 in France our country was presented by Evelina Panova. Gradually we made our first appearance in the different categories at ISU Seniors Championships - European Championships, World Championships and Olympic Games, in order to have Bulgarian figure skaters in the top ten of the European elite: Ivan Dinev - Men and Albena Denkova /Maxim Staviyski - Ice Dancing and champion titles and awards for Evgenia Radanova and our lady's relay in Short Track Speed Skating, which has been developing in Bulgaria only since 1986.
Trough the most difficult years of political changes and economic crises, BSF held its international prestige, justifying the high opinion of ISU, and organizing a succession of important events and activities: a meeting of ISU Council /for the first time in a former socialist country - Varna 1989/; European Figure Skating Championships Sofia - 1991; European Figure Skating Championships Sofia - 1996.


Historical premieres also are the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships Sofia - 1999 and the World Junior Figure Skating Championships - 2001.